Humans have more right to live than baiji dolphins

In this MPSIMS thread, the claim is made that humans have no more right to live than baiji dolphins. I contend that such a sentiment is meaningless – no species has any particular “right to live” – the extinction of a species is unremarkable in the history of our planet, and the only objective way to determine a species’ “right to live” is to see if it’s living. If it’s become extinct, it had no right to live.

Now, I’m not neutral in this debate – being human, I favor humans’ collective right to live over pretty much any other species. But from an objective standpoint, humans being simply another animal, albeit a wildly successful one, if we’re wiped out by a microbe, a meteor, or each other, it simply means that we lost the constantly on-going evolutionary battle.

Make up your mind. Do you think that “a species’ right to live” is a meaningful concept, or not?

Evolutionarily speaking, I’m inclined to agree with you (although I think your title is at odds with your assertion). If a species dies out, there’s nobody to blame, realistically speaking- if other species hadn’t died out, for whatever reason, WE wouldn’t be here. If we go extinct, we’ve nobody to blame but ourselves.

However, I think it’s our duty to protect other species as much as we possibly can. We’re a huge hit on the environment, and I think that killing off other species in our drive to be more successful than other humans is a crime and a sin.

I wonder if the OP really does think of humans as animals, given his admitted bias? One of the reasons I hold the veiw I do, is that I believe all species have a place in the ecosystem, and have value. If you look at the fact that we, as a species will not even take care not to pollute our own water, food, and air I’d say that makes us less deserving of survival than species who aren’t self destructing and bringing other species down with them. Beware! Darwin wants humanhide chairs! :wink:

If Texaco pollutes wetlands in Ecuador by dumping toxic wastewater in the cheapest possible manner and consequently destroys an indigenous culture, has it acted unethically or has the indigenous culture simply lost its right to exist in the face of a more technologically advanced one?

Given the choice between humanity and any other species, I’ll choose humanity every time. But like Bricker, I don’t believe that any species has a right to exist. Who’s the enforcer of that right? Noone. Do I think it’s sad that a species becomes extinct? Sure. Should we work to ensure biodiversity and that endangered species survive - and that species don’t become endangered in the first place? Sure. But forced to choose between species X and humanity, I’ll choose humanity. Species in very restricted niches are very vulnerable to changes in their niche.

I agree that it’s a meaningless statement. No species has a right to exist unless one wants to appeal to a religious authority and use that as the source or rights.

In a purely detached fashion, I tend to agree with you.

However, as I alluded to in the other thread, this particular extinction is illustrative of our species’s lack of self-control. Also it’s a dolphin, so add a level of anthropomorphism.

I ask you in return, if the Giant Panda, the Bald Eagle, the Buffalo, the Mountain Lion, the Reindeer, the Elephant, or any of the other large, obvious, symbolic creatures, were made extinct as a direct result of humanity’s actions, do you think we should be as unmoved as you are about this one? Would you remain unmoved?

Is there any degree of action at which you would feel that the self-promotion of the human species should be curtailed to preserve another species?

Especially given that the actions that bring about the extinction of a species do not promote humanity’s long term survival. What affects a part, affects the whole. We are hurting the ecosystem, and driving ourselves to extinction along with untold numbers of other species in the process. The extinction of even a single species will affect us, whether we can detect it or not.

As I said in the other thread, this has nothing to do with “rights”. It’s about what kind of planet we humans want to live on. Do we want to live in a barren wasteland with nothing but weeds, rats, and humans? Of course not.

Do dolphins have more right to live than humans? Of course not. If an endangered dolphin was attacking my child, would I kill the dolphin to save my child, even though it would mean the extinction of the species? Yes, I would. That doesn’t mean that I would intentionally wipe out any species just because I could. It doesn’t mean I’m in favor of exterminating bears, tigers, sharks, or dogs just because those animals sometimes kill humans. It doesn’t mean I’m in favor of banning automobiles, just because car crashes kill more children every day than are killed by wild animals in a year.

It has nothing to do with rights. I like animals, I want to live in a world that’s beautiful and diverse, not one that’s impoverished and homogenized. I wish dodos were still alive, I wish moas were still alive, I wish woolly mammoths were still alive. And in the future, I’m going to wish these river dolphins were still alive, and so are many thousands of people in the future. Except we can prevent species from becoming extinct today, what we can’t do is resurrect species that have gone extinct in the past. Extinction, as they say, is forever. So when you won’t lift a finger to save an endangered species, that means you are fine with impoverishing the planet by that one tiny little amount.

Sure, one species of river dolphin might not mean that much to you. But it doesn’t stop with one speices of river dolphin, it goes on to elephants, tigers, pandas. Would you lift a finger to stop the extinction of elephants? What if your child comes to you one day and wishes he lived in a world where elephants still lived? What are you gonna tell him?

This isn’t about rights, it’s about humanity.

I happen to agree with you. “Rights” are a human construct. Humans have rights because they assert them. Other living things have no rights.

What sort of threat did the baiji dolphins pose to humanity? Or Chinese people? Last I heard there were over a billion Chinese people. Hardly an endangered species. Au contraire! Is anybody here seriously arguing that the baiji dolphins were somehow hindering Chinese people’s ability to sparp out the leventy-billionth lil Chinese baby, therefore their extinction is justified?

Exactly, well said!

Right to live is just meaningless when talking about species. A species ever survives, or goes extinct, and every species is programmed to try and survive.

Whether Humans (or any other species capable of doing so) should attempt to preserve failing species such as the baiji dolphin is something that Humans may chose to do, but has no relationship to the concept of rights possessed by the Dolphin. In fact the Dolphins should by ‘rights’ die out, as should Humans if they start becoming extinct, anything else and life fails to evolve past self replicating chemicals.

I’ll add, I fervantly believe that the more diversity, the healthier the ecosystem, so now you see why I am being so passionate with regards to this topic.

I should add, we certainly have a right to wish for a diverse eccosystem, as such we would be well justified in helping other species avoid extinction so long as such action isn’t negatively effecting our own survival.

I feel we should at a minimum preserve as much diverse DNA from these animals as is possible, and make any attempts to protect them (or any other) from extinction.

I just feel that the concept of a ‘right’ is rarely useful, and a right to survival of a species is meaningless.

Isn’t it true that nearly 99% of all species that have ever existed are extinct? Cite. That being the case, isn’t your depiction of the future Earth as “a barren wasteland with nothing but weeds, rats, and humans” needless hyperbole, as well as a false dichotomy?

You might fervently believe that, but of course it’s a load of dingo’s kidneys. The idea that an ecosystem is healthier because you have introduced a dozen exotic species is utter nonsense.

And conversely diversity usually increases as stress increases due to an increase in available niches. As a result many communities reach their highest levels of diversity just prior to total collapse or irreversible damage.

Consider an “old growth” oak forest, which can be close to an monoculture WRT to woody plants. Now consider the same forest after disturbance by logging or fire. Far higher diversity but a far less healthy ecosystem.

And deer. Deer do great around humans. Squirrels too.

Given the dire prospects for our future resources as covered recently in the media? I’d say not so.