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Humans - our part in development

 
 
yovav
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2020 09:36 pm
Are we the only part of nature that requires its correction ?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 662 • Replies: 64
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maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 16 May, 2020 09:47 pm
@yovav,
I don't understand the question.

I suspect the answer is "no". Could you clarify your question and maybe give specific examples?
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 May, 2020 10:39 pm
@yovav,
If I get you right, Id say that we are the only species that "designs and manufactures" specialized tools.. The rest is just results of their use
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 16 May, 2020 11:51 pm
@yovav,
yovav wrote:

Are we the only part of nature that requires its correction ?

What do you mean by 'correction,' exactly?

All living things intervene in their ecosystems, as do non-living energy events.

You could say a rainstorm 'corrects' drought, for example; or that predators 'correct' overpopulation of prey species.

I guess the reverse question would be to ask what part of nature doesn't 'require its correction.'

Wait, I think I just realized you mean to say is that humans require correction but you're asking whether other species also require correction for their bad behavior.

If that's what you mean, then there are plenty of species who 'require correction,' for example when insects infest homes and resources, or when parasites cause harm to pets and their humans.

Agriculture involves a lot of 'corrections' but some of those cause detriment in other ways, such as when crops are bred or genetically modified to render higher yields, more attractive fruit, or better pest-resistance, and as a result they become less healthy and/or sustainable in some way.

This is a really broad question. Do you have some more specific example(s) in mind that you want to discuss?
0 Replies
 
yovav
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 May, 2020 11:51 pm
@maxdancona,
Look at nature.
The human body, plants, animals - all are in balance.
And now look at the humans ...
yovav
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 May, 2020 11:53 pm
@yovav,
I'm talking about that dimension that is more supreme: the intention.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 12:12 am
@yovav,
yovav wrote:

I'm talking about that dimension that is more supreme: the intention.

So the thread question is whether other species besides human have malicious intent?

That's a very different question, and a very interesting one. Animals attack prey because they are hungry and/or because they are attracted to playing with it before killing/eating it, the way house cats do.

Animals also react to fear and protect their young.

But are animals capable of having an intent that is malicious? To do that, wouldn't they have to be able to morally distinguish between good and evil?

I have heard of dogs that self-sacrifice to protect humans, which appears to be selfless virtue/altruism/love; but does that mean they are morally distinguishing between good and evil or just acting on a loving impulse that happens to disregard their own safety?

A dog that attacks may do so because it is protecting its territory or owner, or maybe because it gets irritated with some behavior and reacts to irritation/annoyance, but does that equate to malicious intent or is it just a reaction to negative emotion due to lack of self-control?

I think humans are capable of malicious intent because they are capable of active choice on the basis of moral reasoning. A dog can learn self-control in the form of resisting something it's trained to resist, but I don't think a dog can reason about whether or not it is good or bad to make a certain choice. If you train it to avoid certain choices, it will experience those as bad choices, but I don't think it can understand why and reason on its own without just reacting to the unreasoned assumption that something is bad because it triggers a negative feeling, such as fear or annoyance.

Now what about pro-active territorialism, though? If the leader of a pack of dogs actively seeks out and bullies other dogs/humans to either fall in line with its authority or submit to violence, is that evil intent or just instinctual territorial behavior?

And then what if humans also behave in an instinctively territorial way, similar to dogs? Is it evil intent when humans do it because they are capable of moral reasoning, or is it just fundamental self-preservation and threat-management to seek out threats and eliminate/control them because to do otherwise would be surrendering to the threat?

