TED Conversations

Zman Kietilipooskie

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Debate: Are humans better than other forms of life?

Many people think that something called respect applies to all forms of life; on the other hands humans are essentially above other animals is the sense of intelligence and culture. Because of our mental superiority it is ethical for animals to be farmed and mistreated, animals treated by the standards human would receive as punishment for murder and other horrendous acts.

Are Humans really superior to other forms of life?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 2 2012: No they are not.

    Any animal that wantonly destroys its own environment just for a quick buck is neither superior, nor intelligent.
    • thumb
      Dec 2 2012: Superiority has to do with domination of the environment (by "jumping" out of the ecosystem), and an animal, if dominating the environment would destroy the environment just by doing so. Intelligence is relative to you opinion on the importance or sustaining the earths original environment, after all we could survive ether way. So regardless of wither or not we choose to act "intelligently" we destroy the environment regardless. It is simply a matter of reducing the amount of damage we, as the most intelligent and superior race on this planet, cause our environment.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2012: An animal, operating primarily on instinct, would live or die according to the environment that supports it. That species evolves in balance within its own ecosystem. That ecosystem depends on such balance in order to sustain itself.

        Humans have stopped evolving within the balanced scheme of nature. Instead, we are now evolving psychologically (and probably physically) within a technosystem of our own making, meaning we are losing that instinctual, vital connection with the earth. We do not give back what we take from nature. The inevitable result of that is we think (in our intelligent and superior way??) that technology will be our saviour, and that the finite resources that fashion it and power it, are somehow going to last for ever.

        My assertion is that yes, it takes a certain intelligence to jump out of that ecosystem in the first place as we have done, but it takes a far greater level of acuity to come to the collective realisation that this "half intelligence" we currently have is actually ruining the planet. That realisation will not be happening anytime soon, unless stupendous changes take place within our political, economic and religious institutions and the people who blindly support them.
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2012: Any reform of any kind will not change the fact that we have jumped out of the ecosystem of the planet. We will be hurting the planet not matter what, it is only a matter of degree.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2012: I still maintain that jumping out of the planetary ecosystem as we have done, must be concurrent with a higher degree of global intelligence than we now have, in order to facilitate our essential role as custodians of the very thing that gives us and other animals, life.

        I still also maintain that our current belief systems have a corrosive effect on that vital intelligence we should have, in order to ensure planetary health and longevity.

        How do you suggest we change the degree by which we are hurting the planet?

        Will that change come about as a result of using the degree of intelligencewe have right now, or do we have to wait for a disastrous wake-up call to jolt us into that change?
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2012: The degree by which we we are hurting and will hurt the planet is detrimental as I said, and the only ways I think I believe that we could change is by changing our way of producing food and products (in a more economical manner).

          my main point is that we will always have a corrosive effect on the planet regardless of our intellect.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2012: "...the only ways I think I believe that we could change is by changing our way of producing food and products (in a more economical manner)"

        By that, do you specifically mean developing more genetically modified crops and livestock and more intensive farming methods?

        "...my main point is that we will always have a corrosive effect on the planet regardless of our intellect"

        Are you saying that humans are a finite species?

        Will our 'intelligence' be the main catalyst of our own downfall?

        Can we learn anything from ecosystems that are healthy and self-sustaining, before it's too late?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.