Why humans are more important than other animals

In my previous post, I commented on Morrissey’s disgraceful comparison of the victims of the recent terror attacks in Norway to animals killed for consumption in fast food restaurants. I thought that the egregiousness of this comparison, and the concept that humans are more important than other animals was self evident. Apparently not. My comments provoked a hive of debate on Facebook (mainly with Hayley Stevens) and I’ve been asked to justify my belief that humans are more important that other animals by Hayley and Matt Holland. I’m not one to turn down such a monumental challenge so here is a long explanation, and for the sake of brevity, a short explanation.


Which is more important?

The Long Explanation

Before I start, I should say that this is not going to be a critique of vegetarianism. There are many arguments for and against vegetarianism, I am simply going to concentrate on the importance of humans compared to other animals. When discussing ‘importance’, it’s essential to define the context. I know that in the context of the entire universe, pretty much all life is worthless. We are all organisms on a little planet that orbits a bog standard star set in one of many billions of galaxies. One day our sun will expand and that will be the end of us. But of course, you can’t judge worth in that context. Whatever criteria we imply to worth, we can’t get away from the fact the it is we human beings who are defining it.

And so I come to my first point: imagination. Humans have the power of imagination, and as far as I’m aware (please correct me if I’m wrong) animals do not. The power to visualize things that we do not directly experience is what caused humans to flourish in the first place. It is an incredible ability in the animal kingdom and it leads me to my second point, which is cognition. We humans, as well as possessing imaginations, are also self aware. We have the ability to question our own existence, and we have concepts such as ethics and compassion. Animals (certainly ‘lower’ animals such as insects) do not possess such concepts. The concept of free will is one that has taxed philosophers for millennia, but it is clear that we are not automatons like most animals are.

My third point is potential. When a human is born, it has the potential to go on and do so much more than any other animal can. It could grow up to make contributions to science, medicine, the arts etc, enriching not just it’s own life but the lives of all around them, human and non-human. Animals can make a difference, but not consciously and not on the same scale that humans can. In this respect, both humans and other animals have “worth”, but humans have much more worth than animals, making them more important.

So in summary, humans are more important than animals because of traits such as imagination, intelligence and technology. I’d love to hear any arguments to the contrary. Once again, I can’t stress enough that this is not a critique of vegetarianism.

The Short Explanation

We went to the fucking moon.

EDIT: Hayley Stevens has since written about this post on her blog by changing the contents of a previous post.


  1. Hi Tom

    From what I’ve read of your blog and from following you on twitter (admittedly only for a few days) I’m pretty sure I’d agree with you on a lot of things. On this matter though I couldn’t disagree more, I don’t see humanity as anymore important than other species. I don’t want to get in a heated debate or anything like that, but I’m happy to have an amiable discussion about this. (Also, I’m not endorsing Morrisey’s comments in any way, what happened was truly awful).

    I get the overall argument, that humanity is the only species that we know of that’s created mathematics and science (apart from camels – Terry Pratchett reference), and art, music etc. And that we have a great potential as a species. But an alternative view is that we have an immense potential for destruction. It could well be argued that we are the most destructive species the Earth has ever spawned and we have severely degraded the global biosphere. If multicellular life is rare in our Galaxy then this makes us even worse!

    Another argument is that you’re making an unfair comparison between species. You’re judging other species on uniquely human characteristics. A bit like saying Wayne Rooney is more important than Stephen Hawking because Hawking is crap at playing in the hole just behind Hernandez. If you change the frame of reference, you change the judgement of importance. I’m pretty sure an evolutionary biologist wrote something about this, where he had elephants ridiculing humanity because we hadn’t yet achieved full nasal-appendage dexterity. Are you not a bit guilty of the same thing here? You could well argue that our sentience, our imagination and our ability to wield tools is pretty superficial, and scratch just below the surface and we’re still driven by the same fundamental evolutionary laws as all other species, but that our intelligence has been the adaptation that has secured our competitive success.

  2. Ah, I’ve just seen your short explanation too 🙂

    In response to that, I say, we also spawned Justin Bieber and Cheryl Coal, even Darwin, Newton, going to the Moon and the invention of curry don’t make up for that

  3. I have two conflicting perspectives on the debate.

    On an intellectual level I find it hard to argue that the pain of A and B if subjectively equivalent (as I assume pain felt by a child and pain felt by a kitten might be) can be justified away by any other concern than that directly relating to the moment of pain such as intensity and duration. Pain is pain, that two instances of the same pain might cause one person to faint later that day and another to incur an infection do not relate to the act of feeling pain at that time. I would consider the species in question to relate more to the effects of pain (a pain/death may prevent a Nobel winning scientist but not a kitten for example).

    On a naturalistic level, I am human. I find it completely understandable my species just so happens to prioritise the needs of my species. But, with such a view comes dark corruptions of said view, it seems reasonable to admit many past atrocities when removed from the intellectualising of the moral magnifying glass.

    I guess what I’m saying is I’m a kop out. In the grand scheme of things all value is essentially valueless, as you say, but part of this valueless nature means that only I and other humans, and not animals, can create value in any meaningful sense we would regard as a value judgement. Humans are more valuable because we rather groundlessly say they are. Is this such a contradiction? I’m not sure it matters, states of affairs taken as they are are vital for getting through life regardless of ‘real’ truth value.

    Time to cut the philosophy Warren!

    • isabella

      We have books, TV show for the amazing intellectual, brutalize, kill, sexually abuse, slaughter, any sick thing the mind wants to do. The INTELLECTUAL humanity is reaping all the suffering of the animals, and more to come.

  4. Sorry to spam the comments section Tom, final one before I’m off to bed

    I can’t find the elephant account I mentioned above, but a similar point is made by a cartoon by Henry de la Beche called Awful Changes, in which Ichthyosaurs discuss a human fossil with the following commentary:

    “You will at once perceive,” continued Professor Ichthyosaurus, “that the skull before us belonged to some of the Lower order of animals the teeth are very insignificant the power of the jaw trifling, and altogether it seems wonderful how the creature could have procured food.”

    I know its pretty certain that Icthyosaurs weren’t capable of such thoughts and social interactions, and de la Beche was actually making a different point with his cartoon, but I think it nicely illustrates the second point I was trying to make about frames of reference

  5. Thanks for this post, Tom.
    First off, I hope I didn’t give the impression that I was asking you to ‘justify’ what you had asserted, so much as lay out the ‘self-evident’ argument as far as you see it. I certainly didn’t mean to sound aggressive if that’s what you thought.
    It’s the ideas that we feel are obvious and don’t need explaining – the premises that we base the rest of our thinking and arguing on – that are sometimes the most worthwhile, and difficult, to explore. An argument on more morally complex issues (for example, in this area, animal experimentation or meat-eating) can often be muddied when people are coming to the conversation with even slightly different assumptions, even when they think everyone shares their own (and see them as common sense).
    I know you don’t want to steer into the difficult waters of vegetarianism etc, but I would say that I think this particular argument (bearing in mind the post which sparked this one) was more about comparing the suffering of animals to that of humans, rather than their uniqueness within the animal kingdom. That seems to be what annoyed you about what Morrissey said.
    I agree that any statement of this kind is needless and cruel. If my gran died and Morrissey came up to me and said “Well, two people got hit by a ten ton truck the other day – your gran’s death is nothing in comparison” that would be horrid. As far as I’m concerned, three miners that I don’t know are of very little consequence in comparison with my dear old granny. But that’s not to say that those people were of no intrinsic or subjective importance to themselves or to someone else. It’s just that I would care much less, and would think him an insensitive bastard, and only an idiot (like Morrissey apparently) would not understand that.
    I think that previous comments have probably said all I could say about your criteria for importance. I presume you don’t use these criteria to decide which people are more important than others? 😉
    I guess in the end the main point that I’d draw from your last two posts is not to say stupid and insensitive things, especially when emotional wounds are still open. I guess we’re guilty of that sometimes though. After the Oslo incident, people were posting about how sad they were about Amy Winehouse dying, and then other people were having a go at them for mourning her when all those people had just died, which was much more important. Then other people had a go at *those* people for being so worried about the people in Oslo when there was so much suffering in Somalia, which was much more important. And I was mainly complaining about the gout in my toe. I don’t know which of these is more important, I guess they all are from different standpoints, different definitions of what is important, and when, and how, and to whom. Apart from my toe, which is isn’t. I’ll try to shut up about that now.
    Apologies, this is a very muddled response. Not too experienced at writing – that’s writing I’m trying to do more blogging etc.
    Thanks again.

    ps I redesigned my blog (ie changed the template) the other day and have just noticed that now I’m using the same one as you. Doh! I’ll have to change it again now, otherwise we’ll clash 🙂

  6. Tom

    Hi everyone. Firstly, thanks for keeping things civil! I was half-expecting some angry and emotional vegetarians. Obviously lots of point have been raised here, I’ll do the best I can to answer the key ones.

