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Was the eradication of smallpox/rinderpest genocide against a species?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Dreadnought, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

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    I know that viruses are in that sketchy "part living, part not" category. But I thought about this rather randomly at work today: by eradicating smallpox and rinderpest from the world, humanity actively and knowingly brought an end of a "species" from the earth (not including samples frozen in storage). I also know that genocide isn't exactly the correct word to use here, but I'm using it for lack of another term.

    Did humanity commit a form of species-based genocide by eradicating these two diseases? If so, was it unjust or immoral in that we wiped a species off the earth? Would this sort of action against creatures deemed more "alive" (such as against predators in developing countries) fall under a different category?

    (This is not a political thread; it is a "food for thought" thread).
     
  2. potatokiosk

    potatokiosk Deity

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    Yes, and destroying viruses is not immoral. Even if the welfare of viruses had any moral value, which is absurd, it's still morally permissible to kill in self defense.

    Oh, and I don't think trying to eradicate all people of a particular ethnicity is somehow worse than, say, trying to eradicate left handed people.
     
  3. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Let's spice things up a notch: replace smallpox with HIV virus and apply morality there. (Not a hypothetical, as the H. Father proposes not using condoms.)
     
  4. TomYo689

    TomYo689 Emperor

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    Yes it was a horrible genocide. It makes the holocaust look like a joke. It only happened because not enough vegans had sympathy for it. Human genocide on the other hand, every human without a specific severe personality disorder is capable of sympathy.

    And that is why the smallpox genocide is not immoral.
     
  5. Arwon

    Arwon

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    Denotatively yes, I suppose it was.

    Oh well.
     
  6. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    Disease has been the scourge of the human race basically forever. I'm generally in favor of wiping it out whenever possible, though I worry that unchecked population growth might eventually be even worse.
     
  7. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Well luckily there's no such thing as "unchecked population growth"; apart from there being checks, checks can also be imposed - and have been imposed - by the population itself.
     
  8. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Deity

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    I don't see how you can remove the samples kept in storage from the equation? It changes things significantly.
     
  9. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy You gave me my own tail?

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    Xenocide rather than genocide?
     
  10. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    This should be moved to Tavern.
     
  11. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I agree.
     
  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Just goes to show that the removal of an entire species is not always morally wrong, even if technically there are parallels with genocide.

    It's much like peeing on a stranger is usually morally wrong, unless you are trying to save their life because they were stung by something or other.

    Exceptions to every "rule"
     
  13. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Does genocide apply to non-living things?

    If you're one of those kooks who think viruses are living, consider prions instead.
     
  14. duckstab

    duckstab Child of Noble Family

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    "The greatest depth for the greatest span" applies here. The more complex an organism is, the greater its capacity to experience suffering, the less justifiable it is to treat it as a nonentity. I have no ethical problems with eradicating viral species to preserve complex life, just as I have no problems eating plants and fungi to sustain my own existence.
     
  15. TomYo689

    TomYo689 Emperor

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    How many humans is a dead whale worth mr duckstab
     
  16. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    Yeah, I guess so. But I don't think that's a thing we should feel bad about. It certainly wasn't intelligent, and at the end of the day is just another in the long line of species that went extinct.
     
  17. dutchfire

    dutchfire Deity

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    Yeah, we killed most of the Jews, but we froze a couple of them, in case anyone needs them later on. That's okay right?
     
  18. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Smallpox is a virus and therefore not alive. So genocide against smallpox is a misnomer. Nothing unethical about it (I know the OP knows this, but I repeat it for emphasis).

    Even if it were alive, I don't think it had any use within the ecosystem other than to propogate itself. I guess you could argue that it was population control on humans (like wolves to elk), but since I place humans on a separate moral level than all other animals, I don't find destroying a species that exists solely to kill people as immoral.
     
  19. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Deity

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    Another murderous brutal genocide made possible by the We$tern "science":gripe:
     
  20. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Deity

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    I almost spat my coffee out this morning when I saw this! Leaving out the odiousness of this comparison, the differences are so glaring that I'm half thinking you are joking :confused:

    Smallpox is nothing but a blight on society given current knowledge. It has caused intense suffering the world over. There is no practical reason to want it around. Jews OTOH are our brothers in humanity and every one of them, the good, the bad and the ugly are precious.

    But to eradicate smallpox altogether is outside of the boundaries of our charter as custodians of the earth. Who knows, maybe some day the cure for cancer will be unlocked as a result of further study of the smallpox virus. There are practical and philosophical reasons not to purposely extinguish it forever.
     

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