Defending killing and eating animals is morally wrong

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New Mysterianism
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 04:32 am
@thysin,
Quote:
I'm just pointing out you would, at some point during your transition, be doing the same thing we are doing now, and by your own argument, morally wrong.


Yeah? What things? Show me. Elaborate. Formulate an argument. Something. Do you understand what your reasoning has consisted in? It implies that we should continue killing generation after generation of livestock because allowing a single generaton of livestock to die out peacefully, thereby ending all the killing, would through some twisted logic be infinitely worse. Stewarding a species as it goes extinct does not constitute a harm in the way my argument understands the term.

Quote:
If you didn't read the quote I posted before I suggest you re-read it. If you think it's morally wrong to kill animals and eat them, don't do it...but don't force it on the next guy because that's just going to lead to another morally bankrupt decision and start the cycle all over again. So don't go PETA, you'd just be a terrorist then


Right, because anyone who maturely presents a vegetarian argument for forum-based discussion is a raving PETA lunatic who simply wants to impose his view, even though he has taken pains to intelligently respond to everyone's objections for the last 4 pages. I'm sorry you feel that I am somehow forcing or harrassing others to accept my view simply because the intention of this thread was to defend it.
 
thysin
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 04:51 am
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism wrote:
Right, because anyone who maturely presents a vegetarian argument for forum-based discussion is a raving PETA lunatic who simply wants to impose his view, even though he has taken pains to intelligently respond to everyone's objections for the last 4 pages. I'm sorry you feel that I am somehow forcing or harrassing others to accept my view simply because the intention of this thread was to defend it.


You seem like a barely contained PETA lunatic that simply wants to impose his view, imho Smile If you read my first post, the one you countered as if it were an attack, not just merely a question to guide you to look at the repercussions of the view, you would have seen that I completely agree with you. I'm just telling you to be honest with yourself and see that even your idea would have morally questionable repercussions. If you've already done that then you are basically saying 'A few lives(human or nonhuman)will end unnaturally because of what we are doing, but it will prevent it from ever happening again'...so...is that right? I think it's interesting but personally I haven't gone one way or the other yet.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 06:50 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
I've given this topic a lot of thought and research as of late so I very much want to make some clarifications on this issue that I think are important. For those of you with Prime-Time-Commercial Attention Spans, please skip to the next post, I'll not do it injustice by limiting its implications to a 30-second sound byte.

New Mysterianism: My suggestions to your arguments are just that: suggestions to your arguments. I'm not refuting them - only fleshing out issues that come to mind from reading. I understand your explanations and appreciate them, but highly suggest you re-examine points 2, 4 and 7 from my post. If you truly want to refine your stated position - in that format - you'll want my advice as someone who's a happy omnivore and an honest advocate of reason.

But as I mentioned above, I've been doing a lot of thinking on this issue. My position is always open to refinement; as I think all ours should be. I'd like to share some perceptions and thoughts on the issue for everyone's edification and/or food-for-thought:[INDENT]If[INDENT](doing harm is bad) AND
(eating meat requires harm to be done and isn't necessary)
[/INDENT]THEN eating meat is bad.
[/INDENT]Yep, absolutely - I'm not sure I know of anyone who can legitimately dispute this. So why isn't this just universally accepted? If it is really this simple, this clear, why isn't everyone a vegetarian? The vast majority of the earth's civilization have been or currently are are omnivores. Are we all that blind and lame? So why have so many judged it ok to eat animal flesh? I think the answer lies in degrees. Please read these two absurd examples - their moral 'urgency' is no where NEAR our subject but help to explain this inconsistency:

  • I use toilet tissue. (1) I don't need to in order to live. (2) The production resources consumed in its production and waste management are harmful to the environment. Using paper towels is therefore wrong; this isn't sarcastic, it's quite sound reasoning.


  • While my wife and I were chatting the other day on the front lawn, absent mindedly (1) I picked a weed and tossed it aside. I killed without good cause; (2) I honestly believe extinguishing any life - without good cause - is wrong. This isn't sarcastic, its conclusion quite follows the conditions presented.

