Animal Rights

Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Animal Rights

Hi, i'm new here, but i was listening to one of the shows where the squad talked breifly about animal rights, and i was interested in what the general opinion here was on these sort of issues, whether they be vegetarianism, hunting or animal testing. I personally have been a vegetarian for many years, and am very pro-animal rights in general (though i suppose it's pretty debatable what the term 'animal rights' means). The reason i'd like to bring up this subject here, is that i think the notion of animal rights is very linked in with having a good understanding of evolution.

Anyway, please discuss.


Jacob Cordingley
SuperfanBronze Member
Jacob Cordingley's picture
Posts: 1484
Joined: 2007-03-18
User is offlineOffline
Hi Kid A (after the

Hi Kid A (after the Radiohead album?),

There are a few of us here interested in animal rights. I'll take this opportunity to direct you to the Philosophy/Psychology forum and an essay I wrote. The thread is entitled an Essay on Animal Rights and focuses primarily on primates (because that is the question I was set).


Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Thanks for responding, and

Thanks for responding, and yes, my name does come from a radiohead album.

 

I've read the first few parts of your essay and flicked through the rest, but i haven't the time right now to read the whole thing, so i apologise in advance if i misrepresent any of your points. 

 

Your essay is very impressive, and your method of writing strikes me as that of a philosopher, so may i ask if you are a philosophy student? 

 

I agree with many of the points your bring up, and i can see that most of them are particliarly relevent in relation to abortion. However, i am afraid that i do not agree that morality and rights should only be applied to species and creatures in general that fit the criteria of personhood. I'm actually not 100% sure from your essay whether you agree with this notion, or if you are just saying 'if you have that notion, then you need to include other great apes aswell'.

 

The answers to these question may well be in your essay, but to save time, would you mind stating your views here on issues such as:

 

eating meat.

hunting.

testing on animals. 

 


Jacob Cordingley
SuperfanBronze Member
Jacob Cordingley's picture
Posts: 1484
Joined: 2007-03-18
User is offlineOffline
Yes, I am a philosophy

Yes, I am a philosophy student. I don't think I made my standpoint completely clear in the essay, as well as this writing the essay did actually change my views a little and so there may be some slight differences between beginning and end which given that I had a deadline to make I didn't have time to change and since I got a first for it haven't bothered to change. Personhood was deemed important only for moral equality with humans (persons not just meaning humans). However the vein of thought I have predominantly been concerned with is interest based rights. I will say more on this some other time if you're interested in a discourse on that topic.

Eating Meat.

I personally am a vegetarian, although I must say mostly through habit. My views on animal rights do not actually lead me to think killing them to be wrong (that was an old view of mine at the time I became vegetarian and at that time I was merely 5 years old).

My theory is thus. If an animal cannot conceptualise life/death can it have an interest in its own life in the same way it has say in eating, not feeling pain, living a healthy life? Some animals can recognise when another animal is dead, but can it realise that it itself may die? Apes can, as can elephants, dolphins and other species that can be persons. These creatures have an interest in life. They can tell what death is as they can life, and as is mentioned in the essay are just as uncomfortable about the idea of their own death as humans are. Sheep on the other hand? Ok, a sheep has an interest in eating grass, procreating, and living healthily, and it should be allowed to do so, we are harming its interests if we don't. Free range meat is justified here, free range meat has a good life, and its interests are never jeopardised.

Another point I would like to bring up is a utilitarian dilemma. Is it possible for the whole of humanity to be vegetarians? Would not many people die as a result in areas where vegetables simply cannot grow and there is no infrastructure to transport vegetables to such people? Also is there actually enough cultivatable land to produce enough vegetables for the human population?

In my views on interests I rule out harmful interests. This is simple, harmful interests will conflict with the interests of another creature. However there is such thing as a necessary harmful interest and these in certain circumstances should be allowed, you cannot stop a lion from killing a gazelle (as well as this, such guidelines are only based upon how we should behave towards other creatures, not how they should behave towards others, we have moral agency, they do not). That would be stupid. Similarly, even if we were to accept that animals had an interest in life, could we justify the starvation of millions of human beings as a result? Indeed for many people eating meat is a necessary interest.

Hunting.

I am completely for the hunting ban that was introduced in England and Wales recently. It wasn't so much the killing of the fox, probably not a creature with an interest in life but the way it was done. Chasing the poor thing with a pack of blood thirsty dogs who would then rip it to shreds does harm the fox' interests, it feels extreme fear and indeed a hell of a lot of pain. The arguments for it was that it was pest control. And indeed fox' do cause a nuisance to farmers, killing chickens (a necessary interest one might say). But all the pomp that went with it, would you wear a pristine bright red coat, and a fine pair of jodpers and ride horseback to put down rat poison?

Also the body of the fox does not go to waste, it is simple killed, ripped apart. It is a waste.

What it comes down to is harming of interests.

Testing on animals.

Again same arguments apply, however if rats were genetically engineered not to feel pain or the symptoms of illness, would it then be against their interests to experiment on them with diseases or whatever? Rats and mice, however stupid they are, are sentient creatures, avoidance of pain is an important interest to them and so experimentation on them always seems quite iffy.

However, should we counterbalance this with the interests of humans not to be ill? The interests of medicine? Something I'm trying to decide at the moment is whether a human's interest in life is a trump card on the rat's sentience? When it comes to this I can find no rational reason to decide either way, only person-centric intuitions? Certainly I do not think there should be testing on chimps or other person-creatures. However, if a person were modified to not have a conscious brain, nor sentience that would be ok.

Testing on mice is difficult in some respects scientifically, they are different enough from us that many experiments that may work on mice may not work on humans. Mice are not reliable subjects of study for human diseases and ailments.

I'm fairly tired so, this probably isn't that great a post but I hope you can understand it well enough.  


Voided
Posts: 1195
Joined: 2006-02-20
User is offlineOffline
Personally if I'm hungry

Personally if I'm hungry I'll eat meat, honestly I could use the protein. I am all for animal testing as it advances science and has/will save lives. Hunting I see as kinda useless, but I don't have a big problem with it as long as it isn't some kind of bullshit where they put out food to draw the animals in.

On the idea of being vegetarian or vegan well I have mixed feelings. We got to where we are from eating meat (or more having to hunt for it), but I know I'd feel better if I knew the animal died a "timely" or "painless" death.

All that being said there is still a difference between killing an animal for eating or testing for science and torturing an animal.


Edger
Posts: 104
Joined: 2007-01-14
User is offlineOffline
Kid A wrote: i was

Kid A wrote:
i was interested in what the general opinion here was on these sort of issues

Keep in mind, you'll not find a general consensus amongst atheists on "animal rights" issues.  


Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Thanks again for replying.

Thanks again for replying. I'll try and respond point by point to your post.

Quote:
Eating Meat. I personally am a vegetarian, although I must say mostly through habit. My views on animal rights do not actually lead me to think killing them to be wrong (that was an old view of mine at the time I became vegetarian and at that time I was merely 5 years old). My theory is thus. If an animal cannot conceptualise life/death can it have an interest in its own life in the same way it has say in eating, not feeling pain, living a healthy life? Some animals can recognise when another animal is dead, but can it realise that it itself may die? Apes can, as can elephants, dolphins and other species that can be persons. These creatures have an interest in life. They can tell what death is as they can life, and as is mentioned in the essay are just as uncomfortable about the idea of their own death as humans are. Sheep on the other hand? Ok, a sheep has an interest in eating grass, procreating, and living healthily, and it should be allowed to do so, we are harming its interests if we don't. Free range meat is justified here, free range meat has a good life, and its interests are never jeopardised.

Okay, you make some good points here. I for one believe that free range meat is infinitely better then factory farmed meat, and yet i still have an objection to it. Your basic arguement seems to be that if something cannot conceptualise death, then it is not cruel to kill it. First of all, i could bring up examples like babies or mentally handicapped people, and see if you'd feel the same about them, but i'd rather focus on the fact that i disagree with your very premise.

I don't see why having a concept of death makes our death any worse, then if we lacked it. I suppose one could argue that if you know you are going to die before you do, you would feel a lot more fear and have a much worse death, but using that logic you could justify killing humans as long as they didn't know they were going to die before you killed them. Perhaps i should start by asking you in what way you think an animal's concept of pain differs from their concept of death? An animal doesn't try to avoid pain because it's thinking 'Man, it really sucks when i get burned or cut here', it just experiances the pain and has an instinct not to want to feel it again. From my understanding it doesn't consciously rationalise the experiance. In the same way, though it can't really understand what death is, it has a survival instinct that means it does not want to die.

 

Okay, let me ask you this question. Tell me, what is wrong with me grabbing a sniper rifle and shooting a man in the middle of nowhere, who dies instantly. For simplicities sake, let's assume that he's a complete loner, and has no family or friends.

Quote:
 

Another point I would like to bring up is a utilitarian dilemma. Is it possible for the whole of humanity to be vegetarians? Would not many people die as a result in areas where vegetables simply cannot grow and there is no infrastructure to transport vegetables to such people? Also is there actually enough cultivatable land to produce enough vegetables for the human population?

 

 

This is an excellent point. My reply would be that i am not a vegetarian because i think that everyone who eats, or ever has eaten meat, is evil. I can perfectly understand why meat was absolutely vital for our survival as little as 100 years ago, and still is in some places in the world. My reason for not eating meat nowadays is that i simply don't believe it to be necessary. I live in england, and it's so simple to be a vegetarian nowadays. Every possible meat based meal you can think of seems to have a vegetarian alternative, and you can get all the proteins you need from other sources. So no, if someone will starve unless they eat meat, then of course i can understand why they would eat it. But in places like America, and the majority of europe it's so very simple to have a meat-free diet.

 

On the economic  issues of not eating meat though, i read a rather good artilce on the very subject in (i think it was the economist, but i'm not certain. It was a magazine along those lines anyway). It explained how the land and food we are using to feed and contain livestock (around 18 billion animals), could be put to far better use. I will try and look for it and post it here soon.

 

Quote:
 

Hunting.

I am completely for the hunting ban that was introduced in England and Wales recently. It wasn't so much the killing of the fox, probably not a creature with an interest in life but the way it was done. Chasing the poor thing with a pack of blood thirsty dogs who would then rip it to shreds does harm the fox' interests, it feels extreme fear and indeed a hell of a lot of pain. The arguments for it was that it was pest control. And indeed fox' do cause a nuisance to farmers, killing chickens (a necessary interest one might say). But all the pomp that went with it, would you wear a pristine bright red coat, and a fine pair of jodpers and ride horseback to put down rat poison?

Also the body of the fox does not go to waste, it is simple killed, ripped apart. It is a waste.

 

 

I agree with most of that. Again, i disagree with the notion tha just because the fox can't rationalise it's death, it isn't wrong to kill it (perhaps you can explain this notion better in your reply). You make good points in general though. Foxes can be a pest, and in some areas there are needs to cull them. However, fox hunting is not really about that. A question i'd always ask people who went for the view that 'fox hunting is purely culling', is: 'If you got dressed up and ready with a big hunting party, to go to a farm and hunt a particuliar fox which has been pesting the famer, and the second you stepped out the fox appeared so you had a clear shot of it, would you kill it?' And every time they'd answer something along the lines of :'no, there would be no fun in that'.

Quote:
 

Testing on animals.

Again same arguments apply, however if rats were genetically engineered not to feel pain or the symptoms of illness, would it then be against their interests to experiment on them with diseases or whatever? Rats and mice, however stupid they are, are sentient creatures, avoidance of pain is an important interest to them and so experimentation on them always seems quite iffy.

However, should we counterbalance this with the interests of humans not to be ill? The interests of medicine? Something I'm trying to decide at the moment is whether a human's interest in life is a trump card on the rat's sentience? When it comes to this I can find no rational reason to decide either way, only person-centric intuitions? Certainly I do not think there should be testing on chimps or other person-creatures. However, if a person were modified to not have a conscious brain, nor sentience that would be ok.

 

Yes, testing is a very tricky issue. I think when it comes to things like testing for cosmetics it is terrible and unacceptable, but when it comes to testing for medicine and research that could potentially save human lives, it is much tricker. I suppose a fair arguement is that the good will potentially outweigh the bad, but that argument has issues of it's own. I think we can agree, that is fair for us to value a human life above another animals. However, does that give us the right to kill and torture an animal to cure a human's disease that has most likely been caused by a humans unhealthy lifestyle. I think you would agree with me when i assume that you value the life of a family member more then a stranger you walk past on the street. I think you'd also agree that if you were in a burning building and you could save either of these two people, you would save the family member every time. However, if we then hypothesis that this family member has a weak heart and needs a trasnplant, would you agree that it would be fair for you to take the strangers heart against his will?

 

Obviously the issue of animal testing is not quite so simple, but i think these are all things that people should think about. I read in a paper the other day that a fair majority of animal tetsing is done on research into curing diseases like lung cancer and heart disease, which are mostly caused by unhealthy eating and smoking. This research seems to be fairly redundunt in general. However, i must also admit that there are massive benefits from animal testing and many scientists have stated that animal testing has been the greatest help to medical researach in the last half century, so i could not at all say that it is useless.

 

I think at best, i would have to contest that testing on animals is perhaps the lesser of two evils. However, we should also acknowledge that the lesser of two evils is evil nonetheless. I think the best thing we can do is to put more money and time into other forms of medical research that have shown promise such as computer simulated testing and stem cell research (though i suppose that is a whole other issue).

 

Anyway, i hope i have been clear aswell. I am also very tired, so please forgive the inevitable abundancy of typos and spelling errors.  


Jacob Cordingley
SuperfanBronze Member
Jacob Cordingley's picture
Posts: 1484
Joined: 2007-03-18
User is offlineOffline
You raise the problems of

You raise the problems of my argument quite well.

In relation to babies/ human non-persons.

The one thing that prevents us from killing babies is our instinct/intuitions. It is wrong to kill a baby because we are sensitive to that kind of thing. The mother will almost always feel extremely emotionally if we were to kill the baby, there are also many reasons not to. In the absense of a biological parent a baby could be adopted, it is wasteful to kill it. However if the killing of the baby were for necessary reasons we would not be acting against the baby's interests. An interest in not dying is perhaps different from other interests in that all other interests relate to things that may affect us in our life, death on the otherhand is different, it will not affect us any longer because well we'll be dead. The psychological desire to avoid death relies upon the conceptualisation of life/death in a way that other interests do not. By killing a person we are acting against that person's interest whether he knows he's going to die or not.

Over to human non-persons. This refers primarily to those humans in permanent vegetative states. They will never actually live, they will never feel, they are simply breathing organisms being kept alive by machines, no brain function, very little motor function, they are all but dead. I have no problem with killing such people if there is no chance of them living again. Mentally handicapped is tricky, I would suggest that intuition and nature prevents us from doing so, they are often also capable of enjoying life whether they have an active interest in it or not. If we were to systematically kill babies or the mentally handicapped the repercussions for society would be phenomenal, any good that might come from their non-existence would be outweighed by bad consequences. There would be outrage, emotional trauma, harm done, not to the subject killed but to its family friends and to the public at large.

On vegetarianism in the modern age you are right. I live in England too, Lancaster in the North-West. It is not necessary to eat meat. However, I have very little moral reason not to eat meat anymore. If I were to go somewhere where I needed to eat meat to live, I would probably give in and do it. The idea of eating meat disgusts me mostly because it is an alien idea to me, it is an idea I indoctrinated myself into disliking! But I would begrudgingly cast aside my vegetarianism, it is only habit that keeps me being one.

Utilitarian dilemmas

Lets say I could save five people or my brother and I had time to decide on this subject. My choice would be to save the five lives. I would miss my brother dearly but I would know I'd done the right thing, I would have maximised the good of the most people possible. If I'd been confronted with the same dilemma say in a burning house, with the fear and the instinct over reason, I would save my brother. I would feel regret afterwards as well as relief for my brother's safety, but I would know that I could not have done anything else in that situation.  


Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Thanks for replying again.

Thanks for replying again. I still have a few problems with some of your points, but you at least seem consistent with your beliefs and seem to have really thought things through, rather then just picking what suits you.

 

Quote:

In relation to babies/ human non-persons.

The one thing that prevents us from killing babies is our instinct/intuitions.

 I don't agree with that. I suppose you could make the arguement that everything is based on our instincts to some extent, but i don't think that's the point your making. Anyway 'll explain why i disagree with this in a minute, i'll just clear up a few more things first: 

Quote:
 

It is wrong to kill a baby because we are sensitive to that kind of thing. The mother will almost always feel extremely emotionally if we were to kill the baby, there are also many reasons not to. In the absense of a biological parent a baby could be adopted, it is wasteful to kill it.

 

 

 Yes, i agree with that. I think the indirect negative consequences of killing a baby would always be far more then that of an animal.

 

Quote:
However if the killing of the baby were for necessary reasons we would not be acting against the baby's interests. An interest in not dying is perhaps different from other interests in that all other interests relate to things that may affect us in our life, death on the otherhand is different, it will not affect us any longer because well we'll be dead. The psychological desire to avoid death relies upon the conceptualisation of life/death in a way that other interests do not. By killing a person we are acting against that person's interest whether he knows he's going to die or not.
 

 

I would like it if you could explain what you mean by "interest in not dying"?. What does it matter if someone has an interest in not dying if they are dead?. Seen as they don't exist anymore, they won't be able to regret dying. Aside from the fact that other people will be sad about losing that person, there is no direct reason, using your logic, why it is wrong to kill them. Why does it matter if we are acting against a person's interests if they are not alive to experiance it?

 

 

 

 

 


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Kid A wrote: Hi, i'm new

Kid A wrote:
Hi, i'm new here, but i was listening to one of the shows where the squad talked breifly about animal rights, and i was interested in what the general opinion here was on these sort of issues, whether they be vegetarianism, hunting or animal testing.

Being a core member of the squad, I'm for animal testing for medical research, I eat gobs of meat, and I hunt (thogh I haven't been out for a few years).

