The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Human beings are superior to animals

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 284 times Debate No: 95616
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
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Humanity in general has often struck me as being incredibly arrogant in almost everything we do. We assume our intelligence and ingenuity gives us the right to meddle with anything and everything that's within our grasp. We have this elevated view of ourselves in regard to nature. This notion that we have surpassed the lowly beast and are inherently "better", superior creatures that can lord over nature as we see fit.

However, take the human being out of an ecosystem and nature thrives. Take away the antelope, or the bee, or the tiny ant, and the ecosystem begins to crumble. Human beings need the planet's ecosystems just as much as any animal, so, in this regard, how is it then that we are more important than even the ant?

They say that it's our base "animal" instincts that are the worst part of us, the root of our violence, greed, rape and general human depravity. I would say that's true, but its not the instincts of the animals that you find out in the wild. It's our own unique "human" animal instincts combined with something far more deadly, which is intelligence. It's our "intelligence" that enables us to have such far-reaching and devastating effects. It's our "intelligence" that creates these warped, unhealthy, unnatural environments that we live in. It creates the bombs, the pollution, the drugs, the poisons and the corrupt societies. Other animals aren't capable of this. We alone do it, and we do it a lot more "consciously" than we (commonly) like to admit. When things go wrong, we tend to blame forces that are "out of our control" because deep down we're ashamed and afraid of our true nature, and because it doesn't fit in with our elevated view of ourselves.

Like the other animals, we too are instinctive creatures, although our instinct to survive is so strong that we would sacrifice nearly anything to cheat death. All that we do is through fear of our own eventual demise, which only seems to accelerate its arrival. We will kill ourselves eventually, become extinct, probably take half the world with us, but not before a fight ... with ourselves ... again, for the billionth and last time and despite all our "superiority", "intelligence", and "ingenuity" we will not have lasted a smidgen of the time that other animals have survived on this planet.

I don't understand, how are we, such selfish and self-destructive creatures, can see ourselves as superior to other animals. It seems the other way round to me. We have made ourselves an abnormality that threatens the balance all that surrounds us. No matter our culture, creed, religion, philosophy, for our own good we should have more humility and respect for this world and it's animals, and less contempt.


Superior - higher in rank, status, or quality

My opponent claims that Humans are not superior (higher in rank, status or quality) to animals because:

1. Supposedly the ecosystem thrives in our absence, while it crumbles if any other animal vacates it's niche and thus we cannot be superior.

This is a flagrant concession of the burden. The antilope, the bee and the ant are so dependant on one another (so weak, so fragile and so enslaved to their rank, status and quality), that they cease to function without their symbiotic counterpart.

Humans, by my opponent's own admission, exist outside the natural construct, and have thus clearly elevated their rank, status or quality beyond co-dependancy. All hail factory farming.

2. Humanity creates a unmerited status for itself and uses this status to excuse god-like behavior.

Since my opponent has already admitted that animals are enslaved to a fragile, carefully balanced ecosystem (and that humans are not), it stands to reason that our status is justified.

3. Human intellect is inherently dangerous when combined with instinct. My opponent also conceded that instinct itself is the root of all evil, yet intelligence somehow amplifies it.

Another de facto admission of Human superiority. The whole of creation relies on instinct, yet humanity is able to augment it's survivability through the use of intelligence. I challenge my opponent to prove how this fails to merit a higher in rank, status or quality.

4. All animals have an instinct for survival, yet the Human version is stronger and causes us to destroy everything around us.

This point alone defeats my oponent's burden. It's an admission that Humans have a "superior" instinct.

5. Humanity is doomed to destroy itself (extinction).

Based on what evidence? Despite our infighting, the human population is steadily growing. Our growth far exceeds our mortality rate. The technological prowess of developed nations is growing at such a fast rate, that the science fiction of my youth is now a reality, or at least a plausible reality. (See self-lacing sneakers from "Back to the future", mobile communication from Star Trek, voice activated wrist watches (Knight Rider), etc.) (Those examples are only from the commercial sector.)

How exactly is a growing population and disciplined scientific progress an indicator for extinction?

Debate Round No. 1


:) Well put! I like how you've re-organized my gloomy rant and made it debatable. Thank you for that.

I just want to point something out before we continue. In the link to the Google definition you gave me (which is from the Oxford dictionary if I'm not mistaken) there is another definition.

2. having or showing an overly high opinion of oneself; conceited.