    Firstly, Dan raises the question of destructive potential. Yes, humans do have the potential for destruction, and that potential has certainly been realised throughout human existence. However, the topic is “importance”, not benevolence. Unsavoury though this may sound, I believe that something which is capable of immense destruction is more important than something which is not.

    Secondly, we have the issue of comparison with other species, and the concept of reference points. To be honest, I find this to be rather bizarre and a bit of a moot point. We are humans, so we consider the universe from the point of view of humanity. Why would we stop and consider the point of view of another species?

    As for Warren, I’m sorry but I can’t quite work out what you are trying to say. That’s probably my fault, could you expand on what you are saying about pain?

    Matt, don’t worry about asking questions, after all that’s what skepticism is all about! Also, you are totally right about examining core values, by questioning my core values I found that I tended to grow as a person, and I either became more confident in my believes or (after a long battle with cognitive dissonance) changed them, which was the case with my vegetarianism.

    I can see what you mean about comparing the worth of humans to other humans, but that’s another moral minefield which I didn’t intend to address in this post, I’d like to just keep it to comparing humans and other animals for now. Maybe another time!

    By the way, don’t worry about using this WP theme, it’s a very popular theme due to how clean and simple it is. I’m a web developer by trade these days, so if you’d like any help just give me a shout! 🙂

  7. Hi Tom,

    So let me get this right. Humans are more important because of their sentience?

    Would you therefore happily kill and eat someone who is brain dead?

    Many of your suggested distinguishing features of humanity – intelligence; imagination etc. are not present in marginal cases such as young or mentally disabled humans, it appears that the only distinction is a prejudice based on species alone… that’s known as speciesism.

    All animals have inherent rights & we cannot assign them a lesser value because of a “lack of rationality, imagination, dreams” etc. while, in the same breath, assigning a higher value to infants & the mentally impaired solely on the grounds of being members of a specific species.

  8. Tom

    Hi Hayley,

    “Would you therefore happily kill and eat someone who is brain dead?”

    No, because I wouldn’t judge the situation just based on sentience. There are many reasons not to kill and eat people who are brain dead. They will almost certainly still mean a lot to their families, they might be cured one day, and the potential harm of eating other humans is well documented (kuru for example).

    “Many of your suggested distinguishing features of humanity – intelligence; imagination etc. are not present in marginal cases such as young or mentally disabled humans, it appears that the only distinction is a prejudice based on species alone… that’s known as speciesism.”

    You’ve missed out my point on potential. A human infant could go on to create a great artwork, fly to a distant planet or cure a disease. An infant chicken can not. Isn’t that a valid reason why humans are more important than other animals?

    As for speciesism the whole point of my post was to show objectively why humans are more important than other animals. I came up with three demonstrable points to support my case, whereas speciesism is a prejudice. I didn’t say “humans are more important than other animals, just because”.

    I’m not trying to be facetious, but why do you think all animals have inherent rights?

  9. Tom

    Yes, you’re right about myself dropping in the word ‘objectively’, in the correct sense of the word I was wrong to use it. What I was trying to convey (albeit not very well) is that I wasn’t trying to justify a prejudice of humans being more important than other animals, this is my conclusion after considering the evidence. Isn’t that the opposite of a prejudice?

    Also Matt, in my opinion you don’t have to worry about what you think, I’m aware that everyone has a different opinion and yours and mine are just as valid as anyone else’s, provided we can back up what we say properly. These civil discussions make a pleasant change from the “fuck you, you’re wrong” attitude I’ve experienced from some people in the past! 🙂

  10. Tom

    I appreciate that you let the evidence lead you to your conclusion – I think that in the previous post you said it was self-evident, so that mustn’t have taken too much time 😉

    I do see where you’re coming from, but the fact is that you chose the criteria by which you would judge the relative importance, so you can’t just claim to be ‘following the evidence’.

    I could decide that I was going to measure the ‘quality’ of various comedians, using the criteria of (a) how many DVDs they have sold, and (b) the size of venues they can fill.

    The evidence will probably lead me to decide that Michael McIntyre is better than Stewart Lee (tired old example, I know). Others may disagree, but hey, I’ve got the evidence to back me up.

    Hope that makes some kind of sense as an example of what I’m getting at.

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to just say ‘I believe that human life is more important than that of any other animal’, without having to justify it with a logical argument. I find it very unlikely that *anyone*, given a choice between saving a human or a dog from a burning building, would choose the dog (all things being equal). And no-one would ask them to justify that (apart from Morrissey, obviously).

    I do think that one can have a rational arguement around the ways in which we as humans use animals, but as you say that isn’t something you want to get into and I totally understand that 🙂

    By the way, to go back to the first point in your post, I certainly don’t think that humanity or indeed any of the many forms of life on Earth are any less valuable because they are small or indeed finite. Often it’s the smallest things that are the most valuable in life. At least that’s what my wife told me.

    Thanks for your kind words


  11. Hi Tom

    Thought I’d pop back in after spending a week in country hitting rocks with a hammer

    “I find this to be rather bizarre and a bit of a moot point. We are humans, so we consider the universe from the point of view of humanity. Why would we stop and consider the point of view of another species?”

    This isn’t quite the point I was trying to make, I probably wasn’t very clear above. I was pointing out that there’s a tendency to judge sentience as the peak of evolutionary achievement because we are the species who has achieved the greatest level of sentience (as far as we know). I think this needs to be recognised as quite a human bias and shouldn’t be unquestioningly accepted.

    To be honest, the idea that sentience is the most important evolutionary adaption and thus mankind is the most important species sounds like a religious idea to me.

    I think we should recognise that there are many different criteria for judging species importance, and that sentience is an arbitrary choice, but one that we may subjectively feel is more important because its the criteria we are best at. A bit like a shotput champion deciding he or she is the best athlete in the world because the shotput is the superior event, an arbitrary choice, but a subjectively biased one.

    “However, the topic is “importance”, not benevolence. Unsavoury though this may sound, I believe that something which is capable of immense destruction is more important than something which is not”.

    Does this not further demonstrate that intelligence/sentience is an arbitrary choice? It sounds as though you’re saying that intelligence, irrespective of what we do with it or what it achieves, is enough justification in itself. This does sound a bit on the religious side to me

  12. Rob Anderson

    Hi all,

    I am approaching this after hearing Tom’s talk on ‘The Pod Delusion’ Podcast.

    Apologies if I repeat some of the points already made, but I don’t have time to read through the many responses to this topic. I would like to keep things as brief and to the point as possible, so will address the points Tom made in the Pod Delusion Podcast I heard as they appeared therein:

    “Is there something fundamentally wrong with the assertion ‘all animals are equal’?”

    This assertion is both meaningless and ridiculous. Are all animals equal in respect of their intellect? Of course not, but to argue that one species is “more important” than another because that species can “fly to the moon” etc., while others cannot, is no more an argument of humans’ “superiority” over other species than saying that Cuttlefish are “superior” to humans because they can change the colour of their skin. We do not need to ask or contemplate whether or not “all animals are equal”, we merely need to state that “all animals are DIFFERENT”.

    “Humans have imagination, self-awareness and cognitive abilities that other animals – certainly the vast majority of them – simply do not possess, although I believe the real kicker is our grasp of technology. Human beings have been to the moon. No other animal has come remotely close to this achievement”

    Even if we bipedal apes do have a level of imagination, self-awareness and cognitive ability that is above that of all other species (why is this relevant anyway, and isn’t it simply arrogant of anybody to simply assert this?), it still does not make us “more important”. It could just as well be argued that some animals (e.g. Gorillas) are “more important” than some human beings who have suffered massive and irreparable brain damage, and who are left with no emotions, no imagination, no self-awareness or any cognitive abilities whatsoever. To argue that humans are “more important” because of their particular abilities and achievements is speciesism in its purest, weakest and worst form. We may have evolved the large brains and the bodies (the ’equipment’) to enable those brains to “fly to the moon” and manufacture computers etc., yes, but it is quite possible that, having been blessed with the same ‘tools’, other species could be on a par with us now. Were such species alive today, would we still be drawing a line and calling ourselves “superior”? I’m guessing that some of us would. The line should not be drawn in this hypothetical situation, and it should not be drawn anywhere else.

    Surely what matters when we are discussing whether or not one animal is “more important” (such a vulgar phrase!) than another is whether or not they are capable of suffering. This is the bottom line, and this is what Morrissey’s recent comments were geared towards.

