Hi everyone, wow this is so refreshing, being able to talk to folks of a like mind, instead of being made to feel like a nut case among religeous zealots.

My view is now that we are causing the mass extinction of our planet. these events have occured many times in the earths history, asteroids, disease climate change, have all been blamed for the mass species extinction events that have befallen our planet.

I firmly believe that we are on a road to nowhere. We will gradually over-populate, and kill off everything else that walks, climbs, crawls, fly,s or swims, until we eat and  kill ourselves.

If an intelligent life-form evolves after us, they will dig up the relics of our existance, and wonder why we were so selfish and stupid, as to think we owned the entire planet, to ruin and exploit, and why we were entitled to kill and take everything.   

Unfortunately, religion explains it all to the deluded faithful. We are the chosen species in the eyes of our chosen God, and that entitles us to what our chosen God has provided for us. Science and evidence are no match for faith, and unfortunately, we are destined to be the creators of our own doom.    Please discuss your views on this please 

Alan Buch

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Let's not forget that Homo Sapiens is an animal that evolved for an environment in eastern Africa. It did well in that environment, and then a few small evolutionary changes led to its development of culture, which in turn enabled it to spread all over the globe, adapting to a great many different environments. Along the way, it altered the environment substantially to its own benefit and put itself at the top of the food chain. It has been a remarkably successful species, but past success is no indicator of future success; as the environment changes, this species will face new environmental changes that it may not be able to adapt to. In particular, the species is altering the environment at an ever-accelerating pace; it does so by developing new and more powerful technologies faster and faster. Those technologies alter the species' environment with increasing speed. Its ability to adjust to new changes, which in the past has been fast enough to cope with changes, has an upper limit which the species much eventually reach.  There are indications that the species has already created environmental challenges that it is responding to inadequately. The development of ever-cheaper weapons of mass destruction is not matched by any improvement in its cultural techniques for coping. Its alterations of climate have already progressed past the point where the species is capable of responding adequately.

These indications suggest that the species will suffer a major setback soon.

Yes, this is a central point.  We need be reminded that evolutionary adaptability occurs over many generations of organisms, perhaps thousands.  That begs the question as to whether even a small portion of humankind can adapt in context to the fast pace of implementations of destructive technologies and emerging global climate change. 

  

Chris: "The development of ever-cheaper weapons of mass destruction is not matched by any improvement in its cultural techniques for coping."

Who was the writer who said something like "Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe"?

The posts here are describing the potential catastrophe well.

As to the potential education, I've attended recent workshops on foreign relations and am pleasantly surprised to learn of the efforts by the UN and by many nations on building democracies in the world. The mass media hasn't found the news sensational enough to report but a lot is happening.

The various programs have websites; a Wikipedia search on democracy in the future might reveal them.

I'm 82 and won't see the contest's next laps. If I'd had any children I would be more concerned than I am.

Chris Crawford, I agree, totally. 

Now you guys just know I hate to muddy the waters, but how sure are we that there is but one food chain?

My NOAD says a food chain is a hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food.

Are there any organisms we don't eat, that other organisms we don't eat depend on?

The food chain we're on? How sure are we that we are at its top?

The anopheles mosquito is a competitor for top spot until it's extinct.

The flu virus evolves so rapidly that we probably won't drive it to extinction. The AIDS virus? The Ebola virus?

Let's have some fun. Let's identify several food chains and name them.

Or let's not.

I like the challenge. Excellent question! I'll get back to you.

.

I agree with this discussion and Dr. Meadens comments in particular.

Over-population and destruction of the environment will eventually lead to downfall of our civilisation but how will it unfold ? I say it will be a slow process over the next millennium. African, Asian and South American populations are already out of control and with climatic changes will be challenged within the next one hundred years. Countries with abundant resource, wealth and controlled populations like Russia, Australia and others could continue with closed borders and military action. War is certain to exacerbate the gradual decline of civilisation.

History tells us that civilizations have declined and fallen before but there is yet to be a decline and fall of all civilizations as will probably eventually happen. Small numbers of our species may survive on subsistence in isolated pockets around the world. Our species may never rise again.

Very well put Napoleon.

I agree with Dr. Meaden - very well stated Napoleon. I agree.

I know them - well worth reading!

Alan Buchanan, you speak the truth. During the Cambrian Explosion there was a proliferation of life, sea and on land and all land was grouped together in what we call Pangea. This produced unlimited food for support of new life. During the Permian Extinction, there were massive lava flows over huge sections of the Earth, creating huge clouds of dust and steam obliterating the sun. All plant and animal life perished in the biggest extinction of Earth's history and many extinctions followed. Some caused by meteors, as the extinction of the Cretaceous and Age of Dinosaur. This and over a great period of time Pangea broke apart and created the continents we now know. The Atlantic spread continues, and the shifts of tectonic plates continues on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Now, add on another factor. Ice is very heavy. Melting polar ice reduces the load on the Pre- Cambrian rock underlying ice fields, and that cause Tectonic Plates to shift in response. Remember, every force has an equal and opposite reaction. Take weight off the poles, raise the sea level Earth-wide, tectonic plates react.
Sound grim? You are right? This is grim.
I wish more of our generation had taken some basic physics and geology courses.

OK, you physicists and geologists correct my mistakes. It has been almost 50 years since I took any courses and my knowledge is not trustworthy. Correct my errors, please.

Now, we come to the present era, tons and tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere from all over the Earth, adding the greenhouse gas load to a point of tipping Earth into a mass reaction. You can't pay your way out of this; cap and trade is a fool's idea. You can't use brute force and bring in pipelines of poor quality tar sands and burn it, expecting the Earth to be able to manage that load.

Insanity? Greed? Yes! It has to stop!

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