ForumTouchy Subjects ► Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
I don’t understand why some people think humans aren’t worthy of planet earth. If we aren’t, who is? I think our species has earned our place. We made it to the top, and if that means killing other species in order for us to survive, then so be it. That’s how life works. Plus, human civilization is still developing. This is how we improve ourselves, by getting through the rough generations (such as now) we are paving the way for our future. With each new generation, our species improves as a whole.
  
My thoughts on that are that you can forget about “making it” or even “deserving” to be on earth. We’re just organisms and not entirely different from say a tree or a bacterium. We’re pretty much just objects. Things like “deserving” don’t apply.
  
I really like that description antimony I think its accurate.
  
Humans are qualitatively different from other organisms in important ways, like our ability to make complex moral decisions.
  
I agree that we are different. But different doesn't mean anything when it comes to deserving or not deserving to live. "Deserving" is a completely human mental construct, which I find cool. But, no other species concerns itself with concepts like whether or not they deserve to live.

All they know is that they have a drive to live and they pursue that drive without thought or reason. Living for the sake of living as it were.

I actually think some humans could learn from that simplicity and remember not to over complicate things in their minds.
  
This may come down to the objectivity vs. subjectivity of morality. As a moral realist, I don't accept that moral concepts like deserving to live are merely human mental constructs, and I worry whether that perspective might lead to apathy towards the welfare of the environment / other organisms. But pragmatically, I also think humans are pretty selfish and shortsighted regardless, so maybe our abstract moral views don't make a difference anyway.
  
I try not to get too caught up in worrying about whether we deserve to live or not from a cosmic point of view.

Me not bothering about the grander implications of deserving to live does not prevent me from my enthusiastic and positive drive toward living, living well, and supporting and encouraging others who want to live and live vibrantly.

I just don't want to over complicate things in my mind and my thoughts. I declutter my mind the same way I declutter a desk full of unused binders and unopened mail.

A much friendly opinion of mine is that barring extreme circumstances, everyone by default has a right to life that should not be infringed on by others at least humans, and I don't extend this same courtesy to animals.

For example, to give every animal the right to life philosophically I would have to destroy the entire ecosystem and the reality itself of life on Earth because life is constantly feeding off of other life. I do play favorites in the sense that I am more protective of my species when it comes to diseases, predators, etc. I feel sadder if humans die wantonly than I do when a cat catches a mouse.

I'm using that example because our cat caught a mouse today.

I did feel bad for the mouse because of what cats do to their prey, but I did not intervene between the cat and the mouse.

Edit: I am an environmentalist in that I am continually opposed and horrified by humans wanton destruction of the environment of so many species of life. In my opinion, humans are way too destructive toward nature and the natural cycles around them. I don't want to stop nature from killing itself and reinventing and recycling all the matter. I do want to stop humans from all the needless, wasteful killing.

We kill far, far, far more than we need to kill in my opinion.
  
I'm essentially in total agreement with that, especially the point that trying to end all animal death is an inherently unattainable goal.

My stance in short is that individual humans at least are exceptionally valuable and worth protecting. Beyond that, we have a moral duty to protect the ecosystem as a whole - or at least not destroy it.
  
Humans are qualitatively different from other organisms in important ways, like our ability to make complex moral decisions.
Why is this always the point of contention with the assertion that humans are little different from other organisms? What makes this so special? Go through recent complex moral decisions you’ve had to make. I know that for myself, my desire for peace and “doing the right thing”, so to say, was at the center of my decision making even if it put me at an expense. So why did I do it? I’m not sure, but probably because the mental burden I’d face from not making those decisions would have been harder to deal with than the problems I faced for having made those decisions. What is that if not at least an attempt at survival? How does that make me different from something like a dog chewing off it’s own leg to get out of a trap for a more dramatic example or even a tree shedding its leaves? Mushrooms are the reproductive structures of basidiomycetes, most of which is just a mass of tubes beneath the ground, within wood, etc. Why wouldn’t it keep the reproductive structures out for longer instead of letting them grow then, as far as we’re concerned, die off relatively quickly instead of keeping it out constantly? You know the answer, it’s to conserve energy because the expense of keeping it out constantly would kill the organism. My decisions weren’t life or death, but the definitely had to do with my own and other people’s well-being and even the ones that made me go through temporary hardship still conserved something more important to my own survival and that’s my mental well-being. I have a huge guilty conscience, choosing to do things that don’t benefit other people really hurts me. Whether or not that’s healthy is beyond the point though. Just like a tree, just like a fungus. Whether that’s selfish or not isn’t something I’m concerned with. I see that as romanticizing emotions a little too much. What stands is that, like every organism, ultimately everything I did was concerned with one thing: my own well being, even if I may have made what I look back at as “the wrong call” in certain situations. You can even see it in people who make morally reprehensible decisions. Look at recordings of police interrogating murder suspects. Why did they kill their spouse? Most of the time it’s along the lines of snapping because of something driving them up a wall or a long repressed dislike for their spouse that they just can’t handle anymore. Mental illness, yes. Bad attempts at survival, yes. Still attempts at it. What about these decisions make us different?
  
