Nov. 19th, 2013 11:48 pm
citrakayah: (Default)
If I ever hear the words "Lorentz ether theory" again, it will be too soon.

It's like debating smoke! There's nothing actually there
citrakayah: (Default)
I am rather irritated. Those who know me know that when I say ‘rather irritated’ I mean ‘pissed off’. And the latest thing that has me rather irritated is the truly astounding speciesm of someone I’ve been debating with online recently, and when I say truly astounding I am not exaggerating. He capitalizes the word ‘man’ and any pronouns taking its place. Because evidently humans are gods, despite being so bloody incompotent that we can’t even fix the problems we make for ourselves (global warming, anyone?). He also is using arguments that can and have been used for .

I’ll deal with each of his arguments in turn.

Argument #1: Humans are superior in an evolutinary and ecological because we can exploit other species. Somehow [don’t ask me, he hasn’t said] this leads to innate superiority.
Response: Firstly, this confuses moral superiority with physical superiority. If I can shoot more people and take their stuff than you, while I might have superiority in shooting people and taking their stuff, it’s completely irrational to say I’m better. Second, humans have a need to exploit other species, without them we couldn’t survive and could never have evolved. Namely, we need plants, bacteria, and fungi (or other decomposers, quite a few bacteria should work just as well). Any organism higher on the food chain relies on more species to support itself, therefore being higher up on the food chain would, if anything, be a mark of an inability to take care of oneself.

But that’s all beside the point, because there is no such thing as superior in an evolutionary or ecological sense. Evolutionarily, the organism that survives is the one (usually, chance also plays a role) best adapted for the environment. Humans would not survive during the period before animals evolved, there wasn’t enough oxygen. Giant insects worked really well at one period of time but suffocate today. So obviously success is a lousy way of determining so-called ‘superiority’, because any given species could be dominant given the correct circumstances. Humans are arguably proving themselves incapable of sustaining themselves as the dominant life form for very long, in the past few decades we’ve nearly nuked ourselves to death, had pandemics, nearly poisoned ourselves, and now we’re baking ourselves, and I hear we taste like croissants, and I have no bloody idea where that came from.

Ecology precludes superiority. In an ecosystem, every single organism depends on every single other organism to support itself. Wolves aren’t superior to rabbits just because rabbits eat grass and wolves eat rabbits. Without the rabbits, the wolves would starve (well, unless they ate something else, but I’m using a simplified example). Without the wolves, the rabbits would overpopulate and their population curves would look like the US economy but with higher body counts.

Other species also use humanity for their own ends. Cats, for example, have taken humanity and turned them into servants (and a good thing, too). Endoparasites and ectoparasites feed off us, and we can’t get rid of them completely. Bacteria and viruses use our widespread distribution and advances in transportation as a way to get around the globe easily.

Argument #2: Humans use technology more than other animals. Therefore humans are superior. That, or humans use technology, therefore humans are superior.
Response: Well, the first one is a non sequiter, while it’s true that we use technology more than other species saying that we’re better because of it and have leave to do whatever we want is as absurd as saying that because I’m typing and some guy in the Amazon doesn’t I’m better than him. In all likelihood I’m not, while I might be better at using technology he probably knows more about the Amazon than I do.

The second one blatantly isn’t true; corvids modify wire to get food and don’t have to be taught. And it would be a non sequiter even if true.

Argument #3: Animals don’t produce art.
Response: Art is subjective. Animals have different experiences than we do. Ergo the probability of animals producing something universally accepted as art is low. That said, I find the sounds of dolphins far superior to Mozart. Other people feel the same way.

Argument #4: Animals aren’t sapient. Sapient means the ability to apply knowledge, experience, common sense, or insight.
Response: Anything with externally observable memory is sapient by that definition, because the only means to test memory is to have a subject apply it to a situation, and their memory counts as experience.


citrakayah: (Default)

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