If anyone ever wanted proof that supposedly intelligent people can come up with the most idiotic notions imaginable, you need look no further than this piece of radical idiocy.
Yes. You read that right. There are apparently intelligent people who know enough about the surface of biology to make a quasi-plausible argument and genuinely believe (at least I think they do. It’s not April 1, after all) that it’s possible to bioengineer the predator out of predators and make everything sweet and light and somehow magically not cause horrendous imbalances in every ecosystem on the bloody planet.
The model our bright spark uses is the attempt to eliminate the Anopheles mosquito in order to eliminate malaria.
I shall leave it to the folk here to come up with all sorts of wonderfully horrendous outcome any of this could have – not only do I not need any more plot bunnies running wild, I could really live without the research something like this would take me.
That said, our bright spark has apparently never heard of the “fun” Australia has had with rabbits. Myxomatosis had up to 90% kill rate – but now most of Australia’s rabbits are immune. Then there was the calcivirus and RHD which was even more effective – but not effective enough.
Hell, if he proposed his lovey-dovey utopian tripe anywhere near anyone with experience of Australian wildlife, he’d never get past his opening because the Aussies would be pissing themselves laughing. Honestly, does this twit think predation is the only way animals hurt each other?
Let’s see… major causes of death in large herbivores other than predation include injuries sustained fighting off rivals for mating – unless our utopian twits (who are clearly close relatives of the glittery hoo haas, with about as much understanding of reality) plan to control them and jerk off the males to get the goods to artificially inseminate the females (I’ll let Dave Freer talk about being shoulder deep in large herbivore and the potential issues with doing this to… oh, for shits and giggles, let’s say a hippo). Not to mention territory disputes, herd hierarchy arguments, intermittent issues with drought, flood, and so forth.
Then there’s the matter of parasitic entities. They’re not predators per se, but what they do is even less fluffy and wholesome and cute. I’m not linking to any of that stuff because you need a strong stomach (but damn some of them on steroids would make awesome alien life forms to terrorize your poor characters. Just saying).
As for those Jain monks the utopian one mentioned, the ones who sweep the ground before they walk so they don’t accidentally tread on any insects, their legendary compassion apparently doesn’t extend to those poor, confused ants who just lost their scent trail and have no idea where they are. Or the who knows how many micro-organisms living contentedly in that patch of dirt who have now been sent flying to who knows where (come on, to your average micro-organism, a few feet is like the other side of the bloody universe).
Not to mention the poor, suffering plants. Yes, the plants. Plants communicate with each other (sod if I understand how but apparently that’s what all the research is saying) and they respond to injury with vegetable analogs of pain. Do they not count for the utopian vision of eliminating suffering? (Don’t start. Seriously. Just don’t.)
Now, to be fair, I’m all for minimizing suffering whenever and however we realistically can, but – and this is a pretty big but – there is no life without suffering and no life without death. You’ll notice fluffy utopia is all about changing the python so it doesn’t eat the small child or the pet dog. It’s not about changing the crocodile so it doesn’t eat the python (or vice-versa).
When you screw around with something as delicately balanced as the average ecosystem (it’s rather like any decently large economy – self-correcting under most circumstances, with a ridiculous number of variables making the whole thing impossible to predict, and when meddled with can produce wildly unpredictable and dangerous results) you run the risk of destroying it and losing not just the nasty predators you don’t want, but the cute fluffy things you were trying to save, and the plants they eat, and a crapload of other animals and plants you didn’t even think mattered.
Just ask Australia. The tropical and temperate rainforests that used to cover most of the landmass were replaced first by eucalyptus forest, then in a lot of places by savanna/desert courtesy human intervention between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. In the process most of Australia’s large animals (predators and prey) vanished – along with a hell of a lot of plants and insects and who knows what else. Those humans had no idea what they were messing with. They just wanted to clear things out enough that they could move freely and see any problems nearby.
If this twit and his friends try anything they won’t have that excuse.