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Old 16th April 2019, 03:21 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But is it sustainable?
Well, I think that most systems of the sort I'm talking about will be naively unsustainable in the sense that if you take it's state at any particular point in time and then don't allow it to evolve but keep it fixed moving forward through time it will reach some point of collapse or at least decay. In that sense it would be unsustainable.

But if the system is allowed to continue to evolve and change over time, moving from a failing resource to a new one, for instance, then it may be able to run and even improve (by whatever measure) indefinitely.
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Old 16th April 2019, 04:09 PM   #42
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The first step is to try and slow population growth (which as noted above is already occurring in a number of countries) until it stops expanding then trying (considering how humans are this may be impossible) to have fewer children and shrink the overall amount down to around 4-5 billion tops or 1-3 billions on the low end - reaching that around 2150. The reason to do so is have more resources to make better lives for all people.

People are nice but do we need a world with 20 billion of them?

Again I don't think the political will exists to do any of this and religions will raise - pun intended - raise Holy Hell about it.
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Old 16th April 2019, 09:15 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
If human life has value, then more people has more value than less people.

That's one gigantic "if". Ask an elephant or a chicken if human life has value. I think the animals would vote us off the island if they could. I'd vote a few billion people off too given the chance. Most people in the world are of no great concern to me (valueless).

Humans, in order to deserve to go on, need to either be too dumb or too smart to create technology and do other things that are harmful on a large scale.

Dogs make perfect pets because they are intelligent, yet not too intelligent to cause any real problems for anyone. Humans are just smart enough to be dangerous and just dumb enough not to realize it or care.
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Old 16th April 2019, 10:35 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post

There is no ecosystem-determined population size when it comes to a specie that can fundamentally change the ecosystem it is living in.
This
Agreed. Although the Earth is finite and there may be a limit here, we are not even limited by the Earth.

If we change it to the Earth, I can pretty much bet we could indeed grow 10X or even more by changing the fundamental systems that support our current populations.

Even though it is indeed true that we are over populated now, we certainly have the technology to eliminate overpopulation and sustainably support many more than now.
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Old 16th April 2019, 11:12 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
That's one gigantic "if".
Is it?

Quote:
Ask an elephant or a chicken if human life has value.
Why would I do that? Why would anyone do that?

Quote:
I think the animals would vote us off the island if they could.
They can't. It doesn't work that way.

Quote:
I'd vote a few billion people off too given the chance. Most people in the world are of no great concern to me (valueless).
I will keep that in mind, and act accordingly.

Quote:
Humans, in order to deserve to go on, need to either be too dumb or too smart to create technology and do other things that are harmful on a large scale.
"Deserve" has nothing to do with it. And I don't value what you think people deserve.
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Old 17th April 2019, 04:52 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Welcome to the forum.
...aaaand goodbye, apparently.
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Old 17th April 2019, 04:53 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
The first step is to try and slow population growth (which as noted above is already occurring in a number of countries) until it stops expanding then trying (considering how humans are this may be impossible) to have fewer children and shrink the overall amount down to around 4-5 billion tops or 1-3 billions on the low end - reaching that around 2150. The reason to do so is have more resources to make better lives for all people.
That should be the thing, but the problem is that even with the high standards of living that result in low birth rates, a shrinking population is pretty bad for the economy, so I don't know what that would do.
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Old 17th April 2019, 04:54 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
"Deserve" has nothing to do with it.
You're no Clint Eastwood.
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Old 17th April 2019, 10:33 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Agricultural land (land actually used for agriculture) and arable land (land potentially used for agriculture) are not the same. Besides, if we use all of the arable land for agriculture, that would destroy the few remaining natural grasslands, etc. Ideally, we shouldn't use more than we need to.
This is the science forum. The scientific definition of arable land is this:

"Arable Land
Arable land is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as land under temporary crops (double-cropped areas are counted once), temporary meadows for mowing or for pasture, land under market or kitchen gardens, and land that is temporarily fallow1"

All arable land is used for agriculture 100%. But not all agricultural land is arable. Some is only fit for forestry or rangeland. Some contains perennial crops. (coffee, palm oil, bananas, vineyards etc) You conflated a common term with a scientific term. It's an equivocation error. Maybe more importantly for this discussion is all statistics worldwide use the scientific term to avoid these sorts of errors!
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Old 17th April 2019, 06:04 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think "harmful" is a subjective value judgement
Fine. I don't think I need to prove otherwise. Everything except math involves some kind of subjective value judgement. Can we all agree that a massive nuclear war would be "harmful" or is that too "subjective"?

Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Puppycow's point that other life also has value is valid, in my opinion, so if you add one human life by removing the room for one wolf's life, then that may be a net loss, depending on how we assign value to each of those lives.
Yes. And of course, as a human I would assign more value to a human life than to a wolf's live, other things being equal. But suppose that there are 7 billion humans and only 1,000 wolves (for the sake of argument), and they are an endangered species that could very easily go extinct if we don't take special measures to protect them. Which life then is more valuable? (Mind, I'm not talking about murdering anyone, just whether to prevent a pregnancy that would lead to another person.) Of course, the question does involve a subjective value judgement. But to me, if we can control the human population in a humane way by simply giving more people access to birth control so that they can make reproductive choices of their own free will, and if that will help to achieve all of the goals I wrote in the OP, then I am for it.
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Old 17th April 2019, 06:13 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Chairs have value. More chairs therefore have more value than fewer chairs.

You could probably afford to buy a few dozen more chairs for your home, right now.

Why don't you?
Great point.

Chairs have positive value but only up to a certain point, and then they actually start to have negative value. I can only sit on one chair at a time, and if I have too many chairs, I won't have space for other things. Also, empty space itself has value. Too many things in my house, and I won't be able to live in it or move around easily.

So if it's possible to have too many chairs or too many of anything, it is possible to have too many people.
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Old 17th April 2019, 07:17 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Chairs have value.
No, they donít. Not intrinsically.
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Old 17th April 2019, 08:13 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
No, they donít. Not intrinsically.
You're moving the goalposts, but fine. How would you define intrinsic value?
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Old 17th April 2019, 08:25 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Fine. I don't think I need to prove otherwise. Everything except math involves some kind of subjective value judgement. Can we all agree that a massive nuclear war would be "harmful" or is that too "subjective"?
Too subjective? I don't know. Harmful? In what way? The global environment has been through much more drastic changes. There are places in the solar system that deal with a ton of radiation all day every day. Is the Mars environment "harmed" by its thin atmosphere and lack of a magnetic field?

Instead of saying, "let's not harm the environment", say, "let's figure out what kind of environment we want, and work to that plan."

Or, if you already know what kind of environment you want, say, "let's build this kind of environment, and preserve it."

And then bring arguments for why that's the right environment to support your sustainability goal.

I dunno, maybe the solution that optimizes for both maximal population and maximal sustainability is to replace all of the natural environment with designed and curated ecosystems.

"Don't harm the environment" just sounds like you get vicarious enjoyment from the idea of a stand of old growth redwoods somewhere on the California coast, that you'll never see and wouldn't know what to do with anyway, but we must preserve it because reasons.
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Old 17th April 2019, 08:49 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
You're moving the goalposts, but fine. How would you define intrinsic value?
I didn't move the goalpost, rather I assumed it was commonly understood that human life has intrinsic value, and what that means. Apparently I was wrong to assume that. That's pretty depressing.
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Old 17th April 2019, 09:15 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I didn't move the goalpost, rather I assumed it was commonly understood that human life has intrinsic value, and what that means. Apparently I was wrong to assume that. That's pretty depressing.
I'm not trying to get into a pedantic argument over the meaning of words, but surely it is commonly understood that lots of other things have value too. Sorry to bum you out.
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Old 17th April 2019, 09:16 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I didn't move the goalpost, rather I assumed it was commonly understood that human life has intrinsic value, and what that means. Apparently I was wrong to assume that. That's pretty depressing.
It's a very fuzzy concept. How would you define it, personally?
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Old 17th April 2019, 09:40 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Too subjective? I don't know. Harmful? In what way? The global environment has been through much more drastic changes. There are places in the solar system that deal with a ton of radiation all day every day. Is the Mars environment "harmed" by its thin atmosphere and lack of a magnetic field?
Yes, I would say that "the Mars environment is "harmed" by its thin atmosphere and lack of a magnetic field" because I value life (and environments hospitable to life) more than barren rocks and regolith.

Quote:
Instead of saying, "let's not harm the environment", say, "let's figure out what kind of environment we want, and work to that plan."
If you prefer to express it that way, fine. I've already figured out what kind of environment I want. I want to preserve as much of the natural environment as possible. I want to the weather to be not too hot or too cold. I want there to be fish in the sea and elephants on the plains and forests of Africa, and old growth redwood forests on the pacific coast of North America.

Quote:
Or, if you already know what kind of environment you want, say, "let's build this kind of environment, and preserve it."

And then bring arguments for why that's the right environment to support your sustainability goal.

I dunno, maybe the solution that optimizes for both maximal population and maximal sustainability is to replace all of the natural environment with designed and curated ecosystems.

"Don't harm the environment" just sounds like you get vicarious enjoyment from the idea of a stand of old growth redwoods somewhere on the California coast, that you'll never see and wouldn't know what to do with anyway, but we must preserve it because reasons.
I actually have seen and hiked through old growth redwoods in person and have fond memories of the same. It would be a shame if children of the future don't have that opportunity.
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Old 18th April 2019, 01:04 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I didn't move the goalpost, rather I assumed it was commonly understood that human life has intrinsic value, and what that means. Apparently I was wrong to assume that. That's pretty depressing.
No, you weren't wrong to assume that, it's just that you seem to be assuming that human life has an absolute value that trumps all other considerations.

