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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Question of the Day #30: Pigs On The Wing

Image hosting by PhotobucketKeeping in the same theme as the last post, here are some more animal questions.

Is there actually a moral imparative to preserving endangered species?

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22 Comments:

At 3/04/2006 1:56 AM, Blogger UberKuh declaimed...

If circle of life dies, given that we're part of that circle, then, eventually, we die. It's in our best interest to protect other species. We don't have to try to protect them all, but, given how little we understand about the biosphere, we should try. It's ignorant to think that life can adapt in any situation.

 
At 3/04/2006 3:35 AM, Blogger Mike declaimed...

I don't think I'd use moral language in this case... but surely it seems like pure self interest to not fuck with the ecosystem too much?

 
At 3/04/2006 9:04 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

It depends on what the moral basis is of keeping a species alive. If it's "allowing a species to go extinct is immoral," then it seems that the entirety of biological history has been immoral, because the vast majority of species throughout the history of this planet have gone extinct.

What would be more relevant is framing it from a human perspective. That is, if a particular species is necessary for human survival, then it is moral to preserve it. Of course, then you run into the obvious conclusion that if any given species is, in fact, necessary for human survival, then we wouldn't likely allow it to go extinct anyway, unless we were facing the same threat.

 
At 3/04/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Yes, because humans require the existence of other species of life forms to survive.

We simply cannot exist without the existence of other kinds of life forms.

Think about, for example, if humans were to colonize Mars. Would humans be the only kind of life form on Mars? Would humans even be able to colonize Mars without using other life forms as well? Nope.

 
At 3/04/2006 5:17 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

I have never seen any scientific evidence showing that the extinction of particular species was a detriment to human life. In some cases, it seems to me rather like a BENEFIT (such as the extinction of crocodile species that threaten human lives).

It is the extinction of NICHES in an ecosystem that is dangerous, not specific species. The proof is that after all mass extinction events, new species rise in prominence, filling the niches of previous species. The survival of specific species is not necessary at all.

The other part of this is that we are barely making a dent in the total number of species. Once the whole world is developed and extinctions are no longer needed, we will still have plenty of biodiversity around, and we'll be able to rebuild the rest.

 
At 3/04/2006 10:42 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

We seem to be doing just fine without dodo birds and pteradactyls. In fact, I wouldn't mind if some species did become extinct, such as cockroaches. As for myself, I recognize no obligation to take actions to preserve some species that is thought to be on the verge of extinction. If there is an endangered species that I need to protect, it is the rational human being that needs protecting, not some spotted owl or tree frog.

 
At 3/05/2006 3:51 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Species have become extinct within the past, however at a slow rate. Or, highly specialized species (such as the Dodo) have became extinct and have had their niche replaced by another species. However, if very important (to the food web) species become extinct, at a rapid rate, before others can adapt to take their niche, than we are in trouble.

Entire ecosystems depend on important species, and when such species become extinct, cataclysmic consequences follow. These consequences can directly affect the happiness and well being of humans. As such, species important to the ecosystem deserve protection.

 
At 3/05/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Great, another humanist. Geesh.

 
At 3/05/2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Actually, I'm the same individual.

 
At 3/05/2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

By the way, Tremblay, if you aren't an objectivist why did you write http://www.whatisobjectivism.com/ with a Pro-Objectivist Point of View?

 
At 3/05/2006 5:55 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Because I wrote that years ago. My turn asking questions : why aren't you gone yet ?

 
At 3/05/2006 5:59 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Because it is fun to observe the reaction of egoists, when a Utilitarian humanist arrives.

 
At 3/05/2006 6:50 PM, Blogger BlackSun declaimed...

The moral imperative comes from two sources:

1) The utility of a given species to humans: keeping the food chain intact, plants that provide pharmaceutical drugs, uptake of C02. These are all vital functions. Soil can contain a thousand distinct species of bacteria per cubic centimeter. Without these creatures, the soil is infertile, and plants will not grow. These are just a few examples.

2) As the most intelligent product of evolution, man also contains DNA remnants of a vast number of other species. This is our connection and commonality with them, and we should protect them out of self-respect.

This being said, we have to keep human life as a first priority. But while doing so, we cannot ignore the fact that changing the ecosystem can have unintended consequences to humans. We should be very careful and try to preserve the balance whenever possible. Cost-benefit analyses of any proposed action should be required.

 
At 3/05/2006 8:14 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Agreed; humans should be the first priority; however other sentient beings deserve some consideration.

 
At 3/05/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

My reaction is that I want you to stop posting here. However, if you're going to do it anyway, at least don't parrot your fucking humanist propaganda.

 
At 3/05/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

The following statements aren't solely humanistic, but also adopted from Utilitarianism.

 
At 3/05/2006 10:02 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

Veh. Diversity of species helps the environment repair itself, and ultimately might improve the quality of my life either through medical discovery, or environmental enjoyment. We aren't smart enough to know for sure what might be important now, or in the future. Self-interest, not morality.

As for telemarketers and other undesireable sub-species, I think we have enough to declare an open season on them. Don't be too quick to kill off the cockroaches though, even if you did have a plan that stood a chance of success. If the control-freaks ever blow the crap out of everything with nuclear weapons, the lowly cockroach might be the only life form available to start the ecosystem over. I can just imagine the civilization that might arise 30 million years hence declaring that God made "Blargs" (or whatever they call themselves) in his own image. In which case their God would really be a cockroach.

 
At 3/05/2006 10:53 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

I dno't accept utilitarianism as an argument. Only individual self-interest. Utilitarianism is a tool of justification for the democratic state and its immoral actions.

 
At 3/06/2006 12:02 AM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Isn't everyone of equal moral value?

 
At 3/06/2006 2:53 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Who are you talking to ?

 
At 3/08/2006 12:52 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

When we say "endangered species," we always think of something around the size of a breadbox. But species go extinct all the time. Bugs, small rodents. Nobody seems to apply the same "circle of life" logic to those.

So, why shouldn't we? Nobody ever says that the balance of life is completely upset by the extinction of those tiny things--bugs, small rodents--even bacteria and viruses. How come the logic is supposed to work for larger mammals and birds, but not for bugs and bacteria?

 
At 3/08/2006 12:53 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

...so to add to the humanist's statement, if everyone is of equal moral value, then so are bugs and worms and bacteria.

 

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