December 18, 2018

Beyond the Sixth Extinction

Beyond the Sixth Extinction

It has been pretty well established there have been 5 mass extinction events in the earth’s past.  They were:

  1. 445 Million Years Ago – End of the Ordovician Period – 57% of all genera – most likely culprit: climate change.
  2. 370 Million Years Ago – Late Devonian Period – 70% of all marine species died off – oxygen depletion and global cooling.
  3. 250 Million Years Ago – End of the Permian Period – the worst, some estimate 96% of all species died out – super volcanos in Siberia the main cause.
  4. 200 Million Years Ago – End of the Triassic Period – 1/5th of all families of marine life were killed – most likely cause the eruption of the Central Atlantic magmatic province.
  5. 66 Million Years Ago – End of the Cretaceous Period – 76% of all living things on Earth- big rock from space and/or super volcanos in India.

Many scientists think we are in, or at the start of, the sixth extinction; this one man made.  Even aside from climate change, some 322 species have gone extinct in the last 500 years due to man, with two-thirds of those occurring in the last two centuries due to habitat loss or over-hunting/fishing.  According to a review published on May 29 in the journal Science, current extinction rates are up to a thousand times higher than they would be if people weren’t in the picture.

There is a new book about this possible man-made extinction event reviewed in LiveScience titled, “Beyond the Sixth Extinction: A Post-Apocalyptic Pop-Up” by Shawn Sheehy, which LiveScience says; “artfully imagines the grotesque creatures that could live in a possible future — one reshaped by disasters so destructive that 75 to 80 percent of life on Earth went extinct.”  Again from the article:

Set in the year 4847, “Beyond the Sixth Extinction” is a bestiary representing inhabitants of nightmarish ecosystems of the future, and Sheehy uses intricately crafted 3D paper pop-ups to introduce a host of highly unusual animals. At first glance, they somewhat resemble wildlife alive today. However, the newly imagined species sport highly unusual adaptations that help them survive in harsh and extreme environments, Sheehy told Live Science… In “Beyond the Sixth Extinction,” eight imagined species of the future are the end product of thousands of years of evolution after a human-driven global-extinction event. Over millennia, they adapted to withstand high levels of harmful radiation, and they are capable of absorbing nutrients from whatever is available, even objects that their ancestors would have found inedible, Sheehy explained.

rotrap

For example, the book’s “rex roach” is about the size of a puppy, with a stretchy shell that allows it to expand and contract its body like a bellows, taking in more oxygen and enabling them to grow bigger than insects today.  Or the “clam fungus” that clusters atop landfills and breathes methane, the “mudmop,” a bottom-dwelling fish with a face full of tentacles, and the “rotrap,” a rat-like animal that lives its adult life permanently attached to walls in flooded nuclear reaction chambers.

Sheehy says even though such a future world seems bleak, the supreme adaptability of life means once the problem species is out of the way, life would bounce back.

The Walking Dead

Well, over the Thanksgiving Holiday, my daughter, grandson, and great-grandson were visiting for a few days, and we were doing what most modern families do these days for entertainment; streaming and binge-watching series on Hulu.  They talked me into watching some episodes of “The Walking Dead”, a show about a “zombie apocalypse”.  I am not normally a fan of zombie shows (Shaun of the Dead a notable exception).  I tend to get hyper-critical in a nerdy sort of way and instead of suspending disbelief and “going with the flow” of the show, I start picking apart the holes in the plot lines.  Like where do they get all the bazillions of bullets they fire off each show if production is no longer occurring?  And speaking of production, where is all the gasoline coming from they use to endlessly drive around?  Why do dead people need to eat, anyway?

