The Instigator
burnbird14
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
debateboy
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points

Anthropocentrism ought to be valued above biocentrism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
burnbird14
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,916 times Debate No: 11412
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (46)
Votes (7)

 

burnbird14

Pro

[As a quick side note before I post this, I would ask my opponent, whoever that may be, to follow the traditional format of LD debate, both in case structure and argumentation.]

Know that although in the eternal scheme of things you are small, you are also unique and irreplaceable, as are all your fellow humans everywhere in the world.
It is because I agree with Margaret Laurence, female Canadian author that I must affirm:

Resolved: Anthropocentrism ought to be valued above biocentrism.

Before continuing, I would like to define the following terms as found in the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

•Anthropocentrism – considering human beings as the most significant entity of the universe
•Ought – used to express obligation or advisability
•Value – to rate or scale in usefulness or importance
•Biocentrism – considering all forms of life as having intrinsic value
•Intrinsic Value – ethical or philosophical value that an object has "in itself"; may be regarded as an end
•Extrinsic Value - value of objects, both physical objects and abstract objects, not as ends-in-themselves but a means of achieving something else

My value for today's round must be that of The Positional Good, defined as "the idea that products and services' values are mostly (if not exclusively) a function of their desirability." As humans, we have a specific obligation to defend our own survival by the use of resources around us; by this, humanity poises itself as the positional good, the most desirable product of evolution, and willing to fight to retain it. The reason that this value ought to be held to the highest standard in the round is that by using it, I do acknowledge that all things have some value; however, as it stands, humanity has positionality.

To support my value, I offer the criterion of ethical egoism, defined as "the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest." Ethical egoism can be applied, by its very definition, to moral agents, or humans. Because humanity has survived through so many eras of living, and has consistently adapted to any challenge placed before it – famine, disease, and discomfort – it may be counted as one of the most adaptable species that ever lived. Humanity has an obligation to act in its own best interests over those of others. By taking ethical egoism and putting it into practice – that is, by doing what is in the interest of human survival – then the positional good is achieved, because by doing so humanity shows itself as the positional good.

Observation: Definition Clash
The definitions of anthropocentrism and biocentrism are listed as antonyms in nearly every source, including the Merriam Webster Dictionary; however, the wording of both definitions does not insinuate that they are antonyms. This presents a very complex conundrum for both sides of the debate, as the definitions suggest that the two may coincide with one another, which leaves no room for debate. For this reason, to preserve clash, the definition of anthropocentrism may be interpreted as humanity being the most significant entity because it is the only being with intrinsic value.

Contention I: Anthropocentrism Improves the Human Condition
According to J-Rank Magazine, "The individual, cultural, and technological skills of humans are among the attributes that make their species special and different. The qualities of humans have empowered their species to a degree that no other species has achieved during the history of life on Earth. This power has allowed humans to become the most successful species on Earth. This success is indicated by the population of humans that is now being maintained and the increasing amounts of Earth's biological and environmental resources that are being appropriated to sustain the human species." In essence, this information shows that the use of a human-central society and thought process leads to great growth and prosperity, physically and socially, in our world. By humanity's use of the resources around it in a responsible and careful manner, it is able to further improve its society and world. This links to my value of the positional good, because if the human condition is improved, then humanity's positionality is assured. Further, by using our resources in the way we see fit, and by doing that which is in our own best interests, the human condition is improved – with this, my criterion of ethical egoism also has a link.

