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On the "rights" of Nature

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Sculptor1
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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Sculptor1 » June 1st, 2019, 2:38 pm

Greta wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 8:43 pm
It's impossible to imagine such people showing interest in preserving nature for future generations.
Actually no.
They just need the right religious indoctrination.
Politics and the media are all about belief. The truth of the science has nothing to do with it. In fact science is not convinced about the role of CO2. And most of the people you see everyday either worrying about it, or denying it sure as hell don't know anything about it. It's all about the choices they make when they read (if at all), or more likely watch TV. |If they are of a mind to think humans are destroying the earth, then they will accept the most exaggerated claims about GW. If they are more of a mind to reject GW, then its Trump and the Oil propaganda they believe.

You've only to reflect for a moment on the question of Brexit. Moronic flag wavers are grunting for "take back control", whilst the remoaners are banging on about the dangers of "armageddon Brexit". The whole thing is an ocean of hysteria from people who are utterly clueless about what a Tariff is, let alone how the EU works. Remoaners ignore the facts that the EU is led by a right-wing neoliberal cliche of plutocrats, who have taken Greece, Italy and Spain and ground them into the dust. The Brexiters on the other hand are clueless as well and think the EU is something to do with straight bananas, many hate immigrant, especially black ones and want to see the UK great again, ignoring the problems of Ireland, border discipline and out complete lack of customs. They are also ignoring the fact that we have NO TRADE deal with most countries including the EU27, and would be in instant emergencies measures, buying from the black market as soon as we crash out.

But if you think that how people react to environmental issues, Brexit - or just about anything has anything to do with knowledge, then think again - its 90% what they want to believe and 10% doubt. And let's face it the Internet will furnish them with just about ANY crackpot idea they want to adopt.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » June 1st, 2019, 5:51 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
June 1st, 2019, 2:38 pm
In fact science is not convinced about the role of CO2.
This is dated information, closer to the turn of the century. There is considerable pushback by those funded by the Kochs and other barons, but there is no doubt at all that 1) CO2 in the atmosphere is rapidly increasing due to human activity and 2) the greenhouse effect of carbon in the atmosphere is true. The fine details will never be settled but the substantive science was settled long ago.

The Earth is now warmer than it has been at any time in human history. However, the media has always been the key player here and becoming more powerful. In terms of influence, the fourth estate is now the first estate, daylight second. As you noted, with enough propaganda, people will believe all manner of absurdities - that they are a master race, the ultimate nation or culture, that burning books is a smart thing to do, that making war will bring peace, and so on.

The problem here is that deserving rights is not the same as being able to enforce them. If people don't care (thanks to media propaganda) then the vulnerable (humans and otherwise) deserving will continue to be exploited by the strong.

Sculptor1 wrote:
June 1st, 2019, 2:38 pm
But if you think that how people react to environmental issues, Brexit - or just about anything has anything to do with knowledge, then think again - its 90% what they want to believe and 10% doubt. And let's face it the Internet will furnish them with just about ANY crackpot idea they want to adopt.
True, that has been made clear. I hear that, thanks the US's long term failure to properly educate its population, surveys found that up Americans are not sure if the Earth orbits the Sun or the other way around (which is at least more than those who believe it's flat). This in the richest country in the world half a century after the Moon landing (which many are still questioning too).

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Sculptor1 » June 2nd, 2019, 2:18 pm

Greta wrote:
June 1st, 2019, 5:51 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
June 1st, 2019, 2:38 pm
In fact science is not convinced about the role of CO2.
This is dated information, closer to the turn of the century. There is considerable pushback by those funded by the Kochs and other barons, but there is no doubt at all that 1) CO2 in the atmosphere is rapidly increasing due to human activity and 2) the greenhouse effect of carbon in the atmosphere is true. The fine details will never be settled but the substantive science was settled long ago.
It is unknown how much the amount of CO2 contributes to GW. And so not possible to say if a small change in ppm is capable of significantly contributing to more GW.

The Earth is now warmer than it has been at any time in human history.
This is unlikely to be remotely true for two reasons. Such a claim may not be made empirically, and secondly it is well known that temperatures during the Jurrasic were significanly higher than today.
At times in the current epoch CO has been 100s of times higher than it is today.