Where's the disconnect here? Why do we do things we know are wrong? Are we that callous? The answer lies - I think - in the worth and relative value we attribute to perceived moral imperatives. We've discussed living the authentic life, we've also discussed our ethical inconsistencies and the conclusion I've come to is this: We only alter our behavior on those issues that have immediate emotional impact.

  • The last person I corresponded with on this issue drew the "It's OK to Eat"-line at "eyes". They said that it was morally wrong to eat anything that had eyes.


  • You, New Mysterianism draw your line at vertebrate sentience


  • Most of the Veg*ns I've met are OK with Fish, yet land-dweller are hands-off for munching.

The point: Each person has assigned a relative worth that is inline with their emotional attachment. This doesn't invalidate the stance - it only speaks to its relative nature based on individually-assigned values. My relative valuation of life is on a scale wherein the most simple, unfeeling and unaware lifeforms are at one end and the sapient, self-aware human is on the other.

Lowest Ethical Consideration.....[INDENT]0. I'll kill threatening bacteria with a smile on my face
1. I'll pick grass without a 2nd thought
2. I'll step on an ant without giving it any thought
3. I'll eat cow, pig or lamb if I feel like it
4. I won't eat human flesh unless it's Life or Death not to
[/INDENT]Highest Ethical Consideration

So yes: New Mysterianism has a valid (albeit rough-hewn) argument. Unfortunately, human beings don't live completely authentic lives; none of us do. We all assign relative importance to the maxims we follow or discard. Human behavior isn't consistent or predictable. If it were, and we did, not only would we all be vegetarians... we'd also never use toilet tissue.


Good post, and I agree. I don't agree that killing animals for food is wrong, but I do agree with the point you make about how we assign relative value to things based on their attributes. Not to mention the fact that sapiens are and always have been omnivores. I agree that killing an animal does cause them harm, but I don't believe that it's wrong based on that premise alone. That sounds like the naturalist fallacy or the is to ought problem.

---------- Post added at 08:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:50 AM ----------

New Mysterianism,

I see that you didn't answer my question about where the vitamins and minerals in our supplements come from. You also ignored my argument about non-personal organisms, moral reasoning, and ethical standards.

The vitamins and minerals in our supplements come from plant and animal sources. Synthetic vitamins can be manufactured, but they are not as effective as their naturally derived equivalents. So what should we do in this case? Have vitamin deficiencies and get diseases?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 09:02 am
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
...I agree that killing an animal does cause them harm, but I don't believe that it's wrong based on that premise alone. That sounds like the naturalist fallacy or the is to ought problem.


Kind of hard to nail down, isn't it (at least I found it so).

I've no intention of changing my eating habits unless and until I see and feel a compelling need; this argument isn't it and I'll likely remain a content omnivore. Even so, that base argument is tough to refute.[INDENT]If[INDENT](doing harm is bad) AND
(eating meat requires harm to be done and isn't necessary)
[/INDENT]THEN eating meat is bad.
[/INDENT]I'm with you: It does feel like a fallacy - Yes it feels inconsistent, but I can find no fault with it. There's a piece missing somewhere I suspect... I just need to find it.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 10:56 am
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism wrote:
Causing harm to sentient beings, both human and nonhuman, is prima facie morally wrong because doing so violates their basic welfare interest in not being harmed, period.


Yes, causing harm to the cow is obviously wrong because it hurts the cow. I know this is what you believe. Why?

New Mysterianism wrote:
In other words, sentient beings on the whole desire an existence that is generally free of severe pains, torture, rape, sickness, slavery, emotional instability, being eaten, and the like. This is the only defense I can give for premise.(1)


So, the cow wants to go on living. I recognize that, but I'm still going to eat it.

I put my interests before the life of the cow. Is that the heart of our disagreement? If I could save one cow, by having less meat to eat over the course of a month, I would not do it, because I consider my diet before I think about what the cow wants. You must think this is in error and a few ideas about how one might object, but I won't try to anticipate.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 11:05 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Kind of hard to nail down, isn't it (at least I found it so).

