I recently read a story that recent studies have indicated that bee venom could be used to fight HIV. If these findings ultimately lead to a cure of HIV, this would alleviate a lot of pain and suffering for those who have been infected by this ruthless virus.
Aside from the obvious public health benefits that could result from these findings, I also think findings such as this one also move us one step closer to a world where biodiversity moves beyond an abstract soft science that has led to a pathos driven environmental movement. We will no longer protect biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. Instead biodiversity will be subject to market forces that will more clearly communicate the value of biodiversity in economic terms that can be quantified.
If something as simple as bee venom can be used to treat a fatal disease, then it becomes a lot easier to do a cost benefit analysis to justify the preservation of bees – or at least their genetic code.
Similarly, many other species might be hiding useful resources in their respective genetic codes, which makes them worth preserving and ultimately patenting. The next step will be for humans to genetically engineer new species in order to extract additional resources out of the infinite abundance of DNA. Market forces will generate an explosion of biodiversity that will be so vast that the past 100s of millions of years of evolution will pale in comparison.
The energy and wealth that we waste trying to protect some sublime level of biodiversity will eventually be expended in the more productive cause of trying to contain, manipulate, and engineer biodiversity for the improvement of mankind. Once you have anthropogenic ingenuity combined with exponential leaps in information technology (aka genetic engineering) and add some free market steroids, you will end up with a biodiversity explosion that will make the Cambrian Explosion look like a firecracker.