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Talk has not halted biodiversity loss


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#16    Druidus-Logos

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:02 AM

View Postredhen, on 17 August 2010 - 09:54 PM, said:

So you would be ok with a nuclear holocaust? Can I ask how old you are?



I wondered how it would take before someone accused me of being emotional/sentimental. This not an aesthetic argument ( I like apples, Bob likes grapes), in which there is in fact nothing to argue. This is a philosophical moral argument.




So Might makes Right? If that's the case, then why did so many people over the millennium rise up and fight against tyranny? http://en.wikipedia....iki/Magna_Carta
And God help you if more powerful aliens land and start harvesting humans for food, because you will have no moral argument against it.



Doubtful. We have no idea how many undiscovered species might exist in the Amazon that may hold a cure for cancer.



These beings all play a role in their environments. Their demise will surely have some effects.



Yeah, Technology will save the planet. Sure it will, just look at all the ways in which it has benefited the planet.

/sarcasm off

Great post, you said a lot of what I wanted to.  I'll post a reply in the morning.

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Censorship has always been used as a tool to subjugate minority ideas, regardless of validity.  Used to delegitimize certain points of view.  This kind of arbitary censorship will always be an injustice to humanity; it tries to brush ideas under the rug.  It forces the adoption of certain mainstream views, making it impossible to teach, learn, or speak about ideas that the censors disagree with.  This will always be unethical.

#17    Wyrdlight

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 10:31 AM

View Postredhen, on 17 August 2010 - 09:54 PM, said:

So you would be ok with a nuclear holocaust? Can I ask how old you are?



I wondered how it would take before someone accused me of being emotional/sentimental. This not an aesthetic argument ( I like apples, Bob likes grapes), in which there is in fact nothing to argue. This is a philosophical moral argument.




So Might makes Right? If that's the case, then why did so many people over the millennium rise up and fight against tyranny? http://en.wikipedia....iki/Magna_Carta
And God help you if more powerful aliens land and start harvesting humans for food, because you will have no moral argument against it.



Doubtful. We have no idea how many undiscovered species might exist in the Amazon that may hold a cure for cancer.



These beings all play a role in their environments. Their demise will surely have some effects.



Yeah, Technology will save the planet. Sure it will, just look at all the ways in which it has benefited the planet.

/sarcasm off

1. I did not say I was advocating such a world, merely that, from a bio-diversity and logical view-point they are almost exactly the same, both environments with species in them, neither is more valuable than the other, the are just differant.

2. I am arguing that morals have little if anything to do with it, some people say we should save all the species, i say we should only fight the battles we can win and save those species we need to save to retain ecosystem stability and help us in the future that is my arguemant, i see it as simple maths.

3. We are the dominant species, we have the poetential to do as we please the very fact we have evolved to become the dominant species proves this.  I am not saying that might is right, only that it is in our nature to control our environment.  Is the termite evil for eating the home you live in? It has evolved to do so, to control and shape its environment as we have done.

4. You misudertand, if it goes extinct before we reach it, then we never knew about it and thus did not have the oppertunity to save it.  Thats like saying "I did not turn right at the cross-roads, and thus did not meet the man who would have given me a Million pounds, i turned left instead and now i have missed that chance", we will find a way with waht we have access to, or we will go extinct.

5. The demise of such animals would have very little effect, Panda, eats fast growing plant matter, if its not thier..... you get a few more plants.  Tiger eats some deer and cows, its not thier then.... you get more deer roaming around for us/another predator to eat etc etc.  They are not keystone species, in terms of ecosystem function, they matter very little.

6.Benifited the plannet? once again the plannet is being deemed a thing akin to a person, it is not, in a million years we will have left this earth or be extinct and the earth will live on.  Short of crashing it into mars or blowing it apart, there is almost nothing we could do to "damage" it in any permenant way.  All the changes we have wrought are a speck in the ocean, a blink in the Earths life.  There have been mass extinction events in past and will be more in the future, somthing will survive, and life will begin anew.


