Wednesday, December 3, 2008

goodbye, white lemuroid ringtail possum

You are no more, because of those vile and terrible creatures called Humans. They killed you with their global warming.
Experts fear climate change is to blame for the disappearance of the highly vulnerable strain thanks to a temperature rise of up to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Researchers will mount a last-ditch expedition early next year deep into the untouched "cloud forests" of the Carbine Range near Mt. Lewis, three hours north of the city of Cairns, in search of the tiny tree-dweller, dubbed the "Dodo of the Daintree."

"It is not looking good," researcher Steve Williams said. "If they have died out it would be first example of something that has gone extinct purely because of global warming."
Which prompts me to wonder: why is this so terrible? If men and women are merely the products of Nature and evolutionary forces, as the atheist believes, would it not be fair to say that Nature is ultimately responsible for the disappearance of the white lemuroid ringtail possum?

After all, Nature allowed humanity to rise to the position that it is in. Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park, "Dinosaurs had their shot, and Nature selected them for extinction." Humanity - homo sapiens - now have their own shot at ruling the earth, just as dinosaurs did so many years ago. If Nature did indeed select the homo sapien to be the current dominant species, would not anything that occurred - even the erradication of a type of possum - be a natural thing?

I'm not saying that there is no argument that the disappearance of the white lemuroid ringtail possum is an unnatural thing. I'm just saying that I don't see the argument as existing. In other words, I'm agnostic towards that argument. Perhaps someone can help.


  1. I'm not sure there is anything that is "unnatural" in that sense -- humans are part of nature and, therefore, human acts are natural. However, humans have free will and power and, therefore, responsibility.

    Whether we should care about one or two species, more or less, is a good question. I don't have any strong arguments on that score. I'm not part of the "every creature is precious" coalition.

    But, long term, if we kill enough species or allow enough species to die, we're inevitably shooting ourselves in the foot, I think. Monocultures are more vulnerable to being wiped out by disease. Little known plants are sometimes found to have very useful properties when studied. If all we have are pigs, cows, chickens, dogs, corn, wheat, and soybeans; some day we might find those species aren't enough for one reason or another.

  2. Do you like oxygen? Fresh water? Food? Where do you think these things come from? Where do you think that they will come from if we ravage the natural ecosystem? Whether or not the loss of any particular species is a tragedy or "natural," (so what?) we need a functioning ecosystem so support human life. If for nothing other than very selfish, anthrocentric reasons, we need to be concerned about the effects that climate change is having on the biotic world.