 Kelly on the other hand is a vegetarian, does not hunt and is conflicted on the testing issue - though you'd have to get specifics from her.

We vary across the board, but I'm probably the most to the right of the issue, being raised in a rural community and being involved in the scientific field.

Frankly, I personally don't think animals have rights, save for the ones we grant them. In my mind, rights entail responsibilities and reciprocity - animals are not capable of such (nor are some humans for that matter), and thus the concept is a human domain.  

 

Quote:
I personally have been a vegetarian for many years, and am very pro-animal rights in general (though i suppose it's pretty debatable what the term 'animal rights' means). The reason i'd like to bring up this subject here, is that i think the notion of animal rights is very linked in with having a good understanding of evolution. Anyway, please discuss.

 I agree with you, it IS very linked with an understanding of evolution, which only cements my sentiments on the subject.

Rights, liberties, freedoms, civility, etc. - are for the most part human domain, as I stated earlier. I will not claim, that chimps for example do not exhibit empathetic behavior, they certainly do, and I use research and lines of evidence all the time in my own arguments with creationists. 

However to give animals actual rights though, to me, seems untinkable - for no animal is capable of understanding the responsibility and reciprocation involved in such an entity. A lion will not refrain from eating you if you grant it rights, and chimp won't refrain from ripping you limb from limb if you step between him and his mate or offspring.

Rights are a two way street. Rights cannot exist without the capacity to reciprocate them.

You can (and most people I argue with do) bring up exceptions like mentally handicapped humans. The simple fact of the matter is, if such people are not capable of responsibility and reciprocation of rights, they DON'T have the same rights as you and I may have. Clinically diagnosed pyromanics are not permitted to roam the streets at will, nor are people who would obviously be a danger to others or themselves. Rights are proportionate to the ability of the organism, human or otherwise, to respect them, understand them, and reciprocate them.

Now, I do expect some sort of counter along the lines of "well we don't kill the retarded, simply because of this lack of understanding, so why are we entitled to kill animals who also do not understand." The thing is, I think it is simply natural to grant exceptions and clemency to one's own kind and own species - we've been conditioned to do so by billions of years of evolution. This is not an ethical argument, it is a animalistic one, for after all, we are animals - and as the only animals who understand the concept of rights, we're the only animals who have them. Either we're all animals and equal, so anything goes as far as survival goes, or we're somehow "better" than the other animals and have some sort of ambiguous moral obligation to save them from ourselves.

Either avenue upholds the status quo.

I'm not claiming eating another animal is moral or immoral - I think it is A-moral.

In the end, I honestly do not see any problem placing our species above others, that is exactly WHY we are still here, evolutionarily speaking. All species do it. It prompts the question that if there were a rodent or primate or insect species that threatened human survival, would we be justified in exterminating it? I think if you answer yes to that question, then you do understand where I'm coming from, at least in part.

We must also look at facts like; domestic cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, horses, etc, exist for the sole reason that we eat them or use them in other capacities and use their hides - same goes for domesticated pets. These animals were bred from the wild for the table, they probably would have gone extinct or have been hunted to extinction long ago without us simply keeping them aroung because they were tasty and easy to manage or otherwise useful. 

Then there is medical research. I've been involved personally with that myself in the past, and the blunt fact of the matter is that animals are excellent models to work on. The strides in medicine and drug development due to animal research is hard to deny - this sort of goes back to my last point. Also, don't forget that this research also benefits animals in the end. And again, speaking from the point of evolution, such testing yields viable results because we ARE very similar physiolocially to other animals.

I don't think any living thing should be subject to abject torture for our whims; the cat that toyed and tortured with a mouse on my porch for two hours last week doesn't share that sentiment - it cannot, it's a fucking cat, incapable of such moralistic hand wringing.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
Of course some animals have

Of course some animals have rights. Humans are animals and humans have rights.

I came up with a really simple test for determining whether or not something has rights.

1. It has to be self-aware.

2. It has to understand ownership.

If it can do both, then it owns itself, and if it owns itself, it has rights.

To my knowledge the animals that can pass this test are humans, dolphins, maybe some primates, and elephants could be taught ownership and then they'd have rights.

Other animals don't have rights. I certainly never feel bad about killing insects or watching squirrels do backflips off car hoods after being shot with an airsoft gun, or eating meat, and can't imagine why anyone would feel bad for using a product tested on animals. And I'd like to learn how to hunt.

Y#5's reciprocity argument is strong as well, although is basically what I said using more legal than moral language. 


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Well I don't vehemetly

Well I don't vehemetly disagree with you, but there are problems here.

Zhwazi wrote:

Of course some animals have rights. Humans are animals and humans have rights. .

I could point out severl logical failings here, but the first and formost is equivocation. It's ALWAYS been the problem in such issues. Just because humans are animals does NOT mean animals have rights. By what logic is this extended? Shit, it isn't even clear that one has rights simply on the accord of being human - in fact of contested such in previous posts.

 Does a dog have the right to vote? No.

Can a cow make a binding contract? No.

Can a squirrel be a landlord, regardless of the "rights" you grant it?

Could that squirrel run your town - be mayor?

Humans have rights, only because humans grant other humans rights, and we do so with certain expectations and caveates. Nothing decrees we are entilted to these rights, except contracts (be they business or constiutional or what not) we work out amoung ourselves. or have been worked out for us. But NO such contract can be entered into by a party who is incapable of understanding that contract or incapable of fulfilling it. That's just the way life is.

 And it should be noted that even those contracts don't really entitle you to anything without reciprocation and a collective mentality willing to uphold such agreements.

Animals do not, can not, have rights. At least certainly NOT under the criteria you have presented.

Quote:
I came up with a really simple test for determining whether or not something has rights.

1. It has to be self-aware.

2. It has to understand ownership.

If it can do both, then it owns itself, and if it owns itself, it has rights.

I don't think this is a sufficient definition.

Quote:
To my knowledge the animals that can pass this test are humans, dolphins, maybe some primates, and elephants could be taught ownership and then they'd have rights.

When you can rent me some time in Shamu's room at Sea World, and hace Shamu be the one to approve the deal, let me know.

Quote:
Other animals don't have rights.

No animal has rights. I don't think you've made any special distinctions in the handful of meat you've mentioned. 

Quote:
I certainly never feel bad about killing insects or watching squirrels do backflips off car hoods after being shot with an airsoft gun, or eating meat, and can't imagine why anyone would feel bad for using a product tested on animals. And I'd like to learn how to hunt.

I don't feel any bad about any of that and I also have no problem with eating whales and sea otters and border collies.

Quote:
Y#5's reciprocity argument is strong as well, although is basically what I said using more legal than moral language. 

I wasn't trying to be legal or mioral about it. The issue is beyond that.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I could point out severl logical failings here, but the first and formost is equivocation. It's ALWAYS been the problem in such issues. Just because humans are animals does NOT mean animals have rights.

It means that animals can have rights, and some animals do have rights. That is all I intended to say. I'm sorry if it was costrued any other way. I didn't mean to say that all animals have rights.

Quote:
By what logic is this extended? Shit, it isn't even clear that one has rights simply on the accord of being human - in fact of contested such in previous posts.

Which is why I introduce an alternative way of defining it, which you had a rebuttal to and I'll address in due course.

Quote:
Does a dog have the right to vote? No.

Voting is not a right but a priviledge granted by the government. The same applies to free healthcare. It's not a right, it's a privilege. Of course a dog doesn't have that right, even humans do not have that right.

Quote:
Can a cow make a binding contract? No.

Cows don't pass the test I gave later on, I would fully agree with you that cows can't make contracts.

Quote:
Can a squirrel be a landlord, regardless of the "rights" you grant it?

It would be a very exceptional squirrel that was both self-aware and able to respect others' ownership of property. Unless such an exceptional squirrel exists, of course not.

Quote:
Could that squirrel run your town - be mayor?

No. Not only because no squirrel I know has rights, but also because even if such a magical squirrel existed that was able to interact with humans as peers, it would be intrinsically criminal to perform the tasks involved in being a mayor, just as it is with humans.

Quote:
Humans have rights, only because humans grant other humans rights, and we do so with certain expectations and caveates.

No, rights are intrinsic in the nature of people and the world. Murray Rothbard's "The Ethics of Liberty" has more to say on this if you'd like a more professional explanation.

Quote:
Nothing decrees we are entilted to these rights, except contracts (be they business or constiutional or what not) we work out amoung ourselves.

Not true. This presupposes a right to contract, which would ultimately be intrinsic, which just supports my assertion that rights are intrinsic.

Quote:
or have been worked out for us.

In the same sense that pi has been "worked out" to a certain number of digits, yes. But rights are as intrinsic to people as pi is intrinsic to circles. Rights are not invented or designed, but discovered. The natural law of justice is not dissimilar to the natural laws of physics.

Quote:
But NO such contract can be entered into by a party who is incapable of understanding that contract or incapable of fulfilling it. That's just the way life is.

Agreed. And this was part of the definition I gave. An implication of being able to respect the property rights of others includes the right to contract, which is an extension of property rights.

Quote:
And it should be noted that even those contracts don't really entitle you to anything without reciprocation and a collective mentality willing to uphold such agreements.

Those contracts do entitle without a collective mentality willing to uphold such agreements, as what is right is totally distinct from what most people think (reality isn't governed by democracy), but I agree that without reciporication (which is a defining element of a contract) you have no contract and are entitled to nothing.

Quote:
Animals do not, can not, have rights. At least certainly NOT under the criteria you have presented.

All animals, no, and I never meant to say they did. Some animals, certainly do, as demonstrated by the fact that humans are animals and have rights. That's why I provided additional criteria, to determine which animals do and do not have rights.

Quote:
I don't think this is a sufficient definition.

What's your specific problem with it? Do you mean it is too general? Not relevant? What?

Quote:
When you can rent me some time in Shamu's room at Sea World, and hace Shamu be the one to approve the deal, let me know.

I can't do that for a few reasons:

1. Assuming Shamu has rights, Shamu is a slave, and thus you would have to contract with Shamu's owner for time with Shamu. Although rightfully you should not have to, Seaworld doesn't recognize what it's doing as slavery. Shamu cannot approve the deal anymore than a prisoner can personally contract for a meeting with someone outside the cell for a meeting in the cell. For clarity, I'm not 100% certain that keeping orcas in captivity is slavery (I haven't run my test on any orcas nor do I have any testimony about orca activity which supports the idea that they do), I just assumed for the sake of argument that orcas have rights, which would make it slavery.

2. There are multiple orcas named Shamu, and all of them have different names among the training staff. Shamu in Sea World San Diego until recently (perhaps you heard about the attack on the trainer during a show) was an orca named Sumar, for instance.  Shamu is a marketing name. You cannot contract with Shamu anymore than you can contract with Mickey Mouse.

3. None of the numerous Shamus speak the same language as us. This doesn't mean they don't have rights anymore than you would cease having rights if stranded in a country where nobody speaks english, it just means that something like you asked me to do would be very difficult.

Quote:
No animal has rights. I don't think you've made any special distinctions in the handful of meat you've mentioned.

1. Humans are animals.

2. Humans have rights.

3. Therefore some animals have rights.

To say no animal has rights is to deny as well that humans have rights. By any scientific definition of animal, humans are animals. Only by the arbitrary human exception of humanity from the word "animal" does that mean what I believe you intended it to mean, and that would be arbitrary.

Perhaps I should put it like this. Suppose an alien race lands on planet Earth and they can interact with humans as peers. They aren't hostile, they don't speak english ,and aren't human. Would you say that these beings have rights? If so, then the principle has been established that nonhuman animals can have rights, and the automatic exclusion of all nonhuman animals already on earth is arbitrary. Some different criteria of what determines whether an animal has rights or not, one which is not arbitrary, must be discovered which would include everything that has rights and exclude everything that does not. To the best of my ability to reason, the two biggest criteria which aren't presumed in the situtation (i.e. they exist, they do things, etc) are whether or not such a being is self-aware, as without self-awareness such a thing as making a contract binding upon oneself is impossible, and being able to respect the rights of other beings with rights, as if such a being is for whatever reason physically or mentally or in any other way for any other reason incapable of doing so and incapable of giving restitution to any being thus wronged, such a being is intrinsically criminal and violative of rights and should be destroyed in the interests of all beings which have rights.

Quote:
I wasn't trying to be legal or mioral about it. The issue is beyond that.

What you were trying to do doesn't change what you did.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Zhwazi

Zhwazi wrote:
Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I could point out severl logical failings here, but the first and formost is equivocation. It's ALWAYS been the problem in such issues. Just because humans are animals does NOT mean animals have rights.

It means that animals can have rights, and some animals do have rights. That is all I intended to say. I'm sorry if it was costrued any other way. I didn't mean to say that all animals have rights.

Quote:
By what logic is this extended? Shit, it isn't even clear that one has rights simply on the accord of being human - in fact of contested such in previous posts.

Which is why I introduce an alternative way of defining it, which you had a rebuttal to and I'll address in due course.

Quote:
Does a dog have the right to vote? No.

Voting is not a right but a priviledge granted by the government. The same applies to free healthcare. It's not a right, it's a privilege. Of course a dog doesn't have that right, even humans do not have that right.

Quote:
Can a cow make a binding contract? No.

Cows don't pass the test I gave later on, I would fully agree with you that cows can't make contracts.

Quote:
Can a squirrel be a landlord, regardless of the "rights" you grant it?

It would be a very exceptional squirrel that was both self-aware and able to respect others' ownership of property. Unless such an exceptional squirrel exists, of course not.

Quote:
Could that squirrel run your town - be mayor?

No. Not only because no squirrel I know has rights, but also because even if such a magical squirrel existed that was able to interact with humans as peers, it would be intrinsically criminal to perform the tasks involved in being a mayor, just as it is with humans.

 Agreed.

Quote:
Quote:
Humans have rights, only because humans grant other humans rights, and we do so with certain expectations and caveates.

No, rights are intrinsic in the nature of people and the world. Murray Rothbard's "The Ethics of Liberty" has more to say on this if you'd like a more professional explanation.

I think I'll need such an explanation. I don't see how humans have intrinsic rights. I think properties humans posess allow us to grant one another rights in the form of contract and mutual understanding. I don't think that humans possess rights by the mere fact that they are human - which is what intrinsic implies. A PERSON has rights, a human does not - at least not necessarily, and a PERSON only has rights based upon contracts and mutual understandings with those around him or her.

To say a human has such intrinsic rights implies that they come from somewhere. Considering where we are talking, I think it safe to assume you don't things such riights come from divinity. So where, exactly, do they come from?

Quote:
Quote:
Nothing decrees we are entilted to these rights, except contracts (be they business or constiutional or what not) we work out amoung ourselves.

Not true. This presupposes a right to contract, which would ultimately be intrinsic, which just supports my assertion that rights are intrinsic.

No. I'm not sure you understand the term "intinsic". This implies that something by its very nature has some sort of property. IOW - humans, by the mere fact of being human, have rights - NOT SO. Look around you.

It should be clear to you, first and foremost, that there is a distinct difference between merely being human and being an actual person. A human is simply a member of the species homo sapien.

A PERSON is a human above such simple genetic or taxonomic classification. A PERSON is a human individual capable of understanding, possessing and reciprocating rights and duties.

Terry Schiavo before they pulled the plug was a human. You and I are PERSONS.

 She was little more than meat. You and I are capable of possessing, understanding and reciprocating rights, contracts and privelidges.

Quote:
Quote:
or have been worked out for us.

In the same sense that pi has been "worked out" to a certain number of digits, yes. But rights are as intrinsic to people as pi is intrinsic to circles. Rights are not invented or designed, but discovered. The natural law of justice is not dissimilar to the natural laws of physics.

I am willing to hear you out, simply tell me why humans have intrinsic rights and tell me what they are. You'd probably best define what a human or person is as well.

I think it would be great if we had intrinsic rights or ordained rights, but I simply do not see how this is the case. Would not such a thing be absolute? Would it not be universally understood?

Quote:
Quote:
But NO such contract can be entered into by a party who is incapable of understanding that contract or incapable of fulfilling it. That's just the way life is.

Agreed. And this was part of the definition I gave. An implication of being able to respect the property rights of others includes the right to contract, which is an extension of property rights.

OK, now I'm not sure where the disagreement lies. I'm hoping it is a semantic misunderstanding. Let me know.

Quote:
Quote:
And it should be noted that even those contracts don't really entitle you to anything without reciprocation and a collective mentality willing to uphold such agreements.

Those contracts do entitle without a collective mentality willing to uphold such agreements, as what is right is totally distinct from what most people think (reality isn't governed by democracy), but I agree that without reciporication (which is a defining element of a contract) you have no contract and are entitled to nothing.

Then we essentially agree.

Quote:
Quote:
Animals do not, can not, have rights. At least certainly NOT under the criteria you have presented.

All animals, no, and I never meant to say they did. Some animals, certainly do, as demonstrated by the fact that humans are animals and have rights.

OK, no, we were getting along so well there and now we're back at square one. Rights require the ability to reciprocate, you said so yourself and agreed on that point above. I know of NO animal capable of such, except in insignificant capacities. And again, whatever rights would be involved would be limited to the degree of understanding and reciprocation. 

 

Quote:
That's why I provided additional criteria, to determine which animals do and do not have rights.

I understand why you do it. I simply think it misquided. Say a police dog sacrifices itself for her handler. We must understand that "sacrifice" is the WRONG word here.

The dog did not understand it would cease to exist upon the act. The dog did what it was trained to do. It sacrificed itself, because it got food rewards for exhibiting such behaviour in training. Not out of a sense of obligation. Not out of a sense of duty. It may as well have been a robot programed to do such in order to get charged up again.

And if the dog actually DID have rights, how could we ever justify putting it in harms way like that? The dog is an animal. Has no rights, as it is incapable of understanding the situation or the parameters involved. 

