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If humans were to be wiped out and became extinct overnight, would the end of the human race be a tragedy?

Positions

Arguments supporting this position

Details

Context

There are many species that, without human interference, would be extinct today. Humans are not just a scourge for many life-forms, we are also the saviours.

The Argument

There are various cereal crops that require human assistance in their reproduction. There are genetic bottlenecks present in some species of plant life that make them susceptible to disease. There are also a whole host of animal species that human intervention prevented their extinction. The Panamanian Golden Project frog was almost wiped out by disease, and many domestic animals only exist today because of their usefulness to humans.[1] Without humans, these species would not be here today. Our extinction would mean the extinction of all of these animals too. That would make the incident a tragedy.

Counter arguments

In the last 500 years alone, humans have been responsible for the extinction of 322 birds, mammals and reptiles.[2] The human preservation of a handful of animals and plants does not nearly equate to these lost species. Humans are a net negative impact on the world. Therefore, their extinction would not be a tragedy.

Premises

P1: The existence of several other species depends on human intervention. P2: If humans die, they die. P3: So, human extinction would be a tragedy.

Rejecting the premises

P3: The number of species we save is nowhere near the number of species we have killed off. So, in the grand scheme of things, it would not be a tragedy.

References

  1. https://www.britannica.com/list/extinct-in-the-wild-but-still-around-5-plants-and-animals-kept-alive-by-humans
  2. https://www.seeker.com/humans-caused-322-animal-extinctions-in-past-500-years-1768850883.html

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This page was last edited on Friday, 21 Dec 2018 at 18:58 UTC