This is a very difficult question. It's easier to choose examples of truly evil intent among humans and explain why they are evil then to choose examples of non -human behavior that might resemble evil behavior in humans and assess whether or not that animal behavior contains evil intent.
yovav
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 03:47 am
@farmerman,
Kind of ...
Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that there is a system in nature . And whatever happens next with the flora and fauna is only a result of the level of contact that preceded it.
0 Replies
 
yovav
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 04:41 am
@livinglava,
I can summarize your answer that apart from humans, it is impossible to discuss the intent of the other ranks other than human.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 06:35 am
Humans are a part of the natural world just as much as pathogens, fungus, moss, trees and other plants; just as much a the birds and the fishes and all of the other animals. It is a religious conceit to claim that humans are extraordinary--extraordinarily bad or extraordinarily good. Beavers can quickly and dramatically alter their environment. That does not make them bad or good. One of the most dramatic examples of how plants and animals are interlocked in an ecosystem came when wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States. I'll post a link here directly. One can speak of how bad it was that humans had hunted wolves to extinction in that area. But it was humans who reintroduced them, too. I really don't know what you're trying to get at, but even if you didn't intend it, it reeks of religious concepts of human exceptionalism. We're a part of nature, too.

Source at the BBC, How reintroducing wolves helped save a famous park
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 08:48 am
@livinglava,
There are many animals that hunt and kill for sport. They make the kill even though they have no intention of eating or using their dead prey.

I get your point about "intent". Humans have intelligence, but underneath humans still act on instinct the same as any other animal. I am not sure how much of a distinction this is.
maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 08:50 am
@yovav,
I agree with Setanta.

There are many examples of animals that are not in "balance". Animals destroy their own environment, or themselves and go extinct all on their own. This had been happening long before humans came around.

livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 10:50 am
@yovav,
yovav wrote:

I can summarize your answer that apart from humans, it is impossible to discuss the intent of the other ranks other than human.

I don't know that it's impossible, but it's difficult because it requires a further stretch of the imagination to interpolate/analyze the animal's intentions and how its mind works.

We also can't really know what another human's intentions are unless they tell us, and even then they might be lying. Yet we can look at the details of some event and extrapolate/interpolate/analytically-assess intent.

We can distinguish, for example, between someone who steals food because they are hungry and someone who steals food because they don't want to pay for it, for example if the person gets caught and we find that they have plenty of money to pay for the food.

We still can't know whether they didn't want to pay because they were saving their money for some reason, or because they were angry that the price of the food had gone up and so they felt entitled to retaliate against the seller by not paying. Intentions can be subtle, complex, and wholly or partially sub-conscious; so even an honest confession doesn't necessarily reveal the true intentions that were going on at the moment an act was committed.

What exactly constitutes evil intentions in humans, though? Let's say a person is just very sadistic and tortures others for their own amusement without any reason/purpose beside their own pursuit of sadistic pleasure. Even though we can say this is evil, can we say that it isn't a natural extension of the egotism/hedonism that causes people to prioritize and pursue their own pleasure and block empathy for others where those others pose a threat to the pleasure-seeking? On the one hand, it is evil, but on the other hand they are driven by a natural instinct that has them sub-consciously convinced that anyone who obstructs their pursuit of pleasure is threatening their survival. Hypothetically their mind is capable of becoming aware (through reflection) that their survival is not actually in danger and so they can choose to sacrifice pleasure in favor of a greater good, such as protecting another person from harm/annoyance; but it takes a shift of awareness to realize that, so in the moment they are acting on instinct, much like an animal would.

So would you say that a human is evil when they are capable of acting on reason instead of instinct but they shirk the responsibility to do so; or would you say that no one acts irresponsibly except because they are stuck in a pre-moral state at the moment they make the bad choice/action?

I think religion deals with this issue well by recognizing that temptation leads us into evil, and that we become 'captive' to evil forces until we get delivered somehow and regain our sanity.

But then the question is whether animals are also evil when they fall to temptation, because they don't have the capacity to reason that they should resist temptation the way humans do, as far as I know. So you can train an animal to resist temptation, but you can't teach it why it is good to resist temptation and bad to surrender to it, so that it reasons for itself when to avoid certain actions and/or give in to desires/appetite/fear/aggression/etc.
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 11:07 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Humans are a part of the natural world just as much as pathogens, fungus, moss, trees and other plants; just as much a the birds and the fishes and all of the other animals.