However, the media has always been the key player here and becoming more powerful. In terms of influence, the fourth estate is now the first estate, daylight second. As you noted, with enough propaganda, people will believe all manner of absurdities - that they are a master race, the ultimate nation or culture, that burning books is a smart thing to do, that making war will bring peace, and so on.
The media has certainly worked on you.
If it were not for GW the average temperature of the earth would be -18 degrees. The main contributor to GW is water vapour which accounts for most of it. CO2 is only a trace amount.
It is likely that less CO2 would be a good idea, but I'd be more interested in fewer carbon based fuels to avoid pollution, acid rain, and for the positive reasons of conservation.


The problem here is that deserving rights is not the same as being able to enforce them. If people don't care (thanks to media propaganda) then the vulnerable (humans and otherwise) deserving will continue to be exploited by the strong.

Sculptor1 wrote:
June 1st, 2019, 2:38 pm
But if you think that how people react to environmental issues, Brexit - or just about anything has anything to do with knowledge, then think again - its 90% what they want to believe and 10% doubt. And let's face it the Internet will furnish them with just about ANY crackpot idea they want to adopt.
True, that has been made clear. I hear that, thanks the US's long term failure to properly educate its population, surveys found that up Americans are not sure if the Earth orbits the Sun or the other way around (which is at least more than those who believe it's flat).
I'd not exclude the UK from this basic ignorance.

This in the richest country in the world half a century after the Moon landing (which many are still questioning too).
Moon Landings were probably humanity's biggest waste of cash. But as for the truth of them - it would be much easier to actually go to the moon than to cover up faking it.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » June 2nd, 2019, 7:40 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 12:19 pm

Rights have been expanding in scope since the early historical uses of the term. In the past different humans had different rights, even in single families. Some groups of humans did not have rights. There were also hierarchical differences between rights, with those at the top having rights those lower down did not. Neither sentience nor moral capabilities were the criteria for distinguishing between those who had rights or more rights than others. At some point rights got more equally distributed amongst humans and were extended even to humans who are not moral creatures - children, fetuses, people with severe dementia, etc.
A couple of cautions. It is true that the meaning of a "right" has changed over time. But the "classical sense" to which I referred was the sense given the term by the founders of liberalism, such as Hobbes, Locke, Blackstone, Kant, Jefferson, and others. It was then that the "rights" came to be seen as having a moral basis, as denoting liberties or prerogatives commanded by universal moral principles. Prior to that time a "right" meant merely a prerogative or privilege customarily accorded or acknowledged, or granted by a reigning monarch. Hence what "rights" people had varied with time and place. No fundamental moral basis was invoked or assumed (the term is used in this sense in the Magna Carta). The "natural rights" of the liberals were not subject to the vicissitudes of custom or the whims of monarchs. Moreover, when attributing "rights" to societies other than European societies, or to the latter prior to the 12th century or so, scholars tend to use that modern term to denote some practice or doctrine the term seems to "fit," but the concept of a "right," as we understand it (i.e., as a moral property), was actually unknown in those societies. No Bills of Rights, Declarations of Rights, or philosophical expositions or analyses of rights were produced by those societies.

Secondly, you have to keep in mind the difference between natural rights (as understood in the liberal tradition) and legal rights. Rights declared or enforced by law often have little or no relation to liberal rights.

And finally, you need to distinguish between having rights and respecting rights. That someone has a right does not entail that it is universally or even widely respected or recognized. Whether someone has a right is a question of fact; it signifies that the liberty or property to which the right is claimed entails no loss or injury to other moral agents, and thus is morally defensible. Africans, women, serfs, and other systematically oppressed people certainly did have rights, all along. It was that fact that was eventually acknowledged and that led to the abolition of slavery, feudalism, and the "civil rights" movement. We "extended" legal rights to those groups, but not the natural rights they always had.
The OP writer does not believe objective morals exist. So when we create rights we are making something up. We are saying something about how we would like to behave and treat others.
If by "OP writer" you mean me, you are quite mistaken. I am a a moral objectivist. We make up words, of course, but we don't make up the things we use those words to denote. What we denote by imputing a right to someone is an objective fact, empirically verifiable, about that person and the thing to which he claims a right. It has nothing to do with what anyone likes or dislikes.
Classically, to say that someone had a "right" to possess and use some tangible thing (a property right) or to do something (a liberty right) meant that the person had acquired that thing righteously, i.e., without inflicting loss or injury on anyone else, or that his doing that act would inflict no loss or injury on anyone else. I.e., that his act or property claim was innocent, and thus morally permissible and defensible. Per the Newspeak definition adopted by leftist ideologues, to say that someone has a "right" to something means he needs it, or wants it, or that it is required in order to live the "good life" as envisioned by the ideologue. The moral character of the claimant's actions are not considered or deemed relevant.
I think this is a distortion or at best a partial conception of rights...

