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But the problem is a lack of rational argument against my points. Simply stating that resources are finite is not an argument against my point that most such resources are present in amounts that mean they will not run out for hundreds or thousands of years.

Nobody is arguing against that statement because it is true. The points of discussion you neglected to address were those relating to the rare elements (which I for one repeatedly invited you to comment on), and the principle of something being unavailable for use if it is already in use elsewhere.

 

Indeed, if a future equivalent of the old mohole project means our descendents can tap the molten magma in the Earth's mantle, the amounts of resources will be so vast as to approach infinity for all practical purposes.

And that would be lovely, if it is ever done. Ideally it would work as advertised or better, and render this debate moot.

 

The only real argument is cost. As we move to lower and lower purity ores, will the cost of extraction become prohibitive? Only time will tell.

Or as a wacky alternative, economics.

 

The other point is substitution. For example : silicon is one of the most abundant elements, and silicon compounds can be used for a vast range of possible raw materials, including amazing ceramics.

This does not mean anything can be substituted.

 

Carbon, as has been pointed out, is abundant. It can, in theory, be converted into extremely valuable allotropes including diamond, buckyballs, graphite, buckytubes. If you extend this to organic compounds, we have a resource of almost infinite variety.

Or alternatively, you do to this discussion what ignoring a physical law does to all those discussions about light speed.

 

I think that the idea of human progress being stopped due to lack of available resources represents terrible and totally unrealistic pessimism.

I very much hope that my fears are never realised, but what is or is not likely is not contigent on the emotional response certain humans have to that concept.

 

All I am saying is that it is possible we will shoot ourselves in the foot with regard to successfully migrating off this planet. I haven't yet seen any convincing counter-argument showing how that is impossible, and I am not really sure why it is such a massive bone of contention in this thread.

 

Changing costs mean that the materials used in 100 years will not be the materials we use today.

Yes, because some will start to become so scarce as to economically force substitution with a less ideal material.

 

The materials they use then will be superior.

Unsupported assertion, unless you only consider human-devised combinant materials, which somewhat begs the question.

 

After all, the whole history of the science/engineering topic of materials use is a history of continuous improvement, and lowering costs.

As long as you ignore the materials which have historically risen in cost and/or not changed at all.

 

 

Come back to Earth, Lance.

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Don't you think this is a sort of "god of the gaps" argument?   What you are saying is this:   1) Earth has limits on the useful extractable volumes of resources required for space expansion, 2)

As I understand it, your argument is basically that the resources to build spacecraft and space mining will be unavailable. The reason I am going on about the prices of things is that the price of something determines its availability (for small enough scales, of course). In pointing out that the price of raw materials to construct these things is pathetically small compared to actually building and designing them, I am making a point about the availability of the raw materials. If as you say the materials are being used elsewhere, it is simply a matter of cost: if NASA is willing to pay more for a material than whoever else is buying it, people will sell the material to NASA. If the material is no longer being mined, then NASA would have to buy items that already have the material. Since the material is a small portion of the cost for space ships, NASA will be able to afford it.

 

To put it another way: if the cost of materials were to increase so much that NASA can't afford them, then we would be in the stone age again because nobody else would be able to afford them either.

 

As to the amount of material that would be required. I realize that space mining would require far more payload capacity than we have now, or radical advances in mining technology. However, while some scarce materials will be required for the space ship and mining machinery, most of the cost (for current technology) will be to lift up tons upon tons of common materials. As I understand it, it will cost you about $1000 per kg of payload with current technology. At these prices, it doesn't matter too much what you are lifting, it is going to cost you.

 

A large portion of the cost of spaceflight is our payload capacity. Currently, we can lift up about 1% of the mass of the spaceship. This means more fuel, more rockets, more raw materials, and much, much more costs. And it is a number that can be improved on. If for example, we switch to using a nuclear powered rocket, we could lift far more cargo with a single rocket. If we improve on our structural materials (hence my comment on lightweight but strong carbon) we could improve our cargo capacity as well. This sort of thing is why I predict that we will need less materials for future spaceflight.