    The vast majority of folk would, I’d assume, consider themselves to be honest, kind, considerate and ethical people who try to do their bit to ensure that suffering on this planet is kept to a minimum. Many people have a non-human animal companion whom they love dearly and whom they consider part of their family, and most people would be repulsed by witnessing cruelty towards, or torture of, any other non-human (or human) animal, be it wild or domesticated, yet they suffer a kind of ‘moral schizophrenia’ when it comes to the suffering of the factory-farmed animals they choose to place on their dining table. What we eat should be considered an ethical issue that is on a par with any other ethical issue we are faced with – that is, of course, if we wish to consider ourselves as an ethical human being, but I digress.

    Are all animals capable of suffering to the same extent as other animals? Of course not. It is very doubtful that a snail is capable of feeling pain in the same way or intensity that, say, a pig, dog or human can. The important thing here is whether or not SOME animals can suffer, and those that are fully capable of suffering should be offered a level of protection that is above that of those that cannot suffer to the same extent. Having said that, I believe that every living thing has just as much ‘right’ to life as any other, a right to a life that is free from pain and suffering, and none should be considered ‘inferior’ to any other, or as expendable commodities to be used and abused in any way, for this train of thought and the treatment of all/any non-human animals in such ways leads to the assertion that bought us here in the first place – i.e. that “Humans are more important than other animals”.

    I would like to finish with a couple of quotes:

    “The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?”

    “Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove.”

    • Tom

      “Surely what matters when we are discussing whether or not one animal is “more important” (such a vulgar phrase!) than another is whether or not they are capable of suffering. This is the bottom line, and this is what Morrissey’s recent comments were geared towards. ”


  13. Rob Anderson

    Why does suffering matter? Because this is the fundamental issue in the argument that says humans are more important than other animals.

    Take suffering out of the equation and you’re left with such spurious arguments as “Humans are more important than other animals because they have been to the moon”, or “Cuttlfish are more important than humans because they can change the colour of their skin”.

  14. I randomly stumbled on this, I know it’s from like 9 months ago, but anyway, I’m opposed to the article, and I wanted to also respond to something you said.

    “Secondly, we have the issue of comparison with other species, and the concept of reference points. To be honest, I find this to be rather bizarre and a bit of a moot point. We are humans, so we consider the universe from the point of view of humanity. Why would we stop and consider the point of view of another species?”

    The thing is, if you look at it this way, every species will consider itself more important than any other. Elephants consider them more important in their reference point, and we do the same in ours. If you have a point of view that is absolutely humanistic, then of course… why would you chose an animal over a human when it’s the human with which you can interact, have sex, and discuss the importance of humanity. Your logic is quite disturbing, because the way you’re putting it, each species will consider itself as the most important; therefore, there can’t really be an answer to your main question.

    If you consider things from a more holistic and omniscient sense, on the other hand, you would realize that we as humans are as important as animals. If we reached the moon, why does that make us more important that animals? If we are more intelligent, more creative, and hold potential.. how does that make us more important? The thing is, when you say we are more important, you have to answer this first: more important to what? More important to you and I? Well yes, as I explained previously, if you consider things from a human’s perspective, we will of course perceive humans to be more important, because we are humans. But don’t you think animals would consider animals more important than us, if they had the chance to?

    The thing is, when you look at the big picture, the only actual way that you could define whether humans or animals are more important is by considering our relationships with each other. You would have to way in that humans exploit the environment and ruin the lives of animals, but they also provide protection and care in other circumstances and therefore better the lives of animals. On the other side, animals are useful to humans and provide humans with food and companionship, while they cause danger and harm as well.

  15. Basically we are more important than animals because of our ability to imagine, and unlimited potential? Potential to do what? Advance technology, pollute the planet? We have to go back to the beginning to understand why we are or are not important. I believe that We’re doing things that was never meant to be done to our planet. I’m not a tree higher or anything, but I don’t think the natural design of the Earth was for us to build sky scrapers. The natural purpose is to enable life. By design we follow the law of survival of the fittest. But everyone knows we have gone so far beyond our need As far as animal consumption and usage from everything from medicine to cosmetics. We have abused the unfair advantage that our sense of “imagination” has given us. In my culture we believe in Karma and it’s my belief that our children are born plagued with predisposed illnesses at an increasing rate due to our cruelty towards other living beings, be it superior or otherwise.

  16. Phebous


    Why are we measuring this in “Importance”? Why is this the only thing you see fit to argue about?
    Don’t you understand that animals see the world and feel the world the EXACT same way that we humans do? Just as we would fear suffering, pain and death and have a desire to live, LOVE and be happy, so do other creatures.

    You’re so engrossed in the idea of “Importance” and proving a point that I don’t think your considering right and wrong. Is it not wrong to kill an animal and make it suffer in the name of entertainment, fast-food and anything BUT survival?
    You seem numb and ignorant to the idea that ALL living creatures have a right to live and not suffer.
    If it’s wrong to do it to a human, please tell me – What makes it right to do it to animal that feels love and pain just as much as we do?

    As far as your reasons go, animals have no potential? Last time I checked, police dogs caught criminals and sniffed out bombs, guide dogs helped the blind, pidgeons sent messages in the war, and horse provided transport etc. These animals deserve respect.
    You also stated somewhere that if a human was killed, it’s family would miss them. Who says animals don’t miss other animals when they’re dead?
    I recently heard about of a calf that had been stillborn. The owners of the dead calf had buried it somewhere they thought the mother wouldn’t find it, but somehow the mother cow DID find her baby’s grave. She began to bellow in distress and stayed there faithfully day and night refusing to go and find food & water. Eventually the mother cow died too from lack of food.

    If animals rely souly on instincts, tell me – why did this cow let herself die in the love of her dead baby?

  17. Phebous

    Might I add, this is not just against your opinion, I’m also expressing the importance (whether it be less than humans or not) of animals. Something too many people fail to realise.

  18. you dont care nor i care that you care

    WAY TO GO Phebous 🙂

    But to you Tim (aka bastard) Animals are FAR SUPERIOR, and I WOULD GLADLY SACRIFICE 10000 HUMAN LIVES TO SAVE A SINGLE ANIMAL, humanity can go to hell for all i care, children included, they are as evil as any other person.

    And if you really think all you said, then either you are RETARDED or BLIND OR BOTH to see the parasitic infection humankind is, OR YOU ARE LIKE THOSE PEOPLE.

    “humans do have the potential for destruction. However, the topic is “importance”, not benevolence. I believe that something which is capable of immense destruction is more important than something which is not.” ARE YOU FKCING KIDDING ME?!!! WHAT IS FUCKING WRONG WITH YOU, PSYCHO?!!!, you are nothing but a criminal, so animal abuse then is GOOD?! Experiments on animals too?, having fun killing animals or ignoring it totally? i should let an inocent animal die because he dont have the capacity of being a parasitic infection like humanity? (staring at Tom not surprised) Its typical, a PARASITE protecting his own kind, thats why he SUPPORTS the massacre of REAL innocent beings (not like those damn civilians or women or children, any idiot can defend them, society does XD) and the murder of the planet? it doesnt matter?

    BTW i agree not all humanity is a scum, IF ALL HUMANKIND DISSAPEARED there wouldn be any computers, videogames, music, or anything to have fun with, no books, no art, no nothing like that, and i know there are good people too, even children, and they have all my respect for standing up against you nazi criminals, and yes i would let all of you egocentric criminal animal haters die XD).

    But in general F@CK YOU humanity (btw im not hippy or emo or whatever shit, these persons are COWARDS who avoid or are afraid of standing up against the unfairness the humankind exhales.

    BTW yes im pissed because i DESPISE egocentric scumbags, and besides who said humanity had sapiense? If they had it the children wouldnt be such vandals and would respet the rules, the people would be capable of seeing the ENORMOUS gift animals are, they wouldnt detroy the planet, the humankind wouldnt be full of retarded or useless people, no justin bieber fans, no racism, no consumerism.

    “we have the issue of comparison with other species, and the concept of reference points. To be honest, I find this to be rather bizarre and a bit of a moot point. We are humans, so we consider the universe from the point of view of humanity. Why would we stop and consider the point of view of another species?” BECAUSE THEY ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU ASSHOLE, they LOVE, they DEFEND other beings risking teir lives (even crappy humans), thing YOU NEVER EVER will.

    “do you think all animals have inherent rights?” Listen to yourself!!! You surely have Narcissistic personality disorder.