 

Quote:
I don't think this is a sufficient definition.

What's your specific problem with it? Do you mean it is too general? Not relevant? What?

I think I've been fairly clear. We're talking apples and oranges.

Quote:
Quote:
When you can rent me some time in Shamu's room at Sea World, and hace Shamu be the one to approve the deal, let me know.

I can't do that for a few reasons:

1. Assuming Shamu has rights, Shamu is a slave, and thus you would have to contract with Shamu's owner for time with Shamu.

I agree. If Shamu has rights, Shamu IS a slave. As are all police dogs, guard dogs, helper monkies, most pets, etc. Do you honestly think such is the case?

But Shamu does NOT have rights. Shamu is a fishy mammal in a tank. 

Quote:
Although rightfully you should not have to, Seaworld doesn't recognize what it's doing as slavery. Shamu cannot approve the deal anymore than a prisoner can personally contract for a meeting with someone outside the cell for a meeting in the cell. For clarity, I'm not 100% certain that keeping orcas in captivity is slavery (I haven't run my test on any orcas nor do I have any testimony about orca activity which supports the idea that they do), I just assumed for the sake of argument that orcas have rights, which would make it slavery.

And I assume no such thing. Why should I?

Quote:
2. There are multiple orcas named Shamu, and all of them have different names among the training staff. Shamu in Sea World San Diego until recently (perhaps you heard about the attack on the trainer during a show) was an orca named Sumar, for instance.  Shamu is a marketing name. You cannot contract with Shamu anymore than you can contract with Mickey Mouse.

True, but irrelevent.

Quote:
3. None of the numerous Shamus speak the same language as us. This doesn't mean they don't have rights anymore than you would cease having rights if stranded in a country where nobody speaks english, it just means that something like you asked me to do would be very difficult.

There is a distinct difference here. Whales, while intelligent for animals, are not human and have NEVER demostrated the same sential capacities as humans. When they do, IF they do, I'm happy to reconsider my position.

Quote:
Quote:
No animal has rights. I don't think you've made any special distinctions in the handful of meat you've mentioned.

1. Humans are animals.

2. Humans have rights.

3. Therefore some animals have rights.

You know this is garbage logic, especially when I contest the second premise as you've presented it.

This is a composition fallacy.

You may as well have said:

1)Humans are made of cells

2)Cells are invisible to the naked eye

3)Some humans are invisible.

Quote:
To say no animal has rights is to deny as well that humans have rights.

Not at all. I define the ability to have rights as part and parcle of the ability to understand what said rights entail and the ability to carry out the necessary responsibilities of reciprocation of such rights. You cannot possess a right you do not understand. I simply deny any animal other than a human has such an ability in anything other than a trivial capacity. Show me that I'm wrong on such an assessment and I'll gladly change my mind. 

 

Quote:
By any scientific definition of animal, humans are animals.

No shit. But again you are equivovating.

Quote:
Only by the arbitrary human exception of humanity from the word "animal" does that mean what I believe you intended it to mean, and that would be arbitrary.

Oh, no, I'm being anything but arbitrary. Like I said, there are certain humans that do not have the rights you and I may enjoy. This is a direct result of their inability to understand and reciprocate such rights as you and I may enjoy.

Rights entail the ABILITY to UNDERSTAND them and the CAPACITY to RECIPROCATE them. If one cannot do that, they cannot have said right.

Quote:
Perhaps I should put it like this. Suppose an alien race lands on planet Earth and they can interact with humans as peers. They aren't hostile, they don't speak english ,and aren't human. Would you say that these beings have rights?

If they were capable of understanding and reciprocating mutual contracts, yes. Language has NEVER been a barrier to rights.  

 

Quote:
If so, then the principle has been established that nonhuman animals can have rights, and the automatic exclusion of all nonhuman animals already on earth is arbitrary.

Animals can have rights, after they've satisfied the necessary criteria - understanding and reciprocation. Let me know when they can do that. They would also have to be subject to the same reprecussions you and I have.

If a monkey in the park takes my lunch, that monkey is getting prosecuted for theft.

 

Quote:
 Some different criteria of what determines whether an animal has rights or not, one which is not arbitrary, must be discovered which would include everything that has rights and exclude everything that does not. To the best of my ability to reason, the two biggest criteria which aren't presumed in the situtation (i.e. they exist, they do things, etc) are whether or not such a being is self-aware, as without self-awareness such a thing as making a contract binding upon oneself is impossible, and being able to respect the rights of other beings with rights, as if such a being is for whatever reason physically or mentally or in any other way for any other reason incapable of doing so and incapable of giving restitution to any being thus wronged, such a being is intrinsically criminal and violative of rights and should be destroyed in the interests of all beings which have rights.

Any such organism, human or otherwise, would not have the rights you and I do. Likely they'd have no rights at all.

Quote:
Quote:
I wasn't trying to be legal or mioral about it. The issue is beyond that.

What you were trying to do doesn't change what you did.

I'm well aware of what I said.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I think I'll need such an explanation. I don't see how humans have intrinsic rights. I think properties humans posess allow us to grant one another rights in the form of contract and mutual understanding.

Right. These properties, intrinsic to the nature of humans, are the properties that give people intrinsic natural rights. Do people have a right to grant one another rights? If not, then no rights exist. If they do, then people have intrinsic rights. I don't see how you can avoid rights being intrinsic.

Quote:
I don't think that humans possess rights by the mere fact that they are human - which is what intrinsic implies.

Not by the fact that they are human alone, but by a certain combination of the properties of humans which I provided and you didn't like.

Quote:
A PERSON has rights, a human does not - at least not necessarily, and a PERSON only has rights based upon contracts and mutual understandings with those around him or her.

If we have established that a person has rights, and that a person is a different thing from a human, how can it be said that all people are necessarily humans?

And again, your "social contract" source of rights presupposes intrinsic rights. 

Quote:
To say a human has such intrinsic rights implies that they come from somewhere. Considering where we are talking, I think it safe to assume you don't things such riights come from divinity. So where, exactly, do they come from?

The nature of people and the world. If for no other reason, then because everything else is demonstrably contradictory. 

Quote:
No. I'm not sure you understand the term "intinsic". This implies that something by its very nature has some sort of property. IOW - humans, by the mere fact of being human, have rights - NOT SO. Look around you.

It should be clear to you, first and foremost, that there is a distinct difference between merely being human and being an actual person. A human is simply a member of the species homo sapien.

Humans do not, by the mere fact of being human, have rights, I agree with you here. I gave you the two critical factors - self-awareness and understanding and respect of ownership - as the things that distinguish a person from a nonperson.

While the default position of a human is having rights and being a person, they can very well act in ways that negate their personhood. Such a person, however, must necessarily be disreguarding the property rights of others to their lives, liberties, and property, and as such fail to fulfill the second condition I offered.

Quote:
A PERSON is a human above such simple genetic or taxonomic classification. A PERSON is a human individual capable of understanding, possessing and reciprocating rights and duties.

Terry Schiavo before they pulled the plug was a human. You and I are PERSONS.

She was little more than meat. You and I are capable of possessing, understanding and reciprocating rights, contracts and privelidges.

I only disagree with your defining a person as necessarily a human in this definition. It seems arbitrary.

Terry Schaivo was not a person because she failed at least one of the tests I gave. She was not self-aware. And she could not have respected property rights if she had violated anyone's rights, for instance if the hospital she resided in no longer wanted her there, she could not have honored that wish and left. Although it's questionable whether or not the second factor played a part, the fact that she failed one disqualifies her as a person.

Quote:
I am willing to hear you out, simply tell me why humans have intrinsic rights and tell me what they are. You'd probably best define what a human or person is as well.

I agree with your definitions of human and person, save your defining all persons as necessarily human. You seem to be defending the position that only humans are people by defining all people as humans, it seems like a circular argument to me, and if I have to use those definitions and those words, I couldn't possibly prove you wrong. But if you don't at least open up to the possibility of nonhumans being persons, I'll just use different words. So for convenience, please accept the definitions whereby human is not a necessary condition of a person.

Firstly I do recommend you read some material by Murray Rothbard, perhaps his "For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto"?

Rothbard's proof of natural rights sets out from the axiom that people act, and they act because they want to act, that by acting they employ scarce means to fulfill desired ends, wants. The fulfillment of wants, or happiness, is good.

This is axiomatic because attempting to refute it involves acting, because you want to, utilizing scarce time, energy, and effort, to fulfill the end of communicating with me, as a means to happiness for yourself. And attepting to refute it while doing it is kinda contradictory.

Because finding good (happiness) requires action, it follows that actions which serve these wants are good. 

Since some actions are good and some are not, there's got to be a way to tell the good ones from the bad ones. Beggining with Crusoe Ethics, where there's only one person in the world and they can't possibly harm the lives of anybody else, we can basically assume that anything they do will be done because they want to do it. All action will support the life and happiness of that one person. Everything is good. Bad actions are impossible.

If there are more people than that, one person can interfere with the happiness of others, by depriving others of the means to those ends that they value. In order to avoid conflicts between these competing values, ends, which people seek to fulfill, it is necessary to decide, between people, how these scarce means will be allocated, or more accurately, how it will be decided how these will be allocated. Ownership is  rightful decisionmaking power.

There are three possible ethics that will allow for this necessary decisionmaking, avoiding conflicts of interest.

1. Private ownership. A owns A, B owns B. An individual has absolute irresponsible dominion over certain objects. Nobody else can tell him what to do with it (this would be a conflict between competing interests).

2. Feudalism/Slavery. A owns A, A owns B. This ethic fails the test of universality. Rules which apply to A do not also apply to B. The criteria by which it is determined that A owns B but B does not own A are inherently arbitrary. This ethic is contradictory and therfore invalid.

3. Collective ownership. A+B own A+B. Everybody owns an equal quotal share of everything else (including each other. To not include each other is to assume private property in individuals while holding that private property is illegitemate, which is a contradictory blend). This passes the universality test which (2) fails miserably. However it brings up a different problem. If everybody has rightful control of everybody, and anybody attempts to communicate to anybody else, they are making use of a scarce resource, their vocal cords, without the consent of everybody. This creates a circular dependancy. Getting consent requires action. Action requires getting consent. Since neither can be presupposed without assuming private ownership, you can't end up with either.

Thus, private ownership is the only logical ethic of ownership.

Private ownership assumes the private right of individuals to decide how to act, thus liberty is a right. Liberty requires that one have a right to one's own body in order for one to be able to act. Thus, one has a property right to the object of one's own body. As owner of one's own body, it follows that the works and products of that body belong to the owner of the body which created it. It belonging to anybody else would be baseless, and it must either belong to one person according to the private property ethic demonstrated above, or belong to no person, in which case nobody has any rightful decisionmaking power over such an object. Because acquisition of rightful decisionmaking power over other objects (scarce means) is necessary for the fulfillment of needs (ends served by those scarce means), the aquisition of rightful decisionmaking power aka ownership of an object is right.

This establishes the rights of life, liberty, and property as intrinsic.

Quote:
I think it would be great if we had intrinsic rights or ordained rights, but I simply do not see how this is the case. Would not such a thing be absolute? Would it not be universally understood?

It would be absolute pursuant to it's own implications. Universally understood, unfortunately not, however luckily it is easily intuited by most people.

Quote:
OK, now I'm not sure where the disagreement lies. I'm hoping it is a semantic misunderstanding. Let me know.

Whether rights are intrinsic or not, and what determines whether or not a certain being has rights, and whether or not nonhumans can be persons.

Quote:
OK, no, we were getting along so well there and now we're back at square one. Rights require the ability to reciprocate, you said so yourself and agreed on that point above. I know of NO animal capable of such, except in insignificant capacities. And again, whatever rights would be involved would be limited to the degree of understanding and reciprocation.

The question isn't yet "which nonhumans have rights" or even "whether nonhumans can have rights", but "what determines rights?" Once we answer the other questions I'll see how strong a case I can make for any species having rights, but we have to know what exactly we're looking for first.

So far as I can tell the ability to reciporicate requires (among other things, but to list specifically those which most animals do not posess) recognition of self and recognition of others. Self awareness and ability to respect the rights of others. The same two conditions I keep giving.

 

Quote:
I understand why you do it. I simply think it misquided. Say a police dog sacrifices itself for her handler. We must understand that "sacrifice" is the WRONG word here.

The dog did not understand it would cease to exist upon the act. The dog did what it was trained to do. It sacrificed itself, because it got food rewards for exhibiting such behaviour in training. Not out of a sense of obligation. Not out of a sense of duty. It may as well have been a robot programed to do such in order to get charged up again.

And if the dog actually DID have rights, how could we ever justify putting it in harms way like that? The dog is an animal. Has no rights, as it is incapable of understanding the situation or the parameters involved.

Agreed. The dog is basically a bio-robot. It doesn't understand that people have rights, does not recognize itself as a person, and is probably not self-aware. The dog doesn't meet either of the conditions I have put forward.

Quote:
I think I've been fairly clear. We're talking apples and oranges.

It seems to me that you define all non-macintoshes as oranges by defining all non-humans as animals without rights, but that's just how I see it. They way you are defining things seems constructed to make it difficult for me to make my point.

Quote:
I agree. If Shamu has rights, Shamu IS a slave. As are all police dogs, guard dogs, helper monkies, most pets, etc. Do you honestly think such is the case?

But Shamu does NOT have rights. Shamu is a fishy mammal in a tank.

I answered the question later. Let's leave the question of whether or not Shamu has rights until after we can agree on where rights come from and what conditions need to be met to determine whether or not something has rights. 

Quote:
And I assume no such thing. Why should I?

Because your request (get me a spot on Shamu's schedule) assumes that Shamu has rights. If you assume in your question that Shamu has rights and then answer assuming Shamu does not have rights, I can't very well give a satisfactory answer can I? 

Quote:
There is a distinct difference here. Whales, while intelligent for animals, are not human and have NEVER demostrated the same sential capacities as humans. When they do, IF they do, I'm happy to reconsider my position.

They have never to your knowledge demonstrated those abilities. The question is, if I could show you contrary evidence, would you accept it? Since I believe you would you don't really have to respond to this paragraph.

Quote:
1. Humans are animals.

2. Humans have rights.

3. Therefore some animals have rights.

You know this is garbage logic, especially when I contest the second premise as you've presented it.

This is a composition fallacy.

You may as well have said:

1)Humans are made of cells

2)Cells are invisible to the naked eye

3)Some humans are invisible.

Let me elaborate:

1. Humans have rights.

2. Humans = a subset of Animals

3. Therefore a subset of animals has rights.

4. (3) would be impossible if animals could not have rights. 

5. Therefore animals can have rights. 

Quote:
I simply deny any animal other than a human has such an ability in anything other than a trivial capacity. Show me that I'm wrong on such an assessment and I'll gladly change my mind.

At the moment I'm just trying to get you to admit that it is possible that any animal other than a human can have such an ability. If this is such a statement, then I can move on to proving specifics.

Quote:
No shit. But again you are equivovating.

You are making arbitrary exceptions.

Quote:
Oh, no, I'm being anything but arbitrary. Like I said, there are certain humans that do not have the rights you and I may enjoy. This is a direct result of their inability to understand and reciprocate such rights as you and I may enjoy.

This does not answer the originally quoted text, I accused you of excepting humans from your definition of animal. If you are not doing that, please say so. If you are doing that and you do not believe you are being arbitrary in doing so, your subsequent statements don't support your first one.

Quote:
Rights entail the ABILITY to UNDERSTAND them and the CAPACITY to RECIPROCATE them. If one cannot do that, they cannot have said right.

Thank you for merely restating one of my two necessary preconditions for having rights, that one is able to understand and respect rights. I take it I will not have to demonstrate in the future that the second requirement is indeed required?

Quote:
Animals can have rights, after they've satisfied the necessary criteria - understanding and reciprocation. Let me know when they can do that. They would also have to be subject to the same reprecussions you and I have.

Understanding and reciporication? Well the second prerequisite I've given is a way of saying you need understanding. The first rerequisite taken with the second implies reciporication.

Quote:
If a monkey in the park takes my lunch, that monkey is getting prosecuted for theft.

Agreed.

Quote:
Any such organism, human or otherwise, would not have the rights you and I do. Likely they'd have no rights at all.

You quoted a rather large portion, so I'll assume you were referring to the later statements made in it about a creature which doesn't have rights. In which case you restated what I said and we're in agreement.


lil_rascal3336
lil_rascal3336's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: 2007-06-03
User is offlineOffline
animals have the right to

animals have the right to not be tourtured for the sake of torture. they however donot deserve or have any other right. they can be tested on, and you know what, if it comes down to killing a few animals to cure some dangerous desiese, i have no problem with it.

 vegetarianism is retarded.

 

i personnaly love animals. but they arnt humans and they shouldnt be treated like one. peta isnt trying to get humane treatment of animals, they are trying to get animalian treatment of humans

 

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_animal_rights an essay that more or less ststes my thoughts better than i can presently.

I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. ayn rand


Nero
Rational VIP!
Nero's picture
Posts: 1142
Joined: 2007-05-22
User is offlineOffline
Quote: i personnaly love

Quote:
i personnaly love animals. but they arnt humans and they shouldnt be treated like one. peta isnt trying to get humane treatment of animals, they are trying to get animalian treatment of humans

Holy cow! I read this, and my brain actually tried to leap from my skull. So many reactions struck me simultaneously that I had to have a drink just to calm myself. First, I love animals too. I love their delicious meat in my stomach. I love their pretty heads on my walls. I love their lovely hides on my floors and beds. I love their plush fur on my coats and in my gloves. So, we are in agreement there.

I then get the the comment that PETA is working toward the animalian treatment of humans. It feels like two Orwell novels in one, Animal Farm 1984, Snowball Goes to the MiniPax. I'm not really sure what this phrase even means (like I said, my brain tried to escape upon reading it). I will guess that it means that humans will be pushed down to animal stature, which would be wicked awesome.

