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Humans- Nature Vs Culture

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Humans- Nature Vs Culture

Postby AstusAleator » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:53 am

So we're supposedly on the verge of an ecological/evolutionary/environmental disaster, in which humans will be the primary cause of world-wide destruction. (by verge i mean within the next 1000 yrs)

Why is this humans' fault? Aren't humans just doing what is "natural" to them? How is the product of a man's labor any different than that of an animals (dams: humans vs beavers for example). At what point have humans or human actions gone outside of the realm of Nature. For that matter... what the hell is nature? Where does this idea of man vs nature come from?

DISCUSS!
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Postby alextemplet » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:33 am

Oh, this is going to be good! :P

Humans are using up the planet's resources faster than they can be replenished. This is something that no other species has ever done, at least not as fast as humans have. This is not natural and is very destructive for us as well as our environment. If we go extinct it's our own darn fault.
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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Postby David George » Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:38 pm

Well Astus you have pulled in a great topic.Let me start with medicine the invention of medicine is great to humankind for its survival but dangerous for the environment.Due to the invention of medecine the no. of deaths has rapidly decreased and the no. of births has increased.This means humans need more space to survive and hence are force to venture into newlands.Where they demolish these new lands for their survival.Also include Alex's point here.The invention of instruments to indicate natural disasters has also reduced the no. of deaths.Humans have over crowded the world and India to a great extent.Poor India :cry: :cry: .Killing of animals to a great extent for humans own purposes has also let to extinction of many species and has disrupted the ecological balance.The introduction of species to new lands eventually affecting the endemic fauna and flora.Humans carry large amounts of diseases than any other organism as there population is so huge has let to a population boom in pathogens which affect animals by easily evolving and the hosts being complex organisms take a time to defend.The depletion of flora has reduced the amount of oxygen produced and hence many adverse effects.The main reason for the destructive nature of his environment is his own population.
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Postby Khaiy » Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:36 pm

I'd say that it's humanity's 'fault' because we can recognize the implications of our actions, while other species can't. The beaver doesn't realize what effects its dam might have, but humans know better. And the idea of man vs. nature comes from the fact that there are a lot of things in the wild that have killed lots of people in the past, like diseases, and humans work against that in order to live longer/fuller lives. And in the next thousand years, hopefully we'll be able to repair some of the damage that we've done, or at the very least stop actively causing it.
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Postby February Beetle » Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:49 pm

alextemplet wrote:Oh, this is going to be good! :P

Humans are using up the planet's resources faster than they can be replenished. This is something that no other species has ever done, at least not as fast as humans have. This is not natural and is very destructive for us as well as our environment. If we go extinct it's our own darn fault.


When species have done this there has been something to stop them. Humans don’t have much of a predator except disease and themselves. When a species is at the top of the food chain there are usually less individuals but there are just so many humans. But, I still want to have babies, and I don’t want to give up MY life to stop over population. Over population isn’t the only problem. Humans could live okay with nature if the over consumption wasn’t so bad!
Human nature is a very interesting topic for me. I think it has to come down to our brains vs. our feeling to be a superior species because you know that is what all other species are trying to just survive. The species that work and that are kept in check arn't doing it to help the environment it is just naturally happening, that the predators don't kill all the prey, they would if they NEEDED to. I think in the wild if you see a species that is like humans over populated with no big predators it hurts the ecosystem very bad like in Australia with foxes or rabbits or the new one that is going to be horrible is cane toads. The difference between them and us is we can reach all over the world even the poles and they are confined in some way or another. They also don’t produce so much trash. So I think the difference between human nature and animals is, like Khaiy said we recognize the implications of our actions. I do believe humans are different than any other species in this way, and we need to use it to help.
I'm sorry this is so long but I would also like to talk about humans and them destorying biodiversity, mainly through invasive species and habitat destricution and this is most tragic because we can move all over. We are causing lack of diversity throughout the entire world which will make it easy for ecosystems to colapse. I don't think any other animal can move as easily as we can all over and take all sorts of crap with us.
PS- I don't think it will take 1000 years for this to happen.
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Re: Humans- Nature Vs Culture