Contention II: Biocentrist Thought is Flawed
Biocentrism, as defined by my case, is considering all forms of life as having intrinsic value. Taking this further, intrinsic value is defined as the philosophical, intangible value something has. In other words, biocentrism holds that all living things are ends to themselves. However, this is simply impossible. When a thing is utilized for the betterment of humanity, then it ceases to be an end and instead becomes a means to an end. For example, according to Science Clarified, antibiotics are made from living organisms such as fungi, molds, and certain soil bacteria that are harmful to disease-causing bacteria, which are used to fight infections and infectious diseases caused by bacteria. These small living organisms – which are to be included in biocentrist thought – are injected into the human bloodstream, where they fight off the disease-causing bacteria. This is just one of many examples – plants such as aloe are used to treat sunburn, oils from marine mammals are used in our soaps and shampoos, the list goes on and on. These things are then looked to for their extrinsic value, rather than intrinsic value. Humans, by comparison, are the end looking to be protected by these means. This utilization is in the best interests of humanity, which upholds my criterion of ethical egoism, and ultimately protects human survival as the positional good.

Contention III: Humanity Has an Obligation to be Egoist
Throughout the course of history, species of plants and animals have come and gone in natural decline, based on their effectiveness and adaptability. As I said before, humanity is a species that has survived the ages and continued to thrive, no matter the circumstance. Humans, since the dawn of time, have used the environment as a tool of adaptation, molding it with their ability of complex reason to produce food, shelter, and art. Because of this, an inexplicable relationship between man and his environment is revealed. In this web, man is at the top of the food chain, because of his skills of adaptability and guile; while man is a part of the environment, he rules it, and changes it to his whims. However, as humanity's place in the environment is revealed, so too is his burden: a burden that he, and only he, can have. Humans must do what is in their own best interest because it is their duty to do so; if they did not, then they would die off, because they would lose this creative power they have been granted. In this, anthropocentrism has its true moral ground: humans are the supreme beings, the most significant entities, because of their ability to reason, to shape their environment, and to use it for their purposes.

I now stand open for cross-examination.
debateboy

Con

I thank my opponent for creating this debate. I accept the definitions.

To begin my arguments, I would like to refute my opponents points. My opponent offered the criterion of "ethical egoism." He goes on to say that humanity has survived through so many eras of living. I would like to point out that us humans are, so to speak, the "new kids on the block," and that dragonflies, stupid as they are, survived since the beginnings of the dinosaurs. So based on his "ethical egoism," we should bow down befor the dragonflies. In a sense, you are saying that the so called "elders" of the world (dragonflies) should bow down to the new uneducated humans, representing the "baby." I think this is quite a funny thought.

As for his observations on "definition clash," I do not worry about this at all. In fact, what he is saying s completely unrelated to the topic. The topic is not "anthropocentrism and biocentrism are opposite." Anthropocentrism simply means we should act to our own thoughts, because we are more prominent then the rest. What biocentrism means is that all species are equal and we, as humans, should not consider ourselves more than another specie. I do declare that that point was completely invalid.

His quote to support his first contention is quite off compared to what this debate is about. He said that the "increasing amounts of Earth's biological and environmental resources that are being appropriated to sustain the human species." Is this not what every specie is doing, from a tiger devouring its prey to a rabbit eating grass? There is nothing that suggests anthropocentrism. But what we are doing to the animals - not for our benifit, is animal cruelty, or anthropocentrism. We lock animals away in zoos, just for the money, not for the well being of the animals. I must bring in the example of the dodo bird. The dodos died out because as soon as they were found, zoos wanted them to be cramped into the cages. In fact, a small island that successfully bred the dodos was found and the dodo's living there were completely wiped out. Is this, as the "leaders of the world," moral?

As I read his second contention, I realize that his reasoning is flawed. As the top-of-the-food-chain creature, we are allowed to use animals, as we can "devour" species as a lion devours its prey. This does not include, however, cramming them into cages and wiping entire species off the earth, as we did to the dodos. ANtibiotics made from organisms are simply for our survival solely, and its intentions are completely different than selling endangered animals' leathers, or poaching them and selling them illegally. This does not include killing off an entire species for our own entertainment or ambitions, as the dodo bird shows.

