Researchers document world's mammals in crisis

Oct 06, 2008

From majestic African elephants to tiny and often unappreciated rodents, mammals on Earth are in a state of crisis. One in four mammal species on Earth is being pushed to extinction, according to the Global Mammal Assessment, the most comprehensive assessment of the world's mammals.

Writing in the October 10 issue of Science, ("The Status of the World's Land and Marine Mammals: Diversity, Threat, and Knowledge") and unveiling a "Red List" of endangered mammal species (at the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain), the researchers who worked on the exhaustive study say that from 25 percent to 36 percent of species may be in danger of extinction.

"It is frightening that after millions and millions of years of evolution that have given rise to the biodiversity of mammals we are perched on a crisis where 25 percent of species are threatened with being lost forever," said Andrew Smith, an Arizona State University professor who played a key role in the mammalian assessment. Smith and his research assistant, Charlotte Johnson, are two of the 103 authors of the Science paper.

The Global Mammal Assessment was conducted by more than 1,800 scientists from more than 130 countries working under the auspices of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It was made possible by the volunteer help of IUCN Species Survival Commission's specialist groups and collaborations between top institutions and universities, including Arizona State University, Texas A&M University, University of Virginia, Conservation International, Sapienza UniversitĂ  di Roma and the Zoological Society of London.

The mammal assessment is the first comprehensive look at the health of terrestrial and marine mammals across the globe. It is a companion assessment to similar documentation of the world's amphibians, released four years ago by IUCN.

"Mammals are important because they play key roles in ecosystems and provide important benefits to humans," Smith explained. "If you lose a mammal, you often are in danger of losing many other species."

The assessment shows that at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500. The real situation could be much worse as 836 mammals are listed as "data deficient."

The culprits driving this precarious position include habitat loss and over exploitation for terrestrial mammals, and pollution, global warming and over exploitation for marine mammals, Smith said.

"Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," said Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general in announcing the Red List. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."

In the Science article, which includes the contributions of more than 1,700 scientists, the researchers state that 188 mammals are in the highest threat category of "critically endangered," including the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus), which has a population of just 84 to 143 adults and has continued to decline due to a shortage of its primary prey, the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

China's Père David's Deer (Elaphurus davidianus), is listed as "extinct in the wild." However, the captive and semi-captive populations have increased in recent years and it is possible that truly wild populations could be re-established soon. It may be too late, however, to save the additional 29 species that have been flagged as "critically endangered, possibly extinct" including Cuba's Little Earth Hutia (Mesocapromys sanfelipensis), which has not been seen in nearly 40 years.

Nearly 450 mammals have been listed as "endangered," including the Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), after its global population declined by more than 60 percent in the last 10 years due to a fatal infectious facial cancer. The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), found in Southeast Asia, was listed as endangered due to habitat loss in wetlands. Similarly, status of the Caspian Seal (Pusa caspica) was moved to endangered. Its population has declined by 90 percent in the last 100 years due to unsustainable hunting and habitat degradation.

Habitat loss and degradation affect 40 percent of the world's mammals. It is most extreme in Central and South America, west, east and central Africa, Madagascar, and in south and Southeast Asia. Over harvesting is wiping out larger mammals, especially in Southeast Asia, but also in parts of Africa and South America.

The Grey-faced Sengi or Elephant-shrew (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis) is only known from two forests in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania, both of which are protected but vulnerable to fires. The species was first described this year and has been placed in the vulnerable category.

In order to improve the current state of these mammals, Smith suggests a few actions that could help immediately.

"Curtail the trade of endangered species," he said. "It would do an amazing amount of good for stabilizing the situation in Southeast Asia, which is a biodiversity hot spot. There also is so much needless habitat loss. Trees from too many lush tropical forests end up as coffee tables or in high-end furniture."

Conservation's role

"Our results paint a bleak picture of the global status of mammals worldwide," the authors of the Science article state. "Yet, more than simply reporting on the depressing status of the world's mammals, these Red List data can and should be used to inform strategies for addressing this crisis, for example, to identify priority species and areas for conservation.

"Further, these data can be used to indicate trends in conservation status over time," they added. "Despite the general deterioration in the status of mammals, our data also show that species recoveries are possible through targeted conservation efforts."

For example, the Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) moved from extinct in the wild to endangered after a successful reintroduction by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into eight western states and Mexico from 1991-2008. Similarly, the Wild Horse (Equus ferus) moved from extinct in the wild in 1996 to critically endangered this year after successful reintroductions started in Mongolia in the early 1990s.

The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) moved from vulnerable to near threatened, although its status varies considerably across its range. The move reflects the recent and ongoing population increases in major populations in southern and eastern Africa. These increases are big enough to outweigh any decreases that may be taking place elsewhere.

"This work sets a benchmark for us to understand what is happening with biodiversity of mammals worldwide and provides a platform from which all future conservation efforts can be measured," said Smith, who initiated the database that was used to inventory the world's mammals. "This effort hopefully will spur greater attention on the conservation of mammals and the habitats they occupy, for the benefit of all biodiversity."

Source: Arizona State University

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Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2008
May the mammal (?, reptile!) Tigger be the first to go, hoist on her own petard.
tigger
2.5 / 5 (8) Oct 06, 2008
It is not a flagpole, so the common usage "hoist on one's own petard" makes no sense.

Come on Doug... you probably say "I could care less" instead of "I couldn't care less". Muppet.
MikeB
3.8 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2008
"The sooner we're gone the better..."

This is the attitude that scares right thinking people. If you really believe that, you can start the old ball rolling. Remember, charity begins at home.
Modernmystic
2.8 / 5 (18) Oct 06, 2008
This isn't a crisis, this is nature. This is what happens when a very well designed and successful species appears on the scene. Other animals make way to its success.

Men are no more or less natural than hermit crabs, we are a PART of nature. Nature has selected us for success and all those other animals for extinction. It's the way the system works, it's the way it always has worked, AND it's the way it probably always will work.

Getting "fired up" about it is like getting mad at the law of gravity for being what it is. Also legislation about the situation is likely going to be as successful as legislation trying to change the law of gravity...that is to say it WON'T be successful.
tigger
4.4 / 5 (9) Oct 06, 2008
Yeah yeah... okay, you guys talk sense... dammit (runs into corner and hits things randomly in frustration, knowing what they said was true).

The frustration of being the species that is aware enough to watch itself in it's drive to procreate and exist at the expense of other species survival is a tough pill to swallow. Nevertheless it does seem to be the case. I always thought of myself as a physicist, perhaps I should get a grasp on those damn emotions a little more. lol. Thanks for keeping it real guys :-)
tigger
5 / 5 (3) Oct 06, 2008
Oh, that was an absent apology too, sorry Doug I hope you can forgive my rudeness.
D666
4.3 / 5 (8) Oct 06, 2008
This isn't a crisis, this is nature. This is what happens when a very well designed and successful species appears on the scene. Other animals make way to its success.