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As I understand it, your argument is basically that the resources to build spacecraft and space mining will be unavailable.

I'm saying may be unavailable, but for all intents and purposes in this discussion we can probably agree it amounts to the same thing.

 

An important condition is that I am not talking about any arbitrary spacecraft, but the machinery and infrastructure needed to successfully and permanently migrate beyond Earth. Remember what the topic is; "What Will Man Become".

 

The reason I am going on about the prices of things is that the price of something determines its availability (for small enough scales, of course).

No, you have it backwards. Cost is a product of availability, and as the latter falls, the former rises. You cannot simply ignore the point where cost becomes prohibitive, and you cannot simply ignore the point where the requisition capacity you need is just not there.

 

I think what you mean to say is that unit cost determines the viability of requisitioning a particular material...?

 

In pointing out that the price of raw materials to construct these things is pathetically small compared to actually building and designing them, I am making a point about the availability of the raw materials.

It's not helpful or meaningful to compare the impact of the cost of materials to the impact of something which has no bearing on their availability or value.

 

Also, the proportion of a mission's budget which is dedicated to acquiring materials is based on the cost of those materials, not the other way around. Budgets which are exceeded because of the effects of the material cost do not typically get a green light, regardless of how impressive the design phase is.

 

If as you say the materials are being used elsewhere, it is simply a matter of cost: if NASA is willing to pay more for a material than whoever else is buying it, people will sell the material to NASA.

Inevitably there will be occasions where they are either unwilling or unable to source materials at their market value. As global resource utilisation increases, these occasions will become more likely. It seems to me that the assumption that NASA will still be around when we start genuine efforts to spread off Earth indicates that you misjudge just how far away we are from that day.

 

If the material is no longer being mined, then NASA would have to buy items that already have the material. Since the material is a small portion of the cost for space ships, NASA will be able to afford it.

Logical error. The market value of the required materials is not determined by the relevant proportion of a mission budget which NASA have set for themselves.

 

To put it another way: if the cost of materials were to increase so much that NASA can't afford them, then we would be in the stone age again because nobody else would be able to afford them either.

Exactly. The longer we leave it, the more likely it becomes that the resource cost of this endeavour reaches orders requiring the backing of a collaboration of nation states.

 

I feel I should mention at this point that one has to keep the likely timescales in mind, to keep a sense of perspective.

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I'm saying may be unavailable,

 

Well, I can't disagree with that. On the other hand, technological advances may result in replacements for all of the rare materials.

 

Exactly. The longer we leave it, the more likely it becomes that the resource cost of this endeavour reaches orders requiring the backing of a collaboration of nation states.

 

I feel I should mention at this point that one has to keep the likely timescales in mind, to keep a sense of perspective.

 

Ah, timescales. I was working under the assumption that research and production costs would dwarf the cost of materials for the entire time it would take us to get started, and I was thinking less than 100 years, and maybe only 30 years. I can't believe that nobody will go out and start self-sufficient colonies (which will require mining) within about 100 years.

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To Sayonara

 

So your main objection to my logic is the idea that rare elements will become economically unavailable??? You are referring to such things as Platinum, Iridium etc. Yes, to a degree you are correct. They are in limited supply, and while future extraction technology advances will make them more available, they will never be 'common'.

 

However, that does not mean that their scarcity has to be limiting to human-kind's future progress. For example : Platinum is the main catalyst used in making sulphur trioxide, for sulphuric acid. Yet much cheaper Vanadium pentoxide will also do, but not quite so effectively. Recent discoveries have shown that, if we convert the VO5 to nanoparticles, and coat the catalyst surface with those particles, the increased surface area at the molecular level makes the VO5 actually a better catalyst than the traditional plain Platinum.