His third Contention is that humans are the leaders of the world.
This is completely innocent, but what a leader must do for the people is different than what we are doing. A leader puts his peoples' needs in front of his own. We are killing species for our entertainment! Again, we aren't talking about devouring animals, as all animals do that, but at least not taking the next step of arrogance and mistreating animals for fun! for entertainment! This leads to my example of the Roman gladiator battles. An entire mass of elephants and tigers were wiped out from Arrica that day- and to what purpose? FUN. We can easily survive without capturing animals- such as the Native Americans. They didn't cage animals. They still survived until Europeans came to America.

Contention 1: Humans can not claim ownership for all the animals.
On the moral perspective, we did not create the animals. They are simpy not ours to command. There are so many animals out there, some of which we didn't even know. How could us, humans, the new kids on the block, claim ownership to a majestic world that we don't fully understand.
On the scientific perspective, we all evolved from one single cell. This puts us humans on the same platfrom as everybody else. WE have special traits- thats it. We cannot take advantage of this, and control our equals.

Contention 2: Its natural for humans to be euqal.
Europeans are normally the wasteful ones. For example, the cave men had cave paintigns of animals, and the Egyptians worshipped the cats. In both these circumstances, humans are not the dominant ones. We are the same as all the other animals. But Europeans invented the car, the gas usage, and we have been polluting the world. That's when this idea that humand were the "center of the world" spread. We made an excuse to cover up the fact that we were destroying the world.

I look forward to the next round (BTW, this is my first debate.)
Debate Round No. 1
burnbird14

Pro

To begin, I would like to note that my opponent leaves us with no value or criterion with which to uphold the negative ground. Please note this when judging the round, as it does prevent a true LD debate from occurring, the format for which I requested. However, as my opponent says, this is his first debate, so this is the only time I will make note of it.

I will move to attack my opponent's contentions, and move on to rebuild my own case.

Against my opponents first contention, Humans Cannot Claim Ownership for All the Animals, I will say that it is untopical. As my opponent agrees with my definitions, let's look to them. Anthropocentrism, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is "considering human beings as the most significant entity of the universe." Does this in any way, shape, or form, suggest that humans own the animals? Of course not. The key idea of anthropocentrism is the preservation of humanity through the use of the resources around us. However, if this does not convince you, then consider Biblical text: God placed humans as the stewards of the world. Further, if you look at this through the processes of evolution, humanity has, somehow, gained the ability of complex reason and the understanding of right and wrong - or good and evil. This is a very "special skill" one that makes it our duty, if you will, to take care of the animals. Again, though, I shouldn't have to attack this at all, because it isn't topical.

Next, against my opponents second contention, It's Natural for Humans to be Equal, I would again argue that it is untopical to the resolution on the definition of biocentrism that my opponent also agreed to, which simply states that all things have intrinsic value, not that all things should be equal. Further, if we're to actually look at this contention with any validity, we an see that it is simply an attack on human splurge..which, in all actuality, is not at all anthropocentric. The anthropocentric view, along with my value of the positional good, could not be achieved if humans simply wasted and wasted and did not contribute in some way...which they do. Humans are beginning the slow process of writing their wrongs, and becoming more environmentally conscious, in the attempt to preserve human existence. This is anthropocentric, and not at all biocentric.

Let us now move to my case, which I will show to be the key case - not to mention the one to vote for - in this debate.

First, my value - The Positional Good, remains unrefuted, and by the rules of LD debate, it stands.

My criterion of ethical egoism is attacked by my opponent...not at all. Yes, my opponent ignores the idea behind ethical egoism altogether, instead going off on a tangent on my commentary following the definition of ethical egoism. However, ethical egoism does not mean that we should bow down to the dragonflies, as my opponent puts it, or that they should bow to us. In fact, ethical egoism doesn't have to do whatsoever with how one species should treat another; instead, as I show in my case, it has to do with acting in the interest of one's self...or in this interest, in one's species. My criterion stands.

Against my observation, my opponent doesn't care, which means we should have moved on. However, he continues to call it "unrelated to the topic" and that my point is "completely invalid". Now, I don't know about that. If he cracked a dictionary when refuting this observation, he would have noticed that the two words are in fact written as antonyms. Now, this observation was written in an attempt to create clash within the debate,in case my opponent tried to say that they could coincide with one another, which he does not. So, let's not even look at my observation, because it doesn't matter in this round because the issue it's preventing didn't occur.