#18    redhen

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 02:39 PM

View PostWyrdlight, on 18 August 2010 - 10:31 AM, said:

1. I did not say I was advocating such a world, merely that, from a bio-diversity and logical view-point they are almost exactly the same,

How can the rich biodiversity (that we still have left) be compared to a post-apocalyptic planet?

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both environments with species in them, neither is more valuable than the other, the are just differant.

One is rich in biodiversity, the other is a monoculture of cockroaches.


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2. I am arguing that morals have little if anything to do with it,

It's a moral question of whether our species should treat everything on the planet as ours to consume, and in the process, degrading the ecosphere.

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some people say we should save all the species, i say we should only fight the battles we can win and save those species we need to save to retain ecosystem stability and help us in the future that is my arguemant, i see it as simple maths.

Some species go extinct naturally, most though are heading to extinction from human interference. I know, you're going to say now that man is an animal, therefore everything mankind does is natural. I don't buy that, neither do most philosophers. Man is the only moral agent on the planet. In that respect we stand outside of nature.

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3. We are the dominant species, we have the poetential to do as we please the very fact we have evolved to become the dominant species proves this.  I am not saying that might is right, only that it is in our nature to control our environment.  Is the termite evil for eating the home you live in? It has evolved to do so, to control and shape its environment as we have done.

Termites are not moral agents, see above.

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4. You misudertand, if it goes extinct before we reach it, then we never knew about it and thus did not have the oppertunity to save it.  Thats like saying "I did not turn right at the cross-roads, and thus did not meet the man who would have given me a Million pounds, i turned left instead and now i have missed that chance", we will find a way with waht we have access to, or we will go extinct.

But what we have access to to is shrinking daily. "a distinct species of plant or animal becomes extinct every 20 minutes." http://www.scienceda...20109074801.htm

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5. The demise of such animals would have very little effect, Panda, eats fast growing plant matter, if its not thier..... you get a few more plants.  Tiger eats some deer and cows, its not thier then.... you get more deer roaming around for us/another predator to eat etc etc.  They are not keystone species, in terms of ecosystem function, they matter very little.

Pandas played a distinct role in Chinese culture, and still do, being used to promote the 2008 Olympics. http://www.giantpand...istory/lore.htm
Tigers also played an important cultural role, and the extinction of both species would be a distinct loss. Even if you discount human culture, both species have intrinsic value, in that they are sentient beings.

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6.Benifited the plannet? once again the plannet is being deemed a thing akin to a person, it is not,

Again, more accusations of sentiment/emotion/anthropomorphizing. This is simply not the case. I am not attributing any human traits to the planet, or other species.

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in a million years we will have left this earth or be extinct and the earth will live on.  Short of crashing it into mars or blowing it apart, there is almost nothing we could do to "damage" it in any permenant way.  All the changes we have wrought are a speck in the ocean, a blink in the Earths life.

Technology has dissolved a hole in the ozone layer. Thanks to Carl Sagan and others, CFC's are now banned, and the hole is slowly closing. That's just one example. If you don't think mankind has had an effect on the planet, you haven't been paying attention.



Watch it and weep.

Edited by redhen, 18 August 2010 - 02:39 PM.


#19    Br Cornelius

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:28 AM

The essential point been missed in this discussion is that we are incapable of determing what is a KeyStone species. The web of life is so interconnected that we cannot predict the outcomes of losing parts. On a purely utilitarian basis every species which is lost makes our own extinction more likely. Coupled to that is the fact that every species loss represents a diminuation of the quality of life we can experience.

That is the utilitarian argument.

The Ethical/abstract argument says that simply been the top trophic element of a pyramid doesn't make us a superior form of life and ethically we have a responsibility not to place our own desires above the needs of other species. To conduct ourselves in that way makes us nothing better than a plague which will run its course with our species fading out. Within our own ethical framework, to allow the death of billions of our fellow humans/creatures is nothing short or monsterous and just plain stupid. Surely we should hold ourselves to higher standards than that.

