Clemson University Climate Change Rant: “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Professor Toddy May, from his Clemson University page.

h/t BreitbartProfessor Todd May thinks that when you consider the pain we inflict on animals through climate change, any reasonable assessment suggests humans should not be allowed to continue.

Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?

Our species possesses inherent value, but we are devastating the earth and causing unimaginable animal suffering.

By Todd May
Mr. May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University.

Dec. 17, 2018

There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. In reflecting on this question, I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?

So, then, how much suffering and death of nonhuman life would we be willing to countenance to save Shakespeare, our sciences and so forth? Unless we believe there is such a profound moral gap between the status of human and nonhuman animals, whatever reasonable answer we come up with will be well surpassed by the harm and suffering we inflict upon animals. There is just too much torment wreaked upon too many animals and too certain a prospect that this is going to continue and probably increase; it would overwhelm anything we might place on the other side of the ledger. Moreover, those among us who believe that there is such a gap should perhaps become more familiar with the richness of lives of many of our conscious fellow creatures. Our own science is revealing that richness to us, ironically giving us a reason to eliminate it along with our own continued existence.

One might ask here whether, given this view, it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering. Although I do not have a final answer to this question, we should recognize that the case of future humans is very different from the case of currently existing humans. To demand of currently existing humans that they should end their lives would introduce significant suffering among those who have much to lose by dying. In contrast, preventing future humans from existing does not introduce such suffering, since those human beings will not exist and therefore not have lives to sacrifice. The two situations, then, are not analogous.

Read more:

Send your kids to Clemson University, assuming they don’t commit suicide on the spot after being exposed to Professor Todd May’s viciously anti-humanist green philosophy, they could well be talked out of ever having their own children.

153 thoughts on “Clemson University Climate Change Rant: “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?”

    • Predators cause a lot of animal suffering. Should we hunt them to extinction?

      Germs and viruses cause animal suffering. Should we eliminate all germs and viruses?

      Let’s face it, the only way to prevent animal suffering is to sterilize the earth.

      All sentient life involves some suffering. Todd May has zero moral depth and zero understanding.

      • This fellow qualifies as a university Professor? That says a lot about his university in particular and current day academics in general. Is there any speck of a possibility he would act himself on this recommendation? – None. Apparently posturing, lieing and hypocrisy are now venerable academic activities.

        • Some activists actually suffer for the cause. Simone Weil comes to mind. I can’t think of any university professor activists who particularly suffer for their various causes.

        • “This fellow qualifies as a university Professor? ”

          This fellow qualifies as a PHILOSOPHY Professor….

          • Agreed. He’s asking a valid philosophical question. But Philosophy professors are supposed to be smart guys who contemplate the fundamental nature of things. To me, his premise about “the increasingly threatening predations of climate change” is pretty dumb. It shows he hasn’t thought the issue of ‘climate change’ through very well.

          • “There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. In reflecting on this question, I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?”

            A good philosophical debate is like masturbating, but using your mind instead of your…
            Professor May’s question “Would human extinction be a tragedy?” is purely rhetorical (for now).

        • (Above) ‘..Apparently posturing, lieing [stet} and hypocrisy are now venerable academic activities…’

          There’s no risk in venturing the point across the entire academic landscape. (So-called) ‘education’ does little to alter human nature (at the top of the food chain).

          • Well philosophy Prof Professor Todd May surely knows all about atmospheric science, oceanography, meteorology, ecology, plant science, animal science, hydrology, geology, mathematics, etc., etc. to understand so much about climate change that he is willing to kill all future humanity.
            Climate experts are such nice people, want to kill your future children, grand children,
            great grand children, all the way to the end.
            He should show some leadership and eliminate all his posterity. Those that are so willing to take or prevent human life are never willing to show leadership and do these things themselves before they urge it on others.

      • Exactly, cB!
        This is some of the highest potency fertilizer I’ve ever seen. I think we’re all getting used to the idea that a significant number of our “greatest minds” have their heads so far down the rabbit hole that they look like complete asses to any sane and rational human being. It has become time for the complete overhaul of our university systems to protect our kids from the unstable denizens of tenured security.
        I don’t know what these idiots will do once some common sense is returned. Picking up bottles in ditches is environmentally friendly I suppose and they can howl at the moon if do it at night. I wouldn’t count on them not wandering out into traffic though.

    • Anthropomorphism

      I just asked the pet yard squirrels while I gave them all breakfast…
      …they said they didn’t give a s…

    • Most human due to migraines having to read this tripe (and taxpayers and parents who have to pay for this crap in universities).