Let's move on to my first contention, Anthropocentrism Improves the Human Condition, where my opponent spends his argument on attacking my source card. However, this argument is false. The entire card is anthropocentric in nature. By using our resources in increased rates, it shows that we're doing so to sustain ourselves, which is completely anthropocentric. Then, to counter my opponents "save the zoo creatures" plea, I offer the following source - http://www.projectview.org... - which discusses multiple reasons for why we have zoos, including conservation, animal reproduction, education about animals for the populace, and research to not only save the animals, but humans also. Also, turn the argument at the end of this argument...that is, use it against him. If the island that bred the dodos had the population wiped out, how is that the fault of the zoo system, or humankind? If they died without human intervention, then it was obviously evolutionary or natural decline of the natural population. It is because of the loss of species like the dodo bird that humans have created endangered species lists, to prevent more extinction. This is for the benefit of humanity, also, because more species equals more resources...essentially, humans conserve so that we have more to use. And there's nothing wrong with it, either.

My opponent employs a similar argument against my second contention, Biocentrist Thought is Flawed. Because of this, he simply proves my point...that is, that other organisms are means to an end, because they are not ends to themselves. My opponent is further mistaken about antibiotics...canines, felines, and many other mammals are treated with antibiotics to fight bacterial infection. The argument my opponent makes about selling leathers and poaching may be true, because that might not be the right thing to do, but it's irrelevant, because doing that is not necessarily anthropocentric, because it goes against our human policy of conservation, as discussed in my last paragraph. Please refer back to that to refute this argument.

Finally, my third contention, Humanity Has an Obligation to be Egoist, is attacked with much of the same, even though he misquotes my tagline and misconstrues the entire contention. Again, referring back to everything else that I have said in this rebuttal so far, it is not anthropocentric to kill off species of animals for pleasure. It leaves us with less resources, and it is wasteful. It is not in the best interests of humankind. It is not showing humankind's intrinsic value, and is therefore not anthropocentric.

So, to recap, my opponent's contentions are untopical and misconstrue the definitions of anthropocentrism and biocentrism he agrees with; my value wasn't attacked, and my criterion wasn't attacked directly. My opponent attacks my observation unsuccessfully, even though he didn't need to. My opponent attacks all of my contentions with the same idea of "let's save the animals!" though the idea in itself is anthropocentric more than it's anthropocentric.

I look forward to my opponent's rebuttal.
debateboy

Con

I would like to begin my second speech by refuting my opponent's arguments against my own. He was mostly criticizing my speech, ignoring my points, and instead moved on to say " I won." I would like to point out that in his, what , 5000 characters or so, has only mentioned the dodos in his rebuttals. Is he completely ignoring that fact that us humans do horrible things to animals, and as an excuse simply say that we are the dominant species?

Again, I would like to criticize him on his source. The dodo bird prospered in that island. I worded myself wrong, pardon me. What I meant to say was this: "Indeed, when Portuguese sailors landed on the island towards the end of the sixteenth century, they dubbed the happy bird as Dodo because of what they perceived as it's stupidity. It strolled fearlessly towards the sailors, completely unaware that their intentions may not be entirely honorable. And of course they weren't, they butchered a few for grub but luckily for the Dodo, it didn't taste too good and so you would have thought that the Dodo was safe.

Unfortunately it wasn't, the arrival of humans on Mauritius meant the introduction of dogs, pigs, cats and rats; all of which the Dodo was completely unprepared for. The new arrivals had a field day with the defenseless Dodos while the humans chopped down the forests which were the natural habitat of the bird." -http://ezinearticles.com...

