In class we have discussed that it is imperative to our understanding of evolution and natural selection that no one species is more advanced than another. It is a fundamental principle that also leads to the understanding that as species evolve, it is not with the goal in mind of being a “perfect” or the best species on the planet. Instead, a species evolves to be as well adapted to its current environment as possible (and of course it is not doing that by conscious choice but by natural selection).
We all have a grasp on these concepts. What I did not know was that some have inflated these ideas to an extreme. According to this video (see link below) there is a growing population of people who believe that because humans are technically no “better” than any other species that we should depopulate for the sake of the life of all other species. These extremists argue that humans are a plague upon the Earth that are destroying the planet for all other organisms. They say this simply because of the fact that humans are no more advanced or superior than any other species.
The video goes on to articulate implications of this ideology. The one that stood out to me was the fact that if we legally equivocate animals to humans, then all of us would have to become vegetarians. Secondly, animals would be able to bring up lawsuits against humans for issues such as maltreatment (the animal of course would be unable to do this but one of these extremists would do so for them). The most extreme of the extremists would even argue that plants have rights, so we would have to stop consuming plants as well.
In my opinion, these extremist ideas are nothing short of insane. But I cannot deny that the concept these ideas are based on is actually 100% correct and is fundamental to understanding evolutionary medicine.
3 thoughts on “Down with the Human Race”
I think it’s importance to distinguish scientific concepts from ethical constructs and societal needs. The business of science is to figure out what is, and not what ought to be.
I definitely agree with you, the underlying concepts may be grounded in important scientific and evolutionary concepts, except everything else is a large stretch ethically, socially, and scientifically. From a purely scientific analysis, it seems that this bioterrorist outlook completely neglects other important scientific concepts. Though it is important for humans to understand that no one species dominates another – and that we are all evolving in an effort to adapt to our environment – cutting of the human population or just becoming “a part of the jungle” as the video states it may do some harm. There are certain mutualistic benefits of humans in their current state with other animals, even in domestication of animals to a certain extent; and this holds true in plants as well. Some varieties of maize depend on human intervention to open their sheaths and be able to reproduce.
Furthermore, the argument regarding animals suing one another seems just outlandish from a social and ethical perspective. If we are to respect their dignity to the extent the video suggests, then why do we expect them our forms of justice and punishment? To be quite honest, the video sort of made me laugh, though incredibly interesting, are we really going to be putting carnivorous animals in jail by that same virtue? Imagine what that would do to the penal system. =)
I think the issue I have with this perspective is that it takes science and overlooks the purpose. The idea that we are not evolutionarily superior over other extant species is important because each living species has a niche in which it is successful. In other words, all species are fit for their own environments. We should take this as a motivation to study and research other animals and how their characteristics and behaviors benefit them in the long run in terms of survival and reproduction – that’s what is important to understand.