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pendell
2009-10-23, 07:08 AM
New Zealand Dominion-Post (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/national/2987821/Save-the-planet-eat-a-dog)



The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created bypopular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them.

"If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around," Brenda Vale said.

..

German shepherds: 1.1 hectares, compared with 0.41ha for a large SUV.

Cats: 0.15ha (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf). Hamsters: 0.014ha (two of them equate to a medium-sized plasma TV).

Goldfish: 0.00034ha (an eco-finprint equal to two cellphones).



*Goes off to pick up a fork and spoon*.

So ... by keeping Mr. Scruffy around, Belkar is, in his own, way, contributing to the TOTAL DESTRUCTION of OOTS-world, truly there is no end to his evil :smallbiggrin:.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Nameless
2009-10-23, 07:11 AM
*eats my already-cooked cat*

I'm sorry, what?

pendell
2009-10-23, 07:14 AM
How'd ya cook it? I'm thinking a nice parmigiana myself -- ya put enough tomato sauce, mozarrella, and breading on it, *any* kind of meat will taste good.

Tongue-in-cheek,

Brian P.

Bouregard
2009-10-23, 08:28 AM
mhmm hotdog.....

I was always a proud member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)

Coidzor
2009-10-23, 08:31 AM
You're usually best off stewing pets due to the fact that their muscles actually seem some use and are generally further along in their life cycle when you'd eat them.

Rettu Skcollob
2009-10-23, 08:42 AM
I came here expecting zombies and was disappointed. :smallannoyed:

Eldan
2009-10-23, 08:42 AM
Cats also have the problem that they threaten a wide variety of birds, rare or not.

Crixon
2009-10-23, 09:06 AM
I wonder how much of an eco footprint my horses have, I have 3 and theres no way im getting rid of them thats for sure! Cant ride a chicken :P

pendell
2009-10-23, 09:08 AM
I wonder how much of an eco footprint my horses have, I have 3 and theres no way im getting rid of them thats for sure! Cant ride a chicken :P

I dunno, have you tried?

Or .. if you can't ride them, maybe you can harness them and get them to pull a cart for you or something like. I wonder how much chickenpower it takes to equate to horsepower? :)

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Cyrion
2009-10-23, 09:18 AM
You just need to scale up the chickens.

You can ride an ostrich, the eggs make omlettes that could feed even Jon and Kate's brood, and ostrich burgers are pretty tasty (they're actually a red meat).

bosssmiley
2009-10-23, 09:22 AM
"The Cult of the Green God demands penance, or his wrath will fall upon us all. The ice will melt and the seas rise, the crops will fail, the sun will burn us and the rains poison us; all for our sins against Gaia! Facts? You demand facts of the Green God? Silence! The science is settled (for true science is an eternal and immutable doctrine)! Repent! Repent!

You must pay indulgences to the Green Priesthood for the sins of driving big cars, using fossil fuels, or owning pets. They will use these 'sin taxes' and 'carbonic credits' to built great spinning, bird sacrificing prayer wheels which are pleasing unto the Green God (coz Lord knows they're useless for producing reliable power). Turn your faces from your greed and obey the priests of the Green God! OBEY!"

More junk science propaganda designed to denormalise things we all do in everyday life (drinking, smoking, eating, driving, throwing out our rubbish, owning pets, etc).

(I'm environmentally conscious enough to know opportunistic snake oil salesmen when I see them :smallannoyed:)

pendell
2009-10-23, 09:47 AM
HEATHEN! We'd burn you at the stake, but the emissions from a good burning are too high to consider. So instead I think we'll drop you in a lovely compost pile instead. My wife's blackberry bush needs some help anyway.

TREES FOR THE TREE THRONE!

Tongue-in-cheek,

Brian P.

PS. On another note, can we all be more silly and less political? There's some real potential in this thread, but I don't think Roland has locked his quota of 1 thread / 1 day yet. I don't want it to be this one. -- BDP.

PPS. Of course Roland doesn't have a thread quota. SILLY! remember? -- BDP.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-23, 09:52 AM
I wonder how much of an eco footprint my horses have, I have 3 and theres no way im getting rid of them thats for sure! Cant ride a chicken :P

...I have developed a sudden urge to acquire a turkey-driven chariot (chickens would be too small). >.>

Anuan
2009-10-23, 09:59 AM
Emus are the way to go, bro :smallbiggrin:

Castaras
2009-10-23, 10:02 AM
Cats also have the problem that they threaten a wide variety of birds, rare or not.

But they have their ecological niche with that.

...although when you think of ... Stephenson's Island Wren? I think it is. Which was a population of birds that were made extinct by 1 cat.... hmm

Eldan
2009-10-23, 12:07 PM
Actually, that's one thing I've always been arguing with other ecologists...
The arguments "It's their niche!", "They are native!" and "OMG! Invasive species!".
Yes, cats eat birds. The problem is we feed our cats, give them warm homes and feed their young, with the result that there are a lot more cats than there should be.
Of course, I'm not advocating eating cats. They taste terrible :smallwink:

Or locking them in houses. Unless your house is really big, that's just mean. I mean, I used to have several cats myself.

Ichneumon
2009-10-23, 12:18 PM
I was always a proud member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)

:annoyed: I'm à member of PETA too, the real one that is.

Faulty
2009-10-23, 12:20 PM
:annoyed: I'm à member of PETA too, the real one that is.

I'm disappointed in you Ichy. PETA has horrendously sexist adverts.

pendell
2009-10-23, 12:22 PM
Of course, I'm not advocating eating cats. They taste terrible


Mustard. Mustard covers a multitude of sins. So does tabasco sauce. And curry, for that matter.

It's kind of funny how much of cuisine is devoted to finding new and interesting ways (breading, cheese, sauces, curry, spices) to cover up the natural, foul taste of whatever it is we're eating.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Mystic Muse
2009-10-23, 12:22 PM
:annoyed: I'm à member of PETA too, the real one that is.

It's just a joke Ichneumon. Please don't take it so seriously. Even if they do eat meat I doubt they fry up Cats and dogs.

Eldan
2009-10-23, 12:28 PM
Mustard. Mustard covers a multitude of sins. So does tabasco sauce. And curry, for that matter.

It's kind of funny how much of cuisine is devoted to finding new and interesting ways (breading, cheese, sauces, curry, spices) to cover up the natural, foul taste of whatever it is we're eating.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Ah, yes. I'm not a fan of tabasco, actually, but my fridge always contains at least two kinds of red curry, two kinds of green curry, at least one yellow curry and, of course, also some kind of mustard. I also collect curry powders from different countries.

Gulaghar
2009-10-23, 12:40 PM
It's just a joke Ichneumon. Please don't take it so seriously. Even if they do eat meat I doubt they fry up Cats and dogs.

Of course not, their too tough and stringy.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-23, 12:57 PM
:annoyed: I'm à member of PETA too, the real one that is.

Sadface. I like animals lots, but I'm not very fond of PETA and some of the decisions and actions those among its members have made or condoned.

*huggles*...love you anyway, though.

Green Bean
2009-10-23, 01:24 PM
I'm disappointed in you Ichy. PETA has horrendously sexist adverts.

Now now, you can't post something like that without adding this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2z2lTUR5Ao) :smalltongue:

Mystic Muse
2009-10-23, 01:38 PM
Now now, you can't post something like that without adding this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2z2lTUR5Ao) :smalltongue:

:eek: THAT'S HORRIBLE! although the farm thing was a bit weird. And animals don't deserve more respect than women. That IS horribly sexist.


PETA has been added to my list. It will not exist on the world I create. you're still allowed Ichneumon. Just don't hate me for eating cheeseburgers.

Green Bean
2009-10-23, 01:41 PM
:eek: THAT'S HORRIBLE! although the farm thing was a bit weird. And animals don't deserve more respect than women. That IS horribly sexist.


PETA has been added to my list. It will not exist on the world I create. you're still allowed Ichneumon. Just don't hate me for eating cheeseburgers.

It's The Onion, Kyuubi. It's a parody. :smallamused:

Pika...
2009-10-23, 01:45 PM
Well, we all need to do our part.

Mr. Snuggle Buns is all ready:
http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f173/celestialkin/hotdog.jpg

Mystic Muse
2009-10-23, 01:45 PM
It's The Onion, Kyuubi. It's a parody. :smallamused:

*facepalm*

aren't these the same guys who did the zombie thing?

*checks.* yes they are. I'm leaving my post up in all its hilarity anyway.

Pika...
2009-10-23, 01:48 PM
I wonder how much of an eco footprint my horses have, I have 3 and theres no way im getting rid of them thats for sure! Cant ride a chicken :P

Says who?


http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/finalfantasy/images/c/c6/Ffcc-tcb_chocobo.jpg

Mystic Muse
2009-10-23, 01:50 PM
Says who?


http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/finalfantasy/images/c/c6/Ffcc-tcb_chocobo.jpg


That's a chocobo. more like an Emu than a chicken.

Alteran
2009-10-23, 02:20 PM
That's a chocobo. more like an Emu than a chicken.

Fine.

http://nedroid.com/images/Pheroesjourneymed.jpg

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-23, 02:23 PM
Now now, you can't post something like that without adding this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2z2lTUR5Ao) :smalltongue:

Aww...I was hoping that'd be this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmK0bZl4ILM). =P

RS14
2009-10-23, 02:36 PM
The eco-footprint of a child is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialize in sustainable living, say parents should swap boys and girls for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Child: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created by popular children, taking into account the ingredients of food and the land needed to create them.

"If you have a young jock or similar-sized child, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around," Brenda Vale said.

..

Middle-School Quarterback: 1.1 hectares, compared with 0.41ha for a large SUV.

Anime Nerd: 0.15ha (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf).
Vegan: 0.014ha (two of them equate to a medium-sized plasma TV).

Infant: 0.00034ha (an eco-finprint equal to two cellphones).

I just made this up, of course.

Worira
2009-10-23, 02:37 PM
Let's burn down the rainforests, I hear they're full of animals. And animals have carbon emissions.

Gulaghar
2009-10-23, 02:42 PM
Fine.

http://nedroid.com/images/Pheroesjourneymed.jpg

I need to get myself a riding chicken.

Pika...
2009-10-23, 02:43 PM
That's a chocobo. more like an Emu than a chicken.

Holy Crud!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATZ5kv-HKxE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ese36G5LC-U&feature=related

Gulaghar
2009-10-23, 02:45 PM
Holy Crud!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATZ5kv-HKxE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ese36G5LC-U&feature=related

That is so awesome

pendell
2009-10-23, 03:18 PM
I just made this up, of course.
parents should swap boys and girls for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Child: The real guide to sustainable living.


And then we live in biodegradable gingerbread houses ? The Brothers Grimm would be proud.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

AtomicKitKat
2009-10-23, 06:38 PM
MEAT: Mankind Eating Animals: Tasty.:smalltongue:

The Chinese have a saying. Summarised: If you can't escape and won't poison us by doing so, we'll eat you.":smallbiggrin:

Edit: None of this namby-pamby "Let's take off the face so we won't feel guilty when it looks at us" nonsense either. We'll eat your face too!:smallamused:

chiasaur11
2009-10-23, 07:46 PM
MEAT: Mankind Eating Animals: Tasty.:smalltongue:

The Chinese have a saying. Summarised: If you can't escape and won't poison us by doing so, we'll eat you.":smallbiggrin:

Edit: None of this namby-pamby "Let's take off the face so we won't feel guilty when it looks at us" nonsense either. We'll eat your face too!:smallamused:

Optimus Prime would be proud.

Coidzor
2009-10-23, 08:36 PM
'Till All Are One!

In mah belleh.

Berserk Monk
2009-10-23, 10:30 PM
This sounds like something created by the Elder Gods.

Devils_Advocate
2009-10-25, 11:15 PM
More junk science propaganda designed to denormalise things we all do in everyday life (drinking, smoking, eating, driving, throwing out our rubbish, owning pets, etc).
I'm unclear on how this constitutes "junk science propaganda". Do they make flawed assumptions about how resource consumption effects land use, maybe?

Criticizing socially acceptable evils seems to me necessary to moral progress.

Coidzor
2009-10-25, 11:17 PM
Well, it's proving the assumption that keeping pets is evil that gets most people, I believe.

Adlan
2009-10-26, 11:55 AM
:annoyed: I'm à member of PETA too, the real one that is.

http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

Then your membership fee's are going towards killing animals, supporting hypocrites and animal rights terrorism.

I'm pretty much opposed to everything PETA stands for, but if you support animal welfare (not animal rights), then you are being duped.

pendell
2009-10-26, 12:19 PM
Might I suggest that discussing the pros and cons of PETA -- the political organization -- is likely to bring the wrath of Roland upon us?


Clearly, all animals are carbon emitters, and should be cooked and eaten at the first opportunity. In fact, it's probably just better to say that all life is evil. EEE-VIL. Some just don't know it yet :smallamused:

Waiit a minute -- cooking emits CO2 also, doesn't it? I guess we eat 'em raw.

Puppies are evil. Kittens are evil. Children are VERY evil (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/25/alex-renton-population-control-climate-change). White is black. Life is death.


Tongue-in-cheek,

The very evil Brian P.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-26, 12:29 PM
Might I suggest that discussing the pros and cons of PETA -- the political organization -- is likely to bring the wrath of Roland upon us?


Clearly, all animals are carbon emitters, and should be cooked and eaten at the first opportunity. In fact, it's probably just better to say that all life is evil. EEE-VIL. Some just don't know it yet :smallamused:

Waiit a minute -- cooking emits CO2 also, doesn't it? I guess we eat 'em raw.

Puppies are evil. Kittens are evil. Children are VERY evil (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/25/alex-renton-population-control-climate-change). White is black. Life is death.


Tongue-in-cheek,

The very evil Brian P.

We were discussing this in class today. Taking all the unemployed people and the overpopulated countries, and using them for electricity generation a la The Matrix. Alternative energy sources! Stop global warming! =D

Nameless
2009-10-26, 01:11 PM
mhmm hotdog.....

I was always a proud member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)

And I'm a proud member of MEPA (Meat Eating Protection Association)
... Well, the only member, but still. :smalltongue:

And speaking of those brain-washing, hypocritical, lying one-sided, bias, in-sensitive PETA, didn't they kill something along the lines of 75% of the animals they took in?

Ichneumon
2009-10-26, 01:15 PM
http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

I'm pretty much opposed to everything PETA stands for, but if you support animal welfare (not animal rights), then you are being duped.

I've learned not to trust websites like that, they only show half of the truth. Also, I very much oppose animal welfare, if it isn't animal rights.

Nameless
2009-10-26, 01:17 PM
I've learned not to trust websites like that, they only show half of the truth. Also, I very much oppose animal welfare.

I've actually seen this on a few youtube videos and sites and one where they had an interview with the founder(?) of PETA. ... And don't PETA only show half the truth like, all the time?

TheSummoner
2009-10-26, 01:19 PM
And I'm a proud member of MEPA (Meat Eating Protection Association)
... Well, the only member, but still. :smalltongue:

Not anymore! *waves membership card*

Lets see... I have three cats... Which do I care more about... my three cats which I love and that love me back or the earth which won't be in significant danger until I'm long dead... My beloved pets... a space rock with plants on it...

Another ice age is inevitable. Global warming will only serve to delay the ice that will eventually destroy New York City =P

Ichneumon
2009-10-26, 01:21 PM
I've actually seen this on a few youtube videos and sites and one where they had an interview with the founder(?) of PETA. ... And don't PETA only show half the truth like, all the time?

Some of their campaigns are maybe a bit to one-sided and seem to portray stuff as more simple then it really is or in such a way that you just KNOW people are going to misunderstand it. However, overall, I can't say they say stuff that isn't basically true.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-26, 01:25 PM
Also, I very much oppose animal welfare, if it isn't animal rights.

This statement makes no sense at all to me. What? :smallconfused:

AstralFire
2009-10-26, 01:31 PM
This statement makes no sense at all to me. What? :smallconfused:

He or she finds it to be unacceptable dilution or substitute for the higher purpose they're championing, I assume.

No comment on their choice of organization to use as a vehicle for their morals.

Nameless
2009-10-26, 01:39 PM
Some of their campaigns are maybe a bit to one-sided and seem to portray stuff as more simple then it really is or in such a way that you just KNOW people are going to misunderstand it. However, overall, I can't say they say stuff that isn't basically true.

To be honest Ich, I haven't seen a single add where the content isn't either a lie, bias, half-true or just completely ridicules.

Ichneumon
2009-10-26, 01:42 PM
This statement makes no sense at all to me. What? :smallconfused:

Astral fire is somewhat correct. I am against animal use/exploitation, principly because it assumes that animals are the property of humans, and I don't find it acceptable to support a position that tries to regulate institutionalized animal exploitation, instead of abolishing it.

Elfin
2009-10-26, 01:42 PM
Obviously, then, the most efficient road to sustainable living is cannibalism.

TheSummoner
2009-10-26, 01:45 PM
Obviously, then, the most sustainable path for humans to take is mass suicide.

Thats no fun, lets go with murder instead.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-26, 01:47 PM
Astral fire is somewhat correct. I am against animal use/exploitation, principly because it assumes that animals are the property of humans, and I don't find it acceptable to support a position that tries to regulate institutionalized animal exploitation, instead of abolishing it.

Mmm. I find the other path preferable. If it's unlikely you'll get everything, compromise. Wait a year. Ask for more. Compromise again. You'll get what you want, eventually. All or nothing tends to get you...a lot of nothing. >.>

*hugs*...and I do really, really dislike PETA. Sorry. I think your heart's in the right place, but...that organization's is not.

pendell
2009-10-26, 01:48 PM
Nah, we solve this the Nac Mac Feegle way -- the last billion people still standing get to keep the planet :)



Sorry. I think your heart's in the right place


Center of the chest, I hope.

Tongue-in-cheek,

Brian P.

Jack Squat
2009-10-26, 01:49 PM
Not wanting to go down the PETA road too far, I found this (http://www.seakittens.com/seakittens.html) particularly hilarious.

In case they change it:

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/5573/petaee2.jpg

Pay attention to the Ad on the top of the page.

Elfin
2009-10-26, 01:49 PM
Nah, we solve this the Nac Mac Feegle way -- the last billion people still standing get to keep the planet :)

Now that's what I call sustainable living. :smallwink:

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-26, 01:52 PM
Not wanting to go down the PETA road too far, I found this (http://www.seakittens.com/seakittens.html) particularly hilarious.

In case they change it:

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/5573/petaee2.jpg

Pay attention to the Ad on the top of the page.

Those steaks are delicious. I know from experience. Mmm, cow. =3

Ichneumon
2009-10-26, 01:54 PM
Mmm. I find the other path preferable. If it's unlikely you'll get everything, compromise. Wait a year. Ask for more. Compromise again. You'll get what you want, eventually. All or nothing tends to get you...a lot of nothing. >.>

Well, it's not that I don't want to compromise, I recognise that we don't achieve abolition overnight and that small victories will slowly bring us to what we want, however, I doubt that small welfare improvements really change the property status of animals. Just like advocating for waterboarding with comfortable chairs (silly example) would improve the welfare of humans, but can't be said to be a real improvement on "human rights". I realise though that this touches politics, so if you have any further questions or would like to talk more about this, please do so through pm. :smallamused:

*hugs*

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-26, 01:59 PM
Well, it's not that I don't want to compromise, I recognise that we don't achieve abolition overnight and that small victories will slowly bring us to what we want, however, I doubt that small welfare improvements really change the property status of animals. Just like advocating for waterboarding with comfortable chairs (silly example) would improve the welfare of humans, but can't be said to be a real improvement on "human rights". I realise though that this touches politics, so if you have any further questions or would like to talk more about this, please do so through pm. :smallamused:

*hugs*

*nodnod*..alright. Hey, I can respect any position that would give me a hug, even if we don't fully agree. ^_^

*huggles*

...and get yourself a good IM program and message me sometime, if that's the case. =3

Nameless
2009-10-26, 02:41 PM
Obviously, then, the most efficient road to sustainable living is cannibalism.

I've had human.
Tastes like pork.

daggaz
2009-10-26, 03:12 PM
"The Cult of the Green God demands penance, or his wrath will fall upon us all. The ice will melt and the seas rise, the crops will fail, the sun will burn us and the rains poison us; all for our sins against Gaia! Facts? You demand facts of the Green God? Silence! The science is settled (for true science is an eternal and immutable doctrine)! Repent! Repent!

You must pay indulgences to the Green Priesthood for the sins of driving big cars, using fossil fuels, or owning pets. They will use these 'sin taxes' and 'carbonic credits' to built great spinning, bird sacrificing prayer wheels which are pleasing unto the Green God (coz Lord knows they're useless for producing reliable power). Turn your faces from your greed and obey the priests of the Green God! OBEY!"

More junk science propaganda designed to denormalise things we all do in everyday life (drinking, smoking, eating, driving, throwing out our rubbish, owning pets, etc).