I would like to stress another flaw of his, that is very vital in this debate. He is arguing against my arguments, which have evidence, with mere opinions with nothing to back it up. In fact, all he is doing is arguing against the content of my arguments, completely moving past the fact that I have many cases in which we, as humans, have mistreated the animals.

OK, lets look at what he's saying, predominant amongst them the definition, "considering human beings as the most significant entity of the universe." What I am simply stating is that with the excuse of "being the most significant entity," we harm animals, as once again I bring up the argument of the dodo bird. We wanted them to be crammed into our zoos, into our museums, not caring for a single instant for their well being.

Then he goes into a completely religious source, with no evidence to back it whatsoever. I must say that this should be completely disregarded.

But lets say that was true. Let's say that God placed humans as the stewards of the world. A leader should put his peoples' needs in front of his own. Are we doing that, as shown by the dodo bird? Are we doing that, by looking at dogs fighting each other? Are we doing that, poaching endangered animals for money? Are we doing that, by killing of an entire elephant population?

He continues to point out that it is our duty to take care of the animals. I must attack this, because he is completely abandoning his point of view. It is our duty to take care of the animals. I must stress this. Are we taking care of the animals whatsoever? NO. As for his measly statement of evolution, he says we have a ability of complex reasoning- the understanding of good and evil. Okay, this is off too. We have very evident animal traits. What triggers our bodies to mistreat others sexually? What you are saying is that we know that this is "right," so we do it. We do have a higher train of thought than other animals, but this does not mean we should rule it. We may know what is good for ourselves, but that is not necessarily what is good for the animals of the world, as is shown by countless examples of animal cruelty.

Then he argues against my second contention. Look at this video.
IS THIS HOW A LEADER SHOULD ASK? SAY THIS IS NOT TRUE. SAY IT.

This is a video that tells all we have done against the world and its creatures.

Does the dog, with ribs protruding, have any sort of aura stating that it has any "intrinsic value" at all? Staring at beaten up cows, we laugh and clap! We might be the most important, but that doesn't mean that all other animals are completely useless! They have lives too! And what we are doing to them- and even laughing at- is way out of morality.

He continues to say that humans have contributed to the world. What we think is contributed is cruelty.
We invented the nuclear bomb. After we bombed Japan, we left it there, full of radioactivity. Oh, it may have killed a lot of people, but who else was affected? The animals! Who dies by the thousands because of water pollution? The animals! And who caused all this? Us. How are we contributing to the world? How can we right these unchangeable wrongs? How can we bring back the dodo bird? We can't. Righting our wrongs at this point is useless. It's like murdering your closest friend and then trying to make him alive again. Our world is in turmoil. And it is because of us.

I would like to finish the rest of my speech refuting his points.

He said I have not directly addressed his "positional good" value. However, have I not, indirectly? To say we are the most important species in the world is to say that we can do something more than what the other species do. But his argument for this is simply what other animals do, which has nothing to do with bio-centrism or anthropocentrism. He is saying that the world is ours to use merely to survive, such as eating. He continues to use the "survival" theme. Let me ask you this: does entertainment have anything to do with survival? Watch the video again. twice. Five-hundred times. Cock fighting, dog fighting, gladiator games- IS THIS SURVIVAL? THIS IS CRUELTY WITH AN EXCUSE!

His defense for his first contention was again, flawed. His source came from a zoo manager herself, in which there would be no way for them to say anything bad about the zoos. I would like to counter his argument by bringing up the fact that zoos do little to conserve animals...but this is off the topic, and going into the topic "zoos do more harm than good." I would now ask my opponent to say that this statement is not true:
It is better to be yourself, roaming free, than to be cramped in a 10 by 10 cell completely safe.
To compound the affront, the remains of the last stuffed Dodo was destroyed in 1755 by the curator of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, after being found in the sixteenth century. In one hundred years we found a species and destroyed it. Good leaders.