I've no intention of changing my eating habits unless and until I see and feel a compelling need; this argument isn't it and I'll likely remain a content omnivore. Even so, that base argument is tough to refute.[INDENT]If[INDENT](doing harm is bad) AND
(eating meat requires harm to be done and isn't necessary)
[/INDENT]THEN eating meat is bad.
[/INDENT]I'm with you: It does feel like a fallacy - Yes it feels inconsistent, but I can find no fault with it. There's a piece missing somewhere I suspect... I just need to find it.


I think that the problem is this: 1. He assumes that because the animal feels that killing it is against it's interest, then that means that killing the animal is wrong based on that premise alone. It's the is to ought problem all over again. Ethical/moral theories are not based on that premise alone. 2. If we didn't eat animals we would have vitamin deficiencies and unnecessary illnesses. He suggests that we start using supplements instead, but some of the vitamins and minerals in the supplements come from animals. 3. He ignores the ethical consequences of his argument. That we should apply the same ethical standards to beings that do not have the significant intelligence and volition that is necessary for moral reasoning is irrational and impractical.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 11:42 am
@New Mysterianism,
I can't see why this is complicated. If harming animals is wrong, then eating them (which is harmful) is wrong. This isn't deep.

---------- Post added at 12:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:42 PM ----------

I hesitate to get ahead of myself, but I do actually believe this is complicated. However, the complications do not have to do solely with abstract reasoning. It is an emotional difficulty we have with saying that harming animals is okay, because we are not able to *feel* that this does not mean harming animals for whatever reason is okay.

That is just my opinion on the psychological aspect of this. It is not my objection to the argument. My objection remains that the premise that harming animals is wrong is false.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 02:59 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Quote:
I put my interests before the life of the cow. Is that the heart of our disagreement?


Yes. You put an ulterior interest--your dietary preference for meat--ahead of the basic welfare interests cows have not to be abused, killed, and eaten. So we should focus on why you think this is permissible. In particular, please clarify what morally relevant differences you believe there are between nonhumans and humans that permit you to put your dietary preferences ahead of the interests of the former but not the latter.

Quote:
If you are interested in how I reason that harming non-human animals is different from harming humans - specifically how killing one for food is not the same as killing/raping/murdering/torturing the other (as you seem to think there is no difference) - then I am interested in explaining it.


Again, I'm very interested in having you expand on this; in particular, i'd like to know what morally relevant differences you believe there are between humans and nonhumans that (i), make harming humans wrong, and (ii), make harming nonhumans not wrong.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 05:09 pm
@New Mysterianism,
The morally relevant difference is that with one animal, civilization is worth having. Why would I harm a human? To eat him? Aside from the fact that there is something unappealing about eating something that looks like you, and humans fight back more than cows do, humans also make food. So, I don't have to eat the butcher or the farmer, he will butcher something for me. Why would I harm a human? To conquer, subjugate, or steal? Again, assuming that I wanted to and could accomplish it, humans are much better off when they live in free civilization because they cannot be forced to use their minds the way an Ox can be moved with a whip.

That is the main difference. Preying on cows makes sense. Preying on humans is counterproductive. There are some nuances to be added, like I respect humans, but that is probably derivative. And we could look to other species for more reasons why inter-species killing doesn't make sense. But for me, these are after thoughts.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 06:10 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Quote:
The morally relevant difference is that with one animal, civilization is worth having.


Okay, but what moral relevance does civilization have with respect to the proposition "harming humans is wrong and harming nonhumans is not wrong?" In other words, what particular feature(s) in human civilization strike you as the morally relevant features that justify the proposition above?

Quote:

Why would I harm a human? To eat him? Aside from the fact that there is something unappealing about eating something that looks like you, and humans fight back more than cows do, humans also make food. So, I don't have to eat the butcher or the farmer, he will butcher something for me.
Why would I harm a human? To conquer, subjugate, or steal? Again, assuming that I wanted to and could accomplish it, humans are much better off when they live in free civilization because they cannot be forced to use their minds the way an Ox can be moved with a whip.