(I'm environmentally conscious enough to know opportunistic snake oil salesmen when I see them :smallannoyed:)


OMG This. So this. If you want real climate science then check out the book "The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change," by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder. Svensmark just published an absolutely groundbreaking research paper on solar radiation and its surprising effect on cloud cover here on earth, this book sums it up in laymans terms. This is the news that is making the waves in the inner climatology circles. This is real science.

Spoiler: You know that gigantic solar radiation furnace that is trillions of times bigger than the earth and is only a single astronomical unit away from us? Yeah... it has a huge effect on us.

Nameless
2009-10-26, 03:21 PM
Spoiler: You know that gigantic solar radiation furnace that is trillions of times bigger than the earth and is only a single astronomical unit away from us? Yeah... it has a huge effect on us.

There's actually a lot more evidence to suggest that sun spots have a lot to do (or are at least an indicator of the sun's activity) with climate change then our silly plastic bags. Which makes sense seeing as, you know, it's a giant ball of radiation and heat that basically controls everything else that happens on this planet. >.>

Ichneumon
2009-10-26, 03:32 PM
I consider myself an environmentalist, but I do not believe in global warming, there really aren't that many proofed scientific facts that support it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy)

Nameless
2009-10-26, 04:19 PM
I consider myself an environmentalist, but I do not believe in global warming, there really aren't that many proofed scientific facts that support it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy)

I believe in global warming, but not that humans are making it any worse or any faster then it naturally is and always has been.

pendell
2009-10-26, 05:16 PM
Spoiler: You know that gigantic solar radiation furnace that is trillions of times bigger than the earth and is only a single astronomical unit away from us? Yeah... it has a huge effect on us.

This would explain why Mars, Triton, and Pluto (http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html) are also experiencing a warming trend.


Respectfully,

Brian P.

Faulty
2009-10-26, 06:01 PM
animal rights terrorism.

I think you're mixing up PETA with ALF.

I still have a problem with PETA's sexist ads and their sensationalist approach to things. I don't feel like my environmentalist and animal "rights" beliefs should conflict with my feminist beliefs...

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-26, 06:02 PM
I think you're mixing up PETA with ALF.

...hasn't PETA pledged support for the ALF? And I think I once heard they helped fund them, though I couldn't give you a source there...

Faulty
2009-10-26, 06:04 PM
...hasn't PETA pledged support for the ALF? And I think I once heard they helped fund them, though I couldn't give you a source there...

I've never heard of that happening. ALF engages in non-terrorist activity, too, I feel it should be mentioned. They're not a hierarchical organization, but more a grass roots, decentralized thing, so basically anyone can do something and claim it was ALF. So the actions of ALF can just as likely be stuff like legal protests.

Jack Squat
2009-10-26, 06:08 PM
I think you're mixing up PETA with ALF.

Nope. While ALF (and ELF) is more proliferate in this, PETA has it's share. Not wanting to discuss it on these forums, since this treads dangerously close to politics, I'd suggest doing the searching yourself. I just Googled "PETA terrorism".

At the very least, PETA supports (monetarily) the more extreme groups and has been under surveillance by the FBI for possible terrorist activity for a few years.

Trog
2009-10-26, 10:14 PM
...hasn't PETA pledged support for the ALF? And I think I once heard they helped fund them, though I couldn't give you a source there...
They have done so indirectly in 1995 (found on their public record tax return) through funds ($25,000) directed to the father (Ray Coronado) of a prominent ALF convicted arsonist, Rodney Coronado, as well as funds ($45,200) to a group specifically set up to support said serial arsonist. Penn & Teller did an episode on PETA I believe that covered that. Google it.

Mystic Muse
2009-10-26, 11:08 PM
slightly off topic. is there any good alternative to animal testing?

Pyrian
2009-10-26, 11:17 PM
Animal testing is a wide endeavor. Where its possible to replace it, it's already been replaced: in vitro and simulation solutions are pretty much inevitably cheaper than animal testing, and animal testing itself is not nearly as exact a science as we'd like. But for the most part, no, there's no remotely effective replacement available. There's just too much going on in a living mammal to do an end run with much confidence.

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 12:39 AM
slightly off topic. is there any good alternative to animal testing?

Nothing beats the efficiency/accuracy of just doing medical testing on human subjects (no need to extrapolate results etc). Most likely this would have to be done against their will though, at least when you are planning on doing the tests that would be done on animals. This is something most people don't agree with though, even if medical science is really slowed down by it.

Most of us wouldn't find doing tests on unconsenting human subjects acceptable even if alternatives (like animal testing) aren't as effective. Most people, I assume/believe/have noticed, find medical testing without consent on human subjects to be unacceptable, whatever the benefit might be from doing it or how few "good" alternatives there are. Our concern for the well-being of one individual and the harm you would do to them outweighs any possible benefit it might have to society. I don't think it is strange to give non-human individuals the same kind of consideration.

Trog
2009-10-27, 12:52 AM
slightly off topic. is there any good alternative to animal testing?
Well they are working on duplicating a lot of the chemical structures of the human body in super computer models. One of the things they hope to do with that is to test out drugs in such a system to see how they interact. Doing these sorts of simulations might, over time, greatly lessen or possibly even eliminate the need for animal testing. They have a portion of the brain built already in this sort of modeling. Fascinatingly complex stuff.

@v *shrug* fair enough. Simply lessen then.

pendell
2009-10-27, 07:12 AM
I've been doing Operations Research -- read computer simulation -- for 15 years, and I think this warning (http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/2009/Q4/mail594.html#semantics) is apropros.



http://perrinelson.com/2009/10/26/1383.aspx

"...All of these models were simulations of reality. Mine were merely crude simulations of reality, but the ones my dad built were more refined and accurate, with the model aircraft being the most accurate of all of them. None of them worked exactly the way their real world counterparts did though, although the aircraft came closest. And, while my models and my dad’s were built over thirty years ago, people still do this kind of model building today. Some still choose to do it with physical materials, but not all models can be built that way.

A computer simulation is a tool that can show you what /might /happen when a particular event occurs. The accuracy of a simulation depends on many things. The most important part of a computer simulation is the underlying model. For computer simulations this generally involves iterative calculations of many mathematical equations. How accurately the mathematical equations describe the physics of the world has a significant effect on how accurate the simulation is when compared to reality. Another factor that affects the correspondence of a computer simulation’s results to reality is the fudge factors used – values supplied to various parameters in the equations being processed that have to be assumed or measured and input. Yet another factor affecting how closely a simulation matches the real world is the assumed initial conditions. In chaotic systems, like particle flow in viscous media for example, small differences in initial conditions can have significant effects on the end product of the calculations...

...Computer simulations are fantastic scientific tools, but they’re NOT science. They’re merely technology applied to scientific theory. You cannot prove a theory using a simulation, but you can disprove one by comparing the results of the theory’s predictions against reality. Ultimately, scientific theories, and computer simulations are nothing more than models. They’re not reality. They can help you predict what might happen if your assumptions are correct, but they’re not a substitute for actual experimentation and measurement...."

David Needham


All of which is to say, NO. Simulation may enable us to cut down on the amount of neede d testing but IMO no medicine or other treatment intended for humans should go onto the market without real, verifiable experiments completed with real living creatures. There is simply no substitute.

Respectfully,

Brian Pendell

Adlan
2009-10-27, 08:03 AM
I don't think it is strange to give non-human individuals the same kind of consideration.

I do, but replace non-human with sapient and I'm with you part of the way. However, as someone who's little sisters life was saved through animal tested medical advances and cures, I find PETA's attitude towards any and all animal testing horrific (and hypocritical, some of their board members still take animal based insulin, rather than risk dying like they 'should').

Anmals that are not sapient do not have rights, I don't belive that rights can come without an understanding of them, which a non sapient animal does not have. Where the line falls in what sapience is, thats another debate and another thredjack.

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 10:27 AM
Would you refuse to take anti-frost medication because they happen to have been discovered by experimenting on human beings? Would you say it is hypocritical to be against unconsentual medical testing on humans while still taking THE medication that happen to be developed by it?

What about babies or other human beings who do not understand their rights, should they be refused their right? Even if they lack the understanding, they still have the need, the interest in that right protecting them.

Gulaghar
2009-10-27, 10:36 AM
I consider myself an environmentalist, but I do not believe in global warming, there really aren't that many proofed scientific facts that support it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy)

Hell ya, its all a big scam:smallbiggrin: Until the world ends I refuse to believe in it.

Trog
2009-10-27, 11:17 AM
Hell ya, its all a big scam:smallbiggrin: Until the world ends I refuse to believe in it.
Well that depends on what you mean by "global warming." Obviously the earth goes through cycles of some sort (ice ages, for example) so periods of warming and cooling over centuries do exist. If you mean the hysterical the seas are gonna overflow and all the crops and forests will burn sort of global warming then no, probably not.

Though if the hockey stick graph did anything at least it has gotten people thinking about how to prepare to deal with a changing sea level and drought and such. Being prepared and looking for alternatives is a good thing as far as city planning, flood prevention, etc. goes. Panicking isn't though.

From the looks of that link the whole debate is pretty convoluted. Which at least tells us that we don't know for sure yet what the trends have been. I'd be curious to see what an average of all those different data sets would yield as far as a "best guess."

Gulaghar
2009-10-27, 11:27 AM
Well that depends on what you mean by "global warming." Obviously the earth goes through cycles of some sort (ice ages, for example) so periods of warming and cooling over centuries do exist. If you mean the hysterical the seas are gonna overflow and all the crops and forests will burn sort of global warming then no, probably not.

I meant I don't believe in the later, just for clarification.

varthalon
2009-10-27, 11:58 AM
I don't believe the majority of the Environmentalist movement 'research' out there anymore than I believe much of the Industrialist counter research. Global warming and the impacts that humans have on the planet are such complex issues that there is no way a true scientist could form a theory covering it all... real science would deal with tiny, tiny subsections of the entire issue and there really isn't a way to piece it together to get a real answer.

All that said, I do believe in responsible practices, especially in a situation where we can't really know the consequences. Controlling pollution, reducing carbon foot-prints, recycling and such is a fine idea... in moderation. Aristotle's Golden Rule seems applicable that for any issue there are two extremes and the true ideal is the ground equidistant between the two.

Adlan
2009-10-27, 12:51 PM
Would you refuse to take anti-frost medication because they happen to have been discovered by experimenting on human beings? Would you say it is hypocritical to be against unconsentual medical testing on humans while still taking THE medication that happen to be developed by it?

No, I didn't say based on animal research. I said Animal Based. As in made from animals.



What about babies or other human beings who do not understand their rights, should they be refused their right? Even if they lack the understanding, they still have the need, the interest in that right protecting them.

I realise that this thread is very, very hijacked, and this isn't really the place but. They are My species, that makes them special to me. Babies will be Sapient (and depending on peoples PoV, many babies don't have their rights protected, trying to skirt the abortion issue here, but it's relevent to your example.), the serevely mentally disabled are sapient, at the very least, they are members of a sapient species.

You cannot give rights to animals which will then violate the rights of others. PETA's eventual goal is complete animal liberation. Which means complete animal seperation, no pets, no farms, nothing.

I choose to be part of, rather than divorced from, my ecosystem.

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 01:12 PM
No, I didn't say based on animal research. I said Animal Based. As in made from animals.

To be honest, I wasn't aware they still get insulin from animals, I thought they made it from bacteria nowadays...


You cannot give rights to animals which will then violate the rights of others.

People violate each others rights all the time, even though they are sapient and understand them. If I violate your rights, I can expect punishment from society, but it wouldn't take away my right to have my basic rights protected. It isn't suddenly "okay" to enslave or murder me, just because I choose to ignore the rights of others.


They are My species, that makes them special to me.

So, actually it is not about animals being sapient (some mentally disabled aren't any more intelligent than certain animals or very very very young children), but about them being not your species.


I choose to be part of, rather than divorced from, my ecosystem.

Your "ecosystem"?:smallconfused: Please tell me how not using animals would be less "being part" of your ecosystem, any more than any other choice you make that influences the things you influence, also why would you appoint any value to your "ecosystem" as something you want to be part of.

Nameless
2009-10-27, 01:17 PM
Hold on, other animals should have the same rights as humans? Right, so a dog should drive, work, go to school, and pay taxes? I somehow don’t see this working very well.

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 01:26 PM
Hold on, other animals should have the same rights as humans? Right, so a dog should drive, work, go to school, and pay taxes? I somehow don’t see this working very well.

Indeed, it wouldn't work very well and is quite a strange idea. Why would you want to have these animals integrated in our society in the first place and who gave you the idea that animals have the same rights as humans?

Trog
2009-10-27, 01:27 PM
Hold on, other animals should have the same rights as humans? Right, so a dog should drive, work, go to school, and pay taxes? I somehow don’t see this working very well.
*Thinks about this for a bit* Hmm... the only thing that dogs produce that I could see dogs using as currency to pay taxes in... would be poo.

...

Come to think of it I think this year I shall pay my taxes in poo as well.

Viva La Poovolution!

pendell
2009-10-27, 01:36 PM
I really shouldn't butt in, but ...



Right, so a dog should drive, work, go to school, and pay taxes?


A child only does one of those four things, but a child still has rights.

Just because a person isn't capable of full functioning in society does not automatically make them property, to be disposed of as we see fit.

If I understand what Ich is getting at ... not necessarily what PETA stands for, but what *Ich* is saying -- is something along the lines of what C.S. Lewis said: That moderns say "my boots", "my dog", "my children", "my wife", and "my God" -- and believe that the possessive case means the same thing in every case as "my boots". I.e., we can do whatever we like to them , and no one cares.

*If* I understand what Ich is saying , she wants animals to move up the continuum from "my boots" closer to "my children".

The part where I disagree with her -- and the reason I don't like assigning rights to animals -- is because IMO "rights" must be exercised by the particular individual in question. We assign children guardians until they come of age, but rare cases of terminal/mental illness aside humans are able to look out for their own interests in society.

An animal, by contrast, simply can't. An animal is never going to be able to argue before a court, or sue for redress. Like a child, an animal is always going to have a 'guardian' to speak for it in human society. Since that 'guardian' speaks for the animal in all things, he/she will be indistinguishable from an 'owner' even if the legal terminology changes.

An animal could never be a full citizen, because the capacity simply isn't there. The most you could aspire to, I suspect, would be something like 'permanent sub-citizen', like a child or a mentally ill human. Not the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as full adult human. Still more than that given to mere property.

I like the idea of paying my taxes in poo, BTW.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Nameless
2009-10-27, 01:44 PM
I really shouldn't butt in, but ...

A child only does one of those four things, but a child still has rights.



Yeah... But children do not have the same rights and privileges as adults.

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 01:44 PM
With Pendell's explanations of my view, which I have to say, is quite accurate, I am going to stop contributing to this discussion, as I don't think it can go anywhere within forum rules. Leaving animals alone and letting them be though has nothing to do with giving them privelages, we are the ones who make dogs and other animals part of our society, not them.

SurlySeraph
2009-10-27, 01:53 PM
People violate each others rights all the time, even though they are sapient and understand them. If I violate your rights, I can expect punishment from society, but it wouldn't take away my right to have my basic rights protected. It isn't suddenly "okay" to enslave or murder me, just because I choose to ignore the rights of others.

Isn't that exactly what prison and the death penalty are, though? If you violate the rights of others, your rights are violated in retaliation. Hell, in the Middle Ages authorities in many places could issue a "writ of outlawry" as punishment for crime, which made it legal to do anything to the person it was issued against.

I'm not going to get to deeply into the animal rights issue, but my basic thinking is that we should value species based on a number of factors, including their relative level of intelligence and their utility to humans. Pigs are believed to be more intelligent than dogs, but Americans would be very upset to see dogs in the same conditions factory-farmed pigs are in, since dogs are considered companion animals and thus accorded more protection and affection than animals that are valued only for food. I can't say I think this is morally right, but it's the way it is. The best way to change it is by bringing it to people's attention in a context they have some emotional connection to, like asking whether they'd tolerate the factory farming of dogs.

I think that chimps/bonobos, dolphins, and elephants should be accorded a high level of protection since they're the species closest after us in intelligence and are very likely sapient. That doesn't mean "Never use them for research," or "Let them vote," it means "Never make them suffer if you can at all avoid it," and "Never kill them for any reason you wouldn't kill a human for."

Zincorium
2009-10-27, 02:07 PM
Having pets which you can eat, like rabbits, is generally a good idea, even if you're so fond of them you don't eat them while they're still tasty because you like having them around. I've eaten my pets before (chickens, rabbits, goats) and they've all been tastier than store-bought meat.

When I visited the Republic of Korea last year, and ate dog meat at a little hole in the wall restaraunt, they said that only specific dog breeds are used for meat and they're not kept like actual pets.

A key point i would bring up:

The energy used by the dog to live is generally of the renewable variety- it's based on living things. While portion of the energy usage is related to transportation of that food and durable goods surrounding the dog, these are not neccessary.

An SUV uses gas, was made in a factory that was most likely powered by fossil fuels, required lots of fossil fuels to transport the raw materials and finished product around the world, and there's really nothing that can be done about anything but the factory's power.

Nameless
2009-10-27, 02:20 PM
Having pets which you can eat, like rabbits, is generally a good idea, even if you're so fond of them you don't eat them while they're still tasty because you like having them around. I've eaten my pets before (chickens, rabbits, goats) and they've all been tastier than store-bought meat.

What about cat and dog? :smallsmile:

Adlan
2009-10-27, 02:26 PM
The energy used by the dog to live is generally of the renewable variety- it's based on living things. While portion of the energy usage is related to transportation of that food and durable goods surrounding the dog, these are not neccessary.

An SUV uses gas, was made in a factory that was most likely powered by fossil fuels, required lots of fossil fuels to transport the raw materials and finished product around the world, and there's really nothing that can be done about anything but the factory's power.

The Modern Farming system basically turns Fossil Fuel into Food. The Power to make farm equipment work, the fertilisers and pesticides are derived from fossil fuels, or at least, using a lot of power to make. We Eat Fossil Fuels right now, and without the modern farming system, we (humanity) would starve.

So, the renewable energy point kinda falls. It can of course be done, but in general, dog food costs alot of fuel.

Slayn82
2009-10-27, 02:33 PM
Pigs are believed to be more intelligent than dogs, but Americans would be very upset to see dogs in the same conditions factory-farmed pigs are in, since dogs are considered companion animals and thus accorded more protection and affection than animals that are valued only for food.

Now, picture the reaction of someone from India, Holy Cow, vegan and all, seeing a good brazillian Churrascaria ( a churrasco restaurant)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churrasco

Well, guess what our people like to show to any visitor, our favorite cullinary.
Hillarious... and happened at my university.

Anyway, eating our pets isn't all that a bad idea, since a lot of people around the world create chickens with that intent. The "real" big trouble is that most wildlife is losing space to the humans. I mean, well, at the beggining of the 20th century, 1 billion humans. Today, over 6,3 bilions. But wait, the species that are associated with humans also increased in numbers. And seems that the human being thinks that just because he can go over some place, he "owns" the place. Theres no rest for the wildlife, few places were man dont intent to go. You can negate the global warming all the day, but this no one can deny. There are more cows, pigs and chickens in the world than humans, and let´s not get started on cocroaches and rats. The human effect is increased by those species.

And the numbers of most wildlife species? Sinking.

Scylfing
2009-10-27, 02:44 PM
RE the book's argument: Why stop at house pets? Why not eliminate animals in captivity, who if you've ever been to the zoo you can see consume immensely without contributing anything good back to their ecosystem, and even the ones in the wild if their consumption of resources exceeds X amount?

Heck, kill all the predators because of their depradations of properly renewable livestock, and kill all the wild herbivores because of their damage to renewable crop lands.

If all species including our own are to be forced into vegetarianism by our wise and benevolent masters who know better than we do, we can't be having deer eat our veggies and wolves eat our sheep and chickens~


Leaving animals alone and letting them be though has nothing to do with giving them privelages, we are the ones who make dogs and other animals part of our society, not them.

Feral cats destroy bird and rodent populations, often lack serious predators since they dwell near urban areas, and are spreaders of disease. Wild dogs (if they're a breed that can even hope to survive the process of becoming wild) are even worse spreaders of filth and disease since they eat carrion and waste more often than live meat. Reintroducing them to the wild after thousands of years of domesticity is just not feasable. Same goes for most farm animals, who lack the grazing space they would need due to the high demand for crops imposed by the world's human population.

What you call animal slavery is, properly speaking, animal management, and it absolutely can and should be done without cruelty. But it has to be done, no matter how it may seem in the big city, the world is simply too small to have total separation of people from animals.

SurlySeraph
2009-10-27, 02:51 PM
RE the book's argument: Why stop at house pets? Why not eliminate animals in captivity, who if you've ever been to the zoo you can see consume immensely without contributing anything good back to their ecosystem, and even the ones in the wild if their consumption of resources exceeds X amount?

