Poll

Do we have a right deliberately to cause the extinction of Anopheles gambiae?

Yes
27 (81.8%)
No
2 (6.1%)
Maybe?
4 (12.1%)

Total Members Voted: 33

Author Topic: Do we have a right deliberately to cause the extinction of Anopheles gambiae?  (Read 5173 times)

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Offline The Latinist

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Anopheles gambiae is the mosquito that carries malaria, and is essential to its life cycle.  If it were eliminated, it is likely that malaria could be permanently eliminated. Researchers believe they may be able to eliminate the species entirely by releasing mosquitos modified with gene-drive technology that will make the mosquito infertile and unable to feed.

Assume for the purposes of this poll that we can be sure that there will be no unintended environmental impact from the loss of the species.  Do we have a moral/ethical right to do this?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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We eliminated the great auk with impunity, really don't mind losing Anopheles gambiae. Could hold a funeral and shoot anyone who shows up.


The great auk today, NOS replacement parts


Offline 2397

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Getting rid of an insect that spreads disease, with no unintended consequences, I don't see how you can have a problem with that without having a problem with human existence in general.

Tiny, unique species are everywhere. It doesn't take much for us to exterminate some of them as we build new homes, business districts, farms, dig up or chop down resources, let alone burn down forests, pollute, and dump waste. And there's more change going on in the oceans.

Online Harry Black

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Getting rid of an insect that spreads disease, with no unintended consequences, I don't see how you can have a problem with that without having a problem with human existence in general.

Tiny, unique species are everywhere. It doesn't take much for us to exterminate some of them as we build new homes, business districts, farms, dig up or chop down resources, let alone burn down forests, pollute, and dump waste. And there's more change going on in the oceans.
We cannot predict unintended consequences.
But its definitely worth the risk imo.

Online Noisy Rhysling

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The small pox bug is extinct in the wild. I don't feel bad about that.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline The Latinist

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Is there not a difference, morally, between accidentally or even recklessly causing an extinction and doing so intentionally?

To be clear, I am not arguing one way or another. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. There is definitely a scale, though; I'm okay with eliminating a pathogenic bacteria or virus.  I don't think I'd be okay with eliminating a reservoir species (say, bats for Rabies) simply because it's a reservoir species.  Somewhere in between lies this: an insect that is not just a reservoir, but both the vector and an essential part of the lifecycle of the disease.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online Noisy Rhysling

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I think everybody would "draw the line" somewhere different from any other person. But I also think that the line would be in a range for almost all the people who would draw one. And I don't think that range extends to dangerous insects.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline The Latinist

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What about eliminating certain venomous species that kill humans? Or species that cause economic damage?  Should we completely eliminate the boll weevil if we can? Termites?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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We could maintain sanctuaries for pests of great economic or environmental harm while eliminating them everywhere else. Could bring them back later if desired. Extirpation is likely a one way trip for many nasty species.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 03:57:58 PM by DevoutCatalyst »

Offline c60Unit

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I will not shed a tear for any species of biting mosquito.

What I do find terrifying is having the ability to do this.  What if someone weaponizes this kind of genetic bomb? 

Offline Calinthalus

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I would be fine with its elimination if we could know there would be no unintended consequences.  I don't know how we could know that.  For instance, what impact would this have on the bat population that needs these bugs as a food source?  What will their starvation impact?
"I think computer viruses should count as life. Maybe it says something about human nature, that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image."
--Stephen Hawking

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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I would be fine with its elimination if we could know there would be no unintended consequences.  I don't know how we could know that.  For instance, what impact would this have on the bat population that needs these bugs as a food source?  What will their starvation impact?

Caution is advised, but it is looking promising,

"Anopheles gambiae is a species of importance because of its role as a vector of malaria, not as a key component of ecosystem food webs. The present comprehensive exploration of the literature, summarized in Tables 1 and 2, confirms the predictions of foraging theory. Adult An. gambiae mosquitoes are a relatively low-value, low-volume and disaggregated resource and this is reflected in a lack of evidence for any tight links with predators. No predators are recorded as being closely associated or dependent on larvae of these mosquitoes. The high seasonality of An. gambiae throughout most of its range and the ephemeral nature of many of its larval habitats also limit predation to generalist species that may take it as prey when the opportunity occurs. This generalist predation is a known stable strategy in ecological theory and contributes to dynamic equilibria in predator and prey populations and in the ecosystem in general. Several  competing  mosquito  species  could  increase  if An. gambiae density is reduced in specific habitats. Many generalist predators of An. gambiae already prey on these species and would substitute them for An. gambiae if the latter were less abundant. In this sense, any positive effects of competitive release on abundances of other mosquito species have the potential to compensate for any reduction of An. gambiae biomass in a diet. In terms of competing species that also act as vectors, An. gambiae is the most efficient vector of malaria (Lindsay et al., 1998) and malaria is a more significant cause of human mortality than diseases transmitted by other mosquito species."

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/mve.12327

Offline Oh Henry

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Researchers believe they may be able to eliminate the species entirely by releasing mosquitos modified with gene-drive technology that will make the mosquito infertile and unable to feed.

Didn't I see this movie?
"My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing." ~ Aldous Huxley

Online Noisy Rhysling

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What about eliminating certain venomous species that kill humans? Or species that cause economic damage?  Should we completely eliminate the boll weevil if we can? Termites?
Do you have a position or are you just looking for posts to pounce on?
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline Shibboleth

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If they can eliminate them I wonder if they could keep some uninfected in a lab, kill the ones off in the wild so that malaria goes away and then release the uninfected.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.