So harming humans isn't wrong because murder, rape, subjugation, and stealing are wrong, or because using humans as property or resources violates their interests, but because inflicting these harms on humans, as opposed to nonhumans, would be less convenient, or less practical, or involve more danger for the perpetrator?

You do realize how absurdly cruel such an ethical system is (if you can even call it an ethical system)? You do realize that your reasoning leaves open the possibility that if humans weren't so difficult to control, subjugate, and kill, then inflicting such harms on humans would be permissible, indeed really is permissible, but ill-advised given the hassle?

Quote:
There are some nuances to be added, like I respect humans, but that is probably derivative.


No, these nuances are crucial, unless you really hold to the absurdity that is the linchpin of your moral reasoning. You've avoided giving real details about the morally relevant differences between humans and nonhuman species. If it's features about civilization, what are those features? If it's features you respect in humans (and given your ethical system, how can you genuinely respect humans?), what are those features?

Furthermore, what is the moral relevance of these features with respect to the initial proposition that "harming humans is wrong and harming nonhumans is not wrong" ? Thank you.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 06:16 pm
@New Mysterianism,
The main issue here is anthropomorphizing non-humans. Some here think its bogus some think its not. They are opinions, and opinions are not subject to proof requirements. The first premis (the one which was not to be discussed) or as I have come to call it in this long uneccissarily drawn out thread (the Voldemort Claim) is Opinion. Its not like one of you is going to convince the other until cows evolve into a species that can directly symbolically communicate with humans.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 07:10 pm
@GoshisDead,
New Mysterianism, you missed my main point. I'll copy and paste.

"humans are much better off when they live in free civilization because they cannot be forced to use their minds the way an Ox can be moved with a whip."

But please reread the entire first paragraph - ten short sentences. In it I am not answering the question, "Why not harm humans?" by saying it is merely impractical. I am saying it is profoundly impractical. Just to put things in a bit of perspective, I am not saying, "well, it would be a hassle". Hassle being your word choice. I am saying it would be suicidal on more than one level.
And suicide is not permissible, agree?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 07:15 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:
The main issue here is anthropomorphizing non-humans. Some here think its bogus some think its not. They are opinions, and opinions are not subject to proof requirements. The first premis (the one which was not to be discussed) or as I have come to call it in this long uneccissarily drawn out thread (the Voldemort Claim) is Opinion. Its not like one of you is going to convince the other until cows evolve into a species that can directly symbolically communicate with humans.


But opinions are subject to logical argumentation.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 07:55 pm
@New Mysterianism,
Since I've already talked a little about how civilization is worth having, I thought I would indulge myself by responding to some rhetoric with some of my own. To be clear, there are now two posts about civ. since I thought it bore repeating.

New Mysterianism wrote:
Okay, but what moral relevance does civilization have with respect to the proposition "harming humans is wrong and harming nonhumans is not wrong?" In other words, what particular feature(s) in human civilization strike you as the morally relevant features that justify the proposition above?


I explain this in my last two posts and just a tad below, so I won't address it here.

New Mysterianism wrote:
So harming humans isn't wrong because murder, rape, subjugation, and stealing are wrong, or because using humans as property or resources violates their interests, but because inflicting these harms on humans, as opposed to nonhumans, would be less convenient, or less practical, or involve more danger for the perpetrator


Harming humans is wrong, but not because kinds of harm are wrong. This wouldn't really explain anything without an explanation of why the kinds are wrong. You should know this. Humans as property is wrong and does violate their interests, but eating cows violates their interests and is not wrong. We've been over this. As for "convenience", I explain above why this characterization of my position is incorrect.

New Mysterianism wrote:
You do realize how absurdly cruel such an ethical system is (if you can even call it an ethical system)? You do realize that your reasoning leaves open the possibility that if humans weren't so difficult to control, subjugate, and kill, then inflicting such harms on humans would be permissible, indeed really is permissible, but ill-advised given the hassle?


