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RE: Why VHEMT? Potential (Message 1993)

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  • Hal Friedman
    Hi, Andy. First, I apologize if I gave the impression of not answering precisely what you have written. It s possible that I was also dealing with issues
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 2, 2005
      Hi, Andy. First, I apologize if I gave the impression of not answering precisely what you have written. It's possible that I was also dealing with issues raised by other VHEMT'ers. I'll try to be more careful. Here's my reply:

      1. Potential v. actual-This analogy may help clarify what I was trying to say. You often hear the expression "That child has real potential to be an athlete, scholar etc." Now, the child has shown some ability to be thought to have potential, yet obviously, the potential has not been actualized. That will only happen when the child is grown. It's impossible to say whether it ever will be actualized or in what way as long as we're dealing with a child. So with humanity. Humans have been around for at most 120,000 years, which is not that long in evolutionary time nor even if the lifetime of a species (pre human species like Homo Erectus were around for several hundred thousand years, and cockroaches have been around for 300 million). So, we may consider humanity to be an adolescent species with potential, as shown by all the things it has accomplished so far, but yet has a lot of growing up to do before the potential could be actualized.

      2. Humanity's accomplishments. I listed art and music as illustrative, not exhaustive examples of what humanity can do. That dying child may not appreciate Shakespeare but would certainly appreciate, for example, an agronomist who could use his unique human intelligence to derive a more efficient way to grow food for her or those who have another quality unique to humans, the ability to care about members of their species outside their immediate cohort, whom we call philanthropists, who will strive to prevent the preventable causes of death. Indeed, humans are the only species capable of caring for other species (could there be a voluntary cockroach, ape, eagle, rabbit,etc extinction movement?), yet this is the species that VHEMT thinks should die out.

      3. Value. I never thought of such things as art or music in terms of how many species could value them. Obviously, only humans can. So what? I could care less that other species don't value art and music. I may not care about something that is of value to them. So what? Should we start to evaluate everything on earth in terms of how many species value it? You say that something may be of greater value if it's valuable to more than one species. I still don't get why that is so important.

      I see your point of whether something can be of value if it isn't valuable to a species. Since only species can value something, then by definition, there can't be anything of value if it has not value to a species. Though, if you try to define "value" as something good in and of itself, regardless of who it benefits, then I suppose one could argue that distant planets have some "value" in that they exist. However, I believe that whether or not such things as art and music have value not in themselves but only to humans is irrelevant. They do have value to humans and that is enough for me.

      From Hal who has to leave now but will deal with the other issues in your reply at a later date.




      ________________________________

      EMT@yahoogroups.com on behalf of andy
      Sent: Fri 5/20/2005 1:53 PM
      To: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Why VHEMT? Potential (Message 1993)



      Hal,

      Still around? I'm sure you've been waiting for
      my reply.

      I think you have mischaracterized some of what I
      have written. I know you appreciate precise
      thinking, so I am a bit surprised. I'll try to
      clarify.

      > Yes, I'm still around. Here's my reply.
      >
      > 1. Potential to achieve something is not a
      > meaningless phrase since it has been actualized.

      So, it is no longer potential, it is actual?

      > It just hasn't been totally fulfilled and may not
      > ever be completely, but humans have done much in
      > the way of creating art, science, philosophy etc.

      So, it is actual but not fulfilled? How would one
      know if it was fulfilled?

      > Indeed, we are the only species that has done, and
      > can do, this sort of activity. Since this
      > potential hasn't remained just potential, but has
      > been realized in the form of the works of Mozart
      > and Shakespeare, or if you don't think these
      > individuals' contributions are valuable (frankly,
      > contrary to what you've said, I don't see how any
      > human with at least one functioning brain cell can
      > dismiss their contributions to human culture)

      Are you addressing me? I did not say anyone can
      dismiss their contributions. I said "I doubt that
      all humans would value those contributions,..." I
      think there are still a few people who have not been
      assimilated into western culture who have never
      heard of Mozart or Shakespeare (and can thus neither
      value nor dismiss their contributions). There are
      also thousands of children dying of preventable
      causes today. I'm guessing the majority of them
      don't give a damn about Romeo and Juliet. I'm sure
      you can think of some others who would place zero or
      even negative value on the works of M &/or S.

