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> "Yet in many cases, scientists acknowledge that the ecological scar left by a missing mosquito would heal quickly as the niche was filled by other organisms."

More concerning than the ecological scar left behind by the eradication of some species of mosquito is the precedent that would be set. Once you've deliberately eradicated one pest species, people will incorporate the knowledge of that action into their image of how the world works and the sort of things we're willing to do. The next time somebody proposes that a species be eradicated, there will almost certainly be less debate.

I've heard people defend the deliberate eradication of mosquitoes by pointing out how we've already deliberately eradicated viruses like smallpox. This demonstrates my concern. What will the eradication of mosquitoes be used to justify? It's already the case in the modern era that angry mobs of idiots need to be restrained from emotional outbursts against animals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Australian_shark_cull). Having scientists justify the extermination of mosquitoes will only make it harder to get these angry mobs to back down.

I don't really doubt that human-feeding mosquito species could be eradicated without much harm to the environment, but these social concerns remain unaddressed.

Eradicating pest and threat species is so very not new. Ask the wolves around centuries old ranching regions. Mosquitoes have indirectly the highest human body count in history and prehistory.

Even with reuse it is pretty mating strategy dependent. It isn't a dial an extinction. Trying that with say feral cats would be a miserable failure or at best the equivalent of releasing a bunch of teaser tomcats into an area having only the TNR occupying effect on inhibiting population growth by claiming territory until they die of natural causes.

I never said this was new. What concerns me is it being done in the modern era. And not just in the modern era, but backed up by scientists too, which lends it additional credibility. In general, people in this era trust science more than they trust politicians. If a politician tells them something is a good idea, they will distrust that politician if it goes against their gut instinct. But if a scientist tells them the same, many will make an active effort to overrule their gut instinct to the contrary. This is good when the scientists are acting ethically, and bad when the scientists are acting unethically. It's easy to make a first-order argument for the eradication of certain species of mosquitoes being ethical; you just point to how many human lives it will save. But as I previously explained that analysis is incomplete; it does not take into account how the act of eradicating mosquitoes will change how people perceive the relationship between humans and the environment.

In short; a scientist demanding a cull will have more social impact than a politician demanding a cull. The more culls scientists demand, the easier it will be for fear-mongering politicians to demand culls.

Eradicating an invasive species that we (inadvertently) introduced in the first place seems more similar to me to wolf rewilding/reintroduction programs than the opposite. We're trying to unwind an earlier intervention.

Those mosquitoes aren't invasive anywhere. Eradicating them means killing them wherever they're native as well, which is definitely what many people in this discussion are proposing.

Culling invasive species wherever they are invasive is something I support. But many people want to go a lot further than that.

Killing off wolves has had many unintended and unforeseen consequences. Just for one example, the lack of large predators such as wolves leads to uncontrolled population explosions of deer, which leads to a massive increase in the population and prevalence of deer ticks, and consequent tick borne diseases.

As a species we’re piss poor at calculating blowback in complicated systems, ranging from the deaths of animal species, to interventions in foreign lands. Is it really surprising? We have an incomplete picture of the systems we intervene in, so the outcomes surprise us, then we rationalize our next blunder with the old saw, “this time it will be different.”

This is an invasive species of mosquitos and this on one of many species. Scientist are not stupid and they are not gonna eradicate all mosquitos many non-harmful species will still thrive.

I'm a bit puzzled. Are you saying smallpox shouldn't have been eradicated?

I'm personally pretty satisfied with not having my flesh eaten by screw flies. They were wiped out in North America and I'm very grateful.


The fact that you cite past animal exterminations to justify additional animal exterminations proves my point. The more species are eradicated the more normal it becomes and the more people will be willing to do it again.

The normalization of extermination should be avoided, even if it comes at the costs of hundreds of millions of human lives per year. (There is no people shortage, but damage to the environment is often permanent. And not to put too fine a point on it, but human populations are growing too fast as it is which is a leading cause of environmental destruction. We should not be attacking the environment to encourage massive increases in human population growth; not unless we have very concrete and immediate plans on how to artificially retard the growth of human populations. Waiting for economic factors to suppress birth rates isn't good enough; that sort of milquetoast approach leads to extraordinary destruction of the environment. It's little more than an excuse to ignore the problem and do nothing.)

Unless you’re livestock, or indigent that was never going to be a problem for you.

Yeah screw those indigents...

Let’s not, instead let’s help them with the many more pressing concerns such as homelessness, alcoholism, and mental health issues. No need to eradicate a species to improve their lives. For the record, screwflies were eliminated to save the livestock industry billions, not to help homeless people.


This is not in line with the principle of responding to the strongest possible interpretation of a post, it’s the oppposite.

Trade-offs in ethics and effectiveness can be a subject of discussion, but it's hardly an "emotional outburst" to want to prevent swimmers from being eaten. Slippery-slope arguments seem to make sense when we're locked into one way of modeling the behavior of our fellow humans, but they're usually wrong anyway.

JackCh 10 months ago [flagged]

> "but it's hardly an "emotional outburst" to want to prevent swimmers from being eaten"


> "Since 2000 there have been 15 fatal shark attacks along the West Australian coast.[9]"

Yes, it's an emotional outburst. Anybody who goes in the water should know the risks. If that's the problem, put up more signs warning people. Very few people are getting killed by sharks; the shark culls are totally unjustified. If you talk to your average Australian about the Chinese slaughtering sharks for soup, they'll condemn it. But a disturbing number will defend the slaughter of sharks for an infinitesimal chance of saving some surfer who knew the risks and chose to swim with them.

You're comparing 15 human lives against 50 sharks killed by this program? Wow. They're just sharks. The slavery boats from southeast Asia kill many more sharks every single day. The sharks they kill aren't menacing a beach. Many of the sharks they don't kill directly. They just chop off all the fins and then dump the shark back in the ocean...

Many sharks, plus bycatch, for no rational reason at all. Australian politicians vilify the animals and demand even more be killed. It's wholly irrational, as is your characterization of the sharks "menacing" the beach simply by living in their natural environment. Sharks aren't menacing the beach, the Australian government is menacing the sharks.

> "They're just sharks."

It is this sort of shitty attitude that will only become more prevalent when the eradication of animal species is further normalized.

Sharks are fish. I personally have eaten more than 50 fish already this year.

And congratulations. You have entirely trolled me. Not even Australians are that goofy about fish.

Most people outside of Australia recognize that the Australian shark culls are dumb emotional reactions to a non-problem. Shark culls are an international embarrassment for Australia.

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