Author Topic: Would the world have been better off without humans?  (Read 5652 times)

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Online wright

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2012, 09:08:57 PM »
There's no way to tell. If humans hadn't been around presumably, as is the way of evolution, some other species would have risen to the top of the food chain. They would developed their own societies with their own problems. For all we know things might have been worse.

Is human-path evolution leading to human-style intelligence inevitable, though? If the primate line (or at least the hominids) had died out, certainly at least one other species would have moved into the available niche. But why assume that successor would also be subjected to the same exact influences that pushed us towards self-awareness, and that another species would respond to those pressures in the same way our ancestors did?

After all, until us brooding apes, the animal world apparently did just fine without a species wondering where it came from and where the sun went every night.

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Remember for there to be no humans there would have to be no mammals at all. So what non-mammal species could have evolved to where we are today?

Why is it needful to eliminate all mammals to wipe out humans? We apparently passed through at least one genetic bottleneck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory) some 70,000 years ago by the skin of our genes, so to speak. If we hadn't, there might be another hominid species in our place, or the descendents of the lemurs, say.
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Offline orpat

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #30 on: April 06, 2012, 12:29:44 AM »
The UN (and the USA) needs to adopt China"s one child policy.

Or maybe a no-child policy?

What's the point in having kids anyway? If you think children are cute, I think dogs and cats are way cuter than human children.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 12:31:17 AM by orpat »
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2012, 12:51:38 AM »
They're also much easier to get rid of after the novelty wears off.
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Offline rickymooston

Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2012, 02:10:44 AM »
Seems like it's us humans destroying the world. Looks like we may be some sort of a parasite after all.
Just asking.

No but i agree humans should be mpre responsible
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2012, 06:50:39 AM »
Remember for there to be no humans there would have to be no mammals at all.

What led you that conclusion? I find it more than a little suspect. Humans nearly were wiped out twice in their history, and the genetic mutation(mitochondrial Eve) that led to them could have never have happened.
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Offline rickymooston

Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2012, 11:38:27 AM »
What led you that conclusion? I find it more than a little suspect. Humans nearly were wiped out twice in their history, and the genetic mutation(mitochondrial Eve) that led to them could have never have happened.

Mitochondrial eve isn't the first human. She is the MRCA of all humans with respect to her X chromosome.
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Offline Frank

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2012, 08:28:25 PM »
Remember for there to be no humans there would have to be no mammals at all.

What led you that conclusion? I find it more than a little suspect. Humans nearly were wiped out twice in their history, and the genetic mutation(mitochondrial Eve) that led to them could have never have happened.

Presumably all the species of mammals, of which we are one, are decendants of an original species that existed millions of years ago. If that species had never have evolved then we would not be here today.

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The first mammal may never be known, but the Genus Morganucodon and in particular Morganucodon watsoni, a 2-3 cm (1 inch) long weasel-like animal whose fossils were first found in caves in Wales and around Bristol (UK), but later unearthed in China, India , North America, South Africa and Western Europe is a possible contender. It is believed to have lived between 200 MYA and 210 MYA. However Gondwanadon tapani reported from India on the basis of a single tooth in 1994 may be an earlier contender for the title, with a claimed date of 225 MYA.

http://www.earthlife.net/mammals/evolution.html

If that tiny creature had not existed then by extension neither would we. The fact that we dodged the extinction bullet a few times is irrelevant. The thread is theoretical. What would the earth be like without humans?. How far back should we go? 10.000 years? 100,000 years? The first recognisable humans? Or all the way to the beginning 250,000,000 years ago?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2012, 08:39:06 PM »
What does "better off" mean in this context, anyway?
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2012, 10:46:33 PM »
What does "better off" mean in this context, anyway?

Yes.  the OP is wildly open to interpretation.
Not necessarily a bad thing, but without some fine tuning how do we know what we are actually discussing?

