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-Human Extinction: A Philosophical Question or A Religious One?

by Dr. D ~ December 31st, 2018

Humans Global Warming Climate Change Animal Rights

Some radical philosophers have been kicking around the idea that human extinction could be a possible solution to ‘global warming’ and maybe the only solution. Along the same line of thinking, some animal rights radicals contend that the world and its ecosystems would be far better off if the human race was no longer around. These ideas and similar ones have been topics of discussion for some time now in college and university classes all across America.

Recently these ideas were elevated to the mainstream in an editorial in the NY Times by Todd May, a professor of philosophy at Clemson University:

Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?:

Our species possesses inherent value, but we are devastating the earth and causing unimaginable animal suffering.”

Some quotes from the article:

There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. …

Would human extinction be a tragedy? …

Yet what I am asking here is simply whether it would be a tragedy if the planet no longer contained human beings. And the answer I am going to give might seem puzzling at first. I want to suggest, at least tentatively, both that it would be a tragedy and that it might just be a good thing. …

Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. …There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite. …

But this entire set of reflections is taking place from a human viewpoint. We cannot ask the questions we are asking here without situating them within the human practice of philosophy.

<Read the whole editorial>

Response: This editorial is both scary and refreshing.

Most of the discussion about climate change and global warming is done in the context of politics and social policy generated to contain the supposed damage that humans are perpetrating on the ecosystems we live in. General evidence from science and pseudoscience is submitted by both sides with little affect in changing anyone’s attitudes or actions.

Lately, I’ve read a number of articles suggesting the humans need to be forced to be limited and regulated in a number of different ways. Animal rights activists suggest that laws need to be passed to force folks to give up meat. Some ecologists suggest that governments need to force their citizens to limit the number of children that they have in order to contain or even decrease human population. Others are suggesting that we limit our use of technology or even roll it back to earlier levels. We even have a number of radical religious groups in Islam (like ISIS and Boko Haram) calling for the extinction of all who do not commit to Islam.

So the call for a forced response  or some kind of decrease in humanity is nothing new. But the idea that the world would be a better place if there was a complete extinction of humanity takes the conversation to another level entirely.

I am an avid reader of Sci-Fi novels. One of the most popular themes in that genre is the extinction or near extinction of humanity. Sometimes through major ecological disasters, alien invasions, or by radical human action. Dystopian themes are particularly popular right now, most of which depict a regression to 19th century technology and the elimination of 90% or more of the population due to EMPs, major epidemics, and civil wars and conflicts mostly caused by governments gone totalitarian or initiated by radicals within.

In this case, the writer suggests that questions pertaining to the continuation of humanity, whether its elimination would be a solution or a tragedy, should be addressed in the realm of human philosophy. I would like to suggest that there is a better forum for this discussion- Christianity and the Bible with The Creator as the ultimate judge of humanity. 

-reprinted from our Apologetica page

(To be continued)                *Top

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