    • About massive animal extermination camps! We are among those animals as well. Our headless selfish greedy activities are these camps. Overfishing, deforestation, overpopulation, pollution etc. That’s nothing to do with natural hunter – prey suffering. It’s to do with the balance – natural cycle, we should give back what we take.

      Narrow-minded people have nothing else to do just to post silly comments everywhere and all the time. Get something useful to do!

      [????? .mod]

      • Narrow-minded people have nothing else to do just to post silly comments everywhere and all the time.,/blockquote>

        You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, I’m sure somebody, somewhere, likes you.

        Overfishing: mostly solved due to quotas and fish farming.
        Deforestation: Don’t look know, but forests have been expanding for over 100 years.
        Overpopulation: Isn’t true now, won’t be true ever.
        Pollution: Don’t look now, but pollution is dropping everywhere except the third world. It would drop there as well except do-gooders such as yourself have decided to feel superior by preventing them from developing.

      • Nothing useful to do, Anytony?

        Gee, I’ve written five chapters in just one book this month. What have YOU done, besides whine?

      • Anthony

        Our headless selfish greedy activities are these camps. Overfishing, deforestation, overpopulation, pollution etc. That’s nothing to do with natural hunter – prey suffering.

        Errrrrr……..Actually it is. Many animals have sown the seeds of their own destruction by over predation. If humans over predate, we die out as a species. Unlikely as we have the intelligence to continue hunting many prey rather than relying on a single food source.

        We are part of nature, we exist within, and part of it.

        If we go too far we all die off………too bad. Plenty have gone before.

        Stop your lilly livered whining.

    • Re “the pain we inflict on animals through climate change”

      The ice age caused a lot of animal suffering. It did a pretty good job of wiping out boreal forests and all other plants. Sea levels dropped which was devastating to coral reefs.

    • “Dr. May took his Ph.D. from Penn State University in 1989, and has been at Clemson (after a brief stint at Indiana University of Pennsylvania) since 1991. He specializes in Continental philosophy, especially recent French philosophy.”

    • He is a doozy, isn’t he? From his CV page

      “He specializes in Continental philosophy, especially recent French philosophy. He has authored thirteen philosophical books, focusing on the philosophical work of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Rancière. His book The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism has been influential in recent progressive political thought, and his work on Rancière is among the first in English………
      …His teaching interests are varied; he has found himself teaching classes as diverse as Anarchism, The Thought of Merleau-Ponty, Resistance and Alterity in Contemporary Culture, Secular Ethics in a Materialist Age, and Postmodernism and Art. ”

      Post modern shamanism is what I would call it.

      • For reasons noted below I shall resist the ready temptation to adopt professor May’s own outlook by accordingly inviting him to self-destruct by his own sorry ‘final solution’ standard. Instead I would supplement his deficient knowledge base by noting that aside from photosynthesizing botanicals all earthly life depends upon each other for its sustenance. And by the way that applies in mighty ways to microscopic malaria parasites and their symbiotic Anopheles mosquitoes as much as to grizzly bears and average Joes. So for a start, let’s drop the self-indulgent guilt-tripping as though it were some compelling guiding premise for desperate conduct.

        Professor May is simply the predictable byproduct of the philosophes he has specialized in, with the heedless nihilism of a Michel Fouchault (dead of the AIDS he was content to spread around to many others). And if he wants a historic philosophical project to tremble over, he might consider whether his has been the paradoxical, if in the end inevitable, fruition of a blind faith in the faultless promise of a headstrong ‘Age of Reason’ itself, with those countless corpses in the recurring service of some no doubt enlightened ’cause du jour’. For a few of us the received quite different standard of “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” springs to mind in this commemorative season of the speaker’s birth.

        • Professor May seems to me like his mobius strip like progessive illogicality is really just in a philosophical death struggle with the basic notion that excrement stinks, including his.

          How could such a philosophical ‘injustice’ be visited upon someone so obviously ‘enlightened’? Is there no true justice in the world? In the universe??? Was Gaia asleep when Professor May was born or at least had his revelation? Has she not even noticed him?

          These must be terrible, terrible burdens for such an intellect as Professor May’s. No wonder he has written 13 books to explore his hideous dilemma of a life.

          • Komrade Kuma

            Philosophy: The science of futility.

            Ask a question never expecting an answer.

            Indeed, how can such a subject be taught, far less documented, to be taught from.

            I have had innumerable philosophical conversations late into the wee small hours after some great evenings in the pub.

            Yet to come away with an answer.

