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 4573 times)

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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?
Do you have a position or are you just looking for posts to pounce on?

I've already said that I am conflicted on the issue.  I'm interested to know where others draw the line.  I'm not sure it's as bright or as universal as you seem to think, but I don't have any motive in asking these questions beyond knowing the answers.
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Offline brilligtove

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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.

That's an intiguing idea. I wonder if there is a way to push a blockout gene to the malaria parasite itself instead?
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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The question is basically, should we ethically do something the smart way, that is similar to what we do all the time out of ignorance or carelessness?

I think so, but I don't think it's something we should do lightly. Part of my knee jerk reaction to what is naturally ordained says we shouldn't, but also I don't really believe anything is naturally ordained. The fact we've been lucky to make it this far without a life ending asteroid is enough to make all life in its massive diversity important, but massive engineering on scales larger than this is going to be undertaken at some point in our future, or things are going to alter quickly regardless (with or without that asteroid's help).
I'm not sure we need all these etra humans around either, but that's another conversation...  ;)
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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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.
Why would they do that?
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To not eliminate the species but still eradicate the disease

Offline haudace

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Mosquitoes also consume nectar... Could they possibly be pollinators?

Offline brilligtove

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They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.
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Online Harry Black

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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 look at it case by case. I dont think there is a real need to wipe out many species because if we just stay away from them, they stay away from us and the bodycount is low.

The body count from malaria is astronomical and you and I have the luxury of debating the ethical arguments and slippery slopes of such an action, but if it were the case that we really had the ability to wipe out this species, every moment we delay to discuss it would have a cost in dead humans.
Humans who likely did not choose to be born to such harsh climates and never had the opportunity to go through the ridiculously expensive measures we can take to protect ourselves when we tour their homes.

I dont just think its ok. I think its a moral imperative, should the means exist.

Offline haudace

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They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

Offline The Latinist

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They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

But we're not talking about killing all mosquito species, just A. gambiae.  If I remember what I've read correctly, A. gambiae does not fill any particular ecological niche that other mosquito species do not, and it is likely that other species would quickly fill its place in the food and pollination realms.  The only real ecological niche it fills is that of malaria vector.
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Offline Calinthalus

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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 look at it case by case. I dont think there is a real need to wipe out many species because if we just stay away from them, they stay away from us and the bodycount is low.

The body count from malaria is astronomical and you and I have the luxury of debating the ethical arguments and slippery slopes of such an action, but if it were the case that we really had the ability to wipe out this species, every moment we delay to discuss it would have a cost in dead humans.
Humans who likely did not choose to be born to such harsh climates and never had the opportunity to go through the ridiculously expensive measures we can take to protect ourselves when we tour their homes.

I dont just think its ok. I think its a moral imperative, should the means exist.
Also, with global temperatures on the rise, more and more of the planet will be more hospitable to this particular threat.  Yellow Fever is spread through similar vectors and before we had the vaccine it killed plenty of people in places not traditionally thought of as mosquito havens.  10% of the population of Philadelphia died back when it was the capital in 1793.


I think we have to be very careful with this kind of approach.  However, if it can be shown it isn't a threat to other species (even other mosquitoes), then it's something I would support and applaud.
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Online 2397

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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.

First you have to kill off the species in the wild, then kill off malaria in humans, to stop mosquitoes from being able to pick it up again. Which includes waiting out all malaria that isn't causing symptoms or wasn't treated properly, and apparently that means decades. So basically, we'd have to wait until all humans who could've been infected while the mosquitoes were still around have died.

https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/faqs.html

Edit: And wait out malaria parasites in other species, but I guess humans are the longest living one. We might have exterminated most of them in 100 years, anyway.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 09:17:05 AM by 2397 »

Offline The Latinist

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It's also true that some other species transmit malaria; A. gambiae is just (apparently by far) the most efficient vector.  Even if one eliminated A. gambiae, one would have to engage in a pretty hefty eradication campaign.
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Offline CarbShark

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There are two questions.

Do we have the “right” to cause a species extinction?

Is it in our best interests, wise, reasonable, intelligent, etc. to cause cause a species extinction?

The answer to the second question is easily debated with science and data. And that’s most of what’s discussed here.

But the first question is tricky. What are rights? Where do they come from? What things do we have the right to do and not do?

How do we as individuals; as cultures and societies; as a species know what our rights are?




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Offline Shibboleth

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There are two questions.

Do we have the “right” to cause a species extinction?

Is it in our best interests, wise, reasonable, intelligent, etc. to cause cause a species extinction?

The answer to the second question is easily debated with science and data. And that’s most of what’s discussed here.

But the first question is tricky. What are rights? Where do they come from? What things do we have the right to do and not do?

How do we as individuals; as cultures and societies; as a species know what our rights are?




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I was going to post something similar. We do not not have the right because as far as I am concerned there are no innate laws in the universe. A right is quite different than a should or should not.
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