Err, Yes?

Scientists ask whether humans care only for species from which they can extract benefit, and dismiss the rest as \’worthless\’

Given that there\’s no one else around but us humans to do the valuing this would seem to be a fairly obvious statement.

7 thoughts on “Err, Yes?”

  1. Obvious, possibly. But clearly wrong. The mere fact that this report was assembled, this article written shows that some humans care about species of no obvious benefit.

    But have you ever thought what it must be like to be a member of the 101st most endangered species? ‘Cause unless you are really cute or might cure cancer, next-to-no-one cares about you!

  2. SE (#1), isn’t it just that we all see benefit in different things?

    Plus a bit of hoarder mentality – “keep that, it might come in useful.”

  3. Surely postulated future benefit is “benefit” regardless? Even if you need to discount it both for the possibility of no benefit and for the arrival in the future rather than now?

    But, yes. Tim was generalising to humanity – hence I was taking the specifics … “Most humans” don’t care, I’d accept – most humans don’t have the luxury, yet, of a lifestyle that allows them the lack of care about their own existence to have spare for other species. Except as food, tools, fuel sources etc.

  4. I’m still not sure about “some humans care about species of no obvious benefit”.

    Maybe not “obvious” to other people, but very obvious to themselves. As you say, as we get richer we value intangible benefits more. “It’s pretty, let’s reserve it.” or “It does odd, interesting things, let’s preserve it.”

    Read Gerry Durrell going into raptures about an apparently ugly, dull creature – his clearly wasn’t disinterested care for animals, but him getting a personal benefit that the rest of us just can’t see, and wanting to protect that personal benefit.

    Self interest all along, just a wider variety of self interest once the basics are settled.

  5. Surely it depends on what you mean by “can extract benefit” – an economist, like yourself, includes a lot more in “benefit” than non-economists.

    I suspect that they intend “benefit” to mean “immediate prospect of making money”, which is probably the general non-economist usage of the word.

  6. “Scientists ask whether humans care only for species from which they can extract benefit, and dismiss the rest as ‘worthless’”

    I suppose they could observe the other species on this planet and see if any of them value others for anything except the benefits they can get from them.

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