Biodiversity: The Next Environmental Deception

Tim Ball argues that alarmists exaggerate the severity of global species extinction.
Published on November 3, 2012

Headlines across the world in late September proclaimed, “One million New Plankton Species Found.” Project leader Chris Bowler of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris explained, "It's the first time that anyone's done this expedition looking specifically for plankton life, and that's why we found so many."

But how could this be?  Don’t we know the number of species on the planet? We must know because alarmists claim that they’re in dramatic decline.

Harvard biology Professor E. O. Wilson worries that species are going extinct at a rate of three per hour, as if that were unusually high. In reality, that is a low rate of extinctions considering the total number of species is now thought to be at least in the hundreds of millions. Regardless, neither Wilson nor anyone else can name any of these species he claims is going extinct. If you can’t name the species disappearing and you don’t even know the total, you have no way to make accurate claims about extinction rates.

Wikipedia asserts that, “rapid environmental changes typically cause extinctions.” But, they also say, “it is estimated that 99.9 percent of species that have existed on Earth are now extinct.” So extinctions are normal? Is the current rate of extinction higher than that we have seen in the past? How did so many extinctions occur without the interlinked ecosystem collapsing as environmental and native land rights campaigners are fond of warning about?

The truth is one can’t tell from the fossil record. It’s estimated that one needs at least 15 million individuals in a species for it to be detectable in the fossil record. The geologic records of soft bodied species rarely survive. That is why the exceptional fossil preservation of soft body parts in the Burgess Shale Formation in British Columbia was so important.

The threat of accelerated extinction rates amplifies the fear factor employed by environmental activists through the argument that all animals and plants are interdependent. If one species disappears then the entire chain is in jeopardy, campaigners confidently tell us. It’s an extension of the Great Chain of Being view first proposed by Aristotle and blindly adopted by today’s environmentalists as self-evident. It underpinned the Western view that ordered everything from inanimate rocks through animate plants, animals, humans, to Angels, then God.

Wikipedia tells us, “biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystembiome, or an entire planet.”

That is fine but they then reflect alarmist thinking when they next illustrate why biodiversity is an effective weapon for environmental scare mongers: “Biodiversity is one measure of the health of ecosystems.”

Bowler also buys into this myth when he says, "These planktonic organisms are the life support system of the planet. They are the base of the food chain … if there's no plankton, there's no fish in the oceans.”

Last month’s plankton discovery confirms the 2010 observation that it is total numbers of individuals in species that is the biggest problem, not the number of species. “Biologists worldwide may have to start re-evaluating their estimates of the number of species on Earth, since expeditions documenting the oceans' tiniest species have revealed shocking diversity: in the tens of millions of species, at least, and according to one researcher "closer to a billion… Scientists were surprised to find that so many of these newly discovered microbes were rare, sometimes less than one in 10,000 individuals.”

It also supports the recent discovery of 200 species in Papua, New Guinea. Lead scientist Steve Richards said that there are, "large areas of New Guinea that are pretty much unexplored biologically.

Today’s approach to biodiversity is a continuation of the religion and science battle that intensified when Charles Darwin published The Origin of the Species in 1859. It is no coincidence that English ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ books, The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, are on bestseller lists. Stephen Hawking’s latest book The Grand Design” claims “God was not needed to create the universe.” It’s illogical for logical people to claim you can create something out of nothing. They ignore the problem of who or what produced the matter and the energy for the Big Bang? If you have no God there’s no material and no bang.

In Dawkin’s view Darwin virtually replaces God, but that creates a dilemma. Fundamental to Darwin’s views are the idea of survival of a species. As Herbert Spencer said, "This survival of the fittest… is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.'" It’s a paradox. Humans exist and are the most successful, but their success is not Darwinian, therefore unnatural. But we can’t have a God either.

An underlying theme of environmentalism is anti-humanity and anti-evolution. Accordingly, human progress is an unnatural aberration. Humans are exploiting and ravaging nature, essentially as a parasite that must be eliminated. Ron Arnold, Executive Vice-President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, said, “environmentalism intends to transform government, economy, and society in order to liberate nature from human exploitation.” David Graber, a research biologist said, “human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.”

Is this where Prince Philip got his ideas as expressed in the following? “In 1988, Britain's Prince Philip expressed the wish that, should he be reincarnated, he would want to be a deadly virus that would reduce world population.” So, as Prince Virus he would decide who lives and dies.

Many dangerous and ill-founded issues emerge from the anti-humanity view, all showing how humans are destroying nature, the planet, and all of its components. These ideas were combined with sustainable development at the 1994 world conference on population in Cairo. Here is an excerpt from Section 3.1 of the final report, “The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, adopted by the international community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, call for patterns of development that reflect the new understanding of these and other intersectoral linkages…There is also general agreement that unsustainable consumption and production patterns are contributing to the unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental degradation as well as to the reinforcement of social inequities and of poverty with the above-mentioned consequences for demographic parameters.”

This is a bizarre and frightening mix linking overpopulation (with greedy behavior and resource exploitation) to the so-called solutions of reducing population, weakening economies and redistributing the wealth.

Biodiversity gained traction when the United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. It is an ideal replacement for climate change when the climate scare has finally run its course, Biodiversity is an emotional issue few people know much about and is easily exploited for political gain. All of which indicates we will be hearing increasingly more about biodiversity in the near future.

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