I do not realize, but thanks for the vote of confidence. I hadn't called anything an ethical system. I'll get it some thought. I actually do realize that my reasoning "leaves open that possibility" that if people were not people and instead were sheep with the intelligence of sheep, well they might get sheared, although comically, who would shear them? I suppose there would be no humans around?

New Mysterianism wrote:
No, these nuances are crucial, unless you really hold to the absurdity that is the linchpin of your moral reasoning. You've avoided giving real details about the morally relevant differences between humans and nonhuman species. If it's features about civilization, what are those features? If it's features you respect in humans (and given your ethical system, how can you genuinely respect humans?), what are those features?


I really do hold to the linchpin of my moral reasoning. I'm surprised you thought I might not seeing how it is my linchpin, though I know you think it absurd. I did not avoid anything. The feature about civilization is that it is the requirement for human creativity to function. I've explained why in my last two posts and you've yet to respond. Given my ethical system, how can I genuinely respect humans? Good question. Wait, did you really want me to answer that?

New Mysterianism wrote:
Thank you.

No, thank you.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 08:51 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Quote:

The main issue here is anthropomorphizing non-humans. Some here think its bogus some think its not. They are opinions, and opinions are not subject to proof requirements. The first premis (the one which was not to be discussed) or as I have come to call it in this long uneccissarily drawn out thread (the Voldemort Claim) is Opinion.


The basic welfare interests of sentient beings is no more a matter of opinion than is any other moral matter. This unnecessary focus of yours on reminding us that opinions are opinions is logically and morally indistinguishable from the kind of reasoning that dismisses arguments about the morality of human slavery because it's all based on "opinion."

Fun fact: we have decided that slavery is morally reprehensible not as a matter of mere opinion, but because slavery treats humans exclusively as resources and degrades them to the status of property, thus depriving them of moral significance. The way we currently treat animals is no different.

The notion that animal interests are a matter of mere opinion is directly related to the status of animals as human property. The question of why animal interests should matter assumes the legitimacy of regarding animals as property for human ends. Because we regard animals as resources, we believe that we have the right to value animals in the ways that we think appropriate. If, however, we are not morally justified in treating animals as our property, then whether we ought to kill and eat them in no more a matter of opinion than is the moral status of human slavery.

On another level, this hurling of the "opinion card" at ethical arguments is related to the position that all morality is relative, a matter of convention or convenience or tradition, with no valid claim to objective truth. If this were the case, then the morality of genocide or human slavery or child molestation would be no more than matters of opinion. So what. It is certainly true that moral propositions cannot be proved in the way that mathematical propositions can, but this does not mean that "anything goes." The view that we can treat animals as resources simply because we are human and they are not is speciesism pure and simple. The view that we ought not to treat sentient animals as resources is consistent with our general notion that humans, as sentient beings, have morally significant interests.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 5 May, 2009 10:57 pm
@New Mysterianism,
Quote:
Fun fact: we have decided that slavery is morally reprehensible not as a matter of mere opinion, but because slavery treats humans exclusively as resources and degrades them to the status of property, thus depriving them of moral significance. The way we currently treat animals is no different.


Fun Fact: the moral reprehensibility of slavery is opinion and you have stated why "we have decided" it just happens to be an opinion held by the majority of humanity. At one point in history the opinion among the majority of humanity was that it was normal. If this smacks of moral relativism, there is really nothing any of us can do to change this Fun Fact, or the fun fact that anthropomorphizing animals to the point of mandating that their "rights" are equal to ours is also opinion, because at the point when that happens 'we will have decided'. The criteria on which we have decided and/or will decide is equally opinion, opinion about property and the treatment thereof. At one point in pre-history there really wasn't much of a concept of property, now there is. Circumstances changed culture adjusted and here we are. If the human race lasts another 2000 years it is highly likely that we will again have another dominant culture who thinks its normal to have slaves. Opinion held by the mass is still opinion it is just opinion with clout, which makes it seem real and true. Just because I consider slavery reprehensible doesn't mean that I'm not a product of my environment and acclimated to think so.