    “A human infant could go on to create a great artwork, fly to a distant planet or cure a disease. An infant chicken can not. Isn’t that a valid reason why humans are more important than other animals?” A human infant in most cases wont give a fck about you and even mess with you for no reason, an infant chicken LOVE their families, and they wont cause any harm to you, and animals even may love you (real love, not hypocrite human love), a kitten, a doggie, etc (even a bastard like you who dont deserve love).

    “why would suffering be the only thing to consider?” Ok, let someone grab grab some gasoline and burn your kids alive, torch your home and hunt your wife alive for fun and send you so some scientists expeiment on you and fill you with junk so some whore have her new makeup made, and infect you with a pesky disease so some unknown beings can be healthy. All of this made by some more intelligent and artistic beings than you (not necessarily aliens), and theres many more sht i didnt even read, people like you makes me sick and are one of the reasons why i hate humanity (one of the reasons).

  19. you dont care nor i care that you care

    BTW insult me all you want, (or reply or send smiles or answer questions or ignore me or whatever) or even cowardly delete my “brutally honest” comment, but i got it, lets see WHY ANIMALS ARE FAR BETTER THAN HUMANS

    They really love, they sacrefice for you, they try to make you happy, they care about you, they respect you, they have more feelings than you in your whole life and more sincere, they know how to work in groups, no racism, no “power for the rich or the goverment and fck the poor”, they sacrifice themselves for you, they arent criminals, they dont have fun with your pain, they dont destroy the planet, no injustice, they are far more intelligence in their “ignorance”, than any human “sapiense” put togheter, they dont provoque hate, no war, they dont need a fear campaign to learn how to behave (children need it), among far many more stuff that you egocentric monster wont notice even if it crashed in your face thanks to your ego.

    The only good think humans can do is art (real music, videogames, good tv, books, paintings, documentaries), the rest are a miserable pile of waste of meat; except true good hearted people of course.

    Not only i would sacrifice 100000 perosns to save an animal, i could sacrifice myself or risk myself for them, for people, not even for a baby i wouldnt lift a finger, only if i was sure the person is a good hearted one i would save him/her as gladly as i would with an animal.

    i could post proofs of the superiority of animals, but i know you wont even listen so i wont waste my time, about my comments i really needed to vent up, now that i told you the kind of pest you are i feel better, feel free to do whatever you please with my comments, now that i vented up i dont need your cheap excuse of a superiority complex XD

  20. yeah yeah

    Ah yes, i could take out that baby to save that beautiful kitten in that photo of yours (i hope its not you cat, for his own welfare, and its obvious its not my baby XD)

  21. Brian

    Why don’t we all agree that animals, humans and even plants are all equally important to the ecosystem of the world. Actually humans are not needed in nature – the world as a whole would function (and be better off) without the destructive force of humanity!

    But all things being equal, trees make the air that animals breath. Bees pollinate the trees, the intricate web of “survival of the fittest,” keeps species in check and helps create a healthy biodiversity.

    Humans have been destroying nature since the beginning of civilization, and tilt the balance ever closer to mass extinction of all living things.

    Actually I would argue that human beings are the LEAST important creatures on earth. But to be fair, all species have a role to play, or else they wouldn’t be here, and therefore all are equally important to the survival of planet earth.

  22. Just because humans are capable of more does not mean we are more important. As far as I am concerned it wouldn’t matter if humans became extinct. Then the world would become beautiful again and animals would live in peace. And the cat is beautiful and the baby is a worthless selfish shitty brat

  23. Alisha

    Okay, this has given me a slight impression that you’re clueless as to what a living creature is actually worth, any creature, is precious, special and is important. Let me just explain something: All the life on this Earth has evolved from bacteria that has come from space, all to what is is today. We humans may be much more advance than other animals, in terms of creation and thinking and yes, self-consciousness, but, these things don’t make our existence anymore special or make us have more worth than other animals.

    Animals have souls, emotions, they are aware and conscious, you don’t know how much of a heart animals have, animals have a whole lot of love and affection. Some people say animals don’t have feelings – yes they do. So many times, when a soldier has been killed, his dog has died of heart break literally hours or minutes after, animals think, feel and dogs dying when their owner has died, isn’t due to loyalty, not just loyalty anyway, it’s love. Humans aren’t the only species that love, just pointing that out so you don’t think that humans are the only caring species.

    Now, animals live their lives, may not seem very great to humans what animals do, and what they are, but remember, they have evolved differently, they’re different from us, we may be more advanced and have intelligence, but animals can be super intelligent too. It may be hard to believe, but we are animals too, we are species, and despite what we are and what we do, we are no more important than other species, they’re no more important than us, but we’re not greater or bigger. They have just as much worth, and deserve to be here just as much as us.

    Imagine this world without any animals at all, no other species, just humans, imagine how truly weird that would be. Animals are beautiful, amazing creatures and I’m so sick of humans pushing them down and being so self-indulgent. Can’t people stop and think logically for a minute? I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but oh my god, you know, animals deserve a whole lot more recognition for the truly amazing creatures they are than they’re getting. People who treat animals like family are seen by some people, as “social misfits” and some people have even called them “retards” well you know what? People who treat animals like family are selfless, loving, kind people, who are very bright and are certainly NOT retards or misfits, animals are our family, we are all here together so why make out like we’re the gods and rulers of the Earth? We didn’t build this Earth, we’re just life along with all the other life that has evolved on this planet, we’re more advanced than other animals, but they still have a load of potential and they hold courage too, and they express emotions to people.

    Unlike humans, animals love unconditionally, they won’t abandon you, they won’t go on murder rampages and be serial killers, they hunt, kill and eat, we humans have developed killing for fun and intense abuse to both each other and animals. I’ve owned two dogs now, and they have tought me how to love, they have shown me so much loyalty, they are family and you know what? I’m proud and willing to say that I treat animals as family, because I’d rather be an animal person, than some self-indulgent bitter people person who thinks they are the lord of the earth. Of course not all people are self-indulgent and I know some people are loving and kind, and I know some people devote their whole life to animals, and I will defend those people too, because yeah, you may think those people are “stupid” for devoting their life and career to animals, but I’ll happily admit this – animals deserve to be loved and treated like family. No matter what you think of this comment, I just hope you’ve read this and tried to understand what I’m saying.

    Animals are full of worth, life, importance. Do ask yourself; do animals go round mass-murdering? Do animals rape and abuse? Do animals cause other animals pain and suffering and make them hate themselves? Do animals kill other animals for fun and for sport? Do animals pollute the earth and make this world a bad place? Nope. I think your answer to these questions, is “NO” hopefully.

    I’m just saying this because humans can be very evil and in fact more selfish than other animals, in some ways.

    Thanks for reading the comment. I’m not trying to start a fight or offend you in any way. Just curious as to why you actually think humans are more important and have more worth than animals. I’ve read all of your post, but t me, it’s not really doing anything justice. But hey, your opinion is yours.

    • Tayler Danielle Muilenburg

      Alisha, I totally agree with you. I’m fascinated with animals and I want to devote my whole life to them and them only. Forget humans, I’m staying with the animals! Oh, and humans can be very evil and selfish and greedy and teasing. There are some people out there who just want to ruin your life. If I was walked into an empty room with a baby and kitten, I’d quickly choose the kitten over the baby and probably forget about the baby.

  24. Lauren

    Well actually if you did a little more research you would know that animals can think react and dream. Also we are animals. And a dog would without hesitation lay down its life for its owner that sounds a lot better than the worthless trash on the street wasting their life or hurting the environment. Now I would say that even if we have been to the moon animals and insects have been to places we can only imagine and know things we can only dream about. And you know what without animal and insects every single human would die, but if humans suddenly died out it would be a lot better for the earth. Don’t speak your ignorance here or anywhere it does not want to be heard

  25. Ed

    Vicki, and anybody else who want to suggest that humans are self evidently more important:

    You have to be able to present some kind of argument. Just saying there is no comparison is not an argument. You are just expressing a prejudice.

    WHY are humans supposedly more important? “Sweetness” is not a measure of importance.

  26. hello Dr.Williamson …
    as i was googleng for more information for my presentation ” humans beings should be killed”, i found your article , and its pretty interesting , you surly proved that humans have extraordinary abilities
    and animals dont , however , the reason why we have such abilities is because we use animals or any living being as gas for our accomplishment in life , and the explanation-once you fully understand it – is really simple . there is no humans without animals ,as animals play such an important role in our existence , they keep the balance on the planet , and they do that by doing their infinite routine , which is , big animals eat smaller animals , smaller animals eat bugs , bugs help with the pollination process , and big animals help in making a more natural and better manure , and the outcome of this whole process is pretty useful for us , as you can see animals and other creatures help us survive and without their help we wouldnt be able to achieve whatever we are achieving right now. what am trying to say is humans are less important then animals , in fact , try erasing anything form planet earth and see how would it effect the life on the planet starting with water , obviously nothing will stay alive , try erasing dirt , rocks, mountains , or anything solid , and you will get earthquakes 24/7 , no soil for agriculture , or simply no roads to walk on , but try and erasing humans , global warming will be gone , pollution will be gone , killing and wars will be gone , and so on …..so no you cannot say that humans are more important , because we merely wouldnt exist if there was no animals .