 

This is one example of how modern technology makes us able to substitute an abundant material for a scarce material. Such examples are legion.

 

Silicons can be used to make ceramics. Since we were talking about space travel, let me use that as an example. Ceramics make up the tiles covering the space shuttle. They line rocket exhausts. They can be used to line the cylinders in an internal combustion engine. They are immensely versatile, and are NOT dependent on a scarce resource.

 

Aluminium and carbon fibres can be used together to make up rocket bodies.

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Well, I can't disagree with that. On the other hand, technological advances may result in replacements for all of the rare materials.

Let's hope so.

 

Ah, timescales. I was working under the assumption that research and production costs would dwarf the cost of materials for the entire time it would take us to get started, and I was thinking less than 100 years, and maybe only 30 years. I can't believe that nobody will go out and start self-sufficient colonies (which will require mining) within about 100 years.

Really? That seems like a very short period of time. Economically, we could probably do it at a push. But because of social and political reasons, it would have to be one hell of a push.

 

Lance has commented on my "pessimism" once or twice in this thread so I am going to take the time to point out that actually, I sincerely and genuinely hope that I am wrong, and that mankind spreads to the stars without any resource hitches. However I am not about to modify my analysis of the situation based on some arbitrary feelings I happen to have.

 

So your main objection to my logic is the idea that rare elements will become economically unavailable???

No, my main objection to your logic is that it relies on valid objections being ignored. You have not attempted to plug this gap by tackling the easily-approachable and well-documented economic and socio-political problems I have described, but instead back-tracked on your past claims that you don't like to see speculation in science threads and presented a possible but highly unlikely technology as a catch-all that renders the entire discussion moot by suddenly providing the planet with more resources than mankind can wave a requisition order at.

 

You are referring to such things as Platinum, Iridium etc. Yes, to a degree you are correct. They are in limited supply, and while future extraction technology advances will make them more available, they will never be 'common'.

Yes, I believe that was something of the point I was making. Finally.

 

However, that does not mean that their scarcity has to be limiting to human-kind's future progress. For example : Platinum is the main catalyst used in making sulphur trioxide, for sulphuric acid. Yet much cheaper Vanadium pentoxide will also do, but not quite so effectively. Recent discoveries have shown that, if we convert the VO5 to nanoparticles, and coat the catalyst surface with those particles, the increased surface area at the molecular level makes the VO5 actually a better catalyst than the traditional plain Platinum.

Which is great because it frees up some platinum for other uses. But there are three problems with that:

 

1) It doesn't demonstrate that platinum can be substituted out of any space-oriented application which might conceivably require it,

2) It merely shifts the resource burden elsewhere,

3) Guess what - the quantity of platinum hasn't increased. You still have to pick which one of the two things you want to be able to do, and a resource is sequestered somewhere.

 

On point 3, note that the more you find that the 'chemically interesting' qualities of an element qualify it for a particular application, the less likely it becomes that a potential substitute is going to be common. I applaud your faith in man's genius, but implying that any material resource can be and will be substituted at some point is blasé and largely based on presumption. It also simply pushes back the resource burden elsewhere, which is hardly solving the problem.

 

This is one example of how modern technology makes us able to substitute an abundant material for a scarce material. Such examples are legion.

Legion they may be, but legion does not mean eternal, absolute, infallible, or any of the other words that you need it to mean.

 

Silicons can be used to make ceramics. Since we were talking about space travel, let me use that as an example. Ceramics make up the tiles covering the space shuttle. They line rocket exhausts. They can be used to line the cylinders in an internal combustion engine. They are immensely versatile, and are NOT dependent on a scarce resource.

 

Aluminium and carbon fibres can be used together to make up rocket bodies.

As Mr Skeptic and I touched on, the body of the craft is not much of an issue. It's likely that if all spacecraft were composed entirely of the same materials as the hull, then we would easily be able to establish a solar resource network of some sort before Earth's resource made such an operation problematic.