          • HOtSCot,

            ‘Philosophy’ actually started of as largely scientific equiry (Archimedes, the Epicureans etc) but I think the rational minds soon realised that there were a lot of nut jobs attracted to the idea of being a ‘philosopher” ( it probably got one laid regularly or at least social attention, a bit like being on Twitter say) and so the rational ones put distance and labelling between them and the ancient forebears of Professor May.

    • This gent doesn’t sound like he’d be much fun at a cocktail party with his depressing opinions. What a nihilistic misanthrope.

      • Well, you never know what he’d be like socially. He might be a lot of fun. I took the trouble to use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to preview a bit of his The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism. It’s quite amusing, and, in fact, it’s the finest academic work I’ve read this week.*

        Here’s a brief quote from the Amazon description of the above-mentioned book: “…After positioning poststructuralist political thought against the background of Marxism and the traditional anarchism of Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Proudhon, Todd May shows what a tactical political philosophy like anarchism looks like shorn of its humanist commitments—namely, a poststructuralist anarchism….” Whoa!

        * For the curious, this is the short URL to the Parts 1–4 links of the other work I read this week:

    • He has a bosom companion in Princeton’s Pete Singer, who thinks it’s perfectly OK to kill newborn humans: “Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person,…” He’s an ethics professor, by the way. My best friend through high school wound up in the PR department at Princeton. He said something to the effect that Singer made his two years there “The worst 5 years of my life.”

  1. I remember fondly the days when conservatives and Christians were accused of having a “holier than thou” attitude.

    Today, we see from the left what resembles a body-building pose down where everyone flexes to show how sensitive and moral they are. Whoever is offended by the littlest little thing is the most sensitive, and whoever is willing to do the most to save humanity is the most moral.

    “I’m willing to buy a Prius to save the world.”
    “I’m willing for other people who pay taxes to pay more taxes to save the world.”
    “I’m willing to pay higher taxes to save the world.”
    “I’m willing to dress like a vagina and yell at people walking by to save the world.”
    “I’m willing to buy solar panels to save the world.”
    “Well, I’m willing to eat locusts to save the world.”

    “Well, I’m willing to wish for human extinction to save the world!”

    • I’m willing to tear up the whole university system in order to save humanity from the disgusting mind droppings of a significant number of professors. That’s gotta get me some points!

  2. Lead by example. If you think this way, stop having kids, or wipe yourself off the face of the earth. This is how we evolve. Hopefully in a few generations we are better off. In one breath we have to save everyone and the next breath we are over populated.

    • Funny how they never “Get the ball rolling” by starting with themselves. That would set a good example for their followers…hopefully. : )

    • Mark and John, you have it exactly right. In the spirit of Officers Candidate School, whose motto is “follow me!”, this professor and others like him, should lead the way. I might even watch.

      • Always loved that motto! Especially when hearing it shouted from 50-100 meters behind me. These are the kind of people who have always advocated the removing of “human weeds” while never considering themselves to be wearing that nomenclature.

      • I so want to watch the lemming train of climate activists jumping off the nearest cliff!

        Not that it would ever happen, sadly… the bums seem to live by the motto, “Rules for thee, not for me.”

    • Oh, he’ll do it! He prefers to “lead from behind” like another, recent great Leader of the Left in the US. In this case, leading from behind means “I’ll make sure everyone else does it first then I’ll follow”…

  3. Unfortunately, it is several decades too late to convince Mr. May’s parents that they should not have children.

  4. I notice complete lack of details describing this supposed “unimaginable animal suffering at the hands of humans.” Seems to me our planet’s 300,000 (or whatever) species are doing OK. California diverted much needed water to make sure one regional tiny little fish (which no one has ever heard of)
    would not suffer population decline. What a low IQ moron. I agree that humans like him we do not need.

    • Other animals create a fair amount of suffering in the creatures that happen to be below them on the food chain. It doesn’t seem to bother them one bit. Why should I worry about them? If I were unfortunate enough to come face-to-face with a polar bear, would it agonize over whether or not to include me on its breakfast menu? I think not.

      • You think being eaten by a bear’s bad? Try having a sphex wasp lay its egg in you. It first paralyses you so you can’t get away. While you’re still alive when the egg hatches, the newborn grub digs into your flesh and proceeds to eat you from the inside out. It must be a hideously painful death.

        So what gives this jerk the right to criticize human behaviour?

  5. “would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering. ”

    You first, Professor Todd May. Show us you really mean what you say.

  6. Todd May be nuts. Or he May be worse than just nuts. What’s he talking about, sending people to extermination camps? Haven’t we been through something like this recently?

    I don’t know where he gets the “suffering” thing, unless he’s been watching too much Hope for Paws, which rescues abandoned dogs and cats, and finds new homes for them.

