8 principles of ethics

Stijn Bruers
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8 principles of ethics

Hi, I'm new here. As an atheist, I try to devellop my own ethical system (I'm doing a PhD in moral philosophy in Belgium). My moral project consists of trying to articulate my moral intuitions into a consistent set of ethical principles that form the basis of an ethical system of ecological justice. Below is the tentative result so far: eight most important principles of my (for most people radical) ethics. Feel free to comment. 

1) A just distribution of quality of life. Maximize the qualities of life (values of well-being) of all sentient beings, giving a strong priority on increasing the lowest values of well being. I.e. maximize the qualities of life of the worst off individuals, unless this is at the expense of much more well-being of others. Sentient beings are all beings who have a functioning complex nervous system (they developed the capacity to feel and have not yet permanently lost this capacity). These include future generations, vertebrate animals, some squids,.. See ‘quasi-maximin principle’ in http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/

2) The basic right of living beings (plants and all beings with complex interests, such as staying alive). Never allow the killing or injuring a non-sentient living being for luxury needs. (We are allowed to use plants for basic needs.)

3) The basic right of sentient beings (beings with complex interests and the capacity to subjectively experience their needs). Never allow the use of sentient beings as merely means to someone else’s ends (including both luxury, basic and vital needs). One exception: sentient beings who became dependent (by evolution) on other animals in order to survive, are allowed to hunt for their vital needs, until feasible alternatives exist (but we are allowed to defend the prey, if we feel compassion). See ‘basic right principle’ in http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/

4) The intrinsic value of biodiversity. Protect the biodiversity, because the biodiversity for ecosystems is analogous to well-being for sentient beings: both are intrinsically valuable properties of an entity (ecosystem, sentient being) that is unique and irreplaceable.

5) Restorative justice. Strive for reconciliation, forgiveness, non-violence, and moral growth, instead of retributions and punishment.

6) Universal love. Develop a feeling of universal love, a solidarity and compassion with all life, even with humans doing highly immoral things. Never regard someone as an enemy. This love is like the unconditional care of a mother for her children: Even when her son does the most terrible things, the mother still loves him deeply, she has no hatred or disdain but empathy and respect, but she’ll do whatever she can to stop his immoral behavior. She will not trust her son, and she may use violence, as long as the violence is accompanied with love. See http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/the-essentials-of-universal-love/

7) Just caring. When helping others, you are allowed to give (to some level) priority to those with whom you feel a personal or emotional concern or involvement, on the condition that you should tolerate the choice of other caregivers to give priority to whom they prefer. So you should tolerate the choice of other helpers. See ‘tolerated choice equality’ in http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/

Cool The golden rule. Abide by those principles which we would like that everyone abides them. Give the good example, en do that what every moral being should have to do, even if no-one else does so. This is an unconditional commitment and we should, if need be, swim up against the stream. We should abide by those principles which are generalizable, which means that if every moral being should follow those principles and consequently apply them, there will be no undesirable consequences that violate one of the above principles.

Note that the above 8 principles are a combination of consequentialist ethics (principles 1 and 4), deontological ethics (principles 2, 3 and Cool, virtue ethics (principle 6) and ethics of care (principles 5 and 7). Let’s illustrate a few implications that can be derived from the above principles:

-Eat vegan (100% plant based diet). We don’t need animal products to have a healthy life (American Dietetic Association). Inform yourself about healthy, well-planned vegan diets. Don’t use animals for things we would not use humans for: clothing, experimenting, amusement, trade, slavery,…

-Only use environmentally friendly technology.

-No overconsumption, but sobriety and voluntary simplicity. Lower your ecological footprint, don’t use luxury (all products used to increase social status, needs created by commercial advertisement, fashion trends,&hellipEye-wink. By consuming less, the saved money should be given to help the most vulnerable life (poor people, animals, nature,&hellipEye-wink.

-No overpopulation. Help create fair conditions for a worldwide voluntary pregnancy limitation. Financially support organizations working on reproductive health an family planning, especially in countries with high fertility rates.

-Do actions to help vulnerable life (humans, non-human sentient beings and nature)

Mod edit: Fixed.  


Stijn Bruers
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Something went wrong with

Something went wrong with the lay-out, and I don't know how to edit it. So here again...

1) A just distribution of quality of life. Maximize the qualities of life (values of well-being) of all sentient beings, giving a strong priority on increasing the lowest values of well being. I.e. maximize the qualities of life of the worst off individuals, unless this is at the expense of much more well-being of others. Sentient beings are all beings who have a functioning complex nervous system (they developed the capacity to feel and have not yet permanently lost this capacity). These include future generations, vertebrate animals, some squids,.. See ‘quasi-maximin principle’ in http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/

2) The basic right of living beings (plants and all beings with complex interests, such as staying alive). Never allow the killing or injuring a non-sentient living being for luxury needs. (We are allowed to use plants for basic needs.)

3) The basic right of sentient beings (beings with complex interests and the capacity to subjectively experience their needs). Never allow the use of sentient beings as merely means to someone else’s ends (including both luxury, basic and vital needs). One exception: sentient beings who became dependent (by evolution) on other animals in order to survive, are allowed to hunt for their vital needs, until feasible alternatives exist (but we are allowed to defend the prey, if we feel compassion). See ‘basic right principle’ in http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/

4) The intrinsic value of biodiversity. Protect the biodiversity, because the biodiversity for ecosystems is analogous to well-being for sentient beings: both are intrinsically valuable properties of an entity (ecosystem, sentient being) that is unique and irreplaceable.

5) Restorative justice. Strive for reconciliation, forgiveness, non-violence, and moral growth, instead of retributions and punishment.

6) Universal love. Develop a feeling of universal love, a solidarity and compassion with all life, even with humans doing highly immoral things. Never regard someone as an enemy. This love is like the unconditional care of a mother for her children: Even when her son does the most terrible things, the mother still loves him deeply, she has no hatred or disdain but empathy and respect, but she’ll do whatever she can to stop his immoral behavior. She will not trust her son, and she may use violence, as long as the violence is accompanied with love. See http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/the-essentials-of-universal-love/

7) Just caring. When helping others, you are allowed to give (to some level) priority to those with whom you feel a personal or emotional concern or involvement, on the condition that you should tolerate the choice of other caregivers to give priority to whom they prefer. So you should tolerate the choice of other helpers. See ‘tolerated choice equality’ in http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/

8 ) The golden rule. Abide by those principles which we would like that everyone abides them. Give the good example, en do that what every moral being should have to do, even if no-one else does so. This is an unconditional commitment and we should, if need be, swim up against the stream. We should abide by those principles which are generalizable, which means that if every moral being should follow those principles and consequently apply them, there will be no undesirable consequences that violate one of the above principles.

Note that the above 8 principles are a combination of consequentialist ethics (principles 1 and 4), deontological ethics (principles 2, 3 and 8 ), virtue ethics (principle 6) and ethics of care (principles 5 and 7). Let’s illustrate a few implications that can be derived from the above principles:

-Eat vegan (100% plant based diet). We don’t need animal products to have a healthy life (American Dietetic Association). Inform yourself about healthy, well-planned vegan diets. Don’t use animals for things we would not use humans for: clothing, experimenting, amusement, trade, slavery,…

-Only use environmentally friendly technology.

-No overconsumption, but sobriety and voluntary simplicity. Lower your ecological footprint, don’t use luxury (all products used to increase social status, needs created by commercial advertisement, fashion trends). By consuming less, the saved money should be given to help the most vulnerable life (poor people, animals, nature).

-No overpopulation. Help create fair conditions for a worldwide voluntary pregnancy limitation. Financially support organizations working on reproductive health an family planning, especially in countries with high fertility rates.

-Do actions to help vulnerable life (humans, non-human sentient beings and nature)

 


Thunderios
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Hallo. Welcome to the

Hallo. Welcome to the forum!

I haven't got all my morals neatly in a written form, but let's see on what we agree Smiling
I agree with maintaining biodiversity, universal love, Just caring, and the golden rule.
1. A just distribution of quality of life. I think that we shouldn't give everything the same. There must be something to gain from hard work, it's one of the fuels of our economy (which, in itself, indeed, is flawed).
2. I think we should be allowed some luxury. We need some way to substitute the things we now lack that made us happy when we hadn't developed society (i.e. hunting, surviving, having just enough food) with something that gives us enough joy to survive, in stead of getting depressed or something.
3. Isn't everything we do a means to the next generation? I still think we need some sort of a hierarchy where some people are bosses that tell other people what to do for them...
5. I think honour is much more important than forgiveness. But that's just my opinion, and I have no proper base for it Laughing out loud
6. I think globalisation is a good thing, and solidarity among the human race is something we need to have if we don't want to blow ourselves to smitherines.

I'm not sure why we should eat plants in stead of animals, because one lacks emotions. It's a feeling of empathy we have towards them because we can feel the same emotions.
We have to safe the environment so we will survive ourselves, yes.
I think sobriety is a good thing, but it's an addiction to overconsume.
Overpopulation is bad, agreed.
I am not certain we should help everything and everyone that is weak. It might seem very cruel of me, but like you see in Africa our 'help' didn't do a heckload...

I think I should write down my own moral system, too, some time. Now it's still pretty chaotic.


Stijn Bruers
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Thunderios wrote:Hallo.

Thunderios wrote:

Hallo. Welcome to the forum!

I haven't got all my morals neatly in a written form, but let's see on what we agree Smiling
I agree with maintaining biodiversity, universal love, Just caring, and the golden rule.
1. A just distribution of quality of life. I think that we shouldn't give everything the same. There must be something to gain from hard work, it's one of the fuels of our economy (which, in itself, indeed, is flawed).

well, that can be incorporated. Hard work lowers your quality of life. That should be compensated by income. And the harder one works, the more priority we should give to increase his income. Next to effort or risk or other things that decrease well being (the desert principle), we can also look how imporrtant the work is for others, i.e. whether it helps improve this first principle. For example: a doctor or nurse are doing more important things than a producer of say perfume, because helping ill people is better for this first principle than selling perfume, because the worst-off people are not the ones who need perfume, but the once who need medical help. So the income of this nurse should be relatively higher. You see, with this first principle, one can derive a lot of other things Eye-wink


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2. I think we should be allowed some luxury. We need some way to substitute the things we now lack that made us happy when we hadn't developed society (i.e. hunting, surviving, having just enough food) with something that gives us enough joy to survive, in stead of getting depressed or something.

well, in my view, plants like trees have complex interests, and they are often capable of amazing things (communication, self-preservation,...). So even if a tree lacks sentience, I still think that they have some intrinsic value (= a value opposite to instrumental value for us). And we should still owe those trees some respect. For example: we can cut down trees to make paper for books (for the library), but not for commercial advertisments etc... Because story-telling and knowledge are basic needs, not luxury. Advertisments are luxury.


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3. Isn't everything we do a means to the next generation?

the next generation doesn't use us as merely means. Exemples of use of humans as merely means are: human trafficking (trade), experimenting on humans without their informed consent, slavery, rape, treating humans as property, killing for organ transplantations (we should not kill an innocent person withut his permission, in order to use his lungs, kidneys, spleen, heart,... to save five other people). the same thing goes for the use of other sentient beings, because we have to avoid speciesism.

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I still think we need some sort of a hierarchy where some people are bosses that tell other people what to do for them...

suits me, as long as they tell them to do things compatible with my ethical principles Eye-wink


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5. I think honour is much more important than forgiveness. But that's just my opinion, and I have no proper base for it :D

hmmm... Honour has different meanings...


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I'm not sure why we should eat plants in stead of animals, because one lacks emotions. It's a feeling of empathy we have towards them because we can feel the same emotions.

yes, empathy is a moral virtue, and we can only feel empathy with all and only sentient beings. But there is another reason why sentience is important. Take the famous argument of the veil of ignorance by John Rawls, but this time suppose that you could be born as a tree, a pig or a human. You can now decide what I will do to them; I am going to eat, but I allow you now to choose: the appel, the pig or the human? If you are a rational being, you would say that I can eat the appel, because then you would not feel hurt, because if you would be the tree, you wouldn't be able to feel anything. But if you say that I am allowed to slaughter the pig or the human, you'll be in agonizing pain and deprived from your subjective preferences. You can't want this (unless you are irrational or a die-hard masochist). This indicates that sentience is morally relevant. And there is a third simple reason: rights are means to respect interests. Well, sentient beings not only have complex interests, but are also subjectively aware of them. That gives them stronger rights than non-sentient living beings who cannot feel their needs, I think.


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I am not certain we should help everything and everyone that is weak. It might seem very cruel of me, but like you see in Africa our 'help' didn't do a heckload...

It depends on what kind of help. But I can bring you into contact with a poor African person who was helped by us, and I'm wondering whether you would say to him (face to face) that our help didn't do a heckload. There was a saying: saving one live means saving the whole world. (But saving two lives is better still Smiling )

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I think I should write down my own moral system, too, some time. Now it's still pretty chaotic.

yeah, you should do that, it's great fun Eye-wink


Jean Chauvin
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Hi OP

Hi OP,

Your attempt at ethics begs the question. If you cannot come up with an absolute means of truth in epistemology, then you cannot come into an absolute form of ethics of truth.

You are starting with a paraticular, going to a particular, and ending in a particular. Thus, this is NOT a set of ethics (except the Golden Rule). it is an opinion of your faviorite Ice Scream.

It's worse then Utilitarianism.

The other problem was that you don't have a universal normtive to based your ethics on.

You must start via a universal deductive means to even attempt at a secular system. But it will always fail unless it is based on the God of all. Since you will not do this, you will fail. Though your loser doctorate board will probably approve it because it's against Chrisianity.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

You are

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Welcome to the

Welcome to the forum.

Overall, a pretty good list. I can't say I agree with all of them though.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Don't let Jean offend you.

Don't let Jean offend you. If you don't want to respond to him, ignore him.

On your response: I agree with pretty much all of it.
I have no idea what honour is, either. I think it's something intuitive, or something Smiling


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1. "Maximize the qualities

1. "Maximize the qualities of life of all sentient beings" - not strictly possible, when you include creatures whose constitution requires them to be carnivores, whose life involves the hunt, the chase, the kill.

And it is not the same thing as "A just distribution". Trade-offs, subjective compromises, are required.

Certainly try to help remove or prevent or avoid unnecessary restrictions or impositions or detractions from their quality of life.

2. The basic right of living beings - again, neither practical or possible to respect comprehensively. Should we respect the rights of malaria parasites? Of plants which would out-compete the plants we depend on for our nutrition, if allowed to maximize their interests?

Again, better to just avoid wanton and gratuitous destruction/killing.

3. The basic right of sentient beings - ok; at least you concede the problem with carnivores.

4. Biodiversity is not an ethical issue. It is desirable for utilitarian and aesthetic reasons.

5. Restorative justice - yes. No real argument here.

6. Universal love. Not really what can be classified as an ethical principle itself, more an emotional drive which may indeed drive one to apply such ethics.

7. Just caring. Ok, a necessary compromise, recognizing the subjective element in many values.

8. The Golden Rule - problematic, in that we do not all have the same positive desires, even eliminating those which would impinge on those of others. It should come after what I regard as Primary: the Negative Golden Rule, Do not do to, or impose on, others, what you would not wish done to or imposed on yourself.

======

Veganism I can appreciate - I still eat some fish, for the protein and oils, concentrating those at the lower end of the food chain, but I am concerned about eating fish because of sustainability questions, depletion of the oceanic biodiversity. I may drop this component of my diet, I have some mild qualms about the ethics of harvesting them - I have done a lot of scuba diving....

I eat eggs, but I would prefer to avoid eggs from birds housed in very restrictive conditions. Apart from the issue of the treatment of the birds, I have no significant issues with eggs as a source of protein and dietary diversity.

But I do agree with the health reasons - again, they are not 'ethics'.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Beyond Saving
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Welcome to the forum #1

Welcome to the forum

 

#1 Whose responsibility is it to maximize the quality of life for everyone? Especially of vertebrate animals? Why are you speciesist against invertebrates? Seems like a rather arbitrary line to me.  


#2 You are using a computer. A computer is a luxury. Many plants died to create a place for your computer to be built and possibly several animals. Are these just recommendations or morals you actually try to follow? Because if you are trying to follow them you have fallen off the bandwagon. 

 

#3 On what grounds do all sentient beings have rights? Why is it ok to build a computer factory and destroy habitat but not ok to kill an animal to eat?

 

#4 But when you have biodiversity animals kill each other. Indeed, it is sometimes necessary to kill animals in order to protect and increase biodiversity.

 

#5 I'm all for non-violence (against humans) most of the time.

