The Instigator
Con (against)
2 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
11 Points

RESOLVED: Anthropocentrism ought to be valued above biocentrism.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,031 times Debate No: 11516
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




I negate the resolution, RESOLVED: Anthropocentrism ought to be valued above biocentrism.

For clarification of this debate round, I offer the following definitions from the Merriam Webster's Dictionary:
Anthropocentrism: considering human beings as the most significant entity of the universe
Biocentrism: considering all forms of life as having intrinsic value
Value: relative worth, utility, or importance

I offer the next definition from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Intrinsic value: value that a thing has "in itself," or "for its own sake," or "as such," or "in its own right."

My value for this round will be utilitarianism, defined by the Merriam Webster's Dictionary the theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

The criterion with which I will be upholding my value is that of sustainability defined by he Merriam Webster's Dictionary as of, relating to, or being a method of using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. This criterion is of paramount importance in this round because by ensuring sustainability, resources can be preserved for future generations, therefore achieving utilitarianism.

Observation – The Negative must prove that anthropocentrism ought not to be valued above biocentrism.

Contention 1: Anthropocentrism is not sustainable.
A: Anthropocentrism has led to the destruction of natural resources, habitats and species. According to Ron Nielsen since 1947 one half of the world's mature tropical forest has been destroyed. (i) These forests are habitats for many known and unknown species.
B. According to Alain Marcoux of the Sustainable Development Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the major cause behind the deforestation has been providing for expanding human population.(ii)
C. According to Edward O. Wilson, by 2030 80% of the tropical forests that existed in 1947 will be destroyed. Of the remaining 20%, 10% of that will be in a degraded condition. (iii)
D: This deforestation policy poses issues to the very community that initiated it for its own good, humans. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation accounts for 1/3 of the total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission. Carbon dioxide emission is one of the largest contributors of global warming or climate change. (iv) Furthermore, Mike Bettwy of NASA, states that deforestation adversely affects the water cycle, by reducing the amount of precipitation, often leading to droughts or lack of adequate drinking water. (v) According to a North Dakota State University study, 99% of the water that is absorbed by roots in tropical forests transpires back into the atmosphere, forming rain clouds, producing clouds. (vi) In addition, according research by Dr. Lei Guangchen of the World Wide Fund for Nature, deforestation increases the chances of flooding as there are no tree litters and roots to intercept and absorb precipitation.vii Beyond this, deforestation causes the extinction of nearly 50,000 species a year. (viii) According to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research many of these plants have medicinal value (ix) and therefore, humans are losing out on valuable medicines to advance their own ends.
E: This evidence proves that anthropocentrism is not sustainable for humans and other species and therefore cannot be utilitarian.

Contention 2: Biocentrism is sustainable.
A. According to philosopher Paul Taylor and Biocentric Egalitarianism, "as animals, we are entirely dependent on ecological systems for survival". (x) We can therefore see that the anthropocentric thought process is detrimental to humanity as well as other organisms.
B. Taylor further states that, "the long term ecological equilibrium is necessary for the continued existence of all individual living things" (xi), thus proving that our ecological equilibrium must be preserved.
C. Biocentrism aims to preserve this balance and therefore is sustainable. Through its sustainability, biocentrism proves its utilitarianism. Through its premises, it aims to extend the existence of all living organisms, thus providing the greatest good for the greatest number.
My case therefore shows that anthropocentrism cannot be valued above biocentrism because it is not sustainable and therefore cannot be utilitarian. Furthermore, biocentrism is sustainable and achieves utilitarianism. Therefore, I urge you to negate.
i Nielsen, Ron. The Little Green Handbook: Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Our Planet. New York, NY: Picador, 2006. Print.
ii Marcoux, Alain. "Population and deforestation." Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations . N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.
iii Wilson, Edward O.. The Future of Life. New York: Vintage, 2003. Print.
iv Climate Change 2007 - The Physical Science Basis: Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Climate Change 2007). 1 Har/Cdr ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
v Bettwy, Mike. "Tropical Deforestation Affects Rainfall in the U.S. and Around the Globe." NASA. N.p., 13 Sept. 2005. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.
vi Scherer, Thomas F., Bruce Seelig, and David Franzen. "Soil, Water and Plant Characteristics Important to Irrigation." NDSU Extension Service and ND Agricultural Experiment Station. North Dakota State University, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.
vii Casciani, Dominic. "China's floods: Is deforestation to blame?." BBC NEWS. N.p., 6 Aug. 1999. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.
viii Taylor, Leslie. "Rainforest Facts." Wealth of the Rainforest. Raintree Nutrition, Inc, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.
ix "Medicine from the rainforest." BMBF: Bundesministerium f��r Bildung und Forschung. Federal Ministry of Education and Research , n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.
x "Anthropocentric vs Non-Anthropocentric Environmental Ethics." Capilano University. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2010. <;.
xi "Anthropocentric vs Non-Anthropocentric Environmental Ethics." Capilano University. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2010. <;.


