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Old 04-03-2011, 07:20 AM   #1
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Default Mother Nature's Melting Pot???

I just read this op/ed piece in the New York times. Seems like a piece of twisted logic to me. The author is an anthropologist, and a new immigrant, with an anthropocentric view of the world. His main idea is that if human diversity is good (a mix of all cultures from all over the globe) then plant and animal diversity (using his meaning as a mix of all species from all over the globe) is just as good.

Anyone with good writing skills willing to challenge this guy's theory? I'd love to see a follow-up.

April 2, 2011 NYTimes Opinions page:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/opinion/03Raffles.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:15 AM   #2
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~sigh~

I'm practically speechless. This reminds me of a debate on Native Plant Forum form YEARS ago when people compared us to Nazis.

My only thought was to say that the "melting pot" idea of America is kind of dated...most recently I've heard it related to a salad bowl, but I was thinking of comparing it to a quilt. Without the individual colors and patterns, the beauty of the quilt is lost.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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Oh, and we should point out that we even believe in keeping plants from other parts of the United States from invading areas to which they could wreak havoc.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:51 PM   #4
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Meh. I feel our right honourable friend, Mr Raffles, is misguided on a few levels.

1) Humans share a common ancestor from a few millennia ago. The common ancestor for the flora and fauna isolated itself 10s of millions of years ago.
There is a fundamental difference here. No melting can occur, since no crossing of genetic information can occur, because the genomes are too widely diverged. To suggest otherwise is either willfully ignorant or stupid. (And I do not like using the term stupid.)

2) Even though humans are (genetically speaking) all the same, there was still virtually no melting going on. It was, time and time again, Europeans going out to various countries, pillaging their wealth, and committing genocide. That is: even though we could have melted, we did not. Also, the mixing of humans caused massive disease and devastation which generally polished off whomever survived the initial genocide.
Again, to pretend that some sort of priceless Sesame Street / United Colours of Beneton moment occurred is willfully ignorant or stupid. It does not. It ends in disaster, even when we are dealing with human abstract choice and we can see the cultures vanishing before our eyes. Obviously natural selection has no qualms with disposing of anything.

I mean, this guy is an anthropologist. He knows more about this stuff than I do. It's essentially a troll plus some media whoring.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:03 PM   #5
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hahahaha, OK, a good measure for your vanity / media whoring index is how much you have written of your own Wiki page.

Let's have a look at Mr Raffles shall we?

Revision history of Hugh Raffles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hmmmmm. A lot of the same IP addresses popping up over and over again. What could this mean? Well, he owns up to a fair number of edits. And maybe he has some dedicated editors? Ahhhh, no. See for instance anon contrib User contributions for 66.108.70.235 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia note the fact that the ONLY thing that IP has EVER edited is the hugh raffles page. Almost like it again is Hugh.

The guy is a legend in his own dreamtime. He has written nearly line of his wiki page. Oh dear. You could try to be a little more subtle my friend.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:33 PM   #6
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I'm way ahead of you with a blog post I put up yesterday titled "I Apparently Hate Mexicans" Before clicking! Know that I blog to try and make money through ads and in this particular post I use the F word a number of times.

In summary, this article was clearly written by an idiot. It is nothing but confusion. We start by looking at a picture that's obviously a 6th grader's interpretation of Dr. Seuss and probably hanging on a fridge somewhere. What does that have to do with native species you ask? Well the article stars off by comparing conservationists to the governor of Arizona and her anti mexican immigrant policy. What does that have to do with native species you ask? Well the author believes that we clearly view Mexicans as an entirely different species, thus proving how much of an idiot the author is.

He goes on to talk about the benefits of nonnatives. Zebra Mussels filter water and at the same time say screw you to indoor plumbing as their shells grow throughout pipes and clog into solid masses of calcium shells.

Kudzu, notorious for turning forests into topiary graveyards, is beneficial because it feeds livestock... and I suggest we start herding Giraffes to help eat the parts of the plant higher up in the trees. Modern day sheep and cows just can't reach that high. Perhaps a crane and pulley system to elevate the cow up there?

He goes on to dig a deeper hole and shove his head farther and farther into the sand. Which should have been the picture for the article in my opinion.

Could someone explain to me Ice Plant and why it's being used to stabilize rail roads. Apparently it's roots stabilize sand dunes that rails run over... did we have a rock shortage in the 1900s I'm not aware of? Someone thought to import a plant from South Africa as opposed to just use rocks.

Quote:
"Eucalyptus trees as an important nectar source for the Monarch butterfly?"
This statement has inspired me to make a dirty sock garden. And you can try this at home too. Take the most foul smelling socks you have and dip them in a well mixed 1 to 1 ratio of sugar water. And hang them in the "garden." Don't even bother to include plants. Just hang as many awful smelling socks coated in sugar water and High Fructose Corn Syrup if available. The absolute storm of bees that will show up on a nice day is something to behold. Place a few signs saying "Monarch Way Stop" and "Save the Bees" while you're at it. And this will prove how pointless nectar sources are when judging environmental impact.

The Pepsi corporation has a building here in south NJ. One day one of their trucks accidentally spilled a few hundred thousand gallons of High Fructose Corn Syrup all over their loading bay. This attracted the attention of every honey bee hive within a 6 mile radios.

This past year up in New York beekeepers were finding vibrant red goo being brought into their hives by the bees. The cause was found to be a factory dumping a chemical dye called Red (number something) out into the river and the bees were lapping it up.

The same concept is applied to hummingbird feeders. If it's sweet it will be eaten by things that like sweet things.

Getting back to the article the only real point this guy makes any sense about is with the Mountain Pine Beetle expanding it's range.

What does any of this have to do with hating Mexicans you ask? I'm still trying to figure that one out.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:22 PM   #7
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How did that guy get that article printed? Talk about using all the controversy pushing words and phrases to catch a keyword search. If you have come to the conclusion that species newly arrived to a community are not a bad thing, that the movement of plants, animals and insects, even microorganisms has always gone on and if that is convenient to the human species or not is unimportant in the long run, then say so. But do not suggest that it is not a problem.
When any species bullies its way in and overpopulates to the extent that it wipes out most everything else and does not provide the functions of the species it replaces or allow other backup species to exist,that seems a problem. We do what we can, make judgement calls. People have modified their habitats to suit themselves with little regard for the other species and the function of those species. Mostly out of a desire to do what is best for themselves with the knowledge at hand I'm sure.
I would like to change that,learn to think and act in a way that leaves less destruction, if that is possible.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:22 PM   #8
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Human beings are all the same exact species, the animals and plants referred to are not.

Racism--or disliking others of your 'species' based on perceived, superficial differences such as skin color, ethnic ancestry or other factors has nothing whatever to do with the environmental impact of introducing non-native plant and animal species--these are species that are very distinct from those that co-evolved in a specific environment.

I wish someone well-versed in both native plants and racism would take this issue on.
I've heard it before, and I'm always surprised that people just don't get it that humans are all one species.

Perhaps this is hard to grasp because, to our human perception, the plants and animals of a single species seem to appear more 'alike' than humans do?
That says more about us and how we perceive things than it does about the variation in a species!
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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Here is a link to a rebuttal article as suggested (or so says Elizabeth at Garden Rant today) by Tallamy.
A nice long, statement by statement breakdown, of the offending op-ed.

Invasive Notes: An Invasive Response to Mother Nature’s Melting Pot
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