The Instigator
Sorrow
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
failedspecies
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Anthropocentrism versus Biocentrism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,700 times Debate No: 11477
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Sorrow

Pro

To whomever accepts this debate, I wish you the best of luck and many thanks for responding. Let's begin.

I am a proponent of anthropocentrism, "the belief that humans are the central and most significant entities in the universe." This is contrasted with biocentrism, which states that anything non-human should still be regarded with equal and inherent value. My argument diverges from here on.

Humans. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the word humanity is destruction. We are a parasitic species. We prey on the weak and cater to the strong. The homo sapien species is the only species you can safely remove from this planet, without disrupting the cycle of Nature. Yet, since our first ancestor evolved more than 200 million years since, we are one of the most resilient species found on Earth.

We humans have been through it all; the copious plights and struggles found within society, the ravaging wars, grief and strife, famine and disease. Yet we are still here, with a population that increases every day. We conquered each other, we manifested the atom bomb, we traveled to the depths of space. We are visionaries, thinkers, problem-solvers, and teachers. Most of all, we are human.

Humans should be entitled to first priority regarding anything. Since Darwin's departure from Earth a little more than a century ago, we now know more about the aspects of ever-changing life. Natural selection, survival of the fittest, and adaptations, to name a few. We find ways of playing God every day. Our modern medicine & technology is so powerful and deadly that natural selection no longer heeds us.

Take a look around you. Everything surrounding you was manufactured by mankind. Nature provided the tools, we manipulated it to our advantage. Yet, there are synthetic and artificial elements of life that nature cannot produce, but we can. We are no longer entirely dependent upon nature for everything and anything, excluding some basic necessities such as water and oxygen.

Humans are the only species that can lie. Some might say it is our fatal flaw, others say it is the only thing keeping us human. I prefer to think of lying as a test of our intellectual abilities. Humans are the only species that can also willingly conceal their emotions, and for good reason to. Do you think anything in this world would be accomplished through honest, good-to-the-heart people? Those people do not exist. This world is harsh. It is a struggle to live no matter where you live, no matter what genus you belong to, life is not easy. Some have more privileges than others, but in the end, judgment will come.

"The qualities of humans have empowered their species to a degree that no other species has achieved during the history of life on Earth, through the development of social systems and technologies that make possible an intense exploitation and management of the environment." - http://science.jrank.org...

Animal testing. Think what you will of it, but the truth still stands: If we don't take advantage of something, others will. If you don't advantage of a college grant, another student will. Life is not fair, it is not our responsibility to make it fair for other species. Animal testing is centered primarily around the safety and well-being of humans, and it should be that way. Would you rather test deadly chemicals on fellow humans, or find your best friend dead because his house contained arsenic?

We administer death by choice. We assist in suicides. We employ euthanasia. We control abortions. We are God, in a sense. Animals cannot choose when they want to die. They cannot suicide, they cannot laugh, smile, or cry (to an extent, and willingly, i.e. actors portraying movies).

While I do not want to go so far as to say that man's best friends are stupid and dim, it is an undeniable fact that homo sapiens possess by far the most superior knowledge and wit ever witnessed in the history of this planet. "Finders, keepers," an old truism you might have uttered whilst as a kid, this motto applies to life in general. Those which possess the tools needed to survive, will survive. Those who cannot adapt, will die.

That is the destiny of all life on this planet. Human life is more important than anything else on this planet. The preservation and sanctity of life should be the first priority on every human's mind. People have sacrificed themselves in the past, not for the betterment of other species, but for the good of mankind.
failedspecies

Con

I will begin my rebuttal by examining your conclusion:
"That is the destiny of all life on this planet. Human life is more important than anything else on this planet. The preservation and sanctity of life should be the first priority on every human's mind. People have sacrificed themselves in the past, not for the betterment of other species, but for the good of mankind."
The first obvious question to ask here is to whom is human life most important to? From reading your opening I would assume you are implying that human life is the most important thing for humanity. If you are proposing that the human life is subjectively and quantitatively more important than anything else, then continue reading the paragraph bellow. However if you are proposing that at heart the number one priority of a human being is to care for themselves, then read the latter paragraph.