You can always go down another level of abstraction, apply one more level of reductionism. And if you take that philosophy to its logical extreme, then not only is morality illusory, but so are ecosystems, organisms, cells, molecules, and atoms - everything except maybe fundamental particles and forces.

That's not to say that extremely reductionistic explanations are incorrect - only that such descriptions can be less useful than much more abstract descriptions. I'd argue that the most parsimonious explanation for why humans do things not in their immediate self-interest that benefit others is that humans are moral agents. You could also correctly explain it in evolutionary or neuroscientific or physical terms, but all those explanations would be significantly longer and significantly less practical.

All that's just to argue that we are justified in claiming that humans are moral agents. As for why that makes us deserving of existence (or perhaps it's better to say undeserving of unnatural destruction) - I'd probably have to appeal to moral instinct. It seems axiomatic to me that individuals with self-awareness and moral conscience should not be harmed, that destroying such a creature prematurely is a moral wrong in a way that destroying simpler organisms is not.

From my religious perspective, I believe that humans (and probably other sapient species) are special among creation, created in the image of God for the purpose of serving and communing with God.
  
Whether it’s illusory or not, does it matter? Everyone knows that if someone kills someone else it has very damaging, unpleasant effects even if it’s some bum and that killing a mosquito doesn’t. We also all become distressed when others are, which for me is probably the biggest thing that keeps me from doing immoral things. About a month ago I made the mistake of punching someone saying disturbing things about my little sister and cancer and health issues. Right as I did it I had this overwhelming sense of regret and felt like I had been punched. Why am I terribly explaining empathy to you. But anyway at the same time killing every mosquito on earth, I’d take huge issue with. I also have to wonder about the idea of eradicating pathogens because at the very least, every living thing has something useful to us in it. But regardless I want to get away from that and ask you if you think that it’s easier to justify doing immoral things by thinking this way.
  
Why are you two too good at debating.

I read one post and i am 100 percent on one persons side, but then i read the next and i am on the other persons side.

Then i become extremely confused because you are too smart
  
Yep
  
I find it hard to justify absolute morality -- even murder being wrong -- when that's not universally agreed on historically or across cultures. Slavery is still "normal" in Mauritania, women are oppressed in Saudi and Iran, gay people are viciously murdered in the Caucasian Russian states and four hundred years ago religious slaughter was state policy across Europe. Tribes in PNG still consider killing outsiders "moral" or "necessary," so it's hard to say we have some universal morality.

Sometimes I'm optimistic about the profoundly human ability to sacrifice themselves for a moral purpose, other times that tendency is manipulated into suicide bombings and abject evil.
  
I don't think I have any practical disagreements with that way of thinking, antimony. Acting from a sense of empathy is I think a really good ethical basis.

I'm not a moral absolutist, which is a step beyond moral objectivism. But anyway, pure popular consensus doesn't seem like at all a reliable measure of objective truth. If anything's objective, surely logic is, yet people don't universally agree about basic logical principles.
  
I don't think I have any practical disagreements with that way of thinking, antimony.
Likewise. Honestly I don't know why I tend to think this way. I like having explanations for small things, I know that much.
  
Grayseff said:
so it's hard to say we have some universal morality.