 

But that is NOT the problem I am describing. Let me put it like this:

 

Rockets, probes, space suits, EVA equipment, tools, station modules, scientific equipment, sensors and detector arrays, robotic systems, environmental controls, thruster assemblies, CO2 scrubbers, computer networks, solar arrays, shielding, drive systems, and so on and so forth, all require very specific resources.

 

In this future we are describing, we will also have the added resource requirements of colony habitats, impact shielding, water harvesting and reclamation, supply shuttles, and whatever recreational or scientific tools/vehicles/items the occupants require or desire. We also need the vehicles and other mechanisms required to fabricate those things and put them in place, not to mention the resources required to actually keep them operating at the minimum level that anyone would describe as successful.

 

And of course then there is the resource harvesting network. How many harvesters? A hundred? A thousand? A hundred thousand? Will they be autonomous or crewed? They'll need some kind of maintenance facility, a depot or silos to deliver resources to, and of course some kind of refinery and separation facility. A navigation network would also be quite handy.

 

Now, imagine that this is being put into place on a timescale of many, many decades, perhaps even centuries. Meanwhile, back on Earth... civilisation is becoming increasingly mechanised and technology is diversifying. Resources are being consumed at an accelerating rate and the range of exploitation of chemical resources increases as novel applications are found.

 

Now the question is this: are you prepared to make the claim that the organisation or authority managing the implementation of a sol-wide resource mining operation could guarantee their access to the raw materials they need to make that possible, without having predicted and stockpiled the requisite volumes perhaps hundreds of years beforehand?

 

Bearing in mind that many of the resources civilisation has heavily relied on for less than a century now have predicted limits within our own lifetimes.

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Sayonara

 

Much of our discussion is a rehash of the wager between optimistic economist Dr. Julian Simon and population pessimist Dr. Paul Ehrlich, in 1980.Julian Simon won the ten year wager, and was paid out in 1990. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon-Ehrlich_wager

 

He made the comment :

"[simon] always found it somewhat peculiar that neither the Science piece nor his public wager with Ehrlich nor anything else that he did, said, or wrote seemed to make much of a dent on the world at large. For some reason he could never comprehend, people were inclined to believe the very worst about anything and everything; they were immune to contrary evidence just as if they'd been medically vaccinated against the force of fact. Furthermore, there seemed to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days "experts" spoke awful falsehoods, and they were believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seemed to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker."[4]

 

There was actually a book written about this 'reverse Cassandra' effect, which was published early this decade. I have lost the name of the book and the name of the author, which is sad since I would like to get hold of it. I read a review of the book, which goes into detail about the kind of mental 'quirk' which leads people into believing that which relates to disaster, and disbelieving more optimistic views, even when the balance of evidence supports optimism.

 

My views on matters such as resource depletion are heavily influenced by recent history. This includes lots of people with views similar to Sayonara, who are subsequently proved wrong due to improvements in technology. The other classic was the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth, published in 1973, which essentially said what Sayonara is saying now. ie. that human progress would be slowed or halted before the year 2000 by shortage of raw materials.

 

The whole history of humanity includes the increasing ability to exploit lower and lower concentrations of resources in ever thinner ores, and to do it ever more cheaply, plus the ability to find, continually, better and better substitutes for traditional materials. Why do you think this trend will suddenly stop now?

 

My prediction is that where we extract one gram per tonne of a resource today, in 50 years we will extract 0.1 gram per tonne, economically. And we will find that this expands the resource ten fold. OK. This is a gross generalisation and the exact numbers may be different, but even if details vary, I predict the principle will hold.

 

As an example : Here in New Zealand, a university team is researching what they call 'micro-crystalline' gold. This is gold particles in intimate contact with quartz that cannot be extracted using traditional methods, since we cannot grind the quartz finely enough to release the gold. According to that research team, the total tonnage of gold in this form is way bigger than the tonnage of gold in traditional ores. Once humanity learns to extract micro-crystalline gold economically, gold will become more abundant and cheaper.