I understand that you feel deeply about animal rights, and I commend you, but until you can broach your first premise in a manner that transcends opinion, instead of the argument 'It is because It is and I don't want to talk about it', there is no convincing a person who has a differing opinion.

Hue: I realize that opinions can be held to logical scrutiny, it doesn't change the fact that they cannot be held to any sort of truth proof. Opinions do not need justification other than that they are held. Plus as stated above 'It is because it is and I don't want to talk about it' doesn't hold up to logical scrutiny as an argument, it is an axiom from which to base an argument and a flimsy one at that.
 
thysin
 
Reply Wed 6 May, 2009 12:15 am
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism: The more you argue on this the more apparent it becomes that you didn't come here to hear opinions from anyone else but to change theirs by applying your convoluted arguments to their positions and therefore 'disproving' them. If you ever really want to have a productive debate than I suggest listening to the people you are supposedly debating with instead of using these completely ludicrous comparisons like human slavery(seriously?) to make them seem to be some sort of immoral idiots who are incapable of understanding your altruistic narrowness. As to PETA, if you really are not a member I suggest you giving them a call because I'm sure they would love you among their ranks. As for me, after thinking about it a bit more and seeing your arguments I've decided that agreeing with you might very well be wrong so I've moved back to undecided on the topic and I'm going to go cut through a steak with my incisors...I mean...what else are they for? Wink
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Wed 6 May, 2009 12:52 am
@thysin,
Biting your tongue?

I suppose we could all just pretend that I haven't been at pains to address each and every objection aired with respect to the OP and its ongoing development throughout this thread. I find your assessment unfortunate, if not disingenuous, since it is clear that some of us have in certain places reached a mutual understanding, however controversial, as well as many areas of disagreement, which is also good. This topic, like many philosophical/ethical disputes in general, has the potential to generate hostilities, but so what? I'm sure we have the drive and maturity to persevere, no matter how touchy or ridiculous we perceive the subject to be. For someone who finds the whole thing pointless, you invested quite a bit of time and energy in this thread. Furthermore, I have largely ignored the fact that many posters have failed to read through the thread carefully, noting those places where I have already addressed particular objections numerous times. It is absolutely beyond my control if people either fail to read where objections have already been addressed or simply decide to ignore them to avoid having to acknowledge an error or concede a point. This ad hominem about my alleged connection with PETA isn't worth getting into an argument over. My compassion for animals may stem from a felt kinship with other sentient species, but I'm not going to picket supermarkets each November to protest 'Thanksgiving massacres" and the like. I participate in web-based forums instead, hoping to sway inquisitive minds with clear and convincing arguments. And I certainly don't mean to suggest that any of you are identical to antebellum plantation owners when I note that some of the reasoning displayed here in defense of the meat industry is morally and logically indistinguishable from the kind of justification that sought to perpetuate the institution of slavery.

Do you really think that by my educating you on the human and environmental harms associated with industrial-scale meat farming, I was somehow rendering you a great disservice, simply because I unveiled an area in your reasoning that was based on a misconception that meat-farming is somehow beneficial to world hunger and human welfare? If I really thought this forum consisted of immoral idiots incapable of defending a point or thinking critically, I wouldn't waste my time. I'm sorry that you feel as though my position on vegetarianism somehow reflects negatively on me as a person, but I will continue to defend and challenge any objections to my argument. I hope you reconsider your assessment in the meantime and continue to participate in this thread.
 
thysin
 
Reply Wed 6 May, 2009 01:28 am
@New Mysterianism,
Quote:
I suppose we could all just pretend that I haven't been at pains to address each and every objection aired with respect to the OP and its ongoing development throughout this thread.
From what I've seen I don't think that would qualify as pretending.