The first questions that spring to my mind is how are we to perceive the world so as to be able to address the concept of it being better off?
What attributes of the world are we judging to be affected by this human plague?  ;)
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Online wright

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2012, 11:31:02 PM »
The first questions that spring to my mind is how are we to perceive the world so as to be able to address the concept of it being better off?
What attributes of the world are we judging to be affected by this human plague?  ;)

A fair question. Biodiversity, maybe? Without humans the dodo and the passenger pigeon, to name two, would still be here. Until some other calamity they couldn't deal with took them out.

Certainly undirected nature has done far worse (from the standpoint of living organisms) than humankind. There are extinction events in Earth's past that make our little slaughters and crowding-outs seem barely a ripple on the ocean.

Maybe we could take sad credit for having so altered the planet's biology in a relatively short time? But no: the Chicxulub impact (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater) probably has our few thousand years (since the invention of agriculture) beat.

Was there any point at which we as a species could have done better, in electing to not kill off the big animals, clear forest after forest for farms and cast finer and finer nets for anything remotely tasty? I wonder. Sadly, it probably would have taken something like a religious prohibition, backed up by zealously wielded force.

It's not as if pre-agricultural peoples were/are any great respecters of their environment; just that their tools and numbers limit the damage they can do to it. And the first humans to make it to the Americas apparently wiped out most of the megafauna here with spears, bows, and such (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_extinction_event).
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2012, 12:04:46 AM »
...possibly worst so far is the wastage/usage of the easily accessible materials necessary to re-build a technological emf based civilisation (if that is even to be desired).
So if we hit bottom, we will be unable to easily bootstrap ourselves back up.

But for a world to be better off?
 there are countless billions? of earth type worlds out there that are not subject to this particular monkey plague, so it is no great loss that ours has been invaded by earthlings.

As intelligent design has created such a voracious clever self aware very stupid monster, then we'll only get to see personally, just one brief lifetime's worth of that particular experiment, and meanwhile, in the background,......the earth abides.

Dumb as a rock, impassive as a non-entity, care-less.

Oblate spheroid
.....anthropomorphised like a mother.
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Online wright

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2012, 02:18:23 AM »
...possibly worst so far is the wastage/usage of the easily accessible materials necessary to re-build a technological emf based civilisation (if that is even to be desired).
So if we hit bottom, we will be unable to easily bootstrap ourselves back up.

Exactly. That's why I think if we don't get space-based industry up and running in the next century or so, resource depletion will do us in. Sad for my nephew's generation, who would live long enough to realize how their predecessors blew it for them.

Quote
But for a world to be better off?
 there are countless billions? of earth type worlds out there that are not subject to this particular monkey plague, so it is no great loss that ours has been invaded by earthlings.

Small consolation, but it might be all we have at the bitter end...
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline rickymooston

Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2012, 04:05:44 AM »
The question is silly.

Yes, many non humans would benefit

The jellyfish dont need us
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #42 on: April 07, 2012, 03:25:33 PM »


Presumably all the species of mammals, of which we are one, are decendants of an original species that existed millions of years ago. If that species had never have evolved then we would not be here today.



If that tiny creature had not existed then by extension neither would we. The fact that we dodged the extinction bullet a few times is irrelevant. The thread is theoretical. What would the earth be like without humans?. How far back should we go? 10.000 years? 100,000 years? The first recognisable humans? Or all the way to the beginning 250,000,000 years ago?

