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The Ethics of De-Extinction


Greg H.
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Why is it wrong to consider in black an white? Seems to me you either support it due to the benifits outweighing the consquences, or visa versa. I wait with baited breath to be told I am wrong and why specifically.

 

I presented facts based on thirty years of observation, where clearly the re-introduction of a species was a serious detriment to otherwise stable species.

 

Natural selection can ONLY occur without human intervention, otherwise it's "artificial" selection.

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Indeed. They'd be more of a threat to Elk, Caribou, and Moose than to Elephants in India and Africa.

 

At one time they shared the same habitat, mammoths are not predators, and in areas where elephants live they actually increase the survivability of other herbivores by changing the habitat in favor of plant eaters, also elephants eat plants that other herbivores cannot eat and make room for plants the smaller herbivores can eat, mammoths are are also seed dispersers for various trees and plants the leaves of which smaller herbivores can eat, there would be very little if any competition between herbivores for food but they might not give the predators a bit of a pause.

 

The arctic and sub arctic regions IMHO could support

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I presented facts based on thirty years of observation, where clearly the re-introduction of a species was a serious detriment to otherwise stable species.

 

Natural selection can ONLY occur without human intervention, otherwise it's "artificial" selection.

I agree. So that says you would not be a proponent for re-introducing species, but what about keeping them in captivity? Is it ethical to proverbally bring them back from the dead only to keep them tightly controlled?

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99.9999% of earth's species have already lived and died. Of the 30-50 (estimated) million that remain, only a limited few will go extinct due to human activity.

 

 

Agreed.

 

A good example is the Northern Pacific Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris). They were hunted to near extinction in previous centuries, but reintroduction to areas has caused a serious detriment to other species.

 

There's a hypothesis that reintroducing sea otters would cause urchin populations to decline, hence enhancing kelp forests, therefore re-creating new habitat for those species to re-establish. However, this has not borne into reality at this stage. Yes, urchins have declined, but the kelp forests continue to decline. Not necessarily because of otters, but likely acidification. There are locations in Alaska (near Cordova, from my experience) where otters have decimated every living mollusk and crustacean which were once populous until the 1980's. They are resorting to the few Pacific Tomcod (Microgadus proximus) that remain as their mainstay.

 

The Purple Graceful Crab (Cancer gracalis) was once abundant in my region of the world. In 1983, the biomass was estimated at 250,000 animals per sq. km, but since reintroduction of sea otters, it's > 10,000/km. The Spotted Ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei) is highly dependent upon the foragings of crabs to expose benthic organisms for food. There is no fishery, incidental or otherwise for these species, yet their decline has been significant nonetheless. That said, should we hunt otters again? No. There's no need (excluding aboriginal purposes, perhaps).

 

Re-introduction of one species, often spells doom for another.

 

Ethics are issues for mankind itself. Not for mankind's place in nature or how we perceive the animal kingdom to be.

 

 

Reintroduction of species is a complex process quite possibly the otters are missing their predator or ocean acidification is the culprit. I'm not sure the effects can be blamed on one factor.

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I agree. So that says you would not be a proponent for re-introducing species, but what about keeping them in captivity? Is it ethical to proverbally bring them back from the dead only to keep them tightly controlled?

 

Captivity is not "proverbially" ethical to some, but to others. Consensus on that issue is rarely unanimous. For example, Planned Parenthood asking for shipping fees to transport stem cells equates to murdering babies for profit is purported by some zealots.

 

Besides that, necromancy and resurrection don't actually exist. Therefore the burden is yours, otherwise we might as well be discussing Season 6 of Game of Thrones for all the weight it has in the real world.

 

"Evil" or "divine" are not axioms where fundamental assumptions serve as a basis for deduction.

 

 

Reintroduction of species is a complex process quite possibly the otters are missing their predator or ocean acidification is the culprit. I'm not sure the effects can be blamed on one factor.

 

 

They're not without predators and parasites. Not to mention oil spills and other marine pollution. I've see a couple of roughed up survivors, possibly from orca attacks. Hunting could be permitted as with any game animal.

 

Whether ocean acidification is or isn't an incidental or underlying factor remains to be seen, but undoubtedly warrants further study.

 

This discussion isn't necessarily about "invasive" species, but it's certainly parallel in some ways.

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Captivity is not "proverbially" ethical to some, but to others. Consensus on that issue is rarely unanimous. For example, Planned Parenthood asking for shipping fees to transport stem cells equates to murdering babies for profit is purported by some zealots.

 

Besides that, necromancy and resurrection don't actually exist. Therefore the burden is yours, otherwise we might as well be discussing Season 6 of Game of Thrones for all the weight it has in the real world.

 

"Evil" or "divine" are not axioms where fundamental assumptions serve as a basis for deduction.

 

 

They're not without predators and parasites. Not to mention oil spills and other marine pollution. I've see a couple of roughed up survivors, possibly from orca attacks. Hunting could be permitted as with any game animal.

 

Whether ocean acidification is or isn't an incidental or underlying factor remains to be seen, but undoubtedly warrants further study.

 

This discussion isn't necessarily about "invasive" species, but it's certainly parallel in some ways.