Quote:
I find your assessment unfortunate, if not disingenuous, since it is clear that some of us have in certain places reached a mutual understanding, however controversial, as well as many areas of disagreement, which is also good. This topic, like many philosophical/ethical disputes in general, has the potential to generate hostilities, but so what? I'm sure we have the drive and maturity to persevere, no matter how touchy or ridiculous we perceive the subject to be.
I tried many times throughout my post to present a contradiction in your position without trying to attack it. Your lack of effort on comprehending it caused your replies to be defensive and counter-productive to the argument(good strategy, if that's how you roll). If I might add, you still haven't addressed my point in any real way, except by ignoring its validity.

Quote:
For someone who finds the whole thing pointless, you invested quite a bit of time and energy in this thread.
There you go again, I suppose this you'll attribute to being able to read minds? I've only stated the opposite in this thread. You may have read my posts but if you had digested their content you would have seen I actually find the topic quite interesting. But thanks for this sentence, it solidifies my view on your thought processes.


Quote:
Furthermore, I have largely ignored the fact that many posters have failed to read through the thread carefully, noting those places where I have already addressed particular objections numerous times. It is absolutely beyond my control if people either fail to read where objections have already been addressed or simply decide to ignore them to avoid having to acknowledge an error or concede a point.
Sounds familiar.


Quote:
This ad hominem about my alleged connection with PETA isn't worth getting into an argument over. My compassion for animals may stem from a felt kinship with other sentient species, but I'm not going to picket supermarkets each November to protest 'Thanksgiving massacres" and the like.
Good to hear.


Quote:
And I certainly don't mean to suggest that any of you are identical to antebellum plantation owners when I note that some of the reasoning displayed here in defense of the meat industry is morally and logically indistinguishable from the kind of justification that sought to perpetuate the institution of slavery.
That's good, because it is distinguishably different and that would just be ridiculously offensive. Smile

Quote:
Do you really think that by my educating you on the human and environmental harms associated with industrial-scale meat farming, I was somehow rendering you a great disservice, simply because I unveiled an area in your reasoning that was based on a misconception that meat-farming is somehow beneficial to world hunger and human welfare?
I should just do as you suggest and bite my tongue on this one...but my teeth are busy with that steak. You never unveiled any area in my reasoning to be based on a misconception because I never claimed meat farming to be beneficial to world hunger or human welfare. I was trying to show you that if we did do away with industrial meat farming at some point during the transition it would create a deficit in resources(no meat but still using resources to feed the livestock). In this case you could have given the resources to starving people instead of the livestock...so in ignoring the people you are feeding this livestock until it dies. I'm going to post that quote once more for good measure.

The difference between sentiment and being sentimental is the following: Sentiment is when a driver swerves out of the way to avoid hitting a rabbit on the road. Being sentimental is when the same driver, when swerving away from the rabbit, hits a pedestrian. - Frank Herbert

Quote:
If I really thought this forum consisted of immoral idiots incapable of defending a point or thinking critically, I wouldn't waste my time. I'm sorry that you feel as though my position on vegetarianism somehow reflects negatively on me as a person, but I will continue to defend and challenge any objections to my argument. I hope you reconsider your assessment in the meantime and continue to participate in this thread.
I don't think it that position reflects on you negatively at all, but your way of going about discussing it just annoys me a bit, as I'm sure I annoy you a bit. I'll stick around and probably see where it goes because, as I said, it definitely is interesting. Smile
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Wed 6 May, 2009 01:54 am
@thysin,
Quote:
I was trying to show you that if we did do away with industrial meat farming at some point during the transition it would create a deficit in resources(no meat but still using resources to feed the livestock). In this case you could have given the resources to starving people instead of the livestock...so in ignoring the people you are feeding this livestock until it dies. I'm going to post that quote once more for good measure.