Yes if the there would be no mammal, of course there would be no human, but that does not mean the exact words you said: "Remember for there to be no humans there would have to be no mammals at all. "

Which is not true. If humans had not survived those near extinction events, mammals would have existed just fine without us. The question was about if there were no humans: I took it literally.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline TheConvertsDoc

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #43 on: April 07, 2012, 04:25:16 PM »
In a strictly physical sense yes however animals don't appreciate the world as much as we do. So if there were no humans there would be noone to create or appreciate art, beauty, sex etc

Thoughts?
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2012, 04:37:14 PM »
Welcome ConvertsDoc

As for your question, they probably aren't very able to unappreciate being extirpated or extinctualized either, but the world got along without us for, oh, about 3 billion years of critterhood and planthood.  So though pre-human times clearly had their ups and downs, at least what the other living things didn't know then was that they weren't being targeted by uncaring forces who knew better. Now they don't know why they're dying either, but it still hurts unnecessarily. That's my human assessment.

Being enjoyed and appreciated isn't a genetic requirement. We made that part up because we could. Not because life needed to.

And by the way, I've got about 30 wild turkeys strutting around my place, very much in heat, ready to make little tiny baby turkeys on a moments notice. And if they aren't enjoying sex, then why are they forgetting to eat the corn I have out for them?

I'm not actually for humans abandoning the planet, because it is sort of nice here, in a polluted sort of way. But if and when we do disappear, the surviving species, even if it's just cockroaches and ants, will all breathe a sigh of relief. Even if they don't know they are doing that.

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline kin hell

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #45 on: April 07, 2012, 07:03:33 PM »
kin, if you're going to use a word like sybaritic in a sentence, you've got a lot worse problems than sugar.  ;D



Welcome ConvertsDoc

As for your question, they probably aren't very able to unappreciate being extirpated or extinctualized either,
my bold

Hypocrite reader my fellow my brother!
Charles Baudelaire   ;) :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


In a strictly physical sense yes however animals don't appreciate the world as much as we do. So if there were no humans there would be noone to create or appreciate art, beauty, sex etc

Thoughts?

G'day TheConverts   welcome


no humans   no art   no art appreciation      no loss  (the planet wouldn't notice and the humans don't exist)

and animals do have sex
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Offline Samothec

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2012, 02:04:26 AM »
The rocky planet? As others have said: we don't matter.

The biosphere? Yes. We have dug up many toxic materials from underground as well as making even more and then let them leak into the environment. That alone would get us voted off the 'island'. There are a few species that we have been good to, intentionally and unintentionally but mostly we have been disruptive and destructive.

I was amused by the mention of jellyfish since our affect on the planet has benefitted some of them - several species are experiencing population explosions in the warmer and less oxygenated waters.

There should be a natural culling of the human race (assuming we survive until the event) when Yellowstone erupts - it is overdue by 40,000 years (on a schedule of 600,000 years). Last time a supervolcano (like Yellowstone) blew was about 70,000 years ago when Toba in the South Pacific erupted. Humankind was reduced to only 5,000 or so people. When Yellowstone erupts again ash will cover much of the continental USA. I expect ash to be several inches deep here in Wisconsin (unless the jet stream severely diverts it). Air travel worldwide will be grounded for years (except maybe the most southern latitudes). A volcanic winter would govern the planet for several years. I would guess the human population to drop to millions maybe even hundreds of thousands.

I've tried considering how one might trigger Yellowstone to erupt but I won't be sharing my insights (unless I get to be a major person on the project). Hmmm, pretty good to have on and evil genius resume' (especially a resume' that doesn't have anything else on it yet - funding, always a funding issue (well, after the ethical issues)). But the plan eliminates so many of the people it would be fun to gloat over.

Kin hell, okay if we remove the theists from Australia to make room for the atheists to survive?
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2012, 02:33:03 AM »


Kin hell, okay if we remove the theists from Australia to make room for the atheists to survive?

very few would be martyrs to their cause
you'd only be able to cull the slow and stupid
the rest would quickly change their tune (and as quickly find a suitable sophistry for it not to be a betrayal of their religion)
and you'd not be able to sort them from the godless anyway 

the popularity of apocalyptic scifi scenarios is the individual reader/viewer's conviction that they'd be one of the survivors.
They ignore the fact that someone's gotta be killed by the flying billboard.
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Offline rickymooston

Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2012, 01:24:32 PM »
In a strictly physical sense yes however animals don't appreciate the world as much as we do.