 

I cannot predict the details of future technologies, but the historical evidence shows humanity's ability to continually improve in spite of high purity ores becoming scarcer. Where we cannot find a resource cheaply, I predict we will find substitutes.

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Sayonara... Much of our discussion is a rehash of the wager between optimistic economist Dr. Julian Simon and population pessimist Dr. Paul Ehrlich, in 1980.Julian Simon won the ten year wager, and was paid out in 1990. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon-Ehrlich_wager

Except that it's not, because we are discussing a very long-term scenario which revolves around events that Earth hasn't yet encountered. In contrast, Ehrlich and Simon disagree on very short-term market fluctuations over a time period during which nothing substantially extraordinary happened whatsoever.

 

I read a review of the book, which goes into detail about the kind of mental 'quirk' which leads people into believing that which relates to disaster, and disbelieving more optimistic views, even when the balance of evidence supports optimism.

I am not being pessimistic by pointing out a potential problem which you don't believe is possible. And even if I were, it would have no bearing on the veracity of my arguments. Lose the red herring.

 

My views on matters such as resource depletion are heavily influenced by recent history. This includes lots of people with views similar to Sayonara, who are subsequently proved wrong due to improvements in technology. The other classic was the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth, published in 1973, which essentially said what Sayonara is saying now. ie. that human progress would be slowed or halted before the year 2000 by shortage of raw materials.

We are discussing timescales that run into centuries - the case in point is different by orders of magnitude.

 

The whole history of humanity includes the increasing ability to exploit lower and lower concentrations of resources in ever thinner ores, and to do it ever more cheaply, plus the ability to find, continually, better and better substitutes for traditional materials. Why do you think this trend will suddenly stop now?

Strawman: I don't make the statement that anything will "suddenly stop now".

Logic failure: Past trends do not guarantee future events.

Hypocrisy: You yourself said yesterday that you do not trust predictive models which extend far into the future.

 

While you may feel that diminishing returns simply drives progress elsewhere you are still ignoring the simple principle that limits eventually arise in any given system of consumption.

 

My prediction is that where we extract one gram per tonne of a resource today, in 50 years we will extract 0.1 gram per tonne, economically.

Which simply goes to show that a point of unattainability is being reached by virtue of economic viability. We have already been over this several times.

 

And we will find that this expands the resource ten fold. OK. This is a gross generalisation and the exact numbers may be different, but even if details vary, I predict the principle will hold.

Depends what you mean by "expands the resource tenfold", and it depends on the specific circumstances which dictate that lower-yield extraction process. You are being very vague with the details when you make these sweeping assertions.

 

Once humanity learns to extract micro-crystalline gold economically, gold will become more abundant and cheaper.

For a while, assuming we learn how to do it, and assuming an economical process exists.

 

I cannot predict the details of future technologies, but the historical evidence shows humanity's ability to continually improve in spite of high purity ores becoming scarcer. Where we cannot find a resource cheaply, I predict we will find substitutes.

Yes, I know you predict that. You keep predicting it every other post. What you don't do, however, is provide any reason why anyone should consider it to be at all likely, or reliable enough a strategy to place our faith in. All you have backed it up with is allusions to historical progress (which, in the context of the civilisation we are describing, is essentially the history of small numbers of people scraping up mud) and constant repetition.

 

 

The question I asked you in my last post was:

 

Now the question is this: are you prepared to make the claim that the organisation or authority managing the implementation of a sol-wide resource mining operation could guarantee their access to the raw materials they need to make that possible, without having predicted and stockpiled the requisite volumes perhaps hundreds of years beforehand?
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Sayonara

 

The historic trend I speak of is strongly marked over the last 100 years, but in fact goes back thousands.