    If he is serious, he should volunteer to be the first to die in his death cult. Belgium does euthanize people at their request now. He could go there and get it over with.

    How many wackos like him are there that don’t publicize their death cult attitude quite so much? Only asking, because I got the paper once morning and then on the front page was the news about the massacre at Jonestown, Guyana, with that suicidal psycho Jim Jones directing that mass murder.

    You first, Todd. You set the example, and then you can see how many want to follow you.

  7. Have read several articles putting this stupidity forward during the last few months, and yet again I make the same statement I do to these idiots each time they toddle out with this crap, you go first. Then the Human Race could move forward with our next evolutionary step, minus such sad examples human beings.

  8. Sounds as if he’s calling for mass sterilization rather than genocide. How thoughtful of him.

    Well, African TFR’s are amongst the highest, so I guess his policy would involve sending teams of American or European sterilizers to Africa.

    No problem with that policy, right?

    • I’m wondering if the jolly professor’s pronouncements don’t create a hostile work and study environment for some members of the university community, such as those from high fertility countries? I think administrators should be notified.

    • Philosophers and the Elitists like generalizations, silly talk that goes nowhere.

      No discussion of real, specific problems which are messy.

      The live in a bubble Elitists cannot even talk about Africa.

      Our beliefs about the Africa problems are Disney like fantasy.

      Based on current trends there will be 2.5 billion people in Africa by 2050, an addition of 1.3 billion people.

      Aid money to Africa has been an absolute failure as Africa’s number one fundamental problem is a lack of law and order which aid money cannot solve. Chaos is evil.

      How many products are made in Africa? Almost none.
      ‘Africa’s rapidly growing human population is predicted to more than double by 2050, a staggering increase of three and a half million people per month.

      By 2050 around 2.2 billion people could be added to the global population and more than half of that growth will occur in Africa.

      Africa will account for the highest population spurt with an additional 1.3 billion people on the continent, a new UN population report shows.

  9. Hmmm, I wonder if he has ever considered the “pain and suffering” most animals go through when they are being eaten (while still alive) by other wild animals in nature ? D’OH!

    • Yet a bullet or arrow to the vitals is “cruel”. 😐

      It’s a point of pride and/or principle for hunters to strive for the clean kill that’s over quickly for the game, and to make every effort to track it and finish it in the event of a non-lethal first shot.

      We’re the only creatures on Earth who entertain the concept of the mercy kill.

  10. I wonder if Professor May’s position will cause even one member of the CAGW alarmist camp to question the “wisdom” of intelligentsia supporting their group-think . . . and to reflect that maybe he/she has made a REALLY BIG mistake.

    • Most of the intelligentsia will assume that “Dr.” May is talking about the undesirables, not about people like themselves.

  11. Who would even want an impressionable teen going to a university at this point? A guy like this one should clearly be sacked and offered a job making pottery wind chimes.

    • Being at the top of the food chain, and possessing several excellent hunting rifles, I don’t have to worry about lions. Temps going up, or down, is not much of a worry so I’m golden!

        • Ah the old it’s not the lion/tiger/bear/(insert predator here) that I have to out run, it’s you (the slower moving person I’m with). That one never gets old. Problem is, what if there are multiple lions/tigers/bears/(insert predators here)?

  12. I think it is time to put all these nuts back in locked ,white padded rooms, for their own safety of course… ; )

  13. A much more compelling philosophical reflection on modern man is the curious phenomenon of widespread acceptance of a theory that has no scientific laws, axioms, postulates, nor formulae that implores carbon based life forms to condemn carbon.

    Are syllogisms still taught by the Philosophy Department?

    Carbon Based life forms require Carbon
    Carbon Dioxide is the base of the food chain
    Carbon Dioxide is necessary to complete the Carbon Cycle of Life
    Therefore, mankind should pursue efforts to ensure Carbon Dioxide is sufficiently accessible to all future life

    • Nice syllogism, Thomas Horner. One I live by. Alarmists invert it. They are trying to destroy all forms of life. That makes them monsters.

      CAFOs and poison-based agriculture indeed cause immense suffering and harm. But alarmists miss all the positives. We are recovering our city rivers as bird sanctuaries. We have reversed the extinction of the quagga. We are just beginning to learn how to increase biodiversity. The finest Permaculture and Restoration Agriculture are restoring the Garden of Eden.

      And best of all: fossil fuels (and only fossil fuels) are increasing the carrying capacity of the Earth for Life.