I agree, but we are also capable of reasoning and complex foresight of consequences in a way that other animals don't seem to be.

Quote:
It is a religious conceit to claim that humans are extraordinary--extraordinarily bad or extraordinarily good.

Every species shares features with other species, while also exhibiting unique aspects. Similarities, differences, and their significance are ultimately subjectively interpretable, yet there are objective aspects/patterns to observe. You are biased toward attributing 'conceit' to religion, so you would deny that atheist and/or secular cultural constructions of human exceptionality, for example.

Quote:
Beavers can quickly and dramatically alter their environment. That does not make them bad or good.

If you are trying to preserve and protect the trees in an area, beavers, termites, and other wood parasites are bad; but you can also recognize that those organisms are just living in their instinctual way and decide how to interact with them from a broader perspective than just eliminating them because they conflict with your immediate self-interest.

If you think more broadly/deeply about the various interwoven ecological networks, you might come to the realization that there are other ecological processes that are benefiting you thanks to something that seems only destructive to you in a more immediate context.

Quote:
One of the most dramatic examples of how plants and animals are interlocked in an ecosystem came when wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States. I'll post a link here directly. One can speak of how bad it was that humans had hunted wolves to extinction in that area. But it was humans who reintroduced them, too. I really don't know what you're trying to get at, but even if you didn't intend it, it reeks of religious concepts of human exceptionalism. We're a part of nature, too.

I totally agree with you, and I don't know if you realize it but Pope Francis, for one, has recognized ecological sins as a form of sin. It used to be that many people took the Biblical commandment to "take dominion of the Earth" as meaning to exploit it in any way that humans please without regard for effects/consequences; but the meaning of the word, "dominion," really refers to Earth being our home and not to some variation of the word, 'domination,' so we make Earth our home by taking care of it and being concerned about its permanent sustainability; not just using/exploiting it without regard for the effects/consequences/future
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 11:15 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

There are many animals that hunt and kill for sport. They make the kill even though they have no intention of eating or using their dead prey.

I get your point about "intent". Humans have intelligence, but underneath humans still act on instinct the same as any other animal. I am not sure how much of a distinction this is.

We have the capacity to reflect on our instincts, temptations, behaviors, their effects, larger patterns of effect, consequences/effects on different scales of space and time, different configuration of interests among different parties/species/groups/ecosystems/etc.

So all this capacity for intelligent reflection and the corresponding ability to choose actions instead of just reacting to temptations, instincts, pleasure-seeking, etc. are what give us the capacity to know right and wrong, reason about it, and make concerted choices to act accordingly.

It doesn't mean that we are devoid of instinct, but that we have the capacity to reflect on it and resist it, even while being tempted by it. This doesn't mean that there aren't situations where we are sometimes reduced to the level of animal-reactions by combinations of internal and external circumstances, but it does mean we are not (permanently) condemned to being reduced to that state at all times without hope of rising to higher levels of consciousness/reason when circumstances permit.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 11:35 am
@yovav,
yovav wrote:

Look at nature.
The human body, plants, animals - all are in balance.



Are they though?

That seems to be this naive sentiment that all of nature is in harmoney with eath other in a way that implies there is some kind of intent/plan behind it, and that humans, through our hubris, put ourselves in a separate catagory.

As farmer said, humans happened to make more sophisticated tools. Other animals make tools. We just happened to either or both gotten a head start, and/or did it better. And, we were able to communicate these improvements to other groups of us.

As Set said, we are far from the only species that hunts for sport/plays with its prey and alter its environment.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 01:40 pm
LL doesn't really think people read the crap she posts, does she?
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 01:45 pm
For the record, I read LivingLava and Setanta equally.

Setanta seems to have a superiority complex (and can be a little nasty).
yovav
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 09:08 pm
@Setanta,
In the example you gave you just reinforced what only human has the choice to change himself.
And here's the link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q
yovav
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2020 09:10 pm
@maxdancona,
Are we really just the result of instinct like animals without being able to change ourselves?
 

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