Would you please tell me what the meaning of "no-analog" in the following context is?

One conclusion that can be drawn from a no-analog future is that further manipulations, whether genetic, ecological, or climatic, are not only necessary but justified. Source

Wikipedia defines no-analog in ecology as:

No-analog (variants may omit the hyphen and/or use the British English analogue), or alternately novel, climatic conditions ("no-analog climates") or biological communities ("no-analog communities") in paleoecology and ecological forecasting are those without current equivalents. Source

But I do not clearly understands that definition either. Does that mean "a totally new condition"? If so, then how may the conclusion mentioned in the text be drawn from a novel future?

  • The Wiki entry emphasizes ecology not no-analog, so that's distracting. It seems no-analog means totally new, without comparison, unmatched, wholly original, even bizarre. A future unmatched by anything we know now would justify manipulations. That's what it means, but why, you got me. I'll wait to see. – Yosef Baskin Jun 30 '17 at 19:47
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    Try replacing no analog with no equivalent ODO. Analogue is the British spelling. – MikeJRamsey56 Jun 30 '17 at 20:02
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    Of course, "no analog" could refer to a future where everything is digitized. (But that would only be done tongue-in-cheek.) – Hot Licks Jun 30 '17 at 20:04
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    @Sasan I think MikeJRamsey56 was talking about the distant future. 5 minutes from now is still the future but (hopefully) not too different. – marcellothearcane Jun 30 '17 at 20:24
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    It means that there is no period of the past, say the Great Inquisition, that one can point to as an analog of this future that is being envisioned. In particular, if dealing with a phenomenon such as Climate Change or simply the rapid introduction of species from one continent to another, no analogous period in the past can be found. – Hot Licks Jun 30 '17 at 20:25

Allow me to draw your attention to one meaning of the word 'analog':

analogue (US analog) noun A person or thing seen as comparable to another. ‘an interior analogue of the exterior world’ - ODO

Hence, in the context that you mention, 'no-analog communities' would mean communities that have existed in the past, judging from archaeological or other evidence, but which have no comparable descendants today. They are 'novel' in the sense that they have been newly discovered by researchers. Therefore, the sentence in question seems to be saying: Since there will be a future when totally 'new' communities will be discovered because there will be no comparable living communities, genetic, ecological or climatic manipulation by man is not only necessary, but justified. Hope this helps.

  • Thanks. But why in such a future human manipulation is necessary but justified? – Sasan Jun 30 '17 at 20:59
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    That's because without such intervention, we will not be able to see the path that Nature is taking. We will not be able predict or track evolution, for example. Also, the author is referring to the second view, that everything in Nature is humanized. I think he may be deliberately contrasting the two perspectives, just so that he can assert that the first view - that Nature is at its wildest best when untouched by man - is valid. – user243226 Jun 30 '17 at 21:19
  • Hi Nikhil, to help make it easier for readers to determine for themselves whether an assertion has support beyond the writer's own opinion, we prefer quotes to include citations and links where possible. (It also helps avoid the charge of plagiarism.) I happened to notice that your definition is identical to the definition used in ODO, and have formatted that definition in the style I often use on this site. Please feel free to edit further or to roll it back. – Lawrence Jun 30 '17 at 23:23
  • Hi Lawrence, I do get your point. And I'll do that in future. However, I am not sure where exactly you'd like me to insert the citation and// link. If possible, where possible, please do make any changes as per the rules of this site, since I am just too much of a novice. Thanks a million! – user243226 Jul 1 '17 at 18:36

I believe that in this context no-analog is referring to the lack of parallel evolution or the lack of conditions that lead to parallel evolution. For example, there are species that are very similar (analogous) but evolved separately, because the environmental factors influencing their natural selection were similar.

For example the environmental conditions that lead to the natural selection for dinosaurs has no analog. However, the environmental condition that lead to the natural selection that resulted in the "Flying Squirrel" a rodent, had an analogous environment that led to the development of the similar "Sugar Glider" , a marsupial. These two animals are similar in that they can glide from tree to tree, but they evolved in completely different ecosystems that happened to be analogous.

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