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To kill an ant or to kill a human...

 
 
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 06:45 pm
Common sense tells me if I were to kill 5000 ants for no reason other than pleasure, I'd be a crazy mass murderer. Yet If another person was to kill 1 wasteful, nature destroying human, they'd probably get 20 years in a cage.
We say we value life, I say we value human life. But why? Humans are the reason that the world is going to sh*t. I'd say we are only doing the earth a favor by ridding it of another wasteful human.
Crazy humans and their nonsensical ways...:nonooo:
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Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:01 pm
@Why phil,
Humans can be manipulated in ways to earn greater sums of cash, and ants cannot. On a more serious note though, laws make it illegal to kill humans. That is why. It has to do with society placing a value on human life and not that of most other creatures.
Why phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:17 pm
@Theaetetus,
I guess we must sometimes forget logic when dealing with our society. In terms of moral conduct though I'd say the Native Americans were pretty good at that. They lived in harmony with nature. But then again what is morality? who has the right to define that? I'd say logic. Since we are living on Earth and nothing else outside our solar system really seems to have any impact on us, I think logical morality for planet Earth would be acting in a way as to not complicate the natural cycles of the earth, as the Native Americans say, live in harmony with nature.
So ideally morals to follow logically that could be inferred from our world should be followed.
I guess we should conclude that humans are just an anomaly of nature. In other words a mistake that may one day get rid of itself.
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hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:19 pm
@Theaetetus,
We put more value on the lives and rights of humans than we do ants because we value personal organisms more than non-personal organisms. It's as simple as that.
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Why phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:28 pm
@Why phil,
It is simple but makes no sense logically
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Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:32 pm
@Why phil,
Look at how things operate in nature. Nothing else is like a human. Sure, some of the great apes show similar characteristics, but nothing like that of humans. It makes sense logically that humans protect other humans through laws, and looks down upon other organisms. I don't necessarily find that viewpoint right in some cases, but it is rather obvious as to why the idea that a human's life has a higher value than lesser organisms.
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Why phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:45 pm
@Why phil,
I see what you mean and it makes sense. I think it'd be a natural tendency to value your own species, at least after you've realized that working together will help you survive longer. I guess we could expect other species reaching this level would be the same.
sarathustrah
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:51 pm
@Why phil,
im the type to think its arrogance to think humans are the best or sometimes just even better. maybe our strengths are our curses... but isnt it all about survival instinctively?

do ants mourn each others deaths though? and whats the collateral damage... i mean if you got a magnifying glass and your fryin them its prolly a bit of a sick mentality... although who hasnt ever kicked in a giant ant hill and thought "all that work haha"... but if your worried about accidentally stepping on them... well its absurd to think youre expected to examine the ground youre walking on that carefully...

but its not like we need population control right? Wink
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Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 08:47 pm
@Why phil,
I don't think it is so much arrogance rather than fact. Seriously, how can an ant have the same value as a human? Humans have far more advanced reasoning capabilities than other life forms. How could we ever think how we picture ourselves would be arrogant? We are, in theory, better than other lifeforms and can even dictate whether they should continue to exist or not.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 09:39 pm
@Theaetetus,
It is natural to put a premium value on your own species. It makes total logical sense given the assumption that it is biologically motivated. Our brains are wired to sort like from unlike and categorize one's self into the most like group. Bio-genetic ties that correlate with rage, vengeance, and family. Given the choice of saving one's own child from a certain death and someone elses' from the same death, the normal choice is one's own child. The same goes for the bio-psychological need for vengeance and vendetta. Kill my brother it is my natural tendency to kill you, hence the massive codex of laws and religious sanctions against killing in general. No one kills another of our same species there is no need for vendetta. This naturally does not translate accross to non-self aware species. I kill a deer and his family is not going to feel the loss in the same way as a human's family would, and if by the off chance that it does, that deer family is not going to be able to do much about it. From a self protection and protection of one's own standpoint laws against killing humans, and norms about killing non-humans make sense.

This does not address the issue of intrinsic worth of non-humans and humans, however if the intrinsic worht argument were to work completely we would have to stop the cycle of life entirely, give up the ghost of existence for the cause of universal equality. at what point do we draw the line ants, single cell organisms, plants, what? we are killing things, processing bacteria, our very bodies have cells designed to kill other things before they kill us.