Anyway, after reading the LiveScience article noted above and watching the show, I was in an apocalyptic state of mind and came across this LiveScience article about post-zombie apocalypse.  The article asserts there are 9 keys to rebuilding civilization after a zombie, or presumably, any other type of apocalypse occurs.  They are:

  1. Power in numbers. A civilization is impossible without people — that much seems obvious. But the key is having enough people, and the right mix of people.
  2. Protect yourself. Protection from the elements, and zombies in the case of “The Walking Dead,” is a basic need for human survival. Without shelter, there would be no hope of building a civilization.
  3. Food and water. Besides shelter, a community needs a reliable food and water supply to survive.
  4. Shared goals. The communities that own something together are going to do better than those that don’t have a sense of sharedness.
  5. Fair consequences. One of the more challenging aspects of building and sustaining a civilization is deciding on punishment for intolerable actions. More specifically, what to do with the cheaters, because civilization can’t sustain itself if it’s based on a “winner takes all” structure.
  6. Document and share knowledge. All of the experts Live Science spoke with mentioned the importance of inheriting information and sharing knowledge.
  7. Technology and manufacturing. Someone has to make the clothing, tools, weapons.  There needs to be some sort of manufacturing of just basic commodities.
  8. Health care. Perhaps the most daunting enemies of ancient civilizations were the diseases they contracted from outsiders.
  9. The biggest problem in building civilizations is when the lack of sharing resources creates divisions and then forces communities to compete with one another.

So here are some questions for discussion.  Could we rebuild civilization after it crashed?  Are there other factors besides these 9 that would be necessary?  If we can rebuild civilization, why can’t we prevent it from crashing in the first place?  Many of us are familiar with the apocalyptic scenarios presented by premillennial dispensationalism and the “Left Behind” books.  Do you agree with that position, or is there another position you think the Bible presents?  Or do you think the Bible presents an explicit scenario at all?

Comments

  1. Iain Lovejoy says:

    The authors of the Bible seem to me to be keen recyclers, using phraseology and imagery, and entire chunks of text from previous apocalyptics for the next, making it difficult to know exactly what they are referring to. Much of Jesus’s words on the “end of times” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD, and much to warnings not to read into the usual procession of disasters and wars more than they are.
    Hyperbole has to be watched for, too. We read too literally what are complicated ways of saying “the old order is doomed, and it’s going to be pretty bad” and see the end of the world in what is really only the end of an age. I may be wrong, but I think that most of the “end times” language in the Bible is about not the destruction if the world, but the destruction of tyranny, oppression and sin. They are a promise to the oppressed that the oppressor is doomed, and to the oppressor that they are not getting away with it, and a warning to all not to give up and cosy up to the oppressor but to keep well away from “ground zero” and await the justice of God.
    The final thing it seems to me that is consistent in Biblical prophesies of doom is that they are never about the ultimate end. The destruction of the old order is always merely the birth pangs, or God’s defeating the oppressor, or purging us if sin: the ultimate end is always portrayed as good, as the restoration of peace and justice and the establishment of the kingdom of God.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > making it difficult to know exactly what they are referring to

      If anything. The simplest explanation is that there is no single vision which survives through the entire text.

      > see the end of the world in what is really only the end of an age

      Yep.

      > Biblical prophesies of doom is that they are never about the ultimate end

      I wonder to what degree an author at that point in time could even conceive of an “ultimate” reality. As when they say “the world” . . . having no idea the size or shape of it. They meant something else than what we mean by The World.

  2. I am struck by number 5. We live in a society where the cheaters have thrived for too long, and are now at the top of the tree. We can’t prevent the collapse of civilisation (if it is inevitable) because we live in a civilisation where cheaters win and resources are not shared.

    I’m not convinced we would be able to rebuild civilisation for exactly the same reasons. We don’t seem capable of “playing fair”. Also, and in the same vein, we have already used most of the resources, so rebuilding would be harder for our descendents than building ever was for our ancestors.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > We don’t seem capable of “playing fair”

      It isn’t a matter of playing fair, or unfair. It is about more and less fair. Very unfair systems persist, but they are also unstable. People despairing of cheaters can look back to The Gilded Age . .. which was followed by the Progressive Era. We’ve done this before, there is nothing new under the sun.