  27. May I remind you that Humans are also the cruelest and most imperfect species on the planet.
    Animals are more loyal.
    Hatchiko a famous Akita inu waited at a train station for 10 years until he died in wait for his Master.
    A human would never do that.
    We also have poor judgment toward each other such as racism and bullying.
    Lets not forget to mention Abortion,Rape,Drugs,Murder,Kidnappe,Assualt,
    The list just goes on and on and on.
    Plus people made my friend kill herself
    From bullying when we were 10.
    Animals because of this are way more innocent.
    And lets face it if a wild animal kills a person it doesn’t matter because we have plenty more to spare.
    We all have our time on this earth and when it ends it just ends don’t matter how old you are.
    Animals are also much more caring and they don’t care what you wear or what you look like.
    And I have so many more reasons aheheheeh

  28. Dear friends,

    Its a good discussion (intentionally not using the words ‘argument’/’debate’ as in discussion we focus on what is right & what is wrong while in debate/argument we focus on who is right or who is wrong) that I can figure it out.

    In my opinion, in the absence of our inability to check all the facts with the underlying evidences which may or may not be in existence, it will be difficult & unfair as well to decide if who is more important. Coz, there’re many unique features which may make one more important than the other & vice versa. Rather, it is wise to think on what makes we human beings different than the other species.

    Needless to mention our intelligence coupled with thinking power makes us distinct from others. Nevertheless, its all opinion. So you may think it wrong/right. I believe, opinion is like wrist watches & everybody believes his/her watch is showing correct time.

    In a hurry, just saw this matter while searching something related and made me to participate in this discussion, so just leaving rather shortest reply.

    Sincere Regards,
    Vivek (Mumbai, India)

  29. neil

    OMG there are some very ignorant opinions here. Bottom line-all our “apparent” intelligence means absolutely nothing if humans cannot even get along. Going to the moon,painting a pretty picture,creating a machine etc. are nothing but mere distractions when we still murder and torture ours or other species for entertainment, religion etc. In our recorded history humans have improved nothing-the state of our environment easily proves that. When humans are killing the very thing that allowed our emergence and sustains us in every moment(the earth)proves we are the most ignorant species. The ignorance of the big picture and lack of intelligence in above replies is truly astonishing. Take the blinkers off you fools and wake up! ONE POINT THAT PROVES WE ARE NOT MOST IMPORTANT-REMOVING HUMANS WOULD HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE PLANET-CAN’T SAY THIS ABOUT ANY OTHER SPECIES. FACT

  30. Jack Sheit

    Evolution doesn’t work like that. There are no good rules or reasons why. It just comes down to who eats the most and makes the most babies. None of you are important. No one is special. You all suck. You all are expandable. In a few billion years the sun is going to roast us all. Babies, kittens, whatever can all go to he77. God would have wanted it that way.

  31. Victoira

    Thank you for this I’m working on a neg case for the resolution “Environmental protection should be prioritized over resource extraction when the two are in conflict” and this helped me form a block argument against what the aff would say to the case. I also have to say that as much of a tree hugger i am i have to disagree with Neil. When you look at it, that same intelligence is working towards making our world a better place. I know this as I am a volunteer at the Reid Park Zoo and as an organization we support numerous conservation groups around the world

  32. Unknown

    Your argument is invalid. Humans are not more important than animals. Take away animals, the world collapses. Take away humans, and the world actually gets better. So technically, humans are LESS important than animals. Oh, and just to clear things up, humans are in the animal kingdom.

  33. Why are humans supposedly ‘worth’ more than other animals? How do you know that other animals don’t have an imagination? That they don’t have intelligence? Or that they don’t have technology?
    Whats to say that they dont have more technology? Also what does it matter that we have technology? WE are talking about life forces and importance to the universe. Honestly other species are more important to the universe than humans. We pollute the air while animals like spiders keep bugs from overpopulating. I say that you are wrong in this debate if anyone has comments against it i probably wont answer back to them being that i may never be on this website again.

  34. Sage

    I agree with the anonymous poster above me, save for maybe the “animals have technology” part, although I agree that many animals have respectable bioabilities. I actually just wanted to point out that to say that humans are more important than animals because we can go to the moon or create meaningful art is on some level the same as saying a physicist’s life is more valuable than a midfunctioning autistic child’s is because he has a more powerful mind, or that a monkey is better than a fish because it can climb a tree. Bees, birds and insects as well as many other underappreciated species are in many ways more important than humans in that they make the world go round and we seem to be hellbent on destroying it. If you think about it, one of the most objective perspectives on the topic is that humans are an infestation and that endangered wildlife and other animals are more valuable because there’s more of us than there are of them (the economist’s perspective kinda). I prefer to stay on the side of egalitarianism and say we’re all equally important ^^
    These things have probably already been brought up though, I didn’t read all the way through cause I’m watching walking dead.

  35. A Human Animal

    Humans have imagination. Okay, so our ability to invent bullshit that isn’t true is what rates us above a porcupine? Except that animals dream. You ever seen a dog running on it’s side while it sleeps, yeah.

    Here’s a counter argument: the bullshit we invent – Class, Credit Systems, War, The subjective value of shiny objects,&c. Do more damage to the planet than a porcupine pinching off a porcupine poop in the woods.

    Whose to say Viri don;’t all have wild dreams and ambitions, and even there own celebrity culture? Whose to say the genetic programming that makes an ant colony at ant-level has it’s own illusion of free-will and identity. Sorry, Skeptic, big picture reality we’re a goddamn biological cancer for the planet and we’re screwing the place up for everything else.

    We went to the “fucking moon”. Great. And there was fuck all there. We might as well have gone to Mars there’s fuck all there too. Our achievement would only of had merit if we’d all gone, and all stayed, and then at least the planet would be a swell place to live if your just a dumb animal that can’t come up with an advertising jungle; or stab a kid for his tennis-shoe status objects; or blogging and getting off on rousing the rabble, or anonymously posting about said rabble and rousing; or any of the other meaningless crap we come up with to cast ourselves as heroes in the mythology of our own goddamn self-importance.

    If you’re a nihilist, you know a skeptic with all the facts in front of them, then animals and humans have equal importance – FA.

  36. Jon

    If human beings are no better than animals should get off of your electronic device, strip naked and scratch the dirt for worms to demonstrate that very fact. Meanwhile Tom, Me and Maddox, by no means superior to you or any other eukaryote, will enjoy our ignorance of our equality with animals.

  37. Taz

    All of the previous posters make interesting points, however, I believe that it is impossible to come to anything other than a completely subjective opinion. From a Western viewpoint endowing animals with human features is typical of a subset of humanity who have never had to live in the ‘humanity free’ zones in the world. If you think the planet would be better off without you, please back up your opinion with a demonstration, go to your nearest zoo and throw yourself to the bears or big cats. I’m sure they wouldn’t care if you were human or any other form of prey. Now, a kitten is a pet, humans select pets and have evolved and bred cats for different purposes, they are cute because we bred them like that. It’s the same with any domesticated animals. We chose what they look like, etc. WE domesticated them. Also, without humans most dogs and cats and other domesticated animals would die, as we are their caretakers, without us they have no value. Bear in mind also humans are animals, and how do any of you know the planet would be better off without us? I’m sure if Earth hated us so much she’d have wiped us out by now, rather than letting us grow.
    Humans adapt their environment to their own needs, we can survive where other species can’t because of our adaptability and brain size. We are more free than other animals and can use that power to help or hinder ourselves or other species. Earth likes humans, trust me, we’re part of her ever evolving nervous system. We’re using up more resources because we evolve so quickly. That isn’t bad or good, it just is. Also, wild animals aren’t ‘cute’ they rape and kill and eat each other, where do you think we picked it up from? Aliens? Ironic how people moaning about humanity have lived sheltered lives and have access to the internet, a new technology, developed by…humans. If you hate yourselves so much, go live somewhere without humans…Please. Preferably the moon. Also, I’m an author and artist, and have contributed to humanity, so show me what you’ve achieved before you go badmouthing our species, breeders.

  38. Lisa

    Hi Tom.

    I apologise if this topic has already been covered (it’s late here, and I couldn’t find the energy to read through all the comments).