We are no longer subject to natural checks and balances which would have kept our numbers in check, and so the evolution of intelligence presents us with a responsibility to anticipate the outcomes and avoid the worst of them. If we are not able to do so then I feel it would be best for life on this planet if we wiped ourselves out and left room for an instinctive natural balance to reestablish, or for a truely intelligent/wise species to take our place.

If you are a person of belief then I think we have failed Gods injunction to be stewards of the earth and the  creatures on it, and God will judge us very harshly for our failure.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius, 19 August 2010 - 11:31 AM.

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#20    redhen

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 03:08 PM

View PostBr Cornelius, on 19 August 2010 - 11:28 AM, said:

The essential point been missed in this discussion is that we are incapable of determing what is a KeyStone species. The web of life is so interconnected that we cannot predict the outcomes of losing parts.

Yes, interconnectedness, or as Buddhists would call it; dependent origination, is the key.

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On a purely utilitarian basis every species which is lost makes our own extinction more likely. Coupled to that is the fact that every species loss represents a diminuation of the quality of life we can experience.

That is the utilitarian argument.

Yup.

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The Ethical/abstract argument says that simply been the top trophic element of a pyramid doesn't make us a superior form of life


That's one moral argument, and a good one I think.

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and ethically we have a responsibility not to place our own desires above the needs of other species.


Here you're in murkier water. You would rather not brush your teeth, in order to spare the lives of thousands of micro-organisms?

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To conduct ourselves in that way makes us nothing better than a plague which will run its course with our species fading out. Within our own ethical framework, to allow the death of billions of our fellow humans/creatures is nothing short or monsterous and just plain stupid. Surely we should hold ourselves to higher standards than that.


If you're talking about the current mass extinction, I agree.

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We are no longer subject to natural checks and balances which would have kept our numbers in check,

Yes, Malthusians traps, like famine, disease, natural disasters. Careful not to let yourself be labeled a social evolutionist/eugenicist/racist. But, I think one can argue that the removal of these "traps" has allowed for the exponential human population we now see.

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and so the evolution of intelligence presents us with a responsibility to anticipate the outcomes and avoid the worst of them.

There are other intelligent animals, so I think a sense of responsibility comes from empathic consciousness, something that we see in other apes (which our headed to extinction).

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If we are not able to do so then I feel it would be best for life on this planet if we wiped ourselves out and left room for an instinctive natural balance to reestablish, or for a truely intelligent/wise species to take our place.

I agree with the economist Jeremy Rifkin  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/only-empathy-can-save-us_b_447685.html in that we need to redefine "progress", and work towards an Empathic Civilization.


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If you are a person of belief then I think we have failed Gods injunction to be stewards of the earth and the  creatures on it, and God will judge us very harshly for our failure.

Br Cornelius

If you are a theist though who also agrees with macro-evolution, then you have to ask; did all the species prior to homo sapiens not need Man's stewardship? I think human morality is not divine, but rather an extension of the moral jugements in other apes, and previous hominids. Nevertheless, if theists believe that we have a divine commandment to be stewards, than they will have to take a hard look at their activities and behaviour that aid and cause exponential human population growth.


#21    Br Cornelius

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 06:40 PM

View Postredhen, on 19 August 2010 - 03:08 PM, said:


If you are a theist though who also agrees with macro-evolution, then you have to ask; did all the species prior to homo sapiens not need Man's stewardship? I think human morality is not divine, but rather an extension of the moral jugements in other apes, and previous hominids. Nevertheless, if theists believe that we have a divine commandment to be stewards, than they will have to take a hard look at their activities and behaviour that aid and cause exponential human population growth.

I would not consider this a position worth arguing from, but I presented it simply as a point appropriate to those of a theistic outlook.

All belief systems should hang their heads in shame at the state we have got ourselves into.

Br Cornelius

I believe nothing, but I have my suspicions.

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