Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wrong target?

Evidently the new “The Day the Earth Stood Still” remake features hyperadvanced aliens who come to Earth to get humans to stop damaging the planet, or else.

At Cosmic Variance, Sean discusses the philosophical implications of intergalactic ecoterrorists such as these. While at Systemic, Greg points out the futility of beaming a signal to a star that set two hours before the transmission begins. I have a different angle.

I reckon these aliens have picked a soft target.

As CV’s commenters have pointed out, paleontologists have identified 6 mass extinctions which exceed a threshold value to qualify as ‘great’. The sixth extinction is allegedly being caused by us. Which means that exterminating humans is at best a 17% solution. It does nothing to address the other five extinctions. Our current best guess is that those other five were primarily caused by flood basalt volcanism (with an accessory role for bolides). Which means that humans are merely a biocidal sidekick, compared to this:

Therefore, if aliens with superpowers want to properly protect diversified marcofaunal ecosystems, they shouldn’t kill us. We may be messy, but our common enemy is the mantle plume. Aliens serious about reducing the risk of ecological catastrophe should instead eliminate thermal instabilities at the core-mantle boundary. To do anything else would be a 1/6 measure. And they can even ask these guys for technical tips.


Paul Foord said...

Maybe they can't address the other 5, #6 is happening now.

Should it be
diversified macrofaunal ecosystems

C W Magee said...

I suppose that Marcofauna might be interesting to those who think Mr. Polo was a beast...