Should we be thankful?

“Nor is the biosphere a great preserver of species. In addition to being notoriously cruel to individuals, evolution involves continual extinctions of entire species. The average rate of extinction since the beginning of life on Earth has been about ten species per year…”

“Several species closely related to ours did become extinct. Significantly, the ‘life-support system’ itself wiped them out – by means such as natural disasters, evolutionary changes in other species, and climate change. Those cousins of ours had not invited extinction by changing their lifestyles or overloading the biosphere: on the contrary, it wiped them out because they were living the lifestyles that they had evolved to live, and in which, according to the Spaceship Earth metaphor, the biosphere had been ‘supporting’ them.”

Been reading an interesting book – The Beginning of Infinity, by David Deutsch. A bit of a contrarian sentiment expressed in the paras above, and in the book in general. We usually adopt a tone of thanking nature for what it has given us, but here the author argues that nature provided us an environment and raw materials, but is is our knowledge that transformed the environment into one that we made hospitable for us.

Clothes, homes, energy, electricity, healthcare and more – these conveniences made it much easier for us to survive and thrive. One was provided sand on the beach – we made silica chips of them.

What do you think? It’s good to hear both sides of the argument – one gets a richer perspective at the end of it:)

See you tomorrow!