    • Christiane says:

      so far, I’ve agreed with two themes:

      1. From IAIN, this: “I think that most of the “end times” language in the Bible is about not the destruction if the world, but the destruction of tyranny, oppression and sin. They are a promise to the oppressed that the oppressor is doomed, and to the oppressor that they are not getting away with it, and a warning to all not to give up and cosy up to the oppressor but to keep well away from “ground zero” and await the justice of God.”

      and

      2. From RUSSELL, this: ” We live in a society where the cheaters have thrived for too long, and are now at the top of the tree. We can’t prevent the collapse of civilisation (if it is inevitable) because we live in a civilisation where cheaters win and resources are not shared.”

      I’m wondering by what logical manipulation of their much-touted moral values do 80-plus percent of white evangelicals support a ‘leader’ who says something like THIS when warned about the debt crisis ? :
      ” yeah, but I won’t be here when it blows up”

      I’m not seeing the bigger picture.
      At best, a group of reasonably decent Christian people are willing to back an irresponsible person because they just might be able to get Row v. Wade reversed, which they think will put an end to legalized abortion in this country. They are willing to trade the economic welfare of the entire country to this end, including their own financial and national security and that of their children. (that’s BEST???)

      At worst, a group of white Republican voters identifying as ‘Christian’ are supporting the same ‘leader’ for whom David Duke (the Klan) and white supremacists (neo-Nazis) cheered when he was elected.

      And boy howdy is ADAM TUANO WILLIAMS right when he says: “Very unfair systems persist, but they are also unstable.”

      So we have a ‘leader’ who puts us deeper into debt by a trillion in order to fund a tax cut for his class of billionaires and corporate owners; but oh my goodness, aren’t his ‘dog whistles’ bristling with racist tones sweet to the ears of them for whom the only claim to superiority is the color of their skin? And as for the abortion issue, which this leader plays to get support from this ‘evangelical’ base, so comes the end of R v. W and oh goody, white males get to beat up on women who fall pregnant in unfortunate circumstances . . . . they will, they must by law, give birth, not by their own choice, but these unfortunate women are not to expect any help from so called ‘right to lifers’ afterward to care for the littles . . . ‘that’s called socialism, and we don’t believe in that, do we’? At worst, a dark, suffering, hate-filled world awaits us that the word ‘unfairness’ doesn’t even begin to cover.

      And the ‘leader’? The one ‘annointed by God’? Who cannot be held to account?
      But wait.
      Suppose he COULD be held to account for proven wrong-doing against his country? By responsible citizens doing their civic duty? By elected officials doing their proper oversight of his abuses of power?
      One good thing in our country is when things get so extreme in one direction, it may take awhile for us to react, but we do, and the ship of state is righted . . . . . you can’t fool ALL of the people ALL of the time, no. The sons and daughters and grandchildren of the ‘greatest generation’ still have the DNA of their forefathers in their blood and at some point, when they’ve seen and heard enough ‘bull’, they will notice that the emperor has no clothes and that government by tweet is just that . . . . a whining screed of a spoiled man-child not getting his way.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And the ‘leader’? The one ‘annointed by God’? Who cannot be held to account?

        It’s beyond “Anointed”, Christiane.
        It’s The Second Coming of Christ(TM):
        https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-christ-billboard-st-louis/

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        ” yeah, but I won’t be here when it blows up”

        How does that differ from the Rapture Ready crowd?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrzTBS4gCpM

        • Christiane says:

          Hello Headless,
          I think you’re talking about the crowd that thinks it’s okay to wipe out the environment and poison the Earth by using nukes, since they are ‘saved’ and will be ‘taken away’ for all suffering that will surely come. (?)

