Are humans a parasitic species?



  1. mle
    0 Votes

    This is an interesting question.  Parasites benefit from their host without giving anything back.  In the strict scientific sense, humans are not considered parasites.

    An argument could be made that humans are a parasite on the earth.  This becomes to some extent a philosophical question, asking “is the earth alive” along with “do humans take from the earth without giving anything back”.

  2. 0 Votes

    The sort of thinking that might lead one to consider the human species as  a parasite seems dangerously arrogant to me. it implies that human beings have enough power to actually destroy the Earth, in the way parasites have the potential to destroy their hosts.

    The Earth existed long before we did and will exist long after we are gone. The damage that we do through pollution and other activity damages our habitat and therefore our ability to continue to survive. It is not the planet that needs saving, it is us.

  3. 0 Votes

    Humans themselves aren’t parasitic, but we do play host to more freeloading species than you might think. Your body is home to trillions of bacteria -in fact, you have ten times more bacteria cells than you do human cells!  (But the  bacterial cells are comparatively tiny, so you’re still mostly human.) Some of these bacteria perform vital services for us, like the ones living in our digestive tract that help us digest food. But others just feed off of us, like the mites that eat our oils and dead skin cells. 

  4. 0 Votes

    I agree that any answer is going to be subjective, as the question is a bit philosophical.  Personally, I would argue that humans are not parasites on Earth (if we are, for the moment, presuming the earth to be a living organism) because unlike parasites, we do benefit the earth in some ways.  Whether by planting trees or by restoring nutrients to the soil (through the natural decomposition of our bodies and/ or other organic compounds we put there), we give back in some positive ways.  Our presence also completes a natural food chain, and as an apex predator we play a vital role in ecosystems throughout the world.  Although our negative impact on the earth far outweighs the good these days, the fact that we do give back at all means that we are not, strictly speaking, parasites. 

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