The symbolic tranfer of the debate over intrinsic worth could transfer to anything we hold more valuable than another thing as well. Why do we value gold more than lead? It is more rare than lead and has an aesthetic value higher than lead. Humans are biologically wired to appreciate the aethetic value of other humans, and quite frankly if there were an ant large enough for a human to have sex with, the human probably wouldn't. (creepy) Also we are conditioned to value rational thought over its abscence. It is more rare than its abscense thus we naturally hold more esteem fro species with more closely related thought processes......and the rant could continue....
VideCorSpoon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 10:03 am
@Why phil,
Why wrote:
Common sense tells me if I were to kill 5000 ants for no reason other than pleasure, I'd be a crazy mass murderer. Yet If another person was to kill 1 wasteful, nature destroying human, they'd probably get 20 years in a cage.
We say we value life, I say we value human life. But why? Humans are the reason that the world is going to sh*t. I'd say we are only doing the earth a favor by ridding it of another wasteful human.
Crazy humans and their nonsensical ways...:nonooo:


I think its great that a central issue in your topic has been overlooked... racism. I say great because it really isn't a prime factor anymore meaning we are probably getting over it. If I were to kill 500 ants, nothing would happen to me, right? But what if I were to kill 100 Native Americans two hundred years ago or even 10 slaves on a plantation 150 years ago. Would the punishment be as severe then under that old rubric of legal consideration?

The law has never remained the same as it was fifty or a hundred years prior to now. A black man was considered property up until 1866 (civil rights act). Heck, African Americans were at one time considered from the nineteenth century towards the beginning of the civil war 2/5th of a white person. This was actually state law in the southern states in order to boost representational quotas.

Suffice to say, people value levels of life. Even when it comes to the human species, people will still layover a normative framework which will set value to a specific sex, race, etc. Are humans the reason why the world is going to sh*t? Who said humans are the world? The world will go on (supposing a mad scientist does not crack it open with nuclear warheads attached to lava-swimming, earth digging platypi) without us when we a far gone. But by the reasoning you suppose, we should just get rid of all humans.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 12:27 pm
@Why phil,
Why wrote:
I see what you mean and it makes sense. I think it'd be a natural tendency to value your own species, at least after you've realized that working together will help you survive longer. I guess we could expect other species reaching this level would be the same.


Theaetetus took the words right out of my mouth. Values are subjective (I don't mean relative), and so when you look at it from this point of view, you can see how it makes logical sense.

I would go further and say that if we encountered another species that possessed the intelligence, volition, and emotive qualities of human beings, they should be granted the same rights that we have. These rights go for all species that fit the criteria of personhood.
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 09:30 pm
@GoshisDead,
Theaetetus wrote:
I don't think it is so much arrogance rather than fact. Seriously, how can an ant have the same value as a human?


How could they be of different value? Both are living organisms and both play important roles in their ecosystems.

Theaetetus wrote:
Humans have far more advanced reasoning capabilities than other life forms.


So what? Does the capacity to reason make one species more valuable than another species, or simply different. Among humans we can find varying degrees of the capacity to reason: are those humans with greater capacity to reason more valuable than humans with a lesser capacity to reason?

Notice something: to say that humans are increasingly valuable as their capacity to reason increases is quickly recognized as arrogant. To make the same claim, only replacing less rational humans with some less rational organism, is also arrogant.


Theaetetus wrote:
How could we ever think how we picture ourselves would be arrogant?


We could not do so if we are arrogant.

Theaetetus wrote:
We are, in theory, better than other lifeforms and can even dictate whether they should continue to exist or not.


According to what theory?

How could one species be inherently "better" or more "valuable" than any other species? Being better or valuable forces us to confront a question" better or more valuable to who or what?

And why is the ability to dictate the future of other species a quality that makes humans "better" than other species?
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 02:34 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
One has to think it through to its logical conclusion. Didy's right; if you say something is better or has more of a right to exist, you kind of need a reason for it - at least I'd think so.

What do we base the worth of life on? Why is it ok (if it really is) to swat a fly yet not OK to hack someone's head off? On what do we base these judgments on? The implications of ones' answer goes beyond 'murder'.

The rationale I use, I found long ago when I worked through my own reasoning for the ethics of abortion. One needs to think these stances through to the point where the answer jives with their own values.
0 Replies
 
avatar6v7
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 03:04 pm
@GoshisDead,
It is right that we should care for nature, and manage it, as much as it is wise to manage it at all, wisely. But we have no more responsibility for individuals of other species beyond that which we chose to adopt- i.e. by keeping a pet. We are really only responsible for other species as collective entities- there is a collective good that needs to be done for and to nature, as we are part of it. But we need not feel bad about killing a dear- it is natural that we kill (if it serves a purpose) members of other species- but unnatural to kill one of our own. It is about levels of responsibility- for instance not only would most people choose to to save their own child over anotheres, they are right to do so. We have responisbility for things in more or less this order: our family, our community, our species and nature as a whole- obviously there is no hard and fast order, and the intrests usually combine in some sense, but we must not forget dutys place in ethics.
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Saint Michael
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 08:27 am
@Why phil,
Why;58837 wrote:
Common sense tells me if I were to kill 5000 ants for no reason other than pleasure, I'd be a crazy mass murderer. Yet If another person was to kill 1 wasteful, nature destroying human, they'd probably get 20 years in a cage.
We say we value life, I say we value human life. But why? Humans are the reason that the world is going to sh*t. I'd say we are only doing the earth a favor by ridding it of another wasteful human.
Crazy humans and their nonsensical ways...:nonooo:


