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I am astonished by the comments in this thread. Many people seem to assume that the chance of disaster as a result of wiping out mosquitoes is high - a sentiment I can only assume arises from having watched a lot of movies with the Arrogant And Foolish Scientist's Ill-Thought-Out Plan Backfires plot. It is good to think through consequences, but supposing that real world scientists acting deliberately and collaboratively will make the same mistakes that movie scientists make for the sake of drama - I find that a concerningly distorted perception of reality.

It's sort of like the people who react to robotics with concerns that the robots will go rogue and turn on their creators. Yeah, this is like a 90% probability event in movies, but that does not make it a reasonable thing to worry about in the real world.

Yeah, of course we should carefully think through the consequences before acting. That's what is happening. But if the mosquito experts say the ecological impact is likely to be negligible, then it probably will be. These guys are experts. Species go extinct all the time, and life goes on because it's pretty robust.

I'm not saying scientists are all knowing and can foresee all side effects, though I suspect if they are willing to state a view like that with confidence, they won't be far off. What I'm saying is the ZOMG BIRDS EAT MOSQUITOS and WHAT IF WE INFECT OURSELVES AND GET WIPED OUT talk is a little silly. Cool it there, Spielberg. ;)




1 mosquitos only carries diseases, many other species do this, for example rats spread the plague in the dark ages, even infected humans spread diseases.

2 there is no expert or science that can fully understand the whole ecosystem and how it works, mosquitos and many insects are at the base of the food chain, the impact will probably be a domino effect that will make many other species extinct, where will this lead? nobody knows, it's like playing with fire.

Wiping out entire species to solve the spread of a virus is not only inefficient (there are other ways it can spread) and dumb but also dangerous, it's like a solution of an infant that can only think destroy destroy.

We need creative and intelligent ideas for hard problems, not simple and stupid infant like ideas, and hn is a place where people with such ideas gather this is why you see more of these comments.


there is no expert or science that can fully understand the whole ecosystem and how it works, mosquitos and many insects are at the base of the food chain, the impact will probably be a domino effect that will make many other species extinct, where will this lead? nobody knows

Ok, this. This is the chain of reasoning I'm talking about.

It is the very height of hubris to say that the people who manage and study ecosystems don't understand them, and to imply that they are ignorant of something so basic as the food chain. I don't understand where this is coming from.

And there will probably be a domino effect that will wipe out many species? "Probably"? Like, more than 50% odds? Really?

When multiple professionals are willing to go on record saying the impact will likely be negligible, what makes you so darn sure they're wrong? The only place I can imagine this is coming from is some combination of "Science is Hard" and "Nature Messes You Up Whenever You Mess With It In The Movies"!


Food chain is not something basic or simple, maybe only as a a very abstract concept, because our lives and of other species depend on it and this makes it very important and should be treated carefully.

For example another insect that might seem not important to the food chain, the bee, is crucial for agriculture and for our food.

If you don't understand the domino effect part you should study a little bit about birds, reptiles and other species that feed on mosquitoes and then you can look higher in the chain on what other animals feed on that birds and reptiles and you will understand how many species will be affected.

Scientists unfortunately can't predict effects in very complex systems, not even the most complex computers can simulate something that looks very simple like the weather, this is why we can never predict it accurately and for long periods of time even if we have a lot of data.

As I said effects on complex systems can't be predicted by scientists, maybe only in a very limited superficial way, if this weren't true we wouldn't have fukushima, cernobal, oil spills, plastic island in the ocean, increased ocean acidity etc, scientists would have everything in control.

Science is cool and is a marvelous tool for knowledge but don't underestimate it's limitations.




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