      > then,
      > let's say Eminem or Judith Krantz, then there is
      > every reason to believe that more contributions
      > will be made by humans in the future.

      So though we don't know what the contributions will
      be, we have some idea that they will be new music,
      literature and such?

      > So we need to be around to do it.

      What is the down side of not doing it?

      > 2.So what if non-humans wouldn't value such
      > contributions? Since when does the value of something
      > depend on how many different species value it?

      Are you asking me? I said that such
      contributions are of no value to other species.
      That's rather different from saying other species
      don't value them. It does make sense to me
      that the more species something is a value to the
      more valuable it should be considered.

      > Also, since you dismiss the existence of intelligent
      > aliens,

      (Just to clarify.)
      I was deferring to your statement "I don't think it
      very likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere
      in the universe" when I dismissed the existence of
      intelligent aliens. I find it irrelevant and I don't
      have enough information to make a reasonable
      conclusion.

      > then you have to mean other earth-bound species. But
      > these species can't value human culture; they don't
      > have the ability to choose whether or not to value it.

      Indeed. So there is no way they could value it, and
      more importantly, it is of no value to them.

      > Therefore, your objection that human culture has no
      > meaning to non-humans is at best tautological, and at
      > worst meaningless.

      Are you addressing me? I said it has no value to
      non-humans. To me, meaning and value are different
      concepts. (I guess meaning could be a specific type of
      value, but in context I thought we were speaking more
      broadly.) As are value the verb and value the noun.
      One can value something of no real value, and not value
      something of great value to them. (There may be
      exceptions to this - like art - since the value of some
      things may be proportional to how much they are valued.)

      > Furthermore, if you argue that
      > something is not of real value if only one species
      > values it, then why should humans value the existence
      > of other species, unless those species' existence
      > benefit humans in some way?

      Are you addressing me? I do not argued that something
      is not of real value if only one species values it.
      I was addressing to your statement "I believe that
      these things [art, science, literature, music] are
      valuable in and of themselves, regardless of their
      importance to humans."

      In that light, I argue that something is not of
      real value if it is of no value to any species.
      Do you disagree?

      > 3. Contrary to what you've said, we do have an
      > idea of what our potential is for the reasons outlined
      > in #1 above.

      Got it (I think) - we can make more music and books.

      > Humans do more than kill off other species and damage
      > the environment.

      Yes; I'm aware of that. People are great multitaskers.

      > Sacrificing other species to realize a known goal may
      > be worth it.

      Do you have anything in mind? I suppose it may, but
      wouldn't one have to know the benefits and the sacrifices
      to try to decide? Does the same hold true of sacrificing
      other people? Humans have a history of sacrificing
      others for their own benefit.

      > Obviously a painful end is not something
      > we should work for. Humans can learn from history and
      > do not have to repeat the mistakes of the past.

      I agree that there is small chance that "Humans can
      learn from history and do not have to repeat the mistakes
      of the past." Interestingly, I think anyone who believes
      in voluntary human extinction would also agree.

      > 4. I don't understand your last objection. Why wouldn't
      > the same ethical sense that militates against mindless
      > slaughter also militate against oppression?

      It seemed like you were saying slaughter is OK in one
      case (just not mindless slaughter), but any oppression at
      all is wrong in another case.

      -andy


      --- In Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com, "Hal Friedman" <hfrie@n...> wrote:
      > Yes, I'm still around. Here's my reply.
      >
      > 1. Potential to achieve something is not a meaningless phrase since
      it has been actualized. It just hasn't been totally fulfilled and may
      not ever be completely, but humans have done much in the way of
      creating art, science, philosophy etc. Indeed, we are the only
      species that has done, and can do, this sort of activity. Since this
      potential hasn't remained just potential, but has been realized in
      the form of the works of Mozart and Shakespeare, or if you don't
      think these individuals' contributions are valuable (frankly,
      contrary to what you've said, I don't see how any human with at least
      one functioning brain cell can dismiss their contributions to human
      culture) then, let's say Eminem or Judith Krantz, then there is every
      reason to believe that more contributions will be made by humans in
      the future. So we need to be around to do it.
      >
      > 2.So what if non-humans wouldn't value such contributions? Since
      when does the value of something depend on how many different species
      value it? Also, since you dismiss the existence of intelligent
      aliens, then you have to mean other earth-bound species. But these
      species can't value human culture; they don't have the ability to
      choose whether or not to value it. Therefore, your objection that
      human culture has no meaning to non-humans is at best tautological,
      and at worst meaningless.
      > Furthermore, if you argue that something is not of real value if
      only one species values it, then why should humans value the
      existence of other species, unless those species' existence benefit
      humans in some way?
      >
      > 3. Contrary to what you've said, we do have an idea of what our
      potential is for the reasons outlined in #1 above. Humans do more
      than kill off other species and damage the environment. Sacrificing
      other species to realize a known goal may be worth it. Obviously a
      painful end is not something we should work for. Humans can learn
      from history and do not have to repeat the mistakes of the past.
      >
      > 4. I don't understand your last objection. Why wouldn't the same
      ethical sense that militates against mindless slaughter also militate
      against oppression?
      > ________________________________
      >
      >
      >
      > cmith@j...]
      > Sent: Wed 2/16/2005 2:07 PM
      > To: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Why VHEMT? Re: Potential
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Hal,
      >
      > I don't know if you are still around, but here
      > are my thoughts and some questions about some of
      > your posts from a while ago:
      >
      > Hal wrote:
      >
      > > Something can mean anything, literally. Just
      > > "doing" art or music is "something".
      >
      > Then I'd say that "potential to achieve something"
      > is a fairly meaningless phrase.
      >
      > > Valuing
      > > cultural artifacts is subjective, so I hesitate
      > > to define "something" more specifically, though
      > > I believe all humans would greatly value
      > > the contributions of Shakespeare, Mozart, Da
      > > Vinci, etc.
      >
      > I doubt that all humans would value those
      > contributions, and I'm pretty sure they have
      > no value to non-humans.
      >
      > > The point is only humans can do this
      > > activity and so only if the human race continues
      > > to exist can there be future Mozarts and
      > > Shakespeares.
      >
      > No doubt.
      >
      > > From Hal who hopes this helps.
      >
      > It helps me answer a question you asked in your
      > previous post, but it makes most of the post
      > seem fairly meaningless to me:
      >
      >
      > Hal had written:
      > >
      > > Human beings are distinct from all other creatures
      > > on this planet in that we are the only ones capable
      > > of having this discussion. ( I don't think that's
      > > moving the goal posts too far and I don't think they
      > > need to be moved from this position). Therefore,
      > > whatever qualities we have that provide this
      > > capability are unique. If humans extinguish
      > > themselves, therefore, this unique combination of
      > > qualities will disappear.
      >
      > True. All species have unique qualities that will
      > disappear when they are "extinguished".
      >
      > > Those qualities that enable us to have this
      > > discussion also give us the potential to achieve
      > > something in the worlds of art and science. Again, no
      > > other creature on this planet can do this, so, again,
      > > our extinction would mean the disappearance of this
      > > unique capability. Without humans, there is no art,
      > > no science, no literature, no music, etc.
      > >
      > > I believe that these things are valuable in and of
      > > themselves, regardless of their importance to humans.
      > > If, hypothetically, there are intelligent beings living
      > > on other planets, I would think they would find our
      > > "cultural" artifacts more interesting that what we eat
      > > or how we breed, though that would have some interest to
      > > them, too. The point is that if we humans discovered
      > > life on other worlds, we would most likely view it as
      > > intelligent and having something in common with us, if
      > > they, also had a "culture". Of course, I've said before
      > > that I don't think it very likely that intelligent life
      > > exists elsewhere in the universe (The Rare Earth
      > > hypothesis) so our extinction could well mean the
      > > disappearance of all those unique capabilities, and
      > > what could be realized form utilizing those capabilities,
      > > from the universe as a whole.
      >
      > I find it irrelevant what non-existent aliens would think,
      > but interesting how you believe they would think.
      >
      > > Why should we work to realize this unique potential? Why
      > > shouldn't we?
      >
      > Because we have no idea what this potential is, but we
      > do know that humans are causing thousands of extinctions
      > and becoming increasingly damaging to our own
      > environment.
      >
      > Sacrificing other species to achieve an unknown goal
      > sounds a lot like mindless slaughter to me.
      >
      > Also, historically, societies reach what are
      > considered their greatest achievements just before the
      > painful end. Is a painful end something we should work
      > to realize?
      >
      > > Indeed, this potential is precisely what
      > > makes us human, and distinct from other species. If
      > > there is such a thing as biological destiny, and,
      > > frankly, I'm not so sure that there is, then realizing
      > > our potential in art, science, etc. is realizing our
      > > destiny.
      > >
      > > Two things don't follow from this:
      > > 1. It does not follow that humans should carelessly and
      > > selfishly destroy other species that don't have our
      > > capabilities if for no other reason that doing so may so
      > > damage our environment that humans could be destroyed as
      > > well. Furthermore, an ethical sense also arises from our
      > > capabilities, a sense that many understand to say that
      > > life of all sorts is precious and should not be wantonly
      > > destroyed because it has a value in itself. Yes, there may
      > > come times and circumstances that require the taking of
      > > other species' lives, e.g. destroying man-eating sharks or
      > > house-destroying termites, but care should be exercised in
      > > such endeavors and, destroying a man-eating shark does
      > > not mean sharks as a species should be exterminated.
      > >
      > > 2. It does not follow that humans should divide
      > > themselves into "worthy" and "unworthy" individuals with
      > > the former enslaving the latter. The point to be understood
      > > is that the human species can make unique contributions to
      > > this planet. That's it. The same ethical sense that would
      > > militate against the mindless slaughter of other species
      > > also militates against slavery and other forms of
      > > oppression.
      >
      > Why does the _same_ ethical sense militate against
      > _mindless slaughter_ in one case and any oppression in
      > another case?
      >
      >
      > -andy
      >
      >
      >
      > >
      > > Hal,
      > >
      > > Thanks for the fast response. I've read
      > > this post several times in an attempt to find
      > > clarity. I would like to comment on the
      > > entire post, but since I'm so slow, I will
      > > ask one question: What do you mean by
      > > "something" in the phrase "the potential to
      > > achieve something in the worlds of art and
      > > science"? I find it difficult to base
      > > decisions on "something" having no idea what
      > > "something" is.
      > >
      > > Thanks,
      > >
      > > -andy
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Jim Miller
      ... Who says that species have any particular lifespan, that humans will or are meant to exist as long as roaches? Some species have staying power, some
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 4, 2005
        Hal Friedman wrote:

        > It's impossible to
        > say whether it ever will be actualized or in what way as long
        > as we're dealing with a child. So with humanity. Humans have
        > been around for at most 120,000 years, which is not that long
        > in evolutionary time nor even if the lifetime of a species
        > (pre human species like Homo Erectus were around for several
        > hundred thousand years, and cockroaches have been around for
        > 300 million). So, we may consider humanity to be an
        > adolescent species with potential, as shown by all the things
        > it has accomplished so far, but yet has a lot of growing up
        > to do before the potential could be actualized.


        Who says that species have any particular lifespan, that humans will or are meant to exist as long as roaches? Some species have
        staying power, some evolve into others fairly quickly. Why do you believe then that humans are still adolescent? And even if we
        are, and we have some "potential" for great accomplishment, won't that accomplishment be in a context that we strictly define, as
        good for humans? What's so important about "potential", anyway? Doesn't nature keep creating new kinds of potential all the time,
        in many different forms? And do we really care about the potential of all life, or just us, the creatures in the big-brain club
        that you place such emphasis on?

        Thought experiment: what if there were another species on earth which, along with us, had speech, abstract thought, culture, and
        other hallmarks of intelligence, but that species was comparatively weak and got into our way a lot. We couldn't breed with them
        and therefore absorb them - definitely a separate species. They had pleistocene technology. Not much in the way of weapons, and
        they required large unspoilt tracts of wilderness and water to survive.

        Would you also value that species' potential, encouraging humans to restructure their societies so as to accommodate the needs of
        that other species?


        > 2. Humanity's accomplishments. I listed art and music as
        > illustrative, not exhaustive examples of what humanity can
        > do. That dying child may not appreciate Shakespeare but would
        > certainly appreciate, for example, an agronomist who could
        > use his unique human intelligence to derive a more efficient
        > way to grow food for her or those who have another quality
        > unique to humans, the ability to care about members of their
        > species outside their immediate cohort, whom we call
        > philanthropists, who will strive to prevent the preventable
        > causes of death. Indeed, humans are the only species capable
        > of caring for other species (could there be a voluntary
        > cockroach, ape, eagle, rabbit,etc extinction movement?), yet
        > this is the species that VHEMT thinks should die out.