 

#6 Love is something that shouldn't be cheapened by giving it to everyone. Generally, I consider it prudent to approach most people with a neutral attitude.  

 

#7 I don't care who you help and I'll help those I wish to. Sounds like we are pretty much on the same page there.

 

#8 I prefer a slight modification but the same general principal- I will let you live as you see fit as long as you allow me to live as I see fit. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

-Eat vegan (100% plant based diet). We don’t need animal products to have a healthy life (American Dietetic Association). Inform yourself about healthy, well-planned vegan diets. Don’t use animals for things we would not use humans for: clothing, experimenting, amusement, trade, slavery,…

 

No thanks. Animals are quite tasty, and since I don't have to get along with them, why should I give them the same status as humans? An animal will kill you if it is capable. Why shouldn't we be part of nature and fulfill our role as predator?

 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:
 

-Only use environmentally friendly technology.

 

-No overconsumption, but sobriety and voluntary simplicity. Lower your ecological footprint, don’t use luxury (all products used to increase social status, needs created by commercial advertisement, fashion trends,&hellipEye-wink. By consuming less, the saved money should be given to help the most vulnerable life (poor people, animals, nature,&hellipEye-wink.

 

Except for luxuries you enjoy such as computers?

 

 

 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


Stijn Bruers
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BobSpence1 wrote:1.

BobSpence1 wrote:

1. "Maximize the qualities of life of all sentient beings" - not strictly possible, when you include creatures whose constitution requires them to be carnivores, whose life involves the hunt, the chase, the kill.

There can be two responses to this. First, we can allow that predation overrules the just distribution principle (but only for beings who evolved such that they need meat in order to survive, i.e. a vital need). Second, a prudential argument: interfering with predation (trying to save all the prey) might result in all kinds of effects that violate the 4th criterion (biodiversity loss by extinction of predator species) and perhaps even the fisrt principle (overpopulation of prey species, increased competition,...).

Anyway, I think our intuition that we should allow the lion to hunt can be compatible with my ethical principles.

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And it is not the same thing as "A just distribution". Trade-offs, subjective compromises, are required.

Don't know what you mean by this, but trade-offs etc are compatible with the first principle (which is prioritrianism)

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2. The basic right of living beings - again, neither practical or possible to respect comprehensively. Should we respect the rights of malaria parasites?

No, if it is a vital need; if there are no alternatives to avoid disease, we can kill the parasite. And killing out of self-defense is something else than murder or slavery, it is something else than using the parasite as merely means. So the basic right of the parasite is not violated if you kill him. The only problem is when the parasite is a sentient being, than we should look at principle 1. But mosquitos are most likely not sentient beings. however, they do have some nervous system, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt. That is why I didn't (directly) kill malaria mosquitos when I was in Africa; because I had other means to protect myself. 

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Of plants which would out-compete the plants we depend on for our nutrition, if allowed to maximize their interests?

Here again: if you kill those plants, it is because of vital needs. (Only be aware not to let that plant species go extinct)

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4. Biodiversity is not an ethical issue. It is desirable for utilitarian and aesthetic reasons.

here we might differ, as for me biodiversity has intrinsic value, and aesthetic or utilitarian reasons refer to instrumental values. However, our views might be compatible. As I mentioned above, we can save predator species because 1) biodiversity has intrinsic value or 2) extinction of species might result in lots of ecological consequences that might violate my first principle (or your utilitarian principle, but I think prioritarianism is better than utilitarianism)

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6. Universal love. Not really what can be classified as an ethical principle itself, more an emotional drive which may indeed drive one to apply such ethics.

Indeed, but still I think it is very important to develop this feeling, especially when you are confronted with immoral behavior, and the question of the use of violence arises. Trying to protect life is very often violent in one way or another. So my claim is: if you use violence in order to protect life, be sure to have universal love, and never look at your opponent as an enemy. Instead, think of your opponent as if he was your best friend at school, and now he turned into someone who is a serious threat to vulnerable life. If you use violence against him, never hate or disdain him. And yes, violence might be the only way that you think can stop him. I might be that you see no alternatives.

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8. The Golden Rule - problematic, in that we do not all have the same positive desires, even eliminating those which would impinge on those of others. It should come after what I regard as Primary: the Negative Golden Rule, Do not do to, or impose on, others, what you would not wish done to or imposed on yourself.

I think that negative formulation is too week and doesn't say everything. We do have a duty to help someone if we can. And we would like to be helped if we were in peril.

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======

Veganism I can appreciate - I still eat some fish, for the protein and oils, concentrating those at the lower end of the food chain, but I am concerned about eating fish because of sustainability questions, depletion of the oceanic biodiversity. I may drop this component of my diet, I have some mild qualms about the ethics of harvesting them - I have done a lot of scuba diving....

if you eat fish for the oils (the omega 3 fatty acids), you should eat fatty fish. But as you may know, fatty fish are very toxic, as the oceans are like unflushed toilets, and lots of toxics are absorbed by fats in fish (PCB's, dioxins, heavy metals, flame retardants). The good news: fish get those fatty acids by eating algae and seaweed, and those plant based sources contain much much lower quantities of those toxics. So eat (preferably brown) seaweed, and look for algae products in the future (they are being developped, for the moment there are already omega 3 supplements made from algae on the market). 

If you eat fish for the proteins: we in the west eat enough proteins; even vegans. An average meat eater eats 30% too much proteins. And there are a lot of plant based protein sources, containing all essential amino acids.

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I eat eggs, but I would prefer to avoid eggs from birds housed in very restrictive conditions. Apart from the issue of the treatment of the birds, I have no significant issues with eggs as a source of protein and dietary diversity.

Well, a difficult one. Eye-wink First of all, the layer hens are very vulnerable, as they are unnaturally selected to lay eggs every day. That's very exhaustive. So we breed disabled animals who are more likely to suffer. So let's take the old layer hen races. If you want enough eggs, you need lots of hens. But often the egg production of hens lowers after say one year, and then those hens need to be replaced. Are you going to take care of those old retired layer hens, or are you going to kill them? For the moment we kill those hens when their egg production decreases. And then you need a new hen. Alas, it turned out that it is a cock, what now? Cocks of layer hens don't produce much meat, and anyway you should not kill sentient beings for meat. The current practice is that the one day old cocks are suffocated or grinded (when they are still alive), by huge numbers. In Belgium: 3 million one day old chicks die each year, because they are economically worthless. So you are most likely still responsible for the killing of lots of animals when you eat eggs.

Finally, I think it is not respectful to treat a sentient being as property, as something you can trade. It doesn't matter if the hen doesn't know what property or trade is, they should not be sold. Just like we don't sell mentally disabled humans (they also don't understand concepts of rights, property,... but that doesn't matter). I think that what we now do to layer hens, we would never do to any human. Out of the question! Try to imagine that some humans produced something that we can consume in one way or another. Would we breed, sell, grind,... those humans?

 

 


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 Hey, welcome to the

 

Hey, welcome to the forums.

 

I could probably do a line by line analysis as a couple of other people have already done. However, the major point is that I don't really see a reason why there should be an absolute ethical standard. Don't get me wrong, your ideas sound good for the most part, I just don't think that they can apply to every one in every situation all of the time.

 

For example, the restorative justice idea is pretty good and could be a goal to work towards more often than not. The thing is that I don't think that it can be applied universally. Serial killers are people who need to be kept apart from the general population not “worked with” to see how we can make a better situation.

 

Or what of the events which start wars? Was there a way to work with Hitler to make him not want to take over all of Europe? Especially if we consider the events going on in Germany that led to the outbreak of the war in the first place. Would working with him have even done any good or would it just have set the stage for some other powerful leader to emerge who would have done similarly terrible things?

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Beyond Saving wrote:Welcome

Beyond Saving wrote:

Welcome to the forum

 

#1 Whose responsibility is it to maximize the quality of life for everyone?

everyone

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Especially of vertebrate animals? Why are you speciesist against invertebrates? Seems like a rather arbitrary line to me. 

It's not an arbitrary line, as it is based on science. Scientists have lots of criteria to determine the likelihood that a being is able to feel. And I am not a spciesist against invertebrates. Once there is evidence that an invertabrate is able to feel, than it is included. That is what actually happened with some squid-like animals, as well as large crustaceans such as lobster. And for the other animals, we can often give them the benefit of the doubt (wedon't need to eat invertebrates)


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#2 You are using a computer. A computer is a luxury. Many plants died to create a place for your computer to be built and possibly several animals. Are these just recommendations or morals you actually try to follow? Because if you are trying to follow them you have fallen off the bandwagon.

A computer is not luxury, as it can be used for knowledge, communication, saving lives,... And these are basic needs. (Yes, I even save lives with my computer Smiling ). Use a small laptop that doesn't consume much electricity, and use it for a long time and then recycle in a good way. And do actions to improve the policies of the computer companies (I did actions against apple, lenovo, and many others)

 

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#3 On what grounds do all sentient beings have rights? Why is it ok to build a computer factory and destroy habitat but not ok to kill an animal to eat?

wait a minute. You use a computer too. On the site of that factory, one could instead grow crops so someone could live. Take all the built-up area that you use for your consumption products. That's loss of arable land. So now someone has hunger, and perhaps dies. Does this mean that we are allowed to kill and eat humans? Conclusion: a basic right violation is far worse than an (accidental) killing.

And yes, we should lower our consumption, in order to decrease land competition with wildlife. Use your mobile 7 years instead of 2. Or perhaps 10...

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#4 But when you have biodiversity animals kill each other. Indeed, it is sometimes necessary to kill animals in order to protect and increase biodiversity.

let's start with preventing that situations might occur whereby it is necessary to kill animals for biodiversity. And anyway, if you kill animals to protect biodiversity, those animals are not used as instruments, as merely means to our ends. So we should not kill and eat animals.

To compare, consider a trolley dilemma: 5 people are on the main track, a trolley is coming, you are standing next to a switch, and on the side track there is one person. If you do nothing, 5 people will die. If you turn the switch, only one person will die. Alomst everyone says that we should turn the switch. Second dilemma: in a hospital there are 5 patients who need a new heart, liver, kidney,... Are we allowed to kill an innocent person and use his organs to save 5 people? Again, it is 5 to 1, but almost no-one says that this is allowed. What's the difference between those two dilemmas? In the latter, the victim is used as merely means (organs), but the person on the side track is not used as merely means. Ask yourself the question: does your plan still work if the victim you are about to make was not present? If there was no person on the side track, you can still turn the switch. But if there is no-one to be sacrificed in the hospital, you can't save the 5 patients. With this yoy can see that the person on the side track is not used as a means, because that would imply that it's presence is necessary.

The basic right is a powerful principle: it is stronger than the right to life of 5 people.

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#6 Love is something that shouldn't be cheapened by giving it to everyone. Generally, I consider it prudent to approach most people with a neutral attitude. 

I don't see why you cheapen love when you develop it. There cannot be enough love and kindness. And love doesn't satisfy the supply-demand laws of the market Eye-wink

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#8 I prefer a slight modification but the same general principal- I will let you live as you see fit as long as you allow me to live as I see fit.

Unless if what I see fit is not compatible with what you see fit. I see fit that I can coerce you to abide my principles Eye-wink


Quote:
No thanks. Animals are quite tasty,

but taste is a more trivial interest than the vital need... So this is a rather selfish argument. What if I'd say humans are tasty? OK, I won't eat you, let's agree on that. I'll eat orphans and mentally disabled persons, as they don't know what rights are, and they can't defend themselves.

 

 

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and since I don't have to get along with them, why should I give them the same status as humans?

for the very same reason that you give some humans the same status as other humans. You give mentally disabled persons the same status. But you don't have to get along with them...

 

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An animal will kill you if it is capable.

We don't eat carnivore animals. if you eat a chicken because you say that chickens will eat us if they are capable, that is not only very farfetched, but the same could then also be said of human babies. I mean, who knows? If they are capable, and if capability of chickens means that they will eat you... Everything is possible in a counterfactual. You give a very strange argument, don't you think?

 

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Why shouldn't we be part of nature and fulfill our role as predator?

and men take up their natural role as rapists? (rape is natural: a lot of animals rape, and our ancestors raped. It is very well possible that we owe our very existence by the fact that one of our ancestors raped a woman...)

We shouldn't be part of nature when it implies that we do things that are not in line with our moral principles and emotions. A naturalistic fallacy: Nature is not the moral standard. I am Eye-wink

The fact is: we do a lot of things that are unnatural, and we feel good about that. Nature is amoral, so doing moral things is unnatural.

 

 

 


Stijn Bruers
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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 

Hey, welcome to the forums.

 

I could probably do a line by line analysis as a couple of other people have already done. However, the major point is that I don't really see a reason why there should be an absolute ethical standard. Don't get me wrong, your ideas sound good for the most part, I just don't think that they can apply to every one in every situation all of the time.

I think they are rather universal. But not absolute in the sense of independant from my moral intuitions and emotions.

 

Quote:
For example, the restorative justice idea is pretty good and could be a goal to work towards more often than not. The thing is that I don't think that it can be applied universally. Serial killers are people who need to be kept apart from the general population not “worked with” to see how we can make a better situation.

 

Or what of the events which start wars? Was there a way to work with Hitler to make him not want to take over all of Europe? Especially if we consider the events going on in Germany that led to the outbreak of the war in the first place. Would working with him have even done any good or would it just have set the stage for some other powerful leader to emerge who would have done similarly terrible things?

well, the message is: let's try restorative justice much more often. And if it doesn't seem to work with this serial killer, and if another principle is in danger (e.g. the serial killer might violate principle 1), then we should protect society from him, by keeping the killer away from society.


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Stijn Bruers wrote:It's not

Stijn Bruers wrote:

It's not an arbitrary line, as it is based on science. Scientists have lots of criteria to determine the likelihood that a being is able to feel. And I am not a spciesist against invertebrates. Once there is evidence that an invertabrate is able to feel, than it is included. That is what actually happened with some squid-like animals, as well as large crustaceans such as lobster. And for the other animals, we can often give them the benefit of the doubt (wedon't need to eat invertebrates)

So your line is pain? It is immoral to cause pain, therefore any animal that can feel pain should be protected? What about an animal or person that is paralyzed and can't feel pain?

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

A computer is not luxury, as it can be used for knowledge, communication, saving lives,... And these are basic needs. (Yes, I even save lives with my computer Smiling ). Use a small laptop that doesn't consume much electricity, and use it for a long time and then recycle in a good way. And do actions to improve the policies of the computer companies (I did actions against apple, lenovo, and many others)

Of course it is. You can survive without a computer. To live you require food, water and shelter, anything more than that is luxury. There are much more green ways to live your life. And I have even known a couple of people who do.  

 

 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

wait a minute. You use a computer too. On the site of that factory, one could instead grow crops so someone could live. Take all the built-up area that you use for your consumption products. That's loss of arable land. So now someone has hunger, and perhaps dies. Does this mean that we are allowed to kill and eat humans? Conclusion: a basic right violation is far worse than an (accidental) killing.

And yes, we should lower our consumption, in order to decrease land competition with wildlife. Use your mobile 7 years instead of 2. Or perhaps 10...

Yes I do use a computer. I also drive a car many miles, have been known to take airline flights for pleasure, eat every animal I can try, have killed hundreds of animals, make things out of leather etc. But I am not the one telling people they should do otherwise. Hunger in the world is not a problem of lack of production- it is a distribution problem. I am in the US, and we produce plenty of excess food. Getting said food to those who need it is another story. But I am still missing your reasoning as to why it is OK for you to buy (and thus encourage the production of) your computer. If protecting animals is a core moral for you, it seems to me you should be living like the Amish (without the eating the animals part). 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

let's start with preventing that situations might occur whereby it is necessary to kill animals for biodiversity. And anyway, if you kill animals to protect biodiversity, those animals are not used as instruments, as merely means to our ends. So we should not kill and eat animals.

To compare, consider a trolley dilemma: 5 people are on the main track, a trolley is coming, you are standing next to a switch, and on the side track there is one person. If you do nothing, 5 people will die. If you turn the switch, only one person will die. Alomst everyone says that we should turn the switch.

I don't. And we have ran that dilemma through here before, and I am not the only one. It really depends on who the people are. I prefer some people to others. The only difference between your two scenarios is that in one the killing of the one person is more personal. Either way, you are deciding that one person is worth killing to save five others. I might kill the one person depending on who they were and who the other five were- but I would be honest that I was deciding that the one person should die. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

I don't see why you cheapen love when you develop it. There cannot be enough love and kindness. And love doesn't satisfy the supply-demand laws of the market Eye-wink

Actually, in a way it does. Love is something special to be shared with those closest to you. To say you love a complete stranger dilutes the term. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be kind to strangers, or help them when they are in need- but to imagine that a stranger is someone worthy of love snubs those in your life who have a close bond with you. Interestingly, you point out the same thing in #7 when you suggest that one might prioritize helping out their family and friends over others. There is a huge difference between love and caring. My argument here is really with your use of the word.