There was a Ray Bradbury short story with this premise. It describes the day when the last zookeeper on Earth is ordered to euthanize his animals. If I remember correctly, they were a guinea pig, a fish, and a blade of grass. After that, all the biomass on Earth is either humans or plankton that is humanity's only food source. The publisher didn't want to publish it because he didn't think Bradbury portrayed it as enough of a bad thing.

Adlan
2009-10-27, 03:47 PM
Leo Frankouski's book, Kren of the Mitchigenti describes a similar distopia.

A species that lives off it's own unsentient young, has modified it's genetics for so long they find the idea of a world like ours, were we co-exist with other species disgusting.



My best hope for the future wilderness and wildlands is as managed preserves. Big game hunters, tourists and holiday makers providing the money to keep the land in something like it's natural state.

Eventually, all the land will look like England. There is not a scrap of true wilderness in England, not the pennines, not the broads, not the moors or the downs are unshaped by humans. I don't think this is a good thing, but the anarcho primitivist view, which some would say is the extreme of what I sympathise with, requires the death of billions of people.

pendell
2009-10-27, 05:17 PM
anarcho primitivist view... requires the death of billions of people.


And that, if I might say so, would suck.

Respectfully,

Brian Pendell

Eldan
2009-10-27, 05:26 PM
Yeah. We really need to hurry up with those Hawking Drives, otherwise we'll never get all the non-rich people off earth fast enough.

Adlan
2009-10-27, 05:46 PM
And that, if I might say so, would suck.

Respectfully,

Brian Pendell


Sorry yes, the concept was so bad I thought it was obvious, but perhaps I should make this clear, Death of Billions: Bad thing!

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 05:55 PM
Sorry yes, the concept was so bad I thought it was obvious, but perhaps I should make this clear, Death of Billions: Bad thing!

How many animals do you think die each year because we as a society want to eat them?

Worira
2009-10-27, 05:58 PM
How many animals do you think die each year because other animals eat them?

thorgrim29
2009-10-27, 06:00 PM
How close are we to a repeat of the vegan thread?

Stormthorn
2009-10-27, 06:01 PM
So, the renewable energy point kinda falls. It can of course be done, but in general, dog food costs alot of fuel.

So do cars. Cars require fuel. Trucks that transport that fuel require more fuel. The ships that bring it to the different countired to put on trucks requires even more fuel.
And the rigs that pump the oil.
And the plants that refine it.

So if we eat our cars, we will have saved enough fuel overall to not have to eat our dogs.


How many animals do you think die each year because other animals eat them?
Compare that to the number of people that die each year because people eat them. :smallbiggrin:
So now you see why we are on top of the food chain, we are smart enough to not eat each other en masse.

Worira
2009-10-27, 06:03 PM
How close are we to a repeat of the vegan thread?

Oh, we're there.

Stormthorn
2009-10-27, 06:04 PM
Oh, we're there.

We had a vegan thread? I didnt go into it. They might eat me, as i am made of lettuce.

Ichneumon
2009-10-27, 06:04 PM
Oh, we're there.

Really? I don't experience it as such. This thread is much more civilized and less flamable, at least until now. In fact, it is much less "hot" than even the Girl Thread or the lgbtitp thread.

pendell
2009-10-27, 06:29 PM
Sorry yes, the concept was so bad I thought it was obvious, but perhaps I should make this clear, Death of Billions: Bad thing!

Thank you. Good to see we're all on the same page here. :smallbiggrin:

Respectfully,

Brian P.

pendell
2009-10-27, 06:32 PM
How many animals do you think die each year because we as a society want to eat them?

Question.

When comparing the deaths of say, 100 random human beings (no one you know) with the deaths of, say, 100 random house cats, do you consider the deaths of human beings to be

A) More horrible.
B) As horrible.
C) Less horrible
D) Mu (question cannot be answered because it depends on faulty assumptions; strawman).

than the deaths of the same number of house cats?

If so, why? To what degree?

Another way to ask the above question is: If you had a lifeboat on which you could put either housecats or humans but not both, *how many* humans would you sacrifice to save the lives of 100 housecats? 100? 10? Only one?

Respectfully,

Brian Pendell

Stormthorn
2009-10-27, 07:00 PM
I wouldnt sacrifice any humans to save a housecat.

Unless it was a really awesome housecat.

Wait...why cant each person hold a cat in its lap?

Coidzor
2009-10-27, 07:04 PM
Because it's a hypothetical situation and the housecats and humans are antithetical to one another. The humans will throw the housecats overboard, if you let them leave together, for scratching them too much, for example.

Horatio@Bridge
2009-10-27, 07:16 PM
I'm also curious, Ich, why it is you consider the lives of animals to be equal to the lives of humans. Do you consider the lives of plants to be equal to the lives of humans and animals as well? If so, why?

pendell
2009-10-27, 07:27 PM
I'm also curious, Ich, why it is you consider the lives of animals to be equal to the lives of humans. Do you consider the lives of plants to be equal to the lives of humans and animals as well? If so, why?

Point of order, counselor, we haven't established that Ich considers the lives of animals and humans to be equal. That's why I asked the original question: To learn what Ich believes the value of animal life is vs. human life, and just what that entails. For example, if it is acceptable to allow animal experimentation to develop human medicine, is it acceptable to allow human experimentation to develop animal medicine? Are the two directly anologous? Is 100 animal lives equal to one human life? What about 1000?

I apologize if this comes across as an interrogation. I just don't understand. I'm obviously from the old school of thought which says that human life is of transfinite value -- he who destroys one man, it is as if he destroyed the world, and he who saves a human life, it is as if they saved the world. And as such I have a hard time comprehending where she's coming from. That's all. I'm trying neither to applaud nor condemn the idea, just understand it.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Faulty
2009-10-27, 07:33 PM
Question.

When comparing the deaths of say, 100 random human beings (no one you know) with the deaths of, say, 100 random house cats, do you consider the deaths of human beings to be

A) More horrible.
B) As horrible.
C) Less horrible
D) Mu (question cannot be answered because it depends on faulty assumptions; strawman).

than the deaths of the same number of house cats?

If so, why? To what degree?

Another way to ask the above question is: If you had a lifeboat on which you could put either housecats or humans but not both, *how many* humans would you sacrifice to save the lives of 100 housecats? 100? 10? Only one?

Respectfully,

Brian Pendell

D. You're operating off false assumptions about Ichy's position. There's a difference between millions and millions of animals being killed and abused in factory farms every year so that people can eat meat when they could be eating a perfectly healthy vegan or vegetarian diet, and saving 100 house cats or 100 people. If you eat animal products with every meal, going vegan would be a way to both survive and cease negatively affecting A LOT of animals. In the 100 cats/100 humans situation, you're dealing with a situation where it's ONLY ONE OR THE OTHER, and where the number of cats and humans is equal, as opposed to, say, the numerous chickens/cows/etc. you're responsible for killing by purchasing and eating their meat.

Choosing A or B would make Ichy or me or most vegans/veggies/animal rights people seem to be off their rockers, by misrepresenting their positions. Choosing C will make them look like hypocrites.


I'm also curious, Ich, why it is you consider the lives of animals to be equal to the lives of humans. Do you consider the lives of plants to be equal to the lives of humans and animals as well? If so, why?

Animals deserve equal consideration as humans. I need to consider the needs and happiness of animals equally to the way I consider that of humans. This results in a moral imperative not to eat meat (hence: veganism). However, for example, choosing between saving a person (to put it simply, a person in this case would be a human who is thinking, feeling and self-aware) or saving a cat... Considering the plight of the cat and the human equally, the cat most likely has: simple emotions, thoughts and needs, possibly a pet owner who would be negatively affected by the cat's death, possibly kittens that depend on them; the person most likely has: complex emotions, thoughts and needs, a sense of self, an awareness of themselves as beings over time, wishes for the future that would be interrupted by death, friends/lovers/family/etc. who would be grieviously affected by the human's death, possibly other people who depend on them, etc. There, I have considered the interests and aspects of both the cat and the human person equally and given them equal weight. Now, who do I choose to save? I save the person. The person has thoughts, feelings, social connections, etc. beyond that of the cat.

Also plants are not sentient beings like animals are.







As for testing on humans, you could maybe test on humans who are not persons... Such as severly disabled people.

AstralFire
2009-10-27, 07:43 PM
Meh.

From my viewpoint, cruelty to animals is wrong, because that is a negative sensation they can experience. Death is not wrong, because it cannot be experienced; it is simply an end. Mourning death is a self-centered reaction, missing the positive effect that that person had upon other sapient, sentient beings - self-included - and that they are no longer able to contribute. I have a problem with causing animals pain, but an animal grown for the purpose of being eaten has done its contribution. If you apply intrinsic value to life itself, which I do not, you will obviously come with different conclusions.

Faulty
2009-10-27, 07:45 PM
I don't apply intrinsic value to life, hence my support for things like euthenasia. I'm still vegan, however, because I value happy lives.

AstralFire
2009-10-27, 07:48 PM
I also value happy lives. -shrug-

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-27, 07:56 PM
To be honest, I wasn't aware they still get insulin from animals, I thought they made it from bacteria nowadays...

...

...EUKARYOTIST! :smallfurious:



...sorry, couldn't resist. Anyone else ever been called speciesist? :smallamused:

Horatio@Bridge
2009-10-27, 08:26 PM
Also plants are not sentient beings like animals are.



Why do you consider animals to be sentient, but not plants?




There's a difference between millions and millions of animals being killed and abused in factory farms every year so that people can eat meat when they could be eating a perfectly healthy vegan or vegetarian diet...




So, I presume that you'd make an exception for societies which do not have the infrastructure/technology/know-how to provide for a healthy vegan diet? That, for instance, you would consider it to be okay for a middle ages peasant to eat meat since they didn't really have the option of going vegan?

What do you think about sustainable farming practices? If farm animals were treated decently, rather than factory farmed, would that make eating meat a more ethical position? What exactly is it about an animal dying so another can eat it that is unethical? Is it that the animal suffered, or do you consider it wrong just because the animal died at all?

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2009-10-27, 08:52 PM
http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

Just thought it was relevant.

Jack Squat
2009-10-27, 08:58 PM
D. You're operating off false assumptions about Ichy's position. There's a difference between millions and millions of animals being killed and abused in factory farms every year so that people can eat meat when they could be eating a perfectly healthy vegan or vegetarian diet, and saving 100 house cats or 100 people. If you eat animal products with every meal, going vegan would be a way to both survive and cease negatively affecting A LOT of animals. In the 100 cats/100 humans situation, you're dealing with a situation where it's ONLY ONE OR THE OTHER, and where the number of cats and humans is equal, as opposed to, say, the numerous chickens/cows/etc. you're responsible for killing by purchasing and eating their meat.

Choosing A or B would make Ichy or me or most vegans/veggies/animal rights people seem to be off their rockers, by misrepresenting their positions. Choosing C will make them look like hypocrites.

Except you're reading the question wrong. He didn't say who would you rather save. Let's say Bob kills 100 cats and Steve kills 100 humans. If you want, you can make them stray cats and homeless, but it doesn't matter. You don't know any of either and their deaths don't directly affect how your life functions. You just saw an article in the paper that mentioned both of these.

His question is which one has a larger impact on the reader's psyche. Which one seems more "wrong" - or are they equal? And why? It's not really meant to be a loaded question.



As for testing on humans, you could maybe test on humans who are not persons... Such as severly disabled people.


Are you proposing a replacement for animal testing, or something alongside it? What is your reasoning? I'm not trying to set you up, just trying to see your train of thought.

AstralFire
2009-10-27, 09:00 PM
Uh, plants are definitionally non-sentient: sentience is the ability to experience sensation.

Sapience may be what you're going for, the ability to discern and judge, the origin of the term Homo sapiens sapiens - but while you can make arguments about how much is mere reaction versus thought, and discuss whether sapience should be more to describe any ability to discern versus being capable of complex thought... few people would argue a plant has any capacity for thought in any way.

It is not scientifically suggested by study of their biology, nor by observing them in the wild.

Scylfing
2009-10-27, 09:24 PM
So how do vegan folks feel about non-human predatorial species? Wolves, gators, snakes, orcas, sharks, hawks, etc., should they have to stop eating animals too?

And I still want to know how folks propose to have sufficient grazing land for every species of herbivore to live off of without fear of depradation and without millions of them having to starve to death?

Oh, and because humans are animals too and it'd be wrong to have to starve billions of them to death in the name of all this, you also have to do all that with enough farmland for 6.5 billion humans at present rate of growth, and with all the infrastructure, distribution, packaging and storage/refrigeration needed to get that food to the places that don't have the capability for macro-agriculture. Oh and maybe even more importantly, while preserving our habitats as well.


I'm not even gonna touch the euthenasia+human testing stuff, I know I'd end up writing something that'd get me banned.

AstralFire
2009-10-27, 09:30 PM
While I'm not for veganism or vegetarianism for reasons I outlined prior, I like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the argument goes along the lines of:

"Those things were okay once because we needed them then. People sometimes still need them today. But people living in modern western society don't need them, and we've outgrown that."

Lappy9000
2009-10-27, 09:36 PM
You inferior life forms still ingest fellow sentients and non-sentients!? Disgusting :smallwink:

AtomicKitKat
2009-10-27, 10:03 PM
I eat that which will not hurt me. As such, I avoid most spice. Vindictive bastards that they are, they make sure to cause me as much distress as possible before they even finish entering my eosophagus.

Stormthorn
2009-10-27, 10:27 PM
Im fine with eating animals, but i wouldnt eat my own cat because it provides companionship.

Im also not sure how cats taste.

As for having more often eaten animals as pets...does the fact that you can eat a cow it really make up for a cows carbon footprint?

I dont like the idea of those animals dying, but if i stop eating meat not everyone else will.
On the other hand, the life a lot of them live is a bad one, to which death may well be preferable.
Every animal i eat is an animal no longer suffering. Every animal i dont eat will still be BBQ'd by someone else.

Also, removing all meat from my diet would be a huge hit to my quality of life and i would have to start taking protein supliments and whatnot.

SurlySeraph
2009-10-27, 10:33 PM
There's one thing that tends to to be ignored in "All humans could become vegans" scenarios. If all humans stopped eating meat, all the animals now living in factory farms would die. They can't survive in the wild, there's no incentive to keep them alive when there will no longer be any demand for their existence or anyone willing to pay for them to exist, and it's not sustainable to keep them alive much less reproducing because there's just enough space to keep them alive as is.

And that's without going into all the possible side effects of removing animal products, which the vast majority of humans have consumed since we existed, from our diets entirely. Plenty of environmentalists protest that genetically modified crops could have unknown and adverse effects on people's health; I haven't heard many bring up what untested diets that could well be lacking in nutrients necessary for long-term good health could do.


As for testing on humans, you could maybe test on humans who are not persons... Such as severly disabled people.

As a matter of fact, in the early 20th century a number of vaccines were first tested in schools for the developmentally disabled. Without the consent or knowledge of their parents or guardians. Given that history, I doubt you'll be able to convince many people to go along with such testing.


...sorry, couldn't resist. Anyone else ever been called speciesist? :smallamused:

Yes, both offline and online. Offline, I'm pretty sure it was a joke. Online, I don't think it was either time.
Actually, the first time I saw the Wikipedia page on speciesism I found it so ridiculous that I edited in a bunch of criticisms of the concept, which were promptly deleted.

Trog
2009-10-27, 10:54 PM
Author J. Neil Schulman contends that "If human beings are no different from other animals, then like all other animals it is our nature to kill any other animal which serves the purposes of our survival and well-being, for that is the way of all nature. Therefore, aside from economic concerns such as making sure we don't kill so quickly that we destroy a species and deprive our descendants of prey, human animals can kill members of other animal species for their usefulness to us. It is only if we are not just another animal -- if our nature is distinctly superior to other animals -- that we become subject to ethics at all -- and then those ethics must take into account our nature as masters of the lower animals. We may seek a balance of nature; but "balance" is a concept that only a species as intelligent as humankind could even contemplate. We may choose to temper the purposes to which we put lower animals with empathy and wisdom; but by virtue of our superior nature, we decide ... and if those decisions include the consumption of animals for human utilitarian or recreational purposes, then the limits on the uses we put the lower beasts are ones we set according to our individual human consciences."

A thought on this:
I find interesting the idea that the ethics of meat eating only come into play at all if one accepts that man is superior to animals. Or if not superior then at least different and more powerful in intellect at the very least. And with that power comes the responsibility for choosing how we interact with animals - something that animals cannot do to the degree that we can. So we can choose not to harm them, like in choosing to be vegan. But it's interesting that even making that choice acknowledges man's superiority over other animals.

So I find it odd when someone says that animals and humans are the same at the same time they are doing what animals cannot and are decide not to eat them thereby proving that they are, in fact, not the same at all.

I think the real key bit of this that is being leveraged by vegans is that "We may choose to temper the purposes to which we put lower animals with empathy and wisdom," and I think it's pretty normal for anyone to weigh how they feel about the treatment of animals versus the benefits of eating them. Which is why I think most people who eat meat would prefer (price being the same) to buy free-range non-factory farmed chicken versus beakless chickens kept in tiny cages all their life because they recognize that one is a more empathetic way of raising a chicken.

Which sort of raises these questions:
How big of a fenced in area constitutes freedom for an animal? If a chicken would live its whole life in an area of 10 square miles if living in the wild is raising them on a 10 square mile farm really impact their quality of life at all? What about feeding them? If we do not feed them are we in humane? If we feed them are we exploiting them? What about medical care? Surely giving an animal its shots to keep to keep it from suffering disease is beneficial to the animal. Or should we not do that because that makes up their caretakers? All animals die. Is it better to eat the animal after it dies on its own of natural causes? Is that even okay? They are no longer alive so it causes them no suffering to do so, right? What if a natural death was a long, drawn out, painful thing? Would it be mercy to end their suffering? Or would this be cruel? How many years of healthy life is a swift and merciful death worth? How many years of life is it worth to have the years you live be healthy and to have your nutritional needs automatically provided for you by another versus risking disease and having to work to provide for your every meal on your own?

As to animal testing is it better to develop a medication without testing on any subject that doesn't possibly need it? What if the person who needed it dies because the untested medication turned out to be toxic - is that any better than a mouse dying to test for the same toxicity? What if it was released to thousands of people and hundreds of them died instead of the one mouse? Which is worse? Is the alternative to testing medication on animals to use them only on the sick who agree to be test subjects? What if no one wants to be a test subject? What if you were the doctor who had to administer the untested drug - how would you feel if the patient died? How would you feel if the mouse had died instead? How would you feel if you were recipient number two of the untested medicine that had been fixed after the first patient died from taking it? How about if the death was a mouse's death? Is it worse if a human who is capable of making ethical decisions dies or a mouse who is incapable of such an act?

I don't have any answers for these questions - answer for yourself. Ultimately there are no easy answers and many will disagree where the line should be drawn as there are also no definite answers to these questions.

AstralFire
2009-10-27, 10:55 PM
Very well-written post.

-claps-

Stormthorn
2009-10-28, 12:18 AM
Very well-written post.

-claps-

Indeed.



There's one thing that tends to to be ignored in "All humans could become vegans" scenarios. If all humans stopped eating meat, all the animals now living in factory farms would die. They can't survive in the wild, there's no incentive to keep them alive when there will no longer be any demand for their existence or anyone willing to pay for them to exist, and it's not sustainable to keep them alive much less reproducing because there's just enough space to keep them alive as is.

Also, we should probably stop to ponder the impact throughout the animal world if an apex predator with a populaiton of more than 6,000,000,000 suddenly stopped doing its job at the top of the food chain.

Lappy9000
2009-10-28, 12:22 AM
Also, we should probably stop to ponder the impact throughout the animal world if an apex predator with a populaiton of more than 6,000,000,000 suddenly stopped doing its job at the top of the food chain.That's certainly a unique way of looking at things.

Adlan
2009-10-28, 03:00 AM
I dont like the idea of those animals dying, but if i stop eating meat not everyone else will.
On the other hand, the life a lot of them live is a bad one, to which death may well be preferable.
Every animal i eat is an animal no longer suffering. Every animal i dont eat will still be BBQ'd by someone else.

Also, removing all meat from my diet would be a huge hit to my quality of life and i would have to start taking protein supliments and whatnot.

As a Farming Boy, a Hunter, and having worked in a slighter house and as a Butcher/Fishmonger, I throughly disagree with you. To eat meat you must accept that an Animal is killed for your pleasure. Your part in it's death is something you have to accept when you take a bite of delicious juicy steak. If you stop eating meat, not everyone else will, thats true. I certainly won't, but, your money and support will cease going towards the meat industry, and as demand drops, supply will follow.