Human life is subjectively and quantitatively more important than anything else
For starters I find that the word "anyTHING" was poorly chosen, because surely you don't propose that human life is more important than say our planets core. For all of humanity (and then some) owes it's existence in it's current state to the rotating heap of molten magma that glues together out planet. If you want to say that the human life is subjectively more relevant please provide a mechanism by which you can weight the relevance of a human and nonhuman entities. Are you able to quantify the relevance of those entities? Further more are the ideas of human beings, in some cases more important than the lives of other humans? Take for example germ theory or Newton's theories of classical mechanics, these ideas have inadvertently come about to save the lives of several million human lives. I find that your conclusion that human life is the most important thing on our planet is frankly na�ve, we are all connected to the very core of every aspect of our planet, our universe, our cosmos. It is off course important that we are kind to our selves and are forthright in insuring the quality of our future. Which is precisely the reason we must abandon anthropocentrism philosophies, for now more than ever the fate of the human race relies heavily on it's ability to understand it's planet and it's humble place in the universe.

at heart the number one priority of a human being is to care for themselves
This second part of my opening rebuttal deals with the notion that protecting human life is at heart the most important goal of humanity. |To be honest, I support this idea. At least in principle. All of humanity is bound through it's similarities and yes among which, as you were so forthright in stating is our ability to reason unlike any other biological system on this planet. Because of this, because of what we are all kin we have good reason to insure our propagation. However humanity is made of the same stuff as all other life on our planet. More importantly we are all a part of a very fragile system. To insure our propagation it would be important to understand that it is quite impossible to quantify the value of any particular life form. Essentially protecting insect life forms is just as important as protecting human beings. Without insects our entire agriculture system would collapse, a fate which would wipe out the entirety of the human race. Further more are the ideas of human beings, in some cases more important than the lives of other humans? Take for example germ theory or Newton's theories of classical mechanics, these ideas have inadvertently come about to save the lives of several million human lives. I find that your conclusion that human life is the most important thing on our planet is frankly na�ve, we are all connected to the very core of every aspect of our planet, our universe, our cosmos. It is off course important that we are kind to our selves and are forthright in insuring the quality of our future. Which is precisely the reason we must abandon anthropocentric philosophies, for now more than ever the fate of the human race relies heavily on it's ability to understand it's planet and it's humble place in the universe.

Lastly there are some other areas of your opening that I want to examine:
Case one
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"The homo sapien species is the only species you can safely remove from this planet, without disrupting the cycle of Nature."

Why do you assume the human race is not part of nature? This at heart seems to be the main clause of your argument. You assume the human race is devided from the rest of the cosmos by some sort of imagined line. If however by your definition nature is everything that is non human then your above statement is a meaningless.

Case two
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"Humans are the only species that can lie."
This is just simply not true, see the bellow links:

http://www.the-scientist.com...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

-----------------------------------------------

Thank you for posting this debate, I look forward for your reply, I can tell this will be fantastic fun :D.
Debate Round No. 1
Sorrow

Pro

Thank you for responding.

"To whom is human life most important to?" - It is indeed true that human life is the most important thing for humanity (as you have stated), as for humans to live, there must be other humans to take our place. This is mostly cyclical logic, and it should be obvious that humans can't survive if they die. Therefore, our very existence on this planet is the reason why we are most important when regarding humanity itself. I'm not sure if you worded your sentence wrong, but I think that this is a pretty clear fact. If there were no humans, there would be no need for humanity.

I still stand when I say that human life is more important than anything, subjective or quantitatively. We answer to ourselves only. When earthquakes occur, who do we blame? Do we rely and depend upon mother Nature when every major disaster strikes? When problems occur, we humans find the sole solutions. That is why so many other species are extinct, because they don't regard themselves as important. Mortality is a fundamental aspect of humanity. We are afraid of death. Are animals? Are they able to form a clear picture of who they are and what they want to be in life? Animals don't have goals (correct me if I'm wrong). They seek no purpose in life other than to survive and breed. Humans, on the other hand, are magnificent creatures. We not only survive, we advance. This is why we're at the top of the food chain.