 

Sure, when I hear/read/see the horrors that many people in the world suffer on a daily basis I have an emotional response. I "care" about what is happening when people are being slaughtered over seas, but if that were happening to someone I love I would grab an M40 and go do something about it. As it is, I am not willing to risk my own life to save them. I would like to see them live a better life. I would like for every country to be as wealthy as we are in the US and feed their populations. I COULD dedicate all of my money and time to changing it, but I choose not to. I help others, but not nearly to the extent I would help a loved one stuck in the same situation.  

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:
#8 I prefer a slight modification but the same general principal- I will let you live as you see fit as long as you allow me to live as I see fit.

Unless if what I see fit is not compatible with what you see fit. I see fit that I can coerce you to abide my principles Eye-wink

And when you decide that you have to impose your principles on me through force we have a problem. I consider it extremely immoral to force someone to live by your morality. You are welcome to attempt to persuade me through reason, but when you attempt to use force I will resist to my last breath. I promise I will never use force to impose my morality on you. All I ask is that you don't use force to impose yours on me. Wouldn't the world be a much better place if people didn't use force, but instead used reason to encourage their morality? Unfortunately, most people, even the peace lovers here, turn to government force to push their good causes. 

 

 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

but taste is a more trivial interest than the vital need... So this is a rather selfish argument. What if I'd say humans are tasty? OK, I won't eat you, let's agree on that. I'll eat orphans and mentally disabled persons, as they don't know what rights are, and they can't defend themselves.

 

I am quite selfish, I have never claimed otherwise and don't really consider it an insult. Taste is not trivial, taste is a good reason to live. I have no problems with cannibalism provided that the person being eaten is willing and died of natural causes. As for orphans or mentally disabled people, I don't care that they can't defend themselves or know their rights. They are human. I am a speciesist, humans are more important and deserve better treatment than animals. A society that allows even one person's individual freedoms to be violated through violence risks the individual freedoms of all others. As a selfish person, I want to be free, but I recognize that in order for my freedom to be protected in a society I have to be willing to help protect the freedoms of others. I will consistently fight against society when it claims that it is OK to abuse a persons freedom simply because they cannot protect themselves. Because against society as a whole, none of us can protect ourselves alone. The best way to ensure a society that preserves freedom is to have a society that protects the freedom of all humans.

 

 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

We don't eat carnivore animals. if you eat a chicken because you say that chickens will eat us if they are capable, that is not only very farfetched, but the same could then also be said of human babies. I mean, who knows? If they are capable, and if capability of chickens means that they will eat you... Everything is possible in a counterfactual. You give a very strange argument, don't you think?

 

I eat carnivores on occasion. Although, herbivores do tend to taste better. My point was that the animals don't care about our well being. Animals aren't going to protect me (except maybe a dog), or try to improve my standard of living. They are not going to make items to engage in trade, or be any other part of our society- so why should we include them? 

 

 

 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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I disagree with the premise

I disagree with the premise that you even have free will to live by an ethical code. You are a product of an evolutionary process, which has caused all individuals to place as one and only one priority is need to survive(the genes). Hence various stimuli will produce varying degrees of pleasure and pain. You simply respond to this stimuli you have no choice about it.

Human survival is enhanced by cooperation and by having members follow the rules. You win brownie points with others when you appear to be ethical, generous and charitable, this makes you friends and may enhance survival and mating opportunities. But don't kid yourself, you only look out for yourself. If being 'ethical' makes you feel good, this is only because evolution advantages social animals.

Eating 'vegan' isn't necessarily helping out the animals. You have to eat more vegetables to get the protein you need, this means less habitat for animals, you don't eat them, you just take their home. A lot of these so called green activities are done just to make the person doing it feel good about themselves, not much scientific proof that it actually helps.

It's great that you want to see human population controlled, but remember we have selfish genes. It ain't' going to happen unless men with guns force it to happen.

To take your ethics to it's logical conclusion would mean you should commit suicide so that other sentient beings can have the resources you now use. But we know that ain't' going to happen because your survival is still #1.

Bottom line is I think you're high on drugs called compassion, love and caring. It makes you feel good but it's not very rational because it ignores what science tells about our true nature.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Stijn Bruers wrote:Hi, I'm

Stijn Bruers wrote:
Hi, I'm new here. As an atheist, I try to devellop my own ethical system (I'm doing a PhD in moral philosophy in Belgium).

Don't you already have 2 PhDs ? 

Nice site you have there, btw. If you're an activist for all those organisations...well, that would be pretty damn impressive.

 

Anyway, you seem like a better representative for Belgium (voor zolang het nog bestaat) than I am. I can retire now.


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I have three questions.

I have three questions.

First, do you acknowledge that essentially anyone who followed these principles would have to make some very dramatic changes to their lifestyle? Not only should you be a vegan, but you should never consume any more than what is sufficient to keep you healthy. Your second principle extends basic rights to plants, so you shouldn't even use an excess of plant materials. E.g. it could be argued that, if possible, you shouldn't have doors in your house. Trees had to be chopped down to provide the wood for your door. In fact, perhaps we should all live in little stone and brick houses, as we wouldn't need to kill living things to construct those houses. Additionally, given the first principle, any resources that you possess which are not absolutely necessary for your well being should be donated to the less fortunate.

Second, would you consider yourself a moral subjectivist?

Third, how would you respond to someone that fundamentally disagreed with one or more of your principles? For example, I do not agree with number two. I place zero value on the lives of plants. What do you say to this?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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I don't see such a thing as

I don't see such a thing as 'intrinsic' value to things, unless perhaps it is basic chemicals that are essential to our survival, and things necessary to obtain such substances. And other essentials.

There is also a problem with many animals whose survival strategy is based on generating many offspring, because they have evolved in situations where most of those offspring are not going to survive to reproduce, due to predation, and/or shear chance of not finding a enough food, or a suitable place to 'settle'. We should not try to save most of those offspring, because we would quickly overload the environment.

How would you address this?

Perhaps we should get our eggs from such species...

Except that is going to deprive the predators of their food source.

The more you look into the issue of how we treat other species, beyond the principle of avoiding gratuitous and pointless destruction of relatively harmless ones, and their envoronment, the more complicated it gets, due to the interconnectedness of most working eco-systems.

And I really agree with Butterbattle on plants.

And while I have no problem helping someone in difficulties of some kind, and of giving to institutions organized to help the poor around the world - (I am a sucker for that sort of plea) - there are practical limits, and I consider that it is folly to put zero value on your own existence and well-being, so I start to have a problem with 'self-sacrifice' to the degree of destroying your own life, unless that is really the only thing you want to do.

Just some more thoughts.

EDIT: I still regard the negative Golden Rule as the first one that should be considered - it is closely related to the dictum 

"Primum non nocere" which is a Latin phrase that means "First, do no harm". 

It is one of the principal precepts of medical ethics that all medical students are taught in medical school and is a fundamental principle for emergency medical services around the world.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Beyond Saving wrote:Stijn

Beyond Saving wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

It's not an arbitrary line, as it is based on science. Scientists have lots of criteria to determine the likelihood that a being is able to feel. And I am not a spciesist against invertebrates. Once there is evidence that an invertabrate is able to feel, than it is included. That is what actually happened with some squid-like animals, as well as large crustaceans such as lobster. And for the other animals, we can often give them the benefit of the doubt (wedon't need to eat invertebrates)

So your line is pain? It is immoral to cause pain, therefore any animal that can feel pain should be protected? What about an animal or person that is paralyzed and can't feel pain?

 the line is any feeling: pain or distress or fear or frustration. If you'd have any of these... So that paralyzed person still feels fear or frustration... It is mental pain, not only physical pain.

Quote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

A computer is not luxury, as it can be used for knowledge, communication, saving lives,... And these are basic needs. (Yes, I even save lives with my computer Smiling ). Use a small laptop that doesn't consume much electricity, and use it for a long time and then recycle in a good way. And do actions to improve the policies of the computer companies (I did actions against apple, lenovo, and many others)

Of course it is. You can survive without a computer. To live you require food, water and shelter, anything more than that is luxury. There are much more green ways to live your life. And I have even known a couple of people who do.  

 

 let's make tings clear: there is a continuum from vital needs to basic non-vital needs to luxury needs. As I mentioned, knowledge (reading,...), communication,... are all basic needs, but not necessarily vital. Luxury needs are created by commercials, by social status etc. And typically luxury needs have a relatively high ecological footprint. So SUV's are luxury, public transport and bicycles are basic. And cars: depends on hown you use them, for what reasons.

 

Quote:

Yes I do use a computer. I also drive a car many miles, have been known to take airline flights for pleasure, eat every animal I can try, have killed hundreds of animals, make things out of leather etc. But I am not the one telling people they should do otherwise. Hunger in the world is not a problem of lack of production- it is a distribution problem. I am in the US, and we produce plenty of excess food. Getting said food to those who need it is another story. But I am still missing your reasoning as to why it is OK for you to buy (and thus encourage the production of) your computer. If protecting animals is a core moral for you, it seems to me you should be living like the Amish (without the eating the animals part).

 

 I live in rather high sobriety, yes. But you drive a car. That means that you might by accident kill a human. You must say now that that is allowed, otherwise you should stop driving. But you can't derive from the statement that you are allowed to accidentaly kill a person, that you are allowed to slaughter and eat a person if you'd happen to like human meat. You see the difference? The same goes for computer production versus eating animal meat. What you should do is: try bike and public transport as much as possible instead of car. And if you do need to use the car, try driving as safe and economically as possible. What I should do is: buy the most environmentally friendly computer and use it as long as possible.

Quote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

let's start with preventing that situations might occur whereby it is necessary to kill animals for biodiversity. And anyway, if you kill animals to protect biodiversity, those animals are not used as instruments, as merely means to our ends. So we should not kill and eat animals.

To compare, consider a trolley dilemma: 5 people are on the main track, a trolley is coming, you are standing next to a switch, and on the side track there is one person. If you do nothing, 5 people will die. If you turn the switch, only one person will die. Alomst everyone says that we should turn the switch.

I don't. And we have ran that dilemma through here before, and I am not the only one. It really depends on who the people are. I prefer some people to others.

then you are either a strict deontologist (<5% of popuation) or a strict utilitarian (<10% of population). And suppose that you don't know any of the persons, and that they are all white middleclass man age 40...

Quote:

The only difference between your two scenarios is that in one the killing of the one person is more personal.

We can give other dilemmas where people would not act, even if the killing was impersonal (pushing a button,...). By the way, in the hospital: you don't have to kill this innocent visitor, the surgeon will do it. You are the law maker, for you it is impersonal.

Quote:

Actually, in a way it does. Love is something special to be shared with those closest to you. To say you love a complete stranger dilutes the term. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be kind to strangers, or help them when they are in need- but to imagine that a stranger is someone worthy of love snubs those in your life who have a close bond with you. Interestingly, you point out the same thing in #7 when you suggest that one might prioritize helping out their family and friends over others. There is a huge difference between love and caring. My argument here is really with your use of the word.

Anyway, I feel happy with the amount of universal love that I have, and I think my closest friends should not complain about that. Thet should not be so greedy to say to me: "hey, you should stop that universal love for others, because I want more..."

Quote:

And when you decide that you have to impose your principles on me through force we have a problem. I consider it extremely immoral to force someone to live by your morality. You are welcome to attempt to persuade me through reason, but when you attempt to use force I will resist to my last breath. I promise I will never use force to impose my morality on you. All I ask is that you don't use force to impose yours on me. Wouldn't the world be a much better place if people didn't use force, but instead used reason to encourage their morality? Unfortunately, most people, even the peace lovers here, turn to government force to push their good causes. 

 agreed: I do what I do now, use words...

 

Quote:

I am quite selfish, I have never claimed otherwise and don't really consider it an insult. Taste is not trivial, taste is a good reason to live.

what is the worst for you: that I slaughter and eat you, or that I deprive you from the taste of meat? If you ae a rational being, you'd see that there is a huuuuge difference between those two options.

Quote:

I have no problems with cannibalism provided that the person being eaten is willing and died of natural causes.

Yeah, ok, but we were not talking about that, because the pig that you ate was not willing and didn't die of natural causes. Of course, if you see a dead pig in the forest, you can eat it.

Quote:

As for orphans or mentally disabled people, I don't care that they can't defend themselves or know their rights. They are human. I am a speciesist, humans are more important and deserve better treatment than animals.

and are you against racisme, sexism, classism,...? If you are allowed to be speciecist, am I allowed to be racist? If you are allowed to discriminate B, why am I not allowd to discrimiate C?

Quote:

I eat carnivores on occasion. Although, herbivores do tend to taste better. My point was that the animals don't care about our well being.

neither do babies and mentally disabled persons. So that criterion is not the point. You mentioned the point: the criterion is being a homo sapient. But I can give 4 reasons why that criteria is not morally relevant, and I gave 3 reasons why the criterion 'setnience' is morally relevant.

One reason why 'homo sapient' os not relevant: it is arbitrary. Why do you take the species level, not the population level (white people), the family level (great apes), the order (primates), the class (mammals), or any other biological classification level? The infraorder, the genus, the subspecies, the individual...? Why pick the third level (species) and not the 4th (genus), 5th (family), or whatever? This is similar as my favourite atheist argument: why believe in God and not in zeus, apollo, Krishna,...? That's arbitrary.

In our culture, we use two criteria: 'sentience' and 'human'. Non-sentient humans (eg embryos) are sometimes used as means to ends (eg stem cell research and therapy, whereby we use fertilized human eggs with the complete genome of a human). So only sentient humans have the basic right. I'd say: delete the arbitrary criterion 'human', because that's just one of the many biological classifications.

By the way: what would the moral status of a humanzee (human-chimpanzee hybrid) be? Such a being can exist, because we see in nature much more hybrids between species who are even further apart then humans and chimps.

Quote:

Animals aren't going to protect me (except maybe a dog), or try to improve my standard of living. They are not going to make items to engage in trade, or be any other part of our society- so why should we include them?

 Why do you consistently give properties that babies and mentally disabled persons can't do either?

 Do you now the moral virtue of mercy. True mercy can be seen when we help those who are not able to help or hurt us. These include not only menally disabled orphans, but also animals.


Stijn Bruers
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EXC wrote:I disagree with

EXC wrote:
I disagree with the premise that you even have free will to live by an ethical code.

well, I don't believe in free will either. My brains just happen to be equipped with moral intuitions and the ability to rationally think and construct an ethical system based on those intuitions and moral emotions.

Quote:
You are a product of an evolutionary process, which has caused all individuals to place as one and only one priority is need to survive(the genes). Hence various stimuli will produce varying degrees of pleasure and pain. You simply respond to this stimuli you have no choice about it.

Human survival is enhanced by cooperation and by having members follow the rules. You win brownie points with others when you appear to be ethical, generous and charitable, this makes you friends and may enhance survival and mating opportunities. But don't kid yourself, you only look out for yourself. If being 'ethical' makes you feel good, this is only because evolution advantages social animals.

I understand your point. it's a bit more nuanced than that.

Quote:
Eating 'vegan' isn't necessarily helping out the animals. You have to eat more vegetables to get the protein you need, this means less habitat for animals, you don't eat them, you just take their home.

that's not true: animals need to eat 10 times more plant proteins for 1 kg of animal proteins. Veganism is far more efficient. That is why the ecological footprint (use of biological productive area and biomass) is much higher for animal products. Livestock is according to FAO likely the most important contributor to biodiversity loss. And it is the most important factor in land use and land degradation. That is why UNEP says we have to shift away from animal products. See fig 5.6, page 72, third column, in http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/documents/pdf/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report_Full.pdf

Quote:
It's great that you want to see human population controlled, but remember we have selfish genes. It ain't' going to happen unless men with guns force it to happen.

fertility decrease is happening, but not fast enough. But most of the countries have fertility rate already below 2,1 children per woman. And if I have selfish genes, how come that I can control myself? As long as I don't have proof that other people are really doomed to follow their selfish genes, I am not allowed to simply assume that.

Quote:
To take your ethics to it's logical conclusion would mean you should commit suicide so that other sentient beings can have the resources you now use. But we know that ain't' going to happen because your survival is still #1.

Let's be honest: are you able to derive 'suicide' from my 8 ethical principles? I don't think so...