Postby February Beetle » Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:53 pm

AstusAleator wrote:So we're supposedly on the verge of an ecological/evolutionary/environmental disaster, in which humans will be the primary cause of world-wide destruction. (by verge i mean within the next 1000 yrs)

Why is this humans' fault? Aren't humans just doing what is "natural" to them? How is the product of a man's labor any different than that of an animals (dams: humans vs beavers for example). At what point have humans or human actions gone outside of the realm of Nature. For that matter... what the hell is nature? Where does this idea of man vs nature come from?

DISCUSS!

I would also like to say that beavers can't make dams the size of ours, ones that would cause the Colorado river to dry up before it can reach the ocean. Something would eat them before they got that out of control. (plus I don't think they could get to some of those environments)
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Postby AstusAleator » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:02 pm

<devils advocate>

alex: It is theorized that the end of the carboniferous occured when herbivorous megafauna began to dominate, causing widespread destruction and culminating in an extinction event It is the nature of species to consume, thus increasing their own fitness. The principle of evolution hinges on this idea. How is human consumption any different?

David: You begin by talking about medicine, but then make more of an argument for overpopulation.
Lets start with medicine. If my dog gets sick, he'll go outside, eat some grass, and puke. Deer shedding their velvet will rub on cottonwood trees because the bark has a natural form of aspirin. Many animals, including us, have a natural method of immunization; eating boogers, yes boogers. These are all behaviors selected for because they increase fitness. How, then, can you call the practice of medicine unnatural, if our capacity for it arose out of natural selection?
I think you make an interesting point when you talk about the diseases humans carry. But, how is this any different from an animal that has evolved an immunity carrying the disease? Recalling what I've learned, I can think of times when humans have infected other humans, but I can't really think of times when human-carried diseases have crossed over into animal populations, with large impact. Perhaps you can provide an example. Anyhow, the point is that rats and birds will carry just as many diseases, and in fact the smaller the animal, the more harmful diseases can be carried, as fecundity rates increase, allowing the animals to reproduce before the disease kills them.
You say humans are overpopulating, and that medicine is one of many things allowing this to occur. Define overpopulating. If by overpopulating, you mean that the current population and population growth cannot be sustained by the available resources, so what? This has been witnessed countless times in evolution. It's following an entirely natural pattern. Humans are not the first species to discover a way to over-exploit a resource, and as a result overpopulate themselves.

Khaiy: Do we really "realize" what we're doing? Do you trace back every morsel of food you eat, to see where it came from and how many resources were consumed in the production of it? Do you do a similar check for every product you buy? Do you keep a tally of the environmental damage your lifestyle causes?
I think it's a nice idea that we are somehow above the needs and desires dictated by evolution, and that we can transcend beyond them, but ultimately that's just not the case.
When it comes down to it, isn't environmental "awareness" just a survival mechanism of our species? We want to save the rainforests and oceans because we like breathing oxygen, finding cures for diseases, and some of those animals are just plain cute and fuzzy.

February: Invasive species are a natural component of biodiversity and changing ecosystems. There is not an ecosystem on earth that doesn't have a native endemic species that originated in an exotic location. You speak of humans as a global invasive pandemic, but this isn't the first time animals have been able to populate all of the earth's landmass. It happened when Pangaea was assembled, and life seemed to survive just fine. You call these animals (and humans) invasive now, but fast-forward a few hundred or thousand years and they'll be native if they're still extant. You need to keep in mind the dynamic nature of ecosystems. There is no "good" or "bad" change, only change.

