__________________ Darwin's theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought. It is large, completely useless, and the object of superstitious awe.-Dr. David Berlinski, Philosophy
Most people believe Evolution not because they themselves are dumb, but cause they trust the "experts" who are feeding them evolutionary fast food, and so they don't bother questioning whether or not it's true.
As a *meta-panentheist* ( ), I would say all life is sacred, but that doesn't automatically mean Never Kill. Death is as much a part of the Big Pic as Life.
And now for a Grasshopper moment...
Years-n-years ago, walking down the street, I noticed a whole ant colony doing its Spring cleaning (y'know, you see that black line/mass from a distance, and when you get close, you go, holy cow! look at all those ants!).
Watching them, after a while I wanted to see what they'd do if I did some damage. So insignificant, I thought as I went into Godzilla mode. As expected, the colony got agitated, ants rushed about, yada yada. Then, finally bored, I stomped off into the hazy distance, continuing on with my godlike human afairs.
About an hour later, on my way back, I noticed the colony was still topside. When I checked it out, all was as before when I first saw it: ants calmly going about their insect business, all death and mayhem utterly gone...like I had never happened. I thought, Who's insignificant now...
Shinier than a speeding bullet.
Last edited by Mindship on Nov 15th, 2015 at 11:16 AM
All life is precious. Especially to the person whose life it belongs to. Life has value to others when there are others that put value to that life in question. But it will always have value to the entity it belongs to as life, by nature, strives to live.
It is our emotional/instinctive attachment to other organisms/entities that gives life (beyond our own) its value to us. "Value" you see, is a subjective trait. It is something that is inherently defined by the person/entity/organism directly in question. Water is worth little to me, but worth the world to a person dying of thirst. A parent would see far more value in her child than the robber threatening their lives.
As a society, we IMO should attach "value" to life based on how, we, as individuals wish our lives to be valued within society for as humans ourselves (who want to live in a just society), we would wish that our live's (and those close to us) value within a human society be treated equally as other humans. As we value our lives (and the lives of those close to us), we should strive to create an environment where such life is protected, nurtured and developed.
And our valuation of life is also rarely ever static. We change our views on the value of another's life (or even our own) as circumstances and perceptions of said life changes thru time.
Bottom line, however, is that our lives belong to us first and others'/society second.
And, I disagree with the "sentience argument" dictating value-of-life. I also disagree about the "current state" argument.
Otherwise, babies would have less value than full grown adults and ppl with mental health issues or brain injury would have less value than normal/functioning individuals. But they are all seen as having equal value in the eyes of the law and subjective value to the individual and society in general.
And if an alien race suddenly arrived with far more advanced reasoning than us, are our lives then less valuable than theirs? Not to us, it's not. If they decide to start nuking the $#!¥ out of us, I'm not about to go "well, that's okay, they're a lot smarter than us anyway."
Life is also not about its "current state". Life is far more about its potential than it is about what it can currently do. In fact the strongest criteria on what classifies life as life has everything to do with its "potential" than its current state. Growth, reproduction and entropy.
Would you consider a being that maxed-out at baby level to be as important as one that was capable of developing further? I wouldn't. Babies are rapidly mentally developing the mental framework to be more advanced, and that IMO is what makes them noteworthy. And... I will say, if I'm in a burning building and I can rescue either a baby or a 3-year old and even if I try for both I can only get one successfully, I'll go for the one with the already developed brain.
Mental health issues and brain injury still leaves people waaay above any reasonable sapience threshold. Unless they're, like, 'vegetative state' brain injury or 'mostly brainstem' in which case there's really not much there.
No, because even if one does rate greater intelligences higher- and I'll just toss in God here for the most common example of such- that does not reduce the value of our intelligence at all.
Unless one holds the view that only the greatest life/intelligent matters and can override all other's value- a view which I do not.
Well now, potential is itself an argument fraught with complexities.
Potential decreases at conception, for example. Many possibilities collapse into a lot fewer. Not-having sex eliminates potential. Deciding to have a kid has a far greater impact on potential new people than any individual physical act. If you judge by potential rather than what-is, there's a lot of 'should people be compelled to do this...?' doors that are opened. Certainly does neatly toss any 'life begins at conception' issues, to be sure!
My personal view is, potential alone is mostly a modifier, that is separate from but added onto the base value. Factoring in potential on top of current state makes sense in determining courses of actions. Like... I think most people would save a teenager over someone in their 90s, while acknowledging both are equally people and of equal value in that sense, the teenager is simply going to live so much longer and the person in their 90s has lived most of their life.
On the flip side, if you give me a 90 year old, and a magic ball that has no brain or whatever at all, but if one activates it a teenager will pop out, I'm not going to save the magic ball over the 90 year old, because while the potential is nigh identical to an actual teenager, it is, at the moment, not alive at all, and as an object falls well below a person in value.