  14. For the record, Professor May, I allow cave crickets to live in my bathroom. I make concerted efforts to rescue the errant ones that decide to inhabit my washing machine, before I do a load, and I routinely avoid squashing them accidentally by watching where I step in the zones where I allow them to live.

    As for an answer to your question, “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?”

    Honestly, no. It would not be a tragedy. Tragedy is a human judgment, and without humans, there would be no entity to make this judgment. The universe simply wouldn’t give a crap. But, frankly, I choose to enjoy my existence while it lasts, and hope that navel gazing on prospects of climate doom will soon be recognized as a social disorder.

  15. The insanity of these delusional anti-Human warmistas is beyond belief. Their rants are getting worse, assuming that is at all possible!

  16. ” it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering.”

    And, in an imperfect world, there should be other altruistic creatures who have already reached these conclusions and ended themselves…

    This sociopathic psychotic individual probably believes the dinosaurs ended themselves to “alleviate animal suffering”.

    This alleged teacher is rubber room material.
    He should not be anyone’s burden, so send him to live deep in uninhabited wilderness; e.g. inland Antarctic, remote sub polar islands, barren wastes. Getting chased by a few less particular carnivores may awaken real humanity instead of his self proclaimed anti-humanity.

  17. “My worst nightmare involves some fanatic somewhere who thinks that the world has too many human beings. Such a person would have no compunction about releasing some kind of pathogen. And this is the kind of thing that could be done by someone with access to a laboratory. It’s nothing very special. It’s not like making an atomic bomb, where you need large conspicuous facilities.” – Sir Martin Rees, here:

    Nothing to worry about. Move along folks.

  18. Odd? They never lead with themselves. I submit a better phrasing of the concerns would be: you are all inconvenient to my momentary passing concerns, please die.”

  19. I would encourage Dr May to set the example for humanity. Go first.

    Like every doomsday cult. Just Do It.

  20. He is a doozy, isn’t he? From his CV page

    “He specializes in Continental philosophy, especially recent French philosophy. He has authored thirteen philosophical books, focusing on the philosophical work of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Rancière. His book The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism has been influential in recent progressive political thought, and his work on Rancière is among the first in English………
    …His teaching interests are varied; he has found himself teaching classes as diverse as Anarchism, The Thought of Merleau-Ponty, Resistance and Alterity in Contemporary Culture, Secular Ethics in a Materialist Age, and Postmodernism and Art. ”

    Post modern shamanism is what I would call it.

    • Profound BS production a speciality, the type that if you ask them if they want to coffee it is point of pride to them that their answer would take at least 5 minutes of your time to listen too and a lot longer to understand.

    • He is symptomatic of the whole movement. His name appears frequently in scientific forecasts: The Arctic May become ice free… Animal species May go extinct…

  21. The really scary part is, he is allowed to be around children..! No wonder suicide rates are skyrocketing..

  22. You can bet he consider his own existence to be a very important thing indeed rather than a ‘burden on the planet ‘ For it usual for those that care little for others to care a great deal about themselves.

  23. This is the problem with almost all movements, the become a breeding ground for extremists. The environmental movement has had its share of misanthropists for a long time, but now it appears that hatred of humankind has become sufficiently mainstream in that movement that it has become acceptable as an educational philosophy. Shame on ANY educational institution that would provide a platform for such hate.

  24. This is the latest sign of suicidal extreme liberalism. Yes, it is necessary to protect civilization and, above all, western civilization. Otherwise suicide tendency is part of human nature and its manifestations are encountered every day.

  25. it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering.

    Whenever anyone expresses such a sentiment I immediate wonder why they don’t lead by example.

    • Indeed – and it need not entail “suffering,” either. Plenty of ways for them to do what, in their twisted world view, is the “right thing” without any suffering. Plus, it would have the added benefit of ending the suffering of anyone within earshot of this idiot, or who has the misfortune of reading anything he has written.

    • He was asking the question whether “it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering.” He concluded that would cause undue suffering of humans.

      His conclusion was that humans should stop procreating.

      Since a major tenet of modern philosophy is that altruism has selfishness underneath, he logically merely wants to justify his own selfishness. Perhaps he wants to be able to spend all his future earnings on himself, only.


    • John Endicott

      ……….it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering.

      Sounds more like a dictatorial instruction than a philosophical question.

      However, I do agree with him, we should all end our lives to alleviate the suffering of other species.

      Personally, I elect atmospheric CO2 poisoning over anything else. I think that’s reasonable, don’t you? I’ll be gone in, say, 10,000 years which should give me lots of time to reflect on my philosophical misgivings.

