Should we accept the extinction of endangered species as just another part of evolution?

| | December 7, 2017
mass extinction worse than thought study drought
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post from Dr. Robert Alexander Pyron has created quite the stir in the conservation and biology communities. Pyron’s piece, We don’t need to save endangered species. Extinction is part of evolution makes the case that extinction is not something with which we should overly concern ourselves, that we have no “moral” imperative with which to save species. After all, we are living during the sixth great extinction . . . so what if we leave the road to progress littered with highly a diverse assortment of roadkill?

There are those who agree with Pyron’s take. Ronald Bailey, a science correspondent for Reason magazine, focuses on the “utility” argument:

As a relatively well-off First Worlder, I have had the intense pleasure of walking in the wild within 40 feet of grazing rhinos and of swimming with Galápagos penguins. It would be a shame if future generations do not have an opportunity to enjoy such experiences. In any case, with rising wealth, urbanization, and the approach of peak farmland, the dire predictions of mass extinction are most likely exaggerated.

The other side of the coin, are those who fight for conservation or preservation. Dr. Ronald Sandler makes a strong case for the intrinsic value of species in a piece in Nature Education from 2012. He leads with a quote from environmental ethicist, Holmes Rolston, “These things [species] count, whether or not someone is doing the counting.”

Read full, original post: Saving Species from Ourselves

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