The two arent' mutually exclusive. It can be natural AND a crisis. It is of course "natural" to the extent that it isn't supernatural or anything else. That's a trite and essentially useless categorization. But it is also definitely a crisis. As tigger correctly pointed out somewhere in that screaming fit, having all this biodiversity disappear is going to be a Bad Thing (tm) for us. And silly me, I'd like to avoid a bad thing. Some other people may feel similarly. And since we're the cause of it, the conclusion is obvious. Unless you think this is just a "natural cycle" and nothing to do with us?
MikeB
3 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2008
I'm just wondering how many species became extinct when we weren't here to receive the blame.
MikeB
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 06, 2008
I wonder if the Polar Bear is on that list.
Sophos
2.6 / 5 (11) Oct 06, 2008
This is all moot
Who will care about nature when the economy is in the toilet and so many around the world are unemployed?
itistoday
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 06, 2008
Sophos: the many who are unemployed obviously.

They'll be in the thick of nature, "living on the street," as it were. :-p
itistoday
4.2 / 5 (6) Oct 06, 2008
Modernmystic: I generally agree with you, but I hope you'll agree with me when I say that loss of other, non-mammal species, *is* a problem.

It's a problem for that successful species you referred to when the species that it depends upon, either directly or indirectly, end up disappearing. In that sense, species loss can be a "crisis" for humans.
Mesafina
2.5 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2008
Everything you can do is natural and part of the order of things. This includes farming, eating a zebra, building a computer, or killing your neighbor and stealing his stuff. All these things improve your own level of comfort and well being... at least at first. But we create "artificial" rules to protect ourselves from each other... killing a person is murder because we don't want to live in the "jungle". Killing a deer though is just the "natural order of things" and therefor justified. All I want is consistency... either life is precious and should be preserved at all costs... or life has no value and the fittest should kill the weak and prosper. But people are so hypocritical they can pretend they are special and the rules of nature don't apply to them, and then use those same rules to justify their own abuse of other living things. So go ahead and laugh about species loss and pretend it's all natural... it is. Just don't get indignant when your starving neighbor shoots you and your family to steal your stuff when times get hard. It's all just nature... remember?
itistoday
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 06, 2008
Bravo Mesafina! PhysOrg is one of the few popular destinations online that still has intelligent commentary. Just look at the comments for this article! Something to be proud of, really, all of you. (Have you seen the comments on YouTube??)
Velanarris
3.3 / 5 (7) Oct 06, 2008
There are far more than 5000 species of mammals on the planet.
MikeB
3 / 5 (6) Oct 06, 2008
The best way to ensure the survival of any type of animal, is to find a use for it. For instance, bovines will never become extinct, we won't allow it.
Minnaloushe
3 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2008
"The sooner we're gone the better..."

I'm reminded of the slogan of the Church of Euthanasia: "Save the world. Kill yourself."

I might remind the wacko self-flagellants that so far humanity is the *only* hope for life existing at all past the next E.L.E. or, at the last, beyond the sun crisping us all.
Mesafina
3 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2008
Nature is brutal. If we disappear, it will not become any less brutal. What is the difference between us butchering a cow and wolves butchering a cow? Who is doing the butchering is all, it will still cause pain and death to the cow. Nothing will become better when we are gone.

But we are smarter then other creatures. We have the "potential" to exploit the known properties of the brain to experience joy and pleasure vs hatred and pain, to create a world where we and all life live only for pleasure and joy, free of the burdens of pain and death. It is only a matter of applying our collective minds to the purpose, rather then to impermanent satisfaction of meaningless desires at the expense of the happiness and well being of other living things. You make the choice... are you and agent of death or an agent of life?
Modernmystic
3.1 / 5 (15) Oct 06, 2008
Basically when we argue about what "should" or "should not" happen in nature we are inserting OUR morals and values into a vacuum.

It's very important to note this...NO ONE has a special or privileged view of how nature should or should not be. Nature simply is what it is regardless of how one group of us thinks it should or should not be. Nature has NO preferences, she doesn't care how much bio mass or bio diversity is on the planet...those are HUMAN concepts and values.

IOW no one argues "for" nature, or "against" nature for that matter no matter HOW MUCH one believes he or she is doing the former or even the latter.

Believe me when I tell you that even if nature were aware of such issues "she" could care less. She's not a moral agent in any sense of the word, that some of us try to foist our morals upon her (or others of our own kind) does not change nature in the slightest.

So when (some of) you get on your moral high horse about "saving the planet" just remember you're stating your OPINION on the matter of the planet and what ought and ought not be done with it...and so vice versa. These are arguments among humans, not one argument of some kind of ethereal concept of "nature" against all the "greedy short sighted plague of humanity" who just refuse to recycle.
Mesafina
3.1 / 5 (9) Oct 06, 2008
Modernmystic, you are absolutely correct. Whatever happens in the world and the universe as we perceive it is inconsequential... it is merely the progression of time in a universe of causality. There is no correct or incorrect state of matter.

With that aside though, we know that we as sentient beings prefer certain states to others. For example, we enjoy being in a state of joy, such as when socializing or when otherwise stimulated. We also are displeased in states, such as if were being caused harm or mutilated. So why would we wish states that we know are displeasing to ourselves upon similar creatures? We do not fully understand the nature of consciousness. For all that we know, we may all be one entity experiencing itself, in which case you might also experience the other end of all the suffering your existence creates. Or maybe not. We just don't know. What's the point in causing massive suffering when we can survive and be happy causing minimal suffering. (I note that existence itself requires the accumulation of biological resources, in the form of food, and therefor a minimal level of "suffering" is unavoidable. that does not condone excessive violence though... lest you wish to reap what you sow...)
Mesafina
2.9 / 5 (7) Oct 06, 2008
A state of existence in which we strive for minimum suffering, maximum pleasure amongst all creatures is the most obviously beneficial use of our resources of thought, planning, and experience. Either we maximize the amount of pleasure being experienced at one time, thereby maximizing the chance that WE as individuals are experiencing pleasure at any given time... or we don't, in which case we increase the chance that we as individuals happen to be the ones who suffer to bring joy to others.

You might wind up on top. Or you might wind up as an animal being skinned alive to make someone's coat. If you're so sure about who you are and the nature of your own sentience, perhapes you should rethink everything so that you realize that YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I for one am not taking any chances, and wish no ill upon any sentient being, and plan to minimize the amount of suffering my existence creates. That is all.
rubberman
3.4 / 5 (9) Oct 06, 2008
Thanks for not turning this one into an AGW debate guys!!
For my two cents, I beleive that for anything other than business as usual to happen on this planet, humanity will have to be tested very harshly in way that unites every one to a common goal. Hence the guilt driven rant from the physicist that opened this forum, if anyone with a brain (and "soul") claims to be up current events you can't help but feel a bit guilty. Whether directly or indirectly we (our society)is the cause of someone else's suffering somewhere, and that is the "nature" of things.
superhuman
2.4 / 5 (13) Oct 06, 2008
Basically when we argue about what "should" or "should not" happen in nature we are inserting OUR morals and values into a vacuum.