As for your notion of the grandeur of the cosmos being far more than a human could ever achieve: humans have the potential for greatness. The cosmos do not. Now, if you are Christian or a theist, you should try to see it the way God does. If you are an Atheist, like me, just continue on.

God created the universe (for all you Christians out there). God is the single most significant thing in our lives. That being said, whom did God give free will? Do animals know that there is a God? Do they practice and worship religion the way us humans do? It is stated in scripture that humans were modelled thereafter God. Therefore, we rank much higher in terms of significance, at least in God's case. While Everything is regarded as being created by God, yet we were the first to appear in this world (Adam & Eve). Therefore, your argument regarding the cosmos, planets, universe, etc. have no merit if you believe in God.

Now, if you don't believe in God, Anthropomorphism is still the favorable choice. You say that all of humanity is bound through its similarities. I agree, as race is a man-made thing. But, without race, would we still be bound to our similarities? Look at what happened during the U.S. several decades ago. Blacks had less right, less equality, they were almost treated as animals. Would you say that humanity still bounds our similarities together? Species should and must treat each other with equality if they were to remain species, or else speciation would occur. We did not treat our fellow dark-skinned humans with that same equality. Thus, we advanced, in a cruel and sinister since. Now, do you realize how well off the majority of America's citizens are? Blacks now have more rights than they did before, and the White population will no longer be the majority of births as predicted by 2011. Equality is great, but if a species must evolve, equality cannot have a place.

The germ theory and Newton's theories of classical mechanics, they are all man-made discoveries. Do you think animals have any idea what the germ theory is? We manipulated and used the knowledge of germs and disease to our advantage, now modern medicine is more potent than ever before. Can animals vaccinate themselves, do they have clinical hospitals? Animals die needlessly because they have no idea what technology is. I do not want to say that is the destiny of every non-human, but sadly, it is, unless we HUMANS choose to HELP them. We can interfere, or we can sit back and watch.

Also, when I said that the homo sapien species is the only species you can safely remove from this planet, et. cetera, I meant that our species is so strong than the removal of humans would disturb the natural balance of nature. Let's look at this in a more philosophical approach. Do you think the Earth would continue to "evolve" if humans were not present? Of course! Humans are the only exception to the rate of evolution, as I previously mentioned, natural selection is now drifting towards artificial selection. Removing humans from this planet would seem as highly beneficial, yet highly detrimental. It all depends on how you look at it. I regard humans as the superior race. We came, we saw, we conquered.

Humans may not be the only species with the ability to lie, but we are sure the best at it. Who do you think invented lying? Well, you could say Satan if you are a theist, or you could say we invented lying. The universe does not lie, it provides. Also, your argument is partially flawed, as humans share 99% similar DNA with monkeys. After all, from which animal did we evolve from?

Arguments for Anthropomorphism, depending on your religious views:

1. There are uncountable trillions of different ways the Universe could have turned out.
2. It happens to have turned out in just a way that will support human life.
3. The chances of this happening spontaneously without intelligent intervention are extremely small.
4. Therefore God probably took a hand in the creation of this Universe.
5. Therefore God probably favors us.

1. There are uncountable trillions of different ways the Universe could have turned out.
2. It happens to have turned out in just a way that will support human life.
3. The chances of this happening spontaneously to other species are extremely small.
4. Therefore humans are most likely the rulers of the universe, by incremental logic.
5. Therefore humans are probably the single most significant being in this universe.

I look forward to this debate too, as it is my first.
failedspecies

Con

failedspecies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Sorrow

Pro

I strongly urge you all to vote for me, PRO, as the better choice in terms of everything discussed so far.
failedspecies

Con

failedspecies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Sorrow

Pro

My argument is extended. Vote PRO
failedspecies

Con

failedspecies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Sorrow

Pro

Vote PRO.
failedspecies

Con

failedspecies forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sorrow 6 years ago
Sorrow
SorrowfailedspeciesTied
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Vote Placed by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
SorrowfailedspeciesTied
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Total points awarded:42