"that girl was frightfully superior"

I didn't consider this use of the word when I started this debate. In light of this definition, you win. Humans are superior.

It also occurs to me, since you're stance is quite literal and exact, and because of the wording I chose for the debate's title, I probably won't be able to prove that humans are not superior to all animals, and therefore, I guess, you also win on that technicality.

This will teach me to title thing's better ;P

You seem to know what I meant though, so I wonder, if I can produce a good argument that human beings are not superior to all animals and, based upon that, that we should be more humble and respectful of our position in regards to nature and the animal kingdom, will that be sufficient? I hope we can agree that it's basically what we're talking about here.

There is another definition for superior that I came across while googling the other day. I can't find the source at the moment but it went like this...

Superior - being more important than something else.

Do you really believe we are more important than other animals?

For now I will address the points you put in bold.

1. There is no concession of burden, we are just as "enslaved" to this planet as any other animal, and by no means do we exist outside the natural construct. I didn't say that or imply it. It is, however, a very common misconception. Though we could if we wanted to, we choose not to utilize symbiosis and/or co-dependency, and therefore we are parasitic to nature (and its animals), and on a scale that is not sustainable and most concerning. In order to be successful as a parasite we need to (a) not kill our host and/or render the host unliveable (thus killing ourselves or, at the very least, making life a complete misery for everyone and everything around us) or (b) we must have the ability to move on to a new host. As close and exciting as it may seem, moving to Mars (escaping this planet in general) is not a viable option yet and (I hope I'm wrong) it might never be. Still, we cannot afford to rely on such eventualities and I don't believe we should.

All hail factory farming? Really? ... hmmm ... please enlighten me on what exactly makes it so great. Is it sustainable? Is the produce healthier and of generally "superior" quality to other farming methods? Would you condone dog and cat meat factories I wonder?

2. Even if humans were independent of nature, animals, and ecosystems, which we are not, it does not justify what we are doing to nature, animals and ecosystems. This "status" of ours that you mention is not justifiable or ethically sound.

3. I don't particularly believe in the concept of "evil". I think it's another word that people use to avoid dealing with the dark side of human nature. In my mind there is only (extremely) misguided actions, thoughts and instincts. What I really meant was that our instincts are not actually the root problem, it's the manner in which intelligence has warped them (and us) into something abnormal to nature. I believe that our belief in "superiority" is a direct result of this. It is an inherently misguided concept.

Let me put it this way. Human beings are smart enough to create amazing weapons and tools but not smart enough to use them wisely. As I have already stated, we are not the greatest survivors on the planet. If humans could survive a cataclysm on earth that no other animal could, then I might agree that we have superior survival skills. However, we have not yet even proven that this is the case.

4. Stronger survival instinct is does not equal superiority. Actually surviving while simultaneously managing to be better off than all the other animals, is getting there at least, but I don't see that happening. With all we've done and created, amazing as it is, I don't see human beings as currently being better off, on the contrary, we're making our situation worse with every passing day.

5. Based on what evidence? You've already said it. The human population is steadily growing. Over 7 billion people currently live on planet earth and more are born every day. Birth rate exceeding death rate is not a good thing when there is already a state of extreme overpopulation amidst rapidly dwindling resources. If we are struggling with this now, what will it be like in fifty to a hundred years time? Science has not adequately addressed this problem, in fact advanced medicine is making it worse. We frantically (and selfishly) search for ways to escape death. This is just one of the ways in which we "attempt" to remove ourselves from nature's construct, and with dire consequences.

Despite my words and tone, I'm not a pessimist. I understand and appreciate your excitement about the progress of technology. I too am greatly excited, and hopeful. What excites me the most is that one day (perhaps very soon) we might create/discover a viable source of renewable, free, clean energy. On that day I might lean towards the notion of mankind as a superior creature., but it will also depend on how we use that power...

From a superior creature, I expect to see superior behaviour, not overconfidence and conciet, as the second definition in your link suggests, but behavior of a higher quality.



Con is clearly making an appeal to semantics, attempting to weave a new argument (and a new burden of proof) from secondary and tertiary definitions of the word "superior". Considering the debate title and my opponent's opening round, I would argue that it's pretty clear which context we're discussing. As my opponent stated:"

This notion that we have surpassed the lowly beast and are inherently "better", superior creatures that can lord over nature as we see fit."

This definition is compatible with the dictionary definition of higher in rank, status or quality. My opponent is attempting to create a whole new debate by amending the burden of proof.

I respectfully request that the opponent argues his burden or concedes the debate.