    When you talk about our “importance”, I’m wondering why you think we are more important than other species?
    I understand the view that we look after our own, as do all species. And therefore, can see human importance in that sense.
    But should we not consider that we would not be here without other species? We cannot polinate plants – insects, birds, and bats do that for us. We cannot ensure the soils nutrient cycles – microscopic organisms and insects do that (mainly beetles, which number wise are far greater than humans). Without these organisms breaking down dead organic matter into inorganic materials that plants can then absorb, there would be no vegetation. Without vegetation, we would not be here.
    Every organism on the planet is connected in a complex of food webs. Tiny changes in ecosystems effect biodiversity. Without this biodiversity, we would not be here as we are today.
    Does this not make us and other organisms essentially equal? We need other animals to survive, they don’t need us at all. Infact, as pest species go, man-kind is the most damaging. The planet was here before us and will be here when we’re gone.

    Just a thought. And apologies if I missed the point of this thread, I didn’t read the last one. Just stumbled across this!


  39. Thomas

    At the end of the day, humans are just hairless apes with delusions of grandeur. The notion that humans are somehow more important or more entitled to life than other animals, is just that – a notion. Your opinion that a human baby is more important than a kitten is not an objective fact, but merely your own bias and prejudice. The idea that humans have a special place in the universe only exist inside the minds of human beings. The universe doesn’t care if there are humans or not, only you do. The fact of the matter is if the human race went extinct tomorrow, the universe wouldn’t shed a single tear.

  40. Craig

    Why don’t you go fight for the rights of birds and mice to not be eaten by a cat or antelope to not be eaten by lions?? Maybe you could sacrifice yourself to a lion and save the life of an antelope. I’m certain the antelope herd will greatly appreciate it and will honor the memory of your sacrifice in a manner befitting such a animalitarian effort.

  41. Craig

    It would be ironic for these individuals that feel human life is of no more importance than an animal, to find themselves in the situation of being deemed “less worthy” of saving by one of their fellow animal lovers. I think at the moment of realization that they were left to die they would be forced to see the err of their thinking.

  42. Sean

    Humans are dependent on all we claim to be superior to. We can’t survive without other animals and plant life so we are and should consider ourselves equal. When considering abortion, the fetus is dependent on the mother. If she doesn’t want to grow it it will perish. Plants are needed for the ecosystem to support all human life. If we don’t preserve it we perish. So plants are more important than a fetus. Yes?

  43. Aidan

    I personally don’t think of humans as any more important, the world might even be better off. Animals don’t cause mass pollution, start massive wars, send millions to their deaths, or create nuclear weaponry. One person could die and spark a riot, a few species could go extinct and nobody bats and eye.

  44. arkzist

    humans looked at the river and went fuck you nature i want a city there, then diverted the river, we saw the mountain we dug through it.

    Humans can do far more than our cousins in the wild

  45. Eve

    About the dog, I think some people would… of course I can’t be sure what I’d actually do in such an extreme situation, and whether I’d even have the courage to save anyone, but I know that for years of my childhood I used to motivate myself to get dressed in the morning by imagining puppies trapped in a burning building waiting for me to rescue them. I didn’t imagine humans because puppies inspired a stronger protective response in me. Of course, I love humans too! But for sheer punch-in-the-heart value, the suffering of a completely innocent and uncomprehending dog gets me every time. To me, the fact that they can’t understand why it hurts or whether it will ever stop hurting makes it worse, not better!

    ‘we are not automatons like most animals are.’ < I can tell from the thoughtful tone of the rest of your post that this wasn't meant to be offensive. I'm going to take a wild guess that you've never had a pet!!

  46. Eve

    So if somebody chose to save a child instead of you, you’d realise adults are more important than children?

    If somebody chose to save a woman instead of you, you’d realise men are more important than women?

  47. Dom

    Ok, so I have now read alot of posts that have been put on this ‘discussion’. Many people have many valid points, but it all seems to be coming back to this word ‘importance’. The word itself is a creation by humans, many years of developing ways of communication and finally we have a ridiculously extensive vocabulary that allows us to ‘discuss’ subjects like these in depth. I would like to state the fact that none of you has any idea what is going through an animals mind because they do not have the same intelligence levels as us. Does this make them less important? No. We are all on this planet together. If u were to abuse a house hold pet, a dog for example. Then u were to look into its eyes, I highly doubt that this animal would look at you in a loving and kind way? The same way that if u hit a human, the way in which they look at you and the way that they act is going to change. So, what does this mean? Well, for me, it means that i see all animals, insects, every single little living organism in an extremely similar way. We are all on this planet to experience something, whether it be emotions that only humans are capable of expressing, or whether it be something which only an animal, or even a fly could experience. Our bodies, and those of all animals are the same. When they have energy present in them, they move , and so do we. When we are born, we are just as helpless as other animals, and it is just our luck that we have the capability of doing great things in our lives. But we have to remember with issues such as chickens and cows being abused to kill, so have humans been in the past, we are all simply experiencing different situations, experiences and emotions in our physical forms, whether it be a soldier being killed on the front line, or an annoying fly that u kill just because u can, they will have experienced different and unique things on this earth, and all life should be treated equally, but when it comes down to necessity, humans have to eat. But that cow or that chicken, will have still had the chance to experience time in a physical form on earth. And until we know what happens after death, no one can tell u who or what is more important, as we, humans, animals and insects all exist.

  48. Saffiya

    Wow, I think i spent more time reading comments than i have researching my assignment but i couldn’t help something that came to mind.

    If I kick a puppy (God forbid) – I’m a heartless, cruel human being and will probably be beaten/go to jail
    If a kick a baby (again the forbidding) – I’m a heartless cruel human being and will probably be beaten/go to jail
    If I kill a person(~) – jail/ mob justice, etc.
    If I kill a rhino…
    You see where I’m going with this

    I like very much what Dom said: The idea of ‘importance’
    Honestly, Animals were here before any human being (relligeous and evolutionary) and they co-existed! Humans came along and we co-existed with animals just as we co-exist with each other.
    But this idea of ‘importance’ is what gave rise to racism and sexism – ‘extremisms” that we are trying to phase out of the world. So why can’t we just extend that to include animals.

    If you want to talk intelligence and sentience and whatever else let’s pose a question:
    When you are a baby you are looked after because you don’t have the capacity to look after yourself and protect yourself. Your mother or babysitter wouldn’t harm you (unless they’re seriously sick). An animal is always a baby when compared to humans – a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPECIES. So shouldn’t we, with our intelligence, imagination, forward thinking , and compassion try our best to look after, not just other people but animals as well?

  49. Ameera

    Btw the first organism that went to the moon was a dog named Laika…. but it could only reach there with the help of human technology

  50. The first organism that went to the moon was a dog named Laika………… but it could only reach there with the help of human technology ( I don’t have/ own any website, i’m just a teen telling her ideas, sorry if this site isn’t for teens)

  51. Tea

    Having just spent the last hour or so reading and reflecting on these comments, I must say I am in awe of a few of the minds that have created these thoughts and think it unlikely that an animal could continue debating about a topic such as this for a period of over three years. But, perhaps, they could if they pertained the means to do so that we are privileged enough to have? Even though I have grown up in an era of Smart Phones, internet and ever-improving technology, I still find it incredible to think that although everyone who has commented on this comes from different points across the globe and from different cultures, educational background and environments; we are united by the flexibility of human thought. Although I am quite alarmed and concerned for the person titled ‘you dont care nor care that i care’ ‘s mental health.
    Regarding the original contention of this post, my opinion resides on the fence. I would like to think I am too humble for such a judgement.

  52. i can agree with some of this, but at the beginning it says that ” I know that in the context of the entire universe, pretty much all life is worthless. We are all organisms on a little planet that orbits a bog standard star set in one of many billions of galaxies. One day our sun will expand and that will be the end of us.” I cannot agree with that. i do not want to turn this into “world war III: fight of the religions”
    but you have to consider other peoples religions because if life is not worthless then how can i trust the rest of your theory. I believe that God made us (everybody) so we can serve Him and praise Him. this may sound selfish but thats just the way i am stating it, a better way of saying it is he has always been around, is around now, and always will be around. if you are going to be living forever and had infinate power, dont you think you would get lonely? i know there is a “flaw” in my theory, nothing can be around forever. well show me one religion that has no flaws whatsoever in its plot or story. i know this has nothing to do with the actual article but i still want to put this out there. timne to talk about “THE EXPANDING SUN!!!!!!!” Dun, Dun, Duuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnn!!!! yeah…. lie. sorry to burst your bubble but the end is coming in the bible it says that is the end time Israel will find treasure… well do you remember that Israel struck oil? yeah i would call that a tresure… and in the end times there will be one world goverment… you know the free masons? they like one world goverment dont they… oh yeah! i forgot about the anti-christ! it will seem like a good person but they will rule and end up being alot worse than they seemed.

    dont try to contact me please

  53. Diana

    I agree that the measure or definition of worth is subjective. However, when it comes to how valuable we are to the continuation of earth itself, I have come to a blank. I mean we are a species that takes so much from earth, and destroy a lot. Animals may not have a consciousness, but it is evident that if certain species go extinct then that can create a chain that may lead to our own extinction. I mean the majority of us eat animals, and even if we didn’t animals are essential to our environment- our survival. But if we as a species became extinct what would be affected? No predators eat us, so animals wouldn’t go extinct like that. In fact, many populations of animals would probably be restored as well as many other resources.
    This is not an opposition, I just really want to know how important are we to the survival of earth? Really?