I mean, hunting for bushbuck and cape buffalo is fun, but holy shit! We could thank PETA for a Most Dangerous Game scenario!?! I can think of a few heads I would love to hang in my den.

Okay, I please to jest, but seriously, what the hell does that even mean? Pray, enlighten me.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


lil_rascal3336
lil_rascal3336's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: 2007-06-03
User is offlineOffline
i coined the term animalian,

i coined the term animalian, i meant it as it sounds. for people to be treated like animals.

edit: excript from the essay "The granting of fictional rights to animals is not an innocent error. We do not have to speculate about the motive, because the animal "rights" advocates have revealed it quite openly. Again from PETA: "Mankind is the biggest blight on the face of the earth"; "I do not believe that a human being has a right to life"; "I would rather have medical experiments done on our children than on animals." These self-styled lovers of life do not love animals; rather, they hate men."

I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. ayn rand


Nero
Rational VIP!
Nero's picture
Posts: 1142
Joined: 2007-05-22
User is offlineOffline
lil_rascal3336 wrote: i

lil_rascal3336 wrote:
i coined the term animalian, i meant it as it sounds. for people to be treated like animals. edit: excript from the essay "The granting of fictional rights to animals is not an innocent error. We do not have to speculate about the motive, because the animal "rights" advocates have revealed it quite openly. Again from PETA: "Mankind is the biggest blight on the face of the earth"; "I do not believe that a human being has a right to life"; "I would rather have medical experiments done on our children than on animals." These self-styled lovers of life do not love animals; rather, they hate men."

 

*blink....blink blink*

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
lil_rascal3336

lil_rascal3336 wrote:

animals have the right to not be tourtured for the sake of torture. they however donot deserve or have any other right.

 ...but they arnt humans and they shouldnt be treated like one.

I disagree.

Most animals do not have a right not to be tortured for the sake of torture.

Some animals do have the same rights as humans. Not most, and not the cute ones that are easy to sympathize with.

Humans have rights for a reason. Any animal which has the same right-giving properties as a human also has rights. Excepting humans from the blanket statement "Animals don't have rights" requires good reasons, and any other conclusions that those reasons support would also have to be accepted. 


noncohort (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
My view is that if you can

My view is that if you can have complex bidirectional social interactions with an animal of the species then you should not eat any of animal of that species. Don't eat dogs, cats, horses, chimps, monkeys, etc.

More broadly you should avoid inflicting unecessary pain on animals.


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
That's not a question of

That's not a question of animal rights though. It's just a personal prefrence.


noncohort (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
And vegetarianism isn't a

And vegetarianism isn't a personal peference?


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
I am not a vegetarian and I

I am not a vegetarian and I don't see how vegetarianism has anything to do with this.  I can't stand vegetables and love a good chicken sandwich. Vegetarianism is absolutely a personal prefrence.


noncohort (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
If an animal can feel pain

If an animal can feel pain then animal rights come into play. 

When animals evolve and form social groups then morality comes into play which further leads us to examine animal rights.

I am not a vegetarian either but I don't eat dogs and cats.


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
noncohort wrote: If an

noncohort wrote:

If an animal can feel pain then animal rights come into play.

Non sequitur.

Quote:
When animals evolve and form social groups then morality comes into play which further leads us to examine animal rights.

They already do.

Quote:
I am not a vegetarian either but I don't eat dogs and cats.

But that's a question of taste, not a question of right. 


jmm
Theist
jmm's picture
Posts: 837
Joined: 2007-03-03
User is offlineOffline
I used to be an impossibly

I used to be an impossibly strict vegetarian, but I gave it up about 3 years ago.  It just became impractical, and to be honest, I just stopped caring as well. 


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Zhwazi

Zhwazi wrote:
Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I think I'll need such an explanation. I don't see how humans have intrinsic rights. I think properties humans posess allow us to grant one another rights in the form of contract and mutual understanding.

Right. These properties, intrinsic to the nature of humans, are the properties that give people intrinsic natural rights. Do people have a right to grant one another rights? If not, then no rights exist. If they do, then people have intrinsic rights. I don't see how you can avoid rights being intrinsic.

Again, you don't seem to understand the term intrinsic. PEOPLE can grant rights, a mere human cannot. Terry Schiavo cannot undertand the concept of rights, nor reciprocate the, thus she does not have the rights you and I do. The concept of rights REQUIRES understanding and reciprocation.

Quote:
Quote:
I don't think that humans possess rights by the mere fact that they are human - which is what intrinsic implies.

Not by the fact that they are human alone, but by a certain combination of the properties of humans which I provided and you didn't like.

You have a problem with the criteria of understanding and reciprocation? Those are the only criteria I really have.

Quote:
Quote:
A PERSON has rights, a human does not - at least not necessarily, and a PERSON only has rights based upon contracts and mutual understandings with those around him or her.

If we have established that a person has rights, and that a person is a different thing from a human, how can it be said that all people are necessarily humans?

Being human only really means having a certain genome. Being a PERSON is something wholly different, and it requires cognitive function.

Quote:
And again, your "social contract" source of rights presupposes intrinsic rights. 

How so? I've already said many humans are incapable of possessing rights - how would it follow that humans intrinsicaly have rights?

Quote:
Quote:
To say a human has such intrinsic rights implies that they come from somewhere. Considering where we are talking, I think it safe to assume you don't things such riights come from divinity. So where, exactly, do they come from?

The nature of people and the world. If for no other reason, then because everything else is demonstrably contradictory. 

This makes no logical sense. If humans have intrinsic rights, you should be able to tell me why they do and where they come from. You haven't.

Quote:
Quote:
No. I'm not sure you understand the term "intinsic". This implies that something by its very nature has some sort of property. IOW - humans, by the mere fact of being human, have rights - NOT SO. Look around you.

It should be clear to you, first and foremost, that there is a distinct difference between merely being human and being an actual person. A human is simply a member of the species homo sapien.

Humans do not, by the mere fact of being human, have rights, I agree with you here. I gave you the two critical factors - self-awareness and understanding and respect of ownership - as the things that distinguish a person from a nonperson.

Then we are not THAT far off. I defined it as the ability and capacity to understand and reciprocate said rights or social contract. I think it amounts to almost the same thing. If this is the case, it is OBVIOUS, humans don't have intrinsic rights - you've essentally said so yourself. A PERSON has rights, a human does NOT. And this should be the platform we take to the question of animal rights.

Quote:
While the default position of a human is having rights and being a person, they can very well act in ways that negate their personhood.

Indeed, they can also be injured in such a capacity as to negate it.

  

Quote:
Such a person, however, must necessarily be disreguarding the property rights of others to their lives, liberties, and property, and as such fail to fulfill the second condition I offered.

No, not necessarily. A criminal who steals from you may forfeit their rights to freedom and property, but not necessarily their right to be free of torture or expression for example. They've only proven they cannot understand or reciprocate certain rights, they've not necessarily demonstrated that they are incapable of the concept.

Quote:
Quote:
A PERSON is a human above such simple genetic or taxonomic classification. A PERSON is a human individual capable of understanding, possessing and reciprocating rights and duties.

Terry Schiavo before they pulled the plug was a human. You and I are PERSONS.

She was little more than meat. You and I are capable of possessing, understanding and reciprocating rights, contracts and privelidges.

I only disagree with your defining a person as necessarily a human in this definition. It seems arbitrary.

Terry Schaivo was not a person because she failed at least one of the tests I gave. She was not self-aware. And she could not have respected property rights if she had violated anyone's rights, for instance if the hospital she resided in no longer wanted her there, she could not have honored that wish and left. Although it's questionable whether or not the second factor played a part, the fact that she failed one disqualifies her as a person.

Fine, if you want to fixate on property rights, please explain to me how animals understand and respect property lines and possession and what should be done if they do not. It seems a ludacris and unproductive quibble. My definition CERTAINLY encompasses yours.

Quote:
Quote:
I am willing to hear you out, simply tell me why humans have intrinsic rights and tell me what they are. You'd probably best define what a human or person is as well.

I agree with your definitions of human and person, save your defining all persons as necessarily human. You seem to be defending the position that only humans are people by defining all people as humans, it seems like a circular argument to me, and if I have to use those definitions and those words, I couldn't possibly prove you wrong. But if you don't at least open up to the possibility of nonhumans being persons, I'll just use different words. So for convenience, please accept the definitions whereby human is not a necessary condition of a person.

 All you need to do to change my mind is give me an example of an animal exhibity the capacity of understanding and reciprocating the concept of rights. I defined it as exclusively human, because, AFAIK, it IS.

I simply cannot fathow how an entity incapable of reciprocating or understanding rights can possess them. It would be like giving dogs suffrage.

Quote:
Firstly I do recommend you read some material by Murray Rothbard, perhaps his "For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto"?

Rothbard's proof of natural rights sets out from the axiom that people act, and they act because they want to act, that by acting they employ scarce means to fulfill desired ends, wants. The fulfillment of wants, or happiness, is good.

This is axiomatic because attempting to refute it involves acting, because you want to, utilizing scarce time, energy, and effort, to fulfill the end of communicating with me, as a means to happiness for yourself. And attepting to refute it while doing it is kinda contradictory.

Because finding good (happiness) requires action, it follows that actions which serve these wants are good. 

Since some actions are good and some are not, there's got to be a way to tell the good ones from the bad ones. Beggining with Crusoe Ethics, where there's only one person in the world and they can't possibly harm the lives of anybody else, we can basically assume that anything they do will be done because they want to do it. All action will support the life and happiness of that one person. Everything is good. Bad actions are impossible.

If there are more people than that, one person can interfere with the happiness of others, by depriving others of the means to those ends that they value. In order to avoid conflicts between these competing values, ends, which people seek to fulfill, it is necessary to decide, between people, how these scarce means will be allocated, or more accurately, how it will be decided how these will be allocated. Ownership is  rightful decisionmaking power.

There are three possible ethics that will allow for this necessary decisionmaking, avoiding conflicts of interest.

1. Private ownership. A owns A, B owns B. An individual has absolute irresponsible dominion over certain objects. Nobody else can tell him what to do with it (this would be a conflict between competing interests).

2. Feudalism/Slavery. A owns A, A owns B. This ethic fails the test of universality. Rules which apply to A do not also apply to B. The criteria by which it is determined that A owns B but B does not own A are inherently arbitrary. This ethic is contradictory and therfore invalid.

3. Collective ownership. A+B own A+B. Everybody owns an equal quotal share of everything else (including each other. To not include each other is to assume private property in individuals while holding that private property is illegitemate, which is a contradictory blend). This passes the universality test which (2) fails miserably. However it brings up a different problem. If everybody has rightful control of everybody, and anybody attempts to communicate to anybody else, they are making use of a scarce resource, their vocal cords, without the consent of everybody. This creates a circular dependancy. Getting consent requires action. Action requires getting consent. Since neither can be presupposed without assuming private ownership, you can't end up with either.

Thus, private ownership is the only logical ethic of ownership.

Private ownership assumes the private right of individuals to decide how to act, thus liberty is a right. Liberty requires that one have a right to one's own body in order for one to be able to act. Thus, one has a property right to the object of one's own body. As owner of one's own body, it follows that the works and products of that body belong to the owner of the body which created it. It belonging to anybody else would be baseless, and it must either belong to one person according to the private property ethic demonstrated above, or belong to no person, in which case nobody has any rightful decisionmaking power over such an object. Because acquisition of rightful decisionmaking power over other objects (scarce means) is necessary for the fulfillment of needs (ends served by those scarce means), the aquisition of rightful decisionmaking power aka ownership of an object is right.

This establishes the rights of life, liberty, and property as intrinsic.

What does any of that have to do with the rights of dogs and cats?

Quote:
Quote:
I think it would be great if we had intrinsic rights or ordained rights, but I simply do not see how this is the case. Would not such a thing be absolute? Would it not be universally understood?

It would be absolute pursuant to it's own implications. Universally understood, unfortunately not, however luckily it is easily intuited by most people.

Most PEOPLE, and certainly not all, not most animals. Don't forget what we're discussing here. If it isn't universal amoung humans, what makes you think it translates to less cognitive species?

Quote:
Quote:
OK, now I'm not sure where the disagreement lies. I'm hoping it is a semantic misunderstanding. Let me know.

Whether rights are intrinsic or not, and what determines whether or not a certain being has rights, and whether or not nonhumans can be persons.

A non-human can be a person, I'm open to that certainly. But that non-human had better have the qualities I've pointed out if they want rights or autonomy. Be it alien or dog or dolphin.

Quote:
Quote:
OK, no, we were getting along so well there and now we're back at square one. Rights require the ability to reciprocate, you said so yourself and agreed on that point above. I know of NO animal capable of such, except in insignificant capacities. And again, whatever rights would be involved would be limited to the degree of understanding and reciprocation.

The question isn't yet "which nonhumans have rights" or even "whether nonhumans can have rights", but "what determines rights?" Once we answer the other questions I'll see how strong a case I can make for any species having rights, but we have to know what exactly we're looking for first.

I told you what I'm looking for. If you can explain what my terms are unreasobable, I'll reconsider.

Quote:
So far as I can tell the ability to reciporicate requires (among other things, but to list specifically those which most animals do not posess) recognition of self and recognition of others. Self awareness and ability to respect the rights of others. The same two conditions I keep giving.

Right, as I said, I don't think what we call "person" is that different, so why the impasse?

 

Quote:
Quote:
I understand why you do it. I simply think it misquided. Say a police dog sacrifices itself for her handler. We must understand that "sacrifice" is the WRONG word here.

The dog did not understand it would cease to exist upon the act. The dog did what it was trained to do. It sacrificed itself, because it got food rewards for exhibiting such behaviour in training. Not out of a sense of obligation. Not out of a sense of duty. It may as well have been a robot programed to do such in order to get charged up again.

And if the dog actually DID have rights, how could we ever justify putting it in harms way like that? The dog is an animal. Has no rights, as it is incapable of understanding the situation or the parameters involved.

Agreed. The dog is basically a bio-robot. It doesn't understand that people have rights, does not recognize itself as a person, and is probably not self-aware. The dog doesn't meet either of the conditions I have put forward.

So why are we arguing again?

Quote:
Quote:
I think I've been fairly clear. We're talking apples and oranges.

It seems to me that you define all non-macintoshes as oranges by defining all non-humans as animals without rights, but that's just how I see it. They way you are defining things seems constructed to make it difficult for me to make my point.

Hardly, I have two VERY SIMPLE criteria that I think you should find acceptable - the capacity to understand and reciprocate the right in quesiton.

Quote:
Quote:
I agree. If Shamu has rights, Shamu IS a slave. As are all police dogs, guard dogs, helper monkies, most pets, etc. Do you honestly think such is the case?

But Shamu does NOT have rights. Shamu is a fishy mammal in a tank.

I answered the question later. Let's leave the question of whether or not Shamu has rights until after we can agree on where rights come from and what conditions need to be met to determine whether or not something has rights. 

Fine, though I think we are only talking semantics now. I don't see how the criteria you cite can be meant without fulfilling the ones I gave or vice versa.

Quote:
Quote:
And I assume no such thing. Why should I?

Because your request (get me a spot on Shamu's schedule) assumes that Shamu has rights. If you assume in your question that Shamu has rights and then answer assuming Shamu does not have rights, I can't very well give a satisfactory answer can I? 

Sure you can.

Quote:
Quote:
There is a distinct difference here. Whales, while intelligent for animals, are not human and have NEVER demostrated the same sential capacities as humans. When they do, IF they do, I'm happy to reconsider my position.

They have never to your knowledge demonstrated those abilities. The question is, if I could show you contrary evidence, would you accept it?

Of course. I am a scientist afterall, such evidence would be amazing, to say the least - I'd LOVE to see such a thing.

 

Quote:
Since I believe you would you don't really have to respond to this paragraph.

Well, I did, since I'm going line by line. But you should know me well enough to know that none of my views are set in stone.

Quote:
Quote:
1. Humans are animals.

2. Humans have rights.

3. Therefore some animals have rights.

You know this is garbage logic, especially when I contest the second premise as you've presented it.

This is a composition fallacy.

You may as well have said:

1)Humans are made of cells

2)Cells are invisible to the naked eye

3)Some humans are invisible.

Let me elaborate:

1. Humans have rights.

2. Humans = a subset of Animals

3. Therefore a subset of animals has rights.

4. (3) would be impossible if animals could not have rights. 

5. Therefore animals can have rights. 

Sure, so long as we add that qualifier that animals CAN have rights when they demonstrate the capacities in question and that thus far, no animal has done such. Seems a trivial point.

Quote:
Quote:
I simply deny any animal other than a human has such an ability in anything other than a trivial capacity. Show me that I'm wrong on such an assessment and I'll gladly change my mind.

At the moment I'm just trying to get you to admit that it is possible that any animal other than a human can have such an ability. If this is such a statement, then I can move on to proving specifics.

I don't think I've ever made things exclusive,at least I never intended to. My criteria apply across the board. Any entity possessing what I talked about - hell, even artifical entities, would qualify.

Quote:
Quote:
No shit. But again you are equivovating.

You are making arbitrary exceptions.

I don't think I have. I am speaking from present state of the world, but my criterion were not meant to be exclusive in the least, in fact they were offered for the exact point of painting the demarcation line.

Quote:
Quote:
Oh, no, I'm being anything but arbitrary. Like I said, there are certain humans that do not have the rights you and I may enjoy. This is a direct result of their inability to understand and reciprocate such rights as you and I may enjoy.

This does not answer the originally quoted text, I accused you of excepting humans from your definition of animal. If you are not doing that, please say so.

I never did that, and if you got that impression, you aren't following my line of reasoning all that well. I made the distinction between person and human only to point out the even GREATER disparity between person and animal.

 

Quote:
 If you are doing that and you do not believe you are being arbitrary in doing so, your subsequent statements don't support your first one.

Hardly.

