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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Science and Technology > [A] Environmental Debate
Often we talk of humans distroying nature...but in saying such are we also insinuating that humans are not a part of nature?? Are the buildings we build and the roads we pave, as birds nests or bee hives, all a part of nature?? Did we not take all supplies from the earth? Are then high rises natural? It seems to me as though we speak of ourselves in terms of being outside of the natural world. When people speak of a river being damed by humans, they refer to an alteration in it's natural state. When speaking of a beaver dam, the presence of a dam still is seen in our eyes as a natural state. The beaver dams a river, changing it's course, and in the process distroys much of the land surrounding it. What makes that any more natural than our dams??? The big question in the end is whether humans and their creations are a part of nature or simply an intrusion on it?
I thought this was a really interesting question! I had to break out the ol' dictionary for this one. According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary one of the definitions of "natural" is:
natural n 1 :  one born without the usual powers of reason and understanding

So I guess, by this definition, what separates the dams we build and the damage that they may cause from a beaver and its dams is that we have the power to understand that what we do may hurt the environment and a beaver does not.

Shame on you, Kisov, you know that there are many variations of the definition of natural. I found 13 at

In relation to Volleydee's post, I have always wondered a similar thought. Why are people who support the left leaning views on the environment called "Environmentalists" or "Greens" and those who support other views don't have such nice pretty "pro-environment" names? The monikers indicate that if you don't support liberal environmental ideas you must be "anti-environment." How ridiculous is that?

I'm mostly libertarian and I find it annoying that I can't call myself an environmentalist because my philosophy is not liberal. My philosophy says I will do all I personally can to support a clean environment and my government needs to be minimally involved. I recognize the fact that I can call myself anything I want but I know what ideas are associated with the word "environmentalist" - ideas I don't support.

Does anyone have a word for people like me?

Aren't semantics fun? Words make us animals do such odd things to ourselves.
I just want to state in my defense that I did say that the definition I quoted was just one of the ones I found in the dictionary. So I wasn't blind to the fact that there were others.

Kisov - I'm curious then, why did you chose to only post one definition?
Maybe Kisov had only one dictionary?

But seriously, that definition is flawed.

What is "natural childbirth"?

We are not considered a part of nature anymore because we control our fate to a higher degree than others. We removed ourselves from nature when the agricultural revolution took place and we decided to "no longer live under the will of god" or to control our food source-depending on how you look at it...but this is a typical anthropological view on it.
OK fine, here is the definition in it's entirety. . .to make you guys happy.

Main Entry: 2natural
Function: noun
Date: 1533
1 : one born without the usual powers of reason and understanding
2 a : a sign <natural> placed on any degree of the musical staff to nullify the effect of a preceding sharp or flat b : a note or tone affected by the natural sign
3 : a result or combination that immediately wins the stake in a game; specifically : a throw of 7 or 11 on the first cast in craps
4 a : one having natural skills, talents, or abilities b : something that is likely to become an immediate success c : one that is obviously suitable for a specific purpose

Oh and I suppose you want the adjective definitions too. . . .ya know I only have an hour break to post at work. . . .but what ever Jaime wants. . . .

Main Entry: 1nat·u·ral
Pronunciation: 'na-ch&-r&l, 'nach-r&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin naturalis of nature, from natura nature
Date: 14th century
1 : based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice>
2 a : being in accordance with or determined by nature b : having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature
3 a (1) : begotten as distinguished from adopted; also : LEGITIMATE (2) : being a relation by actual consanguinity as distinguished from adoption <natural parents> b : ILLEGITIMATE <a natural child>
4 : having an essential relation with someone or something : following from the nature of the one in question <his guilt is a natural deduction from the evidence>
5 : implanted or being as if implanted by nature : seemingly inborn <a natural talent for art>
6 : of or relating to nature as an object of study and research
7 : having a specified character by nature <a natural athlete>
8 a : occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature : not marvelous or supernatural <natural causes> b : formulated by human reason alone rather than revelation <natural religion> <natural rights> c : having a normal or usual character <events followed their natural course>
9 : possessing or exhibiting the higher qualities (as kindliness and affection) of human nature <a noble... brother... ever most kind and natural -- Shakespeare>
10 a : growing without human care; also : not cultivated <natural prairie unbroken by the plow> b : existing in or produced by nature : not artificial <natural turf> <natural curiosities> c : relating to or being natural food
11 a : being in a state of nature without spiritual enlightenment : UNREGENERATE <natural man> b : living in or as if in a state of nature untouched by the influences of civilization and society
12 a : having a physical or real existence as contrasted with one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious <a corporation is a legal but not a natural person> b : of, relating to, or operating in the physical as opposed to the spiritual world <natural laws describe phenomena of the physical universe>
13 a : closely resembling an original : true to nature b : marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint c : having a form or appearance found in nature
14 a : having neither flats nor sharps <the natural scale of C major> b : being neither sharp nor flat c : having the pitch modified by the natural sign
15 : of an off-white or beige color

There, does that complete you? wink.gif


ps: Limpubus, there is nothing wrong with having an anthropological view on anything. biggrin.gif
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