          I wouldn’t want to be around either after a nuclear war. Some things we aren’t able to recover from.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Remember my background, Christiane.
            It’s hard to believe the Rapture Ready crowd was as crazy as they were during my time in-country.

            Jack Chick + Hal Lindsay + It’s All Gonna Burn = Christians For Nuclear War.
            IT’S PROPHESIED! IT’S PROPHESIED! ANY MINUTE NOW!
            (But I’m Gonna Be Gone, in my reserved catered box seat in Heaven, watching the ultimate spectator sport. Don’t know how widespread it was, but there actually was a “plain meaning of SCRIPTURE” floating around that The Rapture would happen the instant before the first nuclear missiles in Armageddon’s opening Depopulation strike detonated. But “I’m Gonna Be Gone, I’m Gonna Be Gone, In the Twinkling of an Eye…”)

  3. It will probably be nuclear, therefore the rebuilding is also probably not for humans. Just guessing. But I seem to remember somewhere in the old prophets statements that back this up. Just too lazy to search and don’t believe if I did find anything it would convince most moderns.

  4. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Some days the sun is shining, it is warm on my back but then a burst of ethereal radiance explodes. It is the Grace of God.
    Happened today.
    (No drugs required.)

    Someone knows what I mean.

    Susan

    • an exploding star
      makes snow melt
      and warm days

    • Christiane says:

      Susan, you got blessed, and you KNEW it was the real thing!

      “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
      (attributed to Thomas Aquinas)

  5. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > Could we rebuild civilization after it crashed?

    Of course, why not? Creating civilization is nearly autonomic to Humans, it is as natural as farting. On the other hand I see no possibility – with a population of 7 BILLION humans – of civilization crashing. We need to be very clear: ROME **NEVER** FELL. Rome fractured, not the same thing as a fall. We still to this day use, in everyday commerce, Roman piers and ports. Railroads roll over the ruins of Roman roads. The Black Death wiped out 1 in every 3, if not more, residents of Paris; Paris is still there. It gets very very ugly, but Civilization is far more hardy than people give it credit for.

    > Are there other factors besides these 9 that would be necessary?

    The list seems pretty complete. I suspect some isolation helps, operating as an extension of #2. A group of people need some time pestered; but that can overlap with #4 [isolation becoming a shared goal]. Isolation is not that hard: kill the strangers.

    Trade helps a lot, as no place has every resource required to upscale technology. But we’ve been trading for a very long time; historians now talk about pre-colonization trade routes stretching from the American West to Appalachia. Again, Humans are very good at this; we are tough buggers when a profit is possible.

    > If we can rebuild civilization, why can’t we prevent it from crashing in the first place?

    There is little evidence that we can’t prevent it. Definitions might be important here: If the United States of America ceases to exist that does not indicate an end of civilization. There has been civilization in the river valley where I live for **thousands** of years, short of Nuclear Obliteration [which we have been able to prevent so far] I cannot imagine it going away.

    ASIDE: recent climate reports, which are very very bad news, do highlight some places that may **benefit** from Climate Change. Guess who owns dirt in one of the Green Zones? Yes, yours truly, suckers! There are Urban Planers here beginning to ponder the best policies to deal with Climate Changed induced population growth.

    > Many of us are familiar with the apocalyptic scenarios presented by
    > premillennial dispensationalism and the “Left Behind” books.
    > Do you agree with that position,

    Dispensationalism is utter nonsense. Pre vs Post Millenialism debates are possibly the best evidence of the overflowing success of Human Civilization; that there are resources cheap enough to publish and distribute books about such pointless drivel is a thundering testimony to Human ingenuity and resourcefulness [and our Love Love Love of tedium, we are the species that invented Bureaucracy!]

    > or is there another position you think the Bible presents?
    > Or do you think the Bible presents an explicit scenario at all?

    The Bible presents at the very most a general arc of moving from the garden or some pastoral vision towards the city-of-god. Nothing more, and even that may be a stretch. With a cold eye it is hard to see the Bible having much vision, or even much interest, in discussing the world beyond ~70AD.

