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Short Inquisitions #5: Is Humanity Supposed to Go Extinct?

1 min read
Short Inquisitions #5: Is Humanity Supposed to Go Extinct?
Photo by Ana Municio / Unsplash

Table of contents

Short Inquisitions is a series of blog posts where I share my questions and thoughts, hoping to retain an ever-curious soul.

I went to the Smithsonian this past summer in Washington, D.C. One section of the museum was dedicated to telling the history of human evolution. If you walked far enough toward the present, you’d find a collection of those in the genus Homo.

(Yeah. I thought the name was funny, too.)

Okay, I thought. There have been a lot of species of humans before. And that was about it. I kept walking around the room, reading about our progenitors.

A few weeks ago, I suddenly realized we’re animals. Hear me out: we’re animals—and we’re not necessarily better than any other species. Sure, we may give humans a metaphysical importance that other species don’t get, but in Nature’s point of view, we’re just like every other species.

And just like every other species, we’re bound to have our end.

Right? Nature doesn’t play favorites.

I know this isn’t some sort of revelation, but it is a slight variation on the “we’re bound to extinction” theories I’ve heard. What if we’re supposed to go extinct? (I don’t mean “supposed to” in a theological sense. I’m ignoring any truth claims about the veracity of religion here.) But with purely ecological considerations, should we go extinct? And if not, why our species? And why shouldn’t we conform to what has befallen other species for eons?

Michel Liao

Michel Liao

Boise, Idaho, United States
Hello! I'm a sophomore studying computer science at Princeton. I like reading, rock climbing, and running.