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Thursday, June 16, 2005


Natural Selection in Action

Ever hear of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement? Me neither. Until I saw this website. They don't advocate anything so radical as mass suicide or genocide. They merely want to convince all human beings everywhere to stop having children. Then, when everyone currently alive dies, the human race will quietly go extinct, and the planet and all other living species can recover from our horrible abuse of the environment.

Wow. Of course, the solution to all our ecological problems is to get rid of the source! Humanity is the source of all problems, thus humanity should be destroyed! Genius, pure genius! (to echo Homer Simpson in this episode, "In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic.")

I think you've got an unreasonably pessimistic view of humanity if you think we are inexorably headed to ruin for both ourselves and the Earth. Rather than giving up and saying we're no longer worthy to exist, shouldn't we focus on fixing our problems and cleaning up our messes? Polution and population growth are problems, but they are not unsolvable and insurmountable. I'm not an expert and I'll have to look up the statistics, but isn't population growth slowing or even negative in developed countries? As more and more people rise above poverty in India and China, won't these countries as well get to the point where their populations stabilize?

Admittedly, we're not doing enough to protect the environment. But aren't we doing more now than we did in the 80's and 90's? Haven't aerosol spray cans stopped using CFC's so that they don't continue to harm the ozone layer? Don't we recycle more than we used to?

I'm not saying there is no problem, or that all problems are easily solved. But I think it's a bit premature to throw in the towel on humanity. Human beings are just as much a part of nature as any other species. Don't we deserve to give ourselves a chance?

Of course, I think the result of VHEMT's efforts won't be the extinction of humanity. I doubt they'll convince more that 0.00001% of people in the world to actually stop reproducing. And the people they do convince won't have any kids they can pass their beliefs and ideals on to. Natural selection wins again, and humanity goes on.

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