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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 732)...

    While discussing the ideas in your books, some people have said that, yes, if our culture continues without change, there will be a cataclysmic event. But, they argue, there is no way to kill our entire species, as we're the most adaptive and intelligent one on the planet. I'm finding it hard to point to conclusive evidence otherwise, and I find the notion entirely possible. Hmm, there's a question in here somewhere. . . . I suppose that if the impending Taker-wrought ecological disaster doesn't wipe out our species, it'd be almost a given that the survivors would be logically forced to dump the Taker lifestyle, as they've not only seen but experienced what it invariably leads to, right?

    ...and the response:

    If our impact on the planet brings about a general ecological collapse, this collapse will come about as a domino effect, with food chains dissolving like soap bubbles and species disappearing in mounting numbers around us daily--tens of thousands becoming hundreds of thousands.

    The survivors are not going to be the most intelligent or most adaptable (there will be no time to adapt any more than there was time for Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops to adapt); the survivors will be the ones that subsist at the very bottom of food chains. Species that subsist at or near the top of food chains will be the most vulnerable--and that includes us. Your friends imagine that in the midst of this brief period of biological chaos we will somehow be able to selectively protect the food chains on which we happen to depend while countless others are disappearing around us.

    I would count on cockroaches to survive. I wouldn't count on humans to survive. If any did, "dumping" the Taker lifestyle wouldn't be optional. The Taker lifestyle would be impossible to maintain. These survivors would not exist at the Stone Age level--they wouldn't have the skills that Stone Age peoples have. They wouldn't have the skills that Homo habilis had (that Homo habilis evolved with). It's hard to see how these survivors could survive at all in a world so radically different from the one in which we evolved.

    keywords: Extinctions

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