Global Warming: A "speciation event"?


If anyone is familiar with evolutionary theory some hold that from time to time, special events happen that are out of the ordinary and cause great changes in the ecosystem. This is the idea behind punctuated equilbrium, which is one of the major neo-darwinian views. Stephen J. Gould calls them “speciation events”.

Now, people complain about global warming but really, why is it so bad? Sure, weak creatures who cannot compete will naturally go extinct, but over time, new animals will evolve to take their place. This is not the end of the world at all, just a new event which will produce new creatures.

Why is it “good” to “save” the current set of creatures- since they themselves descend from other speciation events which killed off whatever might of been there before them. Why do people get so upset when this or that bird or bear of fish will die, when surely, many more birds, bears, fish, and many other new species (hence the term, speciation event) will take their place?

Isn’t it a kind of stupid human endeavour to try to preserve the little fuzzies just because we like them or ascribe some kind of ‘value’ to something which nature is totally blind to?

I say we should just keep on polluting, and see what evolution comes up with. I’m sure we’ll be suprised!


I doubt global warming is causing the loss of so many species i think it’s more to do with increasing land use in farming, and the use of pesticides etc and for housing, cauing forests to be cut down so there is no where for animals to live and speciate (if you belive in that :)) I think they should leave some of the Amazon rainforest so we can breathe :smiley:

I think one problem is we might end up poisoning ourselves :hypno:. Cancer is one of the highest courses of death in industrialised countries and i think it is less in under developed countries, (may be to do with something else though). Also all the soot and particles that are put out by factories causes less sun to reach the ground and that can stop crops from growing. There may also be loss of farmland in Africa as it turns to desert, leading to famine etc.

Your viewpoint is as good as mine people in Africa probably wouldn’t be starving if they didn’t owe the world bank so much money, but global warming might make it worse.


There are several issues to consider actually. Generally, humans like to study phonomena to understand and predict the outcome. In terms of pollution, we have never had it to this scale in the entire history of humankind. So we aren’t too sure what the effects will be.

But what we can do is look at some of the changes that have happened in the past and that have been more recent.

The fact is that pollution does create problems in the environment. Thinning of the ozone layer has caused birth defects in frogs due to sun UV exposure. Skin cancer is up. Also, the decreased oxygen content in the atmosphere is being linked to the increase in cancer, and other chemicals we use.

A 0.5 degree change in temperature worldwide caused one large land mass, I think it was Iceland, to freeze over and basically killed off the human popuplatoin on the island. So suttle and small changes in mean global temperature can really mess things up.

Deforestation can lead to loss of cloud cover that can make global warming worse. It also further decrease the O2 content.

As for losing animals, even small ones, that can have a significant impact on our lives as humans because of the food chain. We might not need those little animals, but something, either another animal or plant does, and if it dies off, that plant or animal could also die off leading to further breaks in the food chain. Add it up and you can lose some important things that you took for granted before.

Also, loss of animals, insect, and plant life can release deseases previously kept in check or remove possible cures for disease that are in the encironment but undiscovered.

I hope this helps a little,



Yeah, but my whole point is that nature will adapt… the food chain will change.


The food web will be able to take care of itself. Perhaps it may perish, though given the diversity of life I doubt it’ll happen. Man may not be able to take care of themselves enough to live on.


Sure, we can all adapt to eating sea weed for the rest of our lives and give up fish, birds, fruits, and vegetables. Now that you mention it, the Japanese like to eat seaweed, but generally as a condiment. Hey, not a big deal, if we humans don’t adapt, at least the Japanese will!


Ok, I am not a science major but I know enough about evolution to know that seaweed will not be the only things to survive.

New species of birds, fish, etc will evolve over 10000000’s of years. Think about what you’re saying- do you know what the Cambrian explosion is? How about the meteor that destroyed the Dinos? Those are speciation events and the demise of large creatures and the extinction of the Dinosaurs gave rise to Mammals. Not “destructive” in the absolute sense at all.


A few years ago a young man knocked on my door to tell me, in that zealous ardor of the young, that it was up to us to “save the Earth!”

I replied that according to the evolutionist theory, which he no doubt embraced, the Earth has been here, in one form or another, for billions of years, with the rise and fall of many species. What he really meant, I told him, was that he believes we have to save the planet for us.

Then I went on to ask him why we needed to do that if we are just animals like any others that will have our alloted time on our planet and then go extinct like most other creatures have? He had no answer for me and walked away much deflated, poor boy. It was obvious he had never thought through what he believed, and so couldn’t deal with a few simple questions from an average housewife.


Well, it shows what a stupid idea the theory of evolution is because everyone knows there is no evolution, only a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

So personally, I am not a Darwnist neo or otherwise, I am a Norrisean.

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