I don't think I understand. An amoeba, if it could have ideals, would have something similar to human ideals? Is that what the "if it could" part means?
good point, I don't think amoebas would debate abortion (for example)!!! how can they?!
Nature could still be self-aware, but unable to act.
This is true, unless by gaining the intelligence, they somehow created the ability to act . .to animate themselves . .hmmmm *rubs chin*. Unless the trees became like the ones in The Lord of the Rings, 3dog's right.
I don't think it's unsettling at all. It's enlightening, at least to me. It's so very easy for us humans to place ourselves on that grand pedestal, proclaiming mastery of the universe. But, really, we're just creatures, creatures here on Earth, albeit with the very unique abilities aforementioned.
Not a bad thing at all. It's a stepping stone to humbleness, I think. A humbleness we often misplace during our climb up that pedestal.
I'd rather avoid climbing the pedestal. I like it better down here, sometimes I get curious about the view though!!
I agree that we are a product of nature and reliant upon it. With the way you've defined nature you are saying that we are part natural and part unnatural (the conscious part). I'm not sure the conscious is unnatural, but I don't think that's important in this context.. . .
Well, in a hypothetical where it was best for the world, nature, our community and the other lifeforms if we as a species went extinct, would you take that option? 
I don't really see an argument for a non anthropocentric take on the issue. We use nature for our own gain and we don't have it's best interests at heart--because it doesn't have any interests, only we do. So pollution etc is only bad if it comes back to hurt us out of proportion to the benefit it provides.
Technically, everything comes from something natural, even the most processed chemical started as and was processed with only the materials that are provided for us . . .Our consciousness is natural. It was either given to us or evolved, either way . . .all roots reach back to the earth.
If you believe in the whole 2012 thing (which, to a degree, I do) then nature will take care of our damage, without our say in the matter.
I think that nature (Earth, in this case) does has an interest, not for gain like humans, but for balance. No matter how powerful or intelligent people get, or how much they overpopulate . . nature always finds a way to "clean house" and bring things closer to equilibrium, when a change is needed. No matter how tall our buildings, how big our ships . . . .nature can take them out, and will . . . . if the need for an "uncluttering" arrives. I see the Earth as a living thing that has an interest in it's own continuance.
I think it is unsettling. Humans are generally not accustomed to thinking of themselves as part of everything (outside of those who believe in a divine plan). If most people stop and think of how we are infinitesimally small compared to everything and, more importantly, a part of it. An analogy would be voting in an election. We are all apart of the decision, but we are all a very small part and each of us individually has no real bearing, we must be taken as a whole. :detective:
It's true that we are a very small part of the world, and that the time in which man has existed is barely a blip on the timeline of Earth (as far as we know), but I also see everything as all connected and that we should realize this as well. . . .This is how you hurt yourself by hurting the planet: by "sh!tt!ng where you sleep" so-to-speak, people pollute in the water, forgetting that we all drink that water!!! . . stuff like that. . . All the damage we do, will affect our family, friends and future generations.
Does anyone else feel our place within the ecosphere or Gaia as it is commonly known, is as a cancer?
We reproduce out of control and consume everything we can, destroying the ecosphere and most of the things in it.
Even given our huge potential for knowledge we still choose capitalism as our political system. A Darwinian ideology which says everyone for themselves - a rat race.
Potentially we will wipe ourselves out in the next century and I can't help but think 'no great loss'.
I find myself thinking this way, at times, as well. It's unavoidable thought when you witness certain travesties of man.
I've felt this way and can definitely identify with your sentiments. Yes, I often think Agent Smith had a point there euphemistically. But we are a product of nature, how we act and what we do could be viewed as cancerous (and indeed it often is), but that doesn't change what we are.
I'm deeply ashamed of the damage we do to ourselves, our surroundings and other creatures; all in the name of consumption (as if this is a good thing). Yea, I think there's a good chance we'll wipe ourselves out too, and I too feel that if this ends up being the case, it's no-big-loss; not in the larger scheme of things.[INDENT] I look upon our species' desire to mass produce and mass consume kind of like a long, heavy train running down a hill; yes, it can be stopped before we destroy ourselves, it's just not every likely. 1) There's not much desire to do so -and- 2) Even if everyone did want to change, there's a large chance we couldn't stop it in time. 
[/INDENT]The point of this thread is: Given our intelligence and ability to evaluate conditions, we have the potential to be the 'only voice' for life; rather than spend our time looking for more efficient ways to consume and destroy it. This being the case, do we have a moral obligation (as part of a community) as well as motivated-self interest to be that "Advocate"? The more we look at ourselves as being a part of this community, the more one is likely to see value in conserving and renewing.  . . .
This incites a big " oh, [email protected]
" thought when I think about how right you seem to be
i think that we do have that obligation, especially because we are the ones causing most of the damage in the first place, I feel like we have an obligation not to allow other lives (flora,fauna, and yes, even mineral) to suffer because of our actions. They're all caught in the crossfire.