Quote:
Bottom line is I think you're high on drugs called compassion, love and caring.

true, that drug is called oxytocine Eye-wink

Quote:
It makes you feel good but it's not very rational because it ignores what science tells about our true nature.

science tells me that our brains produce oxyticine... Science doesn't yet tell us anything about a mysterious 'true nature'. All we know is: we can be compassionate beings. At least I can Smiling

Mod edit: Omg, don't do that again.


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butterbattle wrote:I have

butterbattle wrote:

I have three questions.

First, do you acknowledge that essentially anyone who followed these principles would have to make some very dramatic changes to their lifestyle? Not only should you be a vegan, but you should never consume any more than what is sufficient to keep you healthy. Your second principle extends basic rights to plants, so you shouldn't even use an excess of plant materials. E.g. it could be argued that, if possible, you shouldn't have doors in your house. Trees had to be chopped down to provide the wood for your door. In fact, perhaps we should all live in little stone and brick houses, as we wouldn't need to kill living things to construct those houses. Additionally, given the first principle, any resources that you possess which are not absolutely necessary for your well being should be donated to the less fortunate.

Second, would you consider yourself a moral subjectivist?

Third, how would you respond to someone that fundamentally disagreed with one or more of your principles? For example, I do not agree with number two. I place zero value on the lives of plants. What do you say to this?

about first question: we are allowed to use plants for basic (non-vital) needs. Including doors. Doors are not luxury. But the wood should come from sustainable forestry, and our houses should be ecologically designed etc...

Second question: yes, at some point subjectivist. Or moral intuitionist or emotivist, but that doesn't capture it either. I start with subjective moral intuitions and emotions, and then derive a coinsistent axiomatic ethical system (just as in mathematics) based on those intuitions, and using my rational thinking. Some of the intuitions have to be abandoned, transformed,...  That's like in geometry, to derive an axiomatic system, even if we have some strange intuitions as become clear in optical illusions. So we have to be aware of wrong moral intuitions, just like a mathematician has to be aware of optical illusions. But in maths, we do succeed in setting up a consistent axiomatic system. That's what I want to do in ethics as well. By the way, I do believe that a lot of other people share a lot of intuitions that I have. This can be seen by using ethical dilemmas and moral judgments.

third: I'll use words, try to give rational arguments. But it might happen that you really have different moral intuitions, and hence different ethical axioms (=ethical principles). Then there is no solution that I see. Well, all I'll do then is say to you: "If God is going to judge you, at least you can't say that you didn't know the truth, because I told you"


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I think we had a nice

I think we had a nice discussion, but I don't have much time now these days...

Cheers


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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hi

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hi OP,

Your attempt at ethics begs the question. If you cannot come up with an absolute means of truth in epistemology, then you cannot come into an absolute form of ethics of truth.

You are starting with a paraticular, going to a particular, and ending in a particular. Thus, this is NOT a set of ethics (except the Golden Rule). it is an opinion of your faviorite Ice Scream.

It's worse then Utilitarianism.

The other problem was that you don't have a universal normtive to based your ethics on.

You must start via a universal deductive means to even attempt at a secular system. But it will always fail unless it is based on the God of all. Since you will not do this, you will fail. Though your loser doctorate board will probably approve it because it's against Chrisianity.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

You are

You commenting on ethics after using your fictional god to hold Japan hostage to get to us is laughable. The god you claim is real is willing to hold 3rd parties hostage to make threats to others. You are a joke.

How does it feel to be property Fido?

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Stijn Bruers wrote: let's

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 let's make tings clear: there is a continuum from vital needs to basic non-vital needs to luxury needs. As I mentioned, knowledge (reading,...), communication,... are all basic needs, but not necessarily vital. Luxury needs are created by commercials, by social status etc. And typically luxury needs have a relatively high ecological footprint. So SUV's are luxury, public transport and bicycles are basic. And cars: depends on hown you use them, for what reasons.

So it is OK to take away an animals vital need (habitat) to satisfy what is merely a basic need for you? Is it OK to tear down another person's house because you have a basic need for the wood? If you are putting animals on as equal moral grounds as a human, I don't see how you can stop half way.

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 I live in rather high sobriety, yes. But you drive a car. That means that you might by accident kill a human. You must say now that that is allowed, otherwise you should stop driving. But you can't derive from the statement that you are allowed to accidentaly kill a person, that you are allowed to slaughter and eat a person if you'd happen to like human meat. You see the difference? The same goes for computer production versus eating animal meat. What you should do is: try bike and public transport as much as possible instead of car. And if you do need to use the car, try driving as safe and economically as possible. What I should do is: buy the most environmentally friendly computer and use it as long as possible.

Except when you build a computer the death of plants and animals is not an accident, it is a necessary consequence. When I am driving my car safely and obeying all traffic laws, getting in an accident is an accident- on most days no one gets hurt. When your computer was built, animals and plants did die, period. What you should do, if you really believe everything you have said here, is go live with the Jainists. It seems to me that you have come up with this great moral code but are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to even attempt to live by it. It is possible to do much better than you are doing. Some people do.  

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:

I have no problems with cannibalism provided that the person being eaten is willing and died of natural causes.

Yeah, ok, but we were not talking about that, because the pig that you ate was not willing and didn't die of natural causes. Of course, if you see a dead pig in the forest, you can eat it.

I don't care about the pig. A pigs life has no inherent value. In fact, pigs are remarkably destructive to habitat - it is highly encouraged in the state of Ohio to kill every feral pig you see, because if pigs become a high population they will destroy the habitat of many other animals. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

and are you against racisme, sexism, classism,...? If you are allowed to be speciecist, am I allowed to be racist? If you are allowed to discriminate B, why am I not allowd to discrimiate C?

If a person wants to be racist or sexist or classist that is their choice. As long as they don't use force against another person I don't care what they think or believe. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

neither do babies and mentally disabled persons. So that criterion is not the point. You mentioned the point: the criterion is being a homo sapient. But I can give 4 reasons why that criteria is not morally relevant, and I gave 3 reasons why the criterion 'setnience' is morally relevant.

One reason why 'homo sapient' os not relevant: it is arbitrary. Why do you take the species level, not the population level (white people), the family level (great apes), the order (primates), the class (mammals), or any other biological classification level? The infraorder, the genus, the subspecies, the individual...? Why pick the third level (species) and not the 4th (genus), 5th (family), or whatever? This is similar as my favourite atheist argument: why believe in God and not in zeus, apollo, Krishna,...? That's arbitrary.

In our culture, we use two criteria: 'sentience' and 'human'. Non-sentient humans (eg embryos) are sometimes used as means to ends (eg stem cell research and therapy, whereby we use fertilized human eggs with the complete genome of a human). So only sentient humans have the basic right. I'd say: delete the arbitrary criterion 'human', because that's just one of the many biological classifications.

By the way: what would the moral status of a humanzee (human-chimpanzee hybrid) be? Such a being can exist, because we see in nature much more hybrids between species who are even further apart then humans and chimps.

You choose homo sapient because in society 100% of the people you have to coexist with are homo sapient. We have to live with/trade with and form a government with humans. There are people who are in a mental state that leaves them unable to operate in society. As a practical legal matter it is easier to simply say all humans than to attempt to draw a line between sentient/non-sentient. A society that allowed the free killing of the mentally incompetent would create a hostile environment for everyone, could you imagine the legal messes trying to determine who really was mentally incompetent? (and I don't trust the government)

 

So you draw the line at human to make society work since 100% of the people who participate in society are humans. Do a few people with the mental capacity of a vegetable get included? Sure. So what, small price. Same thing with abortion. There isn't a biological difference to the fetus immediately before it comes out and for some time after it is born. It is simply more practical to draw the line when a fetus is born because it is a clear line. 

 

I'll cross the line of the humanzee (or space alien) if and when it occurs. Until it does, I see no point in bothering with it. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:Stijn

Beyond Saving wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 let's make tings clear: there is a continuum from vital needs to basic non-vital needs to luxury needs. As I mentioned, knowledge (reading,...), communication,... are all basic needs, but not necessarily vital. Luxury needs are created by commercials, by social status etc. And typically luxury needs have a relatively high ecological footprint. So SUV's are luxury, public transport and bicycles are basic. And cars: depends on hown you use them, for what reasons.

So it is OK to take away an animals vital need (habitat) to satisfy what is merely a basic need for you? Is it OK to tear down another person's house because you have a basic need for the wood? If you are putting animals on as equal moral grounds as a human, I don't see how you can stop half way.

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 I live in rather high sobriety, yes. But you drive a car. That means that you might by accident kill a human. You must say now that that is allowed, otherwise you should stop driving. But you can't derive from the statement that you are allowed to accidentaly kill a person, that you are allowed to slaughter and eat a person if you'd happen to like human meat. You see the difference? The same goes for computer production versus eating animal meat. What you should do is: try bike and public transport as much as possible instead of car. And if you do need to use the car, try driving as safe and economically as possible. What I should do is: buy the most environmentally friendly computer and use it as long as possible.

Except when you build a computer the death of plants and animals is not an accident, it is a necessary consequence. When I am driving my car safely and obeying all traffic laws, getting in an accident is an accident- on most days no one gets hurt. When your computer was built, animals and plants did die, period. What you should do, if you really believe everything you have said here, is go live with the Jainists. It seems to me that you have come up with this great moral code but are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to even attempt to live by it. It is possible to do much better than you are doing. Some people do.  

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:

I have no problems with cannibalism provided that the person being eaten is willing and died of natural causes.

Yeah, ok, but we were not talking about that, because the pig that you ate was not willing and didn't die of natural causes. Of course, if you see a dead pig in the forest, you can eat it.

I don't care about the pig. A pigs life has no inherent value. In fact, pigs are remarkably destructive to habitat - it is highly encouraged in the state of Ohio to kill every feral pig you see, because if pigs become a high population they will destroy the habitat of many other animals. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

and are you against racisme, sexism, classism,...? If you are allowed to be speciecist, am I allowed to be racist? If you are allowed to discriminate B, why am I not allowd to discrimiate C?

If a person wants to be racist or sexist or classist that is their choice. As long as they don't use force against another person I don't care what they think or believe. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

neither do babies and mentally disabled persons. So that criterion is not the point. You mentioned the point: the criterion is being a homo sapient. But I can give 4 reasons why that criteria is not morally relevant, and I gave 3 reasons why the criterion 'setnience' is morally relevant.

One reason why 'homo sapient' os not relevant: it is arbitrary. Why do you take the species level, not the population level (white people), the family level (great apes), the order (primates), the class (mammals), or any other biological classification level? The infraorder, the genus, the subspecies, the individual...? Why pick the third level (species) and not the 4th (genus), 5th (family), or whatever? This is similar as my favourite atheist argument: why believe in God and not in zeus, apollo, Krishna,...? That's arbitrary.

 

In our culture, we use two criteria: 'sentience' and 'human'. Non-sentient humans (eg embryos) are sometimes used as means to ends (eg stem cell research and therapy, whereby we use fertilized human eggs with the complete genome of a human). So only sentient humans have the basic right. I'd say: delete the arbitrary criterion 'human', because that's just one of the many biological classifications.

By the way: what would the moral status of a humanzee (human-chimpanzee hybrid) be? Such a being can exist, because we see in nature much more hybrids between species who are even further apart then humans and chimps.

 

You choose homo sapient because in society 100% of the people you have to coexist with are homo sapient. We have to live with/trade with and form a government with humans. There are people who are in a mental state that leaves them unable to operate in society. As a practical legal matter it is easier to simply say all humans than to attempt to draw a line between sentient/non-sentient. A society that allowed the free killing of the mentally incompetent would create a hostile environment for everyone, could you imagine the legal messes trying to determine who really was mentally incompetent? (and I don't trust the government)

 

So you draw the line at human to make society work since 100% of the people who participate in society are humans. Do a few people with the mental capacity of a vegetable get included? Sure. So what, small price. Same thing with abortion. There isn't a biological difference to the fetus immediately before it comes out and for some time after it is born. It is simply more practical to draw the line when a fetus is born because it is a clear line. 

 

I'll cross the line of the humanzee (or space alien) if and when it occurs. Until it does, I see no point in bothering with it. 

Beyond, morals are not absolute. In talking about wild animals yes, we do, even down to cockroaches, kill to protect our environments. But you seem to go to the other extreme in "if I don't see it and it isn't affecting me, it must not be a problem".

Life isnt a utopia either way. it isn't "If I am not hurting anyone why should you care" "no rules". And it isn't "kumbia cant we all just get along" "over regulate everything" "political correctness".

IT ISN'T EITHER OR

Life is a range and morals are situational. The feral pig you talk about I would NOT kill if I had a way to trap it and contain it and move it to a place where it could not harm anyone. I would kill it if it were a threat to my pets or property. SITUATIONAL.

Even with bugs, I will not kill them if they are close enough to an exit to get them outside. But if they are trapped I will because they would end up starving anyway. SITUATIONAL.

Prostitution, street hookers are BAD because they are unregulated, usually hostages to a pimp and forced onto the street and or supporting a drug habit. UNSAFE. The Bunny Ranch and the Red Light district in Amsterdam, regulated and less chance of physical harm to the woman or patron.

Alcohol, again, situational. Drinking, fine, drinking and driving, bad. Adults, fine,  And knowing my own history as a teen without thinking I could have caused my mother to lose her job if I had been caught. Neither my mom or I were thinking and I was being selfish myself wanting "friends" instead of doing what was right.

There is always something we do or say that we can justify that does affect others even if we want to claim it wont.

I think a simple version of morality without utopias, is your rights end where my face begins. Even without physical contact we can and do affect others through our actions and words. The best we can do as a species is to come up with common law that maximizes the benefit and minimizes the harm.

 

 

 

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Beyond Saving wrote:Stijn

Beyond Saving wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 let's make tings clear: there is a continuum from vital needs to basic non-vital needs to luxury needs. As I mentioned, knowledge (reading,...), communication,... are all basic needs, but not necessarily vital. Luxury needs are created by commercials, by social status etc. And typically luxury needs have a relatively high ecological footprint. So SUV's are luxury, public transport and bicycles are basic. And cars: depends on hown you use them, for what reasons.

So it is OK to take away an animals vital need (habitat) to satisfy what is merely a basic need for you? Is it OK to tear down another person's house because you have a basic need for the wood? If you are putting animals on as equal moral grounds as a human, I don't see how you can stop half way.

at some level, yes, we can take part of the habitat (so part of a vital need), for our basic need. But only a part, proportional to the "basicness" of the basic need. Next, there is the thing of property rights: the house owner owns the house, has invested in it... The bird did not build the tree. The bird built the nest, however, and yes, we ought not to destroy the nest and take wood from it. Anyway, if we by accident destroy the nest, we should take care of the birds. That is why I work in a wildlife rescue and bird care center. We should very much support that. And for the rest, it is a bit searching how far we can go... But if we live in sobriety and do voluntary work in a wildlife rescue center, I think we are already doing a great deal.

Quote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 I live in rather high sobriety, yes. But you drive a car. That means that you might by accident kill a human. You must say now that that is allowed, otherwise you should stop driving. But you can't derive from the statement that you are allowed to accidentaly kill a person, that you are allowed to slaughter and eat a person if you'd happen to like human meat. You see the difference? The same goes for computer production versus eating animal meat. What you should do is: try bike and public transport as much as possible instead of car. And if you do need to use the car, try driving as safe and economically as possible. What I should do is: buy the most environmentally friendly computer and use it as long as possible.

Except when you build a computer the death of plants and animals is not an accident, it is a necessary consequence.

it is an accident, the animal is not intentionally killed. The only difference is the probablility. If you drive reckless, the probablility is high. If you have a high ecological footprint, the probability is higher, etc...

Quote:

When I am driving my car safely and obeying all traffic laws, getting in an accident is an accident- on most days no one gets hurt. When your computer was built, animals and plants did die, period. What you should do, if you really believe everything you have said here, is go live with the Jainists. It seems to me that you have come up with this great moral code but are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to even attempt to live by it. It is possible to do much better than you are doing. Some people do. 

 let's say that we have to try to climb higher, do better, look for new ways,... And yes, off course I can do much better. And yes, I was already willing to make quite some sacrifices. So let's move on... The mountain is high, but every step higher, is a good step. No matter how small. And let's not say "hey, I'm higher than you, haha!"

 

Quote:

I don't care about the pig. A pigs life has no inherent value. In fact, pigs are remarkably destructive to habitat - it is highly encouraged in the state of Ohio to kill every feral pig you see, because if pigs become a high population they will destroy the habitat of many other animals. 

At some level I agree, it would be self-defense. Yet, try to be as gentle as possible with the pigs.