A simple example: a million more people could be accommodated by flattening that area of rain forest, leading to the extinction of dozens of rare species. Would those extra humans be worth the loss? The way you've framed your point leads people to suppose that you feel it's a price worth paying.
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Old 18th April 2019, 02:28 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat
I didn't move the goalpost, rather I assumed it was commonly understood that human life has intrinsic value, and what that means. Apparently I was wrong to assume that. That's pretty depressing.
You were not, we all assume that, nobody said otherwise.
I assumed it was commonly understood that all life has some intrinsic value. That you don't understand that is to me even more depressing.
I still have no idea of what your point is, you are being very cryptic.
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Old 18th April 2019, 07:15 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I'm not trying to get into a pedantic argument over the meaning of words, but surely it is commonly understood that lots of other things have value too. Sorry to bum you out.
You say that like it contradicts something I said. But it doesn't.

Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
No, you weren't wrong to assume that, it's just that you seem to be assuming that human life has an absolute value that trumps all other considerations.
Why would you think that? You have read into my posts something which isn't actually there.
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Old 18th April 2019, 07:17 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I still have no idea of what your point is, you are being very cryptic.
What's cryptic about saying that there's a benefit to having more people?
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Old 18th April 2019, 07:26 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
What's cryptic about saying that there's a benefit to having more people?
Because it's not that simple, for all the reasons everyone has been explaining to you and you keep ignoring.
What is your point? How does it pertain to the ideal human population on the planet?
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Old 18th April 2019, 08:18 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Because it's not that simple
Did I say that was the only consideration? No, I did not.

Quote:
What is your point?
I just told you my point. It's not complicated.

Quote:
How does it pertain to the ideal human population on the planet?
Is it seriously not obvious?
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Old 18th April 2019, 08:21 AM   #65
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No, I don't get it.
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Old 18th April 2019, 08:56 AM   #66
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IF
human life is intrinsically valuable

THEN
more human life is desirable

THEREFORE
we should seek the maximum possible human population that can be sustained with the available resources

---

Note that this may imply complete replacement of the natural environment with a comprehensively engineered ecosystem that optimizes resource extraction and reuse across the board.

It may also imply systems of government that subordinate individual freedom to collective commitment to the goal of maximizing the sustainable human population.

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Old 18th April 2019, 10:15 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I'm not trying to get into a pedantic argument over the meaning of words, but surely it is commonly understood that lots of other things have value too. Sorry to bum you out.
Chairs have value in that human lives are improved by having them. Without anyone to sit on it, a chair has no value in itself. A human, on the other hand, who is alone in the universe will still have experiences that have value independent of anything external.
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Old 18th April 2019, 10:19 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
IF
human life is intrinsically valuable

THEN
more human life is desirable

THEREFORE
we should seek the maximum possible human population that can be sustained with the available resources

---

Note that this may imply complete replacement of the natural environment with a comprehensively engineered ecosystem that optimizes resource extraction and reuse across the board.

It may also imply systems of government that subordinate individual freedom to collective commitment to the goal of maximizing the sustainable human population.
It's not a linear equation.
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Old 18th April 2019, 10:37 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
It's not a linear equation.
No, it's not.

It's a conceptual framework for thinking about the topic and discussing what our goals actually are and how we're going to go about achieving them.
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Old 18th April 2019, 10:49 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No, it's not.

It's a conceptual framework for thinking about the topic and discussing what our goals actually are and how we're going to go about achieving them.
I think the point is that given that the equation isnít linear your THEN doesnít follow from your IF being true. Clinger made this point earlier in the thread.
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Old 18th April 2019, 11:01 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Yes, I would say that "the Mars environment is "harmed" by its thin atmosphere and lack of a magnetic field" because I value life (and environments hospitable to life) more than barren rocks and regolith.
I will try to keep your idiosyncratic definition of "harm" in mind in this discussion.

Quote:
If you prefer to express it that way, fine. I've already figured out what kind of environment I want. I want to preserve as much of the natural environment as possible. I want to the weather to be not too hot or too cold. I want there to be fish in the sea and elephants on the plains and forests of Africa, and old growth redwood forests on the pacific coast of North America.

I actually have seen and hiked through old growth redwoods in person and have fond memories of the same. It would be a shame if children of the future don't have that opportunity.
And that's totally fine. But now you're not actually trying to optimize for ideal sustainable population. You're trying to optimize for ideal population that preserves certain personal aesthetic and experiential values that you hold.