I'm still scratching my head at the prospect that you aren't seeing through your error here. The meat-industry currently is creating a deficit in potential resources that otherwise could feed millions of starving people, but those resources are squandered annually because 3/4 of the crops grown in the United States are used to feed the livestock that suit our dietary preferences. This is even ignoring the compounding harms produced by environmental degradation, disease, and the 2,000 gallons of drinking water wasted to produce a single steak. I just don't see the logic in this. We obviously need to dismantle the meat-industry before we can go about improving human welfare, which means the long-term benefits will require a short-term transition. You ignore the fact that even though the excess crops won't reach the starved for a generation, by ending meat-production now the benefits to the environment and the cessation of livestock-generated diseases will kick in immediately. By allowing the meat-industry to continue we are already ignoring those in need, pure and simple. I fully acknowledge that allowing livestock to die out peacefully, as opposed to their systematic execution, will postpone our humanitarian aid for a short time, but that pales in comparison to the continuance of the meat-industry at the complete and unending expense of those in need.

[quote]The difference between sentiment and being sentimental is the following: Sentiment is when a driver swerves out of the way to avoid hitting a rabbit on the road. Being sentimental is when the same driver, when swerving away from the rabbit, hits a pedestrian. - Frank Herbert[/quote]

Exactly. The meat-industry is currently killing the rabbits (the livestock) and allowing harm to come to the pedestrians (by keeping excess crops in the mouths of livestock instead of starving humans, by degradating the environment, and by contributing to the spread of disease). Abolishing the meat industry will help alleviate all of this. The rabbits will live out their existence, and the pedestrians will breathe cleaner air, be less susceptible to disease, and enjoy an abundance of excess crop within a generation. Sorry, Herbie.

---------- Post added at 04:45 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:54 AM ----------

Thysin:

Consider this post an alternative to the "letting livestock die out peacefully" proposal if my last post failed to persuade you, or if it still strikes you as an intolerable moral slippage.

One alternative you formulated was to let the animals die out but not feed them either, thereby benefitting humans immediately rather than within a single livestock generation. I would like to pursue this alternative, provided that you haven't been persuaded yet. I understand that you think this alternative is not morally acceptable for reasons having to do with our supposed obligation to keep feeding the livestock we've raised. I'm guessing your reasoning is that by liberating animals into the fields and allowing them to starve (although most could subsist on pasture), this alternative is somehow inconsistent with my position about the wrongness of harming animals. I'm going to argue that it isn't.

In particular, if sentient animals have basic welfare interests in not being harmed, doesn't that mean we would be obligated to intervene to prevent the animals we liberated from starving, or that we must otherwise act affirmatively to prevent harm from coming to them, given my argument?

No.

The basic interest not to be treated as a resource means that we cannot treat animals exclusively as means to human ends--just as we cannot treat other humans exclusively as means to other ends of other humans. Even though we have laws in the US that prevent people from owning other humans, or using them as unconsenting biomedical subjects, we generally do not require that humans prevent harm to other humans in all situations. No law requires that Jane prevent Simon from inflicting harm on John, as long as Jane and Simon are not conspirators in a crime against John or otherwise acting in concert, and as long as Jane has no relationship that would give rise to such an obligation.

Moreover, in the US, at least, the law generally imposes on humans no "duty to aid" even when humans are involved. If I am walking down the street and see a person lying passed out, face down in a puddle of water and drowning, the law imposes no obligation on me to assist that person even if all I need to do is roll her over, something I can do without risk or serious inconvenience to myself.

The point is that the basic right of humans not to be treated as things does not guarantee that humans will aid other humans, or that we are obligated to intervene to prevent harm from coming to them. Similarly, the basic interest of animals not to be treated as resources means that we cannot treat animals as our resources. However, it does not mean that we have a moral or legal obligation to render them aid or to intervene to prevent harm from coming to them.

Therefore, since we are violating their interest in not being used as resources, and because we would rather aid world hunger than squander crops on an unnecessary industry, we liberate animals and let them die out without food as we immediately begin alleviating world hunger, the environment, and the spread of disease. The basic interest sentient beings have not to be used as resources does not thereby obligate us to pro-actively sustain their lives, be they human or nonhuman. We liberate, and we forget, pure and simple.
 
 

 
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