 

Take gold for example. Cro Magnon man would have encountered gold in the form of very rare nuggets, on very rare occasions. Ultra rare and ultra precious to them. However, the oldest gold objects known today are from Egypt 5000 years ago.

 

By 3200 years ago, alluvial gold was known, which could be extracted from river bed sediment by passing that sediment in water over woolly sheepskins. By 500 BC, the Greeks were actively mining gold from out of the ground, by slave labour. Later, the ancient Romans used massive engineering works to direct high pressure water as a gold mining tool.

 

1887 is the year that the use of cyanide in gold mining is granted, and has been used ever since. Throughout the 20th Century, engineering works for gold extraction continued to improve.

 

The whole way is a trend, over more than 3000 years, of continued improvement and continued exploitation of more and more difficult sources of gold.

 

The point is that the trend I am talking about is not some recent and temporary trend. It is thousands of years, and will doubtless continue for a long time to come.

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The point is that the trend I am talking about is not some recent and temporary trend. It is thousands of years, and will doubtless continue for a long time to come.

And that's the inevitable trend when you go from zero resource exploitation to moderate resource exploitation - it says very little about mankind's abilities to improve exploitation, other than progress can occur over time.

 

What do you think the inevitable trend might be when you go from moderate exploitation to near-complete exploitation? Do you think it will remain the same?

 

 

The question I asked you in my last two posts was:

 

Now the question is this: are you prepared to make the claim that the organisation or authority managing the implementation of a sol-wide resource mining operation could guarantee their access to the raw materials they need to make that possible, without having predicted and stockpiled the requisite volumes perhaps hundreds of years beforehand?
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Sayonara

There will be no such thing as 'near complete' exploitation, since the total amount of resource is so great, in most cases. Lead at 10 trillion tonnes in the Earth's crust will never be totally exploited, or even close. The argument is how large a fraction of what exists is potentially exploitable. I am suggesting that we will end up exploiting ores that are 1% or even 0.1% of the richness of ores currently tapped, and this will mean a massively increased potential to exploit.

 

 

You asked :

"are you prepared to make the claim that the organisation or authority managing the implementation of a sol-wide resource mining operation could guarantee their access to the raw materials they need to make that possible"

 

I am not prepared to make that claim in those words.

 

While long term trends are likely to continue, and the long term trend is to exploiting leaner ores, we do not know the details of the future. I do not claim to be a prophet. Will we still use Platinum in space craft in 200 years? There is no way I can know. We may be replacing it with more common metals, or special alloys.

 

I will state my very strong belief that resource depletion will not stop development in space travel. Politics might stop it. A nuclear war might stop it. But not resource depletion. As long as science and technology continue to develop, that will not be a barrier we cannot cross. If something is too expensive, humanity will find substitutes.

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You asked :

"are you prepared to make the claim that the organisation or authority managing the implementation of a sol-wide resource mining operation could guarantee their access to the raw materials they need to make that possible"

 

I am not prepared to make that claim in those words.

 

So does "in those words" include the words which you removed?

 

Incidentally, Sayonora, were you discussing space mining and sending material back to earth, or space mining with the material mostly used in the space colony where they were mined?

I'd assume both would be occurring tbh.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, after the price of oil rapidly climbed to $147.27 per barrel, it has now plummeted to $43.21 due to the financial crisis. Perhaps such financial crisis will prevent other raw materials from getting too expensive. Seems that the price of copper also fell to about 1/3 of what it was a while ago. None of this will make there be more raw materials, just that demand for them can drop which is a similar effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When considering this question I found thinking about man as a species didn't get me anywhere. The answer is the result of a sum containing many variables, so i decided to consider the variables.

How might our planet change? The weather systems, environment etc. What global events might occur? Like pandemic disease (In humans or maybe food animals), an unexpected change in food chains and so on.

I haven't come up with an answer yet, but these are the things likely to shape us and change us.