Women and children were often not granted rights per se where men were. Not because they had been immoral. Sometimes fetuses were granted rights - or at least abortion was considered immoral in some societies, sometimes they were not. These rules were not governed by lack of harm to others, since the parents would be punished, or based on the morality of the fetus. . . .
As I said, whether someone has a right and whether that right is respected, or codified in law, are two different things.
Both the right and the left have extended the scope of the term, which is one created by humans and which has no objective correlate.
But it does, as stated above.
Rights are not made of anything. We cannot examine them physically.
That is true. A right is not a physical property of a thing, such as shape or mass or color. We cannot tell whether P has a right to x by examining P or x alone. Rather, it denotes a historical relation between P and x, so we must instead examine their history to decide whether the rights claim is true. But that doesn't make it any less objective than, say, the claim, "P is x inches tall."
IOW if one believes in democracy, then extending rights via democratic processes is not conceptually incorrect, but an expression of our creative use of a concept.
I fail to see what belief in democracy has to do with whether a public policy, or the arguments for it, are "conceptually incorrect." But my argument is not that imputing "rights" to non- moral agents, and even to non- sentient entities and processes, is "conceptually incorrect," but that it cannot be done without purging it of the moral import the concept acquired in the liberal era. It once again becomes a morally meaningless term, a property arbitrarily imputed to whatever some demagogue decrees, and revocable at his whim.

BTW, as to "belief in democracy," I do not accord that mode of governing has having any special powers or prerogatives, or any special wisdom or moral status. Unless constrained by objective moral principles (such as those articulated in a Bill of Rights) a tyranny of the majority is just as odious as any other tyranny. A majority can change the meaning of a term, but they can't change the moral facts the term previously denoted.
I think modern conceptions of this right are not simply weighing in and saying that it causes less injury to allow minority faiths, but something more fundamental about how we want people to be free without trying to calculate the pluses and minuses.
That is an odd statement. We want them to be free of what, if not from injury, loss, suffering, and arbitrary constraints? The right to practice the religion of one's choice is a natural liberty right, defensible on the same grounds, and subject to the same constraints, as all other liberty rights.
And certainly the brain damaged children have been granted rights even if they never will be able to be moral agents and certainly before they are.
But they are moral subjects (or "moral patients"). Moral subjects have some of the properties of moral agents, and some of the rights.

Thanks, KT, for dragging this thread back on-topic.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » June 2nd, 2019, 7:42 pm

Sculptor1: It is unknown how much the amount of CO2 contributes to GW. And so not possible to say if a small change in ppm is capable of significantly contributing to more GW.

Greta: Nope. It's substantively very well known, just that minor details are uncertain. The standards of certainty that humans are responsible for recent warming are now said to be "gold standard". There's much info available on this.

--

Greta:The Earth is now warmer than it has been at any time in human history.

Sculptor1: This is unlikely to be remotely true for two reasons. Such a claim may not be made empirically, and secondly it is well known that temperatures during the Jurrasic were significanly higher than today.
At times in the current epoch CO has been 100s of times higher than it is today.

Greta: My information was correct. Humans and dinosaurs did not live together during the Jurassic Period. It was a time when humans could not have survived.

Image

--

Greta: However, the media has always been the key player here and becoming more powerful. In terms of influence, the fourth estate is now the first estate, daylight second. As you noted, with enough propaganda, people will believe all manner of absurdities - that they are a master race, the ultimate nation or culture, that burning books is a smart thing to do, that making war will bring peace, and so on.

Sculptor1: The media has certainly worked on you.
If it were not for GW the average temperature of the earth would be -18 degrees. The main contributor to GW is water vapour which accounts for most of it. CO2 is only a trace amount.
It is likely that less CO2 would be a good idea, but I'd be more interested in fewer carbon based fuels to avoid pollution, acid rain, and for the positive reasons of conservation.