    P.S. Agree – 100% The endless-bullets-and-gas problem ruins most Apocalypse movies for me. Especially when they are now driving fuel-injected cars; now way they would be tuning with the amount of varnish that would be in fuel which had been sitting around that long. Maybe an old carburated flat-head or something like a Model-T Ford. Or diesels! They don’t even try.

    • I suspect some isolation helps, operating as an extension of #2. A group of people need some time pestered; but that can overlap with #4 [isolation becoming a shared goal]. Isolation is not that hard: kill the strangers.

      With the growing anti-immigrant/refugee/asylum seeker sentiment in this country and Europe, it seems that there is a social/political movement trying to get ahead of the apocalypse by advocating and trying to implement this strategy, or its near equivalent, right now.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        We are always employing this practice, changing in scope and details of implementation.

        As for the rise of Right Wing Nationalism, everything rising is rising until it’s in decline. Just as Demographics are not destiny, a trend line is not Fate. We just have to wait and see.

        • If that is true, that we are always employing this practice to some degree or another, and I’m inclined to believe that it is true, what does it mean to live a Christian life in such a world? Do we advocate against the practice to the degree that we are able, whether in a post-apocalyptic world or right now, or do we just accept that it is the way of the world is constituted and nothing to be done? It seems to me that many of the problems involved in trying to follow Christ and his teaching are the same whether we are in an official apocalypse or not, whether we are starting on the sixth mass extinction or not.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > It seems to me that many of the problems involved in trying to follow
            > Christ and his teaching are the same whether we are in an official
            > apocalypse or not

            Yep, and we are post-apocalypse, there have been many of them, in many places. There will be more of them. This most notable thing about Apocalypse is how little they change things.

        • I agree with Adam… moment in time…. everything rises and falls, peaks and valleys….

          We are seeing issues with illegal immigration and refugees south of the border while right here in our own state of PA, Robert, there are refugees settling legally all around my neighborhood.

          In two years when there is another President in the Oval Office things will ebb in a different direction….

          • Things continue. That doesn’t everything about our world, or us, continues. The U.S. may have moved into waters where dramatic changes will occur, and things may not return to the way they were before; the same with Europe. For some people, the world may end; for most, probably not — but none of us can be sure which group we belong to. Apocalypticism is a mistake; so is the myth of continuity. Change is our apocalypse.

    • I agree with you about the Bible lacking an explicit scenario for, or presenting accurate forecasts and details of, the end-of-the-epoch and/or the end-of-the-world. The future is not predetermined, and so no ancient text can have detailed knowledge of how it will go. The future is open and undetermined, however grim it may appear to us now.

      • Agreed… just when we think we have the path to destruction figured out, along comes the Mule (Assimov’s Foundation series)…..

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I agree with you about the Bible lacking an explicit scenario for, or presenting accurate forecasts and details of, the end-of-the-epoch and/or the end-of-the-world.

        Again, as a survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay (and his New Inerrant SCRIPTURE Late Great Planet Earth), I can attest that the Rapture Fanboys often have the Seven Last Years Scenario (Accurate & Detailed History Written in Advance) timed and choreographed down to the minute. (After all, packing all the events on the Book of Revelation checklist into seven years starting any minute now requires a LOT of precise timing.)

    • The running zombies make me shake my head. Why are they in such a hurry? Where exactly are they going; they’re dead!

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        And all that activity still requires musculature – and consumes energy: where does that come from?

        As for always on the move Zombies; I assume they are in search of a Grateful Dead concert,

        • And how can they digest brains when their digestive tracts are dead!

          • Mike the Geologist says:

            Let’s raise some philosophical issues. Is it wrong to kill a zombie merely because it will otherwise eat your flesh? Does a zombie know that it knows nothing at all? The very conceivability of zombies implies that there must be more to our minds than just matter. What’s so bad about being a zombie? Would it really be better to be Socrates unsatisfied than a zombie with no worries?