But we are arguing with other humans here not with nature, so what vacuum are you talking about?

It's very important to note this...NO ONE has a special or privileged view of how nature should or should not be. Nature simply is what it is regardless of how one group of us thinks it should or should not be. Nature has NO preferences, she doesn't care how much bio mass or bio diversity is on the planet...those are HUMAN concepts and values.


I consider Nature a sum of all life. It is easy to see from biological pov that her health is directly related to her diversity. That health depends on our actions.

Believe me when I tell you that even if nature were aware of such issues "she" could care less.

Why should we believe you, how do YOU know?
(And *COULDN'T* care less!)

I believe we have the obligation to protect Nature. I believe we owe it to Nature. It really sickens me to see what humans do to animals and Nature. I support killing for food, but not killing out of stupidity or greed.

All those animals which go extinct thanks to us, it is quite probable that some of them would eventually evolve consciousness similar to our own. Wouldn't it be amazing to communicate with some other conscious life form and see the world through it's eyes? What if the whole Universe is completely lifeless except for Earth? What if in order to ever meet another conscious life we have to first allow it to evolve here? Our Earth could evolve countless conscious life forms and populate the Universe with them if given a chance. But why should we give it that chance? After all we were made conscious first, we are so bloody proud of ourselves that we don't give a damn about any other life form. We will consume them all instead.
Velanarris
2.9 / 5 (9) Oct 07, 2008
But we are arguing with other humans here not with nature, so what vacuum are you talking about?

Well if humans did not exist there would be no morality to interject into the conversation. Things would go on as they always have.

I consider Nature a sum of all life. It is easy to see from biological pov that her health is directly related to her diversity. That health depends on our actions.
It's rather arrogant to assume we have the ability to tip the scales on a biosphere that despite the best efforts of giant impact events, solar flare ups, bouts of random and extreme volcanism, global warming, and global cooling maintains a balanced equilibrium.


Why should we believe you, how do YOU know?
(And *COULDN'T* care less!)

I believe we have the obligation to protect Nature. I believe we owe it to Nature. It really sickens me to see what humans do to animals and Nature. I support killing for food, but not killing out of stupidity or greed.
You support killing for food. I support killing to sustain the life of my species. How exactly are we killing out of greed or stupidity?

All those animals which go extinct thanks to us, it is quite probable that some of them would eventually evolve consciousness similar to our own. Wouldn't it be amazing to communicate with some other conscious life form and see the world through it's eyes?
If animals evolving into conciousness and rational is so probably why did it take the planet 5 billion years to make the mistakes that led to us? Why has it not been repeated since? I'm of the mind that any evolved species will most likely be incredibly hostile. Reasoning for this is simple, to climb to the top of the food chain you have to do one of two things, be constantly hunted and evolve a way to outsmart your opponent through rational while successfully hunting or gathering. Evolvition would tune this organism for war and survival at all costs. Second method would be to outgrow your predators to the point where they'd be unable to hunt you, in which case why would you evolve conciousness? It'd be completely unnecessary. You could just be a big dumb animal that no one else wants to go near.

What if the whole Universe is completely lifeless except for Earth? What if in order to ever meet another conscious life we have to first allow it to evolve here?
If conciousness is was so probably on Earth what would preclude it from being just as probable elsewhere?

Our Earth could evolve countless conscious life forms and populate the Universe with them if given a chance. But why should we give it that chance? After all we were made conscious first, we are so bloody proud of ourselves that we don't give a damn about any other life form. We will consume them all instead.

As is our right by being the apex of the food chain.

Does a shark think of the fish it's eating? Do bears worry about whether scratching up that old tree is bad for the environment? No, they do what they do without remorse.

The only difference is, we're better at it. It looks like you feel guilt over survival, which I can't rationalize.
Soylent
2.3 / 5 (8) Oct 07, 2008
[...]if anyone with a brain (and "soul") claims to be up current events you can't help but feel a bit guilty.


On the contrary, I'm proud of what we've accomplished and look forward to "displacing more nature".
MikeB
3.3 / 5 (11) Oct 07, 2008
I would rather save one starving child than every spotted owl.
Velanarris
3.3 / 5 (11) Oct 07, 2008
I would rather save one starving child than every spotted owl.


Great idea. Let's feed spotted owls to starving children.
Mesafina
2 / 5 (8) Oct 07, 2008
Velannaris, if you believe so strongly that the ability to do something to benefit yourself is always the right thing to do, I won't argue with you. There is no moral code written into the universe that says you should treat others as kindly as you are able. But you seem to be under some delusion that it's "our" species vs "all others", when in fact now it is more likely you will face competition from within our own species. According to your point of view, there is nothing wrong with killing all handicapped people because it's survival of the fittest, why should they consume our resources? In fact, why should I let you live? I know that you will always act in your self interest, harming anyone and anything that you might be able to "consume", and that could be a threat to me as well. Why would it not be in my best interest to "remove" you from my list of competitors? Clearly, while we live in a world where such behavior is possible, it is not desirable to most people. Most people just want to live and be happy, and so it is with most life. By refusing other beings of their desires, you also throw away your chances of being able to enjoy your own. You devalue your own life, making it as worthless as everything else in your world.
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (11) Oct 07, 2008
Velannaris, if you believe so strongly that the ability to do something to benefit yourself is always the right thing to do, I won't argue with you. There is no moral code written into the universe that says you should treat others as kindly as you are able. But you seem to be under some delusion that it's "our" species vs "all others", when in fact now it is more likely you will face competition from within our own species. According to your point of view, there is nothing wrong with killing all handicapped people because it's survival of the fittest, why should they consume our resources? In fact, why should I let you live? I know that you will always act in your self interest, harming anyone and anything that you might be able to "consume", and that could be a threat to me as well. Why would it not be in my best interest to "remove" you from my list of competitors? Clearly, while we live in a world where such behavior is possible, it is not desirable to most people. Most people just want to live and be happy, and so it is with most life. By refusing other beings of their desires, you also throw away your chances of being able to enjoy your own. You devalue your own life, making it as worthless as everything else in your world.


Rarely have I been treated to such a sermon, unless it came from the pulpit of a spit fire southern baptist minister. You should start a religion...no wait scratch that...someone has already beat you to it. It's just that they, and possibly you, don't realize it.

You seem to have a SERIOUS problem with distinguishing nature from human politics and society. It's almost bordering on scary, no scratch that it IS scary.

Just because someone recognizes the truth that nature has no morals does not mean that human society or humans are absent them, quite the contrary. In fact that was the basic point I was trying to make.

Just because someone does not recognize YOUR view that depriving a spotted owl of his life is equivalent of doing the same to a human being does not mean that they ARE in fact equivalent because YOU equate spotted owls with humans. Again, quite the contrary.
Mesafina
2 / 5 (8) Oct 07, 2008
Mike B: "I would rather save one starving child than every spotted owl."

