published Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Millions of unknown species?

Scientists have some fairly educated guesses about human populations. Earth has nearly 7 billion people, we're told, and more than 300 million people live in the United States.

But we are staggered by the recently reported estimate that there are almost 9 million species on Earth -- and that we have identified fewer than 2 million of them so far.

"We are really fairly ignorant of the complexity and colorfulness of this amazing planet," Boris Worm, the Canadian co-author of the study that came up with those incredible figures, told The Associated Press.

Animals made up -- pardon the expression -- the lion's share of the species, totaling about 7.8 million. Fungi species followed, with more than 600,000, and there are an estimated 300,000 plant species.

The researchers acknowledged that their estimate could be off by quite a bit. They said the true number of species could be anywhere between 7.5 million and 10.1 million. Other scientists say even that wide range could be significantly off.

But what apparently no one contests is the fact that Earth is home to a stunning diversity of life -- which makes existence for us humans infinitely more interesting.

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una61 said...

The stunning diversity comes from Natural Selection operating for 3.5 billion years. Biologists estimate that only about 1% of all the species that ever originated have survived.

August 27, 2011 at 7:13 a.m.
EaTn said...

una61... natural selection from what? With all their wisdom and perfect laboratory conditions science has yet to replicate even a simple form of life like bacteria.

August 27, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

There are several scenarios proposed for the beginning of life. You can educate yourself here: (well referenced to the original cites)

August 27, 2011 at 9:03 a.m.
EaTn said...

Here is another scenario on the creation of life:

August 27, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

There are two versions in the bible. Which one is correct?

If you want your explanation of life and its diversity to be scientific, you must assume that everything can be explained by physical laws. No magic, no supernatural, no poofing. Genesis (both versions), Noah's flood and an 8000 year old universe doesn't meet this requirement. So, you can believe what you want, but don't expect science to take it seriously, or teach it as science.

Religion, in order to hold to ancient texts in a literal way, must dismiss most physical evidence. Therefore, to explain the earth's features, you must be reduced to "God making it appear to be very old, making it appear (along separate lines of evidence) that all life descended from a common ancestor and is interrelated (again, using independent evidence from multiple disciplines)." So, is your God the ultimate trickster? Or could it be possible that your holy book is an account down the centuries by people who did not have the tools or knowledge to explain the earth as we do today?

Since you had no comment about my suggested source, you a) never even looked at it or b) do not have sufficient science background to make it out. To cling to a stone-age fairy tale version of the earth's origin shows unwillingness to use the magnificent brain you were blessed with. What a pity.

August 27, 2011 at 12:26 p.m.
EaTn said...

Ikeithlu...I don't think the Bible was meant to be used as a science book nor do I believe the science books should be used as a religious book. The Creator of the universe designed us with a brain and a spirit and soul, not as mindless robots. Those who ignore one or more of these given functions are missing out on the joy and purpose that we were intended.

August 27, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

That may be true, EaTn. My problem, however, is with folks that interfere with the teaching of sound science because it doesn't square with their religious beliefs. In doing so, they spread misinformation, telling folks they must choose between reality (the scientific explanation of the physical world and all life on earth) and God, quote mining scientists to twist what they say to imply that science is split on this issue, and accuse the scientific community of some vast atheist/socialist/communist conspiracy to lead people away from the faith. The small percentage of Christians that INSIST on a literal interpretation of the entire Bible (including the two versions of Genesis creation that don't square with each other) have to lie to support their claims. Hardly Christian behavior, in my opinion.

August 27, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
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