Are you superior?


As a human, is your life more significant than that of a potato or a lizard?


Your first reaction might be: of course! I am a human—a king of the hill who scoffs at pests and eats potatoes for breakfast! However, upon deeper reflection, I thought of a quote by Gary Yourofsky
"If you took humans off this planet, the extinction of humans would benefit everything that exists; the animals, the forest, the air, the water, the mountains..."
Sure, humans have had many accomplishments, such as in medicine and technology, but humans are also responsible for the greatest destruction and death on Earth. In general, humans can decipher between right and wrong. If we were to define the value of a being by the harm one causes, how would humans compare to other species?
"If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Anonymous
Non-human animals are highly intelligent creatures. It is inapplicable to judge an animal by fixating on a skill the creature does not have and wrong to determine the value of a species based on intelligence.
"...You're a breathing piece of defecating meat, destined to die and ultimately no more significant than, let's say, a lizard or a potato..." - Sheldon Solomon, Flight From Death: The Quest For Immortality (Moreman & Rushton, p.192)
For reference, we were asked this question in class based on this quote by Solomon. Overall, I do not agree with the comparison of a potato (plant) to sentient beings (animals), but the main idea is that humans are not superior.

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References and For More Information



Moreman, C. M., & Rushton, C. J. (2011). Zombies Are Us: Essays on the Humanity of the Walking Dead. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

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