Con asked: Do you really believe we are more important than other animals?

Rebuttal: Yes, I do.


Con argued:...we are just as "enslaved" to this planet as any other animal, and by no means do we exist outside the natural construct.

Rebuttal: The Planet is not a slave master. It's a free-floating ball of dirt in a presumably infinite void. We have learned to utilize it for our continued survival. We are no more enslaved to the planet, than a Carpenter is enslaved to a hammer. It's a tool, for all intents and purposes, and we wield it at our pleasure.


Con asked:All hail factory farming? Really? ... hmmm ... please enlighten me on what exactly makes it so great. Is it sustainable? Is the produce healthier and of generally "superior" quality to other farming methods? Would you condone dog and cat meat factories I wonder?

Rebuttal: Factory farming is sustainable as long as you can afford to feed and raise the cattle. The quality of the food is not an argument for your burden. Despite my position on factory farms, I am a practicing Vegan (for health reasons, not for activism). However, if I felt like eating a cat-burger, I don't see how that concerns you or how it helps you prove your case.


Con stated: Even if humans were independent of nature, animals, and ecosystems, which we are not, it does not justify what we are doing to nature, animals and ecosystems. This "status" of ours that you mention is not justifiable or ethically sound.

Rebuttal: Why? Because you insist on it?


Con argued that the planet is overpopulated.

Rebuttal: If it's crowded where you live, move. The entire state of Montana has 1.02 million people. That's 1/8th of the population of NYC. Plenty of space.


Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by AnthonyH 2 weeks ago
Just out of interest, apparently it is now also believed that gorillas might be even more closely related to humans than chimps o_0 (read that in a National Geographic magazine)
Posted by AnthonyH 2 weeks ago
Thanks for your time ConservativeDialectic. It's been very interesting and you debate very well. I might start a new one (not the same but similar) when I have a chance (though I hope they fix the bug).

I'm not really sure why I am even allowed to debate with someone in the comment section while the debate is (was) still going o_0

However ...

TheBenC - I would like to debate this (properly) with you in the future (when I have more time) but for now;

As far as I know, "more evolved" simply means "having gone through more mutations/adaptive changes during the course of evolution/existence than something else". It doesn't necessarily mean "older", "faster rate", "of greater intelligence/ingenuity", "more advanced or superior" or "more dominant/successful". Just "more changed". Even rocks can (and do) evolve. It "usually" happens over vast periods of time. An "evolutionary step" might very be to the "disadvantage" of it's subject. Ie. an animal might very well evolve to become more stupid.

Common sense/opinion is not a reliable source of information. This is how urban myths and misnomers are created and spread.

As far as I can tell this is another highly debatable subject though. In fact the first google hit I got when typing in "the most evolved animal" was from The next two pages of hits were also pretty much all either debates or speculative/opinion-based articles. From what I've read in the past, actual scientists/experts tend to avoid using such terms to avoid confusion and inaccuracy, and because the common folk are pretty much constantly taking their ideas out of context.
Posted by ConservativeDialectic 2 weeks ago
The debate is clearly bugged. I've reported it, but I doubt we can expect a fix anytime soon. You two should debate each other. TheBenC is clearly willing to argue the burden.

Had fun. Maybe we'll get to finish this someday.
Posted by TheBenC 3 weeks ago
Chimps are more evolved than humans? WTF? No way. That is like saying we are more evolved than Aliens that have space travel. Being more evolved is not about how long you have been evolving. It is about which one evolves at the fastest rate. Since all primates are supposedly from a common source we can easily conclude humans evolved faster. That MIT report was biased from the start and set out to prove their bias even against common sense and the concepts of evolution.
Posted by AnthonyH 3 weeks ago
TheBenC - Latest from MIT is that chimps are more evolved than humans too. Superior does not mean more evolved.
Posted by AnthonyH 3 weeks ago
If anyone wants to know, I can now sum up my argument in a short paragraph or two on how humans are not superior to animals ...
Posted by AnthonyH 3 weeks ago
Gonna have to redo this debate, feel very unsatisfied ....
Posted by AnthonyH 3 weeks ago
I was busy :( I had answers
Posted by AnthonyH 3 weeks ago
Nooooooo! I didn't mean to forfeit :(
Posted by DrChicken24 3 weeks ago
Can someone plz vote on my debate with bzdogs? It is in the voting process right now... The topic is: "Should you do a job that makes you more money rather than one that makes you happy?" Thanks and have a nice day!
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