Whilst I accept that one has to be nice to the environment, I have some problem with the Global Warming train. As you mention, everyone is now complaining about the rate of extinction of species. However, there is so much contradictory evidence that one has to wade through. Bjorn Lomborg wrote a book called “The Sceptical Environmentalist” in 2002. In it he dealt with the question of species extinction. There are a number of questions raised in this book and he has quoted many renowned scientists and experts on various environment subjects. Let’s concentrate on the species problem.
1) How many species are there in the world? Estimates range from 3 million to 100 million. No-one has come up with an accurate estimate. In addition, around 15 thousand new species are being found every year. (Marjorie L. Reaka-Kudia et. al.)
2) What is the rate of extinction? No-one actually knows. (Myers)
This actually begs the question, how can anyone possibly know how many species are becoming extinct if the number in existance is not known in the first place? Trying to count the number of species that exist in a rain forest for example, would be an impossibility. Similarly, with new species being found every year, is it not possible that there is a natural evolution working here? How can the scientists argue that this might not be natures way of replenishing the species of the earth, bringing in new species that can cope with the current environment to replace the older species that are no longer capable of doing so? The dinosaurs became extinct and that was not a man-made phenomena. But they were replaced by other aninmals and species that, whilst having similar characteristics, were more capable of surviving in the post dinosaur environment.
Secondly, on what basis do they calculate that a species is in danger of extinction? Human beings of course, are fairly disciplined in that they will complete census and other traceable documents. Thus one can easily calculate numbers and positioning. However, with animals, insects and other organisms the same is not true. If one counts a species today, by tomorrow they may all have moved to a different place. Therefore, it is difficult to state with certainty that a species or group of species is becoming extinct. What I have learnt through my business life is that you can’t build an argument unless you have solid facts upon which to base it.
Still on this subject, what I found really peculiar was a recent TV programme in the UK. In this programme they invited eight celebrities to argue the case for saving a particular creature, which they said was in danger of extinction. At the end of the programme, they invited viewers to vote on which creature should be saved, using money from the phone calls to provide funds for this purpose. Firstly, if this is a serious subject, how can one justify an auction on it? Secondly, who gives the media and scientists who were backing this programme, the right to play God with other creatures lives?
Whilst I would agree that we need to be careful with manmade culling, I do find that the problem with the scientific arguments tend, in many instances, to be clouded by predetermined opinion. However objective they might try to be, there is always the difficulty that they start with the premise of trying to prove a set viewpoint, which can lead to misjudgement and inaccuracy.