Well, I am going to go ahead and admit that it's obvious to me that you're an LD debater. I'll also say that I'm a CX debater, so I won't have something elaborate prepared for this debate like you do. Instead, I think I'll rely more on wit and logic. Hopefully, this'll bring a larger variety of interested readers and will avoid turning off people who aren't used to the LD scheme since these aren't LD judges voting but ordinary people.

== The Pro==

The Pro argues that anthropocentrism ought to be valued above biocentrism. The Pro agrees with the Con's definitions about anthropocentrism, biocentrism, and value.

== Why utilitarianism is bad ==

Utilitarianism is a biased and arbitrary standard. Although the Con describes scenarios showing that human sustainability is impossible, it would be difficult to negate the topic in a meaningful way. In the world the Con proposes, where human life is not valued over all life, either 1) that means that we stop population growth, stay at our current population level, and run up the world's resources just like we're doing now (which means that even if we avoid valuing human life above all life, we'd still be in an unsustainable world and utilitarianism would fail when ecosystems end) or 2) we would take measures to lower the human population (which means that lives would be snuffed or otherwise neglected to "increase" the overall happiness).

== A better way to view the world==

-The Pro suggests another way to view the world instead of scenario 2. The Pro proposes to value beauty. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online defines beauty as "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit." (1)

-The Con argues that the world should be seen in a utilitarian way, as to the greatest good for the greatest number. But how is the "good" valued? An example: it's entirely possible for the U.S. to send dog biscuits as foreign aid to all the impoverished and starving of the world. After all, it feeds many people and it would increase their happiness! Is this "good"?... The Pro argues that it is not. The Dream isn't to just make everyone's life a little bit better; it's to allow people to earn a beautiful life, to enjoy culture, enjoy safety, enjoy relations. This is what the Pro asks that you consider.

==Why beauty exists because humans live==

-Humans recognize beauty, but most animals can not. Most animals see life in a survival view, see where their next meal will come, how they'll make it another year. Humans understand many metaphysical things including philosophy, humor, art, poetry, music, and color. Rare is the case when an animal understood the careful meld of colors as meaning something beyond whether or not the object is poisonous and should not be eaten. Things don't carry value with them; things have value because humans value them. A world in which biocentrism is valued rather than anthropocentrism is a world that will eventually have no value at all. Beauty means nothing in a world of only animals and plants; a clump of roses means nothing to the horse who steps on them! The gentle sunset invites bats not to admire and ponder but to begin hunting! A death brings not questions of existence and religion but a pack member to leave behind and a carcass to be decomposed and eaten! How can a world in which all life is valued over human life continue to have any value at all? When the last human realizes that his or her death will benefit the biosphere more than it will hurt him or her and decides to leave this Earth, all value will be thrown out with them. In a world where utilitarianism is valued alongside biocentrism, utilitarianism will eventually mean nothing to an Earth without humans. Animals and plants will scarcely know what it means, let alone be able to continue supporting it.

-And so, the Pro argues that even if we're going to meet our inevitable end someday, there's no point in prolonging that day by skimming our footprint to extremely slim levels so that there's "more benefit to pass around"; let's drink to life! A toast to friends and faith and fun, to comfort and kindness and quirks, to opening our eyes and smiling at the beauty that lies before us, the beauty that's not found in the simple fact that we survive on food and sleep but found in the passions we imagine, create, and own.

Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to my opponent for accepting this argument. The purpose of this debate was to be LD because I was preparing for and LD tournament. That being said:

The affirmative provides no attack towards the negative contentions thus extending them throughout the round. Furthermore the affirmative provides no criterion by which to measure his value of beauty. A value without a criterion falls because it cannot be measured.

Furthermore, the affirmative basically argues that we will meet our end anyway, and therefore should not value other forms of life above humans. The negative argues that by recognizing the value of other organisms, humanity and other forms of life can survive and that is utilitarian. The negative, thus successfully proves why the affirmative attack is factually incorrect and therefore ought to win the round.

Proceeding to the affirmative attack on the negative value. Utilitarianism is the supreme value in this round because the debate deals with the good of all forms of life. In response to the dog biscuit question, yes, it is good to give impoverished people dog biscuits because they have nothing better. They are being helped from their current state.

I urge you to negate.


Sorry, homeboy, but that short answer won't fly. I warned you at the beginning of my speech that I'd be knocking you off your LD high chair, so pull up your pants and let's go.

== Pick your poison==

I first had a double bind argument for the negative. I said that the utilitarian world that the con proposes where human life is valued as equal with all life will go one of two ways. Either 1) the human growth rate becomes 0% and we stay at our current level. Unfortunately, the evidence the con gives shows that that would still deplete the Earth's resources through deforestation, climate change, and pollution and all life would still die, meaning that there is no "greatest happiness of the greatest number" when every form of life is gone. This means that the Con has no util world. The other option was 2) humans let themselves die off bit by bit so that all life can flourish without them. After all, the death of only one human would save hundreds of cows, chickens, oranges, apples, trees, and other such life from dying over a lifetime. Not to mention, one human's death would probably also feed a couple of vultures and a couple hundred bacteria off the corpse alone. This is a util world, remember? Greatest happiness for the greatest number! You have one life; how can you stand to be alive when you will sacrifice hundreds of other lives equal to yours? To vote for the Con, humanity's going to have to take a long, hard look at a gun...

