Evolution and Environmentalism

Dylan NICHOLSON dnich at cat.cs.mu.OZ.AU
Thu Sep 4 18:18:12 EST 1997


John Alway <jalway at icsi.net.SpamTransmogrifier> writes:

>	  This perspicuous article on environmentalism 
>	expounds on my point:
>	
>	http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/environ.html

While it is true that SOME environmentalists think like this, I am certainly
not one of them. I am concerned about the environmental almost purely for
selfish, or at best anthropocentric reasons. This is because I care about
mankind just as much as the rest of nature (although my genes are programmed
to make me care MORE about my own species, having a higher proportion of
my own genes and thus more likely to ensure my own gene's survival regardless
of whether I reproduce). By being selfish about it, I am able to feel
strongly about needing to protect the environment for our own survival 
(while we still need it) but more importantly for our own happiness. The
more I read on sociobiology the more I find views that value the rest of
the planet ABOVE mankind absurd: by evolution, each species must come to
consider itself as more important than the rest, or it wouldn't be here today.
This is true of trees, cats, dogs, lizards, bacteria...and of humans. We are
humans and have no more obligation to look after the rest of the planet for
non selfish reasons than do any other species. We are indeed just another cog
in the wheel.

However I will point out that while I am able to view the above as a perfectly
logical argument, I don't feel internally competely comfortable with it, and
this I think is worth exploring. Maybe it is just human conceit that we ARE
so much better than other species therefore should look after them, or maybe
it is just indirect pressures exerted by the moral high ground of some
environmentalists and ethicists. Or maybe I should just accept my 'feelings'
on the matter as being right...or maybe I shouldn't worry and just do what
I can to help 'save the environment' and not worry about why this right.

Dylan



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