What you really want here isn't the ideal sustainable population. You want the minimum viable population, as being the one that leaves the least anthropogenic footprint on the "natural" environment. You could have a sustainable population of homesteaders, but each homesteader would cut down a patch of old-growth forest to build their home and clear some land for agriculture. You could figure out what's the minimum amount of forest needed to sustain a given population. You could cut back to that much forest, turning the rest of the land over to other population-sustaining uses. But while that would go towards your stated goal of the ideal sustainable population, it would go against your actual goal of minimum viable population.

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Old 18th April 2019, 11:17 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post

A simple example: a million more people could be accommodated by flattening that area of rain forest, leading to the extinction of dozens of rare species. Would those extra humans be worth the loss? The way you've framed your point leads people to suppose that you feel it's a price worth paying.
Or a million more people could be accommodated by restoring vast human desertified land, leading to the rescue of dozens of critically endangered species and a rescue from extinction. Would eliminating this potential human capital be worth the huge price? I think not.

See we humans have just as great a capacity for creativity as destruction. It absolutely is NOT a gross numbers game. There are behavioral aspects that make this a far more complex subject than this discussion is addressing.
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Old 18th April 2019, 11:25 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I think the point is that given that the equation isnít linear your THEN doesnít follow from your IF being true. Clinger made this point earlier in the thread.
I think Clinger makes the point that it's a complex problem and simply maximizing human population is not a practical solution to that problem. But it's still a problem of how to get the most sustainable human life value out of a system, given the assumption that human life has intrinsic value. You're still trying to figure out how to get as many humans as possible, up to the limit of maximum possible human life value.
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Old 18th April 2019, 11:26 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
No, you weren't wrong to assume that, it's just that you seem to be assuming that human life has an absolute value that trumps all other considerations.

A simple example: a million more people could be accommodated by flattening that area of rain forest, leading to the extinction of dozens of rare species. Would those extra humans be worth the loss? The way you've framed your point leads people to suppose that you feel it's a price worth paying.
Do those rare species have intrinsic value?
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Old 18th April 2019, 12:59 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I think the point is that given that the equation isnít linear your THEN doesnít follow from your IF being true. Clinger made this point earlier in the thread.
I think Clinger makes the point that it's a complex problem and simply maximizing human population is not a practical solution to that problem. But it's still a problem of how to get the most sustainable human life value out of a system, given the assumption that human life has intrinsic value. You're still trying to figure out how to get as many humans as possible, up to the limit of maximum possible human life value.
No. You have missed the point, quite spectacularly.

The part I highlighted is objectively incorrect. Maximizing the value of human life is not at all the same as getting "as many humans as possible". It is a mathematical fact that maximizing the value of human life can be incompatible with "get as many humans as possible, up to the limit of maximum possible human life value." That mathematical fact can be proved regardless of whether we are talking about the subjective value of individual lives or the collective total value of all human lives.

That mathematical fact can be (and has been) demonstrated even without disputing the assumption, which a few contributors appear to be making even though one of them has denied having done so, that human life is the only kind of life that has intrinsic value.
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Old 18th April 2019, 01:06 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Do those rare species have intrinsic value?
In my opinion, yes. If only because they're interesting and, perhaps, beautiful. They might also be useful.
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Old 18th April 2019, 01:10 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
In my opinion, yes. If only because they're interesting and, perhaps, beautiful. They might also be useful.
That's an extrinsic value. They're subjectively valuable to you, not innately valuable in and of themselves.
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Old 18th April 2019, 01:11 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by W.D.Clinger View Post
No. You have missed the point, quite spectacularly.

The part I highlighted is objectively incorrect. Maximizing the value of human life is not at all the same as getting "as many humans as possible". It is a mathematical fact that maximizing the value of human life can be incompatible with "get as many humans as possible, up to the limit of maximum possible human life value." That mathematical fact can be proved regardless of whether we are talking about the subjective value of individual lives or the collective total value of all human lives.

That mathematical fact can be (and has been) demonstrated even without disputing the assumption, which a few contributors appear to be making even though one of them has denied having done so, that human life is the only kind of life that has intrinsic value.
Human value is not a system of formal logic. I don't agree that it can be reduced to a mathematical equation.
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Old 18th April 2019, 02:39 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That's an extrinsic value. They're subjectively valuable to you, not innately valuable in and of themselves.
Fair point. I'd love to see a definition of 'intrinsic' that holds logical water, mind. That is, one that's not subjective.
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Old 18th April 2019, 03:07 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Fair point. I'd love to see a definition of 'intrinsic' that holds logical water, mind. That is, one that's not subjective.
for its own sake

Intrinsic is easy and can be defined in a way that is not subjective. The trick is rather the "value". Values are always subjective by definition. So intrinsic value is a sort of subjective value we give something for it's own sake rather that what good(s) can be derived from it. But asking this not be subjective is kinda missing the whole point really.
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