Quote:
Quote:
Rights entail the ABILITY to UNDERSTAND them and the CAPACITY to RECIPROCATE them. If one cannot do that, they cannot have said right.

Thank you for merely restating one of my two necessary preconditions for having rights, that one is able to understand and respect rights. I take it I will not have to demonstrate in the future that the second requirement is indeed required?

Holy fuck, this has only been the CORE of my position from jump. How are you this confused?

Quote:
Quote:
Animals can have rights, after they've satisfied the necessary criteria - understanding and reciprocation. Let me know when they can do that. They would also have to be subject to the same reprecussions you and I have.

Understanding and reciporication? Well the second prerequisite I've given is a way of saying you need understanding. The first rerequisite taken with the second implies reciporication

We're going in circles....

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
To point out how little

To point out how little you've paid attention, my first post in this thread had these words: "Rights are proportionate to the ability of the organism, human or otherwise, to respect them, understand them, and reciprocate them. "

You've been going down a path beset by strawmen of your own device and interpreting what you WANT to hear, pay better attention in the future.

I honestly don't enjoy doing that as you and I are much in sync and get along on other issues, but I've been VERY clear on my position from the outset, only you seem to be confused.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


CrimsonEdge
CrimsonEdge's picture
Posts: 499
Joined: 2007-01-02
User is offlineOffline
Here is my view on animal

Here is my view on animal rights.

I prefer quick and timely deaths to my meats that I eat (because not eating meat is really silly) SIMPLY BECAUSE it makes the meat more tender as well as taste better. That's about it.

Also, don't treat dogs and cats bad, but if you are going to eat them then by all means do it quickly.  Unless it's crawfish. I don't care about them.


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Again, you don't seem to understand the term intrinsic. PEOPLE can grant rights, a mere human cannot. Terry Schiavo cannot undertand the concept of rights, nor reciprocate the, thus she does not have the rights you and I do. The concept of rights REQUIRES understanding and reciprocation.

Agreed, that's what I was trying to say. I figured it was implied that humans have rights conditional to what else I've said.

Quote:
You have a problem with the criteria of understanding and reciprocation? Those are the only criteria I really have.

No, I agree with you there. 

Quote:
Being human only really means having a certain genome. Being a PERSON is something wholly different, and it requires cognitive function.

I don't know who's misinterpreting who but we seem to agree. 

Quote:
Quote:
And again, your "social contract" source of rights presupposes intrinsic rights. 

How so? I've already said many humans are incapable of possessing rights - how would it follow that humans intrinsicaly have rights?

No, I meant that having a social contract presupposes a right to contract, and this right to contract can't come from a contract because that's circular.

Quote:
This makes no logical sense. If humans have intrinsic rights, you should be able to tell me why they do and where they come from. You haven't.

I did later.

Quote:
Then we are not THAT far off. I defined it as the ability and capacity to understand and reciprocate said rights or social contract. I think it amounts to almost the same thing. If this is the case, it is OBVIOUS, humans don't have intrinsic rights - you've essentally said so yourself. A PERSON has rights, a human does NOT. And this should be the platform we take to the question of animal rights.

Yes. 

Quote:
Indeed, they can also be injured in such a capacity as to negate it.

Yes.

Quote:
No, not necessarily. A criminal who steals from you may forfeit their rights to freedom and property, but not necessarily their right to be free of torture or expression for example. They've only proven they cannot understand or reciprocate certain rights, they've not necessarily demonstrated that they are incapable of the concept.

They have forfeited their rights to you, of life (allowing you to kill in self-defense), liberty, and property. The rights to be free from torture and freedom of speech are rights that follow from life, liberty, and property.

Quote:
Fine, if you want to fixate on property rights, please explain to me how animals understand and respect property lines and possession and what should be done if they do not. It seems a ludacris and unproductive quibble. My definition CERTAINLY encompasses yours.

Firstly let's make it clear I don't think all or any great number of animals have rights. Not dogs or cats or deer or racoons. Just cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises). And some monkeys conditioned to interact with humans might qualify eventually, but I wouldn't count them right now.

Quote:
 All you need to do to change my mind is give me an example of an animal exhibity the capacity of understanding and reciprocating the concept of rights. I defined it as exclusively human, because, AFAIK, it IS.

Look into dolphin behavior. They'll pass the mirror test so they are self-aware. And the way they behave around humans strongly suggests that they recognize humans as equals even when humans recognize them as inferiors.

I recall an experiment in which they gave three dolphins in a tank three fish dispensing things. The same dolphins would keep going back to the same machines to get fish. Then they cutoff the fish supply to two of them and only one of the dolphins was eating from the working one but the rest went hungry until several hours later when the one dolphin gave fish to the other two. Does that sound like property rights? If this doesn't demonstrate understanding I don't know what would.

After the slaughter of 200 dolphins in a harbor (and the escape of several), the next day about 4000 dolphins were forming a wall blocking the fishing boats from getting out of the harbor all day. To me this suggests that they recognize murder as bad.

Until the 1970s there wasn't a single record of dolphins attacking humans. There still isn't much, and when it happens, it always gets in the news because it's so rare. On the other hand humans (especially in Japan) go out of their way to kill dolphins. Dolphins seem happy to reciporicate, or at least moreso than humans.

Quote:
I simply cannot fathow how an entity incapable of reciprocating or understanding rights can possess them. It would be like giving dogs suffrage.

Agreed, that would be absurd, and I never supported that kind of thing. 

Quote:
What does any of that have to do with the rights of dogs and cats?

What prompted me to write that out was your having said "I am willing to hear you out, simply tell me why humans have intrinsic rights and tell me what they are. You'd probably best define what a human or person is as well." It gives an understanding of rights that can help to understand the way of determining what animals have rights. You seem to be changing the question after I give the answer. Again. (Last time it was that Shamu appointment question.)

Quote:
Quote:
It would be absolute pursuant to it's own implications. Universally understood, unfortunately not, however luckily it is easily intuited by most people.

Most PEOPLE, and certainly not all, not most animals. Don't forget what we're discussing here. If it isn't universal amoung humans, what makes you think it translates to less cognitive species?

Nothing. =) I never said it translates to less cognitive species. It is universal among humans (some just don't realize it, and they pay their dues for it) and applies just as well to some other animals.

Quote:
A non-human can be a person, I'm open to that certainly. But that non-human had better have the qualities I've pointed out if they want rights or autonomy. Be it alien or dog or dolphin.

Understanding and reciporication? Dolphins demonstrate both. 

Quote:
I told you what I'm looking for. If you can explain what my terms are unreasobable, I'll reconsider.

They aren't at all. I'm mostly taking issue with your presumption that only humans have rights before I've even made a case that any other specific species might have rights.

Quote:
Right, as I said, I don't think what we call "person" is that different, so why the impasse?

As far as I can tell, only your "Humans are people nothing else is" assumption (which I'm now question whether that's even your assumption, it seemed like it was).

 

Quote:
I understand why you do it. I simply think it misquided. Say a police dog sacrifices itself for her handler. We must understand that "sacrifice" is the WRONG word here.

So why are we arguing again?

Because you seem to think I'm saying things have rights which I don't believe have rights.

Quote:
Hardly, I have two VERY SIMPLE criteria that I think you should find acceptable - the capacity to understand and reciprocate the right in quesiton.

I know, but you (appear to) disagree about animal rights. I'm trying to show that some animals do have the capacity to understand and reciporicate.

Quote:
Fine, though I think we are only talking semantics now. I don't see how the criteria you cite can be meant without fulfilling the ones I gave or vice versa.

Agreed. 

Quote:
Sure you can.

I can give a satisfactory answer to a question with contradictory assumptions? 1+1=3 and 2+2=5. What is 3+5?

Quote:
Of course. I am a scientist afterall, such evidence would be amazing, to say the least - I'd LOVE to see such a thing.

Do you accept anecdotal evidence, or do we have to wait until humans learn how to speak cetacean?

Quote:
Quote:
Let me elaborate:

1. Humans have rights.

2. Humans = a subset of Animals

3. Therefore a subset of animals has rights.

4. (3) would be impossible if animals could not have rights. 

5. Therefore animals can have rights. 

Sure, so long as we add that qualifier that animals CAN have rights when they demonstrate the capacities in question and that thus far, no animal has done such. Seems a trivial point.

To your knowledge. What kind of test would a cetacean have to pass that would demonstrate that they can understand and reciporicate?

Quote:
I don't think I've ever made things exclusive,at least I never intended to. My criteria apply across the board. Any entity possessing what I talked about - hell, even artifical entities, would qualify.

Great.

Quote:
I don't think I have. I am speaking from present state of the world, but my criterion were not meant to be exclusive in the least, in fact they were offered for the exact point of painting the demarcation line.

Okay. 

Quote:
I never did that, and if you got that impression, you aren't following my line of reasoning all that well. I made the distinction between person and human only to point out the even GREATER disparity between person and animal.

Alright.

Quote:
Holy fuck, this has only been the CORE of my position from jump. How are you this confused?

Mine too. But I was only dealing with the core. You seemed to proceed to make blanket statements contradicting my beliefs. When you said no other animal has demonstrated reciporication and understanding, I took issue with that, and wanted you to wait until I could or could not show some species to have those abilities BEFORE you would come to those conclusions. You know that you don't know everything and that I might know something you don't know, and I'd like to be able to make a case before you pass judgement. Maybe you can see how repeated insistence on saying no animals have rights would bug somebody who takes a contrary position into changing it to a neutral presumption before making a case, because it's easier that way, I won't be working against your preconceptions that way. If you hadn't been doing that I imagine we'd be arguing about actual points of contention by now.

Quote:
We're going in circles....

In that post yes.

Quote:
To point out how little you've paid attention, my first post in this thread had these words: "Rights are proportionate to the ability of the organism, human or otherwise, to respect them, understand them, and reciprocate them. "

You've been going down a path beset by strawmen of your own device and interpreting what you WANT to hear, pay better attention in the future.

I honestly don't enjoy doing that as you and I are much in sync and get along on other issues, but I've been VERY clear on my position from the outset, only you seem to be confused.

I was not trying to strawman your position. I was trying to get you to think just in order. First deal with where rights come from, THEN come to a conclusion about what animals do and do not have rights. I tried to get you to do this with little success. You just put both forward at the same time, which makes it difficult to argue. When I said "anything that reciporicates and understands", you agreed with that as a source of rights, but not with "anything", or so it seemed by your blanket exclusion of things I intended to qualify as able to reciporicate and understand before I was able to give any evidence for those species.


Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Hey Yellow Number Five,

Hey Yellow Number Five, nice to hear from one of the official squad (Am i right in my memory that you also go by the name of 'Mike&#39Eye-wink.

 

I'm sorry that my reply is so late. I haven't listened to your guys show in ages, as my iPod broke, but i got a new one recently and decided to give it another listen, which suddenly reminded me of this forum, and the thread i created.

 

Though i do not agree with all the points you've brought up, i cannot deny that it's refreshing to hear some good scientific arguements for me to debate. Most of the time i bring up these sorts of arguments on forums, i get replies akin to: 'We can eat animals, because God gave us power over them, and made us in his image", which i'm sure you can see is pretty hard to argue against. 

 

Anyway i'll try my best to look at your arguments to see where i agree and disagree.

 

Quote:
Rights, liberties, freedoms, civility, etc. - are for the most part human domain, as I stated earlier. I will not claim, that chimps for example do not exhibit empathetic behavior, they certainly do, and I use research and lines of evidence all the time in my own arguments with creationists. 

However to give animals actual rights though, to me, seems untinkable - for no animal is capable of understanding the responsibility and reciprocation involved in such an entity. A lion will not refrain from eating you if you grant it rights, and chimp won't refrain from ripping you limb from limb if you step between him and his mate or offspring.

 

 

Okay, these are some good arguments. My only problem is that you seem to be using the term 'rights' to encompass all kinds of rights and liberties rather then focusing on the various types of rights. I obviouslly wouldn't advocate giving animals every right that we ourselves have. That would be madness. There would obvoiusly be no point in giving animals the right to marriage, or the right to carry firearms, as the former would be meaningless, and the latter would be deeply irresponsible. These are the sorts of rights which, as you say, should only be given to those capable of understanding and being responsible for them. Likewise, i think it be ridiculous to give these sorts of rights to mentally undeveloped humans, such as infants. 

 

The sort of rights i'm talking about would be better referred to as moral rights, or simply ethics. I'm going to go into this futher later on in this post, but first i want to respond to a few more of your points. 

 

Quote:
You can (and most people I argue with do) bring up exceptions like mentally handicapped humans. The simple fact of the matter is, if such people are not capable of responsibility and reciprocation of rights, they DON'T have the same rights as you and I may have.  
 

I completely agree. They don't have the same rights as us. I'd like to repeat again that i also don't think animals should have exactly the same rights as us. However, although you don't think mentally handicaped people should have exactly the same rights as us, do you think they should have any rights at all?

 

What, say, would be your problem with a mentally handicapped person being mistreated, if no one else ever found out about it?

 

Quote:
  The thing is, I think it is simply natural to grant exceptions and clemency to one's own kind and own species - we've been conditioned to do so by billions of years of evolution. This is not an ethical argument, it is a animalistic one,
 

 

Right, well don't you think that it's better to go with the ethical arguments, then the animalistic ones. I'm sure you'd agree that we've also been conditioned by evolution in many cases to favour our own race. In fact, i think there was an article in NewScientist magazine on this subject a few weeks ago, that said to some degree that we're genetically enginered to be racist. Obviously the article wasn't condoning racism, but it does raise a worrying point if you think we should just do whatever we've evolved to do. Surely the whole point of the rational responce squad, is to go with what your mind tells you, rather then just go with your feelings.

 

Quote:
  for after all, we are animals - and as the only animals who understand the concept of rights, we're the only animals who have them. Either we're all animals and equal, so anything goes as far as survival goes, or we're somehow "better" than the other animals and have some sort of ambiguous moral obligation to save them from ourselves.

 

Right. Er, that's an interesting point, but i'm not sure what you really mean by superior. Superior in what manner? I agree that we are certainly superior to animals in intellect, in social evolution, and in many other things, but how can we even measure who is superior overall? This to me seems a concept leftover from our days of believing that we really where created by God to naturally be superior to animals.

The reason that i think it's wrong when we kill an animal, and not wrong when a lion kills one, is because we are acting on choice and understand what we are doing. Obvoiusly it's bad for the animal who is being killed no matter who is doing it, but you can't say the lion is 'wrong' when it kills it, because it is just acting on instinct. It has no concept of right and wrong. For the same reason that i wouldn't give a lion many of the rights that i mentioned earlier, i wouldn't condemn it for doing something that it can't choose not to do. We, on the other hand, our aware of the pain we are inflicting, and have the choice not to inflict it. Obviously there are certain cases where it would be moral and justifyable (in self-defence, for example), but we certainly shouldn't assume that it is right for us to do whatever we want with them.

 

Quote:
In the end, I honestly do not see any problem placing our species above others, that is exactly WHY we are still here, evolutionarily speaking. All species do it. It prompts the question that if there were a rodent or primate or insect species that threatened human survival, would we be justified in exterminating it? I think if you answer yes to that question, then you do understand where I'm coming from, at least in part.
 

 

Yes, i would of course choose to save humans over any other species. I readily admit that i personally place a higher value on human lives then any animal. However i think it is a massive step to immediantly go from saying 'We should value human lives higher then other animals', to 'We value humans higher then any other animals, therefore we can do whatever we want with other animals'. Let me try and explain.

Although it is true that if a mad-gunman made me choose between shooting a cow and a human i would choose the cow every time, it is also true that if a mad-gunman made me choose between shooting a family member and a random stranger on the street, i would choose to shoot the random stranger every time. I personally place my family's life alot higher then random strangers, so that if my family where in danger of survival, i would choose to defend them against any other humans that threatened them. However, just because i value them higher, doesn't mean for a second that i think i could do whatever i want with this stranger. I think when it is something that isn't necessarily for survival, it becomes a whole different story. I value my family higher then a stranger, but i certainly wouldn't advocate my family killing this stranger for pleasure, or eating him.

 

Quote:
  We must also look at facts like; domestic cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, horses, etc, exist for the sole reason that we eat them or use them in other capacities and use their hides - same goes for domesticated pets. These animals were bred from the wild for the table, they probably would have gone extinct or have been hunted to extinction long ago without us simply keeping them aroung because they were tasty and easy to manage or otherwise useful.  
 

 

Right. I hear this argument alot, but if you actually think about the moral implications of it, it leads us to some very dark places. It basically says that 'It is okay to let something suffer or be killed, if it is bred for that purpose'. Couldn't a slave trader justify breeding a race of humans to do their bidding, or to kill them, with that very same logic.

Quote:
Then there is medical research. I've been involved personally with that myself in the past, and the blunt fact of the matter is that animals are excellent models to work on. The strides in medicine and drug development due to animal research is hard to deny - this sort of goes back to my last point. Also, don't forget that this research also benefits animals in the end. And again, speaking from the point of evolution, such testing yields viable results because we ARE very similar physiolocially to other animals.

 

Yes, i think that this a particulairly hard problem. I can't draw the same line with it that draw with meat, as unlike eating meat, it is potentially necessary for survival. There's also the problem that the nearer the animals are to us, the better the more accuracte the tests can be. However that also means that they are more capable of suffering in a similiar manner to us. 

 I think i probably disagree with animal testing, because it seems to use utilitarianism logic, which i disagree with. I don't think the end always justifies the means. 

 

Quote:
I don't think any living thing should be subject to abject torture for our whims; the cat that toyed and tortured with a mouse on my porch for two hours last week doesn't share that sentiment - it cannot, it's a fucking cat, incapable of such moralistic hand wringing.
 

 

Lol, i have a question for you. Do you agree in being moral to animals to any degree? If you found a ownerless dog in the forest, and you knew that no one would ever miss it, would you think there was anything morally wrong with torturing it and doing whatever you wanted with it for your own amusement. Obviously you probably wouldn't have any reason to cause it harm, but if, for example, you saw another human beating a dog to death, simply because it amused him, would you think there was anything morally wrong with it?

