Peter Dow

Extincting mosquitoes and other blood-sucking, disease-spreading parasites

Should we extinct malaria-spreading mosquitoes and other blood-sucking, disease-spreading parasites?  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. Should we extinct malaria-spreading mosquitoes and other blood-sucking, disease-spreading parasites?



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28 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Because people don't take jokes seriously.

Actually, police officers have a notoriously poor sense of humour.

So you think it is "not OK" for a Bible story / fairy tale to be taken seriously? Why?

Edited by Peter Dow

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27 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

Actually, police officers have a notoriously poor sense of humour.

Nobody mentioned police

 

28 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

So you think it is "not OK" for a Bible story / fairy tale to be taken seriously?

No

That's not what I said- it's something you made up.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Nobody mentioned police

You mentioned "people" and police officers are people, are they not?

20 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

That's not what I said- it's something you made up.

So my Bible story / fairy tale was OK?

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3 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

It was irrelevant.

It was and is relevant to point out that we humans can select other species for survival but that other animals cannot select us for extinction.

Edited by Peter Dow

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1 minute ago, Peter Dow said:

It is was much more relevant to point out that we humans can select other species for survival but that other animals cannot select us for extinction.

To whom were you pointing that out?
It's obvious to anyone, so pointing it out is redundant.

 

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Just now, John Cuthber said:

To whom were you pointing that out?
It's obvious to anyone, so pointing it out is redundant.

I was pointing that out to Moontanman.

It wasn't redundant because his joke suggested the opposite.

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21 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

It was and is relevant to point out that we humans can select other species for survival but that other animals can not select us for extinction.

1
2

the conceit of humanity :rolleyes: tell that to a virus.

or a rat

Edited by dimreepr

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20 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

I was pointing that out to Moontanman.

It wasn't redundant because his joke suggested the opposite.

I see your problem.

You didn't understand a joke about the idea that only dogs and mosquitoes think humans are useful.

OK.

Did you understand my comment about jokes not getting taken seriously?

 

10 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

the conceit of humanity :rolleyes: tell that to a virus.

OK.

Hey variola major, we extinguished you.

Though the flip side of that is that we killed off many more species by accident, than by design.

Edited by John Cuthber

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16 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

the conceit of humanity :rolleyes: tell that to a virus.

or a rat

Smallpox we didn't need. Lab rats we do.

7 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

I see your problem.

You didn't understand a joke about the idea that only dogs and mosquitoes think humans are useful.

OK.

Did you understand my comment about jokes not getting taken seriously?

 

I understood the limitations of his joke and proved that by replying with the more apt Noah's Ark story.

Edited by Peter Dow

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Just now, Peter Dow said:

Smallpox we didn't need.

5 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

OK.

Hey variola major, we extinguished you.

 

OK tell that to a flu virus.

Quote

Lab rats we do.

and?

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5 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

How about getting back on topic?

the argument to relevant?

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14 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

True.

Well you claim that it "doesn't" but I hope that it does at least represent a model of the eradication of a closed inter-breeding population.

Clearly subspecies which remain isolated from the mutation will have to await their turn for eradication until such time as the mutation can be artificially introduced into that subspecies.

Are you asking how artificially to introduce the mutation into all the various isolated populations in such a way as to be sure that the species is truly extinct and not hanging on by a thread somewhere?

The story in Science News admits to possible flaws in the method.

So we'll see what further experimentation reveals.

 

No more than your joke was relevant to this discussion.

 

I don't "discount the science of ecology". Do you wonder if your own joke discounts the science of ecology? If not then why is your joke OK but my middle eastern fairy tale was not?

The joke was merely an attempt to lighten up the conversation a bit, around here an appeal to a deity is generally not assumed to be a joke. But if you meant it as a joke I apologize. 

As for my reference to ecology that was serious, any attempt to alter the ecology should be done with extreme caution is if it done at all. Night time insect populations have crashed in many areas and it is not known what effect that may have overall at this time. We are influencing the environment in extremely drastic ways the consequences of those changes appears to be an ongoing extinction event comparable to many past famous events like the K-T extinction event. 

Insects in general are at the very bottom of the food chain and eliminating them could have drastic consequences. Your cavalier attitude to this is problematic to say the least.. 

2 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

It was and is relevant to point out that we humans can select other species for survival but that other animals cannot select us for extinction.

That is quite the assertion, if you mean consciously select then you are correct but if you mean that we cannot be driven to extinction by other creatures on this Earth that is more than a bit of hubris. The plague did a pretty good job in europe and european diseases did a number on my ancestors in North America.

While I applaud your desire to limit human suffering a safer way would be to develop medical treatments for the diseases not wipe out animal species with no regard for the environment.

