Sometimes environmental activists get a bad rap. They are called tree-huggers, hippies and other names that are meant to insult their intelligence. People snicker about them behind their back when they drive off in their cars or float off in their boat that was constructed by an industry that has a long history of polluting the atmosphere (not to mention the fact that the cars and boats will cause pollution by their mere existence). “Is that a dead bug slpattered on your windshield? Oh, the horror!”
Liberal activists often make stuff up in order to try and further their cause. They don’t mind a little (or a lot) of dishonesty as long as they believe the result will be good. Take for instance the fake MLK quote that serves as the photo for this blog. MLK never said anything about enslaving animals, but that doesn’t keep activists from claiming he did. Nontheless, we all have to remember that environmental activists are people too, and as fellow human beings, we must treat them with the same respect with which we expect to be treated. Non-Christians are usually taught to respect fellow humans because of the “golden rule”, which says we treat others as we would wish to be treated. Christians are called to respect each person’s human dignity because the Bible has always taught that each human being is made in the image and likeness of God.
But now, environmental activists are saying “no thanks” to respectful treatment. Well, let me clarify: They are saying that they are not to be respected simply because they are human, there are other factors which must be considered and if those factors don’t add up to enough, it is okay to kill humans. In other words, a person’s value is subjective. Some people are very valuable and should be protected but other people are of little value and are not even as important as animals. Some (depending on the person’s age and/or usefulness) are not even as important as bacteria.
A publication named Outdoor Journal, recently published an article by a world renowned environmentalist named Paul Watson. Paul has been a controversial figure, even among environmental activists. But his abrasive and aggressive personality as well as his penchant for self-promotion, has allowed him to survive the controversies of the past. Even after alienating many environmentalists, he retains a following that continues to shower him with praise that can sometimes sound like worshipers at the feet of a god.
If you look at Paul’s social media, you will see comments like these under the article that promotes the elimination of human beings:
- “This is is one if the reasons why I love, respect and support Captain Watson and Sea Shepherd. I agree with every single world of this excellent article.” – Ermenegilda De Lollis
- “He is my personal hero.” – Marie-Marguerite Davezac Vg
- “Breathtakingly brilliant. You are a light in the darkness.” – Helen Savadge
- “Incredible, so many awesome valid truths here. THANK YOU.” – Nicole Joubert Pazos
- “Captain Watson….sending you my never ending respect.: – Micki Jay
These comments are below his article which says animal life is more valuable than human life. One of his fans commented that she would like to make love to Paul’s words. With regard to that individual as well as to Paul, I tend to agree more with Josh King who told Paul, “You are a total lunatic”.
Mr. Watson’s article is titled: Human Lives Are Not More Important Than Animal Lives. But don’t let the title deceive you. Mr. Watson is not saying humans and animals are equal, he’s saying animals, insects and bacteria are more valuable than human lives. It was published on June 8, 2016, in an apparent response to the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, in which a gorilla was shot and killed before the gorilla could do any harm to a young boy who had slipped into the gorilla’s enclosure.
In Mr. Watson’s long but inadequate explanation as to why human lives are less important that other life forms, he makes many ridiculous and flawed arguments to support his dimented thoughts. The article stands as a testament as to why some people need to remain students instead of holding themselves out as teachers.
Because of the large number of misconceptions, misstatements and the severity of the poor reasoning in Mr. Watson’s article, I have to limit this analysis to only the most blatantly flawed points. Otherwise, I’d be writing a book-length piece instead of something people will actually read. So the top
three six errors to discuss are:
- Paul says that the life of a gorilla is not only of more value than the life of a human being, it is a hundred times more valuable, as are whales, and snails, bees and trees. He also says that “some human lives are simply not worth more than other humans and also not more important than many animals” because we cannot live on this planet without animals.
This is the epitome of circular reasoning. I could say more, but if you can’t recognize the logical fallacy in Paul’s #1 argument, you are beyond reach already. If you can recognize the logical fallacy, you don’t need further explanation to know that Paul’s entire premise suffers from an insurmountable flaw.
- Nature has three very basic ecological laws, including “finite resources” which recognizes that there is a limit to growth and a limit to the earth’s carrying capacity.
Althought the overpopulation myth is a convenient scare tactic for people who support environmental activism, abortion, eugenics, euthanasia and social engineering, it has been debunked in theory and in practice. There is no question that Americans need to live more conservatively, but to claim that the human population is going to exceed the earth’s ability to sustain us is a myth.