 

I personally believe that if something is sentient and can feel pain, then we should do our best not to cause it pain, and also let it have a good life. Obviously in some cases i would think that killing a sentient creature is justifyable, but only when it is necessary for survival (though i'd say even not then in some cases). I can understand why we needed to eat animals for survival in the past, and i understand that in some parts of the world today, people still need to eat animals for survival. However, this is not the case with the majority of the western world, and i honestly very much doubt it is the case with you. I just ask you this: 'Do you really think the pleasure you get from eating meat (which you could just get from other foods) justifies the pain and loss of pleasure through death that the many animals feel that have to die to feed you?'

 

In terms of rights, i'd stress the right that i belive all sentient beings capable of feeling pain posses, whether they be human, animal or some random undiscovered form of alien. I believe they all have the right not to be killed by humans. Obviously there are certain cases where you could find exceptions to this rule, but i think in general it should always be applied for one to be truly moral.

Imagine a scenario where a couple gives birth to a baby, and then after 6-months decide to eat it. A 6-month old baby has no more rational knowledge of it's life, or future plans then a cow does, so there's no intellectual reason to distinguish the two cases, so i ask you: Is there anything morally wrong about this? Also imagine that no one else finds out, so there's no social implications about this. I'm willing to bet that even with all these facts, the average person would still say that it's wrong, because they'd think the infant has the right not to be killed. Why then would they not give the same right to a cow? I think the simple answer is that the questioner wants to eat it.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
The only thing I can

The only thing I can comment on really in animal testing for research since I personally don't care whether or not someone is vegetarian, or uses animal products.

Firstly, without animal testing, we have no medical research. None. No biomedical research. Around 90% of the whole thing would just stop. Y5 and I would be out of job. We'd have no models for approving drugs. Virtually any pharmacology product you use will have been tested in this manner. If you were born premature, your life was likely saved by glucocorticoids and administered surfactant. As for my field of endeavour, without it, we would have no evolutionary developmental biology, genetics, genomics and genetic engineering, phylogeny, proteomics, cell biology etc.

However, I am sure that my field would not attract as much criticism, since we only use mice, Drosophila, and humans as models for testing (although, you never know, PETA was once up in arms about the exploitation of bees for honey, and regarding testing on humans...well, thats OK, isn't it? After all, they hate people...)

There is an obvious point to the argument from recipricoty. We go out of our way to act in an ethical manner towards something due to empathy. Nobody goes out of their way to treat rocks with kindness because no one has any conception of what it means to be a rock. Likewise, the bulk of animals which we use for our everyday necessity do not have the necessary cogent functions for us to properly ascribe rights to them. A chicken's neurological functioning is so simple it can survive decapitation. Such is the simplicity of the neuroevolution of the chicken that it is absurd to claim the notion of what it means to be a chicken, hence, precisely what do we mean when we speak of the "chicken" having rights? A chicken is not a self-aware being. Why conjecture about the rights of a being which cannot grasp this? Do we say that plants have rights? To be sure, this is different. Plants have no nervous systems, they cannot feel pain, but there is a philosophical problem here, and I am not referring to Descartes ridiculous version of mechanism (who claimed animals could not feel pain), rather, for a being which is too neurologically primitive be have the concept of "I", how can we possibly speak of such a being suffering? Only towards the larger and more neurologically complex creatures can we postulate ethical necessities because only they are aware of their own existence. This effectively rules out the bulk of the animals we use, for meat (chickens, goats, sheep), testing (flies, mice, and plant species, although I think there is serious discussion to be had over the ethical repricussions of using Simians)

THe word "sentience" has been tossed around alot here, but unfortunately, it has been used incorrectly. THere is only one known sentient species: The Homo Sapiens. Us. What people have been trying to say is self-aware. After all, there is little point in discussing the ethical implications of treatment of things which are not self-aware. For even though such creatures might have nervous systems, they have no concept of "I", so what does it mean to say that you can treat such a being unethically? Only as we go higher up the neuroevolutionary scale, to our kin, the large, neurologically complex mammals and another small assortment of animals, do we feel the need to act with kindness, because here, clearly is a creature capable of suffering. Can bees suffer? What does it mean to be a bee? I doubt if either question has an answer. Bees are too neurologically primitive. The same for Drosophila, the fruit fly (most oft-used animal in molecular biology).

When it comes to our immediate kin, the apes, the issue becomes orders of magnitude more tricky. However, I would hope that Y5 could comment on the necessity or lack thereof of using apes and monkeys, since we don't (not a used model for us). However, were it an unnecessary model, I would be wary of testing on a species which differs from us only in a handful of tiny Hox mutations which alter key areas in the frontal and temporal lobes.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


evil religion
evil religion's picture
Posts: 232
Joined: 2006-10-20
User is offlineOffline
Animal rights is a complex

Animal rights is a complex issue. I think we can get bogged down in defining what "rights" are and can they be applied to things that don't have a concept of a "right". In practice all we really need to understand is how we should treat animals. What we should and should not do to them. We should of course be able to back up this treatment with a sound argument.

My position is something along the lines of

Humans are more important than animals.

We are more important because we manifest certain special properties which we value above all others. These properties are conciousness, self awareness and higher intelligence (these are loose terms). It is these manifest properties that we value and when  they are manfifested by any object in sufficient strength we should afford that object special moral proptection.

If they are maifested to the level of human beings then this moral protection means that, amongst other things:

They should not be killed except under extream circumstances

They should not be used for food

They should not be harmed of caused any distress if at all possible.

Now animals manifest these special properties in varying degrees. A slug really does not manifest anything much of these at all but a chimp most certainly does. So the level of moral protectiob afforded to animals depends on this sliding scale. This is not a particularly easy thing to do for example does a cat exhibit more of the properties than a cow or a dog? Who knows? Its really hard to tell but we can still make some senisible judgements. These have an element of subjectivity depending on how one views animals but I think most people can agree that wasps or mosquitos are not to be treated as the same way as a cat.

My personal thresholds of treatment are as follows

Humans : afforded full protection.

Primate/dolphins etc : afforded full protection EXCEPT when giving this protection endagers or harms human life and well being. Note: this does allow for medical research.

Cows, dogs, cats, sheep etc: Afforded partial protection. They should not be used for food, should not be caused distress if possible, should not be killed for produce if viable alternatives are available easily enough.

Wasps, mosquitos, flys: Very little or no protection. I would stop  short of mass killing but wasps get swatted in my pressence as to mosquitos.

So my position in practical terms based purely on how we shoudl treat animals  is  that:

I'm for animal testing as long as it is for the protection or bettermnet of human life. Cosmetic testing is out. The higher the mammal being tested on then the better the justfifcation needs to be. We should at all times during this process try to ease the suffering of the test subjects as much as possible.

I'm against hunting. Its not necessary, we do not need to do it, it is not required for our welfare. Fun is not an acceptable reason to kill mammals in my opinion.

I'm against eating meat. Again it is unnessary for us to do this, it undoubtably causes distress to animals and clearly ends their lives, to which I do attribute a certain intrinsic value. There are no health reasons why we should eat meat. Eating meat basically comes down to "fun" we enjoy the taste. Fun is not a sufficient reason to kill a mammal in my book. (apart from all that there are also very strong environmental reasons as to why vegetarianism is good thing as well- but thats another discusion)

I'm kind of torn on the wearing of leather. Its a real fucker finding decent work shoes that are not leather. Also I'm proabably only going to get through a couple of cows worth of leather in my life time so is the suffering and death of two cows greater than me having to wear substandard shoes my entire life? NOt sure. I should probably ditch the leather shoes to be honest. I won't buy leather sofas or anything like that - it just too much cow death.

Rodents and other vermin. Kill them if they are a pest and there are health dangers to humans or dangers to the livelyhoods of humans. But don;t do this with any unnessesary cruelty. For example: chasing a fox for hours with a pack of hounds whilst you and you mates folllow it around on horse back until the creature is caught and ripped to shreds by the hounds, this is most certainly  not an acceptable means of vermin control.

I think we need to focus on the intrinsic value we attribute to the certain special properties that we value. This value, along with how present those properties are in a particular animal should determine how we should or should not treat them. We can label this code of treatment "rights" if we like but that term can be misleading.

 

 


Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
REPLY TO deludedgod Man,

REPLY TO deludedgod

Man, sorry, i wrote out a really long reply to your post, but then i accidently clicked on something, and it all got deleted, so now i'm just gonna have to do a quick reply. You're sort of gonna get a bulle-points responce.

Quote:
Firstly, without animal testing, we have no medical research. None. No biomedical research. Around 90% of the whole thing would just stop. Y5 and I would be out of job. We'd have no models for approving drugs. Virtually any pharmacology product you use will have been tested in this manner. If you were born premature, your life was likely saved by glucocorticoids and administered surfactant. As for my field of endeavour, without it, we would have no evolutionary developmental biology, genetics, genomics and genetic engineering, phylogeny, proteomics, cell biology etc. 

Some good points. I think it is a very tricky issue. I agree that if it came to saving a animals life over a human's life, we would save the human. I also think that if it was a choice between saving a loved one an a stranger, we would save the loved one. However, i don't think that just because we value one more then the other, gives us the right to do whatever we want with the other to save the one we care about. If you're loved one needed an organ transplant, and you had the power to do what you wished, would you think it was moral to kill the stranger and take what you needed from him?

I'm still not 100% decided on the animal testing issue, but i think at the very least we should be putting more money into alternative researches. I read an interesting article in NewScientist on computed simulated medical research. It said it was very promising, though very undeveloped. Perhaps you've worked with it yourself, if so what are your impressions of it?

Quote:
  There is an obvious point to the argument from recipricoty. We go out of our way to act in an ethical manner towards something due to empathy. Nobody goes out of their way to treat rocks with kindness because no one has any conception of what it means to be a rock. Likewis

No, no one treats a rock with kindness (actually, i'm sure some people do) becuase a rock is incapable of feeling pleasure or pain.

Quote:
THe word "sentience" has been tossed around alot here, but unfortunately, it has been used incorrectly. THere is only one known sentient species: The Homo Sapiens. Us. What people have been trying to say is self-aware.

You're using the definition meaning simply: "Self Aware"

I'm using the definition simply meaning: "Capable of sensation or feeling."

Same word, different meanings. I personally feel that my definition is the more important one in regards to morality. After all, a new-born baby is barely self-aware, certainly less then a cow, or a dog. However, it is capable of feeling pleasure and pain, which is the very reason why we should be kind to it.

In terms of morality to things like bee's, read Evil Religion's list on the different kindness's we should apply to different animals. That pretty much sums up what i feel on the matter.

I'm sorry i couldn't give lenthier responces (i did in my first draft), but i hope you can get the feeling of what i'm trying to say here.

I notice, you have a quote from George Bernard-Shaw (Genius!). I wonder what you think of this one of his:      "If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth -- beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals -- would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?"
          George Bernard Shaw

REPLY TO EVIL RELIGION

Brilliant post! I really would like to comment on it more and add some of my own thoughts, but i'm afriad i'm very short of time right now. I'll try and get back to you later, but i'd just like to congradulate you on what i think is the best post of this thread thus far. I think i agree with the vast majority of what you have to say, and also share your troubles with things like leather.

Anyway, i'll try and get back to you later.

{fixed}


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Kid A wrote:Hey Yellow

Kid A wrote:

Hey Yellow Number Five, nice to hear from one of the official squad (Am i right in my memory that you also go by the name of 'Mike&#39Eye-wink.

I'm sorry that my reply is so late. I haven't listened to your guys show in ages, as my iPod broke, but i got a new one recently and decided to give it another listen, which suddenly reminded me of this forum, and the thread i created.

Though i do not agree with all the points you've brought up, i cannot deny that it's refreshing to hear some good scientific arguements for me to debate. Most of the time i bring up these sorts of arguments on forums, i get replies akin to: 'We can eat animals, because God gave us power over them, and made us in his image", which i'm sure you can see is pretty hard to argue against. 

Anyway i'll try my best to look at your arguments to see where i agree and disagree.

Quote:
Rights, liberties, freedoms, civility, etc. - are for the most part human domain, as I stated earlier. I will not claim, that chimps for example do not exhibit empathetic behavior, they certainly do, and I use research and lines of evidence all the time in my own arguments with creationists. 

However to give animals actual rights though, to me, seems untinkable - for no animal is capable of understanding the responsibility and reciprocation involved in such an entity. A lion will not refrain from eating you if you grant it rights, and chimp won't refrain from ripping you limb from limb if you step between him and his mate or offspring.

 

Okay, these are some good arguments. My only problem is that you seem to be using the term 'rights' to encompass all kinds of rights and liberties rather then focusing on the various types of rights. I obviouslly wouldn't advocate giving animals every right that we ourselves have. That would be madness. There would obvoiusly be no point in giving animals the right to marriage, or the right to carry firearms, as the former would be meaningless, and the latter would be deeply irresponsible. These are the sorts of rights which, as you say, should only be given to those capable of understanding and being responsible for them. Likewise, i think it be ridiculous to give these sorts of rights to mentally undeveloped humans, such as infants. 

Well, likewise forgive my rather late late reply, I tend to forget about this forum when not in an election cycle, lol.

Anyway, it appears we've got common ground to work with.

We both recognize rights entail responsibilities and that rights are not necessarily intrinsic to any station or mode or lifeform.

Quote:
The sort of rights i'm talking about would be better referred to as moral rights, or simply ethics. I'm going to go into this futher later on in this post, but first i want to respond to a few more of your points. 

You'll run into problems with that though, as animals other than most humans are not capable of entertaining a moral schema. But go on.

Quote:
Quote:
You can (and most people I argue with do) bring up exceptions like mentally handicapped humans. The simple fact of the matter is, if such people are not capable of responsibility and reciprocation of rights, they DON'T have the same rights as you and I may have.  

I completely agree. They don't have the same rights as us. I'd like to repeat again that i also don't think animals should have exactly the same rights as us. However, although you don't think mentally handicaped people should have exactly the same rights as us, do you think they should have any rights at all?

That would of course depend on what you propose, but yes, I do think the mentally disabled have certain rights. I've stated as such.

Quote:
What, say, would be your problem with a mentally handicapped person being mistreated, if no one else ever found out about it?

Of course I'd have a problem with that. Just as I'd have a problem with an animal being mistreated for no good reason. It's all about empathy. There's a difference between using rats and chimps to furthur medical science and pulling the wings off of flies or feeding firecrackers to frogs.

Quote:
Quote:
  The thing is, I think it is simply natural to grant exceptions and clemency to one's own kind and own species - we've been conditioned to do so by billions of years of evolution. This is not an ethical argument, it is a animalistic one,
 

Right, well don't you think that it's better to go with the ethical arguments, then the animalistic ones. I'm sure you'd agree that we've also been conditioned by evolution in many cases to favour our own race. In fact, i think there was an article in NewScientist magazine on this subject a few weeks ago, that said to some degree that we're genetically enginered to be racist. Obviously the article wasn't condoning racism, but it does raise a worrying point if you think we should just do whatever we've evolved to do. Surely the whole point of the rational responce squad, is to go with what your mind tells you, rather then just go with your feelings.

Excellent point. Let me make my position clear again. I'm NOT using evololution as an excuse, I'm simply acknowlogding its importance and influence. We ARE this way - we value the in group and tribe more than the out group. We tend to value those more similar to us than others - be it race or species. This is simply something inherent in us.

It's not good or evil, it's just there, under the surface.

Personally, it simply seems alien to me to think we can even broach the topic of animal rights when humans as a whole have a difficult time being ecumenical with one another.

There are underlying issues within us that need to be addressed on a human level first before we even consider applying such to outlying species.

So, I'm all about hashing this out, but it needs to be put into context.

I certainly won't advocate torturing an animal for shits and giggles, but I certainly will advocate it for medical research.

Quote:
Quote:
  for after all, we are animals - and as the only animals who understand the concept of rights, we're the only animals who have them. Either we're all animals and equal, so anything goes as far as survival goes, or we're somehow "better" than the other animals and have some sort of ambiguous moral obligation to save them from ourselves.

Right. Er, that's an interesting point, but i'm not sure what you really mean by superior. Superior in what manner?

I'm simply saying it is a double edged sword. As humans, the only animals capable of what I'm talking about, we are either fully justified in doing what we will with other species, or we are charged with being their stewards.

Personally, the latter is obviously the case. As the most influencial species on this planet we have to recognize the value and importance of preserving the biodiversity and environments we have.

Right now, we're doing a pretty shitty job of that. There is however, an obvious difference between responsible stewardship and granting animals rights. This is the point I'm mainly speaking on. 

 

Quote:
I agree that we are certainly superior to animals in intellect, in social evolution, and in many other things, but how can we even measure who is superior overall? This to me seems a concept leftover from our days of believing that we really where created by God to naturally be superior to animals.

Well, by sheer numbers, we are not superior. By influence on the world and its environs though, it's all us right now.  

Quote:
The reason that i think it's wrong when we kill an animal, and not wrong when a lion kills one, is because we are acting on choice and understand what we are doing.

Wait...the lion kills to eat, and we slaughter livestock to eat, and somehow there is a difference? Our canine teeth should tell you that we are here, as we are, because we ate every fucking thing we could along the way.

If it wasn't immoral for my homindae ancestor to eat another animal 150,000 years ago, I fail to see why it would be immoral for me to do so now.

In fact, I'm doing one better by raising the animal in safety and killing it relatively humanely. Honestly, why do you think we have domesticated animals now?

Personally, I don't feel guilty about eating the diet millions of years of evolution conditioned me to crave and consume. Why should I?

It's only our own evolved concsiousness that makes some of us cringe concerning that notion. And if that meme gets legs, so be, but I doubt it will. 