OK, his second contention. First of all, I would like to point out that his arguments in that paragraph had nothing to do with "biocentrist thought," but continues on his first contention. We say we are the most important species in the world, but are we? We are the species that kill off other species, that ruins the environment, that pollutes Earth's beautiful terrain. I would say rather that we are a burden upon the world. And my argument about the poaching directly relates to the topic because, as you point out, we are the stewards of the world. And is poaching other animals for illegal money proper behavior for a leader?

In his defense for his third contention, he refers back to his previous arguments, much of which were his own opinions. He states that "It is not showing humankind's intrinsic value, and is therefore not anthropocentric." In his definitions, anthropocentric had nothing to do with humankind's intrinsic value. He is very confusing with his definitions. Anthropocentrism was simply the belief that we were dominant. "Why care about the other animals?" is his message.

To top it off, my opponents arguments were completely opinionated and does not have any examples to support. My points were not attacked directly, simply avoided, and my opponent proceeded to state that he won.

He made a typo- please clear it up. "My opponent attacks all of my contentions with the same idea of 'let's save the animals!' though the idea in itself is anthropocentric more than it's anthropocentric."

I
Debate Round No. 2
burnbird14

Pro

I'm sorry? I thought the rules of LD indicated that one must have a value and criterion on both sides. At least, that's what it says in my handbook. Isn't that why they call it value debate?
debateboy

Con

My opponent has, once again, ignored all my evidence and examples on animal cruelty. I am not saying that Anthropocentrism relates to animal cruelty, but using that fact that we, as the leaders of the world, should put animals' values above our own, which, shown by my video, evidently isn't happening.

1) he has not countered my support for the cruelty of the dodo bird.
2) He has not supported any ofhis already rebutted points, which I must proceed to state once again he has completely ignored my points and has proceeded to state that he won.

For these reasons, vote CON.
I thank my opponent for creating this debate and Ihope to debate him again.
Debate Round No. 3
46 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by burnbird14 6 years ago
burnbird14
Justice is relative. Look, what's done is done, no use bickering.
Posted by UnFascism 6 years ago
UnFascism
Ego is a factor, for it is common sense to want to win. In the event that your opponent did not vote for him/herself, you would have an unjust extra 7 points in your favor.
Posted by burnbird14 6 years ago
burnbird14
I'm not saying I have a huge ego, I just thought that my arguments were the most convincing. I do understand where you're coming from, but I think it's completely justifiable to vote for yourself. It's not a matter of ego as it is of common sense.
Posted by UnFascism 6 years ago
UnFascism
I do realize that all of us debaters have egos that are huge, but preferably if it was kept under check. I do agree that both of you did great, but it just does no seem right that any debater should vote in any debate he/she is involved in.
Posted by burnbird14 6 years ago
burnbird14
I believed that I did the best job, and he believed the same about himself. Is that so terrible? I don't think so..
Posted by UnFascism 6 years ago
UnFascism
Voting for yourselves? Really? I'm new to the site, but not to debate. Voting for yourself is just so damn cocky. The both of you should have let everyone else decide. I do realize that both of you voting for yourselves equal out the total number of points gained (7 each) but it just looks bad. Shame on the both of you.
Posted by burnbird14 6 years ago
burnbird14
Also, anyone else voting on this debate, PLEASE CHECK COMMENTS! I posted my round three argument on here instead of in the round because in the round I accidentally posted a comment. Vote me down if you like, and I do apologize for the mixup.
Posted by burnbird14 6 years ago
burnbird14
I didn't say I was too good, I said I didn't have anything to prove to you
Posted by Cherymenthol 6 years ago
Cherymenthol
Burnbird you are laughable. You literalyl said I am sorry I thought we had to have a value structure in order to debate, but I will only make note of this once. So you lied first of all. Second of all maybe if you compete in a super lay district you do but if you impact to a burden you don't need a value structure. So debate. All points CON with the exception of grammar, which was a tie.
Posted by CaleBREEEum 6 years ago
CaleBREEEum
right because that makes sense....you're "too good" to have to respond to my arguments...ok, you're a child.
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Vote Placed by UnFascism 6 years ago
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