            I hope you find the above questions to be thought-provoking – and most of all I hope that, by in fact having thoughts to be provoked, you can prove to your own satisfaction that you are not a zombie yourself.

            • I suddenly have a hankering to eat your brain….

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              > The very conceivability of zombies implies that there must be more to our
              > minds than just matter.

              Supernatural Zombies certainly make far more sense than Viral Zombies.

              A VIRUS REQUIRES A LIVING HOST! #argh #argh

              Someone should write-up Fungal Zombies, where a fungus pervades the entire host. That would work better than a Virus. But then what’s the distinction between a Body Snatcher and a Zombie?

              • Christiane says:

                I wonder if the whole ‘zombie’ thing isn’t some primal fear thing come down to us from ancient days when strange folks in stranger countries drove spikes through the hearts of some dead suspect of vile deeds so he would remain ‘dead’.

                Or maybe the new fascination with ‘zombies’ showing up in commercials and films arises (pardon the pun) from a less primitive fear, more in tune with people in need of being ‘born again’ through some ritual or rite of passage such as an attempt at patterning after holy baptism in order to convey ‘now, you are one of us, ‘The Saved’ (?)

                Or maybe there was always some thought as to how the Risen Lord could bring us also with Himself and lead us into life eternal because we were ‘lost’ and wandering the Earth in ways out of touch with ‘kindness, love, joy, patience, understanding, gentleness, self-control . . . . . ‘ but this thought was expressed in a less traumatic image by some great poet coming to terms maybe with his own approaching mortality . . . . .
                “” … come
                And re-create me. . . . .
                that new-fashioned,
                I may rise up from death
                before I’m dead. ” (John Donne)

                methinks I prefer the gentler approach of Donne over the grimness of the walking dead in films because he calls out to the Risen Christ who takes away our fears to ‘come’ and save him from another kind of ‘walking death’, all too real in a world where children suffer at the hands of the powerful who, without mercy, order that suffering

            • I don’t like roaches either….

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              As someone commented when a long-ago IMonk thread turned to Zombies:

              ZOMBIE BEST MONSTER.
              JESUS SAY “EAT FLESH”.
              ZOMBIE FOLLOW JESUS.

          • Hello!! They pass through undigested. Duh! Everybody knows that.
            Skeleton walks into a bar. Bartender says, “What can I get ya?” Skeleton says, “Beer and a mop.”

        • Phil Dickens says:

          “Set out running but I take my time, a friend of the Dead is a friend of mine.”

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            A theme song for slow, not World-War-Z, zombies.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              The word is “ZOOMbies”
              (Zombies that can run two-to-three-minute miles in pursuit of living flesh. As an Old School D&Der, that reeks of “Pet Super Monster”.)

              As an aside, “Movie Zombies” (of which “Zoombies” are a subset) are not even classical Zombies, undead animated by a bokor as his slaves after death. They’re more akin (in D&D terms) to feral Ghouls — ravening corporeal Undead after Flesh whose bite turns you into One of Them. Getting Uprated with every edition and Killer DM.

          • I ran into the Devil, babe
            He loaned me twenty bills
            I spent that night in Utah
            In a cave up in the hills

      • The running zombies?

        Frankenstein’s monster don’t need to run. Whenever he arrives he’s right on time.

    • Lucifer’s Hammer – David Pournelle and Larry Niven….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      > Many of us are familiar with the apocalyptic scenarios presented by
      > premillennial dispensationalism and the “Left Behind” books.
      > Do you agree with that position,

      Dispensationalism is utter nonsense.

      Unfortunately, in the Evangelical Bubble, Dispensationalism is SCRIPTURE direct from the lips of God, History Written in Advance. Including Rapture (any minute now) followed by Global Thermonuclear War Armageddon (clock is ticking clock is ticking tick tick tick tick tick tick tick…)

      DO YOU DOUBT WHAT GAWD HATH SAID?????????????