- Paul says humans have created a fantasy world called anthropocentrism Paul defines anthropocentrism as the idea that all of reality, all of nature exists only for humanity. He says humanity is so entrenched in this view of the world that we have stifled all empathy to the feelings and interests of all other species.
Paul wants to talk about living in a fantasy world? Yikes! Now that is the pot calling the kettle black. Paul and his followers show exceptional skill with regard to creating a fantasy world. You see this all the time with those who promote the homosexual lifestyle or who claim that any criticism of Islam is islamophobic and an affront to a “religion of peace”. But Paul creates a new fantasy world with his article. He creates a scenario in which his students eliminate the entire human race because they did not opt to kill one child. He talks about the feelings of animals as though they have an intellect and the gift of reason. And he tops all of this off with the idea that an animal’s life is more valuable than a human’s. Unfortunately, a lot of people agree with him, such as Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc…
- Paul says that we believe humans are the most intelligent species on the planet because we define what intelligence is. But Paul would define intelligence as the ability to live in harmony with nature and within the boundaries of ecological laws.
So intelligence is not related to intellect (which is the root word for intelligence)? By Paul’s standard, a dandy lion is more intelligent than any human being could ever hope to be. After all, who lives out a more harmonious existence than a flower? Actually, I kind of agree with Paul on this one. I agree that a dandy lion is more intelligent than Paul is (both by his standard and the standards of the rest of the human race).
- Paul criticizes humans for dismissing speculation that animals think, make choices, dream and have emotions or that trees communicate through chemicals and fungal networks. Paul says we are wrong to take pride in our art, our science, our religions, our politics, our cultures because other species have their own cultures, their own realities completely independent of our “hominid vanities”.
Let us consider these possibilities for a moment. Let us wonder what the trees talk about. I wonder if they curse the environmentalists who make environmental notes on pieces of paper that used to be their relatives. I wonder if there are some lions who try to convince other lions that they are not more important than gazelles and that they should stop having cubs so gazelles no longer have to live in fear of being eaten. Do bees feel depressed when we remove the honey from their comb?
All of these thoughts are ridiculous, but I can guarantee you that Paul has followers who would read that and feel inspired by such deep thoughts… especially if they thought Paul thought them up.
- Paul believes the Cincinnati zoo was wrong to kill the gorilla instead of waiting it out to see if he was going to harm the child who slipped into the gorilla’s enclosure. (So do you only start shooting after the gorilla has removed one of the boy’s arms?) He says that nobody thought of the trauma this would cause to the other gorillas or the fact that the killing was a horrific betrayal to the good intentions of the gorilla. (To Paul, feelings matter, and animals have feelings). Paul describes gorillas as gentle, vegetarian, shy, and intelligent self-aware sentient beings whose existence benefits the planet and gives hope for the future.
This last sentence gives us insight as to how Paul will value human life. If you are a gentle, vegetarian, shy, and intelligent self-aware sentient human being whose existence benefits the planet and gives hope for the future, you have higher value. Are you disqualified from this superior group if you eat fish, bacon or anything other than wild grown vegetation? What if you are outgoing, crude or behave in ways that sometimes discourages others about the future? And the important question here is: Who get’s to decide?
Paul is taking the role of the ultimate arbiter as to who or what has the right to live and who or what has no right to live. I have to tell you, I don’t want Paul making decisions for anyone in the world. I think Paul needs a guardian himself. You know, someone to keep him from saying and doing really foolish things…
This is why I tried to post a comment to the magazine article. Here is what I tried to post:
Paul believes that certain humans need to be eliminated in order to save the world. How would he feel if it required leading by example? What if someone decided that Paul was not benefitting the world. Paul would want the ability to defend his right to live, wouldn’t he? He would object and point out that he is a productive and self-sufficient adult (a very green one too, I’m sure. Do those ships of his run on sunshine and giggles while emitting little vapors of hugs?). He would much prefer that we all discriminate against people based on their age. Would Paul say only infants should be sacrificed for the sake of the rest of the human race. Maybe the elderly, sick and disabled too? How old is Paul? Will that “elderly” range slide a little to make sure he isn’t included in the category of expendable life? Or maybe we should just eliminate the people who are too much of a burden and cost too much for our national healthcare system to handle. Stay healthy everyone.