Quote:

If a person wants to be racist or sexist or classist that is their choice. As long as they don't use force against another person I don't care what they think or believe.

Of course we were talking about racists who use force against others, because you as a speciesist use violence against animals. So we are talking about that kind of discriminatory behaviour.

Quote:

You choose homo sapient because in society 100% of the people you have to coexist with are homo sapient.

not true: 1) family dogs are included. 2) in previous societies, mentally disabled orphans were not included. Of course, in a speciesist society, you are right. But there used to be a racist society, where one could say that the society are only the white people, and the black slaves are property and don't belong to society.

Quote:

We have to live with/trade with and form a government with humans.

trade, and government with mentally disabled persons? And we don't have to live with dogs and cats?

Quote:

There are people who are in a mental state that leaves them unable to operate in society. As a practical legal matter it is easier to simply say all humans than to attempt to draw a line between sentient/non-sentient. A society that allowed the free killing of the mentally incompetent would create a hostile environment for everyone, could you imagine the legal messes trying to determine who really was mentally incompetent? (and I don't trust the government)

the spartans, nazi's and many other societies where able to do draw a line at some mental capabilities (i.e. excluding mentally disabled persons). In discussion on abortion, we are able to do the same (at least in Belgium).

Quote:

So you draw the line at human to make society work since 100% of the people who participate in society are humans. Do a few people with the mental capacity of a vegetable get included? Sure. So what, small price.

High price, as we could use them in medical experimenting (they are a much more reliable model than non-human primates and other animals, from a scientific point of view). Or we could kill them and use their organs to save your child! (many of the organs if a disabled person, such as kidneys,... are still good functioning. And yes, there often is a shortage on organs)

Quote:

Same thing with abortion. There isn't a biological difference to the fetus immediately before it comes out and for some time after it is born. It is simply more practical to draw the line when a fetus is born because it is a clear line.

I don't know the rules in the US, but in Belgium, abortion is only allowed up to some months of pregnancy (3 or 6 months, I forgot). The reason was exactly that an 8 month old foetus is most likely already sentient, like a real newborn baby.

Quote:

I'll cross the line of the humanzee (or space alien) if and when it occurs. Until it does, I see no point in bothering with it. 

My attitude on this is that we should not be "cowards", and as true ethicists and philosophers, we should also try to see what our ethics implies in possible new situations. We had a former Belgian prime minister who said "I only solve problems when they occur." But I'd say it might be good to be one step in advance, and reflect already about potential possibilities. And in the humanzee, it makes us become aware of how trivial and morally irrelevant the species boundary can be.

And now I have to go...


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 Stijn Bruers

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 

 

that's not true: animals need to eat 10 times more plant proteins for 1 kg of animal proteins. Veganism is far more efficient. That is why the ecological footprint (use of biological productive area and biomass) is much higher for animal products. Livestock is according to FAO likely the most important contributor to biodiversity loss. And it is the most important factor in land use and land degradation. That is why UNEP says we have to shift away from animal products. See fig 5.6, page 72, third column, in http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/documents/pdf/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report_Full.pdf

Please read this for other opinions:

http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/07/vegetarianism-worse-for-the-environment

How the food is produced not what is produced is the more important factor. Also you're not saving any animals by not eating them, they just don't get bred. Is is more humane to never cause a cow to be born than to let it live a while and then eat it?

Stijn Bruers wrote:

fertility decrease is happening, but not fast enough. But most of the countries have fertility rate already below 2,1 children per woman. And if I have selfish genes, how come that I can control myself? As long as I don't have proof that other people are really doomed to follow their selfish genes, I am not allowed to simply assume that.

So the people that are in control pass on their genes at a lower rate than those that are out of control. That is what we seem to be getting with voluntary birth control. Is that good or bad for the planet?

Also are not any gains you make in being 'green' just going to cause more resources to be available for another person? So you just cause more overpopulation in a world were humans seem to increase population until the environment can no longer sustain more(Malthusian catastrophes). This should cause you to want birth control to be mandatory, right?

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Let's be honest: are you able to derive 'suicide' from my 8 ethical principles? I don't think so...

To live, you take resources away from other beings no matter how environmentally conscience you are. The only way you can justify not killing yourself is to hold an ethical value that your life is more important than others. So are you really compassionate or do you just look out for #1. Compassion is just a game we play in the social arena, but you're playing for yourself.

Stijn Bruers wrote:

science tells me that our brains produce oxyticine... Science doesn't yet tell us anything about a mysterious 'true nature'. All we know is: we can be compassionate beings. At least I can Smiling

Wouldn't it be far better to be rational than compassionate? For instance look at all the people that give money the the homeless guy playing poor me game. All the science tells us that they're just encouraging the bad behaviors. Any real help should be done through reputable charities. But the person giving the cash gets an instant fix of that oxyticine. 

Same thing with people that believe by giving to religion they are being compassionate. Where's the evidence? So if you really want things to get better, you should encourage rationality first, compassion second. Otherwise you're just an oxyticine junkie.

I'm curious what is your take on the Milgram experiment? Does it demonstrate that our true nature is to seek approval rather than to be compassionate? How are you any different than these experiment subjects?

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Mod edit: Omg, don't do that again.

What did you do?

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote: Stijn Bruers

EXC wrote:

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

 

 

that's not true: animals need to eat 10 times more plant proteins for 1 kg of animal proteins. Veganism is far more efficient. That is why the ecological footprint (use of biological productive area and biomass) is much higher for animal products. Livestock is according to FAO likely the most important contributor to biodiversity loss. And it is the most important factor in land use and land degradation. That is why UNEP says we have to shift away from animal products. See fig 5.6, page 72, third column, in http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/documents/pdf/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report_Full.pdf

Please read this for other opinions:

http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/07/vegetarianism-worse-for-the-environment

How the food is produced not what is produced is the more important factor.

I was hoping to do some wrk, but now that I read that link... I have read the part of Joel Salatin, and there are a lot of errors and fallacies in it. I don't have time to say more about it. Anyway, my vegan diet consists of mostly local, seasonal, organic and low-processed foods. My carbon, water and ecological footprints are much lower than average (meat) diet in the EU or US. And there are studies and indications that a worldwide vegan diet (without using fish and pasture animals!) can produce enough food, and even can save some land. Even if it's all organic vegan farming (See vegan organic network,...)

Quote:

Also you're not saving any animals by not eating them, they just don't get bred. Is is more humane to never cause a cow to be born than to let it live a while and then eat it?

you give a dangerous argument. So if I'd bred slaves, I am allowed to use slaves, because I can say that without slavery, those persons would not exist, and existing in slavery is better than non-existing? Even if it would be better for well-being, it still violates the basic right not to be treated as merely means. You see the importance of this basic right? It is always immoral to eat your child, even if you yourself gave birth to it.

Quote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

fertility decrease is happening, but not fast enough. But most of the countries have fertility rate already below 2,1 children per woman. And if I have selfish genes, how come that I can control myself? As long as I don't have proof that other people are really doomed to follow their selfish genes, I am not allowed to simply assume that.

So the people that are in control pass on their genes at a lower rate than those that are out of control. That is what we seem to be getting with voluntary birth control. Is that good or bad for the planet?

that's tricky, yes. First you have to prove that those genes will always express themselves in people doing terrible things. I simply suggest that we invest more in family planning, as that benefits everyone. If we see that indeed the parents with a lot of children get mostly selfish, anti-ecological children, we have to move to plan B: tradeable birth rights. But for the moment there is not enough evidence for that. There are ecologists who grew up in large families with anti-ecological parents, and anti-ecologists who grew up in small families with ecological parents. So we need much more proof before we would apply more drastic measures.

Quote:

Also are not any gains you make in being 'green' just going to cause more resources to be available for another person?

Not if everyone was green (then those resources will not be used, and nature will be spared), and principle 8 says that we should do what averyone should do.

Quote:

So you just cause more overpopulation in a world were humans seem to increase population until the environment can no longer sustain more(Malthusian catastrophes). This should cause you to want birth control to be mandatory, right?

as a final means, yes. But now not yet, because we haven't yet tried other options.

Quote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Let's be honest: are you able to derive 'suicide' from my 8 ethical principles? I don't think so...

To live, you take resources away from other beings no matter how environmentally conscience you are. The only way you can justify not killing yourself is to hold an ethical value that your life is more important than others. So are you really compassionate or do you just look out for #1. Compassion is just a game we play in the social arena, but you're playing for yourself.

first, read again principle 7. If I would save myself and not you, it doesn't mean that you have less intrinsic value then me. First, I would tolerate your choice if you would save yourself and not me,  and second, it doesn't imply that I am allowed to use you as a slave or eat you or whatever. And then look at principle 8: if I would have to commit suicide, then this should be a rule that should be generalizable. But that would mean that everyone would have to commit suicide. Everyone will die, and that violates principle 1 (and 4 and others), so the rule cannot be generalizable. Principle 1 is compatible with people (including me) not comitting suicide.

(strange that I have to explain this things in such detail...)

Quote:

Wouldn't it be far better to be rational than compassionate?

definitely not, be both!

Quote:

For instance look at all the people that give money the the homeless guy playing poor me game. All the science tells us that they're just encouraging the bad behaviors. Any real help should be done through reputable charities. But the person giving the cash gets an instant fix of that oxyticine.


OK, in that example he lacks rational thinking (I myself give only raraely money to individuals on the street, 99,99% of my donations go to organisations). Only in accute situations I give money directly. But If you would abandon compassion, no-one will give to charity organisations either.

Quote:

I'm curious what is your take on the Milgram experiment? Does it demonstrate that our true nature is to seek approval rather than to be compassionate? How are you any different than these experiment subjects?

It doesn't say us anything about our true nature. We could also conclude from those experiments that we are compassionate, because basically all the subjects experienced great distress in giving electric shocks. Anyway, what we learn is that we can and have to create situations where people are inclined to be compassionate.

Quote:

What did you do?

Nothing, the lay-out did something terrible with my message Eye-wink


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Stijn Bruers wrote:at some

Stijn Bruers wrote:

at some level, yes, we can take part of the habitat (so part of a vital need), for our basic need. But only a part, proportional to the "basicness" of the basic need. Next, there is the thing of property rights: the house owner owns the house, has invested in it... The bird did not build the tree. The bird built the nest, however, and yes, we ought not to destroy the nest and take wood from it. Anyway, if we by accident destroy the nest, we should take care of the birds. That is why I work in a wildlife rescue and bird care center. We should very much support that. And for the rest, it is a bit searching how far we can go... But if we live in sobriety and do voluntary work in a wildlife rescue center, I think we are already doing a great deal.

And the owner of a house did not build the land it is sitting on, so is it OK to dig under the house until it collapses? Your line is completely arbitrary- it is OK to destroy a birds nest to build your computer, yet you claim that animals shouldn't be treated differently than humans. I can't imagine a situation where it is acceptable to destroy an innocent persons house without their consent. You seem to be saying don't destroy the bird nest, unless it is to create something I think is good.  

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

it is an accident, the animal is not intentionally killed. The only difference is the probablility. If you drive reckless, the probablility is high. If you have a high ecological footprint, the probability is higher, etc...

It isn't an accident any more than it would be an accident if someone set your house on fire while you were inside of it. Even if the animal survives, you still destroyed its home and the probability of it dieing from some other cause has increased. Just because you help other birds or cause fewer nests to be destroyed than your neighbor does not change the fact that your choices lead to the destruction of animals, which you claim to have a moral problem with.

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Of course we were talking about racists who use force against others, because you as a speciesist use violence against animals. So we are talking about that kind of discriminatory behaviour.

And it is never OK to initiate force against another person except as defense of yourself or another person. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:

You choose homo sapient because in society 100% of the people you have to coexist with are homo sapient.

not true: 1) family dogs are included. 2) in previous societies, mentally disabled orphans were not included. Of course, in a speciesist society, you are right. But there used to be a racist society, where one could say that the society are only the white people, and the black slaves are property and don't belong to society.

1) Dogs are not included. They are only included to the extent that they are property of another human, the same way a persons house is included. I have no moral problem with people who eat or kill dogs as long as those dogs are not owned by someone else.

2) Previous societies also had severe problems with having a lack of human freedom. I would not have enjoyed living in many previous societies, so I don't see why their moral decisions have any bearing on what I should consider moral.  

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

the spartans, nazi's and many other societies where able to do draw a line at some mental capabilities (i.e. excluding mentally disabled persons). In discussion on abortion, we are able to do the same (at least in Belgium).

The Spartans and Nazi's are great examples of why you shouldn't trust the government to decide who is mentally capable and who isn't. Both societies killed people who were mentally capable. I don't care to live in either of those societies. I think living in a society that protects all human life is beneficial, even if some of those humans are not sentient, even if some of those humans are so far gone that a strong argument could be made that killing them would be a mercy. No matter how you cut it, animals do not participate/belong to our society the same way that humans do, even the mentally disabled. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

My attitude on this is that we should not be "cowards", and as true ethicists and philosophers, we should also try to see what our ethics implies in possible new situations. We had a former Belgian prime minister who said "I only solve problems when they occur." But I'd say it might be good to be one step in advance, and reflect already about potential possibilities. And in the humanzee, it makes us become aware of how trivial and morally irrelevant the species boundary can be.

And now I have to go...

And do you have any evidence that the species boundary is trivial or irrelevant? When we encounter an alien species they might decide to wipe us out, so being nice to them would be pointless. Then again, they might be friendly, in which case it is probably best to be friendly back. Until the situation occurs or there is reasonable evidence that it will occur within our lifetimes, considering the implications is trivial and irrelevant. I could be struck by lightening when I step outside, but I am not going to plan for it. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Not letting something be

Not letting something be born is far more ethical, IMHO, than letting it be born when there is a high probability of a life of any significant suffering.

'Not being born' involves NO suffering.

Voluntary birth control is the ethical way to reduce the Earth's population growth, and ultimately the population itself, back to sustainable levels.

Any individual restraint is going to reduce overall growth, which now is desirable. We are no longer a species struggling for survival.

Our empathic instincts, and our desires for approval from other members of our group, are prime drivers of what we consider moral behaviour.

Their effects can be distorted into what we see as 'bad' in particular situations they have not evolved for, especially in various contrived situations. It is meaningless to ask what is our 'true' nature. We have various urges and drives, not one unified 'true nature'.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Brian37 wrote:Beyond, morals

Brian37 wrote:

Beyond, morals are not absolute. In talking about wild animals yes, we do, even down to cockroaches, kill to protect our environments. But you seem to go to the other extreme in "if I don't see it and it isn't affecting me, it must not be a problem".

There is no absolute morality but if you are going to claim something as being your moral it should be an absolute. IOW, if you say X is immoral, than you should never do X or at the very least do your best to avoid doing X. What use is a personal moral code if you ignore it? My personal moral code is not to use physical force to make people do what I want unless that person initiated force against me or someone else. Pretty cut and dry. And you will never see me using physical force against another person without a very clear threat to me or someone else. If you ever see me using force, I will be able to describe in great detail exactly what the person I am forcing has done and why using force is the necessary solution. It will certainly be more than "I need a computer for knowledge."

 

If you are going to claim that animals have the equivalent moral worth of humans than you should never do anything to an animal that you wouldn't do to a human. The OP is making that claim, but seems to make exceptions out of convenience. Which is my real argument with him. If he decides that drawing the moral worth line an human is arbitrary and all animals and plants should be included, I don't have a problem with that. Ultimately, morality is arbitrary. But saying one thing is moral while doing the opposite strikes me as immoral and problematic. I have a lot of respect for someone who says X is moral and then lives by it, even if I think they are crazy. It is hard to respect someone who says X is immoral and then finds exceptions to do X without very good reasons. With words you can always stretch the rubber band to the point that your moral code means nothing. But if it is your moral code and you are living by it, you shouldn't have to stretch to explain any actions that appear to be against that code.

 

Saying it is OK to kill birds to make a computer but it is immoral to kill birds in general seems like a contradiction to me. And since a computer is not necessary to survival (humanity got along just fine without them for thousands of years), it seems hypocritical to me. I would not support killing humans or destroying someones home against their will to get a computer. So if I put birds on the same moral level as humans, I would fight against all factories and modern society as a whole. Modern society kills a lot of animals to exist. I would feel uncomfortable if I was working that hard to rationalize my actions against my professed moral code.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Force is bad when it is not

Force is bad when it is not for the ultimate benefit of the individual it is exerted against, unless it is the only way to restrain someone who would otherwise cause clear harm to others, and possibly themselves.

Unjustified force is not restricted to physical force.

Extortion, emotional blackmail, and the like are also 'wrong'.

No system of moral guidelines is going to lead to unambiguous conclusions under all circumstances.