I 100% agree. You morality is relative to the specific person's morals. People's morals are influenced by their surroundings and situation. Like you said, the isolated tribes murder outsiders because in their mind, it is not only moral, it is necessary. Having never experienced or seen any other lifestyle or situation, that is normal.

There is no universal morality, but it is more of society developing to shun that type of behavior, because people noticed, that when we murdered each other, it was harder to thrive as a species. We developed cognitively and eventually developed society.
  
I’m not sure how I feel about the isolated tribes argument. No offense intended whatsoever, but it kind of rings of “savages who don’t know any better.” Which I guess for like the Andaman Islands, sure you could make that argument. They literally are wearing rags and shooting bows, but still something seems off about it. Just vaguely dehumanizing? Maybe? Not at all to suggest you have anything against them or meant it that way or think that way of course.

That could just be me thinking “Yeah but I still have to imagine you’d have to set aside a good bit of empathy or care about other people to kill them just for being outsiders” and wishing they were more like us. I mean, shit, I don’t know their beliefs. We could be literal demons to them or they could think that we would 100% change their entire ways of life. Which we, “civilized society”, undoubtedly would do if there weren’t already things in place to protect them.
  
I don't really think it's patronising to point out that their way of life is -- in our view -- savage. Trying to "correct" them would be patronising.

The reason I brought up the view that there isn't a universal morality is that it seemed like Hydrogen was implying that evolutionary arguments for morality are convoluted or don't bear scrutiny:


That's not to say that extremely reductionistic explanations are incorrect - only that such descriptions can be less useful than much more abstract descriptions. I'd argue that the most parsimonious explanation for why humans do things not in their immediate self-interest that benefit others is that humans are moral agents. You could also correctly explain it in evolutionary or neuroscientific or physical terms, but all those explanations would be significantly longer and significantly less practical.


It's easy in hindsight to argue that slavery, homophobia and racism are bad, but sixty years ago black kids had to be escorted to school by the army because of what was viewed as both Godly and moral. Even socialists like George Orwell were viciously homophobic, and gay people rescued from concentration camps were treated extremely harshly by the allies and the people they hoped to reintegrate with after experiencing what we as a society have decided was the benchmark for cruel and inhuman treatment.

We don't have to descend into the realm of the isolated tribes of the Sentinelese to find examples of colossal shifts in cultural mores. I think we develop moral feeling on the basis of very animal instincts such as groupthink. Even empathy can be viewed as expanding the group we wish to count ourselves in. Any argument for Godly inclination or absolute morality has as many hard questions to answer as a purely reductionist or natural argument does.
  
Again, human inability to converge on a standard for morality as an argument against moral reality is hardly convincing. Humans are relatively amazing at reasoning compared to animals but abject garbage on absolute terms. We're just smart enough to realize how profoundly stupid we are.

So yeah, (usually subtle) differences in what different societies deem moral or immoral doesn't upset my view of moral realism, just as mathematical illiteracy doesn't upset my view of mathematical realism.
  
I would agree if human morality did fluctuate around some centre, but it really doesn't seem to. There aren't minor fluctuations between say me and an Imam in Saudi or some Qanon shaman; our worldviews are incompatible. Their moral root, what they believe is good and where they believe it comes from is nothing like mine.
  
IMO there's at least as much of a "moral center" as there is a mathematical one. I just don't care about appeals to popularity much at all.
  
Why would morals be equivalent to maths at all?
  
I was drawing the comparison as a response to this (keeping in mind that I believe in objective morality, not absolute morality):
Grayseff said:
I find it hard to justify absolute morality -- even murder being wrong -- when that's not universally agreed on historically or across cultures.
You could make a similar argument against the objectivity of math. For instance, should we say that zero does not exist because many cultures couldn't/didn't conceive of it? Should we say that denying the antecedent may actually be logically valid because even contemporary, educated humans do it all the damn time?

Perhaps morality is not objective, but I don't find the argument based on lack of consensus to be convincing given humanity's track record at discerning other basic truths about math, science, economics, etc.
  
I think math is relative, any paper begins with a list of definitions. There's furious debate as to whether zero should be included in the Peano Axioms, and defining physics in terms of quaternions, C* algebras or in geometric terms etcetc impacts the nature of symmetry. The list goes on and on, but you and I could probably take that debate elsewhere if you wanted.
  
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