Plenty of Wiggle Room in Scientific Certainty

Recently I stumbled across an Internet site that displayed stunning photographs of 10 animals whose existence, until recently, had been totally unknown to our highly educated scientific community.

I must admit that my confidence is shaken in these same scientists when they for so long have overlooked a spider large enough to eat birds and venomous snakes, a monkey that looks like a cast member of Monster, Inc. (the Lesula), and a Louisiana Pancake Batfish that appears already to have been rolled around in Zatarain's Creole Seasoning mix by an overzealous Cajun chef.  

These aren't exactly one-celled bacteria that are crawling around under our toenails -- they're pretty big dudes. And yet biologists who didn't have a clue they exist will tell us with certainty how many species become extinct each day – and it’s your fault.

They know that 99.9% of all species that ever existed on Earth are now extinct. They know that in the last 540 million years there have been five events in which more than half of the planet's "animal genera" have died off. (They have not been able to link all of these events to the activities of Big Oil yet, but they're working on it.) They know we are in the midst of Sixth Great Mass Extinction that the "experts" say is more destructive that the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.  

They can prove that point with certainty by first demonstrating how little they know. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there are between 1.4 million and 1.8 million unique species that have been “scientifically documented.” (Assuming university-trained biologists can count and they actually have documented their findings, do they really need wiggle-room on the order of 400,000 species, more or less?) They also are confident more than ten million unknown species are yet to be encountered. How the heck do they know, or even assume, that?

These scientists, who are forever boasting that they deal in facts only, are conceding they have no clue what the base number of the total species might be. Yet they feel confident in extrapolating how many species will be wiped forever from the face of the Earth next Thursday and assigning blame for this holocaust. This leads us to wonder if they are including in their numbers the extinction of species they don't even know exist.  

The World Resources Institute (WRI) reported researchers were “startled” to learn from one study on just 19 trees in Panama that “80% of 1,200 beetle species discovered were previously unknown to science.” But after the WRI admitted “scientists have a better understanding of how many stars there are in the galaxy than how many species there are on Earth,” the WWF resolutely warned that global biological diversity declined exactly 28% between 1970 and 2005. 

How can that be? Well, it’s quite easy when we take a look at this fine piece of work our friends at the WWF refer to as a scientific analysis:

"The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.

"If the low estimate of the number of species out there is true -- i.e. that there are around 2 million different species on our planet -- then that means between 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur every year.

"But if the upper estimate of species numbers is true -- that there are 100 million different species with us on our planet -- then between 10,000 and 100,000 species are becoming extinct each year."  

The same folks explain that the natural extinction rate "simply means the rate of species extinctions that would occur if we humans were not around." Interesting, not a single board member of the WWF has volunteered not to be around in order protect other fragile life forms.  

MSNBC dutifully will bemoan the “fact” that 100,000 species of flora and fauna will no longer be with us by next Christmas (sorry -- Winter Holiday). Our public school teachers will terrify the kindergarten tykes by revealing that, as they sleep peacefully each night, mommy and daddy are out slaughtering harbor seals and baby polar bears.  

Unfortunately, this is the state of "science" today. It is not intended to enlighten or educate, but to serve as a vehicle to drive political outcomes and keep the government/foundation grants flowing. The generic "mankind" always is the culprit, but free-market capitalism is the real target.  

"Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species -- ours -- appears to be almost wholly responsible," the WWF concludes. "So without arguing about who's right or wrong, or what the exact numbers are, there can be little debate that there is, in fact, a very serious biodiversity crisis." Translation:  We don't know what we're talking about, but sit down and shut up!

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