Removing all Meat from your diet is not something I would suggest doing in one fell swoop, instead, lessen the vast amount of meat we eat now, to a smaller amount, reducing quantities and frequency, untill you have no meat. It is possible, with a fair bit of planning, and assuming nothing goes wrong, to live a nutritionally complete vegan diet. My Irish Cousin tried it though, got anemia. was prescribed a Guinness a day.

When it comes to eating meat, I have no problem killing an animal for food, or clothing. I have a problem killing it after a life of suffering and cruelty, and so I make sure my money dosn't go towards the factory farms.

That means my meat is more expensive, and more effort to find, It either comes from a good quality local butcher, or direct from one of the farms I know (small holding contacts FTW). I eat less meat than most I know, but it's what I'm comfortable with.

I believe everyone should be free to decide for themselves, and others should be free to try and convince them why their choice is the right one.

Faulty
2009-10-28, 07:26 AM
So, I presume that you'd make an exception for societies which do not have the infrastructure/technology/know-how to provide for a healthy vegan diet? That, for instance, you would consider it to be okay for a middle ages peasant to eat meat since they didn't really have the option of going vegan?

It requires fewer resources to raise plants than animals. I'd not expect developing nations to be full of vegans in many cases (some places are more suited than others) but I could see them being vegetarians, depending on where they are.


What do you think about sustainable farming practices? If farm animals were treated decently, rather than factory farmed, would that make eating meat a more ethical position? What exactly is it about an animal dying so another can eat it that is unethical? Is it that the animal suffered, or do you consider it wrong just because the animal died at all?

I think it's always wrong to kill an animal so that someone may eat them when they don't need to. Putting an end to a happy life when it's not necessary I see is wrong.


Except you're reading the question wrong. He didn't say who would you rather save. Let's say Bob kills 100 cats and Steve kills 100 humans. If you want, you can make them stray cats and homeless, but it doesn't matter. You don't know any of either and their deaths don't directly affect how your life functions. You just saw an article in the paper that mentioned both of these.

His question is which one has a larger impact on the reader's psyche. Which one seems more "wrong" - or are they equal? And why? It's not really meant to be a loaded question.

Oh, I (personally) would find the 100 people more sad, though I'd find both occurances sad. Being homeless or being a stray doesn't take away the human or cat's ability to feel, so I'd think both were tragic, but yeah, by my previous logic the loss of the humans would most likely be worse and as such would be sadder.


Are you proposing a replacement for animal testing, or something alongside it? What is your reasoning? I'm not trying to set you up, just trying to see your train of thought.

It was just an errant suggestion. Seeing as a brain dead individual is less aware than, say, a rat, it seems like you could ethically test on them, at least with permission of the individual's charges or themselves prior to being braindead (through a contract or some such, like people who give their organs or coprses to science). More food for thought than part of a larger idea.


So how do vegan folks feel about non-human predatorial species? Wolves, gators, snakes, orcas, sharks, hawks, etc., should they have to stop eating animals too?

Humans are capable of living healthily on a vegan diet, and are capable of ethical thought and action. When wolves evolve to be capable of a vegan diet and to be sapient enough to be capable of ethical reasoning, I'll get on their cases. There's no way to stop a wolf from eating meat without harming it. Humans can, though.


And I still want to know how folks propose to have sufficient grazing land for every species of herbivore to live off of without fear of depradation and without millions of them having to starve to death?

I'd argue for a mass spaying/neutering of farm animals to greatly reduce the next generation of, say, cow.


Oh, and because humans are animals too and it'd be wrong to have to starve billions of them to death in the name of all this, you also have to do all that with enough farmland for 6.5 billion humans at present rate of growth, and with all the infrastructure, distribution, packaging and storage/refrigeration needed to get that food to the places that don't have the capability for macro-agriculture. Oh and maybe even more importantly, while preserving our habitats as well.

I don't see how that's not possible with the help of affluent nations.


As a matter of fact, in the early 20th century a number of vaccines were first tested in schools for the developmentally disabled. Without the consent or knowledge of their parents or guardians. Given that history, I doubt you'll be able to convince many people to go along with such testing.

I never said that it would be without consent.


Yes, both offline and online. Offline, I'm pretty sure it was a joke. Online, I don't think it was either time.
Actually, the first time I saw the Wikipedia page on speciesism I found it so ridiculous that I edited in a bunch of criticisms of the concept, which were promptly deleted.

How is it a joke if you're discriminating based on species?

GoC
2009-10-28, 08:27 AM
I realise though that this touches politics, so if you have any further questions or would like to talk more about this, please do so through pm. :smallamused:

Me and her ended up in a deadlock via PM... I found her moral system to lack precision (I was able to create a real, very very serious scenario for which her moral compass returned nul) and to go against my intuition. She found mine to be selfish, cold and generally evil.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-10-28, 08:40 AM
Me and her ended up in a deadlock via PM... I found her moral system to lack precision (I was able to create a real, very very serious scenario for which her moral compass returned nul) and to go against my intuition. She found mine to be selfish, cold and generally evil.

I find this post to be generally unnecessary. Keep PM arguments/discussions private? =\

Eldan
2009-10-28, 09:15 AM
Uh, plants are definitionally non-sentient: sentience is the ability to experience sensation.

It is not scientifically suggested by study of their biology, nor by observing them in the wild.


Plants have sensory organs. They react to mechanical damage to their leaves by releasing chemical compounds into the air which make other, nearby plants of the same species strenghten their leaves or produce more poisons. They grow towards the sun and away from the center of gravity. They poison plants of different species.
If a plant is non-sentient, then what about a sponge (animal) which only consists of three, four types of cells, has no nervous system and barely reacts to it's environment? A jellyfish? A dust mite? An ant?
What makes an animal count and a plant not?


And for the medieval peasant... how would they get their protein in medieval europe? Beans are american, soy is asian, both did not exist in europe. Nuts are difficult to plant in large quantities. Vitamine B12? It's a bacterial product andyou can't raise children without it. Calcium?

Trog
2009-10-28, 10:47 AM
What makes an animal count and a plant not?
In short, the ability to feel physical pain. As plants do not have a nervous system or nerves like us they probably don't feel pain like us, but they do react to stimuli. "Plants can sense light (phototropism, photomorphogenesis, photoperiodism) and gravity (gravitropism) and some can respond to touch (thigmotropism, thigmonasty) (Salisbury and Ross, 1985). " You could try to argue, as some pseudo scientific studies have, that plants do indeed feel pain. But, honestly, what would be the point of proving this to ourselves even if it were true? If everything we consume feels pain then we can consume nothing without some measure of guilt. If this is a ploy to somehow spread the guilt around to vegetarians (as I have often seen it used in these sorts of discussions) the person making that ploy is going to have a hard time of it as it is scientifically proven that animals feel physical pain of some sort when harmed.

So eating plants = causing no pain, eating meat = causing pain.

Now, I eat meat. Animals die to feed me. I am okay with this though I do feel a small measure of guilt. If there is any way to increase the animal's quality of life prior to their slaughter I am for it. This may make it more expensive to maintain such an animal and that cost may be passed on to me as a consumer. This may make it prohibitively expensive to eat this sort of meat sometimes. Consequently I have often made the choice, consciously, to buy the inferior and (likely) more pain causing product. Why? Because I need to feed my family and myself and I only have so much cash to do so.

If money were no object it is possible we could produce animals that grow to full adulthood and keel over of a natural death. I could then eat their flesh now that it caused them no pain to do so. How much would this cost? A prohibitively high amount for me no doubt. Is a vegetarian diet cheaper? Probably. But I like meat. And I will always buy it. Sometimes, when I have the means, I will buy the kind which is grown in a more humane way. Sometimes I have no idea as to the practices behind the meat I buy at the store. There is some information that I will never have. My default is to look and see what's on sale first, to be honest.

All of these are the reality of my situation. I try to eat more veggies and am slowly getting better at it, now having a vegetarian meal at least once a week. Better than the zero I had done before. Likely as I discover more vegetarian recipes I like I will increase that amount.

I don't fault people for making the choices they have in their diets as there are a multitude of reasons people choose to live they way they do. But I do dislike it when people find fault in mine or in others' diets from any other angle than a strictly health-related one. That goes for both the carnivores and the vegetarians/vegans. Which is why I argue both sides of the issue. Having a meaningful discussion about your diet and how you feel it benefits you and being open to improving your diet through learning about the diets of others is one thing. Getting into a "who's right" discussion, on the other hand, is, in my opinion, pointless.

Eldan
2009-10-28, 10:51 AM
There are tons of animals without nervous systems, though, like the aforementioned (I love that word) sponges. They probably can't feel paineither.

Now, having mentioned that: I honestly have no desire to make anyone feel guilty about eating plants, being vegan or anything else. I mean, I don't really care what you eat or don't eat. I just don't really see the distinction. Comes from having worked with plants and insects a little too often lately, I guess.

Scylfing
2009-10-28, 10:58 AM
I think it's always wrong to kill an animal so that someone may eat them when they don't need to. Putting an end to a happy life when it's not necessary I see is wrong.

On what basis are you determining what necessity is, and moreover what it isn't? Also, how are you taking into account the happiness of the meat-eater?


Humans are capable of living healthily on a vegan diet, and are capable of ethical thought and action. When wolves evolve to be capable of a vegan diet and to be sapient enough to be capable of ethical reasoning, I'll get on their cases. There's no way to stop a wolf from eating meat without harming it. Humans can, though.

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but it looks like you're saying veganism is a universal ethic that all sapient beings are capable of realizing, it's just a matter of them becoming enlightened enough to do so. Is that about right?

If so, how can you be certain that all other peoples, cultures, societies, ethics and values systems that clash with your own--and whose sapience is just as assured as your own--are categorically wrong?


I'd argue for a mass spaying/neutering of farm animals to greatly reduce the next generation of, say, cow.

Doesn't that harm them and reduce their happiness though, especially the males?


I don't see how that's not possible with the help of affluent nations.

They already are spending billions of dollars every year on this and still people starve.

Trog
2009-10-28, 11:17 AM
There are tons of animals without nervous systems, though, like the aforementioned (I love that word) sponges. They probably can't feel paineither.
I don't eat those. :smallwink: :smalltongue:

Seriously though here's a link that (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/pain/microsite/culture2.html) goes into that in more depth than I can.


Now, having mentioned that: I honestly have no desire to make anyone feel guilty about eating plants, being vegan or anything else. I mean, I don't really care what you eat or don't eat. I just don't really see the distinction. Comes from having worked with plants and insects a little too often lately, I guess.
I probably shouldn't have inferred that. My bad.

AtomicKitKat
2009-10-28, 12:01 PM
My experiments at sustained vegetarianism have all met with failure. Mainly because eating anything "vegetarian" other than lettuce, peanuts, and cucumbers(along with some others like tomatoes and such) causes severe dietary distress. Which clashes with another basic need. Socialisation. So no, I do not see myself going down the "pure veg" path anytime soon.

Ichneumon
2009-10-28, 12:42 PM
Me and her ended up in a deadlock via PM... I found her moral system to lack precision (I was able to create a real, very very serious scenario for which her moral compass returned nul) and to go against my intuition. She found mine to be selfish, cold and generally evil.

Oh come on, that's childish, bringing something up like this.:smallannoyed: I've had many constructive pm-discussions with other people about this subject. Most notably with Zeb the troll.

The reason our discussion ended was because you seemed unable (or unwilling) to seperate discussing why one abstract moral system would be superior to another from having a discussion about practical ethical/moral issues, like veganism, and I didn't feel like having such a discussion. The senario you mentioned didn't have to do with veganism or the general issue, but with one moral system vs another. This is a subject I personally don't find interesting at all and that's why I didn't want to continue with it, even though I went really far defining my defitinitions and believes for you. Also, I never said I believed your morality to be "evil".

Coidzor
2009-10-28, 12:51 PM
My experiments at sustained vegetarianism have all met with failure. Mainly because eating anything "vegetarian" other than lettuce, peanuts, and cucumbers(along with some others like tomatoes and such) causes severe dietary distress. Which clashes with another basic need. Socialisation. So no, I do not see myself going down the "pure veg" path anytime soon.

Hmm? The spicing? The increase in fiber? the need to use legumes for their protein content?

Faulty
2009-10-28, 01:13 PM
On what basis are you determining what necessity is, and moreover what it isn't?

What is a "need", as opposed to a "want". So that's eating meat because it is the only way to have a diet which is both healthy and sustaining. So if you need to eat meat to, say, avoid starvation or a serious case os marasmus, then it's acceptable to eat as little meat as is necessary to survive. What is not necessity, is a want. That is, eating meat because you like the taste, not because you need to to survive.


Also, how are you taking into account the happiness of the meat-eater?

It's only acceptable to take the happiness of one person over another in the case of necessity. A case of necessity would be, say, the train track example, where a train is going towards five people tied to the tracks and you could pull a switch to make it go to a different rail with only one person tied to the tracks. It makes sense to pull the switch, because someone is dying either way, and it makes more sense to make that be only one person rather than five. However, meat eating is generally not a necessity (at least not in the developed world), so it can't trump the happiness of the animals.

This question comes from a real misunderstanding of how utilitarianism works. To use a comparative example that I hope will illustrate it more fully than the above might, take this: some people claim that utilitarianism or consequentialism can justify slavery. People would say, "slavery brings pleasure to the slave owners, so isn't it thus justifiable?" The issue is that the slave owners are capable of being happy without the slaves, but the slaves are not capable of being slaves without it negatively impacting their happiness (if they were willing, they wouldn't be slaves). The slave owner could get paid labour or do work themselves, and still live happy lives.

So just as slavery is wrong because the pleasure of the slave owners does not override that of the slaves, so it's the same with meat eaters not overriding animals. If an individual CANNOT AT ALL be happy without eating meat, then there is probably something seriously wrong with them.


I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but it looks like you're saying veganism is a universal ethic that all sapient beings are capable of realizing, it's just a matter of them becoming enlightened enough to do so. Is that about right?

Sort of. I hold utilitarian views, and think utilitarianism is an objectively true ethical system, which any sapient being is capable of becoming epistemologically aware of and subsequently adopt. So it's not an individual ethic, but comes from a "universal" ethic. "Universal" isn't a great word, I don't think ethics exist metaphysically in some abstract world of forms, but rather come from the interactions of sapient beings with the world, and that there is an objective form of morality that logically and intuitively is correct and applicable in any situation conceivable amongst sapient beings as we know them.


If so, how can you be certain that all other peoples, cultures, societies, ethics and values systems that clash with your own--and whose sapience is just as assured as your own--are categorically wrong?

Well, I'd obviously say that are not appropriately knowledgeable.


Doesn't that harm them and reduce their happiness though, especially the males?

Cows are not self-aware, in the way great apes (including humans) or dolphins or magpies (no crap, I read about it in Scientific American) are. They don't understand themselves as individual entities. They're sentient but not self-sentient. So they don't have a sexual identity. It's not comparable to neutering a human, who has a conceivable sexual identity that would be lost.

I can't conceive any other way that would drop the live stock population enough to allow mass veganism.


They already are spending billions of dollars every year on this and still people starve.

Are they spending enough? Are they spending effectively? Are individuals donating enough to charities?

SurlySeraph
2009-10-28, 05:10 PM
Ah, but you're assuming a dichotomy of necessary and not-necessary. There are plenty of things that aren't necessary, but are certainly beneficial. In my opinion, eating animals brings enough benefit to humans with sufficiently little harm to animals that it's worth doing. But that's a subjective question of how much I value animal suffering compared to human happiness, not an objective concern.


I never said that it would be without consent.

Oh, I know. But that history will make people reluctant to sign up for it. It's like the Tuskegee syphilis experiments; a lot of black people are unwilling to sign up for medical research, not because they think it's likely that they'll end up going untreated for a fatal disease for 40 years, but because they know ethics violations have occurred in such research before and don't think it's worth the risk no matter what assurances they get.


How is it a joke if you're discriminating based on species?

Because different species are different. You said so yourself, saying that humans are capable of ethical reasoning (such as choosing a vegan diet) and wolves aren't. Calling that discrimination is like saying it's discrimination if a construction company won't hire a man with no arms as a worker. You're not constructing a difference, you're acknowledging a very real and very significant difference. When I see an animal that's capable of articulating a moral code or constructing a civilization, I won't discriminate against that animal. Until then, I'm going to keep giving humanity privilege over them, because humans can understand how to use our privilege to benefit them as well as ourselves, and animals can't.

Would you say zooplankton are morally equivalent to whales? How about shrimp to octopi, deer to bears, or any other prey animal to its predator? If so, clearly the predators are morally abominable, mass murderers. If not, you're discriminating on the basis of species, valuing the right of predators to eat over the right of prey to live.


And for the medieval peasant... how would they get their protein in medieval europe? Beans are american, soy is asian, both did not exist in europe. Nuts are difficult to plant in large quantities. Vitamine B12? It's a bacterial product andyou can't raise children without it. Calcium?

Actually, European peasants got lots of protein in their diets. Read "Guns, Germs, and Steel" for more detail. I believe there *are* some species of beans native to Europe, and wheat and other European grains have a higher protein content than corn or rice.

Eldan
2009-10-28, 05:14 PM
Right, I forgot common beans. Silly me, they even grow in my garden. I'm tired today, please ignore half of what I'm saying.

hamishspence
2009-10-28, 05:20 PM
I think that, in the case of some "hunter-gatherer" societies, it was mostly gatherer, very little hunter.

That doesn't mean that meat protein isn't potentially useful, just that it may not be as important as originally thought.

However, this may depend on the environment- in some areas, it is much easier to hunt the animals, than to try and farm, and the meat content in the diets of people of these areas is higher.

Faulty
2009-10-28, 06:07 PM
Because different species are different. You said so yourself, saying that humans are capable of ethical reasoning (such as choosing a vegan diet) and wolves aren't. Calling that discrimination is like saying it's discrimination if a construction company won't hire a man with no arms as a worker. You're not constructing a difference, you're acknowledging a very real and very significant difference. When I see an animal that's capable of articulating a moral code or constructing a civilization, I won't discriminate against that animal. Until then, I'm going to keep giving humanity privilege over them, because humans can understand how to use our privilege to benefit them as well as ourselves, and animals can't.

Would you say zooplankton are morally equivalent to whales? How about shrimp to octopi, deer to bears, or any other prey animal to its predator? If so, clearly the predators are morally abominable, mass murderers. If not, you're discriminating on the basis of species, valuing the right of predators to eat over the right of prey to live.

Speciesism is treating animals poorly based on their species, not seeing them as indistinguishable.

pendell
2009-10-28, 06:49 PM
Gentles,

I'm sorry I haven't given this thread the attention it deserves. However, I want to quickly point everyone to this charity (http://www.heifer.org)

Whatever the discussion of veganism in an advanced culture, animals are still quite useful in the third and fourth world, both for food and for work. My wife is actually buying a family a goat and three chickens for the holidays.

Second thought: Someone here mentioned free range instead of factory farms. How would I go about finding something like that here in the US, specifically Virginia? The nearest farm we have is Frying Pan Park, but it doesn't butcher its meat. As a model farm, the milk and stuff they produce is barely subsistence level for the animals they have, not enough for sale.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

SurlySeraph
2009-10-28, 07:08 PM
Speciesism is treating animals poorly based on their species, not seeing them as indistinguishable.

According to Wikipedia, speciesism is the assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciesism) Your definition of speciesism is something that I'm willing to take seriously, but it is not the standard definition.

With regards to your definition, I see no moral issue with treating cats and dogs well while treating rats and liver flukes poorly. Again, different species are different. It is an entirely rational response to treat animals whose existence and behavior benefit us well, and to treat those that harm us poorly. Would you treat a burglar in your home no worse than you would treat a friend of yours? If not, then how is it wrong to treat an animal whose species harms yours as part of its inherent nature worse than one whose species generally helps you?

AtomicKitKat
2009-10-28, 08:28 PM
Hmm? The spicing? The increase in fiber? the need to use legumes for their protein content?

I have no idea really, although it's possible that I have developed some kind of gluten aversion in the past few years. Alternatively, I've always been gluten-averse, but only recently lost whatever was helping me to digest it properly. I avoid pretty much all chillis(peppercorns and bell peppers are "fine", in that the reaction takes longer to occur, and is less severe when it does). Fibre increase is unlikely to be the cause, as I have eaten seaweed in enormous quantities with a minimum of distress. I think peanuts are legumes, and I've never had any real problem eating them, but I could be mistaken.

Stormthorn
2009-10-29, 01:17 AM
I have decided that when the other animals stop praying on each other (or at least the other omnivores) i will stop excersizing my evolution/god given right to use my intellect to pray on them too.

GoC
2009-10-29, 06:14 AM
I find this post to be generally unnecessary. Keep PM arguments/discussions private? =\
Just pointing out that not all discussions result in a solution (something everyone knows but might not be aware of). I didn't think Ichi would mind as it's quite vague.


Oh come on, that's childish, bringing something up like this.:smallannoyed: I've had many constructive pm-discussions with other people about this subject. Most notably with Zeb the troll.
See above.