What made me think of it was a recent programme, the short of it is: Big meteorite, end of the dinosaurs and mammals went underground (or maybe lived there anyway) and had the advantage so it became the predominant species, the line eventually leading to us. Without that event who knows what may have occured. So what may happen in the future that will cause us to adapt if we are to survive and what adaptions will lead to the greatest survival.

 

What does anyone think about that?

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Ulna

If you are talking of long term genetic changes in Homo sapiens, such as those which evolution conferred on the mammals in past eras, I think Granpa's comment is pertinent. Our future evolution will be primarily determined by whatever genetic changes we decide to apply, using advanced genetic engineering techniques.

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Skeptic is probably right - the entire human population is so large that to spread a single good gene through it would take thousands of generations, while active manipulation of the genome is probably a generation away at most.

 

Of course, there are limits, too, such as those imposed by our basic chemistry or developmental processes.

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Without that event who knows what may have occured.

Even more reptillian politicians perhaps? :D

 

So what may happen in the future that will cause us to adapt if we are to survive

 

I’d guess the old classic pressure will dictate: drastic environmental changes and limitations - due to things like, war, resource depletion driven by consumption, overpopulation and natural disasters. I’ll put my money on good old power and control (war) as the first likely drivers that will cause us to adapt or perish.

 

and what adaptions will lead to the greatest survival.

 

Short term – Technological, better sticks and stones.

Longer term – fantastic natural brain/mind mutations (i.e. substantially increased intelligence and consciousness) that will be the main driver of a H. sapiens speciation, branching off into a more dominant species that obviously uses their closest ancestor: ‘H. sapiens’, as their cattle/slave type ultra precious resource. It’s interesting to me that H. sapiens are and have been predatory and parasitic to their own kind in crude and subtle ways for a long time and are continuing to this very day. You can almost see how a speciation can and eventually will take place just by observing economic segregation in ones own nation. Consider the fact of economic social classes predominantly breeding with their own, royalty’s selective breeding program? This must have similar functions to a herd being separated from other parts of its herd until a speciation eventually occurs?

 

On a lighter note, the new H.sapiens brighter species might be that much more conscious and intelligent that they treat all lesser powerful species with great love and care? :confused:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Considering that mutations are sometimes passed on and the population of the earth is increasing in a geometric progression extinction is inevitable. It amuses me that people who claim to think scientifically have not noticed that we are losing species to extinction a bit faster than we gain them and this appears to have been the case from the beginning.

You watch to much science fiction . After all if evolution is true humans are just another animal.

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... we are losing species to extinction a bit faster than we gain them and this appears to have been the case from the beginning.

so there are a negative number of animal species?

 

 

After all if evolution is true humans are just another animal.

correct.

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Re extinctions.

The current era is often referred to as the sixth great extinction event, and it is true that species loss to extinction is running at a very high rate.

 

However, all five previous great extinction events have been followed by a massive speciation event, with new species coming into being at a much faster rate than 'normal'. It is reasonable to assume this is happening now, also.

 

However, while an extinction can occur within a year, or a few years, a new species will take a much longer time to come into being. The fastest I am aware of is a new Lake Victoria cichlid fish that appeared over a 100 year period. Thus, we will not see new species appear one by one as we observe with extinctions. Instead, literally millions of new species will be slowly happening simultaneously.

 

New species appear to occupy ecological niches that are vacant. This happens when one species goes extinct and vacates the niche. However, it will also happen when a new niche appears that was not there before. eg. a volcano raises an island from the sea, providing new opportunities for life. Humans are creating new niches at a fantastic rate. There are a massive number of new opportunities for life to exploit in human created structures, and human created changes to local ecologies.

 

I conclude that there is a massive speciation event happening right now - just too slowly for us to observe. I predict that we will see long term genetic changes in many existing species once our technology permits it - probably within 50 years. Since many new niches now exist, it is logical that the number of new species slowly coming into being will outnumber the number going extinct. It may take hundreds or thousands of years, though, before these new species can be identified as such.

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