Greta: Hmm, I note that you doubt the views of thousands of scientists working in the climate area so instead you have picked some cherries. How else could you be so certain of the claim that the Earth would be, seemingly, exactly -18 degrees (C or F?) cooler without AGW.

I live in a country where our greatest national wonder is rapidly dying - the Great Barrier Reef. Why? Ocean heating.

--

Sculptor1: The problem here is that deserving rights is not the same as being able to enforce them. If people don't care (thanks to media propaganda) then the vulnerable (humans and otherwise) deserving will continue to be exploited by the strong.

Greta: As I said on this thread on 30 May: 'Alas, nature has precious little ability to gain or fight for rights against people, hence our increasing replacement of it with ourselves and our stuff. Only humans can confer rights but now the prevailing attitude today is "do what you can get away with" rather than "do what you think is right".'

The former attitude has been approved by the OP, who is perfectly happy with corporations avoiding tax if they can swing it. A shame that he is so much less interested in the welfare of ecosystems. The OP should be grateful that people have added genuine content to his thread as opposed to his constant stream of nakedly partisan politicking.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Karpel Tunnel » June 3rd, 2019, 1:36 am

GE Morton wrote:
June 2nd, 2019, 7:40 pm
A couple of cautions. It is true that the meaning of a "right" has changed over time. But the "classical sense" to which I referred was the sense given the term by the founders of liberalism, such as Hobbes, Locke, Blackstone, Kant, Jefferson, and others. It was then that the "rights" came to be seen as having a moral basis, as denoting liberties or prerogatives commanded by universal moral principles. Prior to that time a "right" meant merely a prerogative or privilege customarily accorded or acknowledged, or granted by a reigning monarch. Hence what "rights" people had varied with time and place. No fundamental moral basis was invoked or assumed (the term is used in this sense in the Magna Carta). The "natural rights" of the liberals were not subject to the vicissitudes of custom or the whims of monarchs. Moreover, when attributing "rights" to societies other than European societies, or to the latter prior to the 12th century or so, scholars tend to use that modern term to denote some practice or doctrine the term seems to "fit," but the concept of a "right," as we understand it (i.e., as a moral property), was actually unknown in those societies. No Bills of Rights, Declarations of Rights, or philosophical expositions or analyses of rights were produced by those societies.
So, let's assume the above is correct. We had what might be called conceptions that were like proto-rights. Eventually, out of this there developed something closer to the modern sense of 'rights' and the terms itself began to be used. Once the term was used, the concept still developed, up to and including things like the right to life of fetuses. We develope the concept as humans, using a term that seems to or does reify a quality that some entities have, but is something we grant due to our values. I don't see why we can't continue to do this, per se. I can see arguments about whether we should grant it to X or not. But I can't see why a positing of value can't be extended if we want to.

Let's say we all agreed that we wanted to grant it to trees. I can't see what the problem is there. Humans decide to extend a concept to a new use, just as it has done within homo sapiens.

A problem arises that we have disagreement. But surely there has been disagreement about rights before, even with those granted to some homo sapiens.

That's the problem, we have disagreement. I don't see that we have an ontological problem. Oh, no, that cannot be extended that way. It is only we who are to judge.

I think 'property' might be a useful analogy. Though perhaps I am shooting myself in the foot. We can now own things we could not before. We also cannot own some things we could not own before. The concept of property is being developed and extended into new realms and withdrawn from others. Because our values changed, because things changed, because of sense of what would be useful to us has changed.
Secondly, you have to keep in mind the difference between natural rights (as understood in the liberal tradition) and legal rights. Rights declared or enforced by law often have little or no relation to liberal rights.
I don't think my argument(s) depend on conflating these.
And finally, you need to distinguish between having rights and respecting rights. That someone has a right does not entail that it is universally or even widely respected or recognized. Whether someone has a right is a question of fact; it signifies that the liberty or property to which the right is claimed entails no loss or injury to other moral agents, and thus is morally defensible. Africans, women, serfs, and other systematically oppressed people certainly did have rights, all along. It was that fact that was eventually acknowledged and that led to the abolition of slavery, feudalism, and the "civil rights" movement. We "extended" legal rights to those groups, but not the natural rights they always had.
I don't think this is true. I don't think they had rights. Certainly some of the people who created the idea of rights considered them to 'have' rights, but there was nothing they had. You cannot find my right to assemble or my right to free speech on my person or in my house. It is not made of anything. I do not have it. It exists as a decision to relate in certain ways and not others.