The reason our discussion ended was because you seemed unable (or unwilling) to seperate discussing why one abstract moral system would be superior to another from having a discussion about practical ethical/moral issues, like veganism, and I didn't feel like having such a discussion.
Because the result of the discussion would have been two sentences?:smallconfused:
GoC: My moral system doesn't say it's wrong to eat animals.
Ichi: Mine does.


Also, I never said I believed your morality to be "evil".
I needed three descriptive words for you to counter my two.:smallbiggrin:
English is also about how a sentence "feels" not just about the literal meaning. I could have said "Warning: Not all discussions result in a solution." but people are much less likely to take it seriously without an example.

Zincorium
2009-10-29, 08:59 AM
My personal views on animal equality:

The vast majority of animals will never, ever help me under any circumstances. So F*** them. They are not friends of mine.

The few who do treat humans as allies of theirs (some dogs, horses, etc.) and will assist me have the right to live, and I will help them do so. Every other animal is a jerk and I will happily eat them.

Devils_Advocate
2009-10-29, 09:37 PM
Why do people talk about killing as if not being killed in a particular instance means that a creature doesn't die? I see this all the time in scenarios that are not at all of a "die now vs. become immortal" nature, and it just seems nonsensical. A saved life's destruction really isn't prevented so much as delayed. Saving a life just extends it. And this is quantitative. Extend someone's expected lifespan by fifty years and you've saved five times as much life as if you only extended it ten years, or extended two people's lives each by five years.

And keeping someone alive for a second longer hardly seems worth a lot of effort, except in rare cases where a particular person needs to do something very important but decidedly not highly time consuming. But, of course, a lifespan is made out of seconds. So unless you would be willing to sacrifice an arbitrarily large amount of something to extend a life by one second, it's unclear how you could consider human life to be "infinitely more valuable" than that thing.

Now, I think you could make a pretty good argument that before the deaths of all those living, people will discover and/or invent things that allow humans to potentially live pretty much however long they want. But that still doesn't make all lives of equal consideration. On the contrary, it makes saving a teenager an even higher priority next to saving an elderly person, because saving the teen has a much higher probability of extending her life by a very high amount than saving the elderly person has of extending his life by a very high amount, since the elderly person is considerably likelier to kick the bucket before someone figures out how to stop aging.

Of course, saving one life can indirectly save (or destroy) others, so that's definitely something to take into consideration too. If the elderly person is a brilliant scientist who might very well soon discover how to reverse aging, then screw the teenager.


I dont like the idea of those animals dying, but if i stop eating meat not everyone else will.
On the other hand, the life a lot of them live is a bad one, to which death may well be preferable.
Every animal i eat is an animal no longer suffering. Every animal i dont eat will still be BBQ'd by someone else.
The supply of cheap, inhumanely raised meat only exists to meet the demand for cheap, inhumanely raised meat. If people didn't buy that meat, if wouldn't be produced in the first place. (I do hope that you won't dispute this, and that you don't think that eliminating the market for a product somehow wouldn't at least greatly reduce its production.)

Animals aren't just killed to feed you, they're bred and raised in the first place to feed you. Buying whatever type of meat you buy encourages farmers to produce more of it so that they can sell more of it. So if you buy meat from that comes from animals provided with a very good quality of life, you yourself in a very real way indirectly provide animals with that quality of life. I don't know all of the details here, but I think that you can seriously grant animals happier lives than most wild animals get by buying their flesh to devour. (Technically, you grant the next batch of animals happy lives by buying the flesh of animals whose lives are over now. But you hopefully see what I'm saying.)

On the other hand, if you buy meat that comes from animals with a very poor quality of life, you are in a very real way forcing that low quality of life on animals. In a way, you're more responsible than the people who actually directly mistreat the animals. If they didn't do it, someone else would, because there's a market demand for what they do. But it is not the case that if you refused to buy cruelly raised meat someone else would consequently step in to purchase your share.


I have decided that when the other animals stop praying on each other (or at least the other omnivores) i will stop excersizing my evolution/god given right to use my intellect to pray on them too.
"Prey". What do you mean by "right"? It seems to me like that sentence would make more sense if you replaced "right" with "capability".

Do you refrain from eating herbivores? They're (definitionally) not preying on anyone.

Some human beings steal from, attack, kill, rape, and torture other human beings. Perhaps in a society in which such behavior was quite common, you would routinely engage in these activities yourself. But would it be any less morally wrong to do these things because many others often choose to?

(Perhaps surprisingly, this is not a trivial question. People aren't bothered as much by the ways in which they're screwed over all the damn time because they're used to them. And if it's not the negative emotional impact that these deeds have on people that ultimately makes them evil, just what does? If it is a matter of emotional impact, then wouldn't less impact make them less evil?)


The vast majority of animals will never, ever help me under any circumstances. So F*** them. They are not friends of mine.
Is your regard for other human beings also based on the likelihood that they will help you (with your regard proportionate to their potential to effect you, presumably)?

If "Yes", I commend you on your forthrightness about your general sociopathy.

GoC
2009-10-29, 10:15 PM
Devils_Advocate: You made me realize just how much I ignore argument flaws in posts that share my opinion on an issue...

Solaris
2009-10-29, 11:24 PM
Really? I don't experience it as such. This thread is much more civilized and less flamable, at least until now. In fact, it is much less "hot" than even the Girl Thread or the lgbtitp thread.

I can fix that. Who's got a lighter? :smallbiggrin:
I kid, I kid. I come in peace, Oh Angry One.
I believe it was the joking around that caused the other one to degrade. I'm rather surprised everyone's come out for Round Two.


I don't apply intrinsic value to life, hence my support for things like euthenasia. I'm still vegan, however, because I value happy lives.

I do, because I've seen enough death and destruction to know it's something I don't want other humans (particularly the ones whose protection I am charged with) to suffer through.
Oddly, I'm still an omnivore 'cause meat tastes good. I'm comfortable in my hypocrisy.


...

...EUKARYOTIST! :smallfurious:



...sorry, couldn't resist. Anyone else ever been called speciesist? :smallamused:

I have, a lot. Falsely, though. Show me a species that demonstrates sapience and I will greet it as a brother.
Until then, I food it.


Im also not sure how cats taste.

Also, removing all meat from my diet would be a huge hit to my quality of life and i would have to start taking protein supplements and whatnot.

Pretty good, from what my brother's said. My cat won't sit still long enough for me to eat her, so I can't give a first-hand report.

I'm in the same situation. My lifestyle requires a good dosage of animal-based protein on account of the fact that I work out every day, have to do heavy labor the rest of the day, and require enough muscle mass so that I, a slightly-framed 5'6" man, can throw around artillery shells weighing a hundred pounds all day. I also have no access to any cooking equipment besides a microwave, and the grocery choices are... limited. If I wanted to be any grade of vegetarian in my (isolated and expensive) Army base, I'd pretty much have to live off of MREs, raw vegetation, protein/vitamin supplements (something I'm religiously opposed to for something that seems so unnecessary) and fish. That's not a quality of life I'm looking for. I don't try to moralize it. I get nothin' out of it. If you do, then power to ya. Fists and noses and whatnot, eh?

Faulty
2009-10-30, 04:33 PM
I do, because I've seen enough death and destruction to know it's something I don't want other humans (particularly the ones whose protection I am charged with) to suffer through.

Suffering is exactly why life does not have inherent value. What's the purpose of life if it's merely suffering? If I had to choose between eradicating mankind and dooming every human to live in suffering for the entirety of their lives, I'd choose the former.


Oddly, I'm still an omnivore 'cause meat tastes good. I'm comfortable in my hypocrisy.in' out of it. If you do, then power to ya. Fists and noses and whatnot, eh?

There are no fists and noses when it comes to ethics.

Solaris
2009-10-30, 05:05 PM
Suffering is exactly why life does not have inherent value. What's the purpose of life if it's merely suffering? If I had to choose between eradicating mankind and dooming every human to live in suffering for the entirety of their lives, I'd choose the former.

Most of this suffering is due to the - holy crap, you're a scary person.
Okay.
Most of the suffering I'm talking about ain't the pansy-assed whiny crap most Americans come up with when they think of their own suffering. I'm talking real hardship. I was just the outside looking in, but from what I saw this suffering was due to people disregarding the value of the lives of their fellow human beings.


There are no fists and noses when it comes to ethics.

"Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins."

THAC0
2009-10-30, 05:25 PM
I eat meat. I'm an omnivore.

That said, I do not eat ridiculous amounts of meat. I also try to eat meat that comes from animals who have been well cared for or that my husband or I have hunted. I am not a big fan of factory farms and the like.

As in all things, a balance can be found.

pendell
2009-10-30, 05:30 PM
THACO,

You live in the states as I do. How do you accomplish this feat?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

THAC0
2009-10-30, 05:35 PM
THACO,

You live in the states as I do. How do you accomplish this feat?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Which feat?

Solaris
2009-10-30, 05:40 PM
THACO,

You live in the states as I do. How do you accomplish this feat?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Seriously? I know guys who take care of all their meat requirements with a couple weeks hunting moose in Alaska. I'm pretty sure there are a few other states in the Union where you can do the same. Michigan leaps to mind. Both places I've lived.

THAC0
2009-10-30, 05:42 PM
Seriously? I know guys who take care of all their meat requirements with a couple weeks hunting moose in Alaska. I'm pretty sure there are a few other states in the Union where you can do the same. Michigan leaps to mind. Both places I've lived.

Indeed. Alaska rocks. We haven't gotten into big game yet, but my freezer is full of halibut and salmon that I caught, and some grouse too.

Devils_Advocate
2009-10-30, 07:14 PM
Devils_Advocate: You made me realize just how much I ignore argument flaws in posts that share my opinion on an issue...
Good. (http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Politics_is_the_Mind-Killer) Now, here's another important thing to realize: If you approach an issue by trying to figure out why you're right and why your opponent is wrong, you're just doing your best to rationalize (http://lesswrong.com/lw/ju/rationalization/) your own beliefs. If you're interested in determining the truth, you should be trying to figure out which position is the correct one.

It's tempting to think that if you know something to be true, then surely any argument to the contrary must fail somewhere. But everything you think you know is just something that you're fairly certain of for some reason or other. It could be that there's a better reason to believe the opposite. But you're not likely to realize that if you're unwilling to even consider the possibility.

It could be that there are better arguments against your position than the ones that your opponents are making (http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/steven/?p=155). Even if you actually are smarter than everyone else (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DofQzGiHWQA&feature=PlayList&p=B917F490CB2098F6&index=20), that doesn't make you right. On the contrary, it puts you in the best position to rationalize false beliefs, because smart people aren't just better than stupid people at arguing for true claims; smart people are better than stupid people at arguing for false claims. Smart people can be better at arguing for false claims than stupid people are at arguing for true claims, which is the really worrying bit.

You need to look for reasons to believe the opposite of what you presently believe, lest you fall prey to a known glitch in human reasoning (http://www.xkcd.com/258/). The smarter you are, the less likely it is that someone else will be able to convince you that you're wrong, even if you are wrong. Even if there are plenty of smarter people arguing against you, you'll still likely find ways to dismiss their arguments if you're rationalizing. Their best arguments may be the most complex and hardest to even understand; how much effort are you willing to put into understanding arguments you already "know" "must be wrong"? But you shouldn't blindly rely on the smartest people to tell you what's right, either, since they could be making a lot of extremely clever arguments for precisely the wrong ideas! After all, they're in the best position to rationalize false beliefs...

Pyrian
2009-10-30, 07:33 PM
It's tempting to think that if you know something to be true, then surely any argument to the contrary must fail somewhere. But everything you think you know is just something that you're fairly certain of for some reason or other. It could be that there's a better reason to believe the opposite. But you're not likely to realize that if you're unwilling to even consider the possibility.This is a good way to waste a lot of time. There are a functionally infinite number of schemes based on gullibility, and dismantling the arguments for perpetual-motion-machine #2,535,213 (or so) just isn't worth my effort.


It could be that there are better arguments against your position than the ones that your opponents are making (http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/steven/?p=155).I have to say, of all the things I've argued about on the internet, shredding somebody's argument and then rebuilding it stronger and better has earned me more hate than any standard sort of disagreement. There's something about telling somebody that their conclusion may be right but their argument is still wrong that really eats at them.


...smart people aren't just better than stupid people at arguing for true claims; smart people are better than stupid people at arguing for false claims.So true. :smallsigh:

Faulty
2009-10-30, 11:19 PM
Most of this suffering is due to the - holy crap, you're a scary person.
Okay.
Most of the suffering I'm talking about ain't the pansy-assed whiny crap most Americans come up with when they think of their own suffering. I'm talking real hardship. I was just the outside looking in, but from what I saw this suffering was due to people disregarding the value of the lives of their fellow human beings.

I was being a bit extreme to prove a point, which was silly. In reality I think it's up to each individual to end their life. Regardless, the point I'm trying to make is that the meaning of life is relative to how happy it is.


"Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins."

I know. Humourously enough I don't actually believe in "rights".

Mystic Muse
2009-10-30, 11:30 PM
Meat is the official food of THACO apparently.

THAC0
2009-10-30, 11:33 PM
Meat is the official food of THACO apparently.

:smallconfused: In which way?

Solaris
2009-10-30, 11:39 PM
I was being a bit extreme to prove a point, which was silly. In reality I think it's up to each individual to end their life. Regardless, the point I'm trying to make is that the meaning of life is relative to how happy it is.


I know. Humourously enough I don't actually believe in "rights".

... Huh.


:smallconfused: In which way?

I'm guessing he missed the part about you saying you don't eat a primary meat diet.

THAC0
2009-10-30, 11:42 PM
I'm guessing he missed the part about you saying you don't eat a primary meat diet.

Hope you're right, otherwise I'm beyond confused. :smallbiggrin:

Mystic Muse
2009-10-31, 12:21 AM
(really bad joke about the game mechanic THACO not you THACO. sorry.maybe I should have said THACO supports meat.)

SurlySeraph
2009-10-31, 01:52 PM
Suffering is exactly why life does not have inherent value. What's the purpose of life if it's merely suffering? If I had to choose between eradicating mankind and dooming every human to live in suffering for the entirety of their lives, I'd choose the former.


I was being a bit extreme to prove a point, which was silly. In reality I think it's up to each individual to end their life. Regardless, the point I'm trying to make is that the meaning of life is relative to how happy it is.

This rather strongly reminds me of Ichneumon's perspective in that thread we had a while back on whether it would be morally right to retroactively destroy the universe. Is there a correlation between vegetarianism and not wanting humanity to exist?

Faulty
2009-10-31, 02:02 PM
This rather strongly reminds me of Ichneumon's perspective in that thread we had a while back on whether it would be morally right to retroactively destroy the universe. Is there a correlation between vegetarianism and not wanting humanity to exist?

How would...


the point I'm trying to make is that the meaning of life is relative to how happy it is.

Be the same as not wanting humanity to exist?

That's a utilitarian principle by the way.

SurlySeraph
2009-10-31, 02:19 PM
"Suffering is exactly why life does not have inherent value. What's the purpose of life if it's merely suffering? If I had to choose between eradicating mankind and dooming every human to live in suffering for the entirety of their lives, I'd choose the former" is the part I'm emphasizing here. "In reality I think it's up to each individual to end their life" is a bit creepy-sounding too, as the wording seems to imply that ending one's life is a goal that everyone can strive for.

GoC
2009-10-31, 02:25 PM
Good. (http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Politics_is_the_Mind-Killer) Now, here's another important thing to realize: If you approach an issue by trying to figure out why you're right and why your opponent is wrong, you're just doing your best to rationalize (http://lesswrong.com/lw/ju/rationalization/) your own beliefs. If you're interested in determining the truth, you should be trying to figure out which position is the correct one.
I've read many lesswrong (and most of Eliezer's) articles on rationality (thanks for linking to overcomingbias way back then btw). They were a pretty big help (combined with some practical experience) BUT they've increased both my arrogance and my intolerance of stupidity to a degree that threaten to completely alienate many.
I'm not sure the admitedly staggering (and it is indeed staggering) analysis power was worth it...:smallfrown:

You may have misunderstood me, generally it isn't that I don't notice the flaws (I automatically notice most flaws now), it's just that I can't be bothered to comment on them. Bad arguments supporting mine are ignored, I don't factor them in to my beliefs but I don't point them out to other people either.
I'm far better at analysis and finding flaws then at building arguments, so any bad argument (and there have been many) that I make usually get's turned into mincemeat when the part of my brain charged with criticizing everything I do turns the Argument Destroyer(TM) on it. For this reason I have very few even semi-controversial beliefs (most end up getting an "insufficient information" label attached). And anyway, 90% of arguments actually end up being of the "If a tree falls in a forrest..." type, though it can often be quite non-obvious.


Even if you actually are smarter than everyone else (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DofQzGiHWQA&feature=PlayList&p=B917F490CB2098F6&index=20), that doesn't make you right.
For different people the word "intelligence" points to different criteria. It's not a very useful word.

__________________________________________________ _________
Seems to me that the animal rights issue partly boils down to differences in utility functions (thus it's generally unresolvable) but also to their abstraction of their utility function (moral sytems).
The abstraction is often flawed (as in "doesn't correctly model what you really want") due to the fact that it's often sufficiently fuzzy that it gives no answer on many real world problems or occasionally leads to results that contradict your utility function.

The biggest lie people tell themselves in the modern world is "If I care about something happening in front of me I should also care about it when it happens far away". Though there is an exception when the something encourages actions that will be harmful to us.

There is nothing contradictory about the following:

Girl: "I see an animal suffering! I must help it!"
*a few days later*
Girl: "Mmm... Delicious caged chicken!"

The reasoning is that the chicken is not suffering in front of her and her not doing anything about chicken suffering in general (as opposed to just that near her) will not harm her in any way as she is very unlikely to be near caged chickens unless she wants to be. This argument would not apply to human suffering because allowing (as in not discouraging) human suffering in another part of the country could affect you by creating an atmosphere in which human suffering is acceptable.

We only emphathize with a hypothetical chicken if we create one in the first place.
__________________________________________________ _______________
Hmm...
That wasn't very clear. Devils_Advocate, could you help me make this a bit more comprehensible?

Faulty
2009-10-31, 03:18 PM
"Suffering is exactly why life does not have inherent value. What's the purpose of life if it's merely suffering? If I had to choose between eradicating mankind and dooming every human to live in suffering for the entirety of their lives, I'd choose the former" is the part I'm emphasizing here. "In reality I think it's up to each individual to end their life" is a bit creepy-sounding too, as the wording seems to imply that ending one's life is a goal that everyone can strive for.

I said that the first bit was an exageration. Also that statement has nothing to do with vegetarianism. As for the latter quote, it's basically a support for euthenasia. If someone is suffering, I think they should have an easy way to end their pain.

I think happy lives are awesome and happiness should be promoted, which is why I'm vegan. I'm saying that life has no intrinsic value, and that that value is relative to the quality of life. So there are some lives that might not be worth living. Hence support of euthenasia.

Anyway the whole destroying humanity example was very irresponsible on my part. I just got a bit overenthusiastic. I wouldn't actually do that. It was just a painfully unfinessable way of stating my point.

SurlySeraph
2009-10-31, 06:18 PM
OK, that makes sense to me. Sorry for misinterpreting your point.

Adlan
2009-11-01, 09:17 AM
The biggest lie people tell themselves in the modern world is "If I care about something happening in front of me I should also care about it when it happens far away". Though there is an exception when the something encourages actions that will be harmful to us.

There is nothing contradictory about the following:

Girl: "I see an animal suffering! I must help it!"
*a few days later*
Girl: "Mmm... Delicious caged chicken!"

The reasoning is that the chicken is not suffering in front of her and her not doing anything about chicken suffering in general (as opposed to just that near her) will not harm her in any way as she is very unlikely to be near caged chickens unless she wants to be. This argument would not apply to human suffering because allowing (as in not discouraging) human suffering in another part of the country could affect you by creating an atmosphere in which human suffering is acceptable.

We only emphathize with a hypothetical chicken if we create one in the first place.
__________________________________________________ _______________
Hmm...
That wasn't very clear. Devils_Advocate, could you help me make this a bit more comprehensible?

I don't understand that at all, it seems rather hypocritical. If you don't like an animal suffering, you should avoid causing/supporting it.

Faulty
2009-11-01, 10:22 AM
OK, that makes sense to me. Sorry for misinterpreting your point.

Naw, it's cool.

GoC
2009-11-01, 12:29 PM
I don't understand that at all, it seems rather hypocritical. If you don't like an animal suffering, you should avoid causing/supporting it.
No, it's not hypocritical. Though just to be sure I checked a few dictionaries.:smalltongue:
The hypothetical person is only upset by thinking about animal suffering (obviously true). So there is no reason to avoid supporting it happening in a place outside her sphere as it's very unlikely to ever cross into hers.

