The 6th Extinction and the Dog That Didn’t Bark

The Lukewarmer's Way

As the San Jose Mercury News reports, “In the most sobering study of extinction yet, a team of Bay Area scientists says that animal species are disappearing at an accelerating rate — portending the sixth mass extinction in the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth.” Perhaps inspired by the recent book by Elizabeth Kolbert titled ‘The Sixth Extinction‘, the subject is now au courant. Personally I preferred The Fifth Element.

Fifth Element

Such a story would be incomplete without a mention of Paul Ehrlich, and he does indeed appear, saying “without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.”

The entire argument is not helped by the fuzzy nature of the mathematics used by those announcing the Sixth Extinction. We quite literally don’t know how many species exist on the planet. We do not know how many species are going extinct now. We don’t know…

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