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Are humans animals?

Deathless Dreamer said:
I fully agree with you ElectricPaladin, but you imply that it's normal and perfectly acceptable for humans to destroy their environment and the ecosystems around them, while inflicting pain and suffering on animals and other humans.

Yes we can change our environment to suit our own needs, but now that adaptation is turning against us, because we're changing it too much, causing damage which could spell our end.
This is an interesting perspective.

Let's leave aside "normal," because normative value judgments aren't really going to help us here. What's "normal" mean? We are the only beings currently in the business of separating "normal" from "abnormal," so we really don't have any standard for comparison.

Now, is it acceptable? That's a different story.

We need to take better care of our environment. It doesn't matter if we're doing this because it's the right or wrong thing to do; that's a whole other conversation about whether you prefer the "custodian" or the "home-ownership" model of conservation. While it's a substantive conversation - the custodian, for example, shouldn't try to wipe out malaria-causing mosquitos because they are beautiful and natural parts of the environment, while a home-owner is allowed to say "this living thing is harmful to me and I can get rid of it without harming the whole, so it's got to go" - it isn't important right now.

We need to take care of the environment because it's important to our survival.

If rabbits could control their breeding to prevent over-population, over-feeding, and a subsequent die-off in the absence of wolves and hawks to control their numbers, they ought to! It doesn't matter that it's the "natural" role to eat all the grass they can and screw all they can and have all the babies they can. If they were smart enough, they'd behave differently once the wolves were gone to ensure their maximal survival. Of course, rabbits are not smart enough, so in the absence of predators, they end up dying off.

The thing is, we're smart enough to survive without predators to control our numbers and mitigate the effects we have on our environment that will lead to our extinction or the end of our way of life, so we damn well should!