Oh, and the tricky scenario he presented to his college students: So all the essential bacteria in every human stomach in the entire world, be eliminated instantly? At least that is what the “bacteria” scenario requires. If it were to happen over time, science, medicine and normal biological adaptation would be introduced to the scenario and could throw the big surprise out the window. That is still assuming Paul can demonstrate how to eradicate the bacteria from every human digestive tract. It seems like a carefully crafted scenario, which ignores all the variables that would invalidate it, just to manipulate the young and impressionable minds of students. That seems dishonest to me. I hope the course was free. Even then the students were cheated of an intellectually honest discussion. But I suppose this is par for the course in our universities and colleges these days.
The funny thing is, anthropocentristic type behavior isn’t limited to humans. Each species behaves as if all of nature exists only for that species, that they are the only species that matters and the species rights take priority over the rights of all other species. What Paul calls anthropocentrism the rest of us call nature. Deer don’t care where they get their next meal, nor do fish, lions or bears (just ask Timothy Treadwell). I suppose Paul wrote about it when the authorities hunted down the grizzlies that ate Mr. Treadwell and his girlfriend. How did those grizzlies feel about that whole incident. Did they feel remorse? Did they consider writing apologies to Mr. Treadwell’s parents for their temporary lack of judgment? There is a difference between humans and these other forms of life and it is called the ability to reason (something which seems to be lacking with Paul).
Paul’s entire article is an exercise in circular reasoning which becomes undeniably evident with his last sentence. He believes all life forms are more important than humans (not just equal, but more important), “Because we cannot live on this planet without them.” Who is the “we” in that delusional statement? The lucky ones who are not a burden, those in the womb of a mother who is not pressured into an abortion she will regret the rest of her life? Or maybe just those of us who try our darnedest to make sure we don’t use too much electricity when we cook our meat products?
In the end, Paul is pitting the hypothetical extinction of the human race against the certain elimination of a human life. The Gutmacher Institute estimates that about 56 million babies are aborted each year by induced abortion. Paul applauds that and would probably like to see many more abortions each year. I’m sure he doesn’t want to see every human life ended, probably just 100 million next year would satisfy him? Is there a perfect number of humans that the earth should have in Paul’s opinion? Maybe he should set a specific number for us and we can make sure that we always stay just below that number so as not to endanger any worms or bees or bacteria.
Outdoor Journal should be ashamed of publishing such a poorly conceived (pun intended) piece of propaganda. Paul is looking for publicity and he’s found it, but Outdoor Journal has checked their integrity at the door in publishing it.
Who agrees with me and who agrees with Paul? Keep in mind that people who reason like Paul would prefer to see you dead if it meant the difference between the survival of nearly anything else on the face of the earth, except you. I’m not sure they would really care how you are killed. Maybe they would want you injected with poison, submerged in a saline solution that would basically burn you alive or they might opt for a dismemberment procedure so a certain “women’s health” organization could harvest and sell your organs for scientific experimentation. If you are lucky you will get to choose or it will be at least a very quick procedure. Babies don’t get that choice and the elderly, disabled and others won’t get that choice if the culture continues to progress the way it seems to be progressing.
Outdoor Journal would not post it. They probably can’t imagine the possibility that Paul has erred. I modified it a little and posted it on Paul’s social media page. Several people agreed with me and joined me in rebuking Paul on his social media page. One of Paul’s fans (Lori Sirianni) tried to challenge me by claiming that most women are vastly relieved after an abortion and do *not* regret them the rest of their lives. I asked her for a source for her claim, but she never responded. It is safe to conclude that her “perception” was not supported by reality.
So, in summary, Paul has failed to think this through. Unfortunately there are some people out there who think he is brilliant. It is up to you to help remind people that human life (All human life… even Paul’s life) is more important than animal life. Paul is advocating for the extreme and he has lost his way. We all need to be careful how we treat our planet, but we also need to recognize that when it comes down to man vs. nature, only man has the gift of reason. Nature can be beautiful and very enriching, but it can also be brutal, unforgiving and arbitrarily lethal. If we relinquish our intellectual advantage, nature will destroy us.
By the way, the fake MLK quote at the top of his blog came from Paul’s social media page. I didn’t bother to tell him it is a fake. I doubt he’s interested in anything I have to say.