Humans are not the reasons why the world is going to shumbala, it is a few select individuals who hold authority and instill a sense of (nothing you can do) over the mass populations of the public and commoners. They are the ones who don't care about human life or human rights, what is just and what is unjust because for them there are no courts.
0 Replies
 
MissUnderstood phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 12:10 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;58909 wrote:
I think its great that a central issue in your topic has been overlooked... racism. I say great because it really isn't a prime factor anymore meaning we are probably getting over it. If I were to kill 500 ants, nothing would happen to me, right? But what if I were to kill 100 Native Americans two hundred years ago or even 10 slaves on a plantation 150 years ago. Would the punishment be as severe then under that old rubric of legal consideration?

.


I agree that this is an issue not unlike racism. For the same reason that we feel a personal sort of anguish when we hear of somone in our own community, country, or even of our own species and race suffering, but not when we hear of a great tragedy abroad (example, Torie vs. Genocide in Rwanda), we cannot feel empathy for the ants because we do not connect their suffering with our own potential suffering. This is, in my opinion, because we empathize with others mainly because we are afraid that the same thing could happen to us, on a subconscious, evolutionary basis of course.

I reject the idea that the value of a life rests solely in it's intelligence or advancement. As Jeremy Bentham, on the subject of animal cruelty, once so aptly put it "the question is not can they speak, or can they reason, but can they suffer?" and, as I think we've all come accept, is yes, they can, if not to the same extent, one ant won't suffer because it's sister died, sort of thing....burning alive, on the other hand, might bother the ant.
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prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:38 pm
@Why phil,
In general we accord higher value to higher levels of awareness or experience.
In general we consider the intentional infliction of suffering to be unethical.
Taken together these two notions guide a lot of our reactions.

Ants considered to be of low levels of expereince and incapable of severe suffering are readily disposed of.

Dolphins considered to be of high levels of awareness and expereince. The intentional infliction of pain or suffering on higher levels of creatures is considered unethical.

Plants considered to be incapable of suffering or high levels of experience are hacked, burned and demolished with reckless abandon.

Now there is a sense in which all parts of nature are part of an interrelated whiole and in which everything has value but to regard everything as of equal value is not a tenable propostion and would itself lead to absurd ethics.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 08:21 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
I think that humans are part of nature.

The basis of the idea of unnatural is a bit of a pickle, but I think it comes from analysis.

The sanction against murder is part of a complex of laws partly reflecting ideals of virtue, and partly pragmatic concerns about what order is required for a society to function as a tool for the expression of the human potential.

We tend to be concerned for our own survival, and figure the rest of life on earth is doing the same.

Our incredible power over nonhuman species is a fairly recent situation. I think we're still struggling to come to terms with it. Native Americans previously had no such power. They do now because they're Reebok wearing, Chevy truck driving consumers.

But before I finally condemn my own species, there's always some little thing that makes me hesitate. Wasn't it part of the old Jewish law that when you kill an animal, you must do it so the animal doesn't suffer unnecessarily? To me, that shows respect for life, and acceptance of the part we omnivores play in it.

Stuff has been posted on the this forum condemning the taking of animal life. To me, plants are just as alive, and just as worthy of respect when we take their lives to remake our own bodies. I don't know where the idea comes from, but it's with me: when I eat a carrot, the carrot's life becomes part of me. I'm part carrot.
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HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2010 07:40 am
@Why phil,
Why;58837 wrote:
Common sense tells me if I were to kill 5000 ants for no reason other than pleasure, I'd be a crazy mass murderer. Yet If another person was to kill 1 wasteful, nature destroying human, they'd probably get 20 years in a cage.
We say we value life, I say we value human life. But why? Humans are the reason that the world is going to sh*t. I'd say we are only doing the earth a favor by ridding it of another wasteful human.
Crazy humans and their nonsensical ways...:nonooo:
There are laws against animal cruelty, we only legislate what we deem nessesary. If it becomes a fad to kill ants en masse, it would be logically to make new legislations, there are no legislations regarding ants most likely because it isn't nessesary ..thereby not saying that most wouldn't think a person is weird and cruel by killing ants en masse.
0 Replies
 
 

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