Ichneumon
2009-11-01, 12:32 PM
No, it's not hypocritical. Though just to be sure I checked a few dictionaries.:smalltongue:
The hypothetical person is only upset by thinking about animal suffering (obviously true). So there is no reason to avoid supporting it happening in a place outside her sphere as it's very unlikely to ever cross into hers.

You view the animals you eat as outside your sphere?

GoC
2009-11-01, 12:41 PM
You view the animals you eat as outside your sphere?

Small slabs of white, tasty, nice-smelling stuff (chicken)? That if you didn't know beforehand you'd never EVER guess had been an animal at some time? That doesn't remind you of it's origins?
Yep. That's waaaaaaay outside my sphere. On a side note I never buy whole chickens, chicken legs, chicken wings or anything but chicken breast mostly for this reason. But even those things don't instantly bring to mind a suffering chicken.

Ichneumon
2009-11-01, 12:45 PM
Small slabs of white, tasty, nice-smelling stuff (chicken)? That if you didn't know beforehand you'd never EVER guess had been an animal at some time? That doesn't remind you of it's origins?
Yep. That's waaaaaaay outside my sphere. On a side note I never buy whole chickens, chicken legs, chicken wings or anything but chicken breast mostly for this reason. But even those things don't instantly bring to mind a suffering chicken.

The fact that you can more easily ignore what happened to the chicken makes it justifiable and outside your sphwew? I'm not sure I understand you.

Nameless
2009-11-01, 01:13 PM
Small slabs of white, tasty, nice-smelling stuff (chicken)? That if you didn't know beforehand you'd never EVER guess had been an animal at some time? That doesn't remind you of it's origins?
Yep. That's waaaaaaay outside my sphere. On a side note I never buy whole chickens, chicken legs, chicken wings or anything but chicken breast mostly for this reason. But even those things don't instantly bring to mind a suffering chicken.

Other way round with me, I like to know exactly what I'm eating. If I when I'm eating out I ask them to leave the head on and all. I like to look into it's eyes.

Nom.

AshDesert
2009-11-01, 02:50 PM
I like meat, however, I don't like the fact that the animals I eat have to suffer for my pleasure (when grown on factory farms). However, I live in Texas, and right outside the front gate of my subdivision is a massive free-range longhorn ranch, and I must say, those longhorns have a pretty damn good life. They are fed, vaccinated, and they have a massive pasture to live on (which isn't really needed anyway considering how even in the open they just lie around all day). Not to mention Kobe beef. For those who don't know, they're a special breed of Japanese cattle that are literally massaged daily.

I won't disagree that the factory farms are horrible, and I never like to eat "cheap meat" because I know it comes from them (also why I usually don't eat meat when I go out to eat), however, not all meat suffers under horrible living conditions before being slaughtered and consumed, and I have no qualms about eating an animal that was happy, content, and cared-for it's entire life.

Solaris
2009-11-02, 06:48 AM
Other way round with me, I like to know exactly what I'm eating. If I when I'm eating out I ask them to leave the head on and all. I like to look into it's eyes.

Nom.

Heheheh. There's a special place in hell for you.

Trog
2009-11-02, 10:08 AM
I just had a thought - what if humans were raised for food?

Not for us to eat but for, say, some alien species or something. Who eats us and why they eat us doesn't really factor in for the sake of this hypothetical situation. But here's what does. I'm going to set some arbitrary numbers here to determine this for the ease of making my point and because, frankly, I don't want to to an extensive amount of research for a forum post.

Right now you live until... oh... about age 16 let's say, without having to work at a job full time - all your basic needs (and quite a lot of wants, typically) are provided for you before that point, let's say. After that, let's say, you work full time, 40 hours a week until you die. We'll say, for the ease of math's sake that you will die at age 76. So you will have 60 years of working. Now I know retirement should fit in here somehow but since retirement comes for many different people at many different times in their life (if it comes at all) I'm leaving it out of this example.

So 60 years of working. But it's not all work 24 hours a day is it? Let's say you sleep 8 hours a day. That's 1/3 of your day. So it is also 1/3 of your life or 20 years spent sleeping. Now you're down to 40 years of free time living. But you need to work to afford to live at all and to provide your self with food, clothing, and shelter. Not to mention other less necessary commodities such as TV and such. For that you will need to work 8 hours a day. I'm ignoring weekends here again for ease of math. So that's as much time as you will need to sleep so another 20 years.

Now, what if someone provided you with the money to live for your whole life. All the cash you have to work for now would be given to you. You would have all your time to yourself. The catch? You have to die at age 56 instead of age 76... 20 years sooner. BUT you didn't have to lift a finger to support yourself. And if you get married and have kids you don't have to support them either because they will get the same free ride you did.

That's sort of what raising animals for food is like. You live a shorter life and after you die your body is put to some use of some sort that justifies spending the money that they give you to live your life. You have just as much free time as you would have if you worked for a living. But you also don't have to work, ever. In fact (given that schooling is necessary to get a good job) you wouldn't need to go to school anymore either. Of course you were free to spend you time however you would like as long as it is within your means. You die before you start to get all old and sickly. You have your entire life free and free of the struggle of working and making ends meet. Free health care, etc.

Honestly there are both good and bad sides to this. If we really want to say this is like farming you would have a lot less freedoms, of course. Perhaps you could never leave your state or country. You would never be free to get ahead of others - you would all be on equal footing. Unless you were a prime example of your species in which case you would mate an awful lot. If you weren't perhaps you wouldn't be allowed to mate, etc.

Now a lot of these things we, as humans, have the capacity to see as being limiting to our freedoms. But do animals see it that way? Does a cow make vacation plans to go to Paris? Well, no, obviously. So taking away his privilege of going to Paris effects him not at all. In fact, taking away his privilege to go nearly anywhere might not bother him or her so long as the area in which they are confined provides for the cow's need to roam. How much this is I couldn't say. It might be that an animal's range is solely dependent on where it can find food and an hospitable climate. In fact it's likely demonstrable that that is the case. But animals raised for food have their piece of land provided for them. They don't have to "work" to scavenge or hunt for their food - it's provided for them. They don't have to migrate because we have shelters to keep them in to last through harsh weather.

Anyway, you get the idea. Animals that are raised for food have fewer intellectual needs than a human does. If you go back three centuries you will find that people lived a lot shorter lives, had to work much more than a 40 hour work week, and spent the vast majority of their lives in one small region. With the invention of mass transportation and mass communication our horizons have broadened, yes, but we don't NEED it. And if you lived back then you wouldn't miss what we have now because you would have never had it. Nor would have anyone else who ever lived. Cows have never had TV. Nor phones. Nor their own mechanized transportation that they've developed on their own to drive themselves to pastures where the grass is greener. So some limits placed on humans we would argue against but if we lived three centuries ago we might not have.

Anyhow, raising animals for food isn't ALL the exploitation it is made out to be is my point. There are distinct benefits too to being raised on a farm for the animals raised there and the trade off for that is their lifespan. After an animal dies what difference does it make to that animal, or that animal's friends and relatives, if they are left to be eaten by scavengers or if they are take to be eaten by humans? None. None whatsoever, I'd imagine. If we were talking about elephants or some animal more intelligent that might make a difference. Possibly. Maybe. But the animals we raise for food don't fall into those exceptions of the animal kingdom by and large. And even then if a pig or a cow or a chicken somehow knew they were going to die and their choice was die by being eaten alive by a predator or die by having your throat slit... well... I'd bet they'd feel better having their throat slit and having it over quickly and with much less pain.

Now, cue someone finding something wrong with my numbers or some other minutia of this post and ignoring the overall point of it. :smalltongue:

Ichneumon
2009-11-02, 10:53 AM
Well, most people would find it objectionable if they hadn't the choice. Possible most people would prefer to die given those conditions, but I don't think many people would agree with not giving somebody the choice. I wouldn't want to be killed though, ever, even if they would allow me to have a more easy life and I think a lot of people would agree with me.

It is beyond doubt that being raised on a farm has its benefits, just like it has with humans, slavery for example, in which people get certain advantages, but have to accept certain disadvantages. The real question though is whether we are allowed to bestow these disadvantages on them in the first place, whatever the benefits might be.

AtomicKitKat
2009-11-02, 11:01 AM
Trog: Well-thought out. Agree with pretty much all of it.

Nameless: Om nom nom nom! Would you eat the eyes as well? I do.:smallbiggrin:

Trog
2009-11-02, 11:11 AM
Well, most people would find it objectionable if they hadn't the choice. Possible most people would prefer to die given those conditions, but I don't think many people would agree with not giving somebody the choice. I wouldn't want to be killed though, ever, even if they would allow me to have a more easy life and I think a lot of people would agree with me.

It is beyond doubt that being raised on a farm has its benefits, just like it has with humans, slavery for example, in which people get certain advantages, but have to accept certain disadvantages.

Ah yes but the question is: How many animals find it objectionable? What choice would an animal make given that it doesn't have the reasoning capacity of a human? And if they made a choice you didn't agree with is that wrong? If you have to step in and make their choice for them what makes you different than the farmer that steps in and makes the other choice for them? As far as substituting your will for their own... nothing.

Slavery involves, frankly, work... and this example involves none. What work does a chicken do? It eats, sleeps, struts around a bit, and has sex. Slaves do all that but they also do a great deal of manual labor (from what I understand). Now if we made those chickens run all day on treadmills then perhaps we'd be talking about the same thing. But we don't. And we aren't, frankly.

Ichneumon
2009-11-02, 11:17 AM
Ah yes but the question is: How many animals find it objectionable? What choice would an animal make given that it doesn't have the reasoning capacity of a human? And if they made a choice you didn't agree with is that wrong? If you have to step in and make their choice for them what makes you different than the farmer that steps in and makes the other choice for them? As far as substituting your will for their own... nothing.

I don't know and I'm not realy interested. We can never ask an animals and explain him the deal. Therefore we can never get his consent, therefore making a "deal" like that is impossible and not really honest.

EDIT:L just realised I didn't answer the question...


Slavery involves, frankly, work... and this example involves none. What work does a chicken do? It eats, sleeps, struts around a bit, and has sex. Slaves do all that but they also do a great deal of manual labor (from what I understand). Now if we made those chickens run all day on treadmills then perhaps we'd be talking about the same thing. But we don't. And we aren't, frankly.

That's true, but my point was that just like slavery farming involves advantages and disadvantages and saying we are allowed to do something merely because we compensate it with other benefits doesn't really work. I wasn't saying human slavery is equal to animal "slavery". I was making a comparison between the whole "benefits versus disadvantages"-thing.

Ichneumon
2009-11-02, 11:26 AM
And if they made a choice you didn't agree with is that wrong?

I'd say they are allowed to make a choice and we should accept that, however it is unlikely the animals will ever be able to fully grasp the question and the consequences of their actions.


If you have to step in and make their choice for them what makes you different than the farmer that steps in and makes the other choice for them?

You're essentially saying that whatever we do with animals, we are the ones making a choice for them so we are allowed to do anything with them as long as we see it as "making a deal with them" and we choosing for them and everybody disagreeing with a certain "deal" really isn't any better because they decide for the animals too? Before answering this question, I'd like to know if you would reason the same way with human beings who are unable to make deals for whatever reason.

Trog
2009-11-02, 11:29 AM
I don't know and I'm not realy interested. We can never ask an animals and explain him the deal. Therefore we can never get his consent, therefore making a "deal" like that is impossible and not really honest.
Precisely. And making a "deal" for its freedom is the same thing - a choice made by another because it is unable to make it's own choice. And I know an animal in the wild will likely choose to be in the wild but what would a chicken in a factory farm choose? My guess is the farm.


That's true, but my point was that just like slavery farming involves advantages and disadvantages and saying we are allowed to do something merely because we compensate it with other benefits doesn't really work.
And this is different from the benefit of freedom versus the disadvantage of having to scavenge for sustenance how? Not at all. All possible lives of that animal involves advantages and disadvantages... including living free and wild. By your same rationale freedom "doesn't really work" either.


I wasn't saying human slavery is equal to animal "slavery". I was making a comparison between the whole "benefits versus disadvantages"-thing.
Well then perhaps you could have chosen better words than...

It is beyond doubt that being raised on a farm has its benefits, just like it has with humans, slavery for example, in which people get certain advantages, but have to accept certain disadvantages.
... because if you didn't want to compare it to slavery then, perhaps, you shouldn't have been the one to bring it up and say "just like slavery."

EDIT:

You're essentially saying that whatever we do with animals, we are the ones making a choice for them so we are allowed to do anything with them as long as we see it as "making a deal with them" and we choosing for them and everybody disagreeing with a certain "deal" really isn't any better because they decide for the animals too? Before answering this question, I'd like to know if you would reason the same way with human beings who are unable to make deals for whatever reason.
First of all double posting in this back and forth is going to get awfully confusing. I'll amend this to my last for ease of reading and such.

Well, I never said "we are allowed to do anything with them," first of all. And "making a deal with them" to set them free seems a fair comparison here - it is also, as you say, "a deal."

And it is not the "disagreeing with" the decision part I disagree with. Feel free to have your opinions on what should or shouldn't be decided. But that, by default, makes another decision. It is not a lack of a decision. It is not a lack of a "deal" as you put it.

Reason with those human beings... how? Humans that are unable to "make deals" - i.e. decisions - are going to be difficult, if impossible, to reason with. Period. In that instance others step in and try to do what is seen as best for that person. As in the case of a very small child or a person of extremely limited intelligence due to a birth defect or an accident or something. Decisions such as these happen all the time in the real world. Some of the choices are simple for that caretaker to make and some are not.

Ichneumon
2009-11-02, 11:40 AM
And this is different from the benefit of freedom versus the disadvantage of having to scavenge for sustenance how? Not at all. All possible lives of that animal involves advantages and disadvantages... including living free and wild. By your same rationale freedom "doesn't really work" either.


We don't "do" disadvantages to them by letting them be free. I said "...and saying we are allowed to do something merely because we compensate it with other benefits..." Which you seem to ignore. The fact that we might make their life better in one way doesn't mean we can claim the right to take it away from them and do other stuff with them. Having this opinion and acting on it, and thereby choosing for the animals, is not the same as doing with them what you want and at the same time giving them a benefit and calling it a deal.


Well then perhaps you could have chosen better words than...

No, the comparison works perfectly for what I was comparing them with, namely the "benefits justify disadvantages" part. The fact that people don't understand that comparing apples and oranges with each other in one aspect doesn't mean that apples and oranges are in every aspect the same, isn't my problem. The comparison worked for what I was using it for.


... because if you didn't want to compare it to slavery then, perhaps, you shouldn't have been the one to bring it up and say "just like slavery."

I did want to compare it to slavery, I only didn't want to equate it and with your argument you seemed to assume I was equating it.

Trog
2009-11-02, 12:06 PM
We don't "do" disadvantages to them by letting them be free.
Ooooooooh yes you do. The disadvantages of being free are: the threat of disease due to lack of any kind of health care, now having to scrounge for food instead of having it delivered to them, they have to seek shelter (if they can find it) that is no longer provided for them, and they are exposed to predatory animals who may eat them.


I said "...and saying we are allowed to do something merely because we compensate it with other benefits..." Which you seem to ignore.
I'm not ignoring it. You have made a ton of things to discuss here and I'm trying to touch on each one. If it is coming down to are we "allowed to do something merely because we compensate it with other benefits" It seems you are saying we do not have the right to decide anything for any animal. We are to completely ignore their existence apparently? Life doesn't work that way. You don't work that way. You yourself, are arguing vehemently for what you think should be done. You yourself are trying to decide for the animal. Are you "allowed to do something (take away it's provided food, shelter and medical care) merely because we compensate it with other benefits (like freedom)"?

Ichneumon
2009-11-02, 12:13 PM
The animals wouldn't even be in this situation, the situation of our care, if we hadn't made them in it. The fact that we are now arguing about HOW to treat animals and the problem of deciding what is the best way to do so (by making the sum of advantages/disadvantages), only occurs because we decide to even have them in our society in the first place. We are not their guardians and they are not our children.

Nameless
2009-11-02, 12:37 PM
Trog: Well-thought out. Agree with pretty much all of it.

Nameless: Om nom nom nom! Would you eat the eyes as well? I do.:smallbiggrin:

No, I just poke it a little. Most of the fish in Madera are deep-sea fish, so when I went there the fish had these HUGE bulgy eyes. It was awesome, and tasty.

Trog
2009-11-02, 01:01 PM
The animals wouldn't even be in this situation, the situation of our care, if we hadn't made them in it. The fact that we are now arguing about HOW to treat animals and the problem of deciding what is the best way to do so (by making the sum of advantages/disadvantages), only occurs because we decide to even have them in our society in the first place. We are not their guardians and they are not our children.
Ah. I see the crux of our debate. You have been arguing from an animal is in the wild starting point and I have been arguing from an animal is already on the farm standpoint. From your starting point I agree - leave the animal in the wild on its own to do it's thing. Let it be killed by whatever way that happens to them (I include hunting by man in this, you may not).

And no they wouldn't be in this situation at all if we hadn't domesticated them way way back when thousands of years ago, this is true. I'm trying to argue about the here and now though. Right now many animals around the world are born in domestication like hundreds of generations have been before. The idea of changing our behavior brings up the question of how that will impact the animals. Which is where I was coming from, I guess.

Perhaps, though, we shouldn't care what happens to them and leave them be. But even if we didn't care and we let them live in the wild we would still care about humans and looking after ourselves. We would hunt animals because they would sustain us where agriculture might not be able to - if crops fail, say. We would destroy more wildlife habitation to make more room for the agriculture needed to feed us, perhaps too. I don't know. It sounds like a crap shoot either way. And it also sounds like it would rapidly change back to what it is now... especially if there is money to be had from doing it.

AshDesert
2009-11-02, 07:02 PM
No, I just poke it a little. Most of the fish in Madera are deep-sea fish, so when I went there the fish had these HUGE bulgy eyes. It was awesome, and tasty.

You should try fish-head sometime. If you get over the gross factor they're actually quite delicious (especially the eyes:smallbiggrin:).Actually, that goes for just about anything.

pendell
2009-11-02, 08:06 PM
The animals wouldn't even be in this situation, the situation of our care, if we hadn't made them in it.


No, they would probably be extinct.

Humans are spreading to all corners of the globe, and as they do so we are building a globalized, international market. Roads and airplanes connect the world in a vast interdependent economy. Day by day the last remaining tribes and people find themselves forced into the larger economy.

In such a world, those animals which will survive will be those animals which offer economic value to those people who actually live there. Animals which have no value will be pushed aside and made extinct by humans in competition with them.

And if you have thousands, or even millions, of desperate people, the well-wishing of westerners will not save, say, elephants from Ivory poachers.

I am not saying this is a good thing. But I am saying it is what will happen.



only occurs because we decide to even have them in our society in the first place.


In a globalized society, all creatures must have a place in it, or they will not exist at all.



We are not their guardians


With respect, I disagree. If animals are to survive, they will survive because their ecosystems are in reserves -- parks, if you will -- and those parks must be maintained by human beings. Animals require humans to be their guardians because all animals in the world are threatened by the most successful, most intelligent, most prolific predator in recorded history, namely man. Only humans can protect animals from other humans. If some humans do not guard animals, poachers and all the rest will exterminate them.

Again, I give the example of elephants and their ivory. The reason elephants are thriving at all is because of international efforts to build and maintain game reserves. It is a vast labor requiring money, guns, and people. And even so poachers are still very active.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Devils_Advocate
2009-11-02, 09:32 PM
The abstraction is often flawed (as in "doesn't correctly model what you really want") due to the fact that it's often sufficiently fuzzy that it gives no answer on many real world problems or occasionally leads to results that contradict your utility function.

The biggest lie people tell themselves in the modern world is "If I care about something happening in front of me I should also care about it when it happens far away". Though there is an exception when the something encourages actions that will be harmful to us.

There is nothing contradictory about the following:

Girl: "I see an animal suffering! I must help it!"
*a few days later*
Girl: "Mmm... Delicious caged chicken!"

The reasoning is that the chicken is not suffering in front of her and her not doing anything about chicken suffering in general (as opposed to just that near her) will not harm her in any way as she is very unlikely to be near caged chickens unless she wants to be. This argument would not apply to human suffering because allowing (as in not discouraging) human suffering in another part of the country could affect you by creating an atmosphere in which human suffering is acceptable.

We only emphathize with a hypothetical chicken if we create one in the first place.
__________________________________________________ _______________
Hmm...
That wasn't very clear. Devils_Advocate, could you help me make this a bit more comprehensible?
I think I see what you're getting at.

I don't remember where I read this, but I once came across the notion that "willpower" just describes those cases in which the parts of our minds that determine our choices happen to be in concordance with those parts of our minds that create our mental narratives about what we desire. In other words, willpower is doing what you tell yourself you want to do; but that's just correlation, and it doesn't follow that the latter causes the former.

