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.
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.
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.
...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.
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.
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)
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 put my interests before the life of the cow. Is that the heart of our disagreement?
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.
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.
There are some nuances to be added, like I respect humans, but that is probably derivative.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.