Guidelines are still valid without even if not always applied or acted on.

Absolutes are absolutely NOT required for anything connected with something as subjective as morality.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Beyond Saving wrote:Stijn

Beyond Saving wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

at some level, yes, we can take part of the habitat (so part of a vital need), for our basic need. But only a part, proportional to the "basicness" of the basic need. Next, there is the thing of property rights: the house owner owns the house, has invested in it... The bird did not build the tree. The bird built the nest, however, and yes, we ought not to destroy the nest and take wood from it. Anyway, if we by accident destroy the nest, we should take care of the birds. That is why I work in a wildlife rescue and bird care center. We should very much support that. And for the rest, it is a bit searching how far we can go... But if we live in sobriety and do voluntary work in a wildlife rescue center, I think we are already doing a great deal.

And the owner of a house did not build the land it is sitting on, so is it OK to dig under the house until it collapses? Your line is completely arbitrary- it is OK to destroy a birds nest to build your computer, yet you claim that animals shouldn't be treated differently than humans. I can't imagine a situation where it is acceptable to destroy an innocent persons house without their consent. You seem to be saying don't destroy the bird nest, unless it is to create something I think is good. 

I can imagine that the suffering of a person whose house was destroyed (even if he received compensation) is much greater than say the suffering of a bird whose nest was placed in another tree, so we could cut down a tree. All in all, I realize that the principles are not easy to abide. But we should strive for it as best as we can. That means: consume less (destroy less of nature), and do voluntary work in a wildlife rescue center. And yes, sometimes it might be necessary to move people from their homes (to build a railroad,...). That is what we actually do, but I think we do it too fast. We should be more reluctant in general. Because the suffering of those displaced people is very high.

Quote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

it is an accident, the animal is not intentionally killed. The only difference is the probablility. If you drive reckless, the probablility is high. If you have a high ecological footprint, the probability is higher, etc...

It isn't an accident any more than it would be an accident if someone set your house on fire while you were inside of it.

then we should look at the reason why we would set a house on fire.

Quote:
Even if the animal survives, you still destroyed its home and the probability of it dieing from some other cause has increased. Just because you help other birds or cause fewer nests to be destroyed than your neighbor does not change the fact that your choices lead to the destruction of animals, which you claim to have a moral problem with.

I really don't understand why you don't see that my having a problem with it implies a rather sober lifestyle. All you could say is that I could be more sober, but I know that already. It is not that I didn't yet reach the mountaintop that you don't have to climb the mountain.

Quote:
Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:

You choose homo sapient because in society 100% of the people you have to coexist with are homo sapient.

not true: 1) family dogs are included. 2) in previous societies, mentally disabled orphans were not included. Of course, in a speciesist society, you are right. But there used to be a racist society, where one could say that the society are only the white people, and the black slaves are property and don't belong to society.

1) Dogs are not included. They are only included to the extent that they are property of another human, the same way a persons house is included. I have no moral problem with people who eat or kill dogs as long as those dogs are not owned by someone else.

OK, our society is very dubious on that. yes, dogs are property, yet, it is not allowed to set a dog on fire for pleasure. But it is allowed to set your chair on fire for pleasure (if it doesn't hurt others). And for dog owners, their dog is like a real family member. With strong emotional connection, that we don't have with a chair.

Quote:
2) Previous societies also had severe problems with having a lack of human freedom. I would not have enjoyed living in many previous societies, so I don't see why their moral decisions have any bearing on what I should consider moral.

Ok, but we can do better than those societies. I believe it is possible to violate the rights of seriously mentally disabled orphans and not violate your rights.  We can let a scientific committee decide who belongs to which group.

Quote:
Stijn Bruers wrote:

the spartans, nazi's and many other societies where able to do draw a line at some mental capabilities (i.e. excluding mentally disabled persons). In discussion on abortion, we are able to do the same (at least in Belgium).

The Spartans and Nazi's are great examples of why you shouldn't trust the government to decide who is mentally capable and who isn't. Both societies killed people who were mentally capable.

That's right. So they even managed to threat healthy people (jews,...) without resulting in massive fear by the own "arian" people. An ideology can be more robust than you might think.

Question: are you against stem cell research. Because there also is a "slippery slope", from fertilized egg to embryo to foetus to baby to... But we can deal with slippery slopes. At least scientists can Eye-wink We don't have to do like the nazi's; only the seriously mentally disabled will be targeted, not the jews. I don't think that you can prove that such a society is unstable and cannot work.

Quote:
I don't care to live in either of those societies. I think living in a society that protects all human life is beneficial, even if some of those humans are not sentient, even if some of those humans are so far gone that a strong argument could be made that killing them would be a mercy. No matter how you cut it, animals do not participate/belong to our society the same way that humans do, even the mentally disabled.
That's easy to say in a speciesist society. But what would you say in a racist society? White people really thought that black people did not belong to society (to organisations, government,...). Or take the sexist people, they even have a stronger point, as there is a much clearer dividing line between man and woman then there is between white and black. Societies could clearly survive without a right to vote for women (well, except that those women were getting angry and can fight back)

Quote:
And do you have any evidence that the species boundary is trivial or irrelevant?
That is what I argued. For example: it is arbitrary to pick out one biological classification (species) and not another (population, subspecies, genus, family, order, class,...). Second, there is nothing morally relevant that all and only humans have. Give me a criterion (intelligence, language, having a knowledge of rights,...) that all and only humans have. There is no gene complex that all and only humans have and that result in having interests. The species is just a biological measure, not easy to define. And all definitions are farfetched in a moral sense. take the definition that a species consists of individuals who can mutually reproduce and get fertile offspring. Why would that me morally relevant to grant someone a basic right? More specifically: do you give someone rights because its close family members could get fertile offspring with your close family members? (I refer to close family members, because the individual itself might happen to be infertile.) That is too farfetched for me. And it is not the real reason why we help mentally disabled orphans. My sister takes care of mentally disabled persons, and she didn't say that she helps them because their close family members could have fertile offspring etc etc. She said that she helps them because she feels concerned about their well-being. Having well-being, that is why we do it. That reflects our compassion. And compassion is not restricted to some arbitrary, difficult to define biological classification. Most children have teddy bears. That reflects our "natural inclination" (whatever that means) to have empathy, also with animals. We didn't have "teddycarrots" when we were young. And there is more and more proof that meat eaters have to suppress their feelings of empathy when they are for the first time confronted with the killing of animals.


 


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Stijn Bruers wrote:Quote:And

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:
And do you have any evidence that the species boundary is trivial or irrelevant?
That is what I argued. For example: it is arbitrary to pick out one biological classification (species) and not another (population, subspecies, genus, family, order, class,...). Second, there is nothing morally relevant that all and only humans have. Give me a criterion (intelligence, language, having a knowledge of rights,...) that all and only humans have. There is no gene complex that all and only humans have and that result in having interests. The species is just a biological measure, not easy to define. And all definitions are farfetched in a moral sense. take the definition that a species consists of individuals who can mutually reproduce and get fertile offspring. Why would that me morally relevant to grant someone a basic right? More specifically: do you give someone rights because its close family members could get fertile offspring with your close family members? (I refer to close family members, because the individual itself might happen to be infertile.) That is too farfetched for me. And it is not the real reason why we help mentally disabled orphans. My sister takes care of mentally disabled persons, and she didn't say that she helps them because their close family members could have fertile offspring etc etc. She said that she helps them because she feels concerned about their well-being. Having well-being, that is why we do it. That reflects our compassion. And compassion is not restricted to some arbitrary, difficult to define biological classification. Most children have teddy bears. That reflects our "natural inclination" (whatever that means) to have empathy, also with animals. We didn't have "teddycarrots" when we were young. And there is more and more proof that meat eaters have to suppress their feelings of empathy when they are for the first time confronted with the killing of animals.

 

Forgive me for truncating most of the discussion.  I only have a couple of points to make.

When confronted for the first time with slaughtering (killing) chickens I had raised myself, my response was not empathy.  Chickens are dirty, messy, and stupid.  Turkeys are even more stupid.  I've raised them, too.  Some people feel empathy even if confronted with the tedious, messy daily chore of caring for them.  (Too bad Blake isn't posting now to give us his impassioned arguments on the subject.)  I'm not one of those people. 

Domestication involves changes in the genome for both plants and animals.  Many of those changes are not conducive to returning to the wild.  Livestock, for example, must be less territorial, easy to breed in captivity, able to be socialized to the presence of predators (humans) and many of them have been bred for less intelligence than their wild cousins.  These traits mean if the animals were released into the wild, they would shortly be wolf food, or road kill, or starve.  Even the young animals that managed to be born wild are more likely to be killed as they have had the aggressiveness, territorial instincts, and wariness of predators bred out of them.

For further information, see http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/taming-wild-animals/ratliff-text

Also, if you search in the library, you can find many texts on domestication.  Plants in particular have been studied as changes in the seeds of a plant can help date an archeological site.  And so a lot of study has been done on this topic.

Guns, Germs, and Steel has a long section on the criteria for domestication and why local availability of appropriate candidates for domestication was one of the driving forces for civilization.

This doesn't mean I am all for intensive corporate farming techniques.  Just the opposite.  But I try to make choices for local, humanely cared for, and antibiotic and hormone free meat on my table.  Not everyone is able to do so - I can't all the time.  We just do the best we can do.

My moral position on this topic is inconsistent and arbitrary.  Not a problem - we all are irrational about some topics.  Even Beyond Saving and EXC.  Though they won't admit it.

 

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cj wrote:Stijn Bruers

cj wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:
And do you have any evidence that the species boundary is trivial or irrelevant?
That is what I argued. For example: it is arbitrary to pick out one biological classification (species) and not another (population, subspecies, genus, family, order, class,...). Second, there is nothing morally relevant that all and only humans have. Give me a criterion (intelligence, language, having a knowledge of rights,...) that all and only humans have. There is no gene complex that all and only humans have and that result in having interests. The species is just a biological measure, not easy to define. And all definitions are farfetched in a moral sense. take the definition that a species consists of individuals who can mutually reproduce and get fertile offspring. Why would that me morally relevant to grant someone a basic right? More specifically: do you give someone rights because its close family members could get fertile offspring with your close family members? (I refer to close family members, because the individual itself might happen to be infertile.) That is too farfetched for me. And it is not the real reason why we help mentally disabled orphans. My sister takes care of mentally disabled persons, and she didn't say that she helps them because their close family members could have fertile offspring etc etc. She said that she helps them because she feels concerned about their well-being. Having well-being, that is why we do it. That reflects our compassion. And compassion is not restricted to some arbitrary, difficult to define biological classification. Most children have teddy bears. That reflects our "natural inclination" (whatever that means) to have empathy, also with animals. We didn't have "teddycarrots" when we were young. And there is more and more proof that meat eaters have to suppress their feelings of empathy when they are for the first time confronted with the killing of animals.

 

Forgive me for truncating most of the discussion.  I only have a couple of points to make.

When confronted for the first time with slaughtering (killing) chickens I had raised myself, my response was not empathy.  Chickens are dirty, messy, and stupid.  Turkeys are even more stupid.  I've raised them, too.  Some people feel empathy even if confronted with the tedious, messy daily chore of caring for them.  (Too bad Blake isn't posting now to give us his impassioned arguments on the subject.)  I'm not one of those people. 

Some people say that mentally disabled persons are dirty, messy and stupid (my sister tells me stories about persons eating their own excrements, masturbating everywhere,...) Anyway, let's consider the following. Ask someone if he is willing to take a carrot and break it into pieces with his own hand or mouth. Then ask him to take a little moving robot, pick it up, smash it to the ground and jump on it. Finally, ask him if he is willing to take a chicken (or a chick) and do the same thing (crush his neck with your own hands, smash it, jump on it,...) I bet that most people are very reluctant to do the latter. And you can measure their brain activity, and see what happens...

Quote:

Domestication involves changes in the genome for both plants and animals.  Many of those changes are not conducive to returning to the wild.  Livestock, for example, must be less territorial, easy to breed in captivity, able to be socialized to the presence of predators (humans) and many of them have been bred for less intelligence than their wild cousins.  These traits mean if the animals were released into the wild, they would shortly be wolf food, or road kill, or starve.  Even the young animals that managed to be born wild are more likely to be killed as they have had the aggressiveness, territorial instincts, and wariness of predators bred out of them.

For further information, see http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/taming-wild-animals/ratliff-text

Also, if you search in the library, you can find many texts on domestication.  Plants in particular have been studied as changes in the seeds of a plant can help date an archeological site.  And so a lot of study has been done on this topic.

Guns, Germs, and Steel has a long section on the criteria for domestication and why local availability of appropriate candidates for domestication was one of the driving forces for civilization.

This doesn't mean I am all for intensive corporate farming techniques.  Just the opposite.  But I try to make choices for local, humanely cared for, and antibiotic and hormone free meat on my table.  Not everyone is able to do so - I can't all the time.  We just do the best we can do.

My moral position on this topic is inconsistent and arbitrary.  Not a problem - we all are irrational about some topics.  Even Beyond Saving and EXC.  Though they won't admit it.

 

on domestication, have you read Eternal Treblinka? http://www.powerfulbook.com/ Contains chapter about the domestication of humans (slaves). Everything we did to animals, we did to slaves (except eating them). Domestication of humans and animals is a violation of my third ethical principle. And as I have shown somewhere above, it is a strong principle. Even if you would breed a race of humans with less intelligence, who cannot survive on their own, who owe their existence on you, who are willing to do anything, who are dirty and stupid,... I still think it is immoral to do that.


 


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Stijn Bruers wrote:Some

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Some people say that mentally disabled persons are dirty, messy and stupid (my sister tells me stories about persons eating their own excrements, masturbating everywhere,...) Anyway, let's consider the following. Ask someone if he is willing to take a carrot and break it into pieces with his own hand or mouth. Then ask him to take a little moving robot, pick it up, smash it to the ground and jump on it. Finally, ask him if he is willing to take a chicken (or a chick) and do the same thing (crush his neck with your own hands, smash it, jump on it,...) I bet that most people are very reluctant to do the latter. And you can measure their brain activity, and see what happens...

 

I have two sons with special needs, one is intellectually challenged - though not enough to be institutionalized.  I wouldn't be able to strangle the one son - besides, he is an adult now and I couldn't.  I am sometimes regretful I decided to get pregnant with him.  Bad mother?  Maybe - my sons don't believe so as I have asked them about my competency as a parent.

Chickens are not people.  Sorry, I know that is your entire argument, that they should be treated the same.  But they aren't.  They have a brain the size of a peanut, ours is the size of a cantaloupe.  I'm not saying they don't feel pain - obviously they must or they wouldn't be able to survive.  But they are not and never will be the same as humans in their range of emotions or intellectual capacity.  They just don't have enough neurons to make the connections that people can. 

This argument is similar to one I had with an environmentally active person.  I am all for keeping our environment clean enough we can breathe without masks, drink the water with out getting nasty diseases or cancer, and so on.  There is a point where we have to acknowledge that just being alive has an effect on the environment around us.  If we die, we have an effect.  No getting around it.  And this person said, oh, then you are for people getting cancer from environmental pollutants? 

Very frustrating - I am not for intellectually challenged people being euthanized humanely or otherwise.  I don't care about chickens.  Yes, I have a line.  Yes, it is inconsistent and irrational.

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

on domestication, have you read Eternal Treblinka? http://www.powerfulbook.com/ Contains chapter about the domestication of humans (slaves). Everything we did to animals, we did to slaves (except eating them). Domestication of humans and animals is a violation of my third ethical principle. And as I have shown somewhere above, it is a strong principle. Even if you would breed a race of humans with less intelligence, who cannot survive on their own, who owe their existence on you, who are willing to do anything, who are dirty and stupid,... I still think it is immoral to do that.

 

I would agree, it would be immoral to breed humans - slaves or supermen.  The domestication of plants and animals (including humans) has already occurred.  We can not change the past.  We wouldn't want to, either.  Because people needed domesticated food sources in order to build civilizations in order to create the technologies we have today.  Including the internet and the computers we are using to communicate with.

Just not breeding domesticated food sources will just kill them off - slowly instead of quickly.  See The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka.  This book is a recounting of his struggles to farm naturally with domesticated plants.  It is not easy.  The changes in the genome are already there - and while humans can work against some of their genetic programming, even humans are constrained in some cases by their genetics.  Plants and cows and chickens have no possibility of overcoming their inbred domestication.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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Stijn Bruers wrote:about

Stijn Bruers wrote:
about first question: we are allowed to use plants for basic (non-vital) needs. Including doors. Doors are not luxury. But the wood should come from sustainable forestry, and our houses should be ecologically designed etc...

