Part 1: Ecosophy - Deep Ecology, Anthropocentrism, and Intrinsic Value
So this post will be part one in my series "Ideology in Progress" where I, as the name suggests, try to formulate and explain my ethical-political ideology. These writings are as much for me as for you and as such I will try to be clear and concise, but considering my brain works by jumping around, the "parts" may not be in the most logical order and may be re-arranged later.
Additionally, in my meta post, "Part 0: What Am I (Politically)?" I created a bulleted list of aphorisms/things that I believe and these posts will be where I flesh them out.
Finally, the post titles will be an attempt at stating which aphorisms or ideas that run around my head so you know what to expect. So without further ado, it's time to discuss nature.
I: What is Life?
“Why is defining life so frustratingly difficult?... Life is a concept that we invented.” – Ferris Jabr
- Energy Processing
- Evolutionary Adaptation
- Response to the Environment
- Growth and Development
But it gets more problematic.The arbitrary definition of life as "a self-sustaining system capable of Darwinian evolution" opens the door to tons of claims of life that most people would think "no, that's not life". Example: programs have been created to test the theory of evolution. These programs are simulations, similar to Conway's Game of Life, in which bits evolve and change according to changes in their environment (Zimmer). Programs like these actually fall under NASA's own definition of life. Robert Pennock explains:
“All the core parts of the Darwinian process are there. These things replicate, they mutate, they are competing with one another. The very process of natural selection is happening there. If that’s central to the definition of life, then these things count.” (Jabr)So if a computer simulation would be considered life, where is the sanctity? That means that everytime this simulation is shut down, mass genocide is occurring and is morally repugnant. Or maybe, just maybe, we have the wrong conception of life.
Speech: The larynx, or voice box, sits lower in the throat in humans than in chimps, one of several features that enable human speech. Human ancestors evolved a descended larynx roughly 350,000 years ago. We also possess a descended hyoid bone — this horseshoe-shaped bone below the tongue, unique in that it is not attached to any other bones in the body, allows us to articulate words when speaking.
Upright Posture: Humans are unique among the primates in how walking fully upright is our chief mode of locomotion. This frees our hands up for using tools. Unfortunately, the changes made in our pelvis for moving on two legs, in combination with babies with large brains, makes human childbirth unusually dangerous compared with the rest of the animal kingdom. A century ago, childbirth was a leading cause of death for women. The lumbar curve in the lower back, which helps us maintain our balance as we stand and walk, also leaves us vulnerable to lower back pain and strain.
Nakedness: We look naked compared to our hairier ape cousins. Surprisingly, however, a square inch of human skin on average possesses as much hair-producing follicles as other primates, or more — humans often just have thinner, shorter, lighter hairs.
Hands: Contrary to popular misconceptions, humans are not the only animals to possess opposable thumbs — most primates do. (Unlike the rest of the great apes, we don't have opposable big toes on our feet.) What makes humans unique is how we can bring our thumbs all the way across the hand to our ring and little fingers. We can also flex the ring and little fingers toward the base of our thumb. This gives humans a powerful grip and exceptional dexterity to hold and manipulate tools with.
Extraordinary Brains: Without a doubt, the human trait that sets us apart the most from the animal kingdom is our extraordinary brain. Humans don't have the largest brains in the world — those belong to sperm whales. We don't even have the largest brains relative to body size — many birds have brains that make up more than 8 percent of their body weight, compared to only 2.5 percent for humans. Yet the human brain, weighing only about 3 pounds when fully grown, give us the ability to reason and think on our feet beyond the capabilities of the rest of the animal kingdom, and provided the works of Mozart, Einstein and many other geniuses.
Clothing: Humans may be called "naked apes," but most of us wear clothing, a fact that makes us unique in the animal kingdom, save for the clothing we make for other animals. The development of clothing has even influenced the evolution of other species — the body louse, unlike all other kinds, clings to clothing, not hair.
Fire: The human ability to control fire would have brought a semblance of day to night, helping our ancestors to see in an otherwise dark world and keep nocturnal predators at bay. The warmth of the flames also helped people stay warm in cold weather, enabling us to live in cooler areas. And of course it gave us cooking, which some researchers suggest influenced human evolution — cooked foods are easier to chew and digest, perhaps contributing to human reductions in tooth and gut size.
Blushing: Humans are the only species known to blush, a behavior Darwin called "the most peculiar and the most human of all expressions." It remains uncertain why people blush, involuntarily revealing our innermost emotions. The most common idea is that blushing helps keep people honest, benefiting the group as a whole.
Long Childhoods: Humans must remain in the care of their parents for much longer than other living primates. The question then becomes why, when it might make more evolutionary sense to grow as fast as possible to have more offspring. The explanation may be our large brains, which presumably require a long time to grow and learn.
Life after Children: Most animals reproduce until they die, but in humans, females can survive long after ceasing reproduction. This might be due to the social bonds seen in humans — in extended families, grandparents can help ensure the success of their families long after they themselves can have children. (Choi)
Now not only is Choi incorrect about many of his facts, but there is also no analysis as to why these traits are inherently special. But regardless, let’s answer each one.
II: Goodbye Biosphere!