The loss of insects is serious business and the decline in insect populations is ominous when you realise just how important they are to sustaining the ecosystem... 

Smallpox BTW is an exclusively human disease and while some hardliners might think that removing a natural limiting factor on humans is questionable I am not in that school of thought but we are capable of limiting our own numbers in a conscious manner and we should do so IMHO. 

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7 hours ago, Moontanman said:

The joke was merely an attempt to lighten up the conversation a bit, around here an appeal to a deity is generally not assumed to be a joke. But if you meant it as a joke I apologize. 

As for my reference to ecology that was serious, any attempt to alter the ecology should be done with extreme caution is if it done at all. Night time insect populations have crashed in many areas and it is not known what effect that may have overall at this time. We are influencing the environment in extremely drastic ways the consequences of those changes appears to be an ongoing extinction event comparable to many past famous events like the K-T extinction event. 

Insects in general are at the very bottom of the food chain and eliminating them could have drastic consequences. Your cavalier attitude to this is problematic to say the least.. 

That is quite the assertion, if you mean consciously select then you are correct but if you mean that we cannot be driven to extinction by other creatures on this Earth that is more than a bit of hubris. The plague did a pretty good job in europe and european diseases did a number on my ancestors in North America.

While I applaud your desire to limit human suffering a safer way would be to develop medical treatments for the diseases not wipe out animal species with no regard for the environment.

The loss of insects is serious business and the decline in insect populations is ominous when you realise just how important they are to sustaining the ecosystem... 

Smallpox BTW is an exclusively human disease and while some hardliners might think that removing a natural limiting factor on humans is questionable I am not in that school of thought but we are capable of limiting our own numbers in a conscious manner and we should do so IMHO. 

Well I accepted your attempt to lighten the conversation in good humour by responding in kind, using non-scientific language of my own.

My reference to the Noah's Ark story wasn't me "appealing to a deity", any more than you were "appealing to the anthropomorphised animals" which featured in your joke.

Even so, my story was more on topic than your joke. Of the two of us, I was the guy telling the more relevant allegorical tale - which better illustrated the truth of pest control which is that it is man who has dominion over the animals, not vice versa - and you were the guy with the more irrelevant, misleading and inappropriate joke. That was the point I meant to make. You could have replied "touché", conceding my point well made and moved on.

_________
If the world has about a million or more insect species then it is safe to assume that there will be about the same number of insect species still there after we extinct those relatively few human disease vector insect species.

Humans are not the "very bottom of the food chain" but at the very top. The human blood food chain exploited by parasites is starting from a very high vantage point in the food chain.

So our blood as food is a very tiny part of the ecosystem and so extincting the parasitic species which are dependent on our blood for their food will bring a huge benefit to mankind without inconveniencing the ecosystem at large one jot. That is a scientific regard for the environment.

High human morality is associated with a high birth rate because if a family don't know how many of their children will die from malaria or other diseases then they calculate that it is better to have lots of children to increase the chances that some of their children at least don't die from disease but can mature to adulthood.

So we can change that calculation so that people can confidently have fewer children by eliminating malaria and other vector borne diseases as a fact of life in some parts of the world.

Edited by Peter Dow

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3 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

Well I accepted your attempt to lighten the conversation in good humour by responding in kind, using non-scientific language of my own.

My reference to the Noah's Ark story wasn't me "appealing to a deity", any more than you were "appealing to the anthropomorphised animals" which featured in your joke.

Even so, my story was more on topic than your joke. Of the two of us, I was the guy telling the more relevant allegorical tale - which better illustrated the truth of pest control which is that it is man who has dominion over the animals, not vice versa - and you were the guy with the more irrelevant, misleading and inappropriate joke. That was the point I meant to make. You could have replied "touché", conceding my point well made and moved on.

_________
If the world has about a million or more insect species then it is safe to assume that there will be about the same number of insect species still there after we extinct those relatively few human disease vector insect species.

Humans are not the "very bottom of the food chain" but at the very top. The human blood food chain exploited by parasites is starting from a very high vantage point in the food chain.

So our blood as food is a very tiny part of the ecosystem and so extincting the parasitic species which are dependent on our blood for their food will bring a huge benefit to mankind without inconveniencing the ecosystem at large one jot. That is a scientific regard for the environment.

High human morality is associated with a high birth rate because if a family don't know how many of their children will die from malaria or other diseases then they calculate that it is better to have lots of children to increase the chances that some of their children at least don't die from disease but can mature to adulthood.

So we can change that calculation so that people can confidently have fewer children by eliminating malaria and other vector borne diseases as a fact of life in some parts of the world.

