Evolution and humans: Earth's environmental role (Evolution)

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, June 01, 2017, 05:23 (194 days ago) @ David Turell

David: You are correct. It works in both directions. More energy means more diversity can be supported, but I view it as still bound up in a working balance of nature which must remain balanced:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0138

dhw: Thank you. I shan’t repeat the quotes, as my only disagreement is with your continued harping on “the balance of nature”. Energy supply leads to diversity, and diversity itself influences the environment. There is no “must remain balanced” because the balance is constantly changing according to the energy supply and according to the nature of the organisms in existence at the time. This is exemplified by:

The emergence of life forms that eat one another transformed the nature of ecosystems, and introduced a powerful new set of evolutionary interactions, thus accelerating the pace of macroevolutionary change.”

The energy supply changed, carnivores appeared, the balance of nature changed. In the context of evolution, the balance of nature simply refers to whatever organisms and resources exist at the time. When we talk about it now, we mean the balance that exists now, and so when humans introduce foreign species which destroy the status quo, we say they are disturbing the balance of nature.


David: But we are using word games. "There is no “must remain balanced” because the balance is constantly changing according to the energy supply and according to the nature of the organisms in existence at the time"." We are really saying the same thing. If balance is upset it settles back into balance. If humans destroy the balance, it usually settles into a bad balance, which should be corrected. But the balance in eco-niches provides energy as the author tells us. That is my constant point. Balance provides the energy needed.

I think that balance, like so many words in the English language, has become somewhat bastardized in meaning. In common parlance, balance has come to mean equilibrium, with the childish idealization of a teeter-totter on a fulcrum sitting perfectly level. (Otherwise known as scales...just saying). This simplistic ideal uses words like 'balance', 'equality', 'similarity', and 'sameness' interchangeably, and loses much in translation. I love these definitions:

a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions

an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.[/i]
(bold mine)

We always see proportionality in our complex system; between growth, death, and diversity. Yet, for all intents and purposes, life on Earth has remained largely in a state of balance for as long as we have any real knowledge. Certain elements may rise, fall, or be removed, but each action is countered, allowing the whole system to 'remain upright'. In short, it is largely impossible to completely 'destroy the balance', because the acting of 'destroying the balance' would, in and of itself, simply create a new balance point, and things would keep on keeping on....with or without us.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.


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