Ethics extinction Human evolution Intelligent Design Philosophy

Human extinction as collateral damage

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Recently, Clemson U philosopher Todd May whistled through the system on the pros and cons of human extinction:

May’s reasoning is fascinatingly nihilistic. He argues that human extinction would be tragic because we have a tragic flaw – our shortsighted use of the environment – which would be recitified by our extinction. “Humanity,” he says, “is the source of devastation of the lives of conscious animals on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.” And while he recognizes that “nature itself is hardly a Valhalla of peace and harmony,” humans are uniquely cruel (in our defense, we don’t have a generalized habit of cannibalizing our mates, as some species do). He explains that we’re wrecking the world. Ben Shapiro, “Clemson Philosopher In NYT: Maybe We Should All Kill Ourselves, Or At Least Abort All Future Children To Save The Planet” at Daily Wire

It’s funny how confused one can be today and still teach philosophy. What’s wrong with a spider eating her mate? One can provide a moral account of why it would be wrong for humans to do that but spiders do what they do. On what basis could a spider be doing something “wrong”?

Readers can address the rest.

See also: Is salad murder? If we think plants are “equal organisms” with respect to humans, it’s not clear whether salad is or isn’t murder. Or whether murder is even a serious ethical problem.

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13 Replies to “Human extinction as collateral damage

  1. 1
    Ed George says:

    Human extinction is an interesting subject to speculate on. Not the impact on life on earth, because it will proceed with or without us.

    Of greater interest to me is what the most likely cause of extinction would be. An asteroid or other natural disaster? Epidemic? War? Environmental contamination resulting in reduced birth rates? Cultural changes resulting in reduced birth rates? Replaced by an evolved population of Uber-humans? Genetic engineering gone wrong?

    Do we go out with a bang or with a whimper?

  2. 2
    ET says:

    I know one thing that will NOT cause our extinction- “adjusting” the historical record and “correcting” the current record in an attempt to show there has been warming due to our output of CO2.

    That said, there is hope. New Jersey has a very successful vertical farm. And now Dubai is set to have the world’s largest vertical farm. NJ’s will then be the second largest.

    Vertical farms require fewer resources and much smaller footprint all with much higher yields. Sorry, much, much higher- up to 390 times the same footprint of fertile land.

  3. 3
    vmahuna says:

    Well, any number of cultures, including Christians, accept that humanity will come to an end at some specific point in the future. Not a single human will survive, but in many versions of the myths, Earth itself and most of the nonhuman life on it will continue.

    So the Extinction guys only change the FOCUS of their version of the myth: humans will be exterminated by Nature so that sewer rats and slime slugs can more completely enjoy Earth. And THAT would seem to be the ULTIMATE disproof of Darwinian Evolution (i.e., fully evolved humans naturally cause their own extinction).

  4. 4
    Ed George says:

    V

    So the Extinction guys only change the FOCUS of their version of the myth: humans will be exterminated by Nature so that sewer rats and slime slugs can more completely enjoy Earth. And THAT would seem to be the ULTIMATE disproof of Darwinian Evolution (i.e., fully evolved humans naturally cause their own extinction).

    I don’t see how this would disprove anything. Could you elaborate?

  5. 5
    ScuzzaMan says:

    I’m always fascinated by the odd perspective of many who claim to simultaneously believe that:
    – man is just another animal, a product of “mother nature and father time”
    AND
    – man’s actions and artifacts are UN-natural.

    Doublethink is alive and well …

  6. 6
    Ed George says:

    ScuzzaMan@5, if we were to accept that all life on earth originated and evolved through non-intelligent processes, then, by definition, anything we do would be the result of natural, although possibly unique, processes. Our actions may be the result of completely “natural” processes but we could still suffer the consequences, even to the point of extinction, of our actions. Bacteria growing in a petri dish reproduce and grow naturally but, given time, will all die due to depletion of the nutrients necessary to survive.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    if we were to accept that all life on earth originated and evolved through non-intelligent processes,

    Why would anyone accept and completely nonsensical and untestable claim?

  8. 8
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Why would anyone accept and completely nonsensical and untestable claim?

    Raising a hypothetical and following the hypothetical to its logical conclusion is a common and powerful form of investigation.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    Raising a hypothetical and following the hypothetical to its logical conclusion is a common and powerful form of investigation.

    An untestable concept doesn’t have a logical conclusion. The best it can offer is a subjective conclusion.

  10. 10
    Ed George says:

    ET

    An untestable concept doesn’t have a logical conclusion. The best it can offer is a subjective conclusion.

    Are you suggesting that you can’t follow untestable hypotheses, like evolution, to their logical conclusions to infer that something else is is a more likely explanation?

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    Are you suggesting that you can’t follow untestable hypotheses, like evolution, to their logical conclusions to infer that something else is is a more likely explanation?

    Clearly you have reading comprehension issues, Ed.

    I am saying that there isn’t any logical conclusion to be had from imaginary scenarios. So it would be hard to follow something that doesn’t exist.

  12. 12
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Clearly you have reading comprehension issues, Ed.

    I am certainly not going to lower myself to your level of immature comment on Christmas Eve. All I will say is, Merry Christmas.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Yes, Ed, it was very mature of you to misrepresent what I post. [facepalm]

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