</devils advocate>
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Postby mith » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:29 pm

sorry, devil's advocate is not a valid bbcode tag :P

To answer the original prompt, I'd say what we are doing is natural but I do feel that we as a specie have an incentive to live and one of the methods we try to slow/stop our destructive tendencies is to label something as "bad."
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Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
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Postby February Beetle » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:05 pm

AstusAleator,
Isn’t it true that when we find overpopulation (meaning pop. growth cannot be sustained by the available resources) in nature that it is followed by some way of countering that? I have not studied a lot on ecology, so I might not be a worthy adversary. :)
When I talk about humans and invasive species I am thinking about the mass movement of organisms that some say, is leading to a decline in biodiversity. One thing I’ve heard about is ships that go from continent to continent, they have to take in a lot of seawater to keep balance (or something like that) and when they get back to their next dock they dump it. This carries microorganisms all over that usually wouldn’t be carried all over. This is causes the more dominant to kick out the less dominant, leaving the oceans will a lot less biodiversity which I think everyone agrees lack of biodiversity is hurtful to an ecosystem. [EDIT : Just kidding I don't think everyone thinks this, but I don't understand why it is not hurtful to an ecosystem.] Other things happen like this, too. I don’t see anywhere in nature before humans and the industrial revolution where this sort of mass movement was happening. I wasn’t really talking about the fact that humans live everywhere, more like they can get from America to Africa in a matter of hours. When you have the dominant species moving into another place where it has no predator there, it offsets the balance of the co-evolution that happens between predators and prey. When this happens in nature I doubt that it happens on the grand scale we seeing it happening due to humans. When it happens with only a few species at a time the ecosystem has time to balance itself. Even with Pangaea how long would it take for any animal to get from one end to the other? I talk about oceans being the barriers between organisms but land and even environments can be, too.
It is hard not to lable change in an ecosystem as bad or good. Does that mean humans should be able to do whatever we feel like doing? Do you think outside forces (of nature) will put a stop to us and put us in our place, or what? Man human nature is such a crazy topic.
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Postby David George » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:59 am

Well Astus you are a cunning person you let the people wait in the grassland and attack them suddenly I am sorry but I am quite tired so let me only defend Alex and me myself.Firstly man has to survive a needs to make some precautions for it and hence he has to but his desires behind and start thinking logically.He cannot be like those foolish herbivores in the carboniferous period.

I donot think that the dog and deer has a large collection of medecines in its house.I think that more animals die due to diseases than humans because of medecine.I think that the examles that you have listed are just few instances of co evolution and not medecinal development.Sorry I connot write much.I think Astus is angry with me for the posts in the definition of life topic.Hope you are not Alex. Bye.
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Postby AstusAleator » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:26 pm

As far as manifest cost/benefit relationships and species survival tactics are concerned, how can you say that it's not "natural" After all, everything we have produced has been a product of our minds and manipulations. By calling synthetic medicines and their uses unnatural, you're calling the ideas of the people that discovered these things unnatural. If you call ideas unnatural then you're saying that the human brain is unnatural. Every "un-natural" thing you've mentioned can be traced back to very identifiably natural roots. At what point does something become unnatural. Are humans innately unnatural? What the #$!_at_#$ is nature or natural to begin with.
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Postby February Beetle » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:47 pm

To say that humans are unnatural is the debate how much we are different than any other animals. I had the same questions, but to look at humans now it is hard to say that all this IS natural. I think there is a difference between natural and nature. Like, it is NATURAL for humans to think to create tools to destroy NATURE. I think what we are doing is bad, by using or superiority to waste.
If you say that what we think is natural, that is to say that EVERYTHING is natural. Murder, Rape, Forming of Society, Destroying our Environment, Mass consumerism, wasting what we don’t need, etc… If everything is natural how can we punish people who commit ‘crimes.’ How can ANYTHING be unnatural if what you are describing is true? Are you saying that? I really don't know where to draw the line, but how I figure it all in my head is that humans are different from all other animals in a special way.
And I am religious so of course I believe that humans were ment to take care of nature. (PS - I do believe in evolution.)
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