Define "good" re: things that humans have done as a species. Cite examples.

This is a tangent of Anti-evolution: Why? in GD.

Good: causing “pleasant feelings”/thriving behaviour to be experienced by any entity able to experience the “good” experience in question, in absence of any deteritous effects on said entities or their environment

Example: Music

Humans dig it. Cows dig it. Plants dig it. Who knows how many other species would dig it. If we could just get our hands on them all to get the headphones on…

deleterious…yeah…that’s what I meant…

I’d say there’s a fair amount of music out there that would fail the underlined criterion…

Good humans:


Bad humans:

Mohammed Atta
Phred Phelps
Carrot Top

Really, as a species we’re all over the map on this one. But it’s good as defined by us, as a species. I’m sure there’s a cougar somewhere in Montana that wouldn’t consider any of the above mentioned people as particulary good or bad.

Yes Darwin’s Finch one cow’s music is another cow’s noise pollution.

Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream. There is no greater symbol of the goodness of the human race.

sniffing her pits Where are all the species-centric masses?

Well, humanity managed to bring about us. I think we all need to give it a little bit of credit for that.

Define “good”. Too abstract.

The poster gets to make his/her/its own definition. The inevitable diversity of responses is supposed to (in theory) illustrate the difficulty in applying terms like “good” and “bad” toward humans as a species.

In the GD thread that spawned this poll, it was being proposed that the “good” things that have been accomplished by Humans justify the position that we are the superior species on the planet, or that the “good” things that we have done outweigh the “bad” consequences of our existance.

So, to clarify:

Do you think that humans as a species (including the various cultures and societies contained under the Human umbrella) have done anything “good”? If so, what is “good”, and what “good” has been done?

I think all species are species-centric. No species contributes anything “for the good of Gaea”. Every species is opportunistic, and seeks advantage within the ecology made up of all species. The truisms that “nature wastes nothing” and “everything has a role in the ecosystem” have validity not because all species are working hard to fulfil their niche, but rather because every species has one or more others that exploit it in some fashion, including humanity.

Species have been going extinct for millions of years, because changes in their environments or in other species render them unable to compete effectively. It is the enormous competitive advantage of intelligence that has made humanity capable of drastically altering the environment in ways that suit its purposes and desires, but may summarily make other species “obsolete” (note that I use this term in the sense of survival effectiveness, not desirability). Some species have been able to exploit human expansion and environmental change so as to prosper, for example: dogs, cats, pigeons, deer, rats, squirrels, etc.

“Good” then, is in the eye of the beholder, unless one assumes a creator deity or other overarching consciousness which actively desires some sort of balance of species and environments. I leave it to the theists here to thrash out what the agenda of such a consciousness might be.

To the extent that human activity and environmental modification might have consequences that humans consider negative, then the “good” done by humans can also be evaluated in entirely human terms, for example: art; medicine (human and veterinary); and altruistic environmental modification and remediation (no other species has ever created a nature preserve, cleaned up its own waste, or sought to preserve or revive other species nearing extinction).

If it’s truly “superiority” in an absolute sense that is at issue, I think that the human claim to supremacy lies in our adaptability and enormous rate of expansion. Instead of evolving by generational process, humans can evolve intellectually, and devise tools to meet new challenges in a fraction of the time of any other species. Only microbes and insects can even approach us, and that due to sheer rate of numbers and fertility driving an otherwise standard generational evolutionary process.

We don’t only use tools, or invent tools, we can proactively analyse how our tools work. And by “tools” in this context, I would include art and medicine. Moreover, we have the ability to appreciate our accomplishments, and seek to better them, or to rectify our weaknesses or failings. That’s superiority.

No other species has purposefully driven so many others to the near-point of extinction that such preservation is even necessary, either. We’re not protecting those areas from themselves, we’re protecting them from ourselves. Nor has any other species generated so much waste that it becomes necessary to clean it up. There is no altruism inherent in either preservation or waste management.

While individual humans may do “good”, I see nothing “good” about humans as a species. We are selfish, brutish and territorial, just like any other species, only we try to pretend we aren’t by labelling ourselves as “civilized”. We’ve had to invent concepts like morality to protect us from ourselves.

This will probably end up in GD again, but oh well…

The problem that I see for us, as a species, is that it is somehow not enough for us to acknowlege our current position on the planet, or the species characteristics that have brought us to that position. We are somehow compelled to take it further and to obliviously excercise the power at our fingertips, which is a consequence of that position. Note that I say consequence, not reward.

When people justify Human destruction by saying, “Because we can” my first reaction is to think of this as a childish defense. It is childish in the sense that it is naive to stop the rationale at that point.

I urge everyone to keep thinking after stating the obvious.

In all of our intelligent glory, we still learn more about ourselves and the world around us as each day passes. Each species that we destroy results in not only the destruction of that species and the ecosystem in which it existed, but our ability to learn more about that facet of existance (and our place in that existance), is also destroyed.

With each step we take away from diversity and toward the homoginization of the earth as a human playground, we paint ourselves into a corner. It is the corner where our understanding of the world and of ourselves is limited to the insights we were able to glean from the world before our “superiority”
kicked into overdrive.

Just want to point out, Shakespeare left his wife for a younger woman early in his career. Not exactly a good thing.
Einstein, while his intentions were good, his discoveries lead to thousands of deaths.

Yet we do have the conscience to say “stop it” and protect us and others from ourselves, as opposed to waiting for starvation or extinction to stop us.


But then, NO species “does good”. Species survive. And that’s it. Man can actually exercise Will to be destructive or protective? Yes. So? If Man’s Will is an emergent of the evolution of cognitive centers of the brain, then we are a force of nature and both the destructive and the creative in our species’ trajectory is just evolution at work.

I agree JRDelirious. Have you read any of Daniel Quinn’s books?

Then why are you still alive and spreading this evilness that is your very being?

In other words, we’re no worse than any other species.

Dogface…You really think that our impact on the planet is comparable to beaver dams and termite mounds?