 

Quote:
Obvoiusly it's bad for the animal who is being killed no matter who is doing it, but you can't say the lion is 'wrong' when it kills it, because it is just acting on instinct. It has no concept of right and wrong. For the same reason that i wouldn't give a lion many of the rights that i mentioned earlier, i wouldn't condemn it for doing something that it can't choose not to do.

I see, so you have a double standard, as I was saying. We're somehow SUPERIOR to animals, because we have the capacity to feel GUILT and REMORSE? That is a VERY recent development, bred out of the simple fact that some people feel guilty for percieved excesses. A few decades ago, and even today, were you in a pinch, you'd happily eat the family pet - or even a member of the family.

It would be interesting to compare the amount of vegans in Seattle to sub-Saharan Africa. 

Quote:
We, on the other hand, our aware of the pain we are inflicting, and have the choice not to inflict it. Obviously there are certain cases where it would be moral and justifyable (in self-defence, for example), but we certainly shouldn't assume that it is right for us to do whatever we want with them.

I never said it was. Needless cruelty is disgusting - it's the difference between Michael Vick and family BBQ or a soup kitchen.

People who torture animals for no good reason or for pleasure typically turn out to be serial killers. People who kill and use animals for medical research and food are simply doing what is evolutionarily and culturally engrained or being pragmatic.

Quote:
Quote:
In the end, I honestly do not see any problem placing our species above others, that is exactly WHY we are still here, evolutionarily speaking. All species do it. It prompts the question that if there were a rodent or primate or insect species that threatened human survival, would we be justified in exterminating it? I think if you answer yes to that question, then you do understand where I'm coming from, at least in part.
 

Yes, i would of course choose to save humans over any other species. I readily admit that i personally place a higher value on human lives then any animal. However i think it is a massive step to immediantly go from saying 'We should value human lives higher then other animals', to 'We value humans higher then any other animals, therefore we can do whatever we want with other animals'. Let me try and explain.

Yeah, you are sort of strawmanning me there. I never said we should be able to do whatever we'd like with animals. I think you have the wrong idea about me. I've worked with animals in medical research and used to be an avid hunter.

Believe it or not, animal researchers and hunters tend to some of the most respectful of and most concerned about animals.

The first deer I took when I was 14, I damn near cried. And I didn't shed tears because I thought I'd done something "wrong", but because I'd never felt closer to the experience of self-sustainment and self-sufficiency that got out species here. Gutting the thing and hauling it three miles only sealed the deal.

Working with chimps as an undergrad, before ALF raided us, was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. I considered the animals friends more or less, and took exemplarary care of them. That is until the hippies broke in, opened the cages, destroyed the HIV research and allowed the animals to run the building and injure themselves.

Quote:
Although it is true that if a mad-gunman made me choose between shooting a cow and a human i would choose the cow every time, it is also true that if a mad-gunman made me choose between shooting a family member and a random stranger on the street, i would choose to shoot the random stranger every time. I personally place my family's life alot higher then random strangers, so that if my family where in danger of survival, i would choose to defend them against any other humans that threatened them. However, just because i value them higher, doesn't mean for a second that i think i could do whatever i want with this stranger.

Hang on, you again get me wrong. When did I EVER say anything we wanted to do to an animal was justified? I advocate humane treatment in all cases, I'm simply realistic about and rational about what sort of principles and rights if any ought to be involved.

It's NOT OK to hook up a taser to a monkies balls, no matter how funny you think it might be. That's clearly needless torture.

However, the even more horrible experience of infecting a chimp with HIV for important research is certainly justifiable. Medical research is something I'm unequivocal on. 

 

Quote:
 I think when it is something that isn't necessarily for survival, it becomes a whole different story. I value my family higher then a stranger, but i certainly wouldn't advocate my family killing this stranger for pleasure, or eating him.

And if it were percieved as necessary it would be OK? Hardly seems like a firm moral ground to me. Rather, your position depends entirely on you being able to access an alternative diet, one often delivered on rails made of dead animals.

Quote:
Quote:
  We must also look at facts like; domestic cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, horses, etc, exist for the sole reason that we eat them or use them in other capacities and use their hides - same goes for domesticated pets. These animals were bred from the wild for the table, they probably would have gone extinct or have been hunted to extinction long ago without us simply keeping them aroung because they were tasty and easy to manage or otherwise useful.  
 

Right. I hear this argument alot, but if you actually think about the moral implications of it, it leads us to some very dark places. It basically says that 'It is okay to let something suffer or be killed, if it is bred for that purpose'. Couldn't a slave trader justify breeding a race of humans to do their bidding, or to kill them, with that very same logic.

Well, no, as the millenia involved don't match up. A few hundred years of a certain populaiton being enslaved is not the same as the entire human race breeding animals specifically for the field and table.

And again, I'm DISGUSTED that you equate the two. Only a heartless prick from PETA could equate the Jewish holocaust to KFC feeding hungry people. You have to an unbelievably anti-humanist twat to buy into something like that.

And we were getting along so well until now. Oh well.

Anytime anyone makes that fucking sort or analogy they can pretty much expect it.

Quote:
Quote:
Then there is medical research. I've been involved personally with that myself in the past, and the blunt fact of the matter is that animals are excellent models to work on. The strides in medicine and drug development due to animal research is hard to deny - this sort of goes back to my last point. Also, don't forget that this research also benefits animals in the end. And again, speaking from the point of evolution, such testing yields viable results because we ARE very similar physiolocially to other animals.

Yes, i think that this a particulairly hard problem. I can't draw the same line with it that draw with meat, as unlike eating meat, it is potentially necessary for survival.

How fucking arrogant are you? Eating meat may not be necessary to YOU, but it is to many in worse conditions than you are. Like I said, how many tribal vegans do you think are in sub-Saharan Africa?

And what does that say about your opulent guilt ridded argumnent? 

 

Quote:
There's also the problem that the nearer the animals are to us, the better the more accuracte the tests can be. However that also means that they are more capable of suffering in a similiar manner to us. 

 I think i probably disagree with animal testing, because it seems to use utilitarianism logic, which i disagree with. I don't think the end always justifies the means. 

Right, because testing on animals ONLY ever benifits humans, lol.

Quote:
Quote:
I don't think any living thing should be subject to abject torture for our whims; the cat that toyed and tortured with a mouse on my porch for two hours last week doesn't share that sentiment - it cannot, it's a fucking cat, incapable of such moralistic hand wringing.
 

Lol, i have a question for you. Do you agree in being moral to animals to any degree? If you found a ownerless dog in the forest, and you knew that no one would ever miss it, would you think there was anything morally wrong with torturing it and doing whatever you wanted with it for your own amusement.

I'm disgusted you even posed that scenario. 

Quote:
Obviously you probably wouldn't have any reason to cause it harm, but if, for example, you saw another human beating a dog to death, simply because it amused him, would you think there was anything morally wrong with it?

Even more disgusted. I'm done with you.

{fixed}

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Kid A
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Hey Mike, sorry for the

Hey Mike, sorry for the wait.

 

I've been reading your reply and you seem to be getting pretty pissed off with me, and seemingly have pegged as my as some sort of crazy PETA nutcase. Now, i really don't think that's the case, and i think the reason you think this is probably because you've taken some of the questions i've asked you the wrong way. It also might be the case that some of my attempts of imputting some humour into this have been in bad taste, or the sort of humour hasn't been to your taste.

 

Anyway, i'm gonna try and answer some of your points now, and if you don't want to respond then that's your choice man, but so far, i think some of the points of mine you've been fighting against haven't really been mine at all, but misunderstandings of some of the premises i've been trying to get across.

 

Quote:
That would of course depend on what you propose, but yes, I do think the mentally disabled have certain rights. I've stated as such.

 

Okay, cool. Can you just give me some examples of the sort of rights you'd propose they have in your view, particuliar in relation to morals.

 

Quote:
Of course I'd have a problem with that. Just as I'd have a problem with an animal being mistreated for no good reason. It's all about empathy. There's a difference between using rats and chimps to furthur medical science and pulling the wings off of flies or feeding firecrackers to frogs.

 

Right, are you saying that your moral code towards animals is based mainly on empathy? (I'm sorry if i'm misinterpreting your view here, but as far as i can tell that's what you're saying in this point).

 

Quote:

Excellent point. Let me make my position clear again. I'm NOT using evololution as an excuse, I'm simply acknowlogding its importance and influence. We ARE this way - we value the in group and tribe more than the out group. We tend to value those more similar to us than others - be it race or species. This is simply something inherent in us.

It's not good or evil, it's just there, under the surface.

Personally, it simply seems alien to me to think we can even broach the topic of animal rights when humans as a whole have a difficult time being ecumenical with one another.

There are underlying issues within us that need to be addressed on a human level first before we even consider applying such to outlying species.

So, I'm all about hashing this out, but it needs to be put into context.

 

You're right, a lot of the ideas i'm bringing up here do seem unachievable at present. However, i think we have seen big changes in regards to animal rights in the last century, and we almost certainly will see more and more sympathy towards it in the future (I think Dawkins mentions this idea briefly in 'The God Delusion' in regards to the changing moral zeitgeist.)

 

You make a good point that they are perhaps other human rights problems that are more important then animal rights. This may well be the case, but it's not like making efforts into animal rights will neglect human rights. From my experiance, many of the people who care most about animal rights are also firm humanitarians too.

 

Quote:

I'm simply saying it is a double edged sword. As humans, the only animals capable of what I'm talking about, we are either fully justified in doing what we will with other species, or we are charged with being their stewards.

Personally, the latter is obviously the case. As the most influencial species on this planet we have to recognize the value and importance of preserving the biodiversity and environments we have.

Right now, we're doing a pretty shitty job of that. There is however, an obvious difference between responsible stewardship and granting animals rights. This is the point I'm mainly speaking on.

 

Right, okay and i'd basically agree that are their stewards. Not in any sort of biblical sense, but in terms of the power and influence we have over the world. I think the point where we disagree is our definitions of 'responsible stewardship'. I personally don't think it's responsible stewardship to kill and eat our subjects, when it's not neccessary for our surival, seen as, as sentient beings, our subjects are very capable of feeling immense pain, aswell as pleasure.

 

Now, i imagine the responce you'd want to make here would be one akin to one you made near the end of the post i'm responding to which basically said: "How fucking arrogant are you? Eating meat may not be necessary to YOU, but it is to many in worse conditions than you are. Like I said, how many tribal vegans do you think are in sub-Saharan Africa?"

 

Now first of all, i don't appreciate you losing your cool here. It's bad enough to be attacking a strawman without screaming swearwords at him.

 

If you'd read some of my earlier posts in this thread, you'd know that i hold the view that it's wrong to kill for food, but only when it's not necessary for survival. My poinr being that when you choose to eat a meat burger over a Vegi Burger, it's not a matter of life or death (or at least that's the case with most vegi burgers). You're choosing to eat the meat burger presumably because you prefer the taste, or perhaps simply because that's just what you're used to. Now, i personally cannot see it as morally justifyable to excuse the suffering and death i've caused by just saying 'I prefer the taste'.

 

In the case of people living in third-world counrties, where it's a matter of life and death and their choice is literally kill this animal for food or die, of course i'm not gonna say they're wrong to do so. I still think that the act of killing the animal itself is regretable, but the fact that they're doing so to save themselves from dying justifies it.

 

Maybe you see them as the same thing, but to me they are vastly vastly different.

 

Quote:
Wait...the lion kills to eat, and we slaughter livestock to eat, and somehow there is a difference? Our canine teeth should tell you that we are here, as we are, because we ate every fucking thing we could along the way.

 

Yeah, i think there's a vast difference. And i think i can prove that to you with a very easy example.

(Okay, i'm not too familiar with your background, but just imagine that you have a pet cat, and a son, who is about 10.)

 

Okay, if you're sitting inside one morning, reading Ray Comfort's new book, when you're cat brings in a bird which it's killed. You know for a fact, that your cat is well fed, and almost certainly won't even eat the bird, but it killed it anyway. Would you tell off the cat?

 

Now i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you're answer is no.

 

Now, imagine it's the next day and you're still sitting down reading ray's book, when you're son brings in a bird, which he's killed. Would you tell him off?

 

My guess would be a yes this time.

 

The obvious reason why we differenciate between these two examples, is that we know however much we tell of that cat, it can't choose not to kill the bird. It's acting on it's natural instincts alone. In the child's case, we can maybe say that their are some natural instincts involved, but we also know the child is capable of understanding the situation. It is bad to cause the bird pain or to kill it. The child has no need to eat the bird, as he presumably has plenty of food at home. Therefore the killing of the bird was unnessary. This may have been the case with the cat aswell, but unlike the child it was not capable of understanding the situation.

 

Looking back at the question, i think i've actually given a needlessly long answer. A simpler answer to the question of Why i think a lion killing a deer is justifyable, and you eating a beefburger isn't is that i think that if you didn't have the beefburger, and opted for a vegiburger or a salad instead, it would not really have much impact on your overall happiness. In the lion's the case, not killing the deer, would presumably result in his death.

 

If i am in fact mistaken, and the act of not eating the beefburger would cause your death, then i apologise. You are justifed in eating it in my view. However, i suspect this is not the case.

 

I always feel bad when i have to use words like moral and immoral and justifyable and unjustifyable. I think it makes it sound like i'm really attacking you, when i mean no harm at all. I'm sure you are a deeply moral person in life, but i just think that your attitude towards animals is a result of today's society.

 

I don't think you're gonna like this example, but before you lose your cool, just think about the point i'm making here. "Do you think that everyone who owned a slave was a bad person?"

 

Quote:
If it wasn't immoral for my homindae ancestor to eat another animal 150,000 years ago, I fail to see why it would be immoral for me to do so now.

 

Well i think the big difference is that there weren't vegan cafes 150,000 years ago.

 

Quote:
In fact, I'm doing one better by raising the animal in safety and killing it relatively humanely. Honestly, why do you think we have domesticated animals now?

 

Many reasons, but i think you're being pretty naive if you think the most prominent one is kindness.

 

Quote:
Personally, I don't feel guilty about eating the diet millions of years of evolution conditioned me to crave and consume. Why should I?

 

Well again, i think it's a pretty dangerous moral position to hold the view that; we've evolved this way, therefore it's okay. If you really believe that then i suppose there's no problem with cannibals, as they as a society have evolved to crave and consume the flesh of their own species.

 

I think i'm maybe taking you're quote out of context here, and i think as a whole your post doesn't reflect you following this view.

 

Quote:
I see, so you have a double standard, as I was saying. We're somehow SUPERIOR to animals, because we have the capacity to feel GUILT and REMORSE? That is a VERY recent development, bred out of the simple fact that some people feel guilty for percieved excesses. A few decades ago, and even today, were you in a pinch, you'd happily eat the family pet - or even a member of the family.

 

Right, i really don't see why you're so intent on using the word 'superior'. I totally agree that we are superior to animals at feeling guilt and remorse. But i still don't see how we can possibly be 'superior' to animals overall. It just seems like a silly notion.

I come across many people with this sort of view, and i think there's some serious problems with it when it's actually looked at logically. Let me see what you think of the famous quote from George Bernard Shaw: "If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth -- beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals -- would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?"

 

EDIT: Hey Mike, i wrote a whole response to the end of your post, and posted it. The forum said i had posted it, but when i next checked it wasn't there. Luckily i saved my post as a word document, but only up to here. I will try and reply again to the rest of your post, but i don't have enough time to give the in depth response that i gave last time:

 

Quote:

Well, no, as the millenia involved don't match up. A few hundred years of a certain populaiton being enslaved is not the same as the entire human race breeding animals specifically for the field and table.

And again, I'm DISGUSTED that you equate the two. Only a heartless prick from PETA could equate the Jewish holocaust to KFC feeding hungry people. You have to an unbelievably anti-humanist twat to buy into something like that.

And we were getting along so well until now. Oh well.

Anytime anyone makes that fucking sort or analogy they can pretty much expect it.

 

Well first of all, i don't know why you've brought up the holocaust.

Second of all, you've kind of missed the point that i was making here. I wasn't actually saying that I think we should have slavery in our society, or that i think slavery and our current treatment of animals are the same thing. My argument was purely against the notion you presented; that the fact that we've bred animals for the purpose of eating them, or the fact that it's better for them for to have a life that we choose for them, means we can eat them. Using that logic, we could condone genetically engineering a race of humans to use as a food supply, because otherwise they wouldn't exist. Obviouslly there are a ton of reasons why this would be a terrible idea, but my point was merely that it points out a flaw in the argument you were making there.

 

I apologise if i've misinterpreted the point you were making at all. Perhaps i've accidently taken your quote out of context?

Do you see the point i was making though?; That saying creatures like cows and pigs would have died out long ago if we hadn't bred them for this purpose, is a terrible moral argument?

 

Quote:
I'm disgusted you even posed that scenario.

 

Even more disgusted. I'm done with you.

 

Right, no offence man, but i have a hard time believing that someone as intelligent as you could really believe these questions were meant to be taken at face value. Do you SERIOUSLY think that i'm accusing you of being that sort of person? Come on man, from what i've heard about you from the RRS, you seem like a really moral person. These questions were sort of leading up to another question. You know like how you might ask a christian: "Have you stoned any rebellious children recently". On face value that would seem like a stupid question. However, it obviously could then lead to the question: "So, you not read the OT recently?" Now, i think it would be foolish to continue my question here, so i'll try and phrase it in a different way.

 

Okay, if you saw a man, who had a massive amount of vegetarian food in his house, go out into the wild, find an animal. knock it unconscious, hang it upside down, cut it's throat, let it bleed to death and then walk home, leaving the corpse to rot, i'd guess you'd think this was unnecessary cruelty? (I'd like to point out that this man was a very nice non-psychopathic man in the rest of his life, he just got pleasure from doing this every now and then).