  26. I’ve said for a long time, at it’s base AGW philosophy is much worse than what led to the Holocaust.

    THEY were just targeting ‘mongrel races’ – THESE guys are pushing out and out extinction.

    And note the stuck-up, self-assured, superior-elitist position by which he judges the rest of us.

  27. Public (shudder) Intellectuals.
    There is an old but good saying:
    “Nonsense so blatant that only an intellectual would fall for it.”
    That they are far from reality has been long known. I really liked the ancient description about an intellectual.
    Someone who upon hearing the opening bars to the “William Tell Overture”, did NOT think of the “Lone Ranger”.
    But a line I’ve been working on lately in response to Dr. May’s concerns as well as to others compelled to mess up the lives of as many people as possible.
    Nihilism will be imposed until it is seen not to work.
    Dr. May’s inanities could represent “ending action” for the long experiment in authoritarian government.

  28. I would presume that this diatribe was found on his bureau as he wrote his last words before exiting to
    that “big sabbatical in the sky.”

  29. we are devastating the earth and causing unimaginable animal suffering.

    When one means to say “you are devastating”, one should not say “we are devastating”.

    Anyway, I’m not devastating. He might be. He should draw the conclusions and not invoke “us”.

  30. In the 1970s, Jacob Bronowski brought us a British Documentary Series entitled ‘The Ascent of Man”. The most remarkable feature of this series, for me, was the idea that science did not evolve in a vacuum, but hand in hand with art, culture, philosophy and religion, each influencing the other over time. It brought home the idea that the history of humanity cannot be understood by studying any individual field of human endeavour, but must be understood as the melding of all human endeavours into a whole, intricate story.

    Without that big-picture idea, we might look at the writings of Todd May as an enigma; an isolated manifestation of ill-thought. But if we think of it as an aberration, we are missing the importance of it. The ideas that May is expressing are natural, ‘rational’ outcomes of the acceptance of assumptions and understandings, which are becoming foundational across the cultures of the modern world.

    The Renaissance was driven largely by the resurgence of Christianity, which has a foundational philosophy of human growth and expansion. Christianity is a philosophy of change, dynamics and miracles. It places the dominion of the universe in the hands of man, and provides divine permission for man to shape this world. The science and art of the Renaissance where nurtured in this cultural philosophy. New thoughts were rewarded and excitedly shared. Change was embarrassed and fervently sought.

    The renaissance emerged from the stagnation of the Islamic Empire, which was philosophically wedded to the intrangient world of mathematics and irrefutable proofs. For centuries, Islam was the face of culture, science and art, but its strict adherence to math and form made the culture rather stagnant and unchanging, as it largely remains to this day. (Watch Episode 4 of the Ascent of Man for more on this.)

    Oddly, the world is becoming full circle. Post modernism, with its ‘science based’ rejection of God, has thrown the baby out with the bath water. In the absence of a guiding light, we are turning back the idea of an immutable universe. As a species, we are rejecting the philosophy of a dynamic, optimistic world view in favor of a static world view. Our resources are constantly defined as finite and diminishing. The environment is viewed as pristine as the pythagorean theorem, immutable and unchanging. Numerical calculation is the language of this new philosophy. Computer models are replacing dynamic thought with calculated ‘truths’, and infidels are defined as those who do not accept these calculated truths as the best expression of reality. The computer is the new Mohammad, and we are in the midst of jihad of sorts.

    Todd May is a signpost, revealing the direction humanity is now gowing. He is equivalent to a sign that says “Bridge Out Ahead”. We can call the sign stupid if we want to. We can insist that the sign is wrong. But we ignore it at our own peril. We do not need to deal with the sign. We need to get off this road.

    We need to restore dynamic thinking to desirability. We need to make the word ‘growth’ a positive word again. We need to reattach a fundamental philosophy of optimism to the human condition. We need to celebrate the ever-growing, ever-changing dynamo of life, and retire, once again, the notion that the divine is only found in immutable truths, which always become the property of those with the ability to kill the most people.

  31. Pseudo-Intellectual Catastrophe Kitsch (PsICK)

    That’s what he is.

    “Hell is other people. Make other people get rid of themselves.”

  32. I read the article yesterday in the Times, and at the time there were over300 comments. Interesting reading, of those I read, which were many, well over half agreed with the author. Many appeared to be young folks. Scary.

  33. Largest national population is in China, 2nd is in India.

    Fastest growing regional population is in Africa.

    Fastest growing religion is Islam.

    So to achieve any significant reduction in animal suffering, you’d have to convince China, India, Africa and Islam to drastically curb their birth rates.

    That would make for an interesting TED talk; go for it Todd!

