Statesboro, GA, USA
All this is to say, even though you argue that different living things are seperate, I will argue even beyond that and say that even the living and unliving are not seperate.
Essorant, I see that this discussion again bogs down upon your tendency toward monism. If you cannot think that living things and non-living things are "separate" in a striking and absolute way, then it probably won't be profitable for us to discuss any absolute and momentous differences between animals and humans. For you all things are one, including absurdities, and I cannot accept this. Although if you are going to be totally consistent, you need to stop suggesting that someone else may be wrong or mistaken, for wrong and right in your world has to be essentially the same.
It may be true that humans do some better things than animals. But it is true also that certain humans do better things than certain other humans. Do you think those humans are then superior as beings because they do better things?
No, it is the opposite, I think humans do better things because they are superior, because of their nature. I have been told that humans are uniquely made in the image of God, and what I see confirms that amazing statement. I am not just observing behaviors, and by a process of induction concluding that man must be totally unique (in a totally unique way). Though one may reasonably do so, as Chesterton pointed out that man is most divine when considered as a mere animal.
Chaucer is a better human because he wrote better poems? The Pope is a better human because he follows his religion better? The president is a better human being than all of us because he is better at running the country?
The very complex question of what makes a human a better human is not the thrust of this thread. But suffice it to say that it is not so obvious to me that all humans are equal (the most beneficent attitudes toward others, still bears this out in practice). Though all humans should be treated with dignity simply because they are human, and made in the image of God.
Because our instincts generally urge us to preserve ourselves foremost, and therefore our civilization does too. Our instincts and civilization together establish an organization that tries its hardest to preserve and protect ourselves foremost. We try to preserve humans most because we are humans and therefore we are more important to ourselves than any other animal. We also try to preserve other animals to a great extent, but still a lesser extent, only because they are less important to us.
You repeat only what is obvious. You've described what I've asked you to defend. My question to you was: If there is nothing of momentous import dividing humans from animals, then why is this radical difference in treatment justified. And your answer is essentially that "we are selfish". Upholding "civilization" as a justification does very little to answer this, since it is just another way of saying "what humans do".
Again, why would killing humans to eat them be morally atrocious? The answer can't be simply that it wouldn't be conducive to civilization. First of all, civilization is a concept that is far less important than individual people. Secondly, it would only raise the question of why there should be any moral obligation to uphold civilization. You might reply that the virtues of civilization are self evident. But my answer to you is that they are not ... unless humanity is distinguished in some radical way that is not merely subjective, or imagined, or just another form of biological self preservation.
But it doesn't make sense to say humans are most important to the animal kingdom or to the world. Especially when if the humans were erased, the rest of the animalkingdom and the world would not only continue well enough, but in many ways be healthier and saved from many hazards that come with the civilizations of humans.
"Most important" by whose standards? Who is determining the importance (or unimportance) of humans in your scenario?