      (Yes, I am a survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War — “END TIME PROPHECY IS BEING FULFILLED EVEN AS WE SPEAK!!! WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978!!! OR EVEN A 1977!!!!!” — how ever could you tell?)

  6. “Many of us are familiar with the apocalyptic scenarios presented by premillennial dispensationalism and the “Left Behind” books. Do you agree with that position, or is there another position you think the Bible presents? Or do you think the Bible presents an explicit scenario at all?”

    premillennial dispensationalism – invented in the 1800’s – doesn’t hold water with me.

    Or do you think the Bible presents an explicit scenario at all?” – I think it was presented in a way humans could imagine or describe it in the limited knowledge they had at that time period. I don’t think the how or why was important… it was more of how do I always keep myself prepared. The apocalypse sequences in New Testament scripture were probably influenced by the growing chaos in the Palestine area and the fall of Jerusalem. And all those farm animals contributed to the climate change that finally came to fruition in fourteenth century Europe….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Also, I’ve come to conclude that Revelation also speaks of repeating patterns in human history, like the letters to the Seven Churches and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It took me many-many years to return to that original impression after the Official Party Line of Revelation being a chronological End Times Checklist of Fact, Fact, Fact, Check, Check, Check.

  7. “the problem species”

    What an epitaph!

    But purely from an evolutionary perspective there are no problem species. Homo sap is just doing what products of evolution do. By those criteria we are an astounding success. Like all the species that have come before us, 98% of which are extinct, we will have had our shot.

    Asked what nature could tell us about the character of God, biologist J B S Haldane replied, “He is inordinately fond of beetles.”

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Many scientists think we are in, or at the start of, the sixth extinction; this one man made.

    AKA “LIES! FAKE NEWS! THE CLINTONS! THE CLINTONS! THE CLINTONS!”?
    and/or
    “It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway; This World Is Not My Home, I’m Just Passin’ Thru; Rejoice for The Rapture Draweth Nigh”?
    and/or
    https://thewayofimprovement.com/2018/11/05/this-appears-to-be-an-actual-billboard-and-im-pretty-sure-it-qualified-as-idolatry/

    Because THAT’s today’s CHRISTIAN(TM) Response.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    There is a new book about this possible man-made extinction event reviewed in LiveScience titled, “Beyond the Sixth Extinction: A Post-Apocalyptic Pop-Up” by Shawn Sheehy, which LiveScience says; “artfully imagines the grotesque creatures that could live in a possible future — one reshaped by disasters so destructive that 75 to 80 percent of life on Earth went extinct.”

    Sounds like a variant on Dougal Dixon’s “After Man” series of the 1980s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Man
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_After_Man
    Dixon’s books were marred by an implied attitude that he was getting even with humanity for interfering with the purity of evolution; I don’t know about Sheehy’s.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Sheehy says even though such a future world seems bleak, the supreme adaptability of life means once the problem species is out of the way, life would bounce back.

      As I said about Dixon’s theme (above):
      Remember just WHO “the problem species” is.

  10. Of ALL the days to come to the party late…

    Personally, I think that as long as we don’t burn up enough fossil fuels to trigger another Great Permian Extinction (see this article in the Atlantic for the gruesome details), that eventually, in a time frame of centuries or millennia, a human civilization will arise again. However, with all (practically speaking) the easy access fossil fuels gone, I very much doubt they will have anything approaching the technology we have today.

    • Norma Cenva says:

      What?
      You mean no more baubles and bangles ordered at the touch of a screen from Amazon-dot-com?
      How would I ever cope?

  11. john barry says:

    Zombies eat brains, Ray Bolger and I are safe. Loved their hit “She’s Not There”, guess she had the brains.

    Again I raise the bar.