  54. Squ

    “We are humans, so we consider the universe from the point of view of humanity. Why would we stop and consider the point of view of another species?”

    I am a serial killer, so I consider life from the point of view of myself. Why would I stop and consider life from the point of view of my victims?

  55. Li

    if the expanding sun were not the cause of our inevitable demise…it would be humans – not animals. The planet would be better off without us. Life would go on, just not our life. Ergo, humans are less “important”.

  56. Jim

    You cover the usual points here. We suppose that we are self-aware and we have imagination and no other creatures do. Or that our potential is greater. Yet those suppositions in themselves suggest a limited imagination because they are based on our own observations and judgement which is limited by our own concept of what imagination, self-awareness or potential mean. Consider that anything we can’t see, feel, touch or taste basically doesn’t exist and we’re already showing our limitation in assessing where we stand and what we know.

    We are, as a species, immensely arrogant. Within our own society we reach for the top, trying to be better, stronger, fitter, richer, smarter. Good right? Maybe for short term, personal gain, but for social stability and therefore long term existence, not so much.

    We clearly excel at making things yet for all that potential, we also excel at destroying things. The majority of life on earth would flourish without us, yet we continue through our arrogant belief that we matter more, to chip away at it. Then, our arrogance goes a step further, and we think that we can fix it…We can barely sustain civilised behaviour without the threat of authority and punishment, so why we think we can save the world we’re destroying baffles me.

    Granted, other than the abused ones we forced to go, no other animals we know of have gone to the moon. That said, it’s feasible they are actually smarter than us and already knew there was no fucking point anyway. Plus, they’re all busy trying to get by without worrying too much about real estate or world domination.

    We are not better, we are not more important. We just have badly wired brains, opposable thumbs and a penchant for violence making us the planets most mentally unstable large organism.

    Of course, if it’s all just part of an evolution accident, then none of this is our fault. So that’s comforting.

  57. Nate691

    So, you are saying that humans are superior. No, that is not true at all. Humans are not superior. In fact, their evil. Greed. Murder. Often for a piece of green paper. Yes, animals do have fights, yet it’s usually for a female. Or territory. Not weird little slips of paper. Also, let me correct you. NO. YOU ARE WRONG. Dogs have imagination. So do bears, cats, ferrets, but I do not have enough space to cover most species of animals. In the picture, the kitten is more important. By FAR. The kitten will grow up to be in a house and IMAGINE things, sleep, play and eat, etc. etc. etc.. The baby, on the other hand, will grow up to increase the already massively overpopulated population, and pollute, and help explode earth by over heating it. Besides, it could just die in an astroid tsunami. Also, humans are helpless much longer than any other animal. Also, humans are disgusting. Look at a bunny poop. Little black spheres. Not very gross. Now look at a human poop. Brown… I think you get it. I could write 1000 paragraphs, but I think you get the point. Bye.

  58. Nate691

    I forgot something. Animals other than humans so have feelings, so therefore animals are not robots. It’s hard to believe that you could make such a big mistake.

  59. Thomas

    I agree with your conclusion, but not the path that you took to get there. I also think you’re taking for granted that you think this question is self evident. It’s very easy to dismiss all of those things you’ve said and point to the instability that humans have brought to Earth’s ecosystems, which many in the opposing camp do make. They will say that a pet will never betray you, but humans frequently do. They will say we interfere in the relatively peaceful existence of animals, and cause unfashionable amounts of suffering (not only to animals, but to humans).

    The intelligence is the closest you get to the right answer in my mind. It’s that we have the ability to answer questions, figure things out…. To question our existence, and find out where we came from and where we’re going. I realize that these are very whimsical sounding concepts, but I think it’s what makes us important. I feel like we have the capacity to create a much better world, by unlocking science. Animals may have that capability some day in the future if we’re not around anymore, but that is highly hypothetical, and maybe unrealistic.

  60. Eddie

    Animals – when human beings are not around anymore – might some day have the capacity to create a much better world, by unlocking science? Bwahahahah -this would be funny if it weren’t so sad. We are created in the image of God, and he gave us free will, and dominion over all the animals. That people even ask this question is tragic, and not in a light way. Repent now, and be the human being you were created to be!

  61. Eddie

    also there spelling. Superior? That’s a different kettle of salmon. We are made to tend the earth and to look after, and use the animals in creation. To get the point where u r so far removed from who ur supposed to be that u can ponder these questions is a sad, lonely and lost way to exist…and exist is all you shall do unless u accept your Lord & Saviour, and repent, turn away from sin. U know it = to sin is to fall short, and sitting around wondering y u exist when the answer is free in Jesus Christ is wasting His life that he gave u. All life is precious, but the Lord created us in His Image, and that is why you know inside that you are wrong.

  62. luis

    I agree , in the end it all sums up to subjective preferences.
    We are humans, we make the rules so it’s “obvious” the we are more “important”. It’s a bit like saying that Manchester United is a better team than the Bayern because I am fan of Manchester.

    It means nothing . As you sy pain is pain is maybe the only creteria to count when deciding about suffering and morality.

    All animals are variations of organisms that lived in the past , and imagination or inteligence are adaptations with the same value as flying , swimming , having long necks , having short necks or having lots of offspring like bacteria, weather we like it or not.
    All this discussion starts with our self-centered view of the wolrd (also an adaptation) and continues because of cognitive biases.

    So what is the problem in comparing the pains of to species ? …. none

  63. JD

    Hi Tom,
    I totally agree with your accusation that humans are more important than animals. But I am fighting with myself trying to disprove my conscience that says this: “well I give it to ya that humans are better at some thing than animals: science, math etc. But do humans know how to spin a web? Or do humans know how to make a nest? Humans have their things that they are good at, and so do animals. An often topic of disagreement is which is better: dogs or cats? Well, we can’t really say b/c it is completely a matter of opinion. Cats catch mice (do not brush this off b/c mice cause disease): 1 point for the cats. Dogs save lives:1 point for the dogs. Cats are soft: 1 point for cats… This could go on FOREVER. Humans and animals: which one’s more important seems to be the same argument to me. ”
    I completely and utterly agree that humans are more important than animals b/c I am a Christian and the Bible says that God put man in dominion over animals.
    I completely agree with the statement that if a (say) cat was in a burning building and a person was also, and you had never met either before in your life, you would rescue the cat. And I sincerely hope that everyone would rescue the person too. Nevertheless, I cannot speak for everyone.
    Thank you very much for your extensive time answering everyone’s critics on your accusation that animals are less important than cats,

  64. JD

    oh sorry typo on the part that said “I agree with the statement if say a cat was in a building and so was a person…I would rescue the CAT. Sorry I meant PERSON. And sorry for my horrible grammer.

  65. Drey

    Well we are also a species which realizes that it is dangerous and also knows that its actions will have dire consequences later on, most of the world has realized that now and is moving towards a greener society, we cant say the same about the animals though, any invasive species will just keep consuming resources and not stop at all, and will die out when the resource is over.

  66. Tor Ninja

    Imagination, intelligence and technology does not make humans important unless they contribute to the well being of ALL sentient life, not only human life. Since our imagination, intelligence and technology contributes mainly to the decline of life supporting systems on earth, it could be very well argued that we come close to last on the list of important species – as far as well being is concerned.

    You don’t receive moral rights because you are intelligent, you receive them because you are alive and have the capacity to suffer. No human being chose to be born human, as no ant chose to be born an ant. It seems to me like your ethical conciderations are prone to punish all other species for not being born human…

  67. Kathy Abner

    This is to the author at the beginning. Fact is we did not get to the moon. The moon is 2500 ° and gives off get own light. It is also in the firmament we have not been able to penetrate. NASA is crao. Until everyone realized this we are stuck in the lies of all lies Fact is we are chosen above the animal kingdom. We were given domain over them. They do not have rational ideas about God. They cannot choose who they will serve. They have no soul. No forever only now.