        The huge fact you ignore here is that humans are the only species which are capable of creating environmental disaster on a global
        scale, and are apparently being successful at it. Our "caring" for other species almost always comes about in an after-the-fact
        form, when certain less-powerful factions of human society realize the harm humans have caused and feel obligated to help quell the
        onslaught for a little bit of time.


        > 3. Value. I never thought of such things as art or music in
        > terms of how many species could value them. Obviously, only
        > humans can. So what? I could care less that other species
        > don't value art and music. I may not care about something
        > that is of value to them. So what? Should we start to
        > evaluate everything on earth in terms of how many species
        > value it? You say that something may be of greater value if
        > it's valuable to more than one species. I still don't get why
        > that is so important.


        Habitat, water, food, those are all examples of things important to most species. You can look at it as a Maslow's Hierarchy for
        the natural world. Violin concertos and adjustable-speed shavers aren't quite as vital for the functioning of the natural world.

        Humans are in the position of power to ignore the things that are of value to other species, and to protect the things that are of
        value to our species. That's a basic underlying fact which I think subtly informs our ethical systems. We're uncomfortable
        allowing other species into the picture, just as we've been uncomfortable admitting other people with weird skin colors.

        Jim
      • Hal Friedman
        Well, here goes: Potential: I just don t understand what your problem is with potential. You must believe that humans have unrealized potential or you wouldn t
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 7, 2005
          Well, here goes:

          Potential: I just don't understand what your problem is with potential. You must believe that humans have unrealized potential or you wouldn't be supporting VHEMT. Potential implies the ability to change and grow. You certainly don't think humans now will accept the concept of voluntary extinction, since you are always pointing out how short-sighted they are. If you expect humans to ever accept voluntary extinction, then you have to place great emphasis on a hope that human potential will reach such a level that VHEMT will be considered. If not, then you're just wasting your time. So the real disagreement between us is how far this potential needs to go. My view is that long before humans would come to the conclusion that human extinction is necessary, they would come to the conclusion that less drastic changes in behavior will suffice to lead to a sustainable environment.

          All other species besides humans have their behavior patterns hard-wired into them through evolution. A cockroach 300 million years ago acts pretty much the same as one does now. Humans can, through consciousness, intelligence, application of reason, whatever, alter their behavior. I don't believe anyone else can do that. So the potential of all other species has already been realized as much as it can. Only humans have unrealized potential. I use the term adolescent to describe us because an adolescent acts maturely in some ways and childishly in others, which is a fair description of most human behavior. I didn't mean it strictly as a chronological term. I agree that there is no limit set by nature as to how long a life span the human species has. It could last 300 million years or one year. My point is that humans, relatively speaking, haven't been around for that long and, coupled with the ability to change behavior, it is premature to condemn humanity to death.

          Besides, if you really believe that nature can create new potential all the time, then what's the problem? So what if humans destroy species? Nature will evolve new ones to adapt to the changed environment. Nature has destroyed nearly all forms of life several times in this planet's history, yet life came back. And I disagree strongly with any belief that humans are that powerful that they can sterilize this planet. There is no evidence to support that. Now I don't believe that humans should cavalierly destroy other species. I was just pointing out what I believe to be a weakness in your argument.

          Violin concertos: You seem to think that there is a necessary conflict between the development of higher culture and the survival of non-human species. If my assessment is accurate, why do you believe that?. There is no logical basis for concluding that the only way to have violin concertos is to kill off other species. There is room enough on this planet for Isaac Stern and aquatic mammals. Besides, I would argue that the more culturally developed one is, the less likely is one to be unmoved by the fate of other species. It is no accident that those who specialize in the despoiling of ecosystems are caricatured as pavement-obsessed, money-hungry moral and cultural cretins. In a Maslovian hierarchy, I would think at the upper levels would be a desire to live in a beautiful, peaceful, environment which would inspire people to be proactive in protecting ecosystems.