What do you consider to be luxury then? We do not need doors; we simply enjoy dividing different sections of our living space. You could make a better case for the front door, as that shelters us from the outside.

Or, how about, in terms of moral value, how many plants equals one human? This way, we can determine what humans can and can't do with plants. Suppose that a trolley is coming on the tracks again, and there is one person on the main track. But, if you pull a lever, you can divert the trolley to a side track where there is a million douglas fir evergreen trees. Would you pull the lever? Assuming that this was in some sort of isolated dimension so that killing so many plants wouldn't affect our environment, I would opt for saving the one human over an indefinite number of plants, say a googolplex. Or, perhaps, you don't think their value can be quantified in this way?

Stijn Bruers wrote:
Some of the intuitions have to be abandoned, transformed,...  That's like in geometry, to derive an axiomatic system, even if we have some strange intuitions as become clear in optical illusions. So we have to be aware of wrong moral intuitions, just like a mathematician has to be aware of optical illusions. But in maths, we do succeed in setting up a consistent axiomatic system. That's what I want to do in ethics as well. By the way, I do believe that a lot of other people share a lot of intuitions that I have. This can be seen by using ethical dilemmas and moral judgments.

What is a "wrong" moral intuition? If you are a moral subjectivist, then I assume you agree that it is all preference.

Mathematics is practical because its basic rules and principles correlate to reality. One could formulate an infinite number of internally consistent systems describing quantity, but they would be useless. You could not create such a moral system because there is no moral reality to map your premises to; I suppose you could rely on what people prefer, in general, but that is really not the same thing.

Stijn Bruers wrote:
third: I'll use words, try to give rational arguments. But it might happen that you really have different moral intuitions, and hence different ethical axioms (=ethical principles). Then there is no solution that I see. Well, all I'll do then is say to you: "If God is going to judge you, at least you can't say that you didn't know the truth, because I told you"

Lol, okay. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:Stijn

butterbattle wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:
about first question: we are allowed to use plants for basic (non-vital) needs. Including doors. Doors are not luxury. But the wood should come from sustainable forestry, and our houses should be ecologically designed etc...

What do you consider to be luxury then? We do not need doors; we simply enjoy dividing different sections of our living space. You could make a better case for the front door, as that shelters us from the outside.

well, it doesn't matter, as I happen to live in a house with doors. but indeed, I may not need inner doors Smiling (perhaps for some rooms, for privacy reasons)

Quote:
Or, how about, in terms of moral value, how many plants equals one human? This way, we can determine what humans can and can't do with plants. Suppose that a trolley is coming on the tracks again, and there is one person on the main track. But, if you pull a lever, you can divert the trolley to a side track where there is a million douglas fir evergreen trees. Would you pull the lever? Assuming that this was in some sort of isolated dimension so that killing so many plants wouldn't affect our environment, I would opt for saving the one human over an indefinite number of plants, say a googolplex. Or, perhaps, you don't think their value can be quantified in this way?

I'd say the same, because in terms of vital needs, a human being has infinitely much more value. But if it is luxury needs versus vital needs, then things change. Pincople 2 is a deontological rule, so not a consequantialist one, so you don't count things.

Quote:
Stijn Bruers wrote:
Some of the intuitions have to be abandoned, transformed,...  That's like in geometry, to derive an axiomatic system, even if we have some strange intuitions as become clear in optical illusions. So we have to be aware of wrong moral intuitions, just like a mathematician has to be aware of optical illusions. But in maths, we do succeed in setting up a consistent axiomatic system. That's what I want to do in ethics as well. By the way, I do believe that a lot of other people share a lot of intuitions that I have. This can be seen by using ethical dilemmas and moral judgments.

What is a "wrong" moral intuition? If you are a moral subjectivist, then I assume you agree that it is all preference.

good question. There are some wrong moral intuitions, just like there are optical illusions (wrong perceptions). How to deal with them? Well, if you set up an ethical system, by translating intuitions into ethical axioms (principles) and then checking if the axiomatic system is internally consistent, just like in geometry. Then it might be that some weak intuitions should be abandoned. the same goes for optical illusions that seem to contradict geometric axioms. You can come up with strange geometric systems, that violate say translation invariance, to try to save some optical illusions, but that strategy is very difficult for pragmatic reasons. So the question whether ethics is subjective is similar to the question whether geometry is subjective.

Quote:
Mathematics is practical because its basic rules and principles correlate to reality. One could formulate an infinite number of internally consistent systems describing quantity, but they would be useless. You could not create such a moral system because there is no moral reality to map your premises to; I suppose you could rely on what people prefer, in general, but that is really not the same thing.
Well, ethical principles correlate with my moral intuitions, just as mathematical axioms correlate with my perception of the world. If an ethical system is not compatible with some of my strongest intuitions, I consider it as useless. But sometimes I have to shift some intuitions and perspectives, like what happened when mathematicians jumped from flat Euclidean geometry to Riemannian geometry.


 


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Stijn Bruers wrote:good

Stijn Bruers wrote:
I'd say the same, because in terms of vital needs, a human being has infinitely much more value. But if it is luxury needs versus vital needs, then things change. Pincople 2 is a deontological rule, so not a consequantialist one, so you don't count things.

Ah, alright.

Stijn Bruers wrote:
good question. There are some wrong moral intuitions, just like there are optical illusions (wrong perceptions). How to deal with them? Well, if you set up an ethical system, by translating intuitions into ethical axioms (principles) and then checking if the axiomatic system is internally consistent, just like in geometry. Then it might be that some weak intuitions should be abandoned. the same goes for optical illusions that seem to contradict geometric axioms. You can come up with strange geometric systems, that violate say translation invariance, to try to save some optical illusions, but that strategy is very difficult for pragmatic reasons. So the question whether ethics is subjective is similar to the question whether geometry is subjective.

So, by "wrong moral intuitions," you are simply referring to sets of moral intuitions that are internally inconsistent? That doesn't seem to be a good analog of optical illusions. We know that optical illusions are illusions because there is an objective reality we can refer to. This is not the case with morals, as there is no "moral reality" to reference; to call something "right" or "wrong" is just an intuitive category error, a misleading abstraction of our preferences. It is no different than asserting your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Actually, in a sense, I could compare all moral intuitions to optical illusions, as they sense an inherent "oughtness" or "normativity" where there is none.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Stijn Bruers wrote:OK, our

Stijn Bruers wrote:

OK, our society is very dubious on that. yes, dogs are property, yet, it is not allowed to set a dog on fire for pleasure. But it is allowed to set your chair on fire for pleasure (if it doesn't hurt others). And for dog owners, their dog is like a real family member. With strong emotional connection, that we don't have with a chair.

Sure, I have a very strong emotional connection to my dogs too. When they die I cry like a baby. Some people develop strong emotional connections with objects too. I don't think a person's emotional connections has anything to do with a general morality that ought to apply to everyone. It is against the law to set any animal on fire, animal cruelty and all. Not laws that I get terribly concerned about since I don't have a desire to set any living thing on fire, but from an abstract viewpoint I think it is a pointless law. People who are messed up enough to want to burn animals, are probably too messed up to worry about the law. The moral point of "you should not burn animals" would be filed under "Beyond Savings Totalitarian Moral Law" in other words, if you participated in the act I would not be your friend, do business with you, or be associated with you in any way. But, I don't think you should be thrown in jail to rot for life... yet.

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Ok, but we can do better than those societies. I believe it is possible to violate the rights of seriously mentally disabled orphans and not violate your rights.  We can let a scientific committee decide who belongs to which group.

I will never trust my liberty to a committee. Anyone who has ever attended a committee meeting and is willing to trust their life to one is seriously mentally disabled.

 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

That's right. So they even managed to threat healthy people (jews,...) without resulting in massive fear by the own "arian" people. An ideology can be more robust than you might think.

Question: are you against stem cell research. Because there also is a "slippery slope", from fertilized egg to embryo to foetus to baby to... But we can deal with slippery slopes. At least scientists can Eye-wink We don't have to do like the nazi's; only the seriously mentally disabled will be targeted, not the jews. I don't think that you can prove that such a society is unstable and cannot work.

Oh it can work. A lot of undesirable things can work. In fact, historical evidence is that dictatorships can be far more stable than democracies. I don't think I said it wouldn't work. Just that I don't want to live in it. I would rather live in an unstable country that allows freedom than a stable one that does not. I would rather live in a country where I don't have to worry that someone I care about might be judged to be unworthy of protection because some government entity said so. So I agree that I will not seek to persecute any human as long as all those humans agree the same. Simple, yet rarely tried throughout history. 

And no, I am not against stem cell research. In my mind an infant becomes part of society when it is out of its mothers womb. Until then it is owned by the mother and perhaps the father. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

That's easy to say in a speciesist society. But what would you say in a racist society? White people really thought that black people did not belong to society (to organisations, government,...). Or take the sexist people, they even have a stronger point, as there is a much clearer dividing line between man and woman then there is between white and black. Societies could clearly survive without a right to vote for women (well, except that those women were getting angry and can fight back)

The day animals gain the ability to fight back we can discuss including them in society. Right now, it is clear that they are not part of society and would be unable to participate at any real level even if we wanted them to. 

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

That is what I argued. For example: it is arbitrary to pick out one biological classification (species) and not another (population, subspecies, genus, family, order, class,...). Second, there is nothing morally relevant that all and only humans have. Give me a criterion (intelligence, language, having a knowledge of rights,...) that all and only humans have. There is no gene complex that all and only humans have and that result in having interests. The species is just a biological measure, not easy to define. And all definitions are farfetched in a moral sense. take the definition that a species consists of individuals who can mutually reproduce and get fertile offspring. Why would that me morally relevant to grant someone a basic right? More specifically: do you give someone rights because its close family members could get fertile offspring with your close family members? (I refer to close family members, because the individual itself might happen to be infertile.) That is too farfetched for me. And it is not the real reason why we help mentally disabled orphans. My sister takes care of mentally disabled persons, and she didn't say that she helps them because their close family members could have fertile offspring etc etc. She said that she helps them because she feels concerned about their well-being. Having well-being, that is why we do it. That reflects our compassion. And compassion is not restricted to some arbitrary, difficult to define biological classification. Most children have teddy bears. That reflects our "natural inclination" (whatever that means) to have empathy, also with animals. We didn't have "teddycarrots" when we were young. And there is more and more proof that meat eaters have to suppress their feelings of empathy when they are for the first time confronted with the killing of animals. 

If I give a scientist a blood sample they can tell me whether it was human, cow, pig or chimp blood so don't tell me we can't tell the difference. Of course, blood samples generally aren't necessary, I can usually tell by looking at them. A few do look like chimps, but I don't think the resemblance is close enough that I might accidentally put them in a zoo. It is arbitrary in the sense that I could easily include all primates, or all mammals etc. But it is far more useful to include solely humans. Again, simply because I benefit from living with humans, I am human, and I prefer to get along with them peacefully rather than fight with them.

 

In fact, in this very thread you noted that the life of 1 human is worth an infinite number of pines

Quote:
 I'd say the same, because in terms of vital needs, a human being has infinitely much more value.

 So why are you arbitrary in deciding what life has more value?

 

I actually had an interesting discussion with Blake on this (you will have long discussions with him if you are here when he gets back) about vegetarianism. Is it better to kill one cow and eat for a year, or eat vegan and kill thousands of mice, snakes, birds and bugs? How many mice equals one cow? On what basis do you make that determination? We actually went through the effort to determine approximately how many mice died to get the soybeans to your plate. I can't remember the number, maybe I will have to look it up.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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cj wrote:My moral position

cj wrote:

My moral position on this topic is inconsistent and arbitrary.  Not a problem - we all are irrational about some topics.  Even Beyond Saving and EXC.  Though they won't admit it.

 

I'll admit to being irrational from time to time. Usually when I am irrational women and/or alcohol is involved 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:If I

Beyond Saving wrote:

If I give a scientist a blood sample they can tell me whether it was human, cow, pig or chimp blood so don't tell me we can't tell the difference. Of course, blood samples generally aren't necessary, I can usually tell by looking at them. A few do look like chimps, but I don't think the resemblance is close enough that I might accidentally put them in a zoo. It is arbitrary in the sense that I could easily include all primates, or all mammals etc. But it is far more useful to include solely humans. Again, simply because I benefit from living with humans, I am human, and I prefer to get along with them peacefully rather than fight with them.

being able to see a difference doesn't yet make it morally relevant. That scientist can look at the blood and tell whether it is from a white or a black person, a woman or a man. But that doesn't mean that skin colour or gender is morally relevant. It remains arbitrary why you claim that society consists of all and only humans, and not white persons (as it used to be), great apes, primates, mammals,... you name it. All the criteria that I referred to here (human species, white race, order of primates,...) all have in common that they are biological classifications, related to genetics that can be visible by looking at an individual or more accurately looking at DNA in blood samples. But I really don't see why we should arbitrarily pick that species criterion. What is so special about the species level? Why not the individual or population level? Why not taking the level of genus, family, infraorder, order, class,....? Don't you see it's highly arbitrary to pick that specific biological classification level of the species? there are levels above and below it. It is like a cupboard with different drawers. The lowest drawer contains the individuals, the second lowest the populations (races: white, black,...), the third from below the species, next the genus, the family, the suprafamily,... Why do you open the third lowest drawer and point at the species homo sapiens and say that all and only homo sapiens belong to society?

By the way, I am convinced that you can clearly recognize a seriously mentally disabled orphan. Just talk with him or do an IQ test or whatever. 

Quote:
In fact, in this very thread you noted that the life of 1 human is worth an infinite number of pines

Quote:
 I'd say the same, because in terms of vital needs, a human being has infinitely much more value.

 So why are you arbitrary in deciding what life has more value?

It's not arbitrary if one can give say 3 arguments of why the criterion is relevant. I can do that with the criterion 'sentience'. And I haven't heard a carnist give not even one valid argument why species should be morally relevant. And I could give 4 arguments why species is not relevent: it is arbitrary as a biological classification, it is farfetched, there is absolutely no link between belonging to a species and having special interests, and species just like race refers to genetic or outer properties, whereas antiracists understood that those things don't matter when it comes to the basic right.

Quote:
I actually had an interesting discussion with Blake on this (you will have long discussions with him if you are here when he gets back) about vegetarianism. Is it better to kill one cow and eat for a year, or eat vegan and kill thousands of mice, snakes, birds and bugs? How many mice equals one cow? On what basis do you make that determination? We actually went through the effort to determine approximately how many mice died to get the soybeans to your plate. I can't remember the number, maybe I will have to look it up.

Perhaps you refer to the paper by Steven Davis on least harm principle and veganism. There was some critique on that paper, that answers your objection. Food Fight! Davis versus Regan on the Ethics of Eating Beef. see http://animalrights.aresistance.net/readings/Andy%20Lamey%20-%20Food%20Fight!%20Davis%20versus%20Regan%20on%20the%20Ethics%20of%20Eating%20Beef.pdf

and another: http://homepage.uab.edu/nnobis/papers/least-harm.pdf

To give one more important argument: if you use a cow by killing and eating him, you violate its basic right. And as we can see in moral dilemma's: a basic right trumps the right to life of many other beings. Take for example the organ transplantation: 5 people in hospital are going to die if they don't get new organs. But there are no organs, except that we could kill an innocent person. 1 dead, 5 saved, yet, most of us agree that we should not sacrifice that person. That is because it's basic right was violated. The same goes for one sacrificed cow (basic right) versus many dead mice. Off cpurse, if you could save a million people (or mice) by using one person (or cow), than poeple are inclined to move to the utilitarian thinking. But if you read the above papers, you'll see that a vegan is not responsible for the death of many mice or birds on the fields. (And for the bugs: no scientific evidence yet that they are sentient beings; and cows kill a lot of bugs too; they often eat ants,...)


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butterbattle wrote:Stijn

butterbattle wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:
good question. There are some wrong moral intuitions, just like there are optical illusions (wrong perceptions). How to deal with them? Well, if you set up an ethical system, by translating intuitions into ethical axioms (principles) and then checking if the axiomatic system is internally consistent, just like in geometry. Then it might be that some weak intuitions should be abandoned. the same goes for optical illusions that seem to contradict geometric axioms. You can come up with strange geometric systems, that violate say translation invariance, to try to save some optical illusions, but that strategy is very difficult for pragmatic reasons. So the question whether ethics is subjective is similar to the question whether geometry is subjective.