Whether this discordance between behavior and mental narrative constitutes hypocrisy or akrasia (http://lesswrong.com/lw/h7/selfdeception_hypocrisy_or_akrasia/) depends on what constitutes someone's "true self". Are "you" the one who thinks what you inwardly think, or are you the one who does what you consciously, outwardly do? To put it another way, what does it mean to "really want" something?

This is a tricky question. But let me note that we see this conflict not just between behavior and mental narrative, but between behavior and verbal narrative. If someone asks you to help her quit smoking, it would be incorrect to conclude that because she's still smoking, she must not really want to quit, and therefore she is not actually demonstrating any unfulfilled desires. Because, you see, asking you for help, and anything else she does that might be described as part of an attempt to quit, is also behavior on her part. Why is she doing that? If it's not because she "really" wants to smoke, maybe it's because what she "really" wants is to believe that she's trying to quit (http://lesswrong.com/lw/i4/belief_in_belief/).

So, let's assume for the sake of argument that this person is experiencing stress because her continued smoking (which she wants to do) is making it hard for her to believe that she wants to stop smoking (a belief she wants to hold). It's by no means clear to me that the most helpful way to resolve this conflict is to eliminate her desire to believe that she wants to stop smoking. That's not even the only way to get her to be honest with herself. If you can get her to genuinely want to quit smoking, then her belief that she wants to quit becomes true.

I'd hazard a guess that automagically removing all of a random person's self-deceptive beliefs would create a rather dangerous and unhinged individual. I think that there would be some beliefs that would better be made accurate and no longer self-deceptive: Cases where contradiction of cognition by metacognition (http://www.scottaaronson.com/writings/selfdelusion.html) would better be resolved in favor of an individual's metabeliefs.

It seems misleading to me to say "We only emphathize with a hypothetical chicken if we create one in the first place." What you're trying to get at there, I think, is that our mental model of a chicken is necessary for empathy towards chickens: The concept "unfortunate chicken" is a necessary part of the thought "I feel sorry for those unfortunate chickens." Well, duh. But unfortunate chickens actually exist; they aren't a fiction! The alternative to modeling them is a worldview in which unfortunate chickens implicitly don't exist.

Discounting the existence of other sentient beings makes it easy to be a jerk. (http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html) Now, if you just don't care about what happens to anyone else except insofar as it effects you, then you can legitimately regard some people as less important to you than others. But if you embrace the perspective that they're less real than the people you directly interact with so that you don't feel especially bad about brutally exploiting them indirectly, that's self-deception, because, well, they're not less real. You're not allowing your emotions to be controlled by rational beliefs (http://lesswrong.com/lw/hp/feeling_rational/), but by irrational ones.

I also question your implication that allowing nonhuman suffering doesn't foster an environment in which human suffering is more accepted than it otherwise would be. Unless you think that people can harden their hearts pretty selectively, isn't it still in your enlightened self-interest to encourage a general dislike of the suffering of others, both through example and through verbal persuasion?


Now, what if someone provided you with the money to live for your whole life. All the cash you have to work for now would be given to you. You would have all your time to yourself. The catch? You have to die at age 56 instead of age 76... 20 years sooner. BUT you didn't have to lift a finger to support yourself. And if you get married and have kids you don't have to support them either because they will get the same free ride you did.
Somewhat similarly, thousands of people die in traffic accidents every year. But, well, motor vehicles let people travel from place to place a lot faster, to the extent that the amount of time that people are made to spend not alive as a result of them is almost certainly far smaller than the amount of time that they allow people to spend not being in transit.

As Homer Simpson once put it, "Lower the speed limit?! Are you crazy?! Sure, we'll save a few lives, but thousands will be late!"


We are not their guardians and they are not our children.
Pets are cherished, protected, provided for, played with, disciplined, and controlled. They're acquired or produced to provide companionship. People tend to like them because they're cute. You can communicate with them and teach them stuff, but not to the extent that you can interact with a human adult. They don't have the knowledge of human adults.

All of the above seems accurate to me, and it still seems accurate after replacing "pet" with "baby". Even if the relationship isn't basically the same as a child/guardian relationship, there at least seem to be a lot of significant similarities.

GoC
2009-11-03, 10:25 AM
This is a tricky question.
Damn right. One I've had trouble with for a few months now.


Cases where contradiction of cognition by metacognition (http://www.scottaaronson.com/writings/selfdelusion.html) would better be resolved in favor of an individual's metabeliefs.
Very interesting article. I thank you for linking to it.


The alternative to modeling them is a worldview in which unfortunate chickens implicitly don't exist.
Correct. Sentences such as "there exists an unfortunate chicken", ones describing an unfortunate chicken and ones describing how people react to unfortunate chickens are NOT automatically linked. I can only conciously and deliberately go from one to the other*. Cool, huh?:smallcool:
I can't see any downsides to this method appart from the effort of keeping them seperate.


I also question your implication that allowing nonhuman suffering doesn't foster an environment in which human suffering is more accepted than it otherwise would be. Unless you think that people can harden their hearts pretty selectively, isn't it still in your enlightened self-interest to encourage a general dislike of the suffering of others, both through example and through verbal persuasion?
I greatly encourage social norms that further my interests. Such things include trying to convince people to donate to charity (even after it has become socially unacceptable) for exactly the reason stated.
As long as I don't teach people self-deception techniques I can simply continue encouraging a humans-first attitude while discouraging animal rights.
I can use quite a few arguments to further this cause among mostly rational people because once I point out (this is more complicated then it sounds:smallannoyed:) that it all comes down to "because that's how I feel" they get some severe cognitive dissonance between this and their self-image as logical people. Horray for the Spock effect!:smallbiggrin:

btw: Despite appearences this post took two hours to type, going through an interesting path of self-discovery that eventually reached the "*"ed conclusion. Thank you.:smallsmile:


The fact that you can more easily ignore what happened to the chicken makes it justifiable and outside your sphwew? I'm not sure I understand you.
Who am I justifying it to? Depending on what the moral views of the person I'm justifying it to are I'd justify it in different ways.

Devils_Advocate
2009-11-03, 08:17 PM
Damn right. One I've had trouble with for a few months now.
The thing is, it doesn't seem that we could really discover what a given identity applies to, since it's all just a matter of how our minds describe things. The best you can do is to get your categorizations to agree with your intuitions. That seems to be the full extent to which one could "discover" what constitutes the "self", for example. "Decide" might be a better word than "discover".

To attempt to illustrate my point: One could say that President George W. Bush recently turned into President Barack Obama, since the President of the United States was recently the former and is now the latter. That's a highly unconventional, counterintuitive perspective, to associate an identity with a political office like that, but so far as I can see there's nothing internally inconsistent about it.


Very interesting article. I thank you for linking to it.
Well, it's a short story, not an article.


Sentences such as "there exists an unfortunate chicken", ones describing an unfortunate chicken and ones describing how people react to unfortunate chickens are NOT automatically linked. I can only conciously and deliberately go from one to the other*.
Could you clarify what you mean by "linked" and "go from one to the other"? Are you talking about one thought leading to another or something similar?


I can't see any downsides to this method appart from the effort of keeping them seperate.
By "keeping them seperate" [sic], do you mean clearly distinguishing between related statements? I'm having trouble following you.


I greatly encourage social norms that further my interests. Such things include trying to convince people to donate to charity (even after it has become socially unacceptable) for exactly the reason stated.
As long as I don't teach people self-deception techniques I can simply continue encouraging a humans-first attitude while discouraging animal rights.
But if an individual chooses to help humans out of a general concern for other sentient beings, how many arguments can you make to convince him not to care about nonhuman animals that won't also convince him not to care about humans? Suppose, for example, that you successfully convince someone that he should be primarily concerned with his own self-interest. How much would that person then give to charity? If he has fully absorbed your message, he'll only give to charity in those cases in which a charity best advances his self-interest on a per-dollar basis. He might well wind up giving a lot less to charity than he did before.

Really, how much would you expect someone to help others if he's genuinely selfish, instead of just thinking of himself as selfish (http://lesswrong.com/lw/kx/fake_selfishness/)? Frankly, the main reason I can see not to be overly concerned about that is that it would probably be very hard to argue a person into genuine selfishness.


I can use quite a few arguments to further this cause among mostly rational people because once I point out (this is more complicated then it sounds:smallannoyed:) that it all comes down to "because that's how I feel" they get some severe cognitive dissonance between this and their self-image as logical people. Horray for the Spock effect!:smallbiggrin:
Were I to attempt to concisely argue that point, I'd probably put it something like this:

Some people say that goodness is a matter of utility, others that rightness means following a code of just conduct, others that virtue is all about motivation. Yet for all of those differences, I'd reckon that there are very few people who don't disapprove of things they regard as "evil", or who don't approve of things that they deem "good". That strongly suggests that ethical sentences express emotional attitudes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotivism); that is to say, that our feelings about things are what actually cause us to categorized them as moral or immoral.

When someone argues with you about what goodness is, does that feel like a dispute over the definition of the word "good"? More likely, it feels like a factual dispute, because your feelings of moral approval are subject to mind projection (http://lesswrong.com/lw/oi/mind_projection_fallacy/), the misapprehension that a subjective property is intrinsic to that which one perceives. On what other basis would you regard anyone's metaethics, including your own, as "correct" or "incorrect"? How are metaethics formulated in the first place, if not as generalizations about how people feel about things?


Who am I justifying it to?
Yourself?

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 04:58 AM
Suppose, for example, that you successfully convince someone that he should be primarily concerned with his own self-interest. How much would that person then give to charity? If he has fully absorbed your message, he'll only give to charity in those cases in which a charity best advances his self-interest on a per-dollar basis. He might well wind up giving a lot less to charity than he did before.

Is this a bad thing?

There is an argument that humans are social beings- and that "self-interest"
isn't always personal wellbeing in the here-and-now.

It can also be, from a genetic point of view- the wellbeing of your children and their descendants. (or those of your siblings, or your parent's siblings, etc.)

Strengthening the "rule of law" is in one's self-interest- because in a world where the only rule is of the strong- your chance (or that of your descendents) of being less powerful than them, is unacceptably high.

Preservation of wildlife- and environments- can be in your self-interest- because if the whole thing collapses- your descendants (or those of your kin) will be the ones living in the much harsher, more dangerous world.

Kalbron
2009-11-04, 05:32 AM
Yourself?

Should you have to justify consumption of a chicken however, regardless of how much suffering it went through?

Honestly I don't feel that way, specifically about domesticated animals raised for consumption. That chicken's only purpose in the world was to be born, raised and consumed. Without that purpose it would never have existed, because humans would never have given it the opportunity. The same goes for the thousands upon thousands of farm animals that are slaughtered each year for food.

Should you try to reduce the suffering? Sure, why not if it's possible? I mean really, beheading a chicken to kill it instantly should be less cruel than beating it to death, and more efficient besides.

GoC
2009-11-04, 12:48 PM
The thing is, it doesn't seem that we could really discover what a given identity applies to, since it's all just a matter of how our minds describe things. The best you can do is to get your categorizations to agree with your intuitions. That seems to be the full extent to which one could "discover" what constitutes the "self", for example. "Decide" might be a better word than "discover".

To attempt to illustrate my point: One could say that President George W. Bush recently turned into President Barack Obama, since the President of the United States was recently the former and is now the latter. That's a highly unconventional, counterintuitive perspective, to associate an identity with a political office like that, but so far as I can see there's nothing internally inconsistent about it.
Agreed.


Could you clarify what you mean by "linked" and "go from one to the other"? Are you talking about one thought leading to another or something similar?
Generally when you hear something your brain will supply you with things related to what you heard and their emotional connotations, correct?
"The chicken with the rotting legs" will only trigger an emotional response/picture of a hypothetical chicken/the hypothesized mental state of the chicken if I conciously will it to.

I'm not very good at explaining my thought processes. I often wonder at how well I understand them (as Feynman said, the best way to make sure you understand something is to try and explain it).


But if an individual chooses to help humans out of a general concern for other sentient beings, how many arguments can you make to convince him not to care about nonhuman animals that won't also convince him not to care about humans? Suppose, for example, that you successfully convince someone that he should be primarily concerned with his own self-interest. How much would that person then give to charity? If he has fully absorbed your message, he'll only give to charity in those cases in which a charity best advances his self-interest on a per-dollar basis. He might well wind up giving a lot less to charity than he did before.

Really, how much would you expect someone to help others if he's genuinely selfish, instead of just thinking of himself as selfish (http://lesswrong.com/lw/kx/fake_selfishness/)? Frankly, the main reason I can see not to be overly concerned about that is that it would probably be very hard to argue a person into genuine selfishness.
:smallconfused:
I would never argue someone into selfishness. I'd simply ask them to tell me why they value animal lives and then demonstrate how that would lead to a "ridiculous" conclusion (bacteria, or chemical vats or simulated screams or whatever).


Some people say that goodness is a matter of utility, others that rightness means following a code of just conduct, others that virtue is all about motivation. Yet for all of those differences, I'd reckon that there are very few people who don't disapprove of things they regard as "evil", or who don't approve of things that they deem "good". That strongly suggests that ethical sentences express emotional attitudes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotivism); that is to say, that our feelings about things are what actually cause us to categorized them as moral or immoral.

When someone argues with you about what goodness is, does that feel like a dispute over the definition of the word "good"? More likely, it feels like a factual dispute, because your feelings of moral approval are subject to mind projection (http://lesswrong.com/lw/oi/mind_projection_fallacy/), the misapprehension that a subjective property is intrinsic to that which one perceives. On what other basis would you regard anyone's metaethics, including your own, as "correct" or "incorrect"? How are metaethics formulated in the first place, if not as generalizations about how people feel about things?
I thought you knew that I understoof this...
I am very aware of mind-projection as I encounter it a lot in my day to day life.
Metaethics are indeed formed that way. I'd argue an ethics system correct or incorrect depending on:
A. Consistency.
B. Does it match your intuition (consistently).

What does metaethics mean? The process by which you came to hold a particular ethical system (such as utilitarianism)?


Yourself?
I see no need to do that.

Devils_Advocate
2009-11-06, 12:31 AM
There is an argument that humans are social beings- and that "self-interest"
isn't always personal wellbeing in the here-and-now.

It can also be, from a genetic point of view- the wellbeing of your children and their descendants. (or those of your siblings, or your parent's siblings, etc.)
I recall once reading a discussion about the D&D alignment system. One person maintained that Evil is "selfish". Someone else pointed out that this would mean that nothing you do on someone else's behalf would ever be Evil, no matter how horrible it might be. After pondering a bit, the original person responded that an Evil person with an "expanded sense of self" could do Evil things on behalf of his in-group.

I have a problem with that formulation. My problem is that it's a steaming load of crap. I do not regard my family as being me, nor does any other sane individual think that he's really a group of people. Period. That's stupid. A proper response would to be to say "Oh, oops, guess my definition is pretty stupid, then." It would also be legitimate to bite the bullet and say "Yep, under my definition, you only have to care about one other person to be non-Evil, even if you're deliberately mean to everyone else."

But redefining "self" utterly against common usage and common frickin' sense, in order to purportedly salvage your original definition, is not legitimate. Even if people accept the argument, it just gets them to accept a new and bizarre definition of "selfish" that allows for someone to be called "selfish" without actually being, y'know, selfish. This doesn't actually get people to believe in the original formulation of Evil as selfish. And I could tell that the person with the stupid definition wasn't actually thinking of an "expanded sense of self" when he first came up with the definition, because of the "oh yeah hmmm" way in which he reacted to the criticism of it. So he seriously didn't even think that his own original idea was actually right. So he should have just admitted that he was wrong.

Similarly, by the point that you've reformulated psychological egoism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_egoism) to mean "people don't want to do anything that they don't want to do", thinking that you've still got a meaningful statement instead of a vacuous tautology, you've just failed on a fundamental level. It would be misleading to say that at this point, it's time to let go and admit that you were wrong; it was time to do that several steps of reasoning ago.


Should you have to justify consumption of a chicken however, regardless of how much suffering it went through?
Well, most people seem to prefer to think of themselves as not screwing anyone over without a good reason, and to prefer others to think of them that way too. So when you point out to them how they're screwing someone over, people will usually try to make a case that they've got a good reason for it, or that they're not really doing it. Occasionally, they'll actually stop screwing someone over, but this is rare. Mostly because it's unlikely that you're the first one to point this particular thing out, so if they're still doing it they've probably already come up with a justification for it.

So it is that, in conversation, a person may ask another person for his justification for a particular bit of cruelty, under the assumption that the second person would want to have a justification. Implicit in the query, then, is not a demand, but simply an assumption that one is dealing with a relatively normal human being who likes to think of himself as not being a selfish, heartless bastard, even if he is one.


Honestly I don't feel that way, specifically about domesticated animals raised for consumption. That chicken's only purpose in the world was to be born, raised and consumed. Without that purpose it would never have existed, because humans would never have given it the opportunity. The same goes for the thousands upon thousands of farm animals that are slaughtered each year for food.
That sounds a whole lot like a justification.


Generally when you hear something your brain will supply you with things related to what you heard and their emotional connotations, correct?
But of course. (http://lesswrong.com/lw/k5/cached_thoughts/) Are you saying that you think that your brain automatically supplies less than mine does? I'm starting to get that impression.


"The chicken with the rotting legs" will only trigger an emotional response/picture of a hypothetical chicken/the hypothesized mental state of the chicken if I conciously will it to.
If I heard that phrase and wasn't paying attention to it, it would be no more than a string of syllables so far as my mental state was concerned. On the other hand, if I was paying attention, I would match those words to associated concepts and, based on the sentence's grammatical structure, form a conceptualization of a chicken with rotting legs (Ew).

So, if by "picture of a hypothetical chicken", you mean an actual visual image, I can see how you could avoid that, but it seems that you'd have to have a metaphorical mental "picture" of a chicken to process "chicken" as anything more than syllables (or letters). Your mental picture might not have a mental state in particular and might not trigger an emotional response on your part, but it would have feathers or wings or white color or some part or property or another -- probably including legs, in this case. If you haven't mentally attributed any properties to a hypothetical entity, that's a fully generic thing, not a chicken in particular. Technically, I suppose that you could attribute to something only the property of being named "chicken". You could even thing of it as having things called "legs" without actually imagining any chicken legs, I suppose. But that would be a very odd way to think! :smallsmile:

Incidentally, as I was writing the above, I think that I got what you meant by "hypothetical": not [of dubious existence] (though a hypothetical thing could be of dubious existence), but [referred to / represented by a concept in the mind]. Is that accurate? It does seem to be the best word for that notion. I can't think of a whole lot of terminology useful for making fine meta level distinctions.

As an example of that point: Sticking a phrase in square brackets was the best (terribly ad-hoc) way I could think of to indicate reference to a phrase's meaning. Quote marks indicate reference to a phrase itself, and a lack of any marks would imply that I was simply using the phrase in a sentence as normal. Granted, I could have just said "the meaning of 'of dubious existence" and "the meaning of 'referred to / represented by a concept in the mind'", but that would have been very awkward. In any case, hopefully this paragraph explains my bizarre notation above.


I'd simply ask them to tell me why they value animal lives and then demonstrate how that would lead to a "ridiculous" conclusion (bacteria, or chemical vats or simulated screams or whatever).
I'm unclear on which intuitively ridiculous conclusions those particular nouns are meant to reference. But anyway, I care about at least some nonhuman mental experiences. I'm ambivalent about whether any particular animal (including humans) would better live or die, but I wouldn't say that I don't care about that. So, basically, I care about the lives of animals, I think. If you think that this implies some manner of ridiculousness, I'd be interested to hear why, and what the ridiculousness is.

Why do I care? Empathy. Compassion.


I thought you knew that I understoof this...
Yeah, I'd gathered. I was trying to help you to formulate a relatively short, convincing argument "that it all comes down to 'because that's how I feel'", because you made it sound like you have difficulty efficiently convincing people of that point. Hence the preface


Were I to attempt to concisely argue that point, I'd probably put it something like this:.


What does metaethics mean? The process by which you came to hold a particular ethical system (such as utilitarianism)?
Sorta kinda. A metaethical (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaethics) philosophy is a description of what goodness itself is, rather than a direct description of which actions are good. If Ted says that we should be kind to others because we would prefer them to be kind to us, and Tom says that we should be kind to others because this increases pleasure and decreases suffering, they're using different metaethics to produce the same ethical prescription.

On the other hand, if Bob thinks that we should eat toast butter side down because that is the will of the Great Bread God, and Alice thinks that we should eat toast butter side up because that is the will of the Great Bread God, then they disagree on ethics although they agree on metaethics, because their shared metaethical philosophy prescribes behavior based on nonmetaethical information. Similarly, two utilitarians can disagree about what will maximize pleasure.

Clear?


I'd argue an ethics system correct or incorrect depending on:
A. Consistency.
B. Does it match your intuition (consistently).
What if a person's intuition is inconsistent?