          Thought experiment: Your experiment has occurred. While the great apes don't have the capacity for speech etc., they are the closest to us evolutionarily and in brain size and overall mental development, with the possible exception of dolphins. Consequently, there has been a massive effort which has achieved no small degree of success in saving species like mountain gorillas from extinction. It's quite incredible when one realizes that these apes live in some of the poorest most oppressive and violent countries on earth, like Uganda and Rwanda. Ironically, it's been said that these apes live better and have more "rights" to live undisturbed than many of the people in these countries. So how's that for such a miserable lot as we?

          Values: Can you name one species on this planet besides humans that places anything of value on something that is not of value to it? Since humans are part of nature, as you keep pointing out, it is only natural that they will value first those things that are of value to it. What makes us different is that we can value that which is of value to other species.

          From Hal who does not ignore the fact that humans are capable of creating disaster but says you ignore the fact that humans can do more than that.


          ________________________________

          From: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Jim Miller
          Sent: Sat 6/4/2005 11:59 AM
          To: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: Why VHEMT? Potential (Message 1993)



          Hal Friedman wrote:

          > It's impossible to
          > say whether it ever will be actualized or in what way as long
          > as we're dealing with a child. So with humanity. Humans have
          > been around for at most 120,000 years, which is not that long
          > in evolutionary time nor even if the lifetime of a species
          > (pre human species like Homo Erectus were around for several
          > hundred thousand years, and cockroaches have been around for
          > 300 million). So, we may consider humanity to be an
          > adolescent species with potential, as shown by all the things
          > it has accomplished so far, but yet has a lot of growing up
          > to do before the potential could be actualized.


          Who says that species have any particular lifespan, that humans will or are meant to exist as long as roaches? Some species have
          staying power, some evolve into others fairly quickly. Why do you believe then that humans are still adolescent? And even if we
          are, and we have some "potential" for great accomplishment, won't that accomplishment be in a context that we strictly define, as
          good for humans? What's so important about "potential", anyway? Doesn't nature keep creating new kinds of potential all the time,
          in many different forms? And do we really care about the potential of all life, or just us, the creatures in the big-brain club
          that you place such emphasis on?

          Thought experiment: what if there were another species on earth which, along with us, had speech, abstract thought, culture, and
          other hallmarks of intelligence, but that species was comparatively weak and got into our way a lot. We couldn't breed with them
          and therefore absorb them - definitely a separate species. They had pleistocene technology. Not much in the way of weapons, and
          they required large unspoilt tracts of wilderness and water to survive.

          Would you also value that species' potential, encouraging humans to restructure their societies so as to accommodate the needs of
          that other species?


          > 2. Humanity's accomplishments. I listed art and music as
          > illustrative, not exhaustive examples of what humanity can
          > do. That dying child may not appreciate Shakespeare but would
          > certainly appreciate, for example, an agronomist who could
          > use his unique human intelligence to derive a more efficient
          > way to grow food for her or those who have another quality
          > unique to humans, the ability to care about members of their
          > species outside their immediate cohort, whom we call
          > philanthropists, who will strive to prevent the preventable
          > causes of death. Indeed, humans are the only species capable
          > of caring for other species (could there be a voluntary
          > cockroach, ape, eagle, rabbit,etc extinction movement?), yet
          > this is the species that VHEMT thinks should die out.


          The huge fact you ignore here is that humans are the only species which are capable of creating environmental disaster on a global
          scale, and are apparently being successful at it. Our "caring" for other species almost always comes about in an after-the-fact
          form, when certain less-powerful factions of human society realize the harm humans have caused and feel obligated to help quell the
          onslaught for a little bit of time.


          > 3. Value. I never thought of such things as art or music in
          > terms of how many species could value them. Obviously, only
          > humans can. So what? I could care less that other species
          > don't value art and music. I may not care about something
          > that is of value to them. So what? Should we start to
          > evaluate everything on earth in terms of how many species
          > value it? You say that something may be of greater value if
          > it's valuable to more than one species. I still don't get why
          > that is so important.


          Habitat, water, food, those are all examples of things important to most species. You can look at it as a Maslow's Hierarchy for
          the natural world. Violin concertos and adjustable-speed shavers aren't quite as vital for the functioning of the natural world.

          Humans are in the position of power to ignore the things that are of value to other species, and to protect the things that are of
          value to our species. That's a basic underlying fact which I think subtly informs our ethical systems. We're uncomfortable
          allowing other species into the picture, just as we've been uncomfortable admitting other people with weird skin colors.

          Jim





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