So, by "wrong moral intuitions," you are simply referring to sets of moral intuitions that are internally inconsistent? That doesn't seem to be a good analog of optical illusions. We know that optical illusions are illusions because there is an objective reality we can refer to. This is not the case with morals, as there is no "moral reality" to reference; to call something "right" or "wrong" is just an intuitive category error, a misleading abstraction of our preferences. It is no different than asserting your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Actually, in a sense, I could compare all moral intuitions to optical illusions, as they sense an inherent "oughtness" or "normativity" where there is none.

well, there is more to it. Yes, there is a resemblens between moral intuitions and taste. Yet, if you say "yuck!" to this blue-ish blob on your plate that looks like a... penis Eye-wink , I can say that your intuition about that "yuck" is wrong, because I can argue that this blob is your favourite icecream, but in a different shape and with an odorless, tasteless blue colour added to it. Secondly, tastes can cange when you focus on some taste and learn more about it so you'll end up appreciating it. So, it is possible to some degree to rationally convince someone to like something (by giving rational arguments).

And with the optical illusions: as Kant said: we cannot know the thing in itself, we cannot know the objective reality. That is why I wrote 'perceptions', because that is all we have. And yes, we are able to make a consistent framework based on perceptions, that might lead us to conclude that there must be an objective reality (we could be just a brain in a vat, though). But the same goes for our moral intuitions. At least my brain constitutes or creates a kind of moral reality Smiling

But you are right to some degree; it were just some analogies between ethics and geometry and taste, to understand better where our moral judgments come from.

 


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Stijn Bruers wrote:Why do

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Why do you open the third lowest drawer and point at the species homo sapiens and say that all and only homo sapiens belong to society?

Because every being that I encounter that participates in society is human. If you want to get your dog to pay the rent, good luck.

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Quote:
In fact, in this very thread you noted that the life of 1 human is worth an infinite number of pines

Quote:
 I'd say the same, because in terms of vital needs, a human being has infinitely much more value.

 So why are you arbitrary in deciding what life has more value?

It's not arbitrary if one can give say 3 arguments of why the criterion is relevant. I can do that with the criterion 'sentience'. And I haven't heard a carnist give not even one valid argument why species should be morally relevant. And I could give 4 arguments why species is not relevent: it is arbitrary as a biological classification, it is farfetched, there is absolutely no link between belonging to a species and having special interests, and species just like race refers to genetic or outer properties, whereas antiracists understood that those things don't matter when it comes to the basic right.

So if it was a choice between a cow and one of those mentally disabled people you have a thing for? Two cows? Three cows? Four dogs? How do you determine? My sense from you so far is that you say fuck the animals if it is the life of a human but claim that animals are just as morally important as humans.  

 

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Perhaps you refer to the paper by Steven Davis on least harm principle and veganism. There was some critique on that paper, that answers your objection. Food Fight! Davis versus Regan on the Ethics of Eating Beef. see http://animalrights.aresistance.net/readings/Andy%20Lamey%20-%20Food%20Fight!%20Davis%20versus%20Regan%20on%20the%20Ethics%20of%20Eating%20Beef.pdf

and another: http://homepage.uab.edu/nnobis/papers/least-harm.pdf

To give one more important argument: if you use a cow by killing and eating him, you violate its basic right. And as we can see in moral dilemma's: a basic right trumps the right to life of many other beings. Take for example the organ transplantation: 5 people in hospital are going to die if they don't get new organs. But there are no organs, except that we could kill an innocent person. 1 dead, 5 saved, yet, most of us agree that we should not sacrifice that person. That is because it's basic right was violated. The same goes for one sacrificed cow (basic right) versus many dead mice. Off cpurse, if you could save a million people (or mice) by using one person (or cow), than poeple are inclined to move to the utilitarian thinking. But if you read the above papers, you'll see that a vegan is not responsible for the death of many mice or birds on the fields. (And for the bugs: no scientific evidence yet that they are sentient beings; and cows kill a lot of bugs too; they often eat ants,...)

Again, you ignore the basic question. How do you calculate it? It doesn't matter how many animals may or may not die until you determine a unit of measurement. Is one mouse equal to one cow? Is one million mice equal to one cow? Why is one worth more than the other? In what way does it not violate the basic rights of a mouse to chop it up with a combine? Whether you intend it or not they are still dead. Is intentions the only thing that matters to you? Because intentions don't really matter a hill of beans to me. If your actions can predictably lead to someones death you are responsible for it. Running a modern farm leads to a predictable number of animal deaths, especially when you use pesticides- which if everyone on planet were to switch to a vegan diet would have to be used extensively to keep production high enough.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:Stijn

Beyond Saving wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Why do you open the third lowest drawer and point at the species homo sapiens and say that all and only homo sapiens belong to society?

Because every being that I encounter that participates in society is human. If you want to get your dog to pay the rent, good luck.

but if you want a mentally disabled person to pay the rent... Let's be honest, if a mentally disabled orphan participates in society in some meaningful way, than the same could be said of a dog. You can say that dogs are property, but then you have to justify why way may treat them as property. 

Quote:

So if it was a choice between a cow and one of those mentally disabled people you have a thing for? Two cows? Three cows? Four dogs? How do you determine? My sense from you so far is that you say fuck the animals if it is the life of a human but claim that animals are just as morally important as humans. 

I don't understand your question exactly, but I may refer to principle 7, the tolerated choice equality. In a burning house with a disabled person and a dog, I may save the human. But I tolerate if someone would save the dog. If I had to choose between 1 disabled person versus 2 dogs, things become more complicated, but it doesn't have anything to do with speciecism, because it has the same difficulty in another dilemma where I have to choose between my girlfriend and 2 other unknown persons. Or 3 persons, 4 persons...

Quote:
Again, you ignore the basic question. How do you calculate it? It doesn't matter how many animals may or may not die until you determine a unit of measurement. Is one mouse equal to one cow?

yes 1: they both have an equal claim for the basic right

yes 2: their well-being counts equaly

yes 3: there is a tolerated choice equality (read http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/ where these three principles of equality are explained)

no 1: I may happen to love cows and feel more empathy with them, so in a burning house dilemma I may save the cow instead of the mouse. So there may be an emotional inequality, but it is always accompanied with a tolerated choice equality (yes 3)

Quote:
Is one million mice equal to one cow?

no 1: the basic rights of million mice count a million times higher than the basic right of one cow

no 2: the well-being of a million moice is higher than 1 cow

undecided 1: the basic right of one cow versus the well-being of a number of mice (but with a million mice, I am tempted to take the side of the mice, just as I would take the side of 1 million persons versus 1 basic right violation of 1 person.

Quote:
Why is one worth more than the other? In what way does it not violate the basic rights of a mouse to chop it up with a combine?
With basic right I mean the right not to be used as merely means. This right trumps other important rights, such as the right to live. See the hospital dilemma.

Quote:
Whether you intend it or not they are still dead. Is intentions the only thing that matters to you?
Not the only thing, but it matters.

Quote:
Because intentions don't really matter a hill of beans to me.
Than you are a strict utilitarian. I am not, and roughly 95% of the people are not. Most people would conclude that intentions matter.

Quote:
If your actions can predictably lead to someones death you are responsible for it. Running a modern farm leads to a predictable number of animal deaths, especially when you use pesticides- which if everyone on planet were to switch to a vegan diet would have to be used extensively to keep production high enough.  
There are some studies that indicate that even a vegan organic farming (with universal vegan diet) gives in total a higher productions of proteins than the current mixed system. (Of course, our current mixed system with livestock is highly inefficient). I am not saying that the production with vegan organic farming is maximum; it isn't. But it's higher than now, and my guess is that the basic rights of cows trump the rights to live of field mice. (Also the basic right of a mice trumps the right to live of cows, so there is no discrimination there.) Imagine that farming would accidentally kill humans (in fact, it does). Imagine that killing and eating one human would save say 5 people who were otherwise accidentally killed. I would say that the basic right of this one person trumps the right to live of 5 other persons. It's just as in the hospital dilemma, where we don't sacrifice a person, even if we could save 5 patients with organ transplantations. 


Manageri
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Stijn Bruers wrote: 5 people

Stijn Bruers wrote:
5 people are on the main track, a trolley is coming, you are standing next to a switch, and on the side track there is one person. If you do nothing, 5 people will die. If you turn the switch, only one person will die. Alomst everyone says that we should turn the switch. Second dilemma: in a hospital there are 5 patients who need a new heart, liver, kidney,... Are we allowed to kill an innocent person and use his organs to save 5 people? Again, it is 5 to 1, but almost no-one says that this is allowed. What's the difference between those two dilemmas? In the latter, the victim is used as merely means (organs), but the person on the side track is not used as merely means. Ask yourself the question: does your plan still work if the victim you are about to make was not present? If there was no person on the side track, you can still turn the switch. But if there is no-one to be sacrificed in the hospital, you can't save the 5 patients. With this yoy can see that the person on the side track is not used as a means, because that would imply that it's presence is necessary.

The basic right is a powerful principle: it is stronger than the right to life of 5 people.

So if you're the one guy that would be getting crushed by flipping the switch, you're justified in not doing that even if that means every other living being in the universe dies instead?


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Stijn Bruers wrote:well,

Stijn Bruers wrote:
well, there is more to it. Yes, there is a resemblens between moral intuitions and taste. Yet, if you say "yuck!" to this blue-ish blob on your plate that looks like a... penis Eye-wink , I can say that your intuition about that "yuck" is wrong, because I can argue that this blob is your favourite icecream, but in a different shape and with an odorless, tasteless blue colour added to it. Secondly, tastes can cange when you focus on some taste and learn more about it so you'll end up appreciating it. So, it is possible to some degree to rationally convince someone to like something (by giving rational arguments).

And with the optical illusions: as Kant said: we cannot know the thing in itself, we cannot know the objective reality. That is why I wrote 'perceptions', because that is all we have. And yes, we are able to make a consistent framework based on perceptions, that might lead us to conclude that there must be an objective reality (we could be just a brain in a vat, though). But the same goes for our moral intuitions. At least my brain constitutes or creates a kind of moral reality Smiling

But you are right to some degree; it were just some analogies between ethics and geometry and taste, to understand better where our moral judgments come from.

Well, I can't disagree with that. You pass butterbattle's entrance exam. 

Again, welcome to the forum.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Manageri wrote:Stijn Bruers

Manageri wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:
5 people are on the main track, a trolley is coming, you are standing next to a switch, and on the side track there is one person. If you do nothing, 5 people will die. If you turn the switch, only one person will die. Alomst everyone says that we should turn the switch. Second dilemma: in a hospital there are 5 patients who need a new heart, liver, kidney,... Are we allowed to kill an innocent person and use his organs to save 5 people? Again, it is 5 to 1, but almost no-one says that this is allowed. What's the difference between those two dilemmas? In the latter, the victim is used as merely means (organs), but the person on the side track is not used as merely means. Ask yourself the question: does your plan still work if the victim you are about to make was not present? If there was no person on the side track, you can still turn the switch. But if there is no-one to be sacrificed in the hospital, you can't save the 5 patients. With this yoy can see that the person on the side track is not used as a means, because that would imply that it's presence is necessary.

The basic right is a powerful principle: it is stronger than the right to life of 5 people.

So if you're the one guy that would be getting crushed by flipping the switch, you're justified in not doing that even if that means every other living being in the universe dies instead?

No, I guess not... I don't see why you ask that question. It's a serious question? I would let myself crushed anyway.


 


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I see your 'principles' as a

I see your 'principles' as a mixed back of some basic 'no-brainer' ideas, and some highly individual, subjective ideas, hardly deserving to be treated as proper 'principles'.

They appear to be an attempt to devise a solid set of rules for something which really cannot be defined that way.

No matter how you devise such principles, you cannot capture in a handful of such ideas the complexity of the real world, all the scenarios which can arise. There are always going to be situations where there simply is no single 'right' answer.

There is no single metric that we can use to judge how worthy any life-form is of 'respect' vs any other, that all thoughtful and educated people are going to agree on.

Or how you can decide on the 'correct' decision in those imaginary scenarios that are so popular currently, that you selected a couple of examples from.

I think you are doing the same thing that led to the formulation of things like the Ten Commandments, which inevitably just encode the current biases and prejudices of those who devise them and the society in which they live. I would certainly regard your efforts as superior to the Ten Commandments, of course.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Stijn Bruers wrote:Beyond

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Why do you open the third lowest drawer and point at the species homo sapiens and say that all and only homo sapiens belong to society?

Because every being that I encounter that participates in society is human. If you want to get your dog to pay the rent, good luck.

but if you want a mentally disabled person to pay the rent... Let's be honest, if a mentally disabled orphan participates in society in some meaningful way, than the same could be said of a dog. You can say that dogs are property, but then you have to justify why way may treat them as property. 

Quote:

So if it was a choice between a cow and one of those mentally disabled people you have a thing for? Two cows? Three cows? Four dogs? How do you determine? My sense from you so far is that you say fuck the animals if it is the life of a human but claim that animals are just as morally important as humans. 

I don't understand your question exactly, but I may refer to principle 7, the tolerated choice equality. In a burning house with a disabled person and a dog, I may save the human. But I tolerate if someone would save the dog. If I had to choose between 1 disabled person versus 2 dogs, things become more complicated, but it doesn't have anything to do with speciecism, because it has the same difficulty in another dilemma where I have to choose between my girlfriend and 2 other unknown persons. Or 3 persons, 4 persons...

Quote:
Again, you ignore the basic question. How do you calculate it? It doesn't matter how many animals may or may not die until you determine a unit of measurement. Is one mouse equal to one cow?

yes 1: they both have an equal claim for the basic right

yes 2: their well-being counts equaly

yes 3: there is a tolerated choice equality (read http://stijnbruers.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/a-model-for-a-theory-of-justice/ where these three principles of equality are explained)

no 1: I may happen to love cows and feel more empathy with them, so in a burning house dilemma I may save the cow instead of the mouse. So there may be an emotional inequality, but it is always accompanied with a tolerated choice equality (yes 3)

Quote:
Is one million mice equal to one cow?

no 1: the basic rights of million mice count a million times higher than the basic right of one cow

no 2: the well-being of a million moice is higher than 1 cow

undecided 1: the basic right of one cow versus the well-being of a number of mice (but with a million mice, I am tempted to take the side of the mice, just as I would take the side of 1 million persons versus 1 basic right violation of 1 person.

Quote:
Why is one worth more than the other? In what way does it not violate the basic rights of a mouse to chop it up with a combine?
With basic right I mean the right not to be used as merely means. This right trumps other important rights, such as the right to live. See the hospital dilemma.

Quote:
Whether you intend it or not they are still dead. Is intentions the only thing that matters to you?
Not the only thing, but it matters.

Quote:
Because intentions don't really matter a hill of beans to me.
Than you are a strict utilitarian. I am not, and roughly 95% of the people are not. Most people would conclude that intentions matter.

Quote:
If your actions can predictably lead to someones death you are responsible for it. Running a modern farm leads to a predictable number of animal deaths, especially when you use pesticides- which if everyone on planet were to switch to a vegan diet would have to be used extensively to keep production high enough.  
There are some studies that indicate that even a vegan organic farming (with universal vegan diet) gives in total a higher productions of proteins than the current mixed system. (Of course, our current mixed system with livestock is highly inefficient). I am not saying that the production with vegan organic farming is maximum; it isn't. But it's higher than now, and my guess is that the basic rights of cows trump the rights to live of field mice. (Also the basic right of a mice trumps the right to live of cows, so there is no discrimination there.) Imagine that farming would accidentally kill humans (in fact, it does). Imagine that killing and eating one human would save say 5 people who were otherwise accidentally killed. I would say that the basic right of this one person trumps the right to live of 5 other persons. It's just as in the hospital dilemma, where we don't sacrifice a person, even if we could save 5 patients with organ transplantations. 

 

Ok, so you are basically at a 1 to 1 ratio. IOW murdering one cow (or mouse or any other animal included in your class) is the equivalent of murdering one human in similar circumstances. Now, if I were to adopt this morality as my own, it would take a very radical change in my lifestyle. I would have to give up much of what I enjoy about life (food, drink, technology, modern comforts etc.) Why should I? What rational reason is there for me to even attempt to follow your moral code?

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


Manageri
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Stijn Bruers wrote:Manageri

Stijn Bruers wrote:

Manageri wrote:

So if you're the one guy that would be getting crushed by flipping the switch, you're justified in not doing that even if that means every other living being in the universe dies instead?

No, I guess not... I don't see why you ask that question. It's a serious question? I would let myself crushed anyway.

But the question wasn't whether you'd do it, I asked whether you would be justified in not doing it. If your "basic right" really trumps the right to life and these rights can't be quantified in such a way as to make any kind of numeric comparisons, on what basis could you call not flipping the switch the wrong decision?