 

Now, if it was the exact same scenario, but this time the man ate the creature he killed, i'd guess that you'd think it was okay. Now my question is; Why? In both cases the killing of the animal had very little effect on the person's happiness. It certainly wasn't a matter of life or death. In the first case, the only justification could be that he enjoyed the pleasure of killing it. In the second case (seen as he had no need of the food over other food), the only justification could be that he enjoyed the taste of the meat slightly more then another meal he could have had that night. Both these cases are simply about pleasure, and from where i'm standing i don't think these simple pleasures are really enought to justify the killing. Am i missing something? Do you think think there's some other factor in each scenario that sets them apart, or do you actually think that both scenarios are moral?

 

Anyway, love to hear your thoughts. Just try to keep your cool this time.

 

 

 


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Well, I'm back from China

Well, I'm back from China and Kyoto and way jet lagged, but no time like the present....

 

Quote:
Kid A wrote:

Hey Mike, sorry for the wait.

I've been reading your reply and you seem to be getting pretty pissed off with me, and seemingly have pegged as my as some sort of crazy PETA nutcase. Now, i really don't think that's the case, and i think the reason you think this is probably because you've taken some of the questions i've asked you the wrong way. It also might be the case that some of my attempts of imputting some humour into this have been in bad taste, or the sort of humour hasn't been to your taste.

We'll see. I've had this discussion enough times that I can typically gauge where the other guy is going, but, let's see.

Quote:
Anyway, i'm gonna try and answer some of your points now, and if you don't want to respond then that's your choice man, but so far, i think some of the points of mine you've been fighting against haven't really been mine at all, but misunderstandings of some of the premises i've been trying to get across.

Answer "SOME" being opperative, you cut out a good deal of what I said above. Still, let's see if a resolution is to be had....;.

Quote:
Quote:
That would of course depend on what you propose, but yes, I do think the mentally disabled have certain rights. I've stated as such.

Okay, cool. Can you just give me some examples of the sort of rights you'd propose they have in your view, particuliar in relation to morals.

That while such people do not, and can not, have rights as you and I have, they are still afforded the a degree of dignity under their care takers. Be the care taker a family gaudian, parent or the state, we don't torture them or execute them. Unless they are in Texas. Essentially the mentally infirmed have similar rights as children, more or less, depending on degree of infirmity.

Quote:
Quote:
Of course I'd have a problem with that. Just as I'd have a problem with an animal being mistreated for no good reason. It's all about empathy. There's a difference between using rats and chimps to furthur medical science and pulling the wings off of flies or feeding firecrackers to frogs.

Right, are you saying that your moral code towards animals is based mainly on empathy? (I'm sorry if i'm misinterpreting your view here, but as far as i can tell that's what you're saying in this point).

It is.

Quote:
Quote:

Excellent point. Let me make my position clear again. I'm NOT using evololution as an excuse, I'm simply acknowlogding its importance and influence. We ARE this way - we value the in group and tribe more than the out group. We tend to value those more similar to us than others - be it race or species. This is simply something inherent in us.

It's not good or evil, it's just there, under the surface.

Personally, it simply seems alien to me to think we can even broach the topic of animal rights when humans as a whole have a difficult time being ecumenical with one another.

There are underlying issues within us that need to be addressed on a human level first before we even consider applying such to outlying species.

So, I'm all about hashing this out, but it needs to be put into context.

You're right, a lot of the ideas i'm bringing up here do seem unachievable at present. However, i think we have seen big changes in regards to animal rights in the last century, and we almost certainly will see more and more sympathy towards it in the future (I think Dawkins mentions this idea briefly in 'The God Delusion' in regards to the changing moral zeitgeist.)

I mentioned that. If the meme gets legs, so be it. But let's not pretend as if this is the nartural order of things or even the logical ethical progression - it wouldn't be.

Quote:
You make a good point that they are perhaps other human rights problems that are more important then animal rights. This may well be the case, but it's not like making efforts into animal rights will neglect human rights. From my experiance, many of the people who care most about animal rights are also firm humanitarians too.
That has not been my experience, at all. When a pro animal political faction destroys your laboratory, which is working to curb a horrible HUMAN disease, get back to me.

I don't doubt that there are some, and possibly the majority, of people willing to reconcile rationally, but these are my experiences and they are not unique.

Quote:
Quote:

I'm simply saying it is a double edged sword. As humans, the only animals capable of what I'm talking about, we are either fully justified in doing what we will with other species, or we are charged with being their stewards.

Personally, the latter is obviously the case. As the most influencial species on this planet we have to recognize the value and importance of preserving the biodiversity and environments we have.

Right now, we're doing a pretty shitty job of that. There is however, an obvious difference between responsible stewardship and granting animals rights. This is the point I'm mainly speaking on.

Right, okay and i'd basically agree that are their stewards. Not in any sort of biblical sense, but in terms of the power and influence we have over the world. I think the point where we disagree is our definitions of 'responsible stewardship'. I personally don't think it's responsible stewardship to kill and eat our subjects, when it's not neccessary for our surival, seen as, as sentient beings, our subjects are very capable of feeling immense pain, aswell as pleasure.

Define that pleasure and pain. You can't. A cow "happily" eating grass or being a "proud" parent, CANNOT compare to the experience you and I have doing the same things. Their brains are simply NOT capabable of it. End of story.

I'm fully aware animals can feel pain. Plants can feel pain to an extent as well - did you know that? Most plants have reactions to damage and stimulation - just as animals do, but we just don't identify as much with them for some reason. I wonder why that is?

You and I KNOW why that is.We simply identify more with more similar things.  And that's really what it comes down to in the end, we both know it.

Quote:
Now, i imagine the responce you'd want to make here would be one akin to one you made near the end of the post i'm responding to which basically said: "How fucking arrogant are you? Eating meat may not be necessary to YOU, but it is to many in worse conditions than you are. Like I said, how many tribal vegans do you think are in sub-Saharan Africa?"

And you'd be wrong. I can Identify with an animal just as well as you can. I've had pets, and I cried when they died. I've had test subjects as well, and I cried for them too.

I simply recognize the anthropomorphisms you employ for what they are.  

Quote:
Now first of all, i don't appreciate you losing your cool here. It's bad enough to be attacking a strawman without screaming swearwords at him.

If you'd read some of my earlier posts in this thread, you'd know that i hold the view that it's wrong to kill for food, but only when it's not necessary for survival. My poinr being that when you choose to eat a meat burger over a Vegi Burger, it's not a matter of life or death (or at least that's the case with most vegi burgers). You're choosing to eat the meat burger presumably because you prefer the taste, or perhaps simply because that's just what you're used to. Now, i personally cannot see it as morally justifyable to excuse the suffering and death i've caused by just saying 'I prefer the taste'.

And you'd be wrong again, I'll typically take the veggie burger.

I don't care that some eat the beef though, because I know where the cattle came from and where they would be without the desire for beef and milk and cheese and leather and baseballs and glue and insulin and protien suppliments and..... (IOW, non-existant).

Quote:
In the case of people living in third-world counrties, where it's a matter of life and death and their choice is literally kill this animal for food or die, of course i'm not gonna say they're wrong to do so.

Then your argument fails. End of story. I honestly fail to see why percieved oppulence ought to inpinge on whether something is moral. 

Quote:
 I still think that the act of killing the animal itself is regretable, but the fact that they're doing so to save themselves from dying justifies it.

That's garbage. I'm killing the animal for the same reasons, and me and my ancestors have been doing that for thousands of years. I fail to see how something so engrained in us becomes suddenly immoral simply as a result of industrial farming. You need to do a LOT better than that.

Quote:
Maybe you see them as the same thing, but to me they are vastly vastly different.

Maybe that's where the problem lies, because I fail to see the difference. You are essentially saying your moral argument hinges on opportunity alone. If something is "wrong" ought it not be wrong regardless of circumstance?

Quote:
Quote:
Wait...the lion kills to eat, and we slaughter livestock to eat, and somehow there is a difference? Our canine teeth should tell you that we are here, as we are, because we ate every fucking thing we could along the way.

Yeah, i think there's a vast difference. And i think i can prove that to you with a very easy example.

(Okay, i'm not too familiar with your background, but just imagine that you have a pet cat, and a son, who is about 10.)

Okay, if you're sitting inside one morning, reading Ray Comfort's new book, when you're cat brings in a bird which it's killed. You know for a fact, that your cat is well fed, and almost certainly won't even eat the bird, but it killed it anyway. Would you tell off the cat?

No, why would I tell off the cat for being a cat? As of the cat would give a fuck what I had to say. Are you serious? lol

Quote:
Now i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you're answer is no.

 Good guess.

Quote:
Now, imagine it's the next day and you're still sitting down reading ray's book, when you're son brings in a bird, which he's killed. Would you tell him off?

Why would I tell off my son for doing something I did and all his ancestors did? Why would I tell off my son for being human - a hunter as in in our genes?

I would tell the kid AFTER the fact that it was not necessary, and not to do it again, because we can get plenty of dead birds that taste a lot better at the store. I would tell him to respect the wild birds, especially the song birds which are devastated by domestic cats, as they play an integral part of the ecosystem, and that we only take them during the proper season, in the proper quotas, and when we intend to eat what we kill.

Quote:
My guess would be a yes this time.

And you'd be wrong again. What makes me think you didn't grow up around animals (other than domestic pets)? Did you? I seriously doubt it.

Quote:
The obvious reason why we differenciate between these two examples, is that we know however much we tell of that cat, it can't choose not to kill the bird. It's acting on it's natural instincts alone. In the child's case, we can maybe say that their are some natural instincts involved, but we also know the child is capable of understanding the situation.

I agree, yet my answer is very different than yours. Why is that?

You think the child has done something "wrong", I don't. And you've done nothing to convince me it is wrong in a moral sense. 

 

Quote:
 It is bad to cause the bird pain or to kill it.

Why? It's wrong to kill it for no reason. It's not wrong to act on instinct and learn from it in such as case. That sort of understanding is more valuable and compassionate than I think you are capable of realiizing.

Is is wrong to step on a roach?

Is it wrong to kill the lice in your hair?

Is it wrong to put a mouse trap in your kitchen?

I make no distinction here, YOU do. You just don't admit it.  

Quote:
The child has no need to eat the bird, as he presumably has plenty of food at home. Therefore the killing of the bird was unnessary. This may have been the case with the cat aswell, but unlike the child it was not capable of understanding the situation.

I WAS that child 20 something years ago. And it is experiences like that that really let you know what life is and what it is worth and how it is related. Feeling guilty for eating the chicken at the Safeway does not compare. So I ask you again, why shouldn't I eat meat - your only semi-valid argument has been - "because I don't have to". And I've put that on the coals.

You've not addressed in the least scientific research. And I KNOW why you haven't - to do so would mean making a rational assessment of VALUE.

Quote:
Looking back at the question, i think i've actually given a needlessly long answer. A simpler answer to the question of Why i think a lion killing a deer is justifyable, and you eating a beefburger isn't is that i think that if you didn't have the beefburger, and opted for a vegiburger or a salad instead, it would not really have much impact on your overall happiness.

NOT a persuasive argument. Don't eat that, because you don't have to. That's your argument. And it sucks. 

 

Quote:
 In the lion's the case, not killing the deer, would presumably result in his death.

If i am in fact mistaken, and the act of not eating the beefburger would cause your death, then i apologise. You are justifed in eating it in my view. However, i suspect this is not the case.

But it boils down to this. You are saying it's fine and dandy to gobble up all of the critters, IF you are in one situation, but it suddenly becomes morally reprehensible in another situation. The situations are seperated by NOTHING other than opportunity and misplaced guilt. Forgive me if that is not convincing.

Quote:
I always feel bad when i have to use words like moral and immoral and justifyable and unjustifyable. I think it makes it sound like i'm really attacking you, when i mean no harm at all. I'm sure you are a deeply moral person in life, but i just think that your attitude towards animals is a result of today's society.

Likewise, you seem a decent fellow indeed. And I don't see why this is a MORAL issue AT ALL. Morality is a HUMAN domain, and ONLY HUMANS have RIGHTS - as we are thje only meat bags capabale of understanding and reciprocating rights.

We SHOULD look out for the critters around us, but mainly for our own good. What's good for them is usually good for us.

Quote:
I don't think you're gonna like this example, but before you lose your cool, just think about the point i'm making here. "Do you think that everyone who owned a slave was a bad person?"

Not at all, Jefferson owned slaves and he's one of my favorite Colonials.

Quote:
Quote:
If it wasn't immoral for my homindae ancestor to eat another animal 150,000 years ago, I fail to see why it would be immoral for me to do so now.

Well i think the big difference is that there weren't vegan cafes 150,000 years ago.

Granted, but it boils down to the same lame argument - "You don't HAVE TOO". That's all you have. It sucks. It is completely subjective and unconvincing. It relies on GUILT not logic or reason.

I'm coming from Catholicism, so you might assess how well guilt works on me now, lol.

Quote:
Quote:
In fact, I'm doing one better by raising the animal in safety and killing it relatively humanely. Honestly, why do you think we have domesticated animals now?

Many reasons, but i think you're being pretty naive if you think the most prominent one is kindness.

Never said it was kindness. It's CLEARLY TASTINESS. 

Quote:
Quote:
Personally, I don't feel guilty about eating the diet millions of years of evolution conditioned me to crave and consume. Why should I?

Well again, i think it's a pretty dangerous moral position to hold the view that; we've evolved this way, therefore it's okay. If you really believe that then i suppose there's no problem with cannibals, as they as a society have evolved to crave and consume the flesh of their own species.

See above. I have no problem with cannabalism. I DO have a problem with murder in a western civil society, but could care less if people ate one another. But that's because people have rights and animals DO NOT - which was the original topic that has been gotten away from.

So let me ask again - can an animal understand or reciprocate rights?

Quote:
Quote:
I see, so you have a double standard, as I was saying. We're somehow SUPERIOR to animals, because we have the capacity to feel GUILT and REMORSE? That is a VERY recent development, bred out of the simple fact that some people feel guilty for percieved excesses. A few decades ago, and even today, were you in a pinch, you'd happily eat the family pet - or even a member of the family.

Right, i really don't see why you're so intent on using the word 'superior'. I totally agree that we are superior to animals at feeling guilt and remorse. But i still don't see how we can possibly be 'superior' to animals overall. It just seems like a silly notion.

The point relates to the understanding and applicability of rights. One cannot have a right they are incapable of understanding or reciprocating. Animals cannot do such.

Quote:
I come across many people with this sort of view, and i think there's some serious problems with it when it's actually looked at logically. Let me see what you think of the famous quote from George Bernard Shaw: "If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth -- beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals -- would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?"

Non-sequitor fallacy. This is too daffy to consider. Were YOUR argument valid, they ought to make us well treated pets. Or they'd eat us. I'm game for neither. 

[qoute][qu9oteEDIT: Hey Mike, i wrote a whole response to the end of your post, and posted it. The forum said i had posted it, but when i next checked it wasn't there. Luckily i saved my post as a word document, but only up to here. I will try and reply again to the rest of your post, but i don't have enough time to give the in depth response that i gave last time:

Yeah, I'm trying to reply here.

Post the rest late on.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Well, I'm back from

Quote:

Well, I'm back from China and Kyoto and way jet lagged, but no time like the present....

What a coincidence, I also just returned from China. Where did you go? 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

Well, I'm back from China and Kyoto and way jet lagged, but no time like the present....

What a coincidence, I also just returned from China. Where did you go? 

Beijing for 4 days, 2 days in Tokyo then 5 days in Kyoto. Fun trip, but I'm freeking FRIED. I'm wouldn't  even be sure of the day of the week were it not for the forum and email.

 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Chip
Chip's picture
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-11-22
User is offlineOffline
I've been a vegan for about

I've been a vegan for about a year, and a vegetarian for seveal years prior. Most religions say that humans are the dominant life force (just look at who wrote it!), and so I think theists would be more inclined to eat meat. God put all these tasty animals here for me! Atheists have a different set of morals (for the most part), and maybe some of us understand to some degree that if it is immoral to kill or torture a person, then it is immoral to kill or torture an animal. We all climbed out of the primordial stew together, and we just pulled ahead in the race early.


QuasarX
QuasarX's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: 2007-10-04
User is offlineOffline
Kid A wrote:But in places

Kid A wrote:
But in places like America, and the majority of europe it's so very simple to have a meat-free diet.

I don't think this takes into account the increased difficulty of absorbing a full balance of nutrients without using animal food sources, especially when you consider food allergies and the problems with eating too much of a food.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
I think the important thing

I think the important thing to realize with respect to animal testing is that we really and truly cannot do anything in biomedical research without animal testing. The ethicality of employing aminal testing in cosmetics is a different issue, but biomedical research is serious and necessary. Without the various animal testing models we employ, 85% of the enterprise would simply vanish. In brief:

-We need animal testing for reverse genetics. Without reverse genetics, the entire science of genetics would simply vanish. There would be no way to determine the function of most genes, and molecular and developmental biology relies on genetics. Nearly all multicellular intracellular signalling pathways, a central topic in Oncology research (cancer) are determined and tested on animal models. So are most endocrine pathways, which again, can be tested via reverse genetics.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


KafkaZer0
Posts: 1
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
http://www.michaelpollan.com/

laffer
Silver Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 2007-01-27
User is offlineOffline
I think animals certainly do

I think animals certainly do have some rights. I think it's horribly arrogant to claim that since we're human and only we can understand what rights entail, only we should have them and we can treat other lifeforms as we please.

The fact that we have evolved to eat meat is irrelevent, in my opinion. Evolution doesn't care what it creates - but now that we've been lucky enough to end up with intelligence, we can use that to judge if what we are doing to other living, feeling creatures is the right thing to do. Other animals cannot be blaimed for their behavior as they don't realize they're inflicting pain and they have no say over what they do. We are fundamentally different and our behaviour should reflect this.

We are the only species capable of fully understanding that killing causes pain and this puts us in a unique position. We can be blaimed for inflicting suffering and I think we should be. But even so, I cannot think of another species that has caused more pain than us. It's disgraceful.