“The human species may look to some people outside the planet as though it's more of a planetary disease.” – Dr. Warren Hern
This shows just how much energy is returning to Earth. We also know the climate sensitivity, that is how sensitive the Earth is to changes in radiation, and are thus able to compare the change in temperature over time vs. the change in CO2 emissions. This allows us to understand exactly what the affect CO2 has on temperature and, when plugging in the climate sensitivity values, changes in CO2, and temperature values, we find that “even under [the] ultra-conservative unrealistic low climate sensitivity scenario, the increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past 150 years would account for over half of the observed 0.8°C increase in surface temperature”(SS).
Thus, data from the IPCC as well as spectrographic readings of radiation and CO2 emissions conclusively show that CO2 causes warming.
- Rapid, uncontrolled growth;
- Invasion and destruction of adjacent normal tissue;
- De-differentiation (loss of distinctiveness of individual components); and
- Metastasis to different sites (Hern)
There is really no dispute over whether we are overpopulated (although more will be said on this later). Resources are scarce, land is running out, and ethnic tensions are increasing in frequency. According to the US Census, one human is born every 8 seconds whereas one dies every 12. This means that we are constantly growing exponentially and there seems to be no end in sight. Additionally, when compared with the first characteristic of a malignant tumor, the similarities are terrifying. As tumors grow, they expand outward rapidly and without boundaries and control and consume all tissue around them.
But that is not all, in fact all the other characteristics of malignant tumors can be view as descriptors of humans just as easily. No matter how good I think my writing may be, I think A. Kent MacDougall explains this phenomena best he says the following:
Cancer cells proliferate rapidly and uncontrollably in the body; humans continue to proliferate rapidly and uncontrollably in the world. Crowded cancer cells harden into tumors; humans crowd into cities. Cancer cells infiltrate and destroy adjacent normal tissues; urban sprawl devours open land. Malignant tumors shed cells that migrate to distant parts of the body and set up secondary tumors; humans have colonized just about every habitable part of the globe. Cancer cells lose their natural appearance and distinctive functions; humans homogenize diverse natural ecosystems into artificial monocultures. Malignant tumors excrete enzymes and other chemicals that adversely affect remote parts of the body; humans' motor vehicles, power plants, factories and farms emit toxins that pollute environments far from the point of origin (MacDougall).Now some, after reading this, might dismiss it as just a hypothetical for viewing the environmental movement, but the implications are real and disturbing. The Earth has been viewed many ways, but the most interesting hypothesis, and probably the most correct, would the Gaia Hypothesis. The Gaia Hypothesis, originally devised by James Lovelock, posits that the Earth functions much like a living organism in that it self regulates and stays in a homeostatic state naturally. This view of the Earth aids us in understanding how humans can be viewed as a cancer because we can see human interaction with the environment as disrupting the natural balance of self-regulation and order.
Thus, keeping the following facts in mind, namely that
- Humans cause lasting damage to the biosphere through the effects of climate change;
- Humans are especially keen and adept at destroying biodiversity around us; and
- Human growth and the expansion of cities when compared to the growth of malignant tumors are almost indistinguishable,
 Researcher and professor at The Scripps Research Institute
 Professor of philosophy at Michigan State University
 Arguably the most famous chimp researcher.
 This is of course ignoring the Heterocephalus glaber, or “naked mole rat”.
 I prefer to use the term “climate change” over “global warming” because conservative pundits like Sean Hannity jump on the word “warming” and display their scientific ignorance when they make statements like “well it’s COLD out so how can there be warming?? Checkmate!”.
 AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming
 Specifically, .7%
 If ever there were such a person
 Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland
 I will put the equations down here to save space: CO2’s radiative forcing, dF, is found using “dF = 5.35 ln(C/C0)” where C is the current concentration of CO2 and C0 is a reference concentration (pre-industrial concentration of 280 ppm) (Myhre). The climate sensitivity (dT) equation is dT=λ*dF where λ is climate sensitivity in °C/W/m2 (SS). We then know that a doubling of CO2 can lead to increase in temperate of 2-4.5°C (IPCC). Using this, we can solve for λ: λ = dT/dF = dT/(5.35 * ln)= [2 to 4.5°C]/3.7 = 0.54 to 1.2°C/(W/m2) and from there, we can calculate temperature changes (SS). Specifically, using data from 2010 and the first equation, we get dF shown here: dT = λ * 5.35 * ln(390/280) = 1.8 * λ (SS). Using skeptics own numbers, that is their assertion that the climate sensitive value is around 0.27°C/(W/m2) we can calculate the change in temperature and we get the conclusion I wrote above: dT = 1.8 * λ = 1.8 * 0.27 = 0.5°C (SS).
 Professor of medicine at the University of California
 Google search terms: “define value”
 Now of course, there are distinctions within anthropocentrism and non-anthropocentrism. Although not explicitly stated above, my argument will be for the sub-category of biocentrism (mixed with the anti-life perspective of part one) – that is, all living things need to be considered when making judgments (Sandler).
 This is a topic for another paper
 If one can even use such terms after part one
 Philosopher and fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University in Canberra
 Eco-feminist and Research Council Fellow at the Australian National University
 Now considered to be the rarest fish in the world
 Environmental philosopher at North Texas
 Philosopher at the University of Lancaster
 Beings in both the Platonic essentialist sense and the biological sense
 Smith gives viruses too little credit, they are much more interesting than humans
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Labels: anthropocentrism, deep ecology, dialectical naturalism, ecology, ecosophy, environmental science, environmentalism, ethical philosophy, gaia, intrinsic value, naturalism, nature, philosophy, value