What if I said "I would rather save one starving WHITE child than every BLACK child"? You would accuse me of being racist. Your prejudice against non humans is blatently evident... but I'm sure you think "that's different". It's different because they aren't human right? And hence my point. You think humans are so damn special but we're just one more animal. But we have the intelligence to SEE how our behevior comes back to effect us, unlike many creatures. That's an incredible opportunity to work to eliminate suffering in the world. We have the power to do so, it is only a matter of time and persistence. But we will never do so if we can't get past our ignorance and baser instincts for long enough to see the world through rational eyes. You may feel rational with your oh so scientific, cold, darwinian mindstate, but there's nothing rational about it. It serves only your immediate interests, not your long term interests. You just simply haven't thought things through, otherwise you'd see the obvious fact that you know nothing about what it is that makes you conscious, and therefor have absolutely no reason to believe that you might not one day find yourself experiencing things from the receiving end of your own violence. Of course you might not, maybe you'll just die and then fall into a sweet nothing. But you just can't know for sure. You are taking a bigger gamble then you realize. You're so sure about the world, you think you understand things... none of us understand anything. But we know there are some things we like, and some we don't. Why do you wish suffering on other creatures when it is clearly avoidable? We can survive and be happy without factory farms, without prolific breeding and the hunger and crowding it causes. We could easily, through technology, develop a world in time free from toil where everyone has everything they need to live and be happy. Or we can continue this cycle of violence until it claims us all. Your ignorance and shortsightedness is unfortunate. I hope more people like yourself take the time to better think about the nature of their own lives and the implications of their impact on others.
Mesafina
2.3 / 5 (9) Oct 07, 2008
Modernmystic, I am simply taking nothing for granted. Unlike you. You accuse me of treading in the domain of religion, yet it is you who ASSUMES with your blind faith that humans must be the superior species. No species is superior or inferior, except in terms of survivability. We are more capable of surviving then other species, there is no denying that. But that does not change the fact that the SAME laws of survival that effect "us humans" vs "other animals" are the ones that govern our internal interactions with other humans as well. So I will repeat once more since you seem unable to understand this last point:

If you want to treat other animals as though they were merely your objects to consume, then you may do so. No god or magical book of morals will stop you or punish you. And if someone kills your family to steal your TV, no god or magical book of morals will stop or punish them. Hell if they are smart, they might not even get caught and get off scott free. And there would be nothing wrong with them doing this according to you. It's survival of the fittest, and your family failed. In fact it's good. One less family of losers who can't even defend themselves. That is not my view, that is your view. That is the logical extension of your own viewpoint. It isn't pretty, it doesn't serve your or anyone's best interest. It's just... stupid.

If I treat others with respect and decency, as much as is possible, I increase the likelyhood they will do the same to me. Your arrogance is underwhelming and pathetic. It makes me sad to see that a vast majority of people think like you do. And thus we have a society of corruption and greed, of self-serving bigots who our destroying everything for the people who just want to live and let live. It is anti-social and dangerous. You will try and turn this on me and say that I am the human-hater, tree-hugger, anti-social one. But such name calling will only go to show that anyone who questions your mindless violence and bigotry is "just one of them crazies"... allowing you to once again ignore the substance of what I say and continue blindly... just like most religious people I know. So do not accuse me of acting in blind faith. I have no faith in anything, I am merely openly cautious in my interactions with the world and people, and ever aware of my own lack of knowledge... and my actions reflect that cautiousness. Your actions reflect your assuredness of your superiority, and therefor your "right" to do whatever you wish to others.
Modernmystic
2.7 / 5 (12) Oct 07, 2008
I take nothing for granted. Nature has no morality, but humans do. My PROOF of this is that we're having this conversation. I need no belief in anything for that. Humans can have morals absent religion (I know several atheists who are more moral people that several Christians I know), however I don't know what you're basing this strange idea that a tree has morals on...unless of course it's a quasi religious belief.

You're basically doing what I was accusing people of doing in my first post, you're taking your own PERSONAL OPINION about what nature should be and trying to pass it off as a system of morals that nature has independent of humans. This is a fairy tale, morals and values about nature can't and don't exist independent of human agents.

Tell you what, when nature engages me in a debate about moral philosophy I'll stand up and take notice. Until then I'll treat it no differently that it treats itself...

Until then this conversation is over for my part because all I'm doing is talking to someone who's convinced nature does have some moral value apart from his/her own values. Which essentially leaves me arguing with "nature" which of course is impossible and absurd on the face of it. I might as well be debating on whether or not the sky is blue, and I have no time and less patience for that kind of nonsense.
MikeB
3.3 / 5 (7) Oct 07, 2008
OK mesafina, I admit it. I am prejudiced against animals. I would be absolutely horrified if my daughter married one.
Mesafina
2.6 / 5 (9) Oct 07, 2008
You have completely distorted everything I have said Modernmystic. No where have I said anything or implied anything that suggests I believe that nature has morals. In fact I specifically have said exactly the opposite several times:

"There is no moral code written into the universe that says you should treat others as kindly as you are able."

That is just one example. In fact, my argument has NOTHING to do with morality and EVERYTHING to do with what is logically in our best interests and the best interests of the largest number of people and living things. There is no "moral" reason to minimize your violence towards others... but there is a logical, self-serving reason to: because YOU don't like violence being directed at you. It's that simple. You are simply twisting my words to suit your predisposition. That is not my personal opinion about what nature should be. In fact it is not my opinion about anything. It is just cause and effect: the more people act violently, the greater the chance of violence being directed at me. No faith required, it's as logical as can be. However, your OPINION as implied by your previous posts suggests you BELIEVE that we humans are somehow "different" from nature, even as you say the opposite, and I quote:

"Just because someone does not recognize YOUR view that depriving a spotted owl of his life is equivalent of doing the same to a human being does not mean that they ARE in fact equivalent because YOU equate spotted owls with humans. Again, quite the contrary."

I do not BELIEVE that humans and spotted owls are "equivalent" because that has no meaning. Equivalent in what way? I merely suggest that there's a reasonable chance that the spotted owl can experience suffering just like a starving child. And statements like this: "I would rather save one starving child than every spotted owl." (I know that was not your statement but it is the statement of someone you frequently side with) imply that one has more "value" then the other. It is people like you who BELIEVE that humans have more "value" who have imposed some random morality where there is none.

So your PROOF is all of nothing. Like the substance of your debate. A tree or owl need not have a concept of morality to be able to experience emotion. Joy. Suffering. To deny the possibility is to deny the possibility that other humans experience feelings as well: there is observable evidence for both, so any logic that denies one must deny the other or be inconsistent. I merely say we don't take the chance and give all creatures the benefit of the doubt That's not a fairy tale, it's simple logic, something you seem to have discarded. What a pity.
Mesafina
2.3 / 5 (9) Oct 07, 2008
OK mesafina, I admit it. I am prejudiced against animals. I would be absolutely horrified if my daughter married one.