Lissou
2009-11-06, 02:28 AM
That chicken's only purpose in the world was to be born, raised and consumed. Without that purpose it would never have existed, because humans would never have given it the opportunity. The same goes for the thousands upon thousands of farm animals that are slaughtered each year for food.

Emphasis mine.

I fail to see how that constitutes an opportunity. Surely, if we were talking about humans, having them being born only to be used as organ donors for instance, then killed, everyone would find that horrible. I fail to see why, because they wouldn't have existed otherwise, killing them is more justifiable.
As far as I'm concerned, it's much better for them not to be born at all. Creating a life, in my book, can be a form of abuse.
I find it a lot less cruel to eat animals that were NOT raised to be eaten, because at least they had some happiness in their lives.

Moving on to my answer to the first post: sure, pets have a high footprint. Humans have a higher one (anything they use becomes part of their footprint). So we could eat humans instead.
Also, instead of eating pets, we could make sure that they don't reproduce too much. Every pet not born has a nonexistent footprint. (And here again, it's the same with humans, incidentally).

hamishspence
2009-11-06, 03:49 AM
I recall once reading a discussion about the D&D alignment system. One person maintained that Evil is "selfish". Someone else pointed out that this would mean that nothing you do on someone else's behalf would ever be Evil, no matter how horrible it might be. After pondering a bit, the original person responded that an Evil person with an "expanded sense of self" could do Evil things on behalf of his in-group.

I have a problem with that formulation. My problem is that it's a steaming load of crap. I do not regard my family as being me, nor does any other sane individual think that he's really a group of people. Period. That's stupid. A proper response would to be to say "Oh, oops, guess my definition is pretty stupid, then." It would also be legitimate to bite the bullet and say "Yep, under my definition, you only have to care about one other person to be non-Evil, even if you're deliberately mean to everyone else."


Or, just redefine Evil as not being simply "selfish".

Humans may be highly intelligent animals- but they are still animals- and carry an awful lot of baggage from their early days. Many forms of behaviour might appear not to benefit a person in the short run- but do, in the long run.

Rescuing your children is arguably, selfish. As is cooperation toward a common goal- or many other things.

In fact, most of what is best in humanity, (or at least, has made the human species most successful) can be said to spring from selfish roots.

This is however, only one opinion. Others might say we are successful in spite of our selfishness rather than because of it.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-11-06, 05:28 AM
Emphasis mine.

I fail to see how that constitutes an opportunity. Surely, if we were talking about humans, having them being born only to be used as organ donors for instance, then killed, everyone would find that horrible. I fail to see why, because they wouldn't have existed otherwise, killing them is more justifiable.
As far as I'm concerned, it's much better for them not to be born at all. Creating a life, in my book, can be a form of abuse.
I find it a lot less cruel to eat animals that were NOT raised to be eaten, because at least they had some happiness in their lives.

Moving on to my answer to the first post: sure, pets have a high footprint. Humans have a higher one (anything they use becomes part of their footprint). So we could eat humans instead.
Also, instead of eating pets, we could make sure that they don't reproduce too much. Every pet not born has a nonexistent footprint. (And here again, it's the same with humans, incidentally).

Huh. I mean, if someone were to cover all costs in my life, giving me a decent standard of living, never requiring me to work, with the understanding that at age 50, I'd be killed and my organs would be harvested...

...

...I think I'd go for that. >.>

Lissou
2009-11-06, 05:30 AM
Or, just redefine Evil as not being simply "selfish".

That. Evil has little to do with being selfish. It's Good to enjoy giving your money to people. It's Evil to enjoy torturing people. Both are equally selfish, since they're done to make you happy.

Good is an act that makes other people happy as well, and Evil is an act that makes other suffer. That's how I would define it, I think.
It doesn't change the fact that the reason most people don't torture others is that they would not enjoy doing so. It's not out of generosity or anything.

Lissou
2009-11-06, 05:35 AM
Huh. I mean, if someone were to cover all costs in my life, giving me a decent standard of living, never requiring me to work, with the understanding that at age 50, I'd be killed and my organs would be harvested...

...

...I think I'd go for that. >.>

Ah, but they're not given a decent standard of living (not enough space, castration without anesthesia, removal of bills, and many other such things depending on which animal we're talking about), and they're more killed at the equivalent of age 20.Sure, they're not required to work, but they're not allowed to do much more, either. Plus, I've been unemployed for a few months and I prefer working.

And I meant more like, you're kept alive on a machine, and whenever one of your organs is needed it's harvested. You die if one such organ was vital. If not, you're kept alive, minus whatever organ was taken. Seriously, that would really suck.

Cobra_Ikari
2009-11-06, 05:39 AM
Ah, but they're not given a decent standard of living (not enough space, castration without anesthesia, removal of bills, and many other such things depending on which animal we're talking about), and they're more killed at the equivalent of age 20.Sure, they're not required to work, but they're not allowed to do much more, either. Plus, I've been unemployed for a few months and I prefer working.

And I meant more like, you're kept alive on a machine, and whenever one of your organs is needed it's harvested. You die if one such organ was vital. If not, you're kept alive, minus whatever organ was taken. Seriously, that would really suck.

Well, yes, that's true. Which is why I can very much get behind an argument to improve conditions of food animals. *nods*

Just saying, with decent conditions, it could even be preferable to the alternative. *shrugs*

Lissou
2009-11-06, 05:50 AM
I would definitely get behind better conditions. However I believe that the bad conditions are due to them being so numerous (because of the high demand) and as a result if the conditions improve, less animals need to have been born.
Which is kind of how the whole parenthesis here started.

And it meets nicely with my above point that a creature that hasn't been born doesn't have a footprint :P

hamishspence
2009-11-06, 07:24 AM
That. Evil has little to do with being selfish. It's Good to enjoy giving your money to people. It's Evil to enjoy torturing people. Both are equally selfish, since they're done to make you happy.

Good is an act that makes other people happy as well, and Evil is an act that makes other suffer. That's how I would define it, I think.
It doesn't change the fact that the reason most people don't torture others is that they would not enjoy doing so. It's not out of generosity or anything.

What if it's an act that makes others happy, and you suffer, but you feel you "have to do it because it's expected"?

Some strains of utilitarianism argue that suffering must be weighed against happiness, and that inaction has moral weight-

so you must make yourself suffer if it makes others sufficiently happy- and if the opportunity arises and you choose not to take it- this is evil.

I dislike this strain of utilitarianism somewhat.

Not least because certain forum-goers tend to bring it up with some enthusiasm:

"Of course the character should sell his soul to fiends for it to be tortured for all eternity- because it will save lots of lives- and being unwilling to do so- being more attached to your soul than the wellbeing of others, is selfish and eeeevil."

Solaris
2009-11-06, 03:08 PM
I find it a lot less cruel to eat animals that were NOT raised to be eaten, because at least they had some happiness in their lives.

Moving on to my answer to the first post: sure, pets have a high footprint. Humans have a higher one (anything they use becomes part of their footprint). So we could eat humans instead.
Also, instead of eating pets, we could make sure that they don't reproduce too much. Every pet not born has a nonexistent footprint. (And here again, it's the same with humans, incidentally).

Depends on the source. Free-range animals have happiness in their lives.
Out of curiosity, do you drink milk?

I'm taking volunteers to be dinner. Any takers? C'mon, it'll help the overpopulation problem, help end world hunger, and reduce your footprint!
I always wondered why those who advocated reducing human population were never more proactive about it.
Yes, spaying or neutering pets is generally a good idea, at least for the short-term. In the long run, we're already running into problems with inbreeding in the more concentrated purebreds.


That. Evil has little to do with being selfish. It's Good to enjoy giving your money to people. It's Evil to enjoy torturing people. Both are equally selfish, since they're done to make you happy.

Good is an act that makes other people happy as well, and Evil is an act that makes other suffer. That's how I would define it, I think.
It doesn't change the fact that the reason most people don't torture others is that they would not enjoy doing so. It's not out of generosity or anything.

Pretty much.


What if it's an act that makes others happy, and you suffer, but you feel you "have to do it because it's expected"?

Some strains of utilitarianism argue that suffering must be weighed against happiness, and that inaction has moral weight-

so you must make yourself suffer if it makes others sufficiently happy- and if the opportunity arises and you choose not to take it- this is evil.

I dislike this strain of utilitarianism somewhat.

Not least because certain forum-goers tend to bring it up with some enthusiasm:

"Of course the character should sell his soul to fiends for it to be tortured for all eternity- because it will save lots of lives- and being unwilling to do so- being more attached to your soul than the wellbeing of others, is selfish and eeeevil."

Inaction does have moral weight. Refusal to act where you have the ability to affect the outcome has as much moral weight as acting.

Taking it to the extreme of "You must suffer for everyone else's happiness", though, is just absurd. It sounds great, sure, especially if you're not the guy doing the suffering, but humans just aren't built that way. Total selflessness is not a survival trait.

Lissou
2009-11-06, 05:00 PM
Depends on the source. Free-range animals have happiness in their lives.
Out of curiosity, do you drink milk?

No, but I do eat (organic) free-range eggs.
I agree some animals suffer less than others, I'm just saying that when things are done on a huge scale, it results in more suffering. Take free-range, for instance : you give more room to each animal, so obviously you can raise less of them.


Inaction does have moral weight. Refusal to act where you have the ability to affect the outcome has as much moral weight as acting.

Taking it to the extreme of "You must suffer for everyone else's happiness", though, is just absurd. It sounds great, sure, especially if you're not the guy doing the suffering, but humans just aren't built that way. Total selflessness is not a survival trait.

I completely agree with that. You can't take "sacrificing yourself for others" as the norm, and not doing so as Evil. That's not realistic.
If you are faced with a choice that makes you suffer and help others, then you have a personal decision to make. Depending on how big your suffering would be and how much it would help others, as well as some personal traits (how brave you are, how selfless you are), you'll make a decision.

If you choose to sacrifice yourself it should not be shrugged off as just "normal". Similarly if you choose not to sacrifice yourself, it can't be considered Evil as much as... human.
Of course in cases like that you rarely have time to weigh the pros and cons, making inaction even MORE realistic, since you might be paralysed by the choice and not have time to actually make it.

osyluth
2009-11-06, 05:06 PM
Actually, humans have a much, much higher ecological impact than dogs or cats, so it makes the most sense to not have children (or kill and eat the ones you have).

Devils_Advocate
2009-11-06, 09:26 PM
Or, just redefine Evil as not being simply "selfish".
Which entails admitting that the original definition was wrong.

Admittedly, this doesn't strictly require admitting that the original definition was stupid. But ideally, if you see your idea swiftly discredited by a fairly obvious criticism, you say to yourself "Ooh, yeah, that was pretty dumb, wasn't it? I didn't think that through very well at all. Maybe in the future, I should spend more time considering the implications of the key points of my argument before I begin building up an elaborate thesis around them."


Rescuing your children is arguably, selfish.
Rescuing your children is selfish if and only if you do it purely for your own sake. Since doing things purely for your own sake is what selfishness is.


In fact, most of what is best in humanity, (or at least, has made the human species most successful) can be said to spring from selfish roots.

This is however, only one opinion. Others might say we are successful in spite of our selfishness rather than because of it.
As I once saw it put, asking whether human characteristics are more a result of genetics or environment is like asking whether a rectangle's area is more a result of its length or its width.

I thought that you might be touching on a similar confusion here, but on reflection, I'm not so sure.


I find it a lot less cruel to eat animals that were NOT raised to be eaten, because at least they had some happiness in their lives.

Ah, but they're not given a decent standard of living (not enough space, castration without anesthesia, removal of bills, and many other such things depending on which animal we're talking about), and they're more killed at the equivalent of age 20.Sure, they're not required to work, but they're not allowed to do much more, either. Plus, I've been unemployed for a few months and I prefer working.
I think that you may be making some overly broad assumptions about the quality of life of wild animals (http://utilitarian-essays.com/wild-animals.pdf) and the quality of life of food animals. Or, more to put it more accurately: I think that you may be making some overly broad assumptions about the qualities of lives in the wild and the qualities of lives of food animals. Since a broad range of lives with a broad range of qualities happen in the wild, and a broad range of lives with a broad range of qualities happen to food animals. To put it lightly.


What if it's an act that makes others happy, and you suffer, but you feel you "have to do it because it's expected"?

Some strains of utilitarianism argue that suffering must be weighed against happiness, and that inaction has moral weight-

so you must make yourself suffer if it makes others sufficiently happy- and if the opportunity arises and you choose not to take it- this is evil.
There are several positions that one could take on this and related matters. Amongst them:

(A1) Valuing your own welfare above that of another is immoral.
(A2) Valuing your own welfare above that of another is moral.
(B1) Valuing another's welfare above your own is moral.
(B2) Valuing another's welfare above your own is immoral.
(C1) Valuing your own welfare above that of another is bad.
(C2) Valuing your own welfare above that of another is good.
(D1) Valuing another's welfare above your own is good.
(D2) Valuing another's welfare above your own is bad.
(E) Valuing your own welfare above that of another is better than valuing another's welfare above your own.
(F) Valuing your own welfare above that of another is worse than valuing another's welfare above your own.
(U1) Of two possible, mutually exclusive actions, the one that leads to the higher net welfare for everyone is better and the one that leads to the lower net welfare for everyone is worse.
(U2) Of two possible, mutually exclusive actions, the one that leads to the higher net welfare for everyone is worse and the one that leads to the lower net welfare for everyone is better.

B1 is the perspective that altruism is a virtue and A1 is the perspective that selfishness is a vice. A2 is the perspective that selfishness is a virtue and B2 is the perspective that altruism is a vice. I associate "ethical egoism" most directly with A2 & B2.

I associate "utilitarianism" most directly with U1.

I would argue that U2 is an Evil value system and that U1 is a Good value system for the same reasons. (But it doesn't follow that they're the Evil value system and the Good value system, if you see what I mean.)


I'm taking volunteers to be dinner. Any takers? C'mon, it'll help the overpopulation problem, help end world hunger, and reduce your footprint!
Though it may be technically accurate, it's a gross oversimplification to say that resources are scare because there are too many people. Famine doesn't happen because there's not enough food in the world to feed everyone. Humans, let's not forget, can and do produce as well as consume.

As a thought experiment, imagine half of all the humans in the world dying in their sleep tomorrow. It seems safe to predict that this would be... fairly disruptive. To put it mildly. But after an initial period of adjustment, everyone has twice as much stuff, which is super awesome, right? People won't be able to produce new stuff nearly as quickly, because there are only half as many people to do it, but there's also only half as much demand now, and there are twice as many non-human resources to work with, so the amount of new stuff available per person should increase, right?

Well... not quite. That's how it works with material goods that can only be in one place at a time and are expended with use, be it quickly or slowly. But it's different with innovations. If there are only about half as many writers as before, they're only producing about half as much material for you to read (if you're still alive. 50% chance that you're not). And, in addition to art that you consume directly, there are innovations that increase the quantity and/or the quality of material goods produced...

From an environmental perspective, suddenly acquiring twice the material wealth they had previously will encourage people to waste more. And of course environment-preserving innovations will be produced more slowly.

But then again, proper use of the increased relative amounts of limited resources could allow people to accomplish menial tasks more efficiently, thus freeing up time for more intellectual pursuits. For example, traffic would be significantly reduced, so the average person would spend less time driving. So it's a complex scenario.

But anyway, my point is that haphazardly eliminating people is a dubious method for making the world a better place. Selectively eliminating people seems much more promising. I mean, think about it. Why would you want to get rid of people at random? If you deliberately choose your targets so as to maximize benefits and minimize costs, we should expect much better results, shouldn't we?

One obvious set of targets is people who you can expect to have a relatively low quality of life and relatively little opportunity for accomplishment. Among them, the ones that need a bunch of resources invested into them before they even have a chance to become productive are prime candidates for elimination. This is why eating poor babies is such a good idea.

On the other hand, those who inherit a great deal of wealth strike me as considerably less likely than self-made millionaires to spend that wealth wisely. Oh, sure, you can expect them to have above-average education, but at the end of the day we're talking about power and influence being distributed based on nepotism rather than competence. About the best you can hope for with a rich idiot, really, is that he'll spend his life in hedonistic luxurious excess. So already we're talking about someone who consumes a lot and produces little. If he decides to use his power to take control of things and runs perfectly good companies into the ground through his mismanagement, that's even worse. And gods help you if he decides to run for office.

So, in addition to buying babies from the poor to eat, rich people should eat their own babies, too. It's only responsible!

Lissou
2009-11-06, 10:32 PM
[Lots of statements about things being moral, immoral, good and bad]

I think where we disagree here is you seem to think there are good things and bad things, and that's it. I feel that there are neutral, or "normal" things, too. Going out of your way to help people is good, going out of your way to hurt people is bad, not going out of your way is neutral. (To put it simply).

Of course, the definition of "going out of your way" makes all the difference. I don't consider "holding your hand to save someone from drowning" to be going out of your way, so not helping them in any way (be it by calling for help or whatever) and just watching them die would be bad.
On the other hand, not rushing into a building that's on fire to rescue someone inside isn't bad or immoral in my book. It's neutral, or normal. Not calling the firemen when you have a phone and know the number, however, it's a different issue.

So my point is that you only categorised things are good and bad (or moral and immoral) when I feel there are more than 2 categories, with a big grey area in the middle.

EDIT: oh, and I didn't talk of animals in the while nor make any assumptions about them. I was comparing being born to be raised and killed and not being born at all. And I do realise the conditions of life (and death) change a lot depending on where, when and so on.
I was only being dubious about the word "opportunity" for being allowed to live in order to be killed and eaten in your prime. I fail to see that as an opportunity or something beneficial as opposed to not being born, which is always neutral (while living can be good or bad depending on your life).

Solaris
2009-11-07, 06:13 AM
Though it may be technically accurate, it's a gross oversimplification to say that resources are scare because there are too many people. Famine doesn't happen because there's not enough food in the world to feed everyone. Humans, let's not forget, can and do produce as well as consume.

As a thought experiment, imagine half of all the humans in the world dying in their sleep tomorrow. It seems safe to predict that this would be... fairly disruptive. To put it mildly. But after an initial period of adjustment, everyone has twice as much stuff, which is super awesome, right? People won't be able to produce new stuff nearly as quickly, because there are only half as many people to do it, but there's also only half as much demand now, and there are twice as many non-human resources to work with, so the amount of new stuff available per person should increase, right?

Well... not quite. That's how it works with material goods that can only be in one place at a time and are expended with use, be it quickly or slowly. But it's different with innovations. If there are only about half as many writers as before, they're only producing about half as much material for you to read (if you're still alive. 50% chance that you're not). And, in addition to art that you consume directly, there are innovations that increase the quantity and/or the quality of material goods produced...

From an environmental perspective, suddenly acquiring twice the material wealth they had previously will encourage people to waste more. And of course environment-preserving innovations will be produced more slowly.

But then again, proper use of the increased relative amounts of limited resources could allow people to accomplish menial tasks more efficiently, thus freeing up time for more intellectual pursuits. For example, traffic would be significantly reduced, so the average person would spend less time driving. So it's a complex scenario.

But anyway, my point is that haphazardly eliminating people is a dubious method for making the world a better place. Selectively eliminating people seems much more promising. I mean, think about it. Why would you want to get rid of people at random? If you deliberately choose your targets so as to maximize benefits and minimize costs, we should expect much better results, shouldn't we?

One obvious set of targets is people who you can expect to have a relatively low quality of life and relatively little opportunity for accomplishment. Among them, the ones that need a bunch of resources invested into them before they even have a chance to become productive are prime candidates for elimination. This is why eating poor babies is such a good idea.

On the other hand, those who inherit a great deal of wealth strike me as considerably less likely than self-made millionaires to spend that wealth wisely. Oh, sure, you can expect them to have above-average education, but at the end of the day we're talking about power and influence being distributed based on nepotism rather than competence. About the best you can hope for with a rich idiot, really, is that he'll spend his life in hedonistic luxurious excess. So already we're talking about someone who consumes a lot and produces little. If he decides to use his power to take control of things and runs perfectly good companies into the ground through his mismanagement, that's even worse. And gods help you if he decides to run for office.

So, in addition to buying babies from the poor to eat, rich people should eat their own babies, too. It's only responsible!

... You do know I was being sarcastic about the 'reduce the population to save the world' thing, right? I actually happen to agree with pretty much everything you just said there. Even if you talk too much. 'S okay. Some people need the obvious explained to them using a lot more words than other people do.

hamishspence
2009-11-07, 06:19 AM
Wh
Rescuing your children is selfish if and only if you do it purely for your own sake. Since doing things purely for your own sake is what selfishness is.


It is? I though selfishness was "any act that is in your own self-interest- physical, mental, or genetic"

Very few acts can be "purely for your own sake" when it comes to your offspring. Yet pretty much all acts concerning furthering the welfare of your offspring, are in your own self-interest. Hence, selfish.

An animal rushing into danger- to save its offspring from a predator- we have no hesitation in calling that "selfish"

So why is it different for humans?