Again you fail to see the forest for the trees. Humans are not the only food for mosquitoes and mosquitoes are a food source for a great many other creatures some of which eat them almost exclusively. The ecosphere is not something simple you can just change at a whim. In our campaigns to eliminate insects I have seen a large difference in the local ecology, I live near the green swamp, 45 years ago insects were so common that car headlights had to be cleaned regularly and a porch lite could support numbers of toads and the number of insects was huge. Now a porch light attracts few insects, true mosquitoes are seldom a problem and deer flies and green headed flies have all but vanished but what effect will the lack of these creatures have on populations of animals the depended on them for food? 

Around here draining the swamp and coastal marshes was once done every day, more and more swamp land was being drained. Then we found out that those areas were where the seafood our area depends on to make a living and as food and sport were in a steep decline due to the draining of those low areas. Never think that an action has no bad consequences just because that action results in things you want... 

 

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8 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Again you fail to see the forest for the trees. Humans are not the only food for mosquitoes

Indeed, mosquitoes spread disease to other animals, such as valuable farm animals, whose blood they suck too, all of whom stand to benefit from the extinction of the pest species. So not only will the doctors love this, so too will the vets and the farmers. It's win, win. :D

8 hours ago, Moontanman said:

 mosquitoes are a food source for a great many other creatures some of which eat them almost exclusively.

Most if not all species which eat mosquitoes also eat other things, such as moths, beetles, other flying insects etc. So mosquito-predator species will adapt to the new mix of prey species and will survive no problem.

8 hours ago, Moontanman said:

The ecosphere is not something simple you can just change at a whim.

There's been a lot of time, money, science research and engineering development effort directed at this problem. No-one said this was simple or could be done at a whim.

Each individual species will have to be individually targeted so exquisitely precise management of which species to extinct, which to leave alone, will be possible.

 

 

Edited by Peter Dow

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1 hour ago, Peter Dow said:

Indeed, mosquitoes spread disease to other animals, such as valuable farm animals, whose blood they suck too, all of whom stand to benefit from the extinction of the pest species. So not only will the doctors love this, so too will the vets and the farmers. win, win. :D

1
1

you can't know that

2 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

Most if not all species which eat mosquitoes also eat other things, such as moths, beetles, other flying insects etc. So mosquito-predator species will adapt to the new mix of prey species and will survive no problem.

 

or that

Edited by dimreepr

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34 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

nope

Quote

I think talk of prediction is a bit of a misnomer. We can't know anything with exact certainty, particularly not the positions of fundamental particles (as someone below mentioned referencing Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle). We can only analyze factors and trends to come up with the most likely probability.Deciding upon the most probable outcome is not at all the same as predicting the future.

 

Quote

Science (from the Latin word scientia, meaning "knowledge")[1] is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[2][a]

you can only test the past

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To kill all mosquitoes, countries need to work together. This will never happen since most mosquitoes don't spread Malaria  or other life-threatening diseases. In most countries mosquitoes are annoying but don't spread diseases like Malaria.

4 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

Most if not all species which eat mosquitoes also eat other things, such as moths, beetles, other flying insects etc. So mosquito-predator species will adapt to the new mix of prey species and will survive no problem.

Probably but if animals have less food then they grow smaller. And many animals 'evolved' to hunt/eat a certain kind of animal...they can't just adapt to eat other animals.

We should 'hurt' the ecosystem as little as we can.

Edited by Itoero

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3 minutes ago, Itoero said:

To kill all mosquitoes

We Can't

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

nope

 

you can only test the past

The past is this - 99.9% of species that there have ever been are now extinct. Species have an average lifespan of 1-10 million years.

So we can confidently predict that the extinction of mosquito species will happen and now with the new gene drive method of pest control it looks like mosquito extinctions can be and will be sooner rather than later.

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34 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

 

So we can confidently predict that the extinction of mosquito species will happen and now with the new gene drive method of pest control it looks like mosquito extinctions can be and will be sooner rather than later.

It's impossible to kill all mosquitoes. Countries need to work together to kill them all and mosquito eggs can be frozen for many years until they hatch so it's impossible to know if you killed them all. And how are you going to kill all mosquitoes in the arctic, Alaska, Northern Canadian territories , Rusland...

 

Edited by Itoero

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3 minutes ago, Itoero said:

It's impossible to kill all mosquitoes. Countries need to work together to kill them all and mosquito eggs can be frozen for many years until they hatch so it's impossible to know if you killed them all. And how are you going to kill all mosquitoes in the arctic, Alaska, Northern Canadian territories , Rusland...

It should be possible for the World Health Organisation and its partner organisations artificially to introduce the gene drive to eliminate any inter-breeding population. Obviously isolated populations and sub-species will remain extant until such time as they are targeted for eradication.

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