Then you won't mind if I admit that I am prejudiced against people who are arbitrarily and illogically prejudiced. It does not benefit me to allow your existence, because you may (and probably are prejudiced against people like me (aka people who disagree with you). And since it's survival of the fittest, and there's no reason to be concerned about your well being since only I matter, I guess I should just kill you now, as it would be the most logical course... except that of course then your prejudice would drive you or your friends/family to violence against mine and then we'd have a real conflict... oh wait this sounds familiar. Maybe it's because your way of thinking and interacting with the world is almost entirely the cause of almost all human conflicts. We are our own worst enemy because of people thinking like you. Be it racism, tribalism, nationalism, or speciesism, it's all the same. Hatred breeds hatred, belittling breeds conflict. The fact that you can't see this again speaks only to your self-indulgence, your arrogance, and your ignorance. Good job, you sound like an idiot.
GIR
4 / 5 (8) Oct 07, 2008
Hatred breeds hatred, belittling breeds conflict.


Hmmmm, makes sense i suppose

The fact that you can't see this again speaks only to your self-indulgence, your arrogance, and your ignorance. Good job, you sound like an idiot.


Oops!

Mesafina
2.9 / 5 (8) Oct 07, 2008
The "Good job, you sound like an idiot." was an opinion that had no place in the post. I retract it with apologies, as it does in fact detract from the point I was making. It is does not invalidate what I was saying however, it does show that I am human though and make mistakes or succumb to emotion as do all. I try to rectify these mistakes when I make them. I apologize for the comment.

His response of "OK mesafina, I admit it. I am prejudiced against animals. I would be absolutely horrified if my daughter married one." was clearly a smart @$$ remark with no value... he was being a troll and the best thing to do with trolls is ignore them. Another mistake on my part. In the future I will simply ignore such fruitless comments.
Mesafina
3 / 5 (9) Oct 07, 2008
And thanks GIR for pointing out my own hypocrisy. I actually do appreciate it, as while I may never eliminate hypocrisy from my life as nobody will (none of us have a wide and clear enough perspective to notice all of their behavioral inconsistencies) the best we can do is try to minimize them. It is why I sincerely appreciate your comment, as well as why I post these long winded comments for others. It is to point out their own hypocrisy to them, that they might analyze it and perhaps learn from it. As I said before, my own belittling comments detract from that goal as they simply inflame the discussion with emotions that have no place, and obscure rational thought. Please everyone here take this as an example of why it is ALWAYS worth reexamining why it is you think you believe something... chances are, if you believe anything at all, it's for the wrong reasons, or your reasons for thinking it must be true are flawed. It is the reason I point out the fact that people like MikeB are so SURE that protecting humans from the "jungle of darwinism" while subjecting all other creatures to it must be in his best interest, as he is indeed human, and therefor is the right behavior for him to follow. But in doing so, he makes alot of unspoken assumptions about the very nature of consciousness, such as:

1 - I will never experience life as one of the animals or people my existence harms. This does not surprise me as there is no scientific evidence that anything like reincarnation occurs, or that we are part of any universal consciousness. But there is also no evidence that it is NOT true, and people who believe it isn't are just as ignorant as those that believe it is. So a rational, scientifically minded individual would not make any assumptions on the issue and would then act to minimize the suffering they cause just in case.

2 - That human pain is more "valuable" in some way then the pain of other animals. He made this point when he said: "I would rather save one starving child than every spotted owl." This borders on religious in it's own right, as he is arbitrary applying HIS moral code to nature, saying that one is more worthy of protection then another. Neither saving the starving child or the owl would directly impact him, so therefor his only reason for having a preference would have to be some arbitrary moral code he has about the relative "value" of different aspects of nature, which is itself extremely unscientific.

Those are just two examples of some of the hypocrisy I was attempting to point out. I recognize and apologize for my own hypocrisy. I hope you all will at least recognize your own to yourselves.

Thank you and that is all.
Modernmystic
2.4 / 5 (11) Oct 07, 2008
The fallacy being used here as I see it is the false dilemma.

As I see your position Mesa you're saying we either except moral responsibility for nature and each other or we except no moral responsibility at all.

In fact there is a third option that we except no moral responsibility for nature (which to me seems reasonable because it assumes none itself) yet we except moral responsibility towards each other (which again would seem reasonable because we ARE moral agents).

Now if you want to argue that you'd like us not to kill spotted owls because they are of value to YOU, well then ask us not to. Convince us in a reasonable manner. Anything other than stamping your feet and demanding that we do as you wish or you "might as well kill us" for being evil people or some such nonsense. Only you can make that appeal because only YOU are capable of holding such a value...nature isn't....period.

If you want to make the case that we are in fact harming other people (in a real and tangible way, not a "this is the way the world should be" way) when we harm nature make that case. That is the strongest argument on both logical and moral grounds.

So far however, your arguments have not only been not convincing but offensive, belligerent, and totally emotional in their character.
Mesafina
3 / 5 (6) Oct 07, 2008
I see the problem here is that either I am miscommunicating my point, or you are misinterpreting it, or some combination of the two. My point has nothing to do with morality and nothing to do with an idea about how the world should be.

As far as I am concerned your third option does not exist as a rational option because morality does not exist, neither among humans or animals. There is only "things that benefit a particular person or group, and things that harm them". They may not be the same things for all people. Sometimes things that benefit one person cause another harm. They are not "good" or "bad" at all in this respect. So your idea that humans are different from other creatures because they possess morality is like saying humans are different from other creatures because they have a soul. Both are arbitrary assumptions that have no rational basis. Humans my "think" they possess "morals" just like many humans "think" they possess souls. Both are just creations of the human mind, because no human that I know of has any definitive proof that their is a universal morality or a soul.

So then we are forced to look at it from a perspective of "what do we know causes harm to people" and "what do we know that people enjoy" and we create rules and laws that are aimed at protecting people from the things that hurt so they can enjoy the things that bring pleasure. We do this to protect people from the jungle, from being preyed upon for another's enjoyment, because nobody wants to be the victim.

I don't want you to hurt me because my life is of value to ME. I don't want to hurt you because though your life has no direct value to me, it does to you, and I do not wish you harm. It having value to me is irrelevant. The reason for not harming you has NOTHING to do with morality. It is simply the most logical course of action to cause minimum harm if I wish to receive minimum harm. Because if I exist in a system where more harm is done, it increases the chance that any particular person will be harmed, and I am one person in this system. It's perfectly logical, your supposition that humans and other animals are "different" due to the existence of "morality" in humans, and therefor somehow our "morality" only applies to humans... it is nonsense. It makes no sense at all, is totally illogical.

The same can be said for animal life. Their lives may have no value to us, but it may have value to them. That is enough of a reason for a logical person to not want to cause the animal harm... for even though the animal may not be intelligent enough to treat you the same way, you are still creating pain in the system of biological life and therefor increasing the odds that any particular person or creature might experience pain. And that could be you.

