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The People Cheering for Humanity's End

Climate anxiety and environmental destruction have been added to the list of apocalyptic fears. Nuclear war is now no longer our only worry. A large group of philosophers and scientists in many fields are now proposing that our time on Earth should come to an end. What was once considered good—steady population growth, decline in global poverty, and rapid progress in health science and medicine—should now be looked at in a completely different light. According to an article in The Atlantic:

The Bible gives the negative commandment “Thou shalt not kill” as well as the positive commandment “Be fruitful and multiply,” and traditionally they have gone together. But if being fruitful and multiplying starts to be seen as itself a form of killing, because it deprives future generations and other species of irreplaceable resources, then the flourishing of humanity can no longer be seen as simply good. Instead, it becomes part of a zero-sum competition that pits the gratification of human desires against the well-being of all of nature—not just animals and plants, but soil, stones, and water.

If that’s the case, then humanity can no longer be considered a part of creation or nature, as science and religion teach in their different ways. Instead, it must be seen as an antinatural force that has usurped and abolished nature, substituting its own will for the processes that once appeared to be the immutable basis of life on Earth. This understanding of humanity’s place outside and against the natural order is summed up in the term “Anthropocene,” which in the past decade has become one of the most important concepts in the humanities and social sciences. ... It is a rejection of humanity’s traditional role as Earth’s protagonist, the most important being in creation.

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