== Do you feel lucky? Huh? Do ya, punk?==

The Pro suggests that we not just look as the number of existences as important; we should look at the number of lives that have success and beauty in them. The Pro feels offended at the Con's willing suggestion that we should send dog food to impoverished people. The Pro isn't saying that we shouldn't provide basic necessities to the impoverished, but our goal shouldn't be to do just enough to make life happen; our goal should be to make life rewarding, exciting, and wonderful. The Pro recommends that we not take let humanity die off in trying to create a util Earth. We have to let humans continue existing to imbue the universe with our intelligence, our art, and our wisdom. In this way, humans will create life where there was only lifeless space before. The Pro is now going on the offensive. Supporting humanity's way of improving and spreading its beauty will create life throughout the galaxies that will last for thousands more years. How many planets out there are cold and empty? Humans will someday colonize and create on those planets, creating more happiness and more life. In this way, by voting Pro you can increase the greatest happiness for the greatest number by an exponential number versus the Con. The Pro can satisfactorily fill both values; why do you have to choose only one?

== The clash==

And so the debate comes down to one question: is it more important that humanity scrape off and leave the Earth to the whims of survival-minded animals? Or should we continue to color the world and the worlds beyond with technology, thought, and love? Life only has value if you do something to make it valuable; you can't assume it starts out with value.

== Just in case==

And even if you don't buy any of the Pro arguments about beauty, the Pro had a nuance clarified at the end of the last speech. In the Con's world, util will only be valued and upheld as long as humans are around; as soon as they're bumped off, nothing would value util. This makes the Con's value unsustainable to follow. Only the Pro's value of beauty can be consistently upheld by humans.
Debate Round No. 2


ramkrupa forfeited this round.


The Pro would first like to thank the Con for a good debate. I'll go ahead and sum up my stance for the convenience of the voters.

== It goes 1 of 2 ways==

The Con proposes a util world, which means having the greatest happiness for the greatest number, and not supporting humans over all life. This means that to vote for the Con, one would have to endorse one of 2 worlds. 1) Humans are valued as equal with other life and pollution and expansion is stopped. The human growth rate is 0% from now on, but the current human population stays. Due to the Con's evidence in Round 1, the world loses all life viability and life on Earth is ruined. No util, so game over. The reason I keep extending this scenario is to stress that it's not possible that the Con's approach (humans are valued as equal with all life) satisfies the values of both sides. The only other scenario for the Con is 2) humans sacrifice their lives for the other lives of the planet. Each successive death will feed dozens of bacteria and allow for habitat of hundreds of more organisms. It's a great deal, lots of bang for the buck, the con's value would be all over it.

== Chocolate instead of vanilla==

Enter the Pro's value as an alternative. The slow death of humanity will deprive the Earth of beauty, which is what makes life really matter. Art and creation and ambition are what make live wonderful. We're going to need humans to do that, to imbue the Earth with philosophy and poetry. Having as many lives as possible on Earth is ideal only if those lives are exciting and amazing. Beautiful lives are much more important than the mere existence of lives.

== Why you can do both==

And, the Pro's stance (humans should be valued over all life) fills both utilitarianism and beauty. Humans will someday colonize the moon and other planets, bring life to the infinite space. (1) Humans will make an exponentially higher amount of life in the universe, while also spreading their technological wisdom throughout. So, by voting for the Pro, you can support a world where both utilitarianism and beauty are produced. Both the values in this round are affirmed with a Pro vote.

== Back up==

And once again, if you buy the Con arguments that the Earth should go on human-less, then you should note that all of the values we've been talking about, only you and I value them. Animals don't value things like util, let alone understand what those words mean. Animals value survival. So the Con's value is unsustainable; only the Pro's value is supportable in the long-term.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by FormAndTheFormless 6 years ago
I voted for the Pro because the Con forfeited Round 3.

Both the Pro and the Con had good spelling and grammar.

I voted for Con because his sources were better integrated into his arguments (the links were improper, but still usable). The only source that Pro provided was at the end of round three and it didn't seem to support the specific argument he was making very effectively (that space exploration is viable).

The Pro presented two convincing arguments against the sustainability of biocentric utilitarianism. The Pro argued:
- that dissolving human life in the interest of biocentrism would require defying the intrinsic value of human life.
- that sustaining human life without population growth presented the possibility of extinction for all life.

I voted for the Pro because the Con did not make an attempt to contest these arguments or present any possible alternative ways in which human beings could uphold both biocentrism and utilitarianism as described in Round 1.
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