You say: "Now if you want to argue that you'd like us not to kill spotted owls because they are of value to YOU, well then ask us not to. Convince us in a reasonable manner. Anything other than stamping your feet and demanding that we do as you wish or you "might as well kill us" for being evil people or some such nonsense."

That is exactly what I have been doing. I have repeated the same simple observations and reasoning time and time again now and you are predisposed to not listening... so what is the point? If I do it, then you simply say I haven't and ask why don't I do it? It's like arguing with a rock.

Again, "If you want to make the case that we are in fact harming other people (in a real and tangible way, not a "this is the way the world should be" way) when we harm nature make that case." this is once again evidence that you hold humans in some special catagory... one that was invented only by humans by the way, just like your so called "morality", and deserve preferential treatment. Why is it that humans deserve preferential treatment again? You've failed to explain that one. Is it because YOU are human? I am white, but if I say white's deserve preferential treatment then that makes me a racist, and there are plenty of good reasons why it's in everyone's best interest to avoid racism. I'm sure you know why. This is no different. But you won't even acknowledge anything I say, preferring to instead demean it by calling it "offensive and belligerent" giving you a convenient out to having to actually consider it. By grouping me with "one of those crazies" you have closed your mind off to anything you might learn from this situation. Though I too have done some name calling during this debate, at least I recognized it and corrected it. Instead you just continue to repeat your "facts" which you are so sure of... "In fact there is a third option..."

Of course there is. I'm so glad you are so sure of so much. Christians and Muslims are pretty sure of alot of things too.
Mesafina
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 07, 2008
I ask again: Why are humans special?

If you can not answer that one question, then your arguments have no basis, for all your arguments are based on that assumption.

And don't say "because they possess the concept of morality" because I addressed that already. Different people have totally different ideas of morality. Some people have no "morals" and act only in self interest. Is a person who acts with no "greater morals" any different then an animal then in your mind? And how do you know who's morals are correct? If different people believe different things, is it only the people who agree with you that deserve preferential treatment?

I reiterate, your position so far comes off as totally illogical and baseless, whereas I have extensively explained in perfectly logical terms why my position in this argument is simply taking basic logic to it's logical conclusion.

This is your opportunity to better explain your position.
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (11) Oct 07, 2008
I ask again: Why are humans special?


Because no other animal on the planet is capable of asking or answering that question. Because we're having a conversation about morals and we're the only animals on the planet capable of that too. Because we're the only animals on the planet capable of holding values or grasping the concept of morality (whether or not any specific morality is "right" or "wrong" is irrelevant to this specific aspect of the discussion BTW). Because we're the only animals on the planet who would even bother to consider the question of morality as it pertains to another species. It's actually BLATANTLY obvious what makes us special and it is AGAIN (for about the tenth time I think) this quality which even makes these discussions possible.

Are you saying we're NOT special? You seem to think we're capable of destroying the biosphere of the planet....something that nature hasn't been able to do (despite her best efforts) for billions of years. Now which is it?

If you want an answer from a different POV well then it could simply be because your beloved nature has selected us to be the super predators and at the apex of the food chain on this planet, and therefore whatever we do is "fine with her".
Mesafina
2.5 / 5 (8) Oct 07, 2008
So what you are saying is that because we are capable of having this discourse, that is why humans are special and therefor why it is ok to harm other creatures for personal gain but not other humans?

Come again? How is the fact that we can have this conversation, or have arbitrary ideas about right and wrong make us off limits in the world of the Darwinian jungle?

That is not only not obvious, it is illogical, as those things are totally unrelated. I fail to see how our ability to come up with arbitrary morals equates to us being exempt from the natural laws we invoke when we consume other lifeforms.

Don't lie, I suspect the real reason is just as I mentioned before, because YOU are human. You keep twisting this but the longer this goes on the more you keep revealing the fact that you can't address the points I'm making, you simply continue to instead to make points based on assumptions... assumptions that aren't even very good assumptions for the most part.

For all you know animals do have morality. They can't communicate it to you, sure. You can'y communicate with another person if you don't speak their language. But an animal surely seems to things that happen to them which are pleasurable are "good" and things that hurt them are "bad". That could be said to be a morality just as much as anything humans have come up with.

So your argument is, once again, completely without base.
Mesafina
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 07, 2008
Oh my god, am I talking to rocks? I have stated time and time again that I am not discussing morality. Hell, I completely agree with you all on the issue of morality. It doesn't exist. Period. There is nothing that is immoral or moral, just things that some creatures like and others don't. I have said this more times now then I care to count. But you KEEP RETURNING THE CONVERSATION HERE.

I even explained exactly WHY what I am saying requires no concept of morality. I am simply advising you that if you wish to continue surviving free of suffering (as you seem to, but if I am wrong feel free to correct me), then it behooves you NOT to inflict suffering on other creatures. And I explained exactly why that is the case. If you still don't understand, go reread everything I have written.

You sound like Sarah Palin, ignoring the questions being asked and just saying whatever the hell you want. It makes you sound like you don't know what to say, or don't know what your talking about.
Mesafina
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 07, 2008
"So there are two comments from you, both take us back to the morality discussion. I'm going ot go ahead and state that you don't know what you're talking about but you feel very strongly about something. That may be what you need to survive. Just to feel strongly. Truth is, you're inflicting suffering on the rest of us for having to read it as it takes this rollercoaster ride that doesn't end in a point. "

I only speak of morality here because Modernmystic kept on referring to some morality that I was making reference to from the start... which I was not. He was the first one to bring up morality, and the ONLY times I have mentioned morality is to mention that morality has NOTHING to do with anything we are discussing. That has been both a point of mine and yours. You are the only one who seems to think otherwise.

"Your stance appears to be, don't hurt the planet. So let's hear it, what's your solution to the looming mammalian crisis?"

My stance, as I have said over and over ad nausium, is simply that people should MINIMIZE the suffering they cause to others. This might mean eating meat that you've hunted yourself, vs factory farmed slaughterhouse meat. It may mean avoiding buying products that were produced in near-slavery environment like China, or avoiding having children. It might just mean driving a smaller car, so that you consume less of a limited resource, thereby increasing the amount there is to go around our bloated population.

The obvious solution to the mammalian crisis, like any crisis caused by human growth gone out of control is to SLOW DOWN. Stop having quite as many children. Stop consuming as many resources and taking up so much space. Our existence at all necessitates a degree of suffering. But you seem to be arguing AGAINST minimizing our impact on others, instead arguing for doing whatever you want to others that makes you feel good. And while I will not condemn this on MORAL grounds, I will (as I have been), say that it is illogical and goes against your own self interests.

"Just to feel strongly. Truth is, you're inflicting suffering on the rest of us for having to read it as it takes this rollercoaster ride that doesn't end in a point"

If it bothers you so much to hear a different take on things, then just go away. I'm not MAKING you return to read this. You only do because you care about my opinion on this matter. You need the reaffirmation, dislike seeing a differing viewpoint.

