(the fine print) OF THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION!!!

by William Yeatman on March 10, 2011

in Blog, Features

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Perhaps you’ve heard about how we’re in the midst of earth’s sixth mass extinction?

According to a recent peer-reviewed study in the preeminent science journal Nature, mankind’s accumulated, deleterious impact on the global environment is reaching a “tipping point,” after which species extirpation will accelerate to a full blown mass extinction, of the sort caused in times past by meteor strikes.

That’s a scary thesis, but the authors offered a message of hope. More precisely, they offered a policy prescription. In order to avoid this mass extinction “tipping point,” mankind must stop habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and global warming. That is, we must stop economic development, which is the “cause” of these supposed “problems.”

Does the underlying science warrant such extreme ends? Not according to Science 2.0’s Hank Campbell. In this excellent analysis, Mr. Campbell eviscerates the study. As he notes,

Taking a few extinct mammal species that we know about and then extrapolating that out to be extinction hysteria right now if we don’t do something about global warming is not good science.   Worse, an integrative biologist is saying evolution does not happen.  Polar bears did not exist forever, they came into existence 150,000 years ago—because of the Ice Age.

That’s a great point, especially the last line. It begs a question, aptly asked by Mr. Campbell:

Well, how did it make it through peer review?   Read this bizarre justification of their methodology; “If you look only at the critically endangered mammals—those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations—and assume that their time will run out and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm.”

How indeed. Of course, there’s a long history of crackpot doomsday theories peddled by supposedly serious scientists. Look no further than White House Science Advisor John Holdren, who, over the course of a notorious 40 year career, has warned of: “ecocide,” overpopulation, nuclear winter, global warming caused by thermal output of nuclear power plants, global cooling due to aerosol emissions, and (currently) “climate disruption” caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Elizabeth March 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Quick, administrator, look it up!

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