  34. This is why “contemporary philosophy” is an oxymoron. I read a while back a supposedly serious philosophical discussion on the morality of infanticide. Good thing Socrates got out while he could.

    Stupid op-eds like this is the reason serious people have stopped reading the NYHTimes. Please, read the comments section. If you think the professor is daft, take a gander at people who read the Times.

    • Indeed.

      As I told someone way back in the 80s who pulled the old “what if an alien came to earth and enslaved, tortured and ate humans as we have have done to animals” canard: “what if the alien is a giant carrot?”.

      • “what if the alien is a giant carrot?”.

        Then it would star in the worst episode of Lost In Space ever.

  35. There is no difference between Mr Todd May (he doesn’t deserve to be called “Prof.”) and Khmer Rouge. And, yes, he’s far worse than the Nazis and the Communists. Why? Because the Nazis cared, at least, about their own people, Germans, even if it all collapsed for them in the end, and the Communists cared about workers, at least in principle. People like Todd May care about no one. They are the whole humanity’s haters. If they ever get their way, why, they’ll send *everybody* to gas chambers. It is important that they are named for what they really are: aspiring mass-murderers. Even today, note, people are dying already because of Green’s murderous energy starvation policies.

  36. Don’t worry everyone**

    The Girls have it all worked out.

    Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a “baby bust” – meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size.

    add on these 2 little beauts….

    Life expectancy in the US has dropped once again, thanks in part to rising suicide and drug overdose rates

    Its been said around here quite a number of times, under the mistaken notion that being rich and clever is the root cause. How wrong is it possi…….

    ** Well OK, maybe DO worry – about an upcoming lack of Ad-Hominem targets such as this guy.

    As per the introduction to this story:

    Send your kids to Clemson University, assuming they don’t commit suicide

    It could only go downhill from there – please try to grasp the idea of Unreasonable Behaviour before the lawyer’s letters start arriving.

    And anyway – they’re topping themselves at whichever university they go to:
    Even in Australia:

    Obtained ‘On Prescription’ I don’t wonder from well qualified and scientifically trained doctors…

    He does deserve a bit of a poke though, Shakespeare is not any sort of Triumph of Humanity.
    His plays were the Trash TV of his time – dysfunctional characters in dysfunctional storylines.

    Where Shakespeare’s work has become A Triumph is in the creation of Pretension and Snobbery, yet another way for one group of rats-in-the-cage to claim superiority over another.
    And thus be justified in eating them.
    Wonder why that is, we’re not short of anything are we?
    We can’t be – we keep tellin ourselves how wonderful everything is like Willis’ story just recently…….

    Shakespeare he quotes

  37. Todd May belongs to the poststructuralist (or deconstructionist) school of philosophy.
    When Clive James described ‘deconstructionism’ as nonsense without advancing any supporting arguments proponents retorted that he couldn’t.
    James replied that, yes, he could.

  38. “Unless we believe there is such a profound moral gap between the status of human and nonhuman animals…”

    There is not a profound moral gap between humans and animals – there is an infinite moral gap. Animals are not moral creatures. They cannot sin or commit crimes. The fact that this professor can ponder morality (even in the ridiculous way he does so) illustrates that his premise, the equity of humans and animals, is a lie. No shark is wringing its fins about whether shark extinction might be a net good for all the other animals.

    The professor refuted himself when he sat down to write about morality.

    • Animals are not moral creatures. They cannot … commit crimes

      I don’t know about that, I recall seeing a video of a bra stealing cat. The cat would literally take underwear and run off with it in the dead of night. Theft is a crime. What cats (and other animals) can’t do is understand why their actions are wrong, but they are certainly capable of committing actions that the law classify as a crime.

      BTW, in medieval times, there are cases of animals that where put on trial for crimes:
      “In Medieval times, Europeans put animals that had committed crimes on trial, often providing them with all the same rights as people, including the right to a lawyer and a fair trial. While the punishments seem harsh to us today, keep in mind that humans were given the exact same treatment”

      so, yes, animals can commit crimes.

  39. “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?”

    Purely from a personal perspective my answer is no

    Economists have actually tried to put monetary value on different species. The universe does not



  40. The climate issue is proving a lightning rod to self-loathing. The ugly hate beauty. The dim-witted hate intelligence. The fraudulent hate the honest. The slip-shod and lazy hate the meticulous.

    The utter misanthropy of the warmist Luddite movement reminds one of an Old Testament account of the wisdom of Solomon. Two women argued about possession by of a baby, both claiming to be mother. In the end Solomon proposes to cut the child in half. The real mother identifies herself as the one refusing that solution while offering the baby to the other. The pretend mother had no interest in the child’s welfare.