Most of my views are not so different from yours, and I have tried to make that point several times. The ONLY thing I have tried to convince you of is that it is in your best interest to minimize the harm you do to others. That is all. And I have good reason to want you to understand that, it is also in MY best interest. You keep returning over and over to points that I AGREE WITH YOU ON, and ignore the very core of this discussion.

And as for the 1/5 ratings, I agree it should not be abused, but so far all of your responses have warrented about a 1, so no abuse has occured.

Good day!
Velanarris
3 / 5 (6) Oct 07, 2008
1 is for spam. Like Neil Faberstein, he's awful.
I think we can all agree on that.

As for the rest of your commentary there isn't much suffering in giving a Chinese worker some money. If they have the option of working in what we consider substandard conditions of starving to death, they choose to work there.

As for suffering, if we didn't have animals that we raised for meat and slaughter than the majority of the world would starve to death.

I weigh suffering based on value. Animals we slaughter for food and raise on farms wouldn't be alive otherwise. They suffer so we don't, and honestly, I wouldn't really say most of them suffer. If you wanted people to go back to hunting for their food I'd make it really easy. I'd capture a few and raise them in my backyard and I'd go right back to square one.

You're effectively rallying against animal husbandry, which has given rise to more species than it has ever harmed or run into extinction.

And as for avoiding having chldren, you can do that one for me. I'll be having as many as I can afford so I can fulfill my biological imperative. You know, my animal instinct.

I'm sorry, our views are not at all congruent, you're almost antisocial.

rubberman
3.8 / 5 (8) Oct 08, 2008
I take back my previous post, instead of an event that unites humanity, I hope something wipes all of you guys out except for me, my kids, Maria Sharipova......and the spotted owls of course.
MikeB
3.8 / 5 (4) Oct 08, 2008
OK that was so good I'm giving you a 5.
Velanarris
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 08, 2008
OK that was so good I'm giving you a 5.


Yep, me too.
rubberman
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 08, 2008
AW shucks, you guys....
Excalibur
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2008
I here observe an exceedingly interesting & telling correlation - those who proudly proclaim mankind's "superiority" and the "natural right" to do as we please are those very same persons who persist in insisting that mankind is not and/or cannot be responsible for any effect re. global warming.

In short, it's the "me first" crowd.
deepsand
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 11, 2008
Humankind is an infant, soiling its cradle. If it does not mature, it shall most assuredly perish amidst its own feces.
xen_uno
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2008
Humans are smart enough to be good stewards of the planet which is really in their best interest longterm ... obviously we are not. To the planet, we are rapists and murderers. I'm glad I won't be around to see the resulting armageddon when societies and their economies break down. Only then will these ultra compassionate (for the human race) soft heads take an article like this one seriously.
MikeB
3 / 5 (4) Oct 11, 2008
Lay low in your self pity and self loathing, you can do nothing for the earth and her progeny. Lay low. Hide by your hearth as you pick at your boils. Lay low. Lay low and throw your pitiful invective at those who have the temerity to live. Lay low and toss the waste from your cage at those who watch you and the other screeching primates who are your brothers.
Don't toss your offal, your awful stinking thoughts at me and mine. I will dodge and run from your crib, your cage, as you pitiful monkeys try to ruin my day at the zoo. :)
Velanarris
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 11, 2008
Lay low in your self pity and self loathing, you can do nothing for the earth and her progeny. Lay low. Hide by your hearth as you pick at your boils. Lay low. Lay low and throw your pitiful invective at those who have the temerity to live. Lay low and toss the waste from your cage at those who watch you and the other screeching primates who are your brothers.
Don't toss your offal, your awful stinking thoughts at me and mine. I will dodge and run from your crib, your cage, as you pitiful monkeys try to ruin my day at the zoo. :)


Well done.

As for you other gentlemen we've asked for hard facts and none of you have produced them, yet the purile insults you hurl as though you've stood atop the mountain of human knowledge and understanding are laid bare before you as the journeys of faith they are. Faith requires no evidence so as such you'll always be just, at least in your own mind.
Excalibur
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2008
Lay low in your self pity and self loathing, you can do nothing for the earth and her progeny. Lay low. Hide by your hearth as you pick at your boils. Lay low. Lay low and throw your pitiful invective at those who have the temerity to live. Lay low and toss the waste from your cage at those who watch you and the other screeching primates who are your brothers.
Don't toss your offal, your awful stinking thoughts at me and mine. I will dodge and run from your crib, your cage, as you pitiful monkeys try to ruin my day at the zoo. :)

He who is not a good stewart to all is brother to none.

He who would foul the air, poison the water & spoil the earth for his own personal gain deserves naught but scorn, for he is the most selfish of creatures.

His is a foul command; his issue, children of darkness.
MikeB
3 / 5 (4) Oct 12, 2008
My cradle has sanitary facilities. They are connected to a central treatment center which treats and responsibly disposes of the waste. My employment is in the sector that has the responsibility of keeping our Earth in a pristine state. In the place I live there are no concerns of poisoned water or air. Where do you live that the air you breathe and the water you drink are killing you? How much longer can you live there?

My command is pure as are my thoughts. I positively keep my earth clean and my energy flowing so that my children will not be relegated to the darkness. Not be left to the cold and inhospitable future of those who pace back and forth, doing nothing.

So then, is breathing to be thought of as spoiling the Earth. Am I seeking my own private gain because I exhale the "deadly poison" CO2? If it is, then I plead guilty. I and many in my community have fought the good fight against environmental pollution. The effort and treasure that we have spent has been very worthwhile over the last app. fifty years. However now we are being told that it was not enough. Clean air and water and Earth is not nearly enough. It seems that we ourselves are the pollutant. Our own breath betrays us. A trace gas, it seems, measured in the parts per million, will kill our children with it's unimaginable lethality.

I say ENOUGH!! You may be able to convince the young and feeble-minded of this lie. But the truth will out.

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
Excalibur
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
You are the deaf and blind. You see not beyond the reach of your own hand, hear not beyond that of your own voice.

Your cradle is not your own, but merely a small nook within the greater whole. That you occupy such is by the grace of others.

Yours is the clamor of those who hold themselves to be endowed with the inviolable right to take that which they desire.

Yours is the voice of willful ignorance.
MikeB
3 / 5 (4) Oct 12, 2008
We have heard the voice of the Earth's poor and we have answered. We have seen that which is possible. We have listened to the sage, to the older men of science, who have no axe to grind. We have earned our place on this Earth, and we have made the blessings of this Earth available to the rest of humankind. Any niche that we inhabit is only because of mercy, but not the mercy of the masses. Our voice is the voice of freedom and justice, not of the mob of the collective.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope
Excalibur
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 12, 2008
Such "blessings" as may have been secured are increasingly those gained by force and are ephemeral.