They probably do but we are allowed to be biased towards our own interests

Quote
So if there were no humans there would be noone to create or appreciate art, beauty, sex etc

Why is art of value?

Animals have sex and love.

Whats the function of beauty
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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2012, 04:14:23 PM »
My doggies think I am beautiful, esp. when I set down the food bowls.... ;D
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Death over Life

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2012, 09:10:51 PM »
After reading the thread and looking at the timetable of a scientific doomsyear being 2030, sounds like a definitive yes!

However, I would go one further and ultimately ask if life itself would have been better off to never exist to begin with?

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2012, 09:33:29 PM »
Glad I found this thread! It's a good read. I still need to read the links several of you posted but this thread was what I needed! All of you have provided interesting points.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline rickymooston

Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2012, 08:26:10 AM »
What does "better off" mean in this context, anyway?

A statistical survey of all beings on the earth today.

The bacteria for the most part doesn't care whether humans are here or not. Same with the majority of bugs.

However, the non-cultivated plants and animals would certainly be better off without humans.

The cultivated ones benefit and suffer because of humanity.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2012, 09:16:46 AM »
What questions would be included in this survey, Ricky?
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2012, 11:28:24 AM »
If there were no humans on this planet, we wouldn't be able to be here having this conversation. We would have no environmental or social issues to discuss.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

Offline rickymooston

Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2012, 06:50:59 PM »
What questions would be included in this survey, Ricky?

Are you better off without huimans.

The vast majority of wild life forms would say yes.

For the cultivated one, it would be a harder question. A structured life with a garanteed death. They probably would also vote agaist the humans

Again the bugs, rats and germs would be neutral on the issue.
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Offline Atheistisaweirdword

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #56 on: June 19, 2012, 07:43:47 AM »
I don't know how to exactly answer that, it depends on your philosophy really, everything is going to end whether humans fuck up or not. Humans and nature can coexist, the only good things humans are doing in my point of view is helping other humans understand life, we as a race have destroyed a lot of nature so if you mean us as a parasite like joe rogan's point of view then yes we are and have been detrimental to nature's existence. We have had a lot of amazing scientific breakthroughs but you have to realize we're a living organism, and any living organism mostly just cares for its' own existence. Since we're intelligent we shouldn't and we should have an altruistic relationship with nature but most people don't see it the same. Most people 'just don't care'. I honestly think since science has been developed and it's not even in its prime or near ending any time soon, we've helped other humans see it differently, eventually there will be no debate on evolution and natural selection. But I conclude, we are and have been detrimental to nature but it's amazing growing up in this generation, seeing an atheist movement. Seeing how any intelligent person knows the big bang happened, and most people into science know we're already trying to reproduce the big bang with the hadron collider. I think consciousness is amazing, being able to actually be conscious of the world and knowing the secrets people couldn't imagine knowing just a few hundred years ago. If hominid's never existed and there was no intelligent species nature would be better off, but know would be around to actually dwell and really experience life like we do, so I don't think it would be better of even though it's slightly detrimental to nature and the earth. Hopefully that'll change.
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Offline Wrec

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Re: Would the world have been better off without humans?
« Reply #57 on: July 02, 2012, 11:24:42 AM »
So what is good for the planet anyway?
Or do you mean good for the rest of the species inhabiting the planet?

If the answer is the latter, then probably many species would be better off, but some would not. I suppose it really boils down to what you value. And that's a rather irrelevant question unless we're talking on a personal level.

The world is ultimately going to burn to a crisp, and all life will be extinguished on this planet. Would be cool if one species found a way to spread out into the universe, and probably a lot of other species could piggyback on that one species. No idea if we'd ever be capable of it, just a thought :). (Yeah yeah, I saw "Prometheus" yesterday and got all sci-fi:y.)