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Nature is disappearing. More and more species have become extinct and the remainder of the rainforest is being cut down as we speak. That feels like a disaster, but is it? Philosopher Bas Haring urges us to rethink the loss of biodiversity and contradicts the apocalyptic consequences of biodiversity loss. We can afford to lose some species, he claims. Do you agree?
Bas Haring, Professor Public Understanding of Science at Leiden University, values biodiversity, he likes it, but the loss of species is not necessarily a disaster. He says: “We shouldn’t just believe that all biodiversity is useful and go along with the idea that all loss would be disastrous.” Conscious of the fact that biologists are claiming the opposite, Haring argues that these findings are value judgements, based on the inherently subjective idea that we should do everything to preserve nature and species. During his lecture, Bas Haring deconstructs our conception of biodiversity and claims that biodiversity loss will not cause severe suffering, nor a collapse of nature.
After the short lecture, Tamar Stelling, who is one of the journalists of The Correspondent (a popular nationwide journalistic platform), responds to Haring’s controversial statement and provides several arguments for the preservation of nature and species. After her rebuttal, both Haring and Stelling engage in further conversation about this pressing issue. TU Delft’s Bertus Beaumont will host the evening and moderate the discussion.
About the speakers
Bas Haring is a philosopher with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and is professor in the Public Understanding of Science at Leiden University. In 2016 he was awarded the ‘Clear Language Prize’ for being the clearest and best understandable Dutch academic. He is a lauded author of several popular scientific books. His current project is entitledWhy Biodiversity Loss is not a Disaster. It’s an extensive essay that exactly claims what its title suggests and it will be accompanied with a visual, interactive summary.
Tamar Stelling is correspondent ‘non-human life‘ for the member-funded journalism platform The Correspondent, based in Amsterdam. From 2009 to 2016, she worked as a freelance journalist writing about art, science and technology for Dutch national media like NRC Handelsblad, HP de Tijd, Intermediair, Moesson, the Uitkrant and occasionally Anglo-Saxon media such as NewScientist and The Washington Post.
Bertus Beaumont is an Assistant Professor Bionanoscience at the TU Delft.
[In co-op with X TU Delft]