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Keith W Henline

creator , CeeAmerica

TEDCRED 100+

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Are human beings a virus?

Agent Smith: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we (computers) are the cure.
Points established:
1) Humans are in fact mammals!
Points in question:
1) Humans are different from all other mammals?
I would say "NO", 65 million years ago monkeys were bashing other monkeys heads in for sport just as humans and monkeys still do! What's changed?
So, are human beings a virus?
Again I would say "NO" but we sure act like a virus with most of the same characteristics and with the same result(destruction of the host).

Thank you all for participating and as usual I will give any of you the last word. There are still two days left to add anything you want to the summation and conclusions I have drawn above. Love the dark...Keith

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Closing Statement from Keith W Henline

Points established:
1) Humans are in fact mammals!
Points in question:
1) Humans are different from all other mammals?
I would say "NO", 65 million years ago monkeys were bashing other monkeys heads in for sport just as humans and monkeys still do! What's changed?
So, are human beings a virus?
Again I would say "NO" but we sure act like a virus with most of the same characteristics and with the same result(destruction of the host).

I believe we can do better, it will be up to our next generation and so far they are not disappointing. I love their independent, self-confident, nature. Just what is needed! Go get em kids

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    Dec 13 2013: This is the definition of a computer virus:
    "a piece of code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data."

    1) Humans produce an ever increasing number of copies of themselves.
    2) Humans certainly have a detrimental effect on the system (global environment)
    3) Humans destroy a lot of things not only data.

    So, somehow I get the impression that the term virus might be applicable to us.
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      Dec 13 2013: what about a rabbit?
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        Dec 13 2013: Rabbits have enemies that at least try to control its reproduction (us for example). We can shoot rabbits to reduce the population but using the same method on people doesn't seem to be a good idea.
        Rabbit's although they can be pretty destructive, they limit themselves to veggies which is unlikely to result in a potential destruction of our planet.
        Also, humans have a global impact, while rabbits are more of local and perhaps regional concern.
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          Dec 13 2013: that is like the 4th point missing from the above list? because i see no mentioning "lack of effective control on its numbers". all your 3 points pretty much match different animals/plants in different times and places. the first huge ecological disaster was caused by single cell plants in the ocean. or you can look up what rabbits did in australia.
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        Dec 13 2013: Their are plagues of any kind whether that's rabbits or algae or whatever. However, even the worst plagues are limited in scope or are you saying that rabbits took over our planet and now dominate it ?
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        Dec 13 2013: Not every single life form has our capabilities. For example a sea star population on a coral reef might destroy this reef if unchecked, however, it will always be limited to the reef because it just can't survive anywhere else. Beside, once the reef is destroyed the sea star population will start to go down or even be extinguished as well.
        Only humans have a global spread plus the intellectual and technological capabilities to potentially destroy the entire planet. We are also the only organism that can circumvent limits nature usually puts on unchecked population growth.
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          Dec 13 2013: so your argument boils down to: humans are more able than other animals. but then you should forget the 3 points of yours, and have this single one instead.

          that is something i agree with. humans are a uniquely capable race. we actually can kill the planet if we really want to. probably, at any rate.

          but that does not make us virus. this makes us ... well i'd leave the classification to mr peter weyland :).
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        Dec 13 2013: Obviously we are not a virus, let alone a computer virus, by definition. However, we have characteristics that are typical for a virus.
        Actually, we are potentially even more dangerous than a virus.Probably we need to invent a new term for that.
        This brings up another question. Are we as a species sustainable ? So far our existence on this planet is pretty short compared to other life forms (e.g. dinos that existed for some 130 million years) yet we already managed to cause quite some havoc on this planet.
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          Dec 13 2013: no we don't, because we just established that all animals have the characteristics we have. in fact, all living organisms. you can not define "virus" as "successful". i mean, come on!

          it is not decided whether we are sustainable, and the question is never provable positively. but as things look now, i would give bigger chance of surviving the next 500 years than not. alas, not as much bigger as i would like to.
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        Dec 13 2013: ".....next 500 years..."
        lol.....a pessimistic outlook. 500 years isn't a lot in the big scheme of things.
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        Dec 15 2013: What about a Humuhumunukunukuapuaʻa?
    • Dec 13 2013: And how is this different from EVERY OTHER ORGANISM???
    • Dec 16 2013: EVERY OTHER ORGANISM ON EARTH does those things you claim. Humans are just very efficient.
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        Dec 16 2013: As I pointed out above, humans ARE different in the sense that we apply intelligence and technology.
        We are also the only ones that invade every corner of our planet, while most other species are limited to a particular environmental niche.
        • Dec 17 2013: The latter is merely an accidental outcome of being particularly good at being organisms. The former may be what matters. Our destructiveness is shared with every other living thing. It is the nature of life to destroy and exploit. It is our ability and (sometimes) willingness to hold back on that nature that is unusual, but the cultists don't want to see it that way. They prefer childish fairy tales of "nature in harmony" under attack by innately evil humanity.
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        Dec 17 2013: Ecosystems are systems where all components interact. Removing just one element can cause problems.
        For example, fungi are extremely important organisms in the soil. Heavy fertilizer and herbicide use can kill them or at least substantially reduce them, hence a negative impact can be expected. The same is true for other organisms living in the soil.
        Another example is deforestation. It's no secret that deforestation causes huge problems. Areas that previously were covered by tropical forest in Brazil turned into waste lands.

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