Should predation in the natural world be stopped?

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SilverPikmin
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29 Aug 2009, 4:58 pm

In a zoology blog I read, someone raised an interesting philosophical discussion. Basically, this philosopher thinks that we should eliminate all suffering, even in the natural world, even genetically engineering predators so they become vegetarian.

http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology ... re_bad.php

The writer of that article has a gut-reaction of 'No', but doesn't really elaborate on it much. I, too, think it feels like something very wrong, but I can't think of any good logical arguments for it. If you read the comments in that article the people in favour of it are quite convincing, and seem to defeat the ones who aren't, who are mostly just arguing from poorly thought-out gut reactions. The people in the comments defeated any arguments I could think of.

What do you all think?



skafather84
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29 Aug 2009, 5:19 pm

Sounds like the "philosopher" needs to lay off the crack.


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29 Aug 2009, 5:22 pm

Such a idea could completly srew up the balance. Do the life cycle can sustain itself without predator? If not such a operation could destroy all complex lifes on earth (us included, good ridance some wii say...) with bacterias and microganism as only survivors.



skafather84
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29 Aug 2009, 5:28 pm

Could vegetation sustain itself without predators? And what about the influx of newly herbivorous creatures?


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phil777
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29 Aug 2009, 5:32 pm

Predatory is not bad. Unbalanced predatory is (when the rate of hunting is higher than the reproduction rate, or when there are too much hunters that aren't dying fast enough).



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29 Aug 2009, 6:36 pm

I think that scenario would have the Law of Unintended Consequences running wild.

In a weird way an argument like that is interesting -- there's something obviously wrong with it, but it's hard to clearly point out what. (It's interesting that the 'rhetorical strength' of an argument may have little to do with how true (or wise, in this case) it is.)

What gets me is the glib nature of it -- "we'll just genetically re-engineer carnivours to be herbivors. It'll be a cinch! And what could possibly go wrong?"

I.e. Say we re-made a tiger to prefer grass. Ok, so it's brain now has an instinct to eat grass, but it's teeth are the wrong shape. And it's gut can't process vegetable matter, so we have to re-make those 2 things, too. And it's hundreds (thousands?) of metabolic process are all wrong for that, so we'll just fix those up too in some unspecified way. And maybe it's muscle mass is not supportable on a non-protien diet, so then what? And on and on. In the end it's not even going to be recognizable as a tiger. It'll just be some miserable mutant monster. (and probably uglier than the ones on the Island of Dr Moreu)

I remember back in the 80's someone famous (Salk?) was going to make an HIV vaccine, 'no sweat, no problemo.' And now, after 30 years of fail, still nothing. I guess there was something he didn't expect.

And that's the thing, it sounds like the author/founder of the Abolitionist Project doesn't really appreciate complexity, or real science, or have a lot of common sense. Sure, we can mess with genes in some elementary way, the same as we can make vaccines. But it's not like in Sci Fi -- it doesn't function in a way that the 'mythological' part of out brains would want to have it function. Lions laying with lambs is a nice mythological image, but not a workable reality.


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Awesomelyglorious
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29 Aug 2009, 6:38 pm

If predation is a bad that must be stopped, then it is likely true that existence is a bad thing that must be stopped, as all of the suffering caused by predation will exist based upon existence anyway, as seen with stuff such as overpopulation.



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29 Aug 2009, 6:51 pm

Predation keeps animal populations under control and also, carnivores would not be able to get their proper nutrition for plants. Their teeth weren't designed for eating plants so they would also be underfed.


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29 Aug 2009, 7:02 pm

skafather84 wrote:
Sounds like the "philosopher" needs to lay off the crack.


LOL


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29 Aug 2009, 7:23 pm

SilverPikmin wrote:

What do you all think?


Utter madness.

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Sand
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29 Aug 2009, 8:27 pm

A predator is a living creature that lives off other living creatures. eliminating predators would eliminate all animal life as animals are predators on plants. And a good many plants are predators on other living things. All funguses would have to be eliminated as well as many micro-organisms. The concept is amazingly ignorant.



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30 Aug 2009, 12:42 am

What Sand said. Herbivores are predators just as much as carnivores are.


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30 Aug 2009, 1:06 am

That's an interesting utopia I can say that.

well, the idea of the abolition of suffering for humanity through transhumanism seems appealing, in a way, but not without issues. This is way too much to even consider, regarding the repercussions that would have in biology, etc, I think. I don't think that could be seriously considered by any government to enforce such thing anyway, at least currently, so there wouldn't be a need to worry about. Not so sure if technology could beat nature on that matter in the, perhaps far future?


Awesomelyglorious wrote:
If predation is a bad that must be stopped, then it is likely true that existence is a bad thing that must be stopped, as all of the suffering caused by predation will exist based upon existence anyway.
Yes.


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30 Aug 2009, 3:20 am

Sand wrote:
A predator is a living creature that lives off other living creatures. eliminating predators would eliminate all animal life as animals are predators on plants. And a good many plants are predators on other living things. All funguses would have to be eliminated as well as many micro-organisms. The concept is amazingly ignorant.


And the plants need the animals. Animals breath oxygen and exhale CO2 which the plants need. Plants use the CO2 to make oxygen and so it goes. Round and round, and as long as the sun shines and the water lasts it will keep right on going. About a billion and half more years until the oceans boil off.

ruveyn



Sand
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30 Aug 2009, 3:26 am

ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
A predator is a living creature that lives off other living creatures. eliminating predators would eliminate all animal life as animals are predators on plants. And a good many plants are predators on other living things. All funguses would have to be eliminated as well as many micro-organisms. The concept is amazingly ignorant.


And the plants need the animals. Animals breath oxygen and exhale CO2 which the plants need. Plants use the CO2 to make oxygen and so it goes. Round and round, and as long as the sun shines and the water lasts it will keep right on going. About a billion and half more years until the oceans boil off.

ruveyn


Admittedly animals make their contribution but so do forest fires, volcanoes and a few other sources.