Why does human life hold value??

poster child suggeted this topic as an offshoot from the abortion debates. My point on the issue is that humans are no more valuable that dogs and cows. A tiger that eats people is just being a tiger, yet people want to kill it for doing what it is supposed to do. Why is it wrong for it to eat people but not wrong for it to eat deer?? Why do people have such a bad case of arrogant self importance where the rest of life is concerned?

I think it’s because we are unlike any other animal in terms of our mental capacities, our reasoning abilities and the like. The reason “human” life is more valuable is because we have big societies, which necessitate rules that would make individual slaughter looked down upon. I think if other animals were as “intelligent” then we wouldn’t kill them, we would try to combine them with our own culture.

I’m feeling quite cynical today, so here’s some reasons that you’re free to skip:

Human life has value because human beings are the ones assigning value. Other life forms have “value” only as far as they are useful to human beings. A tiger that eats a person has a negative value, and so things are improved by killing it.

Human beings were selected by God(ess)(s) as the pinacle of creation. While we may have some responsibility towards other life, if it comes down to us or them, they always get the short end of the stick.

People are only concerned about their own well-being. In the case of your tiger, if it killed once, it could kill again; and that time it might be you. Humans have the ability to herd together to allow each person to help themselves by working in the group.

Just depressing
Who says people value human life?

Please note: I don’t really believe in any of the above, I’m just pessimistic about the human race as a whole.

Do you assign value to your own life? Are you human?

Creatures which did not value their own life in practice would probably not get very far, survival-wise. Just one thought.

Actually, in America, the life of a Bald Eagle, or even the eggs of a Bald Eagle have been found in court to be of greater value than a human.


It is completely illegal to kill any Bald Eagle or even their eggs, but it is perfectly acceptable to kill an unborn baby.

The same can be said for several other animals as well.

Just food for thought…

If the lives of unborn babies approached the same quantity as the lives of unborn Bald Eagles, royjwood, what do you suppose would happen?

Just food for thought.

Wouldn’t newborn babies have to be an endangered species for your analogy to hold up?

Well, BURNER some would argue that human life doesn’t have value.

My life has value, and so does yours. But, that doesn’t mean that all human life inherently has value.

For instance, lets say I walk out into the street right now and get hit by a bus. I have now become a brain dead vegtable which can only hang on to life with the assistance of machines. I still have life. But, I would argue that this life has no value.

Similar arguments could be made for condemned men sitting on death row, or even those confined to a life in prison without parole. Do they have life? Yes. Does it have value? Maybe. I would argue certainly not as much value as mine or yours.

The same can be said about a fetus. It has life, but that life isn’t of any value. It hasn’t done anything yet. No one loves it yet, it has no purpose.

I am pro-choice, BTW.

I, personally, wouldn’t say it is “wrong” for a tiger to kill a person. Tigers don’t have a sense of right or wrong, at least not that we can tell.

I believe we tend to value human life because we are unique among animals in our ability to “see inside another’s head”. That allows us to empathise with someone else in a way that no other animal really can. If we see or hear about someone being killed, we can picture it happening to ourselves. And by anthropomorphising, we often feel bad about animals being killed.

You mean pro-life propoganda for thought…

Well, he got me thinking…

If humans laid eggs instead of had babies, one could easily perform self-abortions. There would actually probably be a higher abortion rate during halloween.

Damn kids. :wink:

no just food for thought…because it is true, whether you support abortion or not. animals now have moer right to life than humans do.

My wife and I lost our first child to a miscarriage at around 7 weeks. The child was not planned (an accident), and yes, it would have been a hindrance to our lifestyles, especially since we were not yet even married. But the loss of that child nearly destroyed my wife. She felt is was because of something bad that she had done that caused the death of that child.

But the fact remains that the fetus was already over two inches in length…at seven weeks. That baby would not have lived a normal life regardless. But it was her child, part of her, and the grief that she felt for that unwanted child was torturous.

I do not understand how any woman could willingly go through that.

There’s no way I could participate in an abortion.
Nor do I think anyone should, because if there is a god, he surely does not like seeing his miracle negated.

if someone wants to rot in hell, really, that’s a choice with which I don’t think the government should interfere, so long as they don’t drag me with them.

and did you just refer to your unborn child as a “hinderance?”

Maybe you should lobby congress to have “babies” be the official mascot of the US, then they would be protected.

this topic wasnt started to rehash the abortion issue. There are already 3 front page threads for that. The point that people seem to be getting away from is why is it considered more “wrong” to shoot people in the head than it is to do the same thing to cats and dogs?? Where do people come up with the idea that they are more important than anything else on the planet?

Well, other than the bible telling us that God gave man dominion over all the creatures of the earth, I think the prevaling reason is that humans regularly have this big meeting with all the animals and ask, “Any species that doesnt want humans to kill them, raise an appendage…” Back then, only the humans raised their hands.

**its only been recently that certain humans have been speaking out for other animals.

sorry Burner, that was what I was relating to with the Bald Eagle.

I personally, place human life much higher than all other forms of life.


Well, first of all, I am one! And most other humans I know are, too. As such humans have a tendency to normally consider themselves superior, but that is a pyschological problem.

Secondly, I think that it does have a lot to do with the fact that we (humans) do have proven mental capabilities well above any other species.

That is why I do not understand how anyone can place the lives of animals higher than or even equal to that of humans.

But I do like X~Slayer(ALE)'s version, though.

First, I want to express my sympathes for your loss, no one should have to go through that.

This isn’t true. As I said earlier, human beings would have to be endangered species for this to hold up.

—It is completely illegal to kill any Bald Eagle or even their eggs, but it is perfectly acceptable to kill an unborn baby.—

It’s completely illegal to start forest fires too, even if no humans are killed.
A bald eagle egg is protected because it’s a very valuable ecological commodity (very hard to come by). This is utterly beside the point of whether the life of an unborn eagle ITSELF has value. I would doubt that any of the people who concieved this law believe that the egg is protected because the life of an unborn eaglet is inherently valuable: if they had thought that, they would have made it illegal to break ANY bird’s eggs, rare or not. It is, rather, a cog in the government mangagement of the ecology, just as is preventing forest fires and preserving wetlands.

—its only been recently that certain humans have been speaking out for other animals.—

It’s only recently that certain humans began speaking out for the rights of other humans not of their particular tribe. It’s only recently that humans began speaking out for the rights of zygotes (since it’s only recently that we even knew they existed). It’s only recently that certain humans have decided that women are as morally worthy as men.

Value is a meaningless word outside of conscious choice. Some conscious entitites are willing to sacrifice goods, opportunities, pleasure, etc. in order to create/defend/preserve human life, thus we say that human life has value for those entities.

Why is a question which has no general answer, if one believes in free will. If one is a determinist, then the answer is simply “because the world is structured that way”.