 

How can we make decisions without coming to a consensus of some sort? If we couldent society would never progress. Even if that consensus is forced its still a consensus. The reason for this forum is so that decisions can be made threw discussion and argumentation, rather than a tyrannical authority. Whether or not its the right way to go about it is up for debate, regardless thats the purpose of this forum. (I hope)

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How can we make decisions without coming to a consensus of some sort? If we couldent society would never progress. Even if that consensus is forced its still a consensus. The reason for this forum is so that decisions can be made threw discussion and argumentation, rather than a tyrannical authority. Whether or not its the right way to go about it is up for debate, regardless thats the purpose of this forum. (I hope)

 

 

There's no such thing as "forced" consensus. That would be tyrannical authority. You've contradicted yourself in the same breath.

 

Until something is known to exist, there's actually nothing to discuss.

 

We've indulged you to the degree of discussing abstract scenarios as we know them, for the sake of the discussion. That point seems lost on you.

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There's no such thing as "forced" consensus. That would be tyrannical authority. You've contradicted yourself in the same breath.

 

Until something is known to exist, there's actually nothing to discuss.

 

We've indulged you to the degree of discussing abstract scenarios as we know them, for the sake of the discussion. That point seems lost on you.

 

It's not lost and I stand by that I said, If people in a tyrannical society do not resist the decisions of who is forcing them they are acting in a form of agreeance, despite being coerced. That brings that society into a state of consensus. The decision is made, therefore society moves on. The action is what is important, as it contributes to the end result more than when someone simply disagrees with what they are being forced to do. Do I agree with this? No. Does it make it not true? No.

 

The reason I am persisting is because of the incredible amount of wishy washy mabyes, possiblies, and perhaps' rather than solutions to the question at hand. Ethics is largely dictated by humanity, humanity is opinionative, Ethics is opinionative. Its ok to share an opinion so that we can argue towards something that is less opinion and more ethically correct.

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The reason I am persisting is because of the incredible amount of wishy washy mabyes, possiblies, and perhaps' rather than solutions to the question at hand. Ethics is largely dictated by humanity, humanity is opinionative, Ethics is opinionative. Its ok to share an opinion so that we can argue towards something that is less opinion and more ethically correct.

 

There are no solutions to things that don't exist. Persisting as though they do is wishy washy.

 

By your logic, if unicorns existed, you're content to call others trolls, simply because they'd be inclined to think females might not have horns.

 

It's absurd.

Elephants were mentioned as analogs to mammoths, yet it was pointed out...clearly, they are of different habitats.

 

No maybes about that.

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I once championed the establishment of an endangered sturgeon in a river I was familiar with in WV, the river was rapidly recovering from gross pollution but had yet to be colonised by native fauna. I didn't make much headway, this was a time when no exotics were to be considered, then of course someone figured out how to make money on exocitcs and the peacock bass was introduced to florida..... timing is everything I guess,,,

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is a difference between natural selection and artificial selection. The idea of de-extinction seems to imply artificial selection, since this is not chosen by nature. Who decides which extinct species need to be reintroduced and how much environmental manipulation will be needed to make it work?

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There is a difference between natural selection and artificial selection. The idea of de-extinction seems to imply artificial selection, since this is not chosen by nature. Who decides which extinct species need to be reintroduced and how much environmental manipulation will be needed to make it work?

 

What if it was the dodo, or another one of the scores of species that have gone extinct in modern times owing to human activity?

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I am not sure we have the needed context to answer this thread's question. I think if life is adundant throughout the universe than how natural the selection of life here is matters less than if Earth is the sole source of all life and only place where natural selection exists.

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What if it was the dodo, or another one of the scores of species that have gone extinct in modern times owing to human activity?

 

If a species that went extinct because of man is reintroduced it would likely just become extinct again - depending on exactly what pressures caused the extinction and whether man still creates these pressures. If nothing has changed there seems no point in reintroducing the species.

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If a species that went extinct because of man is reintroduced it would likely just become extinct again - depending on exactly what pressures caused the extinction and whether man still creates these pressures. If nothing has changed there seems no point in reintroducing the species.

That's a separate issue from the ethics involved.

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Strange:

"It is still not a black and white issue. It might be important to save some species and not others, for example."

 

I would agree with this.We are saving some species and not others.On the one hand we protect apparently doomed species to the detriment of jobs and industries {some owl} as our activities eradicate others {plastic bags and sea turtles}

 

.We are having an effect.Which we save and which we prolong is important but who decides which.I think maybe we should protect certain species and allow others to pass on. Who decides which and by what means? We may be the first sentient species, does this carry some responsibility or not. The ultimate responsibility seems to our own species.To other species,sure, but not to our detriment.We are fooling with mother nature and have little idea what we are doing.

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We are saving some species and not others.On the one hand we protect apparently doomed species to the detriment of jobs and industries {some owl} as our activities eradicate others {plastic bags and sea turtles}

 

The problem with this statement is that the "we" and "our" refer to non-identical groups of people. The spotted owl, for example, was largely an issue of the US Pacific Northwest region. But the sea turtle populations that are threatened are not within the US, so to paraphrase the old Tonto-Lone Ranger joke, "what do you mean 'we'?"

 

I mean, the US has laws about pollution. It's not like we're doing nothing. Pollution laws are arguably to the detriment of jobs and industry, but are necessary because they have benefits as well, and the benefits outweigh the "cost" (not all benefits are economic in nature). Saving endangered species is part of a larger issue of the species being a proxy for the health of the environment. I don't get the mindset that jobs/money are all that matter, but that argument is too closely focused (and, ironically, socialist to boot) since an unhealthy environment has a cost that's being ignored in that argument.

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