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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

Our Entire Existence Hinges on a Salamander

Humans drive a rare salamander, and themselves, toward extinction – latimes.com


The L.A. Times published an article only today about a rare salamander, the ajolote (or axolotl), and how they are being driven to extinction by human pollution and introduction of nonnative species in the canals of Xochimilco near Mexico City. The ajolote’s incredible ability to regenerate limbs, heart cells, and fragments of its brain was also heavily stressed, as well as the possible beneficial application in human biosciences.

And if you don’t think that could have some application in the human biosciences, your own brain could use a tuneup.

But the article makes the jump from “oh hey that might be cool, that would be nice and helpful to have when we have medical emergencies” to “OMG THE HUMAN RACE WILL BE ELIMINATED IF WE DON’T RESCUE THIS SALAMANDER”:

…we wind up killing off the one creature that can save us as a species.

This article continues to tell us that the ajolotes are imperative to our survival:

What do you care about some slimy, unprepossessing little critter in another country? Plenty. Or you should, if you care about yourself and your progeny on this planet.

…even if you think (idiotically) that human survival isn’t dependent on the survival of the chain of creatures great and small who share our ecosystem…

…there’s every chance that the very species we just laid waste and sent blithely into extinction may be the very one that holds the key to save us from ourselves…

Nice work, people of Earth.

I find several fallacies going on here, and correct me if I’m wrong. First of all, I see judgmental language – insinuating that something is wrong with your brain if you don’t agree with them. This also pops up again when the article calls you idiotic if you don’t believe that human survival depends on other creatures in the ecosystem, something important to their argument. Secondly, there is an appeal to emotion when the writers of the article imply that if you don`t care about the ajolote, you don’t care about “yourself and your progeny on this planet”. Finally, there is an example of what I think is an ad hominem attack:”Nice work, people of Earth.” They blame the people of Earth (you included) for the near-extinction of the ajolote which, in their argument, means the extinction of humanity.




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