If by "OP writer" you mean me, you are quite mistaken. I am a a moral objectivist.
My apologies. I must have cnofused you with someone else.
We make up words, of course, but we don't make up the things we use those words to denote. What we denote by imputing a right to someone is an objective fact, empirically verifiable, about that person and the thing to which he claims a right. It has nothing to do with what anyone likes or dislikes.
What's this right made of, then?

Both the right and the left have extended the scope of the term, which is one created by humans and which has no objective correlate.
But it does, as stated above.
You stated it, but I don't see what the objective correlate is with rights.
Rights are not made of anything. We cannot examine them physically.
That is true. A right is not a physical property of a thing, such as shape or mass or color. We cannot tell whether P has a right to x by examining P or x alone. Rather, it denotes a historical relation between P and x, so we must instead examine their history to decide whether the rights claim is true. But that doesn't make it any less objective than, say, the claim, "P is x inches tall."
But it does make it not objective. It is an intersubjective decision. Once it is in place, yes, people relate that way. Just as a person can relate to a photo of a guru as having divine powers. The relation exists. That person acts in those ways, yes. The effects of having the idea are objective. I have not seen any evidence that something outside the minds of believers in rights exist that we would label a 'right'.
I fail to see what belief in democracy has to do with whether a public policy, or the arguments for it, are "conceptually incorrect." But my argument is not that imputing "rights" to non- moral agents, and even to non- sentient entities and processes, is "conceptually incorrect," but that it cannot be done without purging it of the moral import the concept acquired in the liberal era. It once again becomes a morally meaningless term, a property arbitrarily imputed to whatever some demagogue decrees, and revocable at his whim.
1) the same can happen, and likely has, with other rights. certain rights to privacy have been revoked. 2) are we arguing that rights are ok if granted democratically but not via demagogues?
BTW, as to "belief in democracy," I do not accord that mode of governing has having any special powers or prerogatives, or any special wisdom or moral status. Unless constrained by objective moral principles (such as those articulated in a Bill of Rights) a tyranny of the majority is just as odious as any other tyranny. A majority can change the meaning of a term, but they can't change the moral facts the term previously denoted.
The Bill of Rights is the product of the minds of a few people. I don't see why this gains an objective status, must as I like the bill of rights in the main.
Thanks, KT, for dragging this thread back on-topic.
No, problem-

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by moonamsa06 » July 13th, 2019, 3:37 pm

Those scientists are indulging in idolatry and superstition, not science. The Earth is not an organism per any scientific definition.
ibiologia .com/

I agree that ethics has historically covered a lot more ground than my statement above asserts, covering virtually all human behavior. It is largely for that reason that nothing approaching a consensus has ever been achieved in that field. If the subject is to be rationally analyzable the subject matter has to be clearly defined and have some obvious unity.

Also bear in mind that my statement does not preclude concern for the environment --- but we should care for it, not because it has "rights," but because it is in our interest to do so. Similarly, certain actions we take affecting the environment may well be immoral, not because it has moral standing in its own right, but because those impacts will affect humans (and some animals, who are "moral patients") adversely.

ibiologia .com/animal-cell/

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » July 17th, 2019, 6:07 pm

Does being defined as an organism confer special rights? That just means an entity has cells, a metabolism and the like. Doesn't matter at all.

Sure, the Earth is not an organism. It's far, far more than that.

Organisms are tiny parts of a much greater entity. Planets and stars are like gods to us - but they easily surpass them in power and capabilities too.

People have very little conception about planets, imagining them as balls in the sky. Their complexity and organisation is massively more than the capacities of our greatest supercomputers, which of course are just tiny parts of the Earth computing capacity too.

We are capable of limiting the planet's potential just as germs can limit our potentials. However, it's clear that the Earth will still continue to send its material off-world and spread its influence. We are too small to bring it down.

However, we are not too small to make the lives of "little people" and animals utter hell before accessible resources run out. Note, there's more resources in the Earth than humanity could ever need, but we cannot access most of it.

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