Humankind is quickly transforming itself from suitor to rapist. The American Indians and many other "primitive" cultures understand/understood full well the awful consequences to be had from the excesses born of the hubris of "civilized" man.
MikeB
3 / 5 (4) Oct 12, 2008
Surely you are not saying that the noble savage was better off before Europeans arrived?
Rousseau did an in depth study of this question. His conclusion?
"Although, in this state [civil society], he deprives himself of some advantages which he got from nature, he gains in return others so great, his faculties are so stimulated and developed, his ideas so extended, his feelings so ennobled, and his whole soul so uplifted, that, did not the abuses of this new condition often degrade him below that which he left, he would be bound to bless continually the happy moment which took him from it for ever, and, instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal, made him an intelligent being and a man."
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (8) Oct 12, 2008
Such "blessings" as may have been secured are increasingly those gained by force and are ephemeral.

Humankind is quickly transforming itself from suitor to rapist. The American Indians and many other "primitive" cultures understand/understood full well the awful consequences to be had from the excesses born of the hubris of "civilized" man.


Well, Mike B said it well enough, but I couldn't help comment on the sheer ignorance displayed by the above comment.

American Indians *snicker*...you think they were all holding hands and dancing happily around the flowers before the "eeeeeevil" Europeans arrived? If so you are quite possibly the most ignorant person I've ever met or the most willfully intellectually dishonest.

Before modern CIVILIZATION life was poor, nasty, brutish, and short...period.

If you really have the stomach to live by your convictions and not just soothe your mildly concealed self loathing by posting such utter rubbish on the Internet there ARE still some primitives left in the world...sell all your goods, get on a plane, and have the ACTUAL COURAGE to go live with them.

No? Didn't think so....
Excalibur
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
Surely you are not saying that the noble savage was better off before Europeans arrived?

Presumably you mean before they fell under the onslaught of pestilences carried by men who stole their lands.
Rousseau did an in depth study of this question. His conclusion?

History is always re-written by the victors.
Excalibur
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 12, 2008
American Indians *snicker* ...

Yet one more display of the arrogance that typifies the "me first" crowd.

Your hubris is egregious.

As is either your ignorance or avoidance of the fact that "primitive" cultures have always had a greater understanding of and appreciation for our intricate interrelationship with our world as a whole. That they may not fully know the hows and/or whys of such in no way serves to diminish that understanding, an understanding that modern man has, in his quest for personal glory, forgotten.

Ignore at your own peril.
MikeB
3 / 5 (4) Oct 12, 2008
Well as a descendant of the American Indian, I suppose I am a loser not a victor. Funny though, I consider myself a winner.
Velanarris
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
American Indians *snicker* ...

Yet one more display of the arrogance that typifies the "me first" crowd.

Your hubris is egregious.

As is either your ignorance or avoidance of the fact that "primitive" cultures have always had a greater understanding of and appreciation for our intricate interrelationship with our world as a whole. That they may not fully know the hows and/or whys of such in no way serves to diminish that understanding, an understanding that modern man has, in his quest for personal glory, forgotten.

Ignore at your own peril.
I sense what drives you, and I'm saddened to say it is guilt. Guilt for your very own existance is the problem no one can solve for another.

Remember, for every problem, there is a final solution.
MikeB
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2008
" "primitive" cultures have always had a greater understanding of and appreciation for our intricate interrelationship with our world as a whole."

Not understanding, but superstition.
Not justice, but instinct.
Not reason, but appetite.
No morality, only will.
No freedom based on law, only based on personal strength.
The savage was like an animal, and has become a man.
The attribution of idealism to the savage is an old failing of critical thought. It leads to further mistakes and confusion.

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.
Excalibur
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
I sense what drives you, and I'm saddened to say it is guilt. Guilt for your very own existance is the problem no one can solve for another.

You sense nothing of the sort.

I am saddened that the "me first" crowd, in their unholy quest for instant gratification, for blessing for their self-indulgences, gives not wit about that remains for mankind's future.

Remember, for every problem, there is a final solution.

Which, in this case, may very well be humankind's extinction.
Excalibur
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
" "primitive" cultures have always had a greater understanding of and appreciation for our intricate interrelationship with our world as a whole."

Not understanding, but superstition.
Not justice, but instinct.
Not reason, but appetite.
No morality, only will.
No freedom based on law, only based on personal strength.
The savage was like an animal, and has become a man.
The attribution of idealism to the savage is an old failing of critical thought. It leads to further mistakes and confusion.

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

Pure, unadulterated BS.
deepsand
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
Well as a descendant of the American Indian ...

Well, as a direct descendant of arguably the most well known frontiersman of Colonial times, I am appalled at the lack of respect for Nature that is here on display.

And, I've no doubt but that my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather would be equally disturbed at the callous manner in which so many tread the land.
MikeB
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2008
The noble savage enforced his will, freedom and appetites through his own strength.
Seems to me the noble primitive was the original "me firster". His unholy, amoral quest for the instant gratification of his animalistic appetites and lusts, were contingent upon the power of his attack. We have brought these selfsame imperatives under the control of law, and codified freedom so that it no longer resides solely in the individual's power.

"Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power"
deepsand
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 12, 2008
The noble savage enforced his will, freedom and appetites through his own strength.
Seems to me the noble primitive was the original "me firster". His unholy, amoral quest for the instant gratification of his animalistic appetites and lusts, were contingent upon the power of his attack. We have brought these selfsame imperatives under the control of law, and codified freedom so that it no longer resides solely in the individual's power.

Nice try at rationalization; unfortunately for your argument, that mankind has NOT learned to curb his appetites is all too well evidenced by the current financial crisis.
"Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power"

And, over-optimism yields defeat. Just ask OK, USC, MI or LSU.
Excalibur
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 12, 2008
And, over-optimism yields defeat. Just ask OK, USC, MI or LSU.

Or, for that matter, Hitler.
Excalibur
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 12, 2008
The noble savage enforced his will, freedom and appetites through his own strength.

An apt description of the greed that gave us the current credit crisis, a greed that is not confined to the Wall Streets of the world.
... optimism to power"

At best, the illusion of power.

True power lies in knowledge and understanding of, not only ones strengths, but also ones weaknesses. Those who deny the latter are doomed to failure.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (8) Oct 13, 2008
Well, as a direct descendant of arguably the most well known frontiersman of Colonial times, I am appalled at the lack of respect for Nature that is here on display.


I'm amused at your consternation and your apparent belief that your lineage gives you special status to comment on this subject...again *snicker*.

And, I've no doubt but that my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather would be equally disturbed at the callous manner in which so many tread the land.


Seances? Oh no wait I got it! A Ouija board....
deepsand
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 25, 2009
Well, as a direct descendant of arguably the most well known frontiersman of Colonial times, I am appalled at the lack of respect for Nature that is here on display.


I'm amused at your consternation and your apparent belief that your lineage gives you special status to comment on this subject...again *snicker*.

And, I've no doubt but that my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather would be equally disturbed at the callous manner in which so many tread the land.


Seances? Oh no wait I got it! A Ouija board....

Snickers befit one such as yourself, one who exhibits such a inflated sense of self importance in the Universe.

May the fleas of seven generations of camels be visited upon your crotch.