    In like manner, the modern environmental movement pretends to be interested in human welfare but in outbursts like that of Todd May show that pretence of philanthropy is total and cynical. Power for us, death to everyone else, hows that for a manifesto? Je suis Macron.

  41. For the God Called Earth

    When one worships “dirt” as his god and has no belief in a higher power then it is easy for him to consider the extinction of humans as a good thing.

    Todd May – NOT!

  42. What these idiots do not understand is that a planet that does not develop intelligent life is a total waste of a planet. And, it’s a given that an intelligent lifeform will learn quickly how to exploit its environment. Yes, we are developing the skills to lower damage to the environment, but the idea that we can have no effect is simply wrong. We all occupy part of the landscape, exclude other lifeforms from our space, and we need stuff. It’s that simple, we all have ecological footprints.

    A planet without intelligent life is a planet that is nothing but survival 24/7/365, just kill, eat, murder full-time. Yeah, that’s a nice world.

  43. Doesn’t Clemson play Notre Dame in one of the first two football playoff bowls? If so, you have a professor from Clemson saying that man is nothing but an animal-destroying, insensitive, horrible life form and Notre Dame saying man was created in God’s image. Talk about opposing characterizations. Go Notre Dame.

    • Still, its expected that basket-weaving degrees look silly no matter where you get them.

      Climate expertise, however, should have a slightly higher threshold…maybe they were so busty with rear-guard legal maneuvering they weren’t paying attention?

      • er…still “busy”. No coffee yet. Early morning typing…and what a typo!

        [The mods have found it is usually better to not modify busty problems caused by looking forward to read-guarded actions. Nor the reverse. .mod]

  44. I kill millions, if not billions, or maybe even trillions of living creatures every day, especially when I’m sick. If I find a man-made chemical to help me, then I use it.

  45. The reality is that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Climate change has been taking place before mankind ever evolved and will continue after mankind is no longer here. The culprit is Mother Nature and there is no way that Mother Nature will become extinct.

    • Except for the Sahel, there has been no ‘climate change.’

      “the climate change we have been experiencing”

      NO! We have not been experiencing climate change.

  46. Professor May, you go first. That would at least ease the pain and suffering that you inflict on us lower-level humans.

  47. Would he be prepared to go to court with compulsory full access to all emails etc and no right to confidentiality for any research paid for publicly either directly or indirectly to prove his case that man is responsible for climate change? More so if failure to prove the case gave the right to refund of all research money and taxation justified by the climate claims.

    I think not somehow.

  48. It’s time people reacted to this species self-effacing drivel tinged with wishful thoughts of extinction as responsible parents would: by branding it unfit for children, and shrugging it off in public with a curt dismissal, and only engaging such debate in private spaces when only adults are present. And relate to those who crassly cross the line the way would to a strip-teasing birthday clown, on a spectrum from horrified rage to amusement — depending on the lowest age of audience.

    I find it ironic that morality of sexual behavior is a dense and roiling juggernaut in law and culture, while philosophical topics and approaches that might tarnish the self-worth and self-preservation instincts of young children are casually tossed out into the open unchallenged.

    It’s obvious that the ‘climate change’ hysteria is unhinging adults and we’re certainly seeing a lot of feral misanthropy masquerading as science. And if we debate them full on in a vain attempt to change minds, it’s like the old yarn about teaching a pig to sing. But branding their ideas ‘unfit for children’ and withdrawing from public debate leaves a trail of outrage that will cause those who are parents to think, is this true. And many will conclude that it is. It’ll make the children think too, about that invisible line one must draw in the psyche to protect one’s self, family and kind.

    And it’s not just ‘climate change’. There is also this strip-teasing birthday clown trying to convince children that asteroids aren’t dangerous, and we need not hasten to answer the threat — because (gambler’s fallacy) statistics promises to keep them safe, and extinction is part of the natural order.

  49. Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?

    – Well, as long as he carries-out the exterminations personally – and starts with himself – I’m okay with it…

  50. My brother and nephew attended Clemson. Clemson is best known for its engineering and hard sciences degrees (as well as good football).

    The only bachelor of philosophy graduate (not from Clemson) I ever met could only get a job running the copy machine where I worked.

    • The only bachelor of philosophy graduate (not from Clemson) I ever met could only get a job running the copy machine where I worked.

      sounds like he was eminently under-qualified for that job. It’s a wonder he was ever hired for it.

  51. The next posttraumatic stress disorder candidate.

    In need of a climate science believer philosopher.

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