Are humans terrible? Is civilisation a bad idea? People don’t realise it but these ideas, along with fate, karma, and anarchy, appeal because people think that reality is a video game. But is life really a game?
In the past I have argued that humans have had a net negative influence on life and that Earth might be better off without them. I have also been tempted on occasion to say, “to hell with this silliness,” and leave the complexity of modern civilisation behind in favour of a simpler existence. But I have not been able to sustain either of these positions. They both crumble for the same reason.
Some scientists think that free will is an illusion. If that is true, can we hold people accountable for crimes? Would this erode our justice system? How would the justice system have to change to accommodate this?
How could you not be excited and interested in the ongoing construction project that is human civilisation? How can you not be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and passionately determined to place down your own brick in this massive, ever-growing edifice, and make sure that it is the largest, thickest, sturdiest brick you could possibly make it? How could you just lie down and sunbake on top of the backs of the millions of people that form the human pyramid of herculean efforts that produced our current standard of living?
“Do Fish Feel Pain?” by Victoria Braithwaite looks at the science, ethics and the future of fish welfare by proving that fish feel pain and what this information means for us.
The consequences of the alternatives must be considered: If not conducting an experiment is likely to lead to the needless death and suffering of uncountable future people, then do we not have an obligation to conduct the experiment?
When most people are faced with the question of why it is alright to harm animals for human benefit (eg for a steak dinner, or for medical science), the most common response I have heard is that it is the intelligence that makes the difference.