T Nation

Human Life vs Animal Life


#1

By animals, I mean "higher" animals. Do you think human life is intrinsically more valuable than animal life? If so, why?

I've heard it said that human life is more valuable than animal life simply because humans have superior mental abilities and can reason. But by that same token, what if there was an alien race vastly more intelligent than humans and with mental abilities we humans didn't have, would that that make the lives of those aliens worth more than our lives? Suppose those aliens thought so and felt they could do whatever they pleased with us or even kill us because, to them, we are "animals" and they felt they had more intrinsic value than us due to their intelligence.


#2

Well, if elephants had any say they would declare that they are superior because they have such a long nose.

Humans < Tapirs < Elephants.


#3

I am afraid nature knows only one rule though, who can fuck up whom.

It might turn out that viruses are far superior to humans, but we got all other species on this planet more or less covered.


#4

What if the 'superior alien' race evolved in a manner where they never saw conflict and therefore never developed weapons. When they visit Earth they see all of what we have developed weapon wise and turn around and run home. Saying 'Holy Shit, did you see all those guns, bombs, and death causing devises those creatures have!!??' 'We better not fuck with them.'

Yes I think human life is more valuable than animal life. But, I don't think animal life has no value. What is steak, 6 bucks a pound?


#5

Humans are more valuable because we the one telling the story. The same with that Lion thread. I'm sure from that lions point of view he is god and we are obstacles and food. We are the most valuable thing on this planet until something comes along and proves us wrong.

We convince ourselves of all kinds of BS but the real reason we have not wiped ourselves off the face of existence is deep down we acknowledge our humanity in each other (regardless of region) and understand we need each other. But even then we want to be top dog. Slavery, war, etc.


#6

Human life is more valuable.

And if aliens showed up we'd kick their asses Independence Day style and show them what's up.

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMURICA!!!!!!


#7

Observing evolutionary principles in a system devoid of conflict would be interesting to say the least.


#8

I find it highly unlikely that a non agressive species could rule a planet.

However, if there was such a species, they would be wise to avoid contact with us.

The line in MIB "in most of the known galaxy the human mind is considered to be a disease" or some such had me in stitches.


#9

WoW, James Brolin looks AWESOME!!!!!!


#10

I guess this was ironic hyperbole but the more dystopian sci-fi shows the way.

They wont come in with ray guns and battleships, they would simply engineer some pathogen, wipe 90% out within a year and mop up the rest.


#11

[quote]mbdix wrote:
What if the 'superior alien' race evolved in a manner where they never saw conflict and therefore never developed weapons. When they visit Earth they see all of what we have developed weapon wise and turn around and run home. Saying 'Holy Shit, did you see all those guns, bombs, and death causing devises those creatures have!!??' 'We better not fuck with them.'

Yes I think human life is more valuable than animal life. But, I don't think animal life has no value. What is steak, 6 bucks a pound?[/quot

Why do you think human life is more valuable? I guess it's a relative thing depending on who's telling the story. For instance, humans will kill animals for sport or profit, i.e. a hunter who hunts wolves to show off as trophies or humans that kill elephants to sell their tusks or humans that kill tigers because they believe tiger genitals will make then super potent in bed. How do humans justify this? Is it because we feel we're superior due to our intelligence so we can do whatever we want to animals?

I go back to our hypothetical hostile alien race. Suppose they were far more intelligent than humans, so they didn't see anything wrong with killing humans for sport, or killing humans to sell their skin, or killing humans to harvest their genitals. What if this alien race believed that the life of one of their race was intrinsically more valuable than the lives of a 1000 humans? I've heard humans say thet'd gladly kill every animal in the world to save the life of 1 human.

My point is, if you use an arbitrary measure like intelligence to measure the value of life, if something more intelligent comes along, how can you be logically consistent with saying your life is worth as much the more intelligent thing which came along?


#12

I believe humans are more valuable because there is something inside of us that makes us special. Let's look at the chimp, out closest comparison....I guess. Look at what humans have accomplished, just a small example here. We have created a small hand held device that allows us to access all known information to man in a matter of seconds. If you stop and think about what all human beings have done it is really mind blowing. What the fuck has a chimp done? Learned sign language that we taught it. Went into space on a ROCKET SHIP that we built.


#13

We are. Why?

Because BooBs!


#14

Human life is more important, because utilitarianly each human has a higher potential to advance technology in some way. We're the only ones on this planet doing it. Any one person could be the next great genius. Perhaps one who finds a way to make the weather our plaything or one who creates free energy or even solves the riddle of faster than light travel. The most a chimp could hope for is to throw his shit for a record distance.


#15

Yes it is.


#16

I disagree with that. A 70 year old bum begging for change on the side of the freeway exit isn't going to invent shit that helps humanity. So if human value is only based on advancing technology, then, by your own definition, how is this mans life important? What about a man that has severe down syndrome?


#17

That you're smart enough to ask the question means you're smart enough to know the answer.

But if you need more convincing, take the alien intelligence analogy one step further. Do you, as an individual of above-average intelligence have the right to do as you like with everyone less intelligent than you? Does someone slightly more intelligent than you have the right to dispose of you if they so desire? Furthermore, where should the line be set? At 10 IQ points? 20? 50?

Drill down deep enough and you'll see that intelligence alone is a piss-poor benchmark for determining intrinsic worth. Rather, it's just the thinking man's version of "might makes right."

At some intrinsic level, I think most people understand that there's no moral justification for extinguishing any life.

After all, the tablet reads "Thou shalt not kill..." not "Thou shalt not kill humans."


#18

You're missing my question. You keep saying human life is more valuable because of technology we've created. You're judging the value of human life based on intelligence, which is arbitrary. If we based it off physical strength, a lion's life or a bear's life would be more valuable than a human life.

But on that note, I'm asking, if say a vastly more intelligent alien race came along, with vastly superior technology and they believed their lives hold more value than human life based off of greater intelligence, how would you defend the position that your life is just as important and meaningful as the life of a member of this alien race?

What if this alien race indiscriminately killed humans in order to harvest human genitals solely for the motive of making money and they saw nothing wrong with this because they believed their superior intelligence entitles them to do whatever they want to humans? How can you say this alien race is wrong in what they're doing?


#19

As a whole i don't really believe human life is all that much more valuable than animal life. Individually, yes human life is potentially more valuable, and some humans are more valuable than others. Humanity is about doing not being.


#20

It reads "Thou shalt not murder"