  68. Matthew. D

    In my opinion humans are just as important as any other type of life but it may not help that I’ve been referred to as a sociopath that lacks emotion and is way too cynical for my age but we live in a world where evolution is everything humans were just lucky enough to evolve a large enough intelligence to survive

  69. Matthew. D

    Continuation compared to most species we are very unsuperior in the way our bodies have evolved and this debate may simply be because of the natural feeling of having to protect your genetic line and in turn your entire species but few are born without the feeling that you must do this so it really depends on the human brain
    (see as said earlier im way too cynical)

  70. craig

    Humans are superior! Animals merely exist to exist. Humans live, endeavour to understand and create and love. When humans are at their worst,, it is typically because we are acting on our base animal instincts. When we are at our best, it is usually when we are the farthest from our base animal instincts, when we are humane!

  71. Mike

    Dan, I agree with you that Tom’s answer does not adequately prove that humans are superior to all other species. Not all animals are automatons. I know this simply by interacting with my dogs, who have learned to communicate with me through gestures and respond to a fairly wide vocabulary of words. they also display emotions such as jealousy and sadness. Your point to the fact of man’s destructiveness is a great argument to our inferiority and in the big picture of the galaxy, what are we but a speck of dust? The only way to truly measure the superiority of a species from a scientific standpoint is to first define the system in which we operate and define what a superior species would be in an unbiased fashion and I truly don’t believe that is possible.

  72. Mike

    Hey that girl, did you know that for the past 2000 years, people have been taking recent events and plugging them into the stories of the bible to show that the end time is near? I hate to tell you, but your story is no different. Don’t get me wrong. I am a Christian and I believe in god and the coming of the end times, but the bible also says that he will come like a thief in the night. No one will know it’s coming. And maybe you should understand a little science before pointing out perceived flaws in your own story. Do you not understand the special theory of relativity? It states that space and time are but one interwoven continuum. What that means is that outside the dimensions of our physical being, time ceases to exist! In your belief, is god a physical being?? Probably not? Therein lies the solution to the perceived flaw in your story.

  73. "Dr. Prove it with credentials"

    Human argument for superiority: “We went to the fucking moon.” (Who’s we? I haven’t been to the moon, trust me, I would remember that.)

    Ok, so if this is the argument for how humans are superior, then it should be important to mention who went to the moon, and give them proper credit for being the models of human achievement, because, they are in fact the superior beings based on this distinction. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the majority, or even a fraction of humans. If this is the basis upon which we will compare our “superiority”, then we must also look to the few extraordinary feats achieved, or accomplished by whatever species we will be comparing ourselves to.

    Bird’s argument for superiority. “We can fucking fly.”

    At least that statement is true, because most birds can fly, most humans however, haven’t been to the moon! Sorry Dr. Tom Williamson, but your example sucks! To be accurate, I think if we are going to compare the “superiority” of our species to all others, we should do so based on what the average human is capable of. For example: we are superior at playing video games, lying, and over eating! Yeah, beat that animals! HA! We are also superior in our ability to find ourselves superior to all other beings, how convenient.

  74. James

    You can spout the ability to reason, to create, to think all you want. But when you boil it down to levels of importance, we come nowhere.

    If you want to talk about level of importance. Just actual importance, then a number of animals come above human beings such as the bees and ants for example. Man in his arrogance thinks he’s the pinnacle of all creation, as is clearly obvious from this article. However, the truth doesn’t care about your opinion.

    It is a simple fact – without insects the entire land based ecosystem would collapse, but without humans, every ecosystem on the entire Earth would flourish.

    And please don’t start saying “so you’d kill a human over an ant then, you’re crazy!” like a 12yo. In levels of importance as a species, we are nothing. In terms of natural success, survival and importance, we don’t even come close. Any other opinion is just that.

  75. Tammy

    Actually insects are more important. Without them all life on earth would die. Without humans all life on earth would flourish.

  76. Tom Hal

    This article’s author has, in essence, provided a list of suppositions in support of an opinion. It is at best questionable whether humans are uniquely possessed of imagination. It is more likely that we are not unique in this sense, but rather that other species’ brains happen to work differently, and that, being human, we value the way our brains work more, calling some of our particular modes of thinking “imaginative.” There are many studies in animal science over the past century that have sequentially robbed humanity of our supposedly unique status as dreamers, self-identifiers, complex puzzle solvers… It’s dubious we’d be the only imaginative species–and even if that were so, it wouldn’t logically imply that we’re any more valuable than, say, a dung beetle or parasitic flatworm, either of which might be unique in some capacity crucial to its evolutionary success.

    As I suspect the author, from his qualifications, already recognizes, scientists do not consider humanity unique in recognizing ourselves (from others of our group). Moreover, what we call free will may very well be a linguistic misapprehension. Philosophers elsewhere present strong arguments against free will. Our behavior may be more complex than that of some other animals, but it’s, again, questionable that we’re any more free than other complex-thinking species.

    As for potential, I’d argue the chief reason the author ascribes greater potential to a human infant is that the kinds of things humans are likely to do, such as invent new technologies or engage in artistic endeavors, are things of value TO THE AUTHOR. Humans do not of necessity exhibit “greater” potential, but rather different potential.

    Then the author’s judgment that humans are more important than other animals rests on his opinions and what he happens to value, not on any empirical facts. Besides, the very concept of being important requires a mind to determine that a given event or state matters more than alternatives, meaning a given species’ “importance” is fundamentally a judgment of mind, not a state of fact. It’s understandable that a human mind would judge human circumstances as “more important” than those of other species, but this bias in judgment does not constitute objective truth.

  77. Tayler Danielle Muilenburg

    Really, Craig? Humans are the superior types? Sure we’re smart, but what about the other horrible stuff we’re doing? Causing pollution, animal abuse, doing drugs, rape, torture, stealing, murdering, and bullying. So think about what your saying when you say humans are “superior”.

  78. Not your business

    “Bwahahahah -this would be funny if it weren’t so sad.”

    lol, this coming from a guy who believes there’s an imaginary all-powerful bearded guy sitting in the sky. Score one for irony.

  79. Animal Protector

    I would just like to say that none of your points hold any water. First of all, other species do have imaginations, and yes, they use them as frequently as we do, sometimes without realizing it. And now that everyone is always so focused on their screens, probably more. Second of all, cognition? Really? Other species may not think the same things as we do, but that doesn’t mean we’re better than them in any way. If anything, they’re better than us. They are the ones who have all of the survival skills. They’re the ones who, a long time ago, evolved into us in the first place. So who said you have any right to say we’re different. Also, they most definitely have compassion. Think about any pet you’ve ever had or met. Were they friendly in any way shape or form? The answer is most likely YES. ABSOLUTELY. And who’s to say they don’t “question their existence” too? Just because you don’t know if they do, doesn’t mean you can go telling people that they don’t! Third of all, potential. Sure, humans have the potential to be anything they want, but so do other species. Plus, by the way, anyone can make a difference, no matter what species. So next time, do a little research, at least, before you go spouting out lies. Believe me, I have. Also, I don’t want to make you feel bad or anything, but this is an elementary school student arguing right now. And a very passionate one at that.

  80. Ebony

    Since you’re being purely subjective, I don’t why you’re judging us to be better and we’re the only species capable of being murderers, rapists, and child molesters. We’re the only species that has introduced racism, slavery in all its forms (including chattel slavery), wars, genocide, ethnocentrism, wars, genocide, intolerance, nonsense and anti-science attitudes due to dogmatic religious traditions, planetary pollution and destruction, the list could go on for eternity. Animals are intelligent in their own ways. Can you spin a web or make a nest? What exactly makes us superior because we’ve managed to have different accomplishments or capabilities? A person with severe intellectual disability can’t accomplish many things. They’re not less important because they’re less intelligent. We’re clearly evil and that makes us inferior, not superior. This planet doesn’t need us and would better off without us. Our accomplishments don’t give us value. And by the way, something that’s destructive doesn’t deserve to exist. If you’re continuing with your point of view that, because something has potential to be destructive and harmful it’s still more important, in that case we should make efforts to protect slavery and discrimination because those things are destructive which clearly means they’re still important, right? That makes no sense at all.

  81. Brendan

    Can somebody explain to me how imagination, intelligence, and technology makes humans worth more? How do you get from point A to point B? What’s the logic behind that?

    And also, if there is an alien species out there with more intelligence than us (which there probably is) then wouldn’t we be worth less than them?

  82. FU

    Humans are delusional bastards who are just as clueless about the universe and life itself as these dumb animals. Consciousness is the most overrated thing.

Leave a Reply to Ameera Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *