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GreNME
3rd July 2009, 09:33 AM
Not really.

What we have, on the one hand, is a line drawn consistently and rationally - that is, a line that is drawn for a specific set of reasons on an internally-consistent set of bases.

That can't be said of the meat-eating position - note Paladin, who denies he draws a line and then baulks at torturing kittens, TBK who just goes with the status quo, and others who refuse even to recognise diet as an issue where "reason" plays a part at all.

It is, and always has been, about consistency, coherency and rationality. You really haven't described any "underlying concepts" at all; you've just declared my [our] position as arbitrary as any other, which simply isn't true.

Come on, you're ignoring loads of posts that describe otherwise. You keep backtracking to individuals when RandFan and I have been talking about the larger social groups. RandFan has done this to a greater degree than I have, but we've both described the social and cultural conditions that people work from, and not always individuals separately. Talk to any individual separately and you're going to get a less-distilled, often simpler initial breakdown of the rationality you're demanding. Meanwhile, Cain, Kevin, and (it seems) yourself are speaking on collectivist terms with regard to a veg[etari]an diet and its (allegedly collective) moral reasoning. I don't think you're intentionally comparing apples to oranges in this sense or I would have called you on it, Volatile, but that has been the result in the disagreements in perspective in the thread.

That's an argument in favour of sustainably-farmed corn and soy, not an argument not to eat corn and soy at all.

But I don't have to argue against eating corn and soy (or any other plants), because I think they're a valid food source. However, my arguments are against the mass-production food industry as a whole, which runs the gamut of destructive practices and doesn't simply become better for the world by switching the balance between meat and produce. The bad behavior here is in the industries themselves thinking they can get more without having adverse impacts, and that applies in a real sense to the mass-production industry as a whole-- who can and sometimes does find better ways, meaning they aren't totally worth removing (this is not an anti-corporation argument)-- and not just about trying to pit one type of food industry against another. When it comes to resource management, the give-and-take can come very close to a zero-sum game, and the food industry's development, processing, and distribution practices exemplify this in meat as well as produce, so it's not like it can be ignored in one while simultaneously being a talking point for the other.

volatile
3rd July 2009, 09:33 AM
I guess I'm on your ignore now since you've not responded to my last half dozen responses over the last couple of days to you (I think it's that many).

*Dennett notes, there is a trade off in benifits. The animals get to live. They are statisically assured of surviving their birth. And, they get to live (by and large and day to day) free from the elments, disease, predators, etc.

That these animals would not exist is not a compelling argument. When we kill them they won't exist.

*Dennetts argument is specifically about sheep and he doesn't state that they exist for the purpose of eating meat and I don't want to put words in his mouth. His point could be made for wool production, though that would be somewhat weasely. We don't know as he doesn't make that distincion.

Not on my ignore, no. Just didn't get round to you.

If you want to save them - if that is your reason - then killing them for meat becomes even less justifiable.

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 09:35 AM
If altrusim is your reason - if you want to save animals from the wild - then raise them and keep them until old age.There is simply not the reasources. The ability to do this is based on the trade off. The animal provides benifits to us and we to them and that is why we do it.

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 09:37 AM
If you want to save them - if that is your reason - then killing them for meat becomes even less justifiable. I don't want to simply save them. I want to give them an opportunity to live, to survive their birth, to be free from the elments and disease. It's a trade off.

Belz...
3rd July 2009, 09:38 AM
How many grains are there in a heap? If you can't tell me exactly, then there's no difference between a single grain and a heap!

That's the fallacy of the heap. The assertion that if the line between two categories is not firm, then those categories are meaningless.

Huh ? It's the same for abortion: if they couldn't pick an arbitrary line at which abortion was no longer legal then they never would've come up with the damn law. You're trying to make a case for an objective reason why one should or shouldn't eat this and that. It better be well-defined.

Fine. So what? How does that justify eating those that do?

Your criterion is incompatible with your claim, Volatile. That's all I'm saying. If you think that taking down an argument for your claim is a claim for mine (assuming I had one) then you don't know much about skepticism.

I think "death" is suffering.

Sure thing, Vol. And not collecting stamps is a hobby.

Killing something is inflicting suffering, and not just semantically. Cain's touched on this in his posts on "interests".

How so ? Because you rob the being of its interest in living ? It that's why then again you are being inconsistent because this AGAIN applies to plants and mushrooms. And bacteria.

What's your issue with killing your kittens and using them as target practice? After all, the kitten's dead, right?

I don't want to kill my kitten (if I had one) and it's not legal to do so for such a reason. I don't like killing or hurting animals (except bugs), because it's simply not something I do. I also do not like killing or damaging plants, but I eat them, too.

If altrusim is your reason - if you want to save animals from the wild - then raise them and keep them until old age.

No, I'm happy to pay other people to do it for me.

If your "reasons" for eating meat really are to save them from the vicissitudes of life, how can you justify killing them? You're making it up as you go along.

No, I'm not. You are incapable of differentiating between a counter-argument against YOUR claim and an argument for MY claim. It's exactly the same thing yrreg is doing in the other thread, thinking that just because we don't know how the universe came into being then it MUST be god who did it.

I was saying that the harm of farming animals, to the animals themselves, is less than the harm said animal would endure in the wild. I'm saying that there is no harm in farming animals that are otherwise well-treated.

Meat eating causes clear and demonstrable harms.

Such as ?

So show me why it's worth doing. What's so hard? You must have a reason, surely? A reason that is clear and sensible and rational? Don't you?

Broken record:

You're still not getting it. I don't need to justify myself to you. YOU are making a claim that eating meat is WRONG. YOU need to justify yourself.

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 10:01 AM
Come on, you're ignoring loads of posts that describe otherwise. You keep backtracking to individuals when RandFan and I have been talking about the larger social groups. Yes, a point I would very much like to emphasize. Sociobiology doesn't tell us much about any specific individuals behavior. Personally, as I've said in this thread prior, I'm skeptical of the reasons for my moral behavior.

But as Volitile has asked, I do live an examined life. I have had considered the arguments for many ethical moral issues. I've been willing to be objective and set aside my personal bias.

thaiboxerken
3rd July 2009, 10:24 AM
Well, clearly that's because you're one of heroes. So, according to you people can abuse animals if they say so desire. Cool. Presumably you think it's wrong to torture humans. What, in your view, are the morally significant differences between a human and (say) a chimpanzee?

Sapience. That's the difference.


So this principle does not apply to social norms in other countries?

No, it does not. I live in the USA where one of the key principles is the freedom to do as one wishes, as long as it hasn't been shown to be harmful to society.

thaiboxerken
3rd July 2009, 10:27 AM
Seems to me that the "none is the logical end to less" argument isn't being made by Volatile anymore. I wonder why.........

Beth
3rd July 2009, 01:39 PM
I agree that animal harm is concerning, to me at leats, and is the reason why I've considered going vegeterian, That used to concern me too. I found the environmental argument fairly persuasive 30 some years ago. I tried being vegetarian. It lasted about a month. My mother was furious at me. My father wasn't very happy either. Worst of all, I really missed eating meat.

It's very cultural, but it's also gender related. My boss, who is Malaysian, complained with a good-bye lunch for an employee who was leaving was at a vegetarian restaurant. Our office manager told him he was truly an American now, which got a big laugh from everyone in the office. American men want to eat meat. We spent the rest of the day asking everyone who came in if he would object to eating at a vegetarian restaurant. Every single male except one Asian guy said they would object. No female would have minded. Non-scientific, but interesting, eh?

At any rate, I have a family. At this point, I'm the only female in the household. Meatless meals get complaints. I think the point of the discussion is simply to bring into people's minds and make them think more about it. It's interesting to hear the arguments again. They haven't really changed much except that the environmental impact argument is cloudier to me now. It's really really hard to accurately gauge the comparative impact. There are so many variables, it's really hard to draw a firm conclusion.

Cain
3rd July 2009, 04:22 PM
I never said that what was "percieved" was correct. I've never said that. And I agree that we must seriously investigate and examine our perceptions.

*sigh* I did not say you said that. Pay attention, you use the non-committal word "perceives" because you're incapable of following through on arguments.

On ****** babies to cure AIDS:

A.) I find the idea reprehensive. B.) It doesn't work.

If (B) were not true I'd have to reconsider it. You?

Yes, if B) were true then I'd too have to consider it... for not much longer than an instant. Now if you only gave as much consideration to your naturalistic fallacy nonsense as you do to child molestation your views might actually have some substance.

That you think it was explained doesn't mean that it was. I've explained to you in pages 5-15 why it is relevant.

If 10+ pages did not disabuse you of your elementary mistake, then I don't think it would be possible to do so in this umpteenth post.

Whenever I see a list from you or a red font I know almost for certain that's its special ********:

Yes, but here is where you make your error.

I don't claim that our perceptions of what is moral is beyond question.
I don't claim that should we have sufficient reason to kill babies that we couldn't kill babies.


This cycles back to the above. It's amusing because you quote me, agree, and then when alleging an error you completely fail to quote me, or engage anything I said.

Sociobiology works. It works very well. It has given us altruism, empathy, compassion and other tools for behaving in a social arena (See Pinker et al). However our morality doesn't stop with sociobiology. We can and ought to use reason to better shape our morals.

You're speaking out of your butthole, and I like how Belz gives you a reach-around to encourage this bit of nonsense. But it has already been addressed.

Actually it was about primates.

This is your "You forgot about Poland!" gaff. You can't come up with an actual argument, but you have to say something. The only difference is that Kerry did fail to mention Poland. I suggest you follow threading:

C:So again how do you include chimps?
RF: They have higher brain functions than many other animals.
C: how is that morally relevant?
RF: I was impressed by an argument made by Peter Singer to consider enlarging our circle. He made it about primates and I can't find it at the moment but his argument for whales is pretty close.


You're such a clown.

If Singer had intended for this to be his only premise then he should have only stated this premise. If this were the only premise then I wouldn't have changed my position.

Let's drop this "only premise" nonsense. I know, I know, you like to have lots of premises because that way it's easier for you to say whatever you please. Let's just refer to Singer's claim here as critical, and it is, and you ignored it.

--------------------
Volatile wrote:
Cain, take over, buddy - I'm going home for the weekend and don't have internet at home.

**** you, no.

------------------------------
TBK on the differences between humans and animals:

Sapience. That's the difference.

This harkens back to Lowe's comments on potentiality because if that's your standard, then you need to somehow reconcile the accepted rights of rational adult humans with marginal cases (e.g., children, mentally disabled, PVS, fetsuses).

No, it does not. I live in the USA where one of the key principles is the freedom to do as one wishes, as long as it hasn't been shown to be harmful to society.

By "society" I take it you mean human society, which suggests you're not even open to the idea of animal rights. In the U.S. the vast majority of people also condemn animal abuse. Do you imagine they oppose animal torture because such abuses are harmful to society? Perhaps some do, but I'd guess most oppose harming animals because it's wrong to needlessly cause animals pain. See (again) the first post in my thread, "Admit it, you believe in animal rights."

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 04:37 PM
Yes, if B) were true then I'd too have to consider it... for not much longer than an instant.Why?

Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%

Now if you only gave as much consideration to your naturalistic fallacy nonsense as you do to child molestation your views might actually have some substance. No argument here.

Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%


If 10+ pages did not disabuse you of your elementary mistake, then I don't think it would be possible to do so in this umpteenth post.
No argument here either.

Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%

Whenever I see a list from you or a red font I know almost for certain that's its special ********: No argument. No rebuttal. No substantive response.

Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%

This cycles back to the above. It's amusing because you quote me, agree, and then when alleging an error you completely fail to quote me, or engage anything I said. Irony of Irony. You constantly claim I say things without quoting me. You constantly refuse to address my points but instead choose to belittle me and resort to rhetorical device.

Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%

In any event, I did quote you.

You said: So infants get rights because society perceives killing babies as immoral, and you agree...

Nothing in your post makes clear that I don't think that sociobiology alone should define what we see as moral. Which is dishonest because I've made the point time and time again. Humans give rights to infants because they percieve that as moral but it doesn't mean that it should be that way. We could reason that infants shouldn't have those rights.

IOW: My point about sociobiology doesn't obviate reason. You won't acknowledge that fact because it doesn't fit your straw man position that you have invented for me.

You're speaking out of your butthole, and I like how Belz gives you a reach-around to encourage this bit of nonsense. But it has already been addressed. Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%

C:So again how do you include chimps?
RF: They have higher brain functions than many other animals.
C: how is that morally relevant?
RF: I was impressed by an argument made by Peter Singer to consider enlarging our circle. He made it about primates and I can't find it at the moment but his argument for whales is pretty close.

Given that Singer's argument addressed higer brain functions I'm happy to stand by that.

You're such a clown. Argument: 0% Personal abuse: 100%

Let's drop this "only premise" nonsense. I know, I know, you like to have lots of premises because that way it's easier for you to say whatever you please. Let's just refer to Singer's claim here as critical, and it is, and you ignored it. It was Singer's argument. Singer chose which premises to include. I didn't force them on him. He must have had a reason to include them. You certainly don't address them or rebutt them. That you think Singer's claim is critical is, JUST AN ASSERTION!

Argument: 0. Rhetoric: 100%

Your post:
Argument 0%.
Rhetoric/personal abuse 100%

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 04:59 PM
BTW: Knowing you it's probably a good idea to define argument. I'd like to suggest Monty Python's definition as provided in the argument clinic.

teMlv3ripSM

An argument is an intelectual process. A connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition.

thaiboxerken
3rd July 2009, 05:18 PM
This harkens back to Lowe's comments on potentiality because if that's your standard, then you need to somehow reconcile the accepted rights of rational adult humans with marginal cases (e.g., children, mentally disabled, PVS, fetsuses).

There is nothing to reconcile. Humans are sapient, it's part of what seperates us from other species. Those humans who are "marginal" tend not to have the full rights and responsibilities as those that do. Children are not allowed to vote, for example. A fetus has rights. The mentally disabled are treated on a case by case basis based on severity.


By "society" I take it you mean human society, which suggests you're not even open to the idea of animal rights.

You are correct, I'm not open to the idea of animal rights.

Rogue1stclass
3rd July 2009, 05:56 PM
Ok, this is why I hate philosophy...

In this discussion, what does "morality" actually mean? How much weight should we put into maintaining it? Who gets to define the criteria?

For example, the argument has been put forth that eating meat is "immoral" because it causes the suffering of other creatures. How do we arrive at "the suffering of other creatures is immoral"? Is it immoral to punish a misbehaving child? Is it immoral to ask a friend to help me move or pick me up from the airport? If these things are immoral, and I do them anyway, then what is the punishment? What is the reason for me to behave morally?

This is why I say that morality cannot be rational. Even when you bend over backwards trying to make it rational, you still fail. You have started from an arbitrary, irrational point and then tried to make rational arguments for it. Amending this to "unnecessary suffering" just makes it worse, in that now you've added an arbitrary qualifier to an already arbitrary starting point.

But I don't guess that'll stop anyone from trying...

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 05:59 PM
This is why I say that morality cannot be rational. Even when you bend over backwards trying to make it rational, you still fail. You have started from an arbitrary, irrational point and then tried to make rational arguments for it. Amending this to "unnecessary suffering" just makes it worse, in that now you've added an arbitrary qualifier to an already arbitrary starting point.

But I don't guess that'll stop anyone from trying...I tried to get Kevin Lowe to admit that any starting point takes into account feelings (suffering) and feelings are natural and that we don't want to suffer is a natural desire.

That's a bit of non-starter with absolutists though.

Kevin_Lowe
3rd July 2009, 07:49 PM
BS.
BS. Assertion. Just as one can make objective statements about art one can make objective statements about morality.

That doesn't make either objective. I've explained this to you before.

That I can find utility in something doesn't mean that I must accept absolute morality. Your argument is spurious.

You keep referring to objectivist moral theories as absolutist. I have explained to you repeatedly that this is an error. Please knock it off.

Now let's try explaining this one more time. You claim that there is no such thing as objective morality. Yet you also claim that we can improve on our instincts by means of reason. But by what standards are such alterations improvements?

If they are improvements by some higher standard, then you're de facto embracing objectivist morality. If not, then you're just trading one set of utterly baseless prejudices and rituals for another.

I'm charitably assuming you comprehend the idea of consistency and accept that it is necessary for rationality.


We don't have to be slaves to our sociobiology. We CAN reason better morals.

Better by what standard? If it's just because you like it better then you aren't reasoning your way to better morals, you're just making up justifications after the fact by appropriating whatever philosophy or science you think supports your latest whim.


Where? You just make stuff up and expect that everyone is going to accept whatever you say. That is rather arrogant of you.

We don't have to be slaves to our biology. Humans have brains. We can reason. If you argue that eating meat isn't ok I can argue that it is. The question then becomes if either arguments are valid and are compelling.

You are not the grand arbiter and you don't really get to tell me that I don't get to argue.

You get to argue if you do it rationally and consistently. If you can't manage that then you are not entitled to an opinion.


If your ego demands that you refuse to acknowledge my arguments or that you must see a contradiction that's fine but you damn sure haven't demonstrated a contradiction. You just assert, over and over, argument ad nauseam.

It wasn't true before it isn't true now and asserting something over and over isn't logically valid argument.

Get over yourself. That you assert that there is a contradiction doesn't mean that there is one.

I've explained the contradictions repeatedly. If you can't grasp the fact that you are talking nonsense after the same mistake has been explained to you more times than I care to think about it I can't take responsibility for your failings.

You can pile relativism and utilitarianism and the naturalistic fallacy on your plate all at once and call it "nuance", but it's not nuance, it's pseudo-intellectual incoherence. It's meaningless.

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 08:41 PM
You keep referring to objectivist moral theories as absolutist. I have explained to you repeatedly that this is an error. Please knock it off.Says the guy who constructs a thousand straw men from my views.

You claim that there is no such thing as objective morality.Bingo.... ding, ding, ding...

BTW: You've been asked many times for evidence of this objective morality and for some odd reason you just ignore the request. And by what standard does one use to come to this "objective" morality? Does objective morality resolve all dilemmas? If not then how can it be objective?

I've asked you these questions but you just ignore them.

I'll ask some more for you to ignore (sorry for the rhyme).


Scenarios:
Someone is trying to kill you and your best chance to survive is to kill them.
Anne Frank is in your attic and the SS is at the door.
During the tenure of Trevelyan at the time of the Irish famine you have an opportunity to steal corn to keep your children alive.
Questions:
Is it objectively immoral to kill?
Is it objectively immoral to lie?
Is it objectively immoral to steal?
So, where is this "objective" morality? What is it exactly? Does it exist a priori?

Yeah, you and I both know you won't answer the questions because that's not what you do. You live in some ivory tower where you need not even consider arguments or bother with questions.

In your world you are right and everyone else is wrong and if they don't like it then you will respond by attacking them personally and asserting all kinds of things.

Yet you also claim that we can improve on our instincts by means of reason.{sigh} Do you go out of your way to be wrong? NOT "instincts". Adaptive behavior (see de Waal, Dawkins, Pinker, Wilson). Sheesh. How many times must you be told?

But by what standards are such alterations improvements?Are you kidding? This is a ridiculous question at this stage of the discussion. It clearly demonstrates that you haven't a god damn clue what the hell I'm talking about.

It depends on your premises. If you assume that increased well being and decreased suffering is good then one needs to simply do the math.

By the way, I didn't invent that standard.

According to Stephen Pinker, homicide and violence has decreased steadily for thousands of years (http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html). According to the UN, modern liberal democracies score higher in HDI than other nations.

Why?


According to Michael Shermer (and Dawkins, and de Waal, and Wilson, et al):

Most of care that others don't suffer.
Most of want well being.
We, as a near universal, perceive that these things are good.

Better by what standard? (see above)

I've explained the contradictions repeatedly.No you haven't and there are no contradictions. I can't prove a negative. However you and I both know that all you are going to do is to keep repeating the same tired line over and over.

You can pile relativism and utilitarianism and the naturalistic fallacy on your plate all at once and call it "nuance", but it's not nuance, it's pseudo-intellectual incoherence. It's meaningless. And you will go on and on and on and on asserting and claiming and asserting and claiming and won't provide evidence or proof or answer questions, etc..

I'm happy and proud to stand by my record in this thread. I've not resorted to the kind of assertions and rhetoric that you and Cain have to make my case.

Kevin_Lowe
3rd July 2009, 09:20 PM
Says the guy who constructs a thousand straw men from my views.

[That would be a tu quoque argument even if it was true, and it's not. The advantage of an incoherent position like yours is that you can call literally any demand for consistency a straw man.

Now are you going to knock it off, or what?


Yeah, you and I both know you won't answer the questions because that's not what you do. You live in some ivory tower where you need not even consider arguments or bother with questions.

That's because I know what you're up to. You can't actually address the criticism of incoherence, because your position is blatantly incoherent. So you try to drag in every moral dilemma in sight and then demand that someone else solve them for you, the next move presumably being that if you can pick some nit or other with a provided solution that your incoherent position is therefore validated.

Address the issue of incoherence and then we can move forward.


In your world you are right and everyone else is wrong and if they don't like it then you will respond by attacking them personally and asserting all kinds of things.

As I have said many, many times before you don't often get to be certain about philosophical matters but I can be damned sure that an incoherent position is worthless. If someone sticks to an incoherent position after being shown that it is incoherent there's nothing further to say except "You're not capable of telling sense from nonsense, and until you develop that ability attempting to have a sensible conversation is a doomed endeavour".


{sigh} Do you go out of your way to be wrong? NOT "instincts". Adaptive behavior (see de Waal, Dawkins, Pinker, Wilson). Sheesh. How many times must you be told?

Are you kidding? This is a ridiculous question at this stage of the discussion. It clearly demonstrates that you haven't a god damn clue what the hell I'm talking about.

It depends on your premises. If you assume that increased well being and decreased suffering is good then one needs to simply do the math.

By the way, I didn't invent that standard.

According to Stephen Pinker, homicide and violence has decreased steadily for thousands of years (http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html). According to the UN, modern liberal democracies score higher in HDI than other nations.

Why?


According to Michael Shermer (and Dawkins, and de Waal, and Wilson, et al):

Most of care that others don't suffer.
Most of want well being.
We, as a near universal, perceive that these things are good.

Around and around the merry-go-round we go. This is hedonistic utilitarianism, an objectivist moral philosophy. If you stuck with this consistently we could have an intelligent conversation.

You aren't going to, though. The minute you are uncomfortable with any conclusion generated by hedonistic utilitarianism, you'll run and hide behind some totally incompatible theory than justifies your existing prejudices, and then you'll claim with a straight face that you are being completely consistent and you always have been.


No you haven't and there are no contradictions. I can't prove a negative. However you and I both know that all you are going to do is to keep repeating the same tired line over and over.

This is pathetic: It's like complaining that your maths teacher "asserts" that 2 plus 2 is 4 over and over again and you're tired of it.

The answer isn't going to change just because you repeat the same claim over and over again. That isn't how logic works.

Being a relativist-of-convenience and an objectivist-of-convenience and a nihilist-of-convenience and pulling whichever line from whichever source happens to suit your prejudices this instant is inevitably going to lead you to contradict yourself.

Now either pull up a seat at the table of reason, where you are expected to be coherent and consistent, or go play with the woo-woos.

GreNME
3rd July 2009, 09:36 PM
Funny side-note: I'm currently watching the film version of Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Boy_and_His_Dog), not-ironically, with my own dog. My better half told me that my own dog and I practically communicate as well as Vic and Blood, sans the misogyny and dystopian values. Oh, my dog (Flynn (http://astos.offlead.com/2006-10-07/DSCN6101.jpg)) and I don't have deep or philosophical conversations, but we communicate plenty well enough.

That, essentially, is why I wouldn't eat him. It's also why PETA is so stupid-- they don't seem to understand this type of relationship, and would seemingly prefer I either treat him like a person or have no interaction with him at all (or only "from a distance").

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 10:00 PM
That would be a tu quoque argument...Only if I tried to justify my behavior by what you do.

Now are you going to knock it off, or what?Get over yourself. This nonsense isn't going to fly. Make an argument or move on.

You live in some ivory tower where you need not even consider arguments or bother with questions. That's because I know what you're up to. Thanks for proving me right.

You can't actually address the criticism of incoherence, because your position is blatantly incoherent. So you try to drag in every moral dilemma in sight and then demand that someone else solve them for you, the next move presumably being that if you can pick some nit or other with a provided solution that your incoherent position is therefore validated.All assertion. No argument.

Address the issue of incoherence and then we can move forward. Browbeating. Rhetorical. There is no incoherence.

As I have said many, many times before you don't often get to be certain about philosophical matters but I can be damned sure that an incoherent position is worthless. If someone sticks to an incoherent position after being shown that it is incoherent there's nothing further to say except "You're not capable of telling sense from nonsense, and until you develop that ability attempting to have a sensible conversation is a doomed endeavour". Blah, blah, blah. Words. Rhetoric. You are a bit too taken with yourself.

Around and around the merry-go-round we go. This is hedonistic utilitarianism, an objectivist moral philosophy. If you stuck with this consistently we could have an intelligent conversation.? How is it hedonistic utilitarianism? You're not even making sense. Assertion and rhetoric.

You aren't going to, though. The minute you are uncomfortable with any conclusion generated by hedonistic utilitarianism, you'll run and hide behind some totally incompatible theory than justifies your existing prejudices, and then you'll claim with a straight face that you are being completely consistent and you always have been. More rhetoric.


This is pathetic: It's like complaining that your maths teacher "asserts" that 2 plus 2 is 4 over and over again and you're tired of it. Again, thank you for proving me right.

The answer isn't going to change just because you repeat the same claim over and over again. That isn't how logic works. Look in the mirror. I make arguments and you don't rebut the arguments.

Being a relativist-of-convenience and an objectivist-of-convenience and a nihilist-of-convenience and pulling whichever line from whichever source happens to suit your prejudices this instant is inevitably going to lead you to contradict yourself. All asserted.

Now either pull up a seat at the table of reason, where you are expected to be coherent and consistent, or go play with the woo-woos.You are not being sincere.

You don't answer questions.
You don't address arguments.
That's intellectually dishonesty Kevin.

thaiboxerken
3rd July 2009, 10:09 PM
Around and around we go. When a legitimate argument appears as to why eating meat is immoral, nobody knows.

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 10:13 PM
For those keeping score at home:

BTW: You've been asked many times for evidence of this objective morality and for some odd reason you just ignore the request. And by what standard does one use to come to this "objective" morality? Does objective morality resolve all dilemmas? If not then how can it be objective?

I've asked you these questions but you just ignore them.

I'll ask some more for you to ignore (sorry for the rhyme).

Scenarios:
Someone is trying to kill you and your best chance to survive is to kill them.
Anne Frank is in your attic and the SS is at the door.
During the tenure of Trevelyan at the time of the Irish famine you have an opportunity to steal corn to keep your children alive.
Questions:
Is it objectively immoral to kill?
Is it objectively immoral to lie?
Is it objectively immoral to steal?


Kevin won't answer simple questions.
Kevin won't tell us what standard he uses for his objective morality all the while demanding that I answer what standard I would use. I could have played his game and obfuscated and been evasive and simply engaged in gainsaying but I answered.
Kevin won't give us evidence of objective morality.
Kevin won't give us any reason or logic to assume that there is an objective morality.
Kevin makes claims about what I've said but won't quote the parts that he claims are contradictory and explain how and why they are contradictory.
Kevin thinks that the golden rule is hedonistic utilitarianism.
Kevin's modus operandi consists of attacking others and accusing them of being incoherent when he hasn't even the balls to put his philosophy on the table.

You are becoming rather transparent Kevin.

RandFan
3rd July 2009, 10:24 PM
One more thing, please note that Roboramma, Volatile, JoeTheJuggler and other vegans/vegetarians will, admirably, defend their position, posit arguments, answer questions and address arguments. IOW, it's not impossible to have a reasonable discussion and debate.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 04:06 AM
Yes, I have read the sentence: "You have a moral obligation to justify your behavior..." The compulsion or "force" is, um,
moral.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality Care to point me to the compulsary part? To help you, you can skip the first descriptive definition.

You have to be more specific because I have used "obligation" more than once in different contexts. Your earlier post refers to the quoted line above which should not be controversial as it essentially says these matters require serious study. If you want to (risibly) insist otherwise, then I can only imagine your knee-jerk response is the product of the same insouciant disregard for cautious thought. If this is the case, then I'd say your opinions are consistent with your principles.
What is laughable is that you have to resort to wordplay and self-reference.

As for your imagination on my nonchalance with cautious thought; hey it is your overactive imagination, so have at it.

Your judgement does not mean a thing. It does not say a thing. It could be used to fill hot-air ballons though.

Now, elsewhere, later on, addressing TBK, I did write: "Most importantly, you completely ignore moral obligations to animals." And by this I meant the sort of "obligations" most people observe without tantrum, such as torture and abuse. I wrote: "Are you, for instance, opposed to laws prohibiting the torture of animals?"

Volatile poses the same question to you directly, and you pouted:

You are of the 'thick with a dictionary' type, yes?

Maybe you should draw some diagrams and then you would understand that the torture, in how I perceive the world, has nothing to do whatsoever with my willingness to eat animals.

But, just to make you happier; let me answer that question directly; if we equal FUN to having a good time while munching them and equal TORTURE to them having to be slaughtered, then my answer is a resounding YES.

And I bet I can find quite a number of people to see their carcasses char on a bonfire of ecstasy before we feast upon their mortal coils.

I do appreciate your attempt to completely evade all of these serious issues in order to seize upon a word you never dare put into context.

See above.

It's much better to avoid arguments of ideas and insist upon squabbling over words, especially if your notions of morality or, perhaps I should say, "morality" resemble the following:

The trouble with this position is that its dependent upon shifting public opinion. It suggests that if you were rewarded with money and praise (no jail time) -- or whatever you desire -- for killing homosexuals (because they're... homosexuals), then you would have no problem doing so.
The same "reasoning" holds for violence motivated by racism and sexism.


How about it? You have gotten something right for a change! Wait...Darn, no you did not.

Now you equal external rewards to my motivators, whilst I just mentioned that the judgement of my peers was an inhibitor.

I keep saying that my motivators are my own...

But to keep you from another day thinking up nonsense; if any of my motivators would move me to kill homosexuals (which they do not) or become a racist (which they do not) or become a sexist (which they do not), then you would be almost right.

You are not very good at this, are you?

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 04:20 AM
Ok, this is why I hate philosophy...

I like it because it whiles away the hours and I get see silly characters write things using 'foreign' words to make them look smarter. I like Cain, he is quite the clown. :)

In this discussion, what does "morality" actually mean? How much weight should we put into maintaining it? Who gets to define the criteria?

Unless you want to accept that anyone else has something to say about your life, the anser is simpe: You, and you alone.

All else is just hoping that the brutes don't start raising their clubs again and start bashing our heads in.

For example, the argument has been put forth that eating meat is "immoral" because it causes the suffering of other creatures. How do we arrive at "the suffering of other creatures is immoral"?

That question is the basis of my skirmishes here.


Is it immoral to punish a misbehaving child? Is it immoral to ask a friend to help me move or pick me up from the airport? If these things are immoral, and I do them anyway, then what is the punishment? What is the reason for me to behave morally?

Misused by aforementioned clown; the only reason should be your personal inhibitors.
Meaning, you do not like to see someone suffer, you do not want to bother your friend etc.
But they are yours and yours alone.

This is why I say that morality cannot be rational. Even when you bend over backwards trying to make it rational, you still fail. You have started from an arbitrary, irrational point and then tried to make rational arguments for it. Amending this to "unnecessary suffering" just makes it worse, in that now you've added an arbitrary qualifier to an already arbitrary starting point.

Very astute.

But I don't guess that'll stop anyone from trying...

Not only that, they will, with the zeal of religious fanatics, try to convince you that there is something to their diarrhea of words.

But people like RandFan, and to some degree me, are nothing if not tenacious in trying to point these things out to them.

Rogue1stclass
4th July 2009, 05:51 AM
Scenarios:
Someone is trying to kill you and your best chance to survive is to kill them.
Anne Frank is in your attic and the SS is at the door.
During the tenure of Trevelyan at the time of the Irish famine you have an opportunity to steal corn to keep your children alive.
Questions:
Is it objectively immoral to kill?
Is it objectively immoral to lie?
Is it objectively immoral to steal?
So, where is this "objective" morality? What is it exactly? Does it exist a priori?

Thank you. This was exactly my point, though you've put it forward much better than I.

Cain
4th July 2009, 07:04 AM
Why?
Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%
No argument here.
Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%
No argument here either.
Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%
No argument. No rebuttal. No substantive response.
Argument: 0 Rhetoric: 100%

Well, this is quite amusing, and still more padding. Repetition is a form of rhetoric, although yours is facile and unlettered. Let's summarize:
RandFan might put forth something relevant.
Cain dismantles it.
RandFan goes off on a tangent to say dumb ****.
Cain calls this tangent "dumb ****."
RandFan returns Argument 0, Rhetoric 100%.

It's out of context nonsense.

You said: So infants get rights because society perceives killing babies as immoral, and you agree...

Nothing in your post makes clear that I don't think that sociobiology alone should define what we see as moral. Which is dishonest because I've made the point time and time again. Humans give rights to infants because they percieve that as moral but it doesn't mean that it should be that way. We could reason that infants shouldn't have those rights.

You are mired in self-contradiction, attempting to square a circle. Consider the following example from Peter Unger:

You are driving in the mountains in your car, which has fabulous new leather seats (ignore the possible immorality of leather seats for a moment). You see a man on the side of the road bleeding, and the only way to save him is to drive him to the hospital, which will ruin the leather seats. (Since this is a thought-experiment, you cannot lawyer your way out -- i.e., stuff him in the trunk, dial 911 on your cellphone etc.) Most people say they would help the man, even if it meant the destruction of ~$300 seats. Cool. Now Unger asks why people are unwilling to donate a pittance to poverty relief? He wants to argue that we make the same choice to refuse aid day in, day out.

Now, we can explain these differences in behavior. The evolution of the human brain is such that we're not designed to think about people starving to death thousands of miles away. Out of sight, out of mind. Moreover, there's a diffusion of responsibility at work: anybody can help starving African children, but only you can help the man on the side of the road. We drive by people stranded on a busy highway, but an empty desert is another story. So sociobiology, or whatever you want to misunderstand from moment to moment, can explain differences in behavior, but the behavior is still inconsistent with expressed moral values. Two psychologists won a Nobel Prize in economics for research demonstrating the irrationality of financial decisions (see behavioral economics).

If I called a tax the "death tax" a majority of people would oppose it. If I call the same exact tax the "estate tax" a majority of people would endorse it. Same tax, different framing. Just because people perceive them as different does not mean they are different, and yes through reason people are capable of seeing how they're the same. We know -- the people arguing against you i.e., your betters -- we all know people perceive things in certain ways, act in other ways, and fail to expand the moral circle. You cannot understand this because your brain power is so slight that if I compared it to a mouse, and if a mouse was capable of understanding the comparison, and if a mouse was capable of expressing outrage, and if he was capable of speaking words, then he would call me names. And he'd be justified.

You see what I just did there? The "rhetoric," as you call it, is a result of your repeated failure to make the most elementary connections. Read a *********** book on the basics of moral philosophy some time. Yeah, yeah, yeah -- no, really read one. And if you have, then, I dunno, try reading another one. Maybe you'd stop saying dumb **** like this:

IOW: My point about sociobiology doesn't obviate reason.
...
That you think Singer's claim is critical is, JUST AN ASSERTION!
...
Argument 0%. Rhetoric/personal abuse 100%

--------------------
After pussyfooting around the issue, RealPaladin attempts to avoid it head on, writing:

But, just to make you happier; let me answer that question directly; if we equal FUN to having a good time while munching them and equal TORTURE to them having to be slaughtered, then my answer is a resounding YES.

No, this is not a direct answer. His question asked for your position on making it illegal for people to torture animals for fun. You're desperately attempting to muddy the issue, much like everything else.

Now you equal external rewards to my motivators, whilst I just mentioned that the judgement of my peers was an inhibitor.

I keep saying that my motivators are my own...

But to keep you from another day thinking up nonsense; if any of my motivators would move me to kill homosexuals (which they do not) or become a racist (which they do not) or become a sexist (which they do not), then you would be almost right.

I'll accept whatever corrections on your motivators, as you call them, but asked to cite the moral difference between humans and animals all you could summon are legal consequences, which is a non-argument in free-fall.

As for the aside on one's obligation for thoughtfulness and your appeal to the Wikipedia entry on morality as some kind of gotcha moment... I have nothing to say except you embarrass yourself.

You are not very good at this, are you?

Coming from you this means... almost nothing.
-------------------------------------
Thaiboxerken:

Humans are sapient, it's part of what seperates us from other species. Those humans who are "marginal" tend not to have the full rights and responsibilities as those that do. Children are not allowed to vote, for example. A fetus has rights. The mentally disabled are treated on a case by case basis based on severity.

And this is exactly where your position unravels. The case for animals accords rights in keeping with their awareness; dogs do not get the "right to vote," for example, because they have no concept of or interest in voting. Perhaps it would help if you define sapience because certain beliefs expressed above suggests it does not mean what you think it means. If you're somehow willing to grant rights to a fetus, then you should be at least just as willing to grant similar rights to animals with similar levels of awareness. Here again, if mental faculties are your standard, then what are the differences between a fetus and an adult chimpanzee?

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 09:09 AM
No, this is not a direct answer. His question asked for your position on making it illegal for people to torture animals for fun.


No problem. My position on that is, just as the majority of what I think of your verbal diarrhea; B.S. Unnecessary. Contrived. Fake. Nonsense. Masturbation with intentions.

Kill people, torture animals. There is no objective morality.

You're desperately attempting to muddy the issue, much like everything else.
People do not like you, do they? You make it a sport of saying nothing but trying to effect an air of being 'the bar against which it all is judged'.

I would call that attitude a failure if you were not such an incredible Pierrot.

I'll accept whatever corrections on your motivators, as you call them, but asked to cite the moral difference between humans and animals all you could summon are legal consequences, which is a non-argument in free-fall.

True, because there are no moral differences. I thought I was quite clear on that?

The only things that 'stop' me from doing these things are the legal consequences. Nowhere do I state that these things are the moral differences.

I state all the time, and if you find that muddy than there really is some major neural blockage in your brainpan, that there is NO moral difference.

Reading comprehension lost whilst trying to find new ways to appear haughty?

As for the aside on one's obligation for thoughtfulness and your appeal to the Wikipedia entry on morality as some kind of gotcha moment... I have nothing to say except you embarrass yourself.

Which we all agree, is another major fail in giving an answer. Great.

What have we here? A clown saying nothing but playing a bit of Blackadder.

Coming from you this means... almost nothing.

Hey, I can live with that, it is an infinite improvement of both the value and the content of any of your statements.

You are funny. Not in the mysterious way, but in the 'talking like a babbling bum on the street' kind of way.

GreNME
4th July 2009, 09:25 AM
Here again, if mental faculties are your standard, then what are the differences between a fetus and an adult chimpanzee?

Holy crap, Cain, we've been through this already. You seem really fond of apples-to-oranges equivocations. Compare a human fetus to a chimp fetus (or an adult chimp to an adult human), and you might have a useful comparison.

But let's stick to non-humans for a second: an adult dog can read my body language and in many ways understand it, which makes it capable of a feat that chimps are not. Chimps can be taught through operant conditioning to respond appropriately to a degree that seems similar, while dogs have this skill inherently (video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJu2Qkbxes0)). This sets up a social framework between dogs and humans that is not evident between chimps and humans, which not only displays a difference in value that humans inevitably place between a dog and a chimp, but also displays a difference in the cognitive awareness (sapience) between a human and a chimp compared to the difference of the same between a human and a dog. The same comparison could be made with other animals, with differing results-- for example, (domestic) goats can take pointing cues but cannot comprehend our perspective-- but these outward and obvious differences play varying roles in how humans valuate different animals (and, interestingly, how other animals valuate each other).

And that's just an example using social behavioral science in describing a distinction. One can also get into biological sciences (the genetic and biological differences between humans and other animals) or other cognitive sciences to examine the differences between humans and non-human animals. The only "what's the difference" question you're trying to beat through to everyone else, Cain, is what would the moral difference be between a human and another animal, and for this criteria you continually fail to lay out parameters for why your conclusion is inherently or intrinsically superior.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 09:33 AM
The only "what's the difference" question you're trying to beat through to everyone else, Cain, is what would the moral difference be between a human and another animal, and for this criteria you continually fail to lay out parameters for why your conclusion is inherently or intrinsically superior.

<self-censored a statement on Cain's presumed sexual problems>

O.T.: He is Cain, he is not able.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 11:01 AM
Cain dismantles it. Proof please?

See, here is where you get called on your BS. If this were true you could demonstrate it.

Now, we can explain these differences in behavior. The evolution of the human brain is such that we're not designed to think about people starving to death thousands of miles away. Out of sight, out of mind. Moreover, there's a diffusion of responsibility at work: anybody can help starving African children, but only you can help the man on the side of the road. We drive by people stranded on a busy highway, but an empty desert is another story. So sociobiology, or whatever you want to misunderstand from moment to moment, can explain differences in behavior, but the behavior is still inconsistent with expressed moral values. It all started so well. We actually had some meat to the bone. There are premises and an actual argument. Here's the problem, The conclusions and premises don't stand in contradiction to anything I've said. I don't have a problem with any of this. In fact, it supports everything I've said.

I guess I have to make myself more clear.

Yes I want argument.
However I want the argument to address something specific that I believe.
When I say "address" I don't want it to agree with me if you are going to then tell me I'm wrong. Can you see how that is problematic?
Could you even bullet point the propositions you think I believe and then rebut those? Here I'll give you an example of propositions that I believe in.


Sociobiology can and does lead to contradiction and inconsistency.
We should not rely on our adaptive behaviors to argue what is or isn't moral.
Adaptive behaviors are only useful in that they have ensured human survival to this point.
Because humans are social animals our adaptive behaviors are likely to be ones that can promote social cohesion and reciprocal altruism.
Humans are capable of reason and have the ability to reason better morals.
Sociobiology is not usesful to tell us why any single individual acts. It is more useful at the group level.
I'm skeptical of my own perceptions including my perceptions of morality.
One should lead an examined life.
So, here is my challenge to yo.

Choose from the above or provide others that I've not listed and rebut them or demonstrate how they contradict other propositions.

Should be simple enough.

If I called a tax the "death tax" a majority of people would oppose it. If I call the same exact tax the "estate tax" a majority of people would endorse it. Same tax, different framing. Just because people perceive them as different does not mean they are different, and yes through reason people are capable of seeing how they're the same. We know -- the people arguing against you i.e., your betters -- we all know people perceive things in certain ways, act in other ways, and fail to expand the moral circle. You cannot understand this because your brain power is so slight that if I compared it to a mouse, and if a mouse was capable of understanding the comparison, and if a mouse was capable of expressing outrage, and if he was capable of speaking words, then he would call me names. And he'd be justified. Ok, you were doing pretty well there. You have some premises, the bulwark of an argument and then, well, your conclusion is a personal attack against me. ??????

You see what I just did there? The "rhetoric," as you call it, is a result of your repeated failure to make the most elementary connections. Read a *********** book on the basics of moral philosophy some time. Yeah, yeah, yeah -- no, really read one. And if you have, then, I dunno, try reading another one. Maybe you'd stop saying dumb **** like this: So, having tried and failed to make a coherent argument that rebutted anything I've said it's back to rhetoric, personal attack and quaint stories of mice.

Perhaps next time you could be more detailed with the story of the mouse and it would at least be entertaining. Perhaps a bucolic setting or a life in the big city drama.

You choose, then again, you could actually address my arguments....

You and I know that won't happen.

Rogue1stclass
4th July 2009, 11:35 AM
I like it because it whiles away the hours and I get see silly characters write things using 'foreign' words to make them look smarter. I like Cain, he is quite the clown. :)

They are vomiting up a preconcieved argument that uses terms and concepts that have absolutely no relation to the way these concepts are used from any other perspective.

Philosophy is an abstraction that has some merit as a thought exercise, but very little real world signifigance. The problem with it is some people, especially college kids being exposed to it for the first time, seem to think that it is end all and be all of all thought. Because of the inherent superiority they put in this fake abstraction, then won't accept any arguments from any other perspective and thus end up close minded and dense.

It's really a sad progression.


Unless you want to accept that anyone else has something to say about your life, the anser is simpe: You, and you alone.

All else is just hoping that the brutes don't start raising their clubs again and start bashing our heads in.

I know where actual morality comes from. It's called "mores" in sociology, so's not to step on the toes of the religious, but it's the same thing. It's an unspoken social contract between people in a society.

It also comes from biology. Humans are so hard-wired towards making these contracts that we'll make them just about anything, one sided though they may be. I personally have social contracts out on everything from my dog, to my car, to my xbox. I realize that these are irrational, but the biological urge is so strong that I can't really help it.

I suspect that this is actually what's going on here, and the philosophical backflips are just a way to justify it.


That question is the basis of my skirmishes here.

And yet no one has bothered answering it. Suffering in some form or another is a quality of life. If causing it is inherently immoral, then every creature to have ever walked on this Earth is immoral.


Misused by aforementioned clown; the only reason should be your personal inhibitors.
Meaning, you do not like to see someone suffer, you do not want to bother your friend etc.
But they are yours and yours alone.

True, but with the caveat "within the standards of society". You can't just pick and choose your level of moral behavior randomly.



Very astute.

Thank you.

Not only that, they will, with the zeal of religious fanatics, try to convince you that there is something to their diarrhea of words.

But people like RandFan, and to some degree me, are nothing if not tenacious in trying to point these things out to them.

Well, in their own limited perspective, they are probably hitting on all of the correct points and they seem to think they making good arguments. However, even the best philosophical argument is little better than pre-season scouting reports. They may be interesting, but don't mean a damn thing once the ball is in play.

Cain
4th July 2009, 11:45 AM
Holy crap, Cain, we've been through this already. You seem really fond of apples-to-oranges equivocations. Compare a human fetus to a chimp fetus (or an adult chimp to an adult human), and you might have a useful comparison.

Asinine. If the standard is sapience, then comparisons are based on awareness, not age (or development).

But let's stick to non-humans for a second: an adult dog can read my body language and in many ways understand it, which makes it capable of a feat that chimps are not. Chimps can be taught through operant conditioning to respond appropriately to a degree that seems similar, while dogs have this skill inherently (video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJu2Qkbxes0)). This sets up a social framework between dogs and humans that is not evident between chimps and humans, which not only displays a difference in value that humans inevitably place between a dog and a chimp, but also displays a difference in the cognitive awareness (sapience) between a human and a chimp compared to the difference of the same between a human and a dog.

This is an extremely narrow criterion, and an anthropocentric one owing to the co-evolution of humans and dogs. Other animals in different environments are sensitive to the movements of predators or prey.

The only "what's the difference" question you're trying to beat through to everyone else, Cain, is what would the moral difference be between a human and another animal, and for this criteria you continually fail to lay out parameters for why your conclusion is inherently or intrinsically superior.

It's been mentioned many times: first, the capacity to experience pleasure and pain, which, if you have been following along, sort of explains the attempt by myself and others to establish fundamentals, specifically the right to torture animals. If someone wants to concede torture is wrong, but it's OK to kill animals painlessly, then that's another argument on another level. But let's go to the basement, for RealPaladin, who writes:

Kill people, torture animals. There is no objective morality.

The problem with this position, if we try to put its ridiculousness aside, is that the proponent of such a view probably does not apply it consistently, you or anyone. Let's return to Shermer's comment up-thread on animal torture where he asks, "Is it OK if I torture you?" If a person answers that it's not OK, then the argument becomes something like "what makes you so special?" That is to say, if you believe that it's not OK for someone to torture you, then you should believe it's not OK to torture anyone, assuming similar circumstances. There might be circumstances where you think torture is appropriate; you may believe it's permissible for the government to waterboard suspected terrorists, but again, consistency would require that you agree it's OK for the government to waterboard you if you're suspected of terrorism. Morality is an outgrowth of rationality, and you can jump up and down, hold your breath until your face turns blue, attempt at every turn to blather nonsense and avoid arguments, cry there is no objective morality, and that's fine... but you're still agitating for a position that is irrational because it's internally incoherent. And just as reason dispenses of egoism, it takes care of nationalism, racism, sexism, and speciesism.

<self-censored a statement on Cain's presumed sexual problems>

He is Cain, he is not able.

I'm more offended by your attempts to insult me.

On Jew Jokes...
Priest: And this offends you as a Jewish person?
J. Seinfeld: No, it offends me as a comedian!

RandFan
4th July 2009, 11:46 AM
But people like RandFan, and to some degree me, are nothing if not tenacious in trying to point these things out to them.
Well, in their own limited perspective, they are probably hitting on all of the correct points and they seem to think they making good arguments. However, even the best philosophical argument is little better than pre-season scouting reports. They may be interesting, but don't mean a damn thing once the ball is in play.:)

I wholeheartedly agree (with one caveat) I'm a moral skeptic. I've no illusions that any argument I make to explain my behavior is subject to confirmation bias and post hoc rationalization. Considering arguments that others have made has lead me to change my positions on many things and I'd like to think that my morals are superior today than they were 20 years ago but I've no arrogance as to that belief.

If by "they" you meant Cain and Kevin then I can't begin to speak for them. I take your point to heart nonetheless.

I'm sorry I missed your earlier post and I thank you for your contributions.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 11:52 AM
Let's return to Shermer's comment up-thread on animal torture where he asks, "Is it OK if I torture you?" If a person answers that it's not OK, then the argument becomes something like "what makes you so special?" That is to say, if you believe that it's not OK for someone to torture you, then you should believe it's not OK to torture anyone, assuming similar circumstances. According to Kevin this won't fly, it can lead to hedonistic relativism.

Hey, I'm on your side.

It it ok to treat me with dignity? Yes.
It it ok to treat me in a just manner? Yes.
Is it ok to treat me in a way to increase my well being? Yes.

Hedonistic to Kevin.

Cain
4th July 2009, 11:53 AM
A separate post for you, my dear:

Proof please?

See, here is where you get called on your BS. If this were true you could demonstrate it.


As if I can reference the dozens of pages past, you will examine them closely for the first time, and then realize your mistake. Please.

It all started so well. We actually had some meat to the bone. There are premises and an actual argument. Here's the problem, The conclusions and premises don't stand in contradiction to anything I've said. I don't have a problem with any of this. In fact, it supports everything I've said.

I guess I have to make myself more clear.

Yes I want argument.
However I want the argument to address something specific that I believe.
When I say "address" I don't want it to agree with me if you are going to then tell me I'm wrong. Can you see how that is problematic?
Could you even bullet point the propositions you think I believe and then rebut those? Here I'll give you an example of propositions that I believe in.

[LIST]
Sociobiology can and does lead to contradiction and inconsistency.

Again, you just have no idea what you're talking about. You're making a category error -- failing to observe the normative-descriptive distinction. The rest is theater. You can bullet point all you want, pretending that the form lends your arguments substance.

What's most remarkable here is that you're not responding to the argument as laid out. I get this "meat on the bone," and "you were doing pretty well there" encouragement, but it means nothing. You're running away by restating a case that has been dismantled multiple times by Kevin and myself.

GreNME
4th July 2009, 11:56 AM
Asinine. If the standard is sapience, then comparisons are based on awareness, not age (or development).

You either have a problem understanding or you're just being intentionally obtuse at this point. I'm inclined to conclude the latter.

This is an extremely narrow criterion, and an anthropocentric one owing to the co-evolution of humans and dogs. Other animals in different environments are sensitive to the movements of predators or prey.

You accuse arrogance while displaying it with impunity yourself. I made it clear that there are several ways to cumulatively assess different criteria, and gave one example (and some ways it can be taken). Just because you ignore the fact that I said this doesn't mean I didn't say it. As for the issue of co-evolution: so what? It is what it is. You demanded a distinction and I gave one. Now you're backpedaling out of admitting that there are indeed distinctions to be made.

It's been mentioned many times: first, the capacity to experience pleasure and pain, which, if you have been following along, sort of explains the attempt by myself and others to establish fundamentals, specifically the right to torture animals. If someone wants to concede torture is wrong, but it's OK to kill animals painlessly, then that's another argument on another level. But let's go to the basement, for RealPaladin, who writes:

[snip]

The problem with this position, if we try to put its ridiculousness aside, is that the proponent of such a view probably does not apply it consistently, you or anyone. Let's return to Shermer's comment up-thread on animal torture where he asks, "Is it OK if I torture you?" If a person answers that it's not OK, then the argument becomes something like "what makes you so special?" That is to say, if you believe that it's not OK for someone to torture you, then you should believe it's not OK to torture anyone, assuming similar circumstances. There might be circumstances where you think torture is appropriate; you may believe it's permissible for the government to waterboard suspected terrorists, but again, consistency would require that you agree it's OK for the government to waterboard you if you're suspected of terrorism. Morality is an outgrowth of rationality, and you can jump up and down, hold your breath until your face turns blue, attempt at every turn to blather nonsense and avoid arguments, cry there is no objective morality, and that's fine... but you're still agitating for a position that is irrational because it's internally incoherent. And just as reason dispenses of egoism, it takes care of nationalism, racism, sexism, and speciesism.

Oh bull. You're just trying to get back to the old "speciesism" canard, which is just a fancy wrapping for your equivocation fallacy.

You wanted someone to provide a comparative distinction for different values with animals, and that's what was provided. Just because you don't like the results does not give sufficient justification to ignore the comparison-- or, more correctly, you may very well feel justified in ignoring the comparison, but that damages your own credibility for approaching the subject with intellectual honesty.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 11:56 AM
They are vomiting up a preconcieved argument that uses terms and concepts that have absolutely no relation to the way these concepts are used from any other perspective.
So I try to make them see. And you try that as well.

Philosophy is an abstraction that has some merit as a thought exercise, but very little real world signifigance. The problem with it is some people, especially college kids being exposed to it for the first time, seem to think that it is end all and be all of all thought.
Because of the inherent superiority they put in this fake abstraction, then won't accept any arguments from any other perspective and thus end up close minded and dense.
Can you spot a poster that churns out verbiage to that effect? (rethorical)

It's really a sad progression.

Well, the danger lies in the fact that at some point they can make themselves believe that anything they do is justified, even things like acts of violence against people.


I know where actual morality comes from. It's called "mores" in sociology, so's not to step on the toes of the religious, but it's the same thing. It's an unspoken social contract between people in a society.

What I try to explain is that if I do not feel myself bound to that contract, then my only inhibitors are those that affect my personal life and or experiences. There is no 'objective' contract that absolutely binds me.

But at least one person is unable to grasp that simple concept.

It also comes from biology. Humans are so hard-wired towards making these contracts that we'll make them just about anything, one sided though they may be. I personally have social contracts out on everything from my dog, to my car, to my xbox. I realize that these are irrational, but the biological urge is so strong that I can't really help it.

As do I. I write in absolutes so some people do not get confused by the shades of gray people like Cain like to employ. But trust me, it would be very hard to suddenly become a homicidal maniac all of a sudden.

But I really did have eaten a lot of weird stuff around the world and I do not feel in the least guilty about.
And yep, I probably would eat a human being if the local 'mores' would be to eat human meat.

I suspect that this is actually what's going on here, and the philosophical backflips are just a way to justify it.
Agreed.

I am lucky enough to have had both a quite complete education and the good fortune to travel around the world and visit cultures and become part of them.

It is a better eye-opener than mister thesaurus here.

And yet no one has bothered answering it. Suffering in some form or another is a quality of life. If causing it is inherently immoral, then every creature to have ever walked on this Earth is immoral.

I agree with the logic. And I postulate that such a thing as inherent morality does not exist.

True, but with the caveat "within the standards of society". You can't just pick and choose your level of moral behavior randomly.

Here we disagree. I state that I can do anything I want, provided that I accept the consequences that the culture I am in at the moment deems necessary to inflict upon me.

If that is just another way of stating your caveat, then I must apologize and we agree.

Thank you.
You are welcome.


Well, in their own limited perspective, they are probably hitting on all of the correct points and they seem to think they making good arguments. However, even the best philosophical argument is little better than pre-season scouting reports. They may be interesting, but don't mean a damn thing once the ball is in play.

Nicely put! I salute you!

thaiboxerken
4th July 2009, 11:58 AM
And this is exactly where your position unravels. The case for animals accords rights in keeping with their awareness; dogs do not get the "right to vote," for example, because they have no concept of or interest in voting. Perhaps it would help if you define sapience because certain beliefs expressed above suggests it does not mean what you think it means. If you're somehow willing to grant rights to a fetus, then you should be at least just as willing to grant similar rights to animals with similar levels of awareness. Here again, if mental faculties are your standard, then what are the differences between a fetus and an adult chimpanzee?

Actually, I meant that a fetus has NO rights.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 11:59 AM
A separate post for you, my dear:Oh goody... I'm so happy I could just ****.

As if I can reference the dozens of pages past, you will examine them closely for the first time, and then realize your mistake. Please.
And if I can reference the dozens of pages past, you will examine them closely for the first time, and then realize your mistake. Please.

:rolleyes: It's still not argument Cain.

Again, you just have no idea what you're talking about. You're making a category error -- failing to observe the normative-descriptive distinction. The rest is theater. You can bullet point all you want, pretending that the form lends your arguments substance. Rhetorical. Assertion.

What's most remarkable here is that you're not responding to the argument as laid out. I get this "meat on the bone," and "you were doing pretty well there" encouragement, but it means nothing. You're running away by restating a case that has been dismantled multiple times by Kevin and myself.Surprise, surprise surprise. No argument. Plenty of assertion.

{sigh}

You didn't even provide a cute story about the adventures of a ferret. :(

Maybe next time.

thaiboxerken
4th July 2009, 12:00 PM
Has Cain or Lowe given us this source of objective morality yet? Have they outlined what these objective morals are?

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 12:03 PM
<drivel & snivelling snipped>
Morality is an outgrowth of rationality
<more nonsense snipped>
First: The 'enter' key is your friend! Do not be afraid!

What? When? Prove it, link it, come on.

I'm more offended by your attempts to insult me.
Great, sometimes you just don't ask how it works, as long as it works!

On Jew Jokes...
Priest: And this offends you as a Jewish person?
J. Seinfeld: No, it offends me as a comedian!
You are quoting Seinfeld?

And you think people take you serious? Seriously?

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 12:05 PM
Has Cain or Lowe given us this source of objective morality yet? Have they outlined what these objective morals are?
Nah, Cain resorts to more clowny antics and Kevin, well, more of his same.

Do you want me to PM you when either of them finally do? Saves you time from re-reading the same 'not saying anything' nonsense.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 12:05 PM
Has Cain or Lowe given us this source of objective morality yet? Have they outlined what these objective morals are?27 pages of pleading and begging and demanding and asking and a big fat zero. Cain has tried to pass the golden rule off as objective morality but he doesn't explain how or why it constitutes a valid argument for objective morality.

So no, no evidence. Hell, Cain and Kevin, as far as I can tell, have no formal philosophy whatsoever. They are only here to tell us all that we are wrong and stir the ****.

I know that they think killing and eating animals is wrong. I know that Cain has posited, via Shermer, a derivation of the golden rule argument but beyond that it's "Bupkis mit Kuduchas".

thaiboxerken
4th July 2009, 12:10 PM
The golden rule is objective? At any rate, how in the crap does the golden rule apply to non-humans? Never mind, I know the answer. These people are trying to get others to see non-human animals as people too. Thus, this is where the disagreement is.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 12:31 PM
...specifically the right to torture animals. If someone wants to concede torture is wrong, but it's OK to kill animals painlessly, then that's another argument on another level. Wait, wait, WAIT! Stop, just stop. Who is advocating the torture of animals?

I like how you just slipped that straw man in.

Cain, the topic of discussion is and has been the killing of animals for the purpose of consumption.

I don't know of anyone advocating the toture of animals.

Many, perhaps most, of us would happily support reduction in animal suffering. PETA has fought for means to kill animals that reduce or eliminate suffering. I've no problem with that

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 12:35 PM
Wait, wait, WAIT! Stop, just stop. Who is advocating the torture of animals?

I like how you just slipped that straw man in.

Cain, the topic of discussion is and has been the killing of animals for the purpose of consumption.

I don't know of anyone advocating the toture of animals.

Many, perhaps most, of us would happily support reduction in animal suffering. PETA has fought for means to kill animals that reduce or eliminate suffering. I've no problem with that

That would be my fault. I agreed to the following:

If you call the killing of animals because you want to eat them TORTURE and you want to call the eating of them FUN. Then yes, I am torturing animals for fun.

I still stand by that because it just could have said:

If you call the killing of animals because you want to eat them SBOOGLE and you want to call the eating of them SMOOGLE. Then yes, I am sboogling the animals for smoogle.

Because it means not a thing. It is wordplay and nothing real comes out of his mouth.

Consider me feeling chastised for giving the clown a straw-puppet to play with.

Cain
4th July 2009, 12:49 PM
You either have a problem understanding or you're just being intentionally obtuse at this point. I'm inclined to conclude the latter.

That's great, but this is not a rebuttal.

You accuse arrogance while displaying it with impunity yourself. I made it clear that there are several ways to cumulatively assess different criteria, and gave one example (and some ways it can be taken). Just because you ignore the fact that I said this doesn't mean I didn't say it. As for the issue of co-evolution: so what? It is what it is. You demanded a distinction and I gave one. Now you're backpedaling out of admitting that there are indeed distinctions to be made.

Not surprisingly, you're confused. If you're saying the co-evolution of dogs and humans is morally meaningless, then I agree, just as the rest of your post was almost completely devoid of relevant content. What's interesting is that you asked for clearly defined parameters, I offered them, and you -- again, not surprisingly -- completely ignore it.

Oh bull. You're just trying to get back to the old "speciesism" canard, which is just a fancy wrapping for your equivocation fallacy.

We went over this in the other thread: you have to demonstrate morally significant differences between humans and animals. For centuries it was more or less alleged the notion of sexism was a form of the equivocation fallacy, and indeed evolutionary psychologists sometimes remark that it's helpful to think of the sexes as different species.

You wanted someone to provide a comparative distinction for different values with animals, and that's what was provided. Just because you don't like the results does not give sufficient justification to ignore the comparison-- or, more correctly, you may very well feel justified in ignoring the comparison, but that damages your own credibility for approaching the subject with intellectual honesty.

Do you want me to apologize because your arguments are lacking?
Whose next? I'll take on all you mental midgets.
--------------------------
TBK:
Actually, I meant that a fetus has NO rights.

I guess you're competing for most shallow member of the opposition. OK, so you said a fetus has rights, but you made a mistake and meant the exact opposite. Neat. You're still refusing to answer the arguments in my post, and notably fail to define a certain key term.

--------------------
RandFan: It seems as though you have nothing to say, which is good actually because you normally write -- though most of it is re-writing -- nonsense that's already been refuted. We can agree to disagree. Now whose next?
-------------
RealPaladin:
What? When? Prove it, link it, come on.

This is nice. You cut out the argument, and then demand an argument. You tell me not be afraid, yet you are too scared to put forth a reply. Shall I copy/paste so that you can avoid it -- no doubt "directly" -- once more? I'm sorry that some of us prefer to think for ourselves instead of hyperlinking.
---------------
A sorry bunch, so let's return to RandFan:

Cain, the topic of discussion is and has been the killing of animals for the purpose of consumption.

I don't know of anyone advocating the toture of animals.

Well, I'm not sure if these words were carefully chosen ("toture" suggests they were not), but let's address it anyway. We need to establish boundaries, and torture is probably a good one since, even though most people, even if they think eating meat is OK, oppose animal torture. Perhaps it's true no one here has advocated torture, but some have said there's nothing wrong with it either.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 12:55 PM
This is nice. You cut out the argument, and then demand an argument. You tell me not be afraid, yet you are too scared to put forth a reply. Shall I copy/paste so that you can avoid it -- no doubt "directly" -- once more? I'm sorry that some of us prefer to think for ourselves instead of hyperlinking.


If you did not prefer whining so much you would have already done that.

And I do not give a hootenanny about you being sorry.

Stop snivelling and whining so much and get with the program.

Hop! What a pathetic excuse for a debater you turn out to be.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 12:55 PM
That would be my fault. I agreed to the following:

If you call the killing of animals because you want to eat them TORTURE and you want to call the eating of them FUN. Then yes, I am torturing animals for fun.Thank you for that. However we should note that this is all semantics (as that is the point of your argument) and Cain goes out of his way to distinguish actual torture from a word that has been redefined to mean killing and eating an animal.

On the otherand, according to Cain, we all drool and can barely operate a computer much less understand the intricacies of moral philosophy. He has a pet mouse that is ever so much smarter than the rest of us (the rest of us meaning those that disagree with him). I'm still waiting for further episodes in the tail of the mouse. It's quite promising.

thaiboxerken
4th July 2009, 12:58 PM
I guess you're competing for most shallow member of the opposition. OK, so you said a fetus has rights, but you made a mistake and meant the exact opposite. Neat. You're still refusing to answer the arguments in my post, and notably fail to define a certain key term.

--------------------

Yes, somehow the NO didn't make it into my original post about the fetus. However, if you look in any abortion thread, you will see that I have always maintained the position that a fetus has no rights.

I do not think non-human animals have rights either.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 01:01 PM
RandFan: It seems as though you have nothing to say, which is good actually because you normally write -- though most of it is re-writing -- nonsense that's already been refuted. We can agree to disagree. Now whose next?


We can agree on the following (simply because it is demonstrable):

I've asked questions you've refused to answer.
I've made arguments you refuse to rebut.
I've presented propositions you refuse to address.
You've refused to advance an argument in favor of your position (beyond some variant of the golden rule which ISN'T objective morality).
Given all that it is fair at this point to conclude that objective morality is likely woo.

If and when you can muster an argument in defense of objective morality I (and likely others) will consider it.

Oh, and please to continue with your heartwarming tale of the mouse. That looked more promising than anything else you've written.

GreNME
4th July 2009, 01:01 PM
That's great, but this is not a rebuttal.

Because you didn't address what I actually said, and instead created some other mistaken meaning from it. When you address what I say you'll get a rebuttal.

Not surprisingly, you're confused. If you're saying the co-evolution of dogs and humans is morally meaningless, then I agree, just as the rest of your post was almost completely devoid of relevant content. What's interesting is that you asked for clearly defined parameters, I offered them, and you -- again, not surprisingly -- completely ignore it.

You offered no parameters except for an apples-to-oranges comparison. Additionally, you're (perhaps intentionally, again) taking what I actually said and ignoring it in favor of what you'd like to assume I said. Some of the criteria for distinction has been laid out for you, and you reject it. As for the co-evolution of dogs and humans (or any domesticated animal and humans), there is indeed significance and arguably a moral meaning to it (depending on the society and culture we're talking about). However, I take it you're going to continue to ignore that as well.

We went over this in the other thread: you have to demonstrate morally significant differences between humans and animals. For centuries it was more or less alleged the notion of sexism was a form of the equivocation fallacy, and indeed evolutionary psychologists sometimes remark that it's helpful to think of the sexes as different species.

As we also went over in the other thread: you claiming there are no morally significant differences does not an argument make. The differences are that they are not humans, and thus not engaged in human moral contracts. Next, you move to your next faulty idea about infants and the mentally infirm, thus continuing the cycle of you trying to find exceptions to the rule instead of acknowledging the rule itself. You're demanding a whole different definition for how morals are created, observed, and applied, yet you provide no more rational reason to do so than an eight-year-old asking an adult "yeah, but what about..."

Do you want me to apologize because your arguments are lacking?
Whose next? I'll take on all you mental midgets.

I don't want you to do anything except provide an actual argument instead of assertions and strawmen. Whether you choose to be a prick while doing so is entirely up to you.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 01:01 PM
<comatose droning deleted>
This is nice. You cut out the argument, and then demand an argument. You tell me not be afraid, yet you are too scared to put forth a reply. Shall I copy/paste so that you can avoid it -- no doubt "directly" -- once more? I'm sorry that some of us prefer to think for ourselves instead of hyperlinking. <snippety for sanity>
Perhaps it's true no one here has advocated torture, but some have said there's nothing wrong with it either.

Whahaha.. man you *are* an epic failure!

GreNME
4th July 2009, 01:06 PM
You know who else said there's nothing wrong with torture? HITLER

See? I win the argument.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 01:08 PM
You know who else said there's nothing wrong with torture? HITLER

See? I win the argument.:D

This thread is entertaining I'll grant that.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 01:11 PM
You know who else said there's nothing wrong with torture? HITLER

See? I win the argument.

Nah, that is too direct and clear cut. You first have to obfuscate it, then go left and right a couple of times, then you have to try and insult everyone, but raise a ruckus if someone insults you and then you just claim victory.

But the nicest thing is Cain is the answer to the title of this thread, and he keepeth giving!

Rogue1stclass
4th July 2009, 01:51 PM
:)

I wholeheartedly agree (with one caveat) I'm a moral skeptic. I've no illusions that any argument I make to explain my behavior is subject to confirmation bias and post hoc rationalization. Considering arguments that others have made has lead me to change my positions on many things and I'd like to think that my morals are superior today than they were 20 years ago but I've no arrogance as to that belief.

If by "they" you meant Cain and Kevin then I can't begin to speak for them. I take your point to heart nonetheless.

I'm sorry I missed your earlier post and I thank you for your contributions.

See, that's the way it's supposed to work. Philosophy can be an interesting tool for self-examination. It's neat to examine things in abstraction to determine for yourself why you hold the views you hold, and perhaps challenge them. You can then take these insights gleamed, factor back in the realities, and see where that leaves you.

However, most people just use it for an intellectual pissing contest. And that can be fun in the right context, but it's aggrivating when they feel that they have to do it in every single conversation. It's even more infuriating when they feel that somehow making a rational point about an abstract construct really has some actual meaning.

That's why in this thread they won't answer questions like "where does morality come from" or "who enforces it". These have nothing to do with the points they are trying to make, so they aren't interested in them.

Anyway, I wasn't criticising you. You seem to get it. Keep up the Good Fight.

Cain
4th July 2009, 02:03 PM
If you did not prefer whining so much you would have already done that.

Ah, so you're looking for any excuse now...

And I do not give a hootenanny about you being sorry.

Um, I wasn't sincere.

Stop snivelling and whining so much and get with the program.

Hop! What a pathetic excuse for a debater you turn out to be.

Yes, I should do as you: avoid debating the topic, and then accuse my opponent of debating the topic. Is your self-parody almost complete? Just continue doing what you do best: mindless head-nodding and hand-jobs; it seems others need your encouragement.

Later, you wrote:
Whahaha.. man you *are* an epic failure!

These non-replies are empowering and time-saving. I am disappointed you're reduced to using the phrase "epic failure" which is almost as bad as "not!" but then again this coming from the comedy stylings of a person who says "seriously?" Your stupidity is unusually bold.
-----------------
TBK:
Yes, somehow the NO didn't make it into my original post about the fetus. However, if you look in any abortion thread, you will see that I have always maintained the position that a fetus has no rights.

I do not think non-human animals have rights either.

I believe it was sincere mistake. What is less forgivable is your habit of cherrypicking one thing -- for example, clarifying in the above post that you do not believe a fetus has rights -- and then ignoring everything else. For the second (or third?) time you have failed to define sapience, much less answer the arguments at hand.
----------------------------
RandFan:
We can agree on the following (simply because it is demonstrable):

I see no reason to dispute your fantasy. I would only strongly encourage you to send to test your moral theories on independent third parties. If you're interested in this topic, and it seems you are, then regurgitate it over on the Internet Infidels board. I would not be surprised if they already have an animal rights thread running, but you could always start your own. Maybe you'll be less emotionally sensitive to their criticisms, and someone there can disabuse you of your crackpot beliefs. Or, maybe -- it's possible -- you can change minds and blaze trails. Be sure to post the thread link here -- I'd like to skim it.
------------------------------
GreNME:
Because you didn't address what I actually said, and instead created some other mistaken meaning from it. When you address what I say you'll get a rebuttal.

I most certainly did: if the standard is sapience, then comparisons must be based on sapience. According to Thaiboxerken, children do not have the same rights and responsibilities as adults because they do not possess the same level of awareness. Your objection -- chimp fetuses to human fetuses -- is laughably off-point. It's like saying to Ken "No, no, no. You should take the adults of today and go back to when they were children in order to make a comparison against children." It's also at odds with the (reasonable) case-by-case standard for the mentally disabled.

You offered no parameters except for an apples-to-oranges comparison.

There are multiple comparisons in the exchange so far, and this reference is unclear. Your apples-and-oranges cliche suggests you're referring to the chimp fetus/human fetus dispute whereas the threading on "parameters" deals with pleasure/pain versus your stuttering nonsense on dogs and goats.

Additionally, you're (perhaps intentionally, again) taking what I actually said and ignoring it in favor of what you'd like to assume I said. Some of the criteria for distinction has been laid out for you, and you reject it. As for the co-evolution of dogs and humans (or any domesticated animal and humans), there is indeed significance and arguably a moral meaning to it (depending on the society and culture we're talking about). However, I take it you're going to continue to ignore that as well.

What's the moral meaning? You have to justify it, and yes, I suspect this is another sloppy version of the naturalistic fallacy.

As we also went over in the other thread: you claiming there are no morally significant differences does not an argument make. The differences are that they are not humans, and thus not engaged in human moral contracts.

Social contracts are unusually popular in this thread. First, it's true that my simply claiming there are no moral differences does not mean there are no moral differences, and of course I've never said that it did. You have to identify those crucial differences. Your last sentence is a joke: Yes, those non-humans are not engaged in HUMAN moral contracts -- that's senseless. More importantly, certain humans are somehow worthy of rights (e.g., children, the mentally disabled, the fetus By what mechanism do you include them? You think that by anticipating this criticism you can avoid it:

Next, you move to your next faulty idea about infants and the mentally infirm, thus continuing the cycle of you trying to find exceptions to the rule instead of acknowledging the rule itself. You're demanding a whole different definition for how morals are created, observed, and applied, yet you provide no more rational reason to do so than an eight-year-old asking an adult "yeah, but what about..."

Demonstrate how it's faulty. It's nice that you have a rule, but you must consistently apply that rule, which should NOT involve "creating a whole different definition..." and so on. There's a simple explanation for why you get and hot bothered on this point, and it's because you're challenged and you cannot generate rational non-arbitrary arguments, as evidenced here and especially in the previous 800 post thread.

GreNME
4th July 2009, 02:19 PM
Cain, I don't have to justify anything morally simply because you've demanded it. You are the one asserting that this is a moral problem. You have to justify that assertion before expecting anyone else to take it seriously. So far, your only justification for this assertion is that people generally do consider some violence to animals to be morally problematic at the very least, which you then take to extremes and demand everyone accept it.

Seriously, that is the heart or your argument. Can you please at least admit that much?

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 02:22 PM
Ah, so you're looking for any excuse now...

Nah, I wasn't looking for it, I knew you already found it.

Um, I wasn't sincere.
Guess what, don't give a hootenanny about that either.

So, where is the link then, or are we first treated to some first-class whining?

Yes, I should do as you: avoid debating the topic, and then accuse my opponent of debating the topic. Is your self-parody almost complete? Just continue doing what you do best: mindless head-nodding and hand-jobs; it seems others need your encouragement.


Whining it is.

No link, no content, nothing. Like the index of the contents of your accumulated knowledge.

These non-replies are empowering and time-saving.
That means you are taking the left-turn to 'evasionville' again?

I am disappointed you're reduced to using the phrase "epic failure" which is almost as bad as "not!" but then again this coming from the comedy stylings of a person who says "seriously?" Your stupidity is unusually bold.
Cool huh? I bet I even get more laid than you as well. Let's bring that in as well, as you seem unable to discuss any point at all.

So, what have we here. A failure to follow up on a promise for a link. A failure to address a point. A failure to insult. A failed attempt at humor.

I think I can nicely abbreviate all that as 'failure'.

But, because you seem unwilling, or unable, to think for yourself, I will start fresh for you.

Isn't that nice of the stupid man? Helping you a bit? Need to be held by the hand a lot, huh?

---------

I state that:

1 - Objective morality does not exist.
2 - It is up to an individuals personal 'motivators' and 'inhibitors' to decide whether or not to undertake an activity like killing an animal, like killing a human being.
3 - There is no difference in killing an animal or killing a human being, objectively.
4 - There are only culturally defined 'penalties' for aforementioned actions.
5 - The individual decides for itself whether it wants to accept these 'penalties' or not.
6 - Morality is not an extension of rationality.
7 - Eating meat is a good thing for a lot of individuals.

Have at it kiddo.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 02:22 PM
I see no reason to dispute your fantasy.

I would only strongly encourage you to send to test your moral theories on independent third parties. If you're interested in this topic, and it seems you are, then regurgitate it over on the Internet Infidels board. I would not be surprised if they already have an animal rights thread running, but you could always start your own. Maybe you'll be less emotionally sensitive to their criticisms, and someone there can disabuse you of your crackpot beliefs. Or, maybe -- it's possible -- you can change minds and blaze trails. Be sure to post the thread link here -- I'd like to skim it. Wow. Your decorum has unnerved me. Aside from painting my propositions as fantasy and ideas as crackpot you are uncharacteristically polite.

I get invited to a lot of forums. Particularly Skeptical Community (http://skepticalcommunity.com/). That forum is actually closer to my ideological bent. I like the JREF and I've not the time to invest in other forums.

Feel free to invite any of your friends there to come here.

In the meantime we've got Volitile, joethejuggler and many other posters who don't engage in personal attacks and invective. I think we are well covered here.

Oh, and Cain, if I was all that senstitive I would put you on ignore.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 02:24 PM
See, that's the way it's supposed to work. Philosophy can be an interesting tool for self-examination. It's neat to examine things in abstraction to determine for yourself why you hold the views you hold, and perhaps challenge them. You can then take these insights gleamed, factor back in the realities, and see where that leaves you.

However, most people just use it for an intellectual pissing contest. And that can be fun in the right context, but it's aggrivating when they feel that they have to do it in every single conversation. It's even more infuriating when they feel that somehow making a rational point about an abstract construct really has some actual meaning.

That's why in this thread they won't answer questions like "where does morality come from" or "who enforces it". These have nothing to do with the points they are trying to make, so they aren't interested in them.

Anyway, I wasn't criticising you. You seem to get it. Keep up the Good Fight.Thanks. I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

thaiboxerken
4th July 2009, 02:40 PM
Cain, can you not take the 30 seconds it takes to google the definition of sapience?!

from dictionary.com "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment."

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 02:55 PM
Cain, can you not take the 30 seconds it takes to google the definition of sapience?!

from dictionary.com "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment."

Judging by his ripostes and repartees, he consults his sapient hamster, that takes time.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 03:00 PM
Judging by his ripostes and repartees, he consults his sapient hamster, that takes time.Doesn't he have to shave the hamster first?

Cain
4th July 2009, 04:01 PM
This will have to be my last for the day. It's the Fourth of July or something.

Cain, I don't have to justify anything morally simply because you've demanded it. You are the one asserting that this is a moral problem. You have to justify that assertion before expecting anyone else to take it seriously. So far, your only justification for this assertion is that people generally do consider some violence to animals to be morally problematic at the very least, which you then take to extremes and demand everyone accept it.

This is a mischaracterization. If a person already accepts violence against animals is wrong, then I emphasize that this belief should be rationally applied across the board. To those who claim human beings have certain rights, but not animals, I request the moral differences, which, since the idea of animal rights is so obviously crazy, you should be able to produce in an instant. And here again, you self-consciously avoid it.

-----------------
RealPaladin, after much blather, finally attempts to say something about something:

1 - Objective morality does not exist.
2 - It is up to an individuals personal 'motivators' and 'inhibitors' to decide whether or not to undertake an activity like killing an animal, like killing a human being.
3 - There is no difference in killing an animal or killing a human being, objectively.
4 - There are only culturally defined 'penalties' for aforementioned actions.
5 - The individual decides for itself whether it wants to accept these 'penalties' or not.
6 - Morality is not an extension of rationality.
7 - Eating meat is a good thing for a lot of individuals.

Curiously you continue to avoid responding to my argument from earlier that morality is an outgrowth of rationality. While baby-talk suits you, it does not merit much of a response. For your convenience:

The problem with this position, if we try to put its ridiculousness aside, is that the proponent of such a view probably does not apply it consistently, you or anyone. Let's return to Shermer's comment up-thread on animal torture where he asks, "Is it OK if I torture you?" If a person answers that it's not OK, then the argument becomes something like "what makes you so special?" That is to say, if you believe that it's not OK for someone to torture you, then you should believe it's not OK to torture anyone, assuming similar circumstances. There might be circumstances where you think torture is appropriate; you may believe it's permissible for the government to waterboard suspected terrorists, but again, consistency would require that you agree it's OK for the government to waterboard you if you're suspected of terrorism. Morality is an outgrowth of rationality, and you can jump up and down, hold your breath until your face turns blue, attempt at every turn to blather nonsense and avoid arguments, cry there is no objective morality, and that's fine... but you're still agitating for a position that is irrational because it's internally incoherent. And just as reason dispenses of egoism, it takes care of nationalism, racism, sexism, and speciesism.

I almost always refrain using the terms "objective morality" or "moral objectivism" or "moral objectivist." I prefer "moral universalism." As for the above, points 2 and 5 are restatements of another, and 4 is arguably trivial repetition of the same -- a RandFanesque bit of inflation. They're non-essential. Seven should probably say "benefits" rather than "good". Three is a radical statement, and would probably inspire hackles if had not ingratiated yourself on a side.) We'll stick to six for the moment, and see if you can muster anything at all. I should also say that you are an unbelievable moron; outrageously stupid, lacking the slightest bit of self-awareness. You make mimes look cool.

--------------
RandFan:
Wow. Your decorum has unnerved me. Aside from painting my propositions as fantasy and ideas as crackpot you are uncharacteristically polite.

Rest assured, I was mocking you throughout. Those beliefs of yours cannot withstand the slightest bit of scrutiny, which is why I urge you to advertise them. From what I've seen of the Skeptical Community, it's hardly worth anyone's time. Go to IIDB.org/ , which is secular and philosophically inclined (more so than this forum at least). They have a board dedicated to moral foundations, and possibly a thread on animal rights.

---------------------
TBK writes:
Cain, can you not take the 30 seconds it takes to google the definition of sapience?!

from dictionary.com "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment."

I wanted you to say it, so now you can see how this completely defeats your argument. If "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment" is the standard, then you cannot possibly include children or the mentally disabled. You have to bite the bullet and say that they do not possess even limited rights, or find some new reason to broaden your rights standard.
---------------

A final comment: All of you, without exception, should be embarrassed by your arguments. I'm glad you have this mutual support group going because it would not hold up in an academic environment for very long. The people who should be most offended are those who hold similar views; they deserve stronger proponents.

RandFan
4th July 2009, 04:23 PM
Rest assured, I was mocking you throughout.Oh reeeaaaaly. Oh, well, no one would have guessed that. Well shut my mouth. Damn. Cain mocking me. Oh hell. Surprise of all surprises.

Those beliefs of yours cannot withstand the slightest bit of scrutiny, which is why I urge you to advertise them.It's kinda pathetic that you've got to refer me to some other forum (just wait 'till I tell my big brother on you). I gotta say I'm just a bit embarrased for you.

It turns out that the ethical vegans on our site are only pansies. ****!

Fine, we could use some new blood around here. Let your friends know where I am. I'm not meek and mild by any means. If you've got some big bad ethical vegans who will kick my ass because you can't do it then by all means, bring them by.

Oh, hell, it just occured to me, who is going to tell volitile? I can only imagine his disapointment that not only is big bad Cain not up to the task but Cain doesn't think anyone else here is either. He is likely to be disapointed. Jesus Christ on a cracker, I know I am.

Oh ****, we need some new ethical vegans.

GreNME
4th July 2009, 04:27 PM
This is a mischaracterization. If a person already accepts violence against animals is wrong, then I emphasize that this belief should be rationally applied across the board. To those who claim human beings have certain rights, but not animals, I request the moral differences, which, since the idea of animal rights is so obviously crazy, you should be able to produce in an instant. And here again, you self-consciously avoid it.

You know, just as I told skeptigirl in a different thread, taking what I said, re-wording it, and then shooting it back as if it somehow negates what I said makes no good sense and is not a rational argument. I asked you to admit that's what you were really starting from, that's all. A simple "yes" would have sufficed.

Now, all you have to do is provide a basis for your assertion that this idea is applicable in the "universal" sense you say. You have never done so, and asserting that it has to be the same across the board is not the same as providing a logical reason to justify applying your assertion across the board.

realpaladin
4th July 2009, 04:39 PM
Curiously you continue to avoid responding to my argument from earlier that morality is an outgrowth of rationality.


I simply say it is not. Is there in the list. You have not proven it. Again you fail.

My guess is that hardwiring in your brain by seeing a failure everyday in the mirror leads you to conclude that other people might be just the same.

Whatever makes you sleep at night, next to your sapient hamster.


While baby-talk suits you, it does not merit much of a response.

Meh!


For your convenience:
<snip a lot of hot air that is saying nothing and which demonstrates his inability to use information technology>

I almost always

Have to help you here again. 'Almost always' is the same as 'not always'.

refrain using the terms "objective morality" or "moral objectivism" or "moral objectivist." I prefer "moral universalism."

And I will help you again. Moral universalism does not exist. And I do not care a hootenanny for your preferences either.

As for the above, points 2 and 5 are restatements of another, and 4 is arguably trivial repetition of the same

Well, if you see them that way, think of them helping you as you keep demonstrating being thick as a brick.

-- a RandFanesque bit of inflation. They're non-essential. Seven should probably say "benefits" rather than "good". Three is a radical statement, and would probably inspire hackles if had not ingratiated yourself on a side.)

What's with the bracket? Hamster running loose?

We'll stick to six for the moment, and see if you can muster anything at all.

'Anything at all' is more than you demonstrate to be able to do.

I should also say that you are an unbelievable moron; outrageously stupid, lacking the slightest bit of self-awareness.


Good for you kid! Out with those repressed frustrations! Are they, by any chance, sexual by origin?

You make mimes look cool.
Hey, so the mimes have a good day as well!

So, now for your answer...

Wait... that's it? A re-iteration of computer-illiterate babble and some 'insults' a 10-year old would laugh about?

That really is *it*. What happened to the 'Louis XIV' like We'll stick to six for the moment, and see if you can muster anything at all.
?

There is nothing there is there? And no, that was not the question your 'escort' asked a few nights ago when she uncovered the bed-sheets.


A final comment: All of you, without exception, should be embarrassed by your arguments.

I am pretty embarrassed to having to admit that you are member of the human race.

I'm glad you have this mutual support group going because it would not hold up in an academic environment for very long.

Assumptions, assumptions. You have no single clue as to who I am IRL.

The people who should be most offended are those who hold similar views; they deserve stronger proponents.

You can not make me believe that the people that hold your views are not cringeing with exploding shame every-time you make a post.

They must be thinking "Noooo, not that crackpot again, now everyone will think we suck at debating!"

tyr_13
4th July 2009, 05:35 PM
Good for you kid! Out with those repressed frustrations! Are they, by any chance, sexual by origin?



Hey now, this is just going too far.

Saying stupid things on these boards because of sexual frustrations is my shtick. Don't you forget it. :)

thaiboxerken
4th July 2009, 07:10 PM
I wanted you to say it, so now you can see how this completely defeats your argument. If "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment" is the standard, then you cannot possibly include children or the mentally disabled. You have to bite the bullet and say that they do not possess even limited rights, or find some new reason to broaden your rights standard.

I agree with you. I did agree with you. I do not include children or the mentally disabled.

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 02:09 AM
Hey now, this is just going too far.

Saying stupid things on these boards because of sexual frustrations is my shtick. Don't you forget it. :)

Ok, whenever you reach the magnitude of avoidance and volume of hot air as Cain, then I will most certainly respond in kind :)

Kevin_Lowe
5th July 2009, 03:53 AM
For those keeping score at home:

Kevin won't answer simple questions.

Kevin sees attempts to derail the discussion coming, and declines to take part.


Kevin won't tell us what standard he uses for his objective morality all the while demanding that I answer what standard I would use. I could have played his game and obfuscated and been evasive and simply engaged in gainsaying but I answered.

If you want to learn about objectivist moral theories I've listed more than one in this thread already, and assuming you can google you can find plenty of literature about them.

However there's not much point in discussing them if you can't grasp the arguments against relativism or complete moral skepticism.


Kevin won't give us evidence of objective morality.

As above. If you were genuinely interested then knowledge is a google search away. If you're just trying to pull the focus off the flaws of your own stated theory, then sorry but I'm not playing your game.


Kevin won't give us any reason or logic to assume that there is an objective morality.

This is a lie. I have explained over and over again the fundamental problems that make relativism incoherent, and Cain has repeatedly pointed out that people who claim that there are no meaningful moral claims are virtually always hypocrites who do hold some moral values.

Since I've also stated that I think absolutist moral theories are silly, what's left but objectivist theories?

(For those keeping score, as RandFan would put it, RandFan doesn't seem to have grasped that there is a distinction between objectivist and absolutist moral theories. I don't expect him to figure it out between now and his next post, either. Just don't be confused by his imminent misuse of the terms).


Kevin makes claims about what I've said but won't quote the parts that he claims are contradictory and explain how and why they are contradictory.

This is a lie, it's all I've been doing for pages. But I'll do it again in a sec.


Kevin thinks that the golden rule is hedonistic utilitarianism.

Okay. Right here is yet another giveaway that RandFan isn't successfully tracking the conversation. He's just contradicting me and throwing buzzwords around without actually comprehending them. It's word salad, philosophical mad libs, sound and fury signifying nothing.

What RandFan actually endorsed a minute ago was hedonistic utilitarianism. That's the objectivist moral theory that says that moral action is whatever maximises the sum of gains and losses for all morally relevant parties, measured in terms of pleasure/happiness versus pain/unhappiness.

The problem is that he thinks he just endorsed the deontological, objectivist Golden Rule, which holds that moral action is that action that you would desire of another if your positions were reversed.

Those are two hugely different moral theories. Now some of the time these two theories will yield the same conclusions. However in many difficult cases, and difficult cases are the only interesting ones, they will yield very different conclusions.

What does RandFan really think? We'll probably never know, because he tries to communicate his ideas by throwing around terms like "hedonistic utilitarianism" and "golden rule" which he had demonstrated he doesn't understand.

From his other post:

According to Kevin this won't fly, it can lead to hedonistic relativism.

Hey, I'm on your side.

It it ok to treat me with dignity? Yes.
It it ok to treat me in a just manner? Yes.
Is it ok to treat me in a way to increase my well being? Yes.

Hedonistic to Kevin.

This is pure word salad. No part of it is joined-up thought.

For starters I have no ******* idea what "hedonistic relativism" is.

Okay, we'll be charitable, we'll assume he meant "hedonistic utilitarianism", not the nonexistent "hedonistic relativism". So does his post make any sense now?

Nope. Firstly what Cain is advocating is indeed something that has a lot in common with hedonistic utilitarianism, but that one point is as close to intelligibility as RandFan gets at the moment. If RandFan had even the slightest clue about what I've been saying for several pages, he'd realise that from my perspective it is not a criticism to say that something is hedonistic utilitarianism. I like hedonistic utilitarianism. It's an objectivist moral theory that, among other things, leads fairly directly to the conclusion that it's morally wrong to mistreat animals.

Secondly, RandFan's three dot points are just completely irrelevant to the ongoing discussion. I have trouble envisioning any useful moral theory that says it's "not okay" to be nice to people. You can get that conclusion out of relativism, utilitarianism, multiple deontological theories, you name it. So the implied conclusion that anyone who agrees that it's okay to be nice to people must embrace any one particular moral philosophy is so staggeringly dumb that it passes belief.

So what the hell is RandFan on about? To paraphrase Babbage, I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a post. As best I can make out he doesn't understand what hedonistic utilitarianism is but he thinks I think it's bad, so he thinks he's scored a point by saying that I think Cain's position is hedonistic relativism, but the logical path he took to get to that conclusion only serves to demonstrate how clueless RandFan is about the terms he is pretending to understand.

RandFan: Will you now cease repeating the lie that I have not shown that you are contradicting yourself, and the lie that I have not shown that you do not understand the terms you are abusing?

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 04:32 AM
Kevin sees attempts to derail the discussion coming, and declines to take part.

Kevin has the same personality problem as Caine?

Talk about yourself in the first person.

If you want to learn about objectivist moral theories I've listed more than one in this thread already, and assuming you can google you can find plenty of literature about them.

Did. And is just the same nonsense you are spouting here.

There simply *is* no objectivist morality, or, as Caine 'prefers' moral universalism.

All dreamed up nonsense to avoid a real discussion.

However there's not much point in discussing them if you can't grasp the arguments against relativism or complete moral skepticism.

You have gotten the idea of proof wrong:

Proofs against relativism or complete moral skepticism do not make proof for 'objective morality'.

Show me proof *for* that, instead of hoping that someone will say 'aaah, the others have been proven wrong, so it *must* be as the idio^H^H^H^H guys say'.

As above. If you were genuinely interested then knowledge is a google search away.
Did.

Did not find any proof. Just a lot of dreamy blabla.

If you're just trying to pull the focus off the flaws of your own stated theory, then sorry but I'm not playing your game.

Good. Play your game. Give some proof. Or let me make it clearer; show me that you understand what your precioussss Google links say and make the case in your own words.

This is a lie. I have explained over and over again the fundamental problems that make relativism incoherent, and Cain has repeatedly pointed out that people who claim that there are no meaningful moral claims are virtually always hypocrites who do hold some moral values.
Cain has done nothing of the sort. He is a frustrated clown that has made no argument whatsoever.

What Cain has done is made some bruhaha about his alleged academic prowess which degraded rather quickly in childish insults on intelligence.

Cain could not find an argument if it grabbed him by his nuts.

Since I've also stated that I think absolutist moral theories are silly, what's left but objectivist theories?

You are saying that just because you can not think of anything else it simply must be that one?

You start sounding like Yrreg, the God-crackpot from another thread.

And what you state does not amount to a hill of beans anywhere except maybe in PM's with Cain.

Prove it.

(For those keeping score, as RandFan would put it, RandFan doesn't seem to have grasped that there is a distinction between objectivist and absolutist moral theories.
Either that or you and Cain are extremely lousy at explaining.

My current bet is on the latter.

I don't expect him to figure it out between now and his next post, either. Just don't be confused by his imminent misuse of the terms).
I am not by yours, so I will not be by his.

Okay. Right here is yet another giveaway that RandFan isn't successfully tracking the conversation. He's just contradicting me and throwing buzzwords around without actually comprehending them. It's word salad, philosophical mad libs, sound and fury signifying nothing.

Are you sure you are not reading Cain's posts?

What RandFan actually endorsed a minute ago was hedonistic utilitarianism. <snippety>
What does RandFan really think? We'll probably never know, because he tries to communicate his ideas by throwing around terms like "hedonistic utilitarianism" and "golden rule" which he had demonstrated he doesn't understand.

You do understand that you are making the same logical fallacy as Cain here?

Namely that if someone, for the sake of argument RandFan (I am sorry bud, don't think you do, but need you for the example), has a lesser grasp on the definition of terms, that he has a lesser grasp on the concepts.

Definitions of terms are used to avoid ambiguity. If you see in a discussion that the other party does not have the same definition of terms then you start setting up a mutually agreed definition of terms.

It is the sign of academically immature people, like you and Cain, to state that the definition of term you found on a page (book or website) will be the Alpha and Omega in that discussion.

You fail to grasp the basic concept of discussion.

Citing others and posting links as a substitute for your own proof of understanding is weak and academically unsound.

Citing others and posting links is what you do to corroborate and augment your proof of understanding.

Again, you and Cain fail immeasurably here.


Nope. Firstly what Cain is advocating is indeed something that has a lot in common with hedonistic utilitarianism, but that one point is as close to intelligibility as RandFan gets at the moment.
Cain is just plain dumb; he fell in the cauldron with lettersoup when he was a kid, about 5 years ago.

If you call that intelligeble, then abandon all hope.

If RandFan had even the slightest clue about what I've been saying for several pages, he'd realise that from my perspective it is not a criticism to say that something is hedonistic utilitarianism. I like hedonistic utilitarianism. It's an objectivist moral theory that, among other things, leads fairly directly to the conclusion that it's morally wrong to mistreat animals.

I state, plain and simple, that it is not morally wrong to mistreat animals.

Secondly, RandFan's three dot points are just completely irrelevant to the ongoing discussion. I have trouble envisioning any useful moral theory that says it's "not okay" to be nice to people.


You having trouble envisioning something does not make it impossible. Throughout history lots of people had trouble envisioning things that we nowadays take as a matter of fact.

Let me help you, you and Cain really need that a lot;

The caste system in India. The casteless are kicked, spit at an generally abused by just about anyone.
Does it matter to the majority? No, because if they live out this life according to their caste (or castelessness) they get up higher in the next life.

I get berated by the people around me when I want to help a person without a caste.

They think it is a pretty useful moral theory saying 'it is not okay to be nice to people'

You can get that conclusion out of relativism, utilitarianism, multiple deontological theories, you name it. So the implied conclusion that anyone who agrees that it's okay to be nice to people must embrace any one particular moral philosophy is so staggeringly dumb that it passes belief.

Implications, envisioning... a lot of circumstantial humdrum hanging on the value of the value we would put on both you and Cain.

Well, you have reached level 0. That is where you were starting from yes.

But I will pass your regards on to the second-largest population on the planet.

So what the hell is RandFan on about? To paraphrase Babbage, I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a post. As best I can make out he doesn't understand what hedonistic utilitarianism is but he thinks I think it's bad, so he thinks he's scored a point by saying that I think Cain's position is hedonistic relativism, but the logical path he took to get to that conclusion only serves to demonstrate how clueless RandFan is about the terms he is pretending to understand.

Playing hide and seek with terms. Poor Babbage would turn in his grave.

RandFan: Will you now cease repeating the lie that I have not shown that you are contradicting yourself, and the lie that I have not shown that you do not understand the terms you are abusing?

Explain and agree to terms then? You are incredibly unwilling to go into a discussion, but extremely eager to flee in a fake game on the definition of terms.

Just state a couple of terms, for the sake of argument call them 'hoppity', 'floppity' and 'cheesecake' and then start discussing the implications, not the definitions.

Pay attention to class a little more, will you?

EDIT: It just occurred to me, the people that you have such trouble envisioning, are also the largest population of vegetarians on the planet. Irony or what?

Gaspode
5th July 2009, 05:48 AM
Keep it civil and on topic please. Discuss the subject of the thread, not other members.

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 07:19 AM
Agreed. So, let us start again.

First, why not start with the 'Natural rights'? That concept seems to be necessary to even arrive at the 'moral universalism'.

All the great thinkers notwithstanding, I still postulate:

- There are no natural rights. Defining this even further; there is no such thing as a right at all.

Clarification on my standpoint:

- A right is an activity, process or possession (material or immaterial) that can not be taken away from the entity that has such a right.
- The activity of granting or depriving of a right needs either consensus, pressure or enforcement.
- If a second entity neither succumbs to consensus, pressure or enforcement whilst depriving a right from the first entity, the right is no longer with the first entity.

Therefore I conclude that rights are but social constructs, which, unless you are willing to exert either pressure or enforcement, need consensus from the second entity.

A right therefore does not exist without a social context.

Next postulation:

Moral universalism falls down flat on it's face without the proper social context.

Clarification:

- Whilst having a social context is in conflict with a completely rational procedure I feel that this is not enough to show that moral universalism is but a mere 'feelgood' concept.

- The problem arises when people with different social contexts meet and discuss the 'universal' in the term. It turns out not to be so universal at all.

I already have given the Hindu religion and the caste system versus the liberal European standpoint, but I venture to say that is not enough here.

So we take the Japanese whaler who holds cattle in Hyogo for Wagyu (I know such a person, so it is not hypothetical at all).
He slaughters the whale in the most brutal way, whilst hand-massaging his five cows, making sure they have the best life any cattle can have.
To him, the whale does not represent something worth being gentle with, but his prized Wagyu does. The whale has no right to an ethical treatment, whilst his cow does, albeit with the motivation of having the best beef for dinner.

Or we take the words of a Masai when I asked him about what he thinks of racial issues. He stated to me: "White men are unwise, nature has no rights. No lion asks of the antelope if it is right to kill it. The lion does not feel guilty afterward. The sun does not ask if it is right to burn the crops of the farmers. It does not feel at all. The strongest thing does what it does. And that is all there is to it."

The basic problem stems from the 'rationality'. Most western societies follow the Greek concept of rationality, but the majority of the world does not. It uses that word to justify their line of thinking and make it connect to the English words being used in jabbering meta-ethical concepts.

In my eyes, people like Hepburn and Chomsky are nothing but the new, slightly less wigged, extensions of colonial thinkers that state something and think it is truth.
Chomsky is especially a chump, because he deems it necessary to use derisive terms to explain 'moral universalism', which in itself is a contradiction.

(Remember that it states something along the lines of 'what is good for me should be good for you'? So even the way some, and I will not name them because it is quite clear who, forum members think they can act whilst advocating moral universalism is a contradiction to the very idea).

Now, finally, to my personal standpoints:

- I will eat any animal, as long as my digestive system can hack it. Period.
- I will eat human flesh if it fits the social context I am in. Period.
- I will eat any plant, as long as my digestive system can hack it. Period.
- I will eat any mineral, as long as my digestive system can hack it. Period. (Funnily enough I only know of salt as an explicit mineral that we put into our food).

I accept that you may find me a horrible and terrible person because of that. But that is your valuation of me in your specific social context.

The notion of any universal context is silly and contrived.

thaiboxerken
5th July 2009, 08:18 AM
Kevin won't give a source or outline of objective morality. Instead, he tell us to go google it and find it ourselves. Nice way to convince us and change minds, Kevin. Way to go!:rolleyes:

RandFan
5th July 2009, 08:20 AM
Kevin sees attempts to derail the discussion coming, and declines to take part.

If you want to learn about objectivist moral theories I've listed more than one in this thread already, and assuming you can google you can find plenty of literature about them.

However there's not much point in discussing them if you can't grasp the arguments against relativism or complete moral skepticism.

As above. If you were genuinely interested then knowledge is a google search away. If you're just trying to pull the focus off the flaws of your own stated theory, then sorry but I'm not playing your game. That's the best you can do to justify your obfiscation?

This is a lie. I have explained over and over again the fundamental problems that make relativism incoherent, and Cain has repeatedly pointed out that people who claim that there are no meaningful moral claims are virtually always hypocrites who do hold some moral values. Boy you can twist and turn, and squirm. Straw man. I never said that there are no moral values or meaningful moral claims.

In fact, I've said over and over, one can make objective statements about morality.

Since I've also stated that I think absolutist moral theories are silly, what's left but objectivist theories?

(For those keeping score, as RandFan would put it, RandFan doesn't seem to have grasped that there is a distinction between objectivist and absolutist moral theories. I don't expect him to figure it out between now and his next post, either. Just don't be confused by his imminent misuse of the terms).There is no such thing as objective morality.


The problem is that he thinks he just endorsed the deontological, objectivist Golden Rule, which holds that moral action is that action that you would desire of another if your positions were reversed.

I desire to be treated justly.
I desire to be treated with dignity.
I desre to be free from pain and suffering.
I desire to be treated in a way that will likely increase my well being.
I should treat others as I desire to be treated. For that reason these are all golden rule statements and no amount of obfuscation will change that. That there is also utility in the golden rule and recognizing that utility DOESN'T obviate the golden rule.
What does RandFan really think? We'll probably never know, because he tries to communicate his ideas by throwing around terms like "hedonistic utilitarianism" and "golden rule" which he had demonstrated he doesn't understand.I've never used the term "hedonistic utilitarianism".

Nope. Firstly what Cain is advocating is indeed something that has a lot in common with hedonistic utilitarianism, but that one point is as close to intelligibility as RandFan gets at the moment. If RandFan had even the slightest clue about what I've been saying for several pages, he'd realise that from my perspective it is not a criticism to say that something is hedonistic utilitarianism. I like hedonistic utilitarianism. It's an objectivist moral theory that, among other things, leads fairly directly to the conclusion that it's morally wrong to mistreat animals. Cool that you like hedonistic utilitarianism. There is no utitlity in treating animals the way we would like to be treated. I honestly did missunderstand your position on hedonistic utilitariansm and I confess that it's been sometime since I've heard the therm "hedonistic" used with utilitarianism.

And I've no doubt that you will hapily take rhetorical advantage of my honesty. I wouldn't do like wise but you won't likely ever give me that opportunity.

Secondly, RandFan's three dot points are just completely irrelevant to the ongoing discussion.Assertion.

I have trouble envisioning any useful moral theory that says it's "not okay" to be nice to people. You can get that conclusion out of relativism, utilitarianism, multiple deontological theories, you name it. So the implied conclusion that anyone who agrees that it's okay to be nice to people must embrace any one particular moral philosophy is so staggeringly dumb that it passes belief.Now you are just making things up. "Not okay to be nice"?

RandFan: Will you now cease repeating the lie that I have not shown that you are contradicting yourself, and the lie that I have not shown that you do not understand the terms you are abusing? Where is this contradiction? What terms am I abusing?

You know, if you would simply demonstrate what it is you are saying we could have a discussion.

There is utility in the golden rule. That I point it out ISN'T a contradiction.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 09:07 AM
For the record:





Scenarios:
Someone is trying to kill you and your best chance to survive is to kill them.
Anne Frank is in your attic and the SS is at the door.
During the tenure of Trevelyan at the time of the Irish famine you have an opportunity to steal corn to keep your children alive.
Questions:
Is it objectively immoral to kill?
Is it objectively immoral to lie?
Is it objectively immoral to steal?
So, where is this "objective" morality? What is it exactly? Does it exist a priori?


For those keeping score at home:


Kevin won't answer simple questions.
Kevin won't tell us what standard he uses for his objective morality all the while demanding that I answer what standard I would use. I could have played his game and obfuscated and been evasive and simply engaged in gainsaying but I answered.
Kevin won't give us evidence of objective morality.
Kevin won't give us any reason or logic to assume that there is an objective morality.
Kevin makes claims about what I've said but won't quote the parts that he claims are contradictory and explain how and why they are contradictory.
Kevin thinks that the golden rule is hedonistic utilitarianism.
Kevin's modus operandi consists of attacking others and accusing them of being incoherent when he hasn't even the balls to put his philosophy on the table.

You are becoming rather transparent Kevin. The questions still stand. And you still refuse to answer them.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 09:20 AM
Moral universalism falls down flat on it's face without the proper social context.I'm willing to bet that I was one of the first persons to ever use the word "universal" in the context of morality on this forum. Odd that Cain is now using it.

Sociobiology tells us that humans by and large have certain evolved adaptive traits and that these traits are near universal. These traits include empathy, compassion and reciprocal altruism (among others).

I say "near" universal because it is demonstrable that not everyone has all of these traits. Nor do we have them to the same degree. Further we know that environmental factors including parental and social indoctrination can mold or even eliminate these traits.

By understanding these near universal traits we can formulate moral philosophy to compliment and take advantage of them.

However, we can't look into our genetics and say, well, we have gene "x" that tends to cause behavior "y" and therefore "y" is what we ought to do.

GreNME
5th July 2009, 10:18 AM
I'm willing to bet that I was one of the first persons to ever use the word "universal" in the context of morality on this forum. Odd that Cain is now using it.

I'm amusing myself by replacing "universal" with "Catholic" and "objectivist" with "Randian" in Cain's and Kevin's posts.

Rogue1stclass
5th July 2009, 10:52 AM
I'll further state that without social context, morality is meaningless anyway.

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 12:35 PM
By understanding these near universal traits we can formulate moral philosophy to compliment and take advantage of them.

However, we can't look into our genetics and say, well, we have gene "x" that tends to cause behavior "y" and therefore "y" is what we ought to do.

Agreed insofar we agree that the genes cause the behaviour and not that the behaviour dictates the gene, although reproductional aspects might be influenced by the behaviour.

But it simply can not be the case that any argument *makes* someone have that gene.

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 12:38 PM
Kevin won't give a source or outline of objective morality. Instead, he tell us to go google it and find it ourselves. Nice way to convince us and change minds, Kevin. Way to go!:rolleyes:
'Ye olden crappe' of last years academic syllabi and some wikipedia links do not cut it with me.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 12:48 PM
Agreed insofar we agree that the genes cause the behaviour and not that the behaviour dictates the gene, although reproductional aspects might be influenced by the behaviour.

But it simply can not be the case that any argument *makes* someone have that gene. I would say that adaptive traits influence behavior, not causes behavior. I would also say that sociobiology is better at speaking to groups and not individuals. Any individual who tried to explain his or her behavior by sociobiology would be doing so in contradiction to the experts in that field.

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 12:51 PM
I would say that adaptive traits influence behavior, not causes behavior. I would also say that sociobiology is better at speaking to groups and not individuals. Any individual who tried to explain his or her behavior by sociobiology would be doing so in contradiction to the experts in that field.

Nuance noted and agreed.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 01:07 PM
I would say that adaptive traits influence behavior, not causes behavior. I would also say that sociobiology is better at speaking to groups and not individuals. Any individual who tried to explain his or her behavior by sociobiology would be doing so in contradiction to the experts in that field.Nuance noted and agreed. I'm giving ammunition to Kevin and I apologize but I want to make clear that I'm talking about specific behaviors. To the degree that I am altruistic and capable of empathy or that I perceive an action as moral could be said likely to be the result of biology (including chemical influences of brain structure while a fetus is in the womb) social environment and a fair chance that it is the result of both. I could not reasonably say that any particular action or belief is directly the result of genetics (I ate bacon and eggs this morning because of my genetics).

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 01:14 PM
I'm giving ammunition to Kevin and I apologize but I want to make clear that I'm talking about specific behaviors. To the degree that I am altruistic and capable of empathy or that I perceive an action as moral could be said likely to be the result of biology (including chemical influences of brain structure while a fetus is in the womb) social environment and a fair chance that it is the result of both. I could not reasonably say that any particular action or belief is directly the result of genetics (I ate bacon and eggs this morning because of my genetics).
Hmmm, totally off-topic, but I do not know yet if I agree... I remember reading an article last week that stated that Europeans have a genetically determined 'sweet-tooth' so to say.
I am to lazy to look that up by the way, as it is off-topic anyway.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 01:20 PM
Hmmm, totally off-topic, but I do not know yet if I agree... I remember reading an article last week that stated that Europeans have a genetically determined 'sweet-tooth' so to say.
I am to lazy to look that up by the way, as it is off-topic anyway.Yes, but again, you are talking about a group. Sociobiology can make group predictions and via study verify those predictions. A study of 1 is statistically meaningless.

Kevin_Lowe
5th July 2009, 06:48 PM
Kevin won't give a source or outline of objective morality. Instead, he tell us to go google it and find it ourselves. Nice way to convince us and change minds, Kevin. Way to go!:rolleyes:

This is like a Flat Earther complaining that someone is attacking their specific arguments, instead of personally compiling a summary of all paleontology for them.

All I'm doing here is explaining why certain specific arguments and positions are dumb. I'm not going to move on to further content until we've reached agreement on those fundamental points. All I would be doing is giving cover to people who want to avoid the points I am currently making.

That's the best you can do to justify your obfiscation?

I'm not obfuscating, I'm sticking to a very simple set of points.

The obfuscation is in trying to make our conversation be about whatever you want it to be, instead of facing up to the specific arguments presented about your specific claims.

I'm beginning to realise this is a pointless endeavour however since you just aren't capable of metaethical thought. You can make noises as if you are discussing the underlying reasons why some moral claims are better than others, but there's no actual mental traction. All you are capable of is expressing opinions, and then justifying them retroactively with whatever ethical terms are lying around and not nailed down.


Boy you can twist and turn, and squirm. Straw man. I never said that there are no moral values or meaningful moral claims.

In fact, I've said over and over, one can make objective statements about morality.

There is no such thing as objective morality.

:rolleyes:

That isn't even a response to what I posted. You claimed that I had presented no arguments at all for objectivist moral theories, which was and is a lie. So I gave you a recap of the reasons why the alternative categories of moral theory turned out to be useless or incoherent. Nothing you just posted in any way responds to that recap.

Secondly, even if you cling to the fantasy that logical thought is going on in that noodle of yours, even you have to admit that the quotes above contradict each other on their face. It looks like your problem is that you are equivocating between using "objective" in the sense of objectivist moral philosophy, which you reject, and "objective" in the sense of "factual statements about what some people actually believe".

There are deeper problems than that, but if we iron out your errors one at a time we might make progress. Please confirm that this is what you have been doing if I've correctly diagnosed one of your problems.



I desire to be treated justly.
I desire to be treated with dignity.
I desre to be free from pain and suffering.
I desire to be treated in a way that will likely increase my well being.
I should treat others as I desire to be treated. For that reason these are all golden rule statements and no amount of obfuscation will change that. That there is also utility in the golden rule and recognizing that utility DOESN'T obviate the golden rule.

:facepalm:

First you articulate a position which is hedonistic utilitarianism. Then you accuse me of attacking a straw man when I point this out and claim you were articulating the golden rule all along. So I explain the differences between the two positions, along with the fact that in difficult cases hedonistic utilitarianism and the golden rule will generate different results even if they agree on the easy cases.

So what do I get in response? You accuse me of unspecified "obfuscation" when I was actually clearing up the confusion you have been causing, pretend I claimed that recognizing utility "obviates the golden rule" whatever that means, repeat several of the easy cases which I just said were going to generate the same results under just about every useful moral theory, and act as if you've contributed something intelligent by pointing out that they generate the same results.

Don't you recognise that this is idiotic and counterproductive? It's about the same as getting phlogiston and oxygen mixed up, accusing the guy who points out your error of "obfuscation", and saying that it doesn't matter because they all agree stuff gets lighter when you burn it anyway.


I've never used the term "hedonistic utilitarianism".

Oh please. (http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=4871450&postcount=1022)


Cool that you like hedonistic utilitarianism. There is no utitlity in treating animals the way we would like to be treated. I honestly did missunderstand your position on hedonistic utilitariansm and I confess that it's been sometime since I've heard the therm "hedonistic" used with utilitarianism.

And I've no doubt that you will hapily take rhetorical advantage of my honesty. I wouldn't do like wise but you won't likely ever give me that opportunity.

I don't think it counts as "rhetorical advantage" to point out that I've been saying you had no grasp on the discussion for some time, and you've just admitted that this was the case to some extent. In any case I'm not shooting for rhetorical advantage. That's just a dishonest claim you've been trying to support by pure repetition, accusing me of "rhetoric" and "assertion" every time you don't understand my arguments.


Assertion.

Now you are just making things up. "Not okay to be nice"?

Where is this contradiction? What terms am I abusing?

You know, if you would simply demonstrate what it is you are saying we could have a discussion.

I just did exactly that. You just "responded" to my doing that, without demonstrating that you even understand there is a problem.

Look, do us all a favour. Snip all of the above if you have to but just respond to this fundamental issue:

Do you agree that a rational position must be internally consistent? That is, that you cannot simultaneously affirm two claims that contradict each others?

Do you agree that it is contradictory to simultaneously assert, purely for example, (1) "moral acts are those which you would desire of other people were your positions reversed" and (2) "moral acts are those which maximise happiness and minimise suffering for all affected, morally relevant entities", since in some situations those two rules would lead to different actions?

What you want to do is make a raft of claims like "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which you would desire of other people were your positions reversed", and "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which maximise happiness and minimise suffering for all affected, morally relevant entities", and "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which respect rational entities as worthy of respect as ends in themselves", and "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which we think are moral because of our evolved nature", and "Y'know, kinda sorta there are no objective moral claims at all" and "Y'now, kinda sorta moral claims are just the product of social convenience" and "Y'know, kinda sorta moral claims vary in different times and places and that's cool too, I'm not saying Vlad the Impaler was an immoral guy for his time and place".

You grab a sample bag of noises from every philosophy you come across, and then every time you want to justify an opinion you rifle around in it until you find something that suits you. When I point out that you are being inconsistent you get hugely offended because as far as you're concerned, the more random stuff in your grab bag the more philosophically and scientifically erudite you are and the more important your opinion is. In your world you don't need to apply reason to your grab-bag (although "Y'know, kinda sorta we can use reason to sort these claims out" is in your bag as well just for when you want to pretend to be rational).

The other advantage of the grab-bag is that any time anyone tries to pin you down on your claims, you can just point to a contradictory claim you made earlier and accuse them of attacking a straw man.

thaiboxerken
5th July 2009, 06:56 PM
This is like a Flat Earther complaining that someone is attacking their specific arguments, instead of personally compiling a summary of all paleontology for them.

All I'm doing here is explaining why certain specific arguments and positions are dumb. I'm not going to move on to further content until we've reached agreement on those fundamental points. All I would be doing is giving cover to people who want to avoid the points I am currently making.

No, what you are doing is making many claims and not actually citing the sources for your claims. Where is this source of objective morality? Where does it come from? Where is an outline of these objective morals? Is there a website? Is there a book? Is there any science behind your claims?

GreNME
5th July 2009, 07:21 PM
No, what you are doing is making many claims and not actually citing the sources for your claims. Where is this source of objective morality? Where does it come from? Where is an outline of these objective morals? Is there a website? Is there a book? Is there any science behind your claims?

This might help (http://tinyurl.com/KevinLowe). ;)

Cain
5th July 2009, 07:24 PM
"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it." - Voltaire

RandFan:
It turns out that the ethical vegans on our site are only pansies. ****!

No, you misunderstand, but you're even less lucid than usual. I'm saying you should take it to another forum, so others who have no idea of your background, can evaluate it for themselves, and perhaps you'd be more likely to listen to their criticisms. I never suggested bringing others on here.

A second post, RF brags:
I'm willing to bet that I was one of the first persons to ever use the word "universal" in the context of morality on this forum. Odd that Cain is now using it.

And yet, I used the phrase back in 2004: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=865412&highlight=universalism#post865412

Less than a year ago I wrote: "I have long maintained a position of moral universalism."
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=3936150&highlight=universalism#post3936150

This is notable because I wrote it in response to YOU, and it went unchallenged at the time (partly, I'm guessing, because it is a stance I have long-maintained). I used the term at least three times in the thread, and considering this comes as news to you now, I'm guessing it would be easy money to take you up on your bet. Wow, not only have you managed to overturn moral philosophy with your normative-descriptive blurring, but you were of the first on these forums to argue for universals. Congrats, Columbus.
-----------------------------
GreNME:
You know, just as I told skeptigirl in a different thread, taking what I said, re-wording it, and then shooting it back as if it somehow negates what I said makes no good sense and is not a rational argument. I asked you to admit that's what you were really starting from, that's all. A simple "yes" would have sufficed.

Now, all you have to do is provide a basis for your assertion that this idea is applicable in the "universal" sense you say. You have never done so, and asserting that it has to be the same across the board is not the same as providing a logical reason to justify applying your assertion across the board.

It seems you lack the slightest understanding of what I'm saying. Not until you produce a reason explaining the different treatment/status of animals and humans can we apply it across the board. You compulsively fail at this task.

---------------------
RealPaladin:
Re: your non-reply to me:
Shockingly imbecilic stuff. At no point do you engage any of the arguments at hand, always favoring the most witless taunts.

As for your non-reply to Kevin, which obsessively mentions me:
I do not think I have ever seen such an awkward and complete meltdown.

For some unfathomable reason you decided to attempt something resembling a response, and it's mind-bogglingly inept. You should stick with the lower expectations of heckling.

You write:
First, why not start with the 'Natural rights'? That concept seems to be necessary to even arrive at the 'moral universalism'.

This is a clue that you have no idea what you're talking about. Moral universalism is a meta-ethic that accommodates a variety of beliefs, and natural rights is but one such belief. Now even if I did adhere natural rights -- which I don't -- and even if you made a half-decent case against natural rights -- which you don't -- you would have bupkis. Never mind your strikes are feeble, they're misdirected. You're going after the tree's limb.

Now, I did wonder how a person who commits such a basic error could casually name drop Hepburn (who the hell is that?), so I googled ["hepburn" "moral universalism"] and for all your bluster about academics I had momentarily forgotten that you attend Wikipedia University. So W includes the views you're presumably responding to (Hepburn and Chomsky).

You're pretty good at stating your position... and you're very bad at arguing for it. It may help for you to think of Chomsky as urging impartiality/consistency/rationality (I use slashes to suggest shared meaning). Morality concerns itself with reasons for action, and so if you choose to eat a human, hummus or hippopotamus, then presumably you have a reason for doing so (usually some combination of nutrition and pleasure). I realize you would prefer to avoid rationality -- and your attempt to pre-empt the term was charming -- but you need to produce reasons why your actions, satisfying your desires or nutrition -- eating humans, for example -- takes precedence over someone else's desires not to be eaten.

As for your underdeveloped example involving a Japanese farmer... well, this is similar to the common argument for moral relativism, which is unsound. It's difficult to tell which direction you're going in with it, and what you intend for it to prove, but then... that's why I'm describing it as underdeveloped.

--------------------------------
TBK:
I agree with you. I did agree with you. I do not include children or the mentally disabled.

You did not agree with me, and you repeatedly fail to clarify your views. Earlier you wrote:

Those humans who are "marginal" tend not to have the full rights and responsibilities as those that do. Children are not allowed to vote, for example.

This more than suggests that children have at least SOME rights, but now you're telling me children do not have any rights, not even "limited" rights. What next, are you going to claim that you have maintained all along that adults do not have rights either? Your ever-shifting view, as it stands now -- tell me if you agree or not -- says it's wrong to torture adults but not wrong to torture children.

thaiboxerken
5th July 2009, 07:32 PM
This more than suggests that children have at least SOME rights, but now you're telling me children do not have any rights, not even "limited" rights. What next, are you going to claim that you have maintained all along that adults do not have rights either? Your ever-shifting view, as it stands now -- tell me if you agree or not -- says it's wrong to torture adults but not wrong to torture children.

Yes, limited rights, as in welfare considerations. I like how you try to twist the contexts and meanings though. You almost tricked me into becoming a vegan.:rolleyes:

RandFan
5th July 2009, 07:33 PM
:facepalm:Kevin, your last post was a bit more substantive. I'll bet though that if volitile ever comes back he can't find ANY meat in 10 - 20 posts before that. It was all assertion and claims.

This post is more substantive and I appreciate it. The same old assertions and claims become such a bore.

...along with the fact that in difficult cases hedonistic utilitarianism and the golden rule will generate different results even if they agree on the easy cases. I'm going to make this short and sweet. No moral theory will resolve every moral dillema. It's the difficult cases where moral theory can and does break down.

If you would answer my damn questions you would learn that.

You accuse me of unspecified "obfuscation"...That's a lie. You refused to address my arguments or answer my questions. To date you have still refused to answer my questions.

...when I was actually clearing up the confusion you have been causing, pretend I claimed that recognizing utility "obviates the golden rule"... There is NO confusion. That there is utility to the golden rule (and there is) doesn't obviate the golden rule. End of story Kevin.

Oh please. (http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=4871450&postcount=1022) Oh please, I made a single reference to your position and I've since admitted my mistake and put a strike through the bulleted point to leave my error in plain sight.

I don't think it counts as "rhetorical advantage" to point out that I've been saying you had no grasp on the discussion for some time...It's rhetorical advantage to make something more of a trivial error.

Odd, you expect me to answer your questions but you won't answer mine. You are one of the most arrogant and narcissistic individuals I've ever met.

I could play your game and obfuscate but I'm not as dishonest as you.

Do you agree that a rational position must be internally consistent?Yes (with the caveat that no moral position can resolve all dillemas).

That is, that you cannot simultaneously affirm two claims that contradict each others?Yes (however you can consider two premises that don't contradict when they don't contradict.).

Do you agree that it is contradictory to simultaneously assert, purely for example, (1) "moral acts are those which you would desire of other people were your positions reversed" and (2) "moral acts are those which maximise happiness and minimise suffering for all affected, morally relevant entities", since in some situations those two rules would lead to different actions?No.


I assert the following:
Morality isn't something that is objective (we can never come to a consensus as to what is moral in the sense that we can come to a consensus as to E=MC2) IOW, morality isn't a priori.
No moral theory will resolve all moral dillemas (that's demonstrable but I can't prove to you that the moon exists if you are too arrogant to look up).
Contradiction is inherent to morality.
At best we can formulate moral theory that strives to be internally consistent.
That utility and the golden rule can come into conflict at some extreme doesn't obviate either theory nor does it mean that should we adopt one that we can never consider the other.
Kevin, if you have an once of sincerity and are willing to engage in dicussion without playing some gotcha game then give me a hypothetical that demonstrates the conflict between the golden rule and utility and I will tell you how I would answer.

And for crying the dark, HAVE SOME BACKBONE AND RESPOND TO MY QUESTIONS.




By what standard does one use to come to this "objective" morality?
Does objective morality resolve all dilemmas?
If not then how can it be objective?
Scenarios:
Someone is trying to kill you and your best chance to survive is to kill them.
Anne Frank is in your attic and the SS is at the door.
During the tenure of Trevelyan at the time of the Irish famine you have an opportunity to steal corn to keep your children alive.
Questions:
Is it objectively immoral to kill?
Is it objectively immoral to lie?
Is it objectively immoral to steal?
So, where is this "objective" morality? What is it exactly? Does it exist a priori?

{nonsense snipped} tldr

GreNME
5th July 2009, 07:34 PM
GreNME:


It seems you lack the slightest understanding of what I'm saying. Not until you produce a reason explaining the different treatment/status of animals and humans can we apply it across the board. You compulsively fail at this task.

How about no? I'm not convinced an across-the-board application is logical, useful, or moral. You're way behind on that whole mess of actually being convincing. You've got the arrogant self-righteousness down, though. Now all you have to do is back it up.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 07:37 PM
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=865412&highlight=universalism#post865412[/URL]

Less than a year ago I wrote: "I have long maintained a position of moral universalism."
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=3936150&highlight=universalism#post3936150

This is notable because I wrote it in response to YOU, and it went unchallenged at the time (partly, I'm guessing, because it is a stance I have long-maintained). I used the term at least three times in the thread, and considering this comes as news to you now, I'm guessing it would be easy money to take you up on your bet. Wow, not only have you managed to overturn moral philosophy with your normative-descriptive blurring, but you were of the first on these forums to argue for universals. Congrats, Columbus. Damn, sometimes it really sucks being ethical.

You are right. I was wrong.

Kevin_Lowe
5th July 2009, 07:44 PM
No.


Okay, we're done.

You can't have a rational conversation with someone who is happy to embrace mutually contradictory claims.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 07:48 PM
Okay, we're done.


You can't have a rational conversation with someone who is happy to embrace mutually contradictory claims.You are a coward and intellectually dishonest because:
You won't tell me how I'm embracing mutually contradictory claims (again, you just assert it).
You won't answer my questions or address most of my points even when I answer yours.
I'll ask volitile and perhaps some of the other ethical vegans who are reasonable.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 07:51 PM
It's kinda pathetic that you've got to refer me to some other forum (just wait 'till I tell my big brother on you). I gotta say I'm just a bit embarrased for you.

It turns out that the ethical vegans on our site are only pansies. ****!

Fine, we could use some new blood around here. Let your friends know where I am. I'm not meek and mild by any means. If you've got some big bad ethical vegans who will kick my ass because you can't do it then by all means, bring them by.

Oh, hell, it just occured to me, who is going to tell volitile? I can only imagine his disapointment that not only is big bad Cain not up to the task but Cain doesn't think anyone else here is either. He is likely to be disapointed. Jesus Christ on a cracker, I know I am.

Oh ****, we need some new ethical vegans.Cain, you'll let me know when the new blood shows up, right?

Cain
5th July 2009, 08:11 PM
Yes, limited rights, as in welfare considerations. I like how you try to twist the contexts and meanings though. You almost tricked me into becoming a vegan.:rolleyes:

You're something else. It's astonishing YOU would ME twisting things around when, as I have said, you repeatedly refuse to clarify your answers.

I wrote: I wanted you to say it, so now you can see how this completely defeats your argument. If "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment" is the standard, then you cannot possibly include children or the mentally disabled. You have to bite the bullet and say that they do not possess even limited rights, or find some new reason to broaden your rights standard.

and you answered:
I agree with you. I did agree with you. I do not include children or the mentally disabled.

Now you say you want "welfare considerations," fine. It doesn't really matter what you want to call them, rights, protections or welfare considerations, you need a reason for discriminating against animals, and if "sapience" is the standard, and children lack "great wisdom or sound judgment" -- which they do -- then you need some other reason to justify the differences you accord in status to children versus animals.

------------------
GreNME:
How about no? I'm not convinced an across-the-board application is logical, useful, or moral.

Um, one of those is not like the other two. Anyway, of course. Of course, of course. In the other thread it took you dozens of posts to fail to come up with a reason. If anything, this is an improvement.

---------------------
RandFan:
Cain, you'll let me know when the new blood shows up, right?

As I said in my above reply:

I'm saying you should take it to another forum, so others who have no idea of your background, can evaluate it for themselves, and perhaps you'd be more likely to listen to their criticisms. I never suggested bringing others on here.

Did you miss the part in my original where I said: "regurgitate it over on the Internet Infidels board"? The only person who suggested I bring Vegan friends onto this forum to discuss your theory is you. And I would never do that. Why, you ask? Because they're my friends.

thaiboxerken
5th July 2009, 08:30 PM
Now you say you want "welfare considerations," fine. It doesn't really matter what you want to call them, rights, protections or welfare considerations, you need a reason for discriminating against animals, and if "sapience" is the standard, and children lack "great wisdom or sound judgment" -- which they do -- then you need some other reason to justify the differences you accord in status to children versus animals.


No, I don't. I've always held the position that the less sapient a life form, the less "rights" it has. Children are not as sapient as adults, that's a huge part of why they have less rights than adults in society. There is no inconsistency here, but you insist on seeing one anyway. Cain, you are not going to trick me into becoming vegan. Why don't you present an argument against eating meat instead of trying to trick me?

Again, you are trying to shift the burden to me to justify eating meat. You should be, instead, showing why eating meat is wrong. Nice try though. ;)

RandFan
5th July 2009, 08:45 PM
Did you miss the part in my original where I said:I didn't miss it. I just don't believe you and I still think it's sad and pathetic.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 08:53 PM
In the interest of full disclosure. I sent a PM to Volitile. It's as follows:

I've mentioned you a number of times in the PETA thread and perhaps that was not fair. I don't expect you to speak for Kevin or Cain and it wasn't fair to use you for rheteorical purposes. By all means respond as much as or little as you want.

Even though we have some disagreement as to the subject I do respect you and appreciate your thoughtful responses.

Kevin_Lowe
5th July 2009, 09:20 PM
You are a coward and intellectually dishonest because:
1. You won't tell me how I'm embracing mutually contradictory claims (again, you just assert it).

What... the... hell...

RandFan, in your very last post you stated that "contradiction is inherent to morality". That was the entirety of point 3 of your manifesto.

Where the hell do you get off demanding that I show you where you are embracing mutually contradictory claims, and simultaneously stating that contradiction is inherent to morality?

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 10:02 PM
Cain, I simply had it with you. Reported you for your inability to stay civil after a warning.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 10:53 PM
RandFan, in your very last post you stated that "contradiction is inherent to morality". That was the entirety of point 3 of your manifesto.Yep! Meaning that no moral philosophy can completly escape contradiction.



Where the hell do you get off demanding that I show you where you are embracing mutually contradictory claims, and simultaneously stating that contradiction is inherent to morality? ?

To begin with because I had the decency to answer your questions and
I asked you a simple question, show me where I embrace mutually contradictory claims?
Finally that contradiction is inherent to morality doesn't prove that I've embraced mutually contradictory claims (that doesn't mean that all moral statements are contradictory or that we shouldn't strive to be logically consistent).
At some point any moral philosophy leads to conflict. At some point any given moral philosophy will result in a choice between bad consequences or bad actions. (HINT: It's called dillema).


The Generalized Structure of Moral/Ethical Dilemmas (http://www.friesian.com/dilemma.htm)

Many moral dilemmas are dilemmas because of a certain kind of conflict between the rightness or wrongness of the actions and the goodness or badness of the consequences of the actions. ...the lifeboat example (where some must be tossed overboard to save the others), the fat man in the cave (where the fat man, stuck in the entrance, must be killed to save the others), and several other dilemmas are of this kind. I call this the conflict of the right with the good:

Can the ends ever justify the means?
How do we decide when we can or can't justify the means by the ends?
If we justify the ends by the means sometimes why can't we always do so?
That is what I mean by contradiction being inherent to morality.

realpaladin
5th July 2009, 10:57 PM
RealPaladin:
Re: your non-reply to me:
Shockingly imbecilic stuff.

Reason #1 for reporting.

At no point do you engage any of the arguments at hand, always favoring the most witless taunts.
Nothing that is anywhere near any argumentation here. There never were any arguments from your side.

As for your non-reply to Kevin, which obsessively mentions me:
I do not think I have ever seen such an awkward and complete meltdown.

Reason #2 for reporting.

For some unfathomable reason you decided to attempt something resembling a response, and it's mind-bogglingly inept.
You should stick with the lower expectations of heckling.

Reason #3 for reporting.

I hope there will be an argument from your side somewhere soon.

You write:
This is a clue that you have no idea what you're talking about. Moral universalism is a meta-ethic that accommodates a variety of beliefs, and natural rights is but one such belief.
Agreed.

Now even if I did adhere natural rights -- which I don't -- and even if you made a half-decent case against natural rights -- which you don't --

And the argumentation for stating this is.... what?

you would have bupkis. Never mind your strikes are feeble, they're misdirected. You're going after the tree's limb.

Reason #4 for reporting.

Now, I did wonder how a person who commits such a basic error could casually name drop Hepburn (who the hell is that?), so I googled ["hepburn" "moral universalism"] and for all your bluster about academics I had momentarily forgotten that you attend Wikipedia University. So W includes the views you're presumably responding to (Hepburn and Chomsky).
Reason #5 reporting... where is the argumentation?

Maybe we can get somewhere on the next item:
You're pretty good at stating your position... and you're very bad at arguing for it.

It may help for you to think of Chomsky as urging impartiality/consistency/rationality (I use slashes to suggest shared meaning).

Morality concerns itself with reasons for action, and so if you choose to eat a human, hummus or hippopotamus, then presumably you have a reason for doing so (usually some combination of nutrition and pleasure).

I realize you would prefer to avoid rationality -- and your attempt to pre-empt the term was charming -- but you need to produce reasons why your actions, satisfying your desires or nutrition -- eating humans, for example -- takes precedence over someone else's desires not to be eaten.

No I state I do not.

Rationality does not, nor has it ever meant, that I need to consider another being's desires, which in themselves are debatable as rational motivations, for giving my own motivations.

That is where the crux of this discussion lies; the fact that some people want to link the desires of other entities to rational behaviour (and in extension, moralism).

And I have not been given a single argument from you why that is so?

As for your underdeveloped example involving a Japanese farmer... well, this is similar to the common argument for moral relativism, which is unsound. It's difficult to tell which direction you're going in with it, and what you intend for it to prove, but then... that's why I'm describing it as underdeveloped.

Cherry-picking that example, but hey, let's drop it. What about the other two?

So, I only see dismissal, derisiveness and further than that? Nothing.

Are there any arguments from your side at all?

For some reason we all have been suckered into a reversal of where the burden of proof lies because of your foul mouth covered by a veneer of dictionary.

Come with arguments why your statements *are* true and do not play the game of 'you have to find arguments why it is not so, but I will laugh at them anyway'.

Kevin_Lowe
5th July 2009, 11:47 PM
Yep! Meaning that no moral philosophy can completly escape contradiction.


I finally get it. You don't know what a logical contradiction is.


At some point any moral philosophy leads to conflict. At some point any given moral philosophy will result in a choice between bad consequences or bad actions. (HINT: It's called dillema).

That's not a contradiction. It's just a situation where you choose between two bad choices.



Can the ends ever justify the means?
How do we decide when we can or can't justify the means by the ends?
If we justify the ends by the means sometimes why can't we always do so?
That is what I mean by contradiction being inherent to morality.

In other words, you were throwing philosophical terms about without understanding them again.

RandFan
5th July 2009, 11:55 PM
I finally get it. You don't know what a logical contradiction is.Asserted.

That's not a contradiction. It's just a situation where you choose between two bad choices. Evasive. Weaselly. What is the moral thing to do? Look, we are talking about rules for behavior. You say that morality is objective, ok then, what is right and what is wrong as it relates to these scenarios. Surely your bag of tricks (philosophy) has something to say about something as fundamental as life and death. Declaring that it is a situation where you are forced to choose two bad choices DOESN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION. It's just stating the obvious. It's a tautology. Morality is typically about two bad choices. If it wasn't there would be no need to have this discussion.

In other words, you were throwing philosophical terms about without understanding them again.In other words you will go to any length to avoid answering the questions.

What is the moral thing to do Kevin?
Is it moral to lie to save someone?
Is it moral to steal to feed starving children?
Is it moral to kill to save yourself?
Do the ends ever justify the means?
Do the ends always justify the means?
If the ends sometimes justify the means how do we determine when?
I didn't invent these moral dilemmas Kevin. And there is a reason they are called "moral dilemma" (emphasis on "moral"). The dilemmas are from an ethics textbook [Victor Grassian, Moral Reasoning].

A larger list can be found here (http://www.friesian.com/valley/dilemmas.htm) (not all are Grassian).

Kevin_Lowe
6th July 2009, 12:42 AM
Asserted.

Evasive. Weaselly. What is the moral thing to do? Look, we are talking about rules for behavior. You say that morality is objective, ok then, what is right and what is wrong as it relates to these scenarios. Surely your bag of tricks (philosophy) has something to say about something as fundamental as life and death. Declaring that it is a situation where you are forced to choose two bad choices DOESN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION. It's just stating the obvious. It's a tautology. Morality is typically about two bad choices. If it wasn't there would be no need to have this discussion.

In other words you will go to any length to avoid answering the questions.

What is the moral thing to do Kevin?
Is it moral to lie to save someone?
Is it moral to steal to feed starving children?
Is it moral to kill to save yourself?
Do the ends ever justify the means?
Do the ends always justify the means?
If the ends sometimes justify the means how do we determine when?
I didn't invent these moral dillemas Kevin. And there is a reason they are called "moral dillema" (emphasis on "moral"). The dillemas are from an ethics textbook [Victor Grassian, Moral Reasoning].
A larger list can be found here (http://www.friesian.com/valley/dilemmas.htm) (not all are Grassian).

Same old flannel, and no response to my actual argument.

You've demonstrated you're not capable of an intelligent discussion, and I suspect we've long passed the point where educating you might educate a lurker, so I think I'm done.

RandFan
6th July 2009, 12:53 AM
Same old flannel, and no response to my actual argument.What argument?

You've demonstrated you're not capable of an intelligent discussion, and I suspect we've long passed the point where educating you might educate a lurker, so I think I'm done. Translation: You were wrong and you've not the honesty to admit it so you make a personal attack against me and refuse to answer questions.

It's ok Kevin, run away. You got caught. You act like you are some authority on moral philosophy and you couldn't even deal with a few philosophy 101 examples. I'm disapointed because I had a measure of respect for you. Not anymore.

It's funny, you dissemble by giving an air of authority and feigning outrage that anyone should dare question you and you can't even deal with textbook examples from Introductory Moral Philosophy but instead pretend that they don't have anything to do with morality at all. "Why, they are just difficult choices". Well shoot dang.

Rogue1stclass
6th July 2009, 01:05 AM
In other words, you were throwing philosophical terms about without understanding them again.

No.

You and Cain keep trying to draw this into a debate on the philosophy of morality and are using common terms as jargon specific to that perspective without defining them.

This is not a philosophy forum. If you want to assign a specific meaning to a common term, you have to define it first. I personally haven't had a philosophy class in 18 years and had no interest at all in following up on it. My philosophy is a bit rusty. Yet, I've been able to follow Randfan's arguments easily. Your posts, however, read like intellectual wheel spinning.

That implies that it is your side that is misusing terms.

Let's how about giving this quibbling over words a rest and define some for the folks at home.

Let's start with the basics:

What is morality?
Where does it come from and how is it enforced?
Is something always "moral" or "immoral", or can things be "less moral" or "more immoral"?
If the latter, is "immoral" actually a useful measure?

realpaladin
6th July 2009, 02:12 AM
I think we can summarize this discussion as follows:

One side: I have an argument (replaced 'number') in my head about moralism (replaced 'between 1 and 10.000.000') and you have to refute it (replaced 'guess it').

Other side: We say X (replaced 'is it 1053521?').

One side: You do not understand the argument (replaced 'no it is not, neenerneenerneener').

Other side: But what is your argument about? (replaced 'are we hot or cold').

One side: You have no clue (replaced 'we are not telling, neenerneenerneener').

Belz...
6th July 2009, 07:06 AM
There is no such thing as objective morality.

I thought it was obvious, by definition. Ah, some people...

GreNME
6th July 2009, 08:08 AM
No, I don't. I've always held the position that the less sapient a life form, the less "rights" it has. Children are not as sapient as adults, that's a huge part of why they have less rights than adults in society. There is no inconsistency here, but you insist on seeing one anyway. Cain, you are not going to trick me into becoming vegan. Why don't you present an argument against eating meat instead of trying to trick me?

Again, you are trying to shift the burden to me to justify eating meat. You should be, instead, showing why eating meat is wrong. Nice try though. ;)

In Cain's defense, his justification for why eating meat is wrong is that if someone is against the torture or causing any harm to some animals, that this should be applied equally across the board to all animals.

My criticism is that we don't even apply things this way solely in the domain of human beings, so he needs to provide a justification for furthering such an application equally across the board to all animals.

Belz...
6th July 2009, 09:04 AM
Same old flannel, and no response to my actual argument.

You've demonstrated you're not capable of an intelligent discussion, and I suspect we've long passed the point where educating you might educate a lurker, so I think I'm done.

So, are you going to answer the questions, or not ?

tyr_13
6th July 2009, 10:21 AM
I always find it funny when I read a new thread, it goes a couple of pages, and I think it is done, only to see it on grow to page after page. Eventually I have to check back in and try to read through to find out what the hell everyone could be talking about.

It is fun to read some of this stuff, but honestly, I'm still of the opinion that veganism is disrespectful to nature.

Psychic prediction! This thread is going to go through some trimming.

Cain
6th July 2009, 10:56 AM
It's interesting how Belz repeats RandFan's six questions (and RandFan even brags they come from a textbook). It does not occur to either the relevance of a generic questionnaire is off in tangent land. But let's compare this to Volatile's question "how do you justify eating meat?" Or the oft-asked question, "is it wrong to torture animals?" Or, perhaps the most crucial question of all (for this topic) "what are the morally significant differences between animals and humans?" If any of these get traction for even a moment opponents of animal rights will say they have been tricked, or "suckered" or boxed into an unfair position.
---------------
TBK:
No, I don't. I've always held the position that the less sapient a life form, the less "rights" it has. Children are not as sapient as adults, that's a huge part of why they have less rights than adults in society. There is no inconsistency here, but you insist on seeing one anyway. Cain, you are not going to trick me into becoming vegan. Why don't you present an argument against eating meat instead of trying to trick me?

Trick you? The comparison is not between children and adults; as I said earlier, your distinction there makes sense. You encounter problems when we introduce animals into the mix because you have to demonstrate significant moral differences.

-----------------------
GreNME:

In Cain's defense, his justification for why eating meat is wrong is that if someone is against the torture or causing any harm to some animals, that this should be applied equally across the board to all animals.

This sounds like a faithful representation of my views, but "some" and "all" have a potential for confusion. If it is wrong to cause harm to animals under certain circumstances, then it is wrong to cause harm under all similar circumstances. What's normally disputed is whether or not the circumstances REALLY ARE similar, but first we must establish values (i.e., it's wrong to cause harm under CERTAIN circumstances).

My criticism is that we don't even apply things this way solely in the domain of human beings, so he needs to provide a justification for furthering such an application equally across the board to all animals.

I'm not clear on what you mean; an example would help. Are you saying something like, "people treat other PEOPLE like ****, so how can we expect to be kind to animals when we're killing our own?"

-------------------
RealPaladin:
Cain, I simply had it with you. Reported you for your inability to stay civil after a warning.

I laughed out loud. We're having this argument about consistency and universal morality and then you -- you -- report me for incivility. This is probably greatest thing you've ever done, and the greatest thing you will ever do. Remember it for as long as you can.

With that said, it's a shame you insist on continuing as we could have ended on a high note.

It's difficult to quote your single line comments, so with regard to 'reasons' 1-3: I was commenting on two of your posts, one a reply (or "reply") to me that contained nothing in the way of an argument; it was a series of insults, which is great because I'm saved keystrokes, and I gave it the response it deserved. The other was your "reply" to Kevin, though my name probably appeared a dozen times for infantile asides, which nicely padded another of your empty contributions. And this was probably the post that triggered intervention from a moderator.

Your reasons 4 & 5 are more than a stretch, the former an appropriate characterization of a misguided argument and the latter goes to your credibility (or would you prefer I insinuate you had relations with a hamster? No, this stings because it's not based on speculation; it's all too true.)

You see nothing wrong with the mistreatment of animals, but you do apparently see something wrong with my earlier reply, a transgression that requires you report it to the authorities and post public notice. Your reasoning is comically ad hoc: the difference between your behavior and mine is that I had (crucially) said things AFTER an admin posted a warning. To you this is significant, but I wonder why you even bother to shield yourself from accusations of hypocrisy since Chomsky and all of the moral universalists are mistaken.

Then you go on to list things by the sentence. Now, why not report RandFan, who last I checked called me "sad and pathetic." Well, you might say he made only one uncivil remark -- two at the absolute most -- whereas I said -- Christ -- FIVE things. If any of these sort of arguments run through your head as a defense against hypocrisy, then you're reasoning along the lines of impartiality/consistency. Why? You could just report me because you felt like it. Instead you want to help enforce the totally made-up rules -- fashionable nonsense -- in this particular social context. This is surreal, a mini-replay of the Sokal affair.

Rationality does not, nor has it ever meant, that I need to consider another being's desires, which in themselves are debatable as rational motivations, for giving my own motivations.

That is where the crux of this discussion lies; the fact that some people want to link the desires of other entities to rational behaviour (and in extension, moralism).

"Rational" is not the first word that pops into mind at the mention of "desire" (someone may desire the ability to fly). Regardless, desires/interests -- this is a source of value, and rationally there is no reason why only your desires/interests should count. So in the example you ignored, the one where you eat a human being, you're acting upon a desire for nourishment (and taste), arbitrarily privileging your interests over the victim's.

For some reason we all have been suckered into a reversal of where the burden of proof lies because of your foul mouth covered by a veneer of dictionary.

Obviously I'm a magician. :rolleyes: The problem with this thread, and these discussions in general, is that they quickly devolve into arguments for moral skepticism, which would not be worth mentioning if other threads followed the same pattern of rapid decline. But they don't. Even in arguments over abortion people are capable of producing reasons for and against, attempting to rationally justify their beliefs. In threads such as this one people are all too willing to slice off their own nose, shrieking "NOTHING is wrong!" OK then, why do such people only bother announcing their beliefs in these threads? Any topic remotely related to morality -- levels of taxation, global warming, financial regulation, woman who drowns her kids, faith healing, celebrity murderers, drug addiction, and so on are equally appropriate venues.

Arguments against torturing animals, eating animals, hunting animals, and so on, do not depend upon any one ethical belief system anymore than arguments against rape, murder, and genocide do.* Instead we can appeal to shared values, which leads to the next point on Japanese farmers:

Cherry-picking that example, but hey, let's drop it. What about the other two?

Which other two? The caste system, which you placed aside for this more relevant example? As I said, you never developed your arguments; brought them to a point. It was like saying "white people dance like *this* whereas black people dance like *this*." I can guess what you meant, but why bother guessing incorrectly? That's like playing a game where I choose a number between one and -- oh, say -- ten million.

It seemed like you were making a fairly common argument, one that observes different cultures have different moral codes, and concludes that there is no universal morality. It may be true or false that there is no "objective moral truth" or whatever we want to call it, but disagreements alone do not prove it as people disagree over many things: the origins of the universe, the existence of spirits, the possibility of the afterlife, the age of the earth. So this argument for relativism is unsound.

Isaac Asimov has a famous remark on this point (which I will edit for length):

When people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.

Some people offer more compelling reasons than others. Had you claimed you reported my post because you were told to do so in a dream, then your argument would not carry as much weight.

As for the Masai you quoted, again, it's not clear what you think it demonstrates. Is this supposed to make relativism more compelling because it comes from someone in a farflung culture? Would you include the argument if it came from your next door neighbor? Yes, the lion does not give consideration to the antelope because, as we have said, animals are not moral agents. Saying "The strongest thing does what it does" is not saying anything at all. Tautologies may sound profound when read as subtitles in foreign films, but they do not normally withstand scrutiny.

*Maybe you think there is nothing wrong with rape, murder and genocide and that only "social context" matters, or whatever, but this is probably not the most appropriate venue for that view. Worse, it seems sometimes you want to dip one foot in the pool of moral relativism, where it IS possible to appeal to shared moral values.

The social dynamics of polarization in these threads is interesting. Sword earlier quoted a PETA person saying he would not cure all disease in the world if it meant killing a rat. This is supposed to suggest animal rights people are all crazy. Well, what if a hard-core Kantian said the same thing about a human being? This comment says more about differences in moral belief systems than it does animal rights.

Similarly, it's interesting how the "It's OK to eat meat" tribe will align itself with moral skeptics when, fundamentally, they share more in common with vegans.

thaiboxerken
6th July 2009, 11:04 AM
WTF is a moral difference? I care less about non-human species because they don't even have the potential to become as sapient as humans, in general. The more sapient an animal, the more I care about it's welfare, but I understand that is just irrational anthropomorphism. Your problem is that you seem to want to equate non-humans with humans when it comes to killing and eating them, but why not in all other ways then? Are pets merely slaves to humans that need to be emancipated? Is it wrong to exterminate a nest of ants squatting in your home? You seem to think you have a rational morality, which makes your morality even more irrational.

Try proving your morality is correct before telling me that my morality is wrong. Prove to me that eating meat is wrong.

Belz...
6th July 2009, 11:58 AM
It's interesting how Belz repeats RandFan's six questions

Aside from the fact that I actually didn't repeat any of the questions, what's even more interesting is how you jump to Kevin's defense.

But let's compare this to Volatile's question "how do you justify eating meat?"

That's a crucial question ? How do you justify driving a car ? How do you justify using plastic ? How do you justify killing bugs ?

I think it's been made clear in this thread that one needs to point out why it is wrong to do so. Of course, I haven't seen that one quoted much by either you or Kevin.

Or the oft-asked question, "is it wrong to torture animals?"

Which has nothing to do with eating them.

Or, perhaps the most crucial question of all (for this topic) "what are the morally significant differences between animals and humans?"

... or plants.

GreNME
6th July 2009, 11:59 AM
This sounds like a faithful representation of my views, but "some" and "all" have a potential for confusion. If it is wrong to cause harm to animals under certain circumstances, then it is wrong to cause harm under all similar circumstances. What's normally disputed is whether or not the circumstances REALLY ARE similar, but first we must establish values (i.e., it's wrong to cause harm under CERTAIN circumstances).

That's no different than what I said, you just lawyered it up a bit.

My criticism is that we don't even apply things this way solely in the domain of human beings, so he needs to provide a justification for furthering such an application equally across the board to all animals.
I'm not clear on what you mean; an example would help. Are you saying something like, "people treat other PEOPLE like ****, so how can we expect to be kind to animals when we're killing our own?"

No, that's not what I'm saying, but it's certainly rhetorically easier for you to point out error if it were. What I'm saying is three-fold: 1) that there are dispensations for humans to justifiably cause harm to other humans, in some cases to the degree of taking their lives, admittedly often in seemingly arbitrary ways, so what you demand be applied across the board to animals doesn't make sense in that context; 2) that the cases where rights are applied across the board with humans requires an agreement (either implicit or explicit) on both sides, with consequences applicable should one side disregard the agreement; 3) that in cases where rights might be conferred to a human party unable to agree, there are 3rd parties that stand in as surrogates or guardians until such time that they are able to agree, and in some cases where this remains an impossibility those rights are either severely curtailed or can be removed completely (Schiavo case as an extreme example), so there is no absolute guarantee for human cases where one party is unable to agree.

Nothing you've argued, Cain, addresses all three of those points with regard to establishing the proposed 'immorality' of eating meat, and most certainly has not mitigated the case that all animals are to be afforded the same level of rights as humans. Indeed, the argument of eating meat as a moral issue diverges from the more general 'animal rights' issue because it pre-supposes rights from the start that are not implicitly or explicitly present in any agreeable format (per the conditions I've pointed out). So, while you've attempted in this thread and the other one to use part (or all) of the 'animal rights' arguments to lead inexorably to the proposed 'immorality' of eating meat, you've never adequately established the (to use your word for it) universality of rights in the first place because a) you can't even do so for the human species alone, and b) you're jumping past that hurdle into a more broad issue in order to work backward from a conclusion. None of your arguments place a non-meat diet into morally positive territory while placing meat-eating diets into morally negative territory-- they still remain morally neutral regardless.

And in case you're interested: yes, I do fully believe that there are cases where human beings have forfeited their rights, even the right to life, depending primarily on the relative conditions of the situation and the context of the values I (and others, if applicable) bring to the situation. This allows for different measures of prioritization for survival in the most general of senses, though it can be measured in specific instances like when a doctor must choose between two patients who are dying or when a rescue worker (fireman, EMS, disaster recovery, etc.) must choose which people in equally treacherous conditions to save first. It's a form of social pragmatism that relies on the conditions at hand-- essentially the moral relativism RandFan and I have spoken of numerous times in this thread-- in order to operate, and the only real constant is that the values are relative to the conditions and not to any absolutes, whether called 'objective' or 'universal' or whatever other descriptor that can be thought up.

Additionally, not a single part of that contradicts or opposes the decision by someone to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, because both qualify as being just as morally neutral as a diet consisting of meat. Were I attempting to make a case against such a diet, then your accusation of moral inconsistency might be applicable unless I had some kind of compelling argument against, which is in no way at all having anything to do with the arguments I've put forth. The only one condemning, Cain, is yourself, which is why you are the one carrying the burden to justify it and why constantly demanding I justify something I consider morally neutral is evasion of producing a working argument on your part.

RandFan
6th July 2009, 12:00 PM
It's interesting how Belz repeats RandFan's six questions (and RandFan even brags they come from a textbook). It does not occur to either the relevance of a generic questionnaire is off in tangent land. You are the king of evasion and obfuscation. As if declaring that it is a tangent is an answer. As if bald assertion somehow obviates logical and reasoned argument.

Here's a hint: It's not.

But let's compare this to Volatile's question "how do you justify eating meat?"I don't need to justify eating meat. That isn't to say that I'm not happy to have a discussion in the abstract.

Or the oft-asked question, "is it wrong to torture animals?" AKA a straw man.

Or, perhaps the most crucial question of all (for this topic) "what are the morally significant differences between animals and humans?" If any of these get traction for even a moment...Then you and Kevin will obfuscate, dissemble, engage in personal attack, made bald assertion, claim to have responded and do everything in your power to avoid the arguments made.

OK then, why do such people only bother announcing their beliefs in these threads? The same reason we announce our beliefs in other threads about ID or the Westborough Baptist types, we don't care much for smug self righteousness that seeks to demonize those with different opinions. Because PETA and their sycophants are so goddamn bloody stupid.

Similarly, it's interesting how the "It's OK to eat meat" tribe will align itself with moral skeptics when, fundamentally, they share more in common with vegans.Moral skepticism doesn't equate to immorality.

realpaladin
6th July 2009, 12:13 PM
I laughed out loud. We're having this argument about consistency and universal morality and then you -- you -- report me for incivility.


Yup. The mod post was my demarcation line. Had it not been there, I would have gladly continued. But you can not deny the fact it is there, can you?


This is probably greatest thing you've ever done, and the greatest thing you will ever do. Remember it for as long as you can.
Why? As I said, you have no clue as to what my life entails. Discussions on this board are but a way to pass time and get some entertainment before I go to bed.

With that said, it's a shame you insist on continuing as we could have ended on a high note.
Now we will never know, will we?

It's difficult to quote your single line comments, so with regard to 'reasons' 1-3:

I was commenting on two of your posts, one a reply (or "reply") to me that contained nothing in the way of an argument;

it was a series of insults, which is great because I'm saved keystrokes, and I gave it the response it deserved.


Huh?

This is what it said:

- There are no natural rights. Defining this even further; there is no such thing as a right at all.

Clarification on my standpoint:

- A right is an activity, process or possession (material or immaterial) that can not be taken away from the entity that has such a right.
- The activity of granting or depriving of a right needs either consensus, pressure or enforcement.
- If a second entity neither succumbs to consensus, pressure or enforcement whilst depriving a right from the first entity, the right is no longer with the first entity.
The other was your "reply" to Kevin, though my name probably appeared a dozen times for infantile asides, which nicely padded another of your empty contributions. And this was probably the post that triggered intervention from a moderator.

Your reasons 4 & 5 are more than a stretch, the former an appropriate characterization of a misguided argument and the latter goes to your credibility (or would you prefer I insinuate you had relations with a hamster? No, this stings because it's not based on speculation; it's all too true.)

Huh?

See above.

You see nothing wrong with the mistreatment of animals, but you do apparently see something wrong with my earlier reply, a transgression that requires you report it to the authorities and post public notice. Your reasoning is comically ad hoc: the difference between your behavior and mine is that I had (crucially) said things AFTER an admin posted a warning. To you this is significant, but I wonder why you even bother to shield yourself from accusations of hypocrisy since Chomsky and all of the moral universalists are mistaken.

Ah, so you DID see the correct post?

And... it quite proves my point more clearly than any discussion ever could, doesn't it?

I am a hypocrite! There! So what? Does it make me lose any sleep? Nope.

But, wait... stop... hypocrisy would be immoral, wouldn't it?

Then you go on to list things by the sentence. Now, why not report RandFan, who last I checked called me "sad and pathetic." Well, you might say he made only one uncivil remark -- two at the absolute most -- whereas I said -- Christ -- FIVE things. If any of these sort of arguments run through your head as a defense against hypocrisy, then you're reasoning along the lines of impartiality/consistency. Why? You could just report me because you felt like it. Instead you want to help enforce the totally made-up rules -- fashionable nonsense -- in this particular social context. This is surreal, a mini-replay of the Sokal affair.


I do not care much for the Sokal affair. I have no clue what it is, and I am not going to look it up.

But I think I demonstrated quite nicely what I mean (unintenionally, agreed) by putting my personal interests directly above yours, without any regards to the fact that I displayed that same behaviour before the demarcation line.

The social consequence could have been that we both would have gotten a 'slap on the wrist'. But as I thought that risk less and in the event it happening acceptable, I acted upon my personal desire.

"Rational" is not the first word that pops into mind at the mention of "desire" (someone may desire the ability to fly). Regardless, desires/interests -- this is a source of value, and rationally there is no reason why only your desires/interests should count. So in the example you ignored, the one where you eat a human being, you're acting upon a desire for nourishment (and taste), arbitrarily privileging your interests over the victim's.

Rationally, there is also no reason why the communities and/or victim's desire should count.

To get there, you have to go the whole nine yards for 'survival of the species'.

What you keep forgetting is that any given behaviour is effective in a quite small set of circumstances, so any rationality, any attempt to create a global set of rules either waters down to being meaningless for an individual (i.e. the genetic argument) or it is full of discrepancies with local realities.


Obviously I'm a magician. :rolleyes: The problem with this thread, and these discussions in general, is that they quickly devolve into arguments for moral skepticism, which would not be worth mentioning if other threads followed the same pattern of rapid decline. But they don't. Even in arguments over abortion people are capable of producing reasons for and against, attempting to rationally justify their beliefs. In threads such as this one people are all too willing to slice off their own nose, shrieking "NOTHING is wrong!" OK then, why do such people only bother announcing their beliefs in these threads?

Because of the generalizing nature of the OP's. I have NOTHING against vegetarianism, and I am one (with the odd big burger every six weeks apart) for half a year now.

Simply out of respect for the people that I live amongst.

The social consequences make me not kill or eat a dead animal.

If you had not gone through the motions of making it a general inevitability, I would have gladly ignored this thread or even chosen your side.

I hold nothing as a general inevitability, with the exception of growing older and dying.

Any topic remotely related to morality -- levels of taxation, global warming, financial regulation, woman who drowns her kids, faith healing, celebrity murderers, drug addiction, and so on are equally appropriate venues.

Arguments against torturing animals, eating animals, hunting animals, and so on, do not depend upon any one ethical belief system anymore than arguments against rape, murder, and genocide do.* Instead we can appeal to shared values, which leads to the next point on Japanese farmers:

Which other two? The caste system, which you placed aside for this more relevant example?

As I said, you never developed your arguments; brought them to a point. It was like saying "white people dance like *this* whereas black people dance like *this*." I can guess what you meant, but why bother guessing incorrectly? That's like playing a game where I choose a number between one and -- oh, say -- ten million.

Is it 1483827?

It seemed like you were making a fairly common argument, one that observes different cultures have different moral codes, and concludes that there is no universal morality.

It may be true or false that there is no "objective moral truth" or whatever we want to call it, but disagreements alone do not prove it as people disagree over many things: the origins of the universe, the existence of spirits, the possibility of the afterlife, the age of the earth. So this argument for relativism is unsound.

And I would agree with that. Could have stated that earlier. Or clearer.

My point about the caste system is that whilst people here do not have the slightes problem avoiding a cow that is lying on the road, and treating (specific) animals with respect, these same people hold nothing wrong with kicking the dogs in the street or just slapping a poor person because they are a caste lower than they are.

I put some of your arguments in front of them and they said: "Is that man mad? Why shouldn't I slap the poor guy or kick the dog? Both are vermin, as it is widely known."

And so, there is nothing universal about the 'desire' argument.

Isaac Asimov has a famous remark on this point (which I will edit for length):

Some people offer more compelling reasons than others. Had you claimed you reported my post because you were told to do so in a dream, then your argument would not carry as much weight.

Nah, I did it because I never play fair. Actually, whenever I play a social game with my friends, that is about the only thing I am honest about: "Guys, if I can, I will cheat!".

As for the Masai you quoted, again, it's not clear what you think it demonstrates.
Is this supposed to make relativism more compelling because it comes from someone in a farflung culture?
Would you include the argument if it came from your next door neighbor? Yes, the lion does not give consideration to the antelope because, as we have said, animals are not moral agents.
Saying "The strongest thing does what it does" is not saying anything at all.
Tautologies may sound profound when read as subtitles in foreign films, but they do not normally withstand scrutiny.

You missed the fact that it was there to show you that other cultures and other people think differently.

If you try to reconcile all these things then you show that even though you understand and respect someone else, you still can have a difference of opinion.

What I want to happen within your brainpan, as you strike me as not quite dumb at all, is that before you let loose on someone, you first try to understand what it is they want to say.

And maybe try to understand why they want to say what they say.

After that, you can start building up your argument and then, when it heats up with enough counter-force, you can let go with everything you have.


*Maybe you think there is nothing wrong with rape, murder and genocide and that only "social context" matters, or whatever, but this is probably not the most appropriate venue for that view. Worse, it seems sometimes you want to dip one foot in the pool of moral relativism, where it IS possible to appeal to shared moral values.

Nah, I do think there is something wrong with rape, murder and genocide. But afaik there are no rules on the forum that I have to be truthful in my arguments.

I just saw someone who should be shown that experience can kick him in the nuts if he thinks he is too almighty because he knows some stuff.

The social dynamics of polarization in these threads is interesting. Sword earlier quoted a PETA person saying he would not cure all disease in the world if it meant killing a rat.

This is supposed to suggest animal rights people are all crazy.
Well, what if a hard-core Kantian said the same thing about a human being? This comment says more about differences in moral belief systems than it does animal rights.

Similarly, it's interesting how the "It's OK to eat meat" tribe will align itself with moral skeptics when, fundamentally, they share more in common with vegans.

As someone on this forum remarked; I already lived a couple of lifetimes around the world and am not done yet.

I usually try to spend some time with people that are different from me, I have spent at least a week with most major religions, spent some time, as mentioned, with some tribes across the world, spending some time in Asia right now.

Same thing with vegetarians and meat-eaters as well.

You will not see me eating meat if you state your desire when we are in the same social vicinity, but as soon as you try to make it bigger than it is, like for instance, an inevitability dictated by <somesuch> or <other>, then I will oppose you, even though I do not completely stand behind the points I defend.

And one good advise Cain, stop quoting other people. You do not need it. You are eloquent enough on your own, and quoting and naming all these so-called authorities one way or another just makes you seem a prick that needs to be taught a lesson.

Nobody will listen to what you really want to say.

thaiboxerken
6th July 2009, 01:21 PM
Does Lowe actually mean Objectivist morals when he says "objective morals"?

Hmmm. Here is what an Objectivist philosopher has to say:

"Objectivism has nothing to say about it beyond the fact that people are not morally obligated, in principle, not to eat meat; rather, it is up to each person to balance the costs and benefits of eating meat according to the standard of his own life."

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth--391-FAQ_Animal_Rights.aspx

LibraryLady
6th July 2009, 04:50 PM
People, the tone of this thread is getting increasingly nasty. Please keep it civil.

Kevin_Lowe
6th July 2009, 05:59 PM
Does Lowe actually mean Objectivist morals when he says "objective morals"?

Hmmm. Here is what an Objectivist philosopher has to say:

"Objectivism has nothing to say about it beyond the fact that people are not morally obligated, in principle, not to eat meat; rather, it is up to each person to balance the costs and benefits of eating meat according to the standard of his own life."

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth--391-FAQ_Animal_Rights.aspx

Rand's "objectivism" has as much to do with objectivism as Creation Science has to do with science.

thaiboxerken
6th July 2009, 08:30 PM
So the philosophy that Ayn Rand created has nothing to do with her? How does that work.

Perhaps you're talking about "objectivism" without the capital "O." Strangely, you've yet to actually provide any guidelines or definitions to support this "objectivism" you are championing throughout the thread. Why is that?

RandFan
6th July 2009, 08:33 PM
So the philosophy that Ayn Rand created has nothing to do with her? How does that work.

Perhaps you're talking about "objectivism" without the capital "O." Strangely, you've yet to actually provide any guidelines or definitions to support this "objectivism" you are championing throughout the thread. Why is that?

And he still demands that morality is objective but can't tell us if killing another person is immoral.

He knows that if he says "it depends" then he has just admitted that morality is, to some extent, relative.

GreNME
6th July 2009, 10:10 PM
Rand's "objectivism" has as much to do with objectivism as Creation Science has to do with science.

Which is ironically apropos to your assertion of an "objective morality."

Cain
7th July 2009, 06:50 AM
Seeing as how I feel obligated to almost a half-dozen posts, I will have to prioritize arguments in each.

TBK:
WTF is a moral difference? I care less about non-human species because they don't even have the potential to become as sapient as humans, in general. The more sapient an animal, the more I care about it's welfare, but I understand that is just irrational anthropomorphism.

Even if the potential to become "sapient" plays some role in your thinking, you still have to account for non-human beings with cognitive abilities similar to the humans you think merit welfare considerations, otherwise your position is irrational; morally arbitrary.

As for your questions... no, I do not think people treat pets in a manner remotely similar to slavery, and I probably would exterminate a nest of ants.

Try proving your morality is correct before telling me that my morality is wrong. Prove to me that eating meat is wrong.

As I have said earlier, it's not my goal, nor is it necessary, to espouse a comprehensive moral doctrine as most moral outlooks already possess the mechanisms to find meat eating problematic. What you fail to understand is that while veganism may involve a radical lifestyle change, it does not require a radically new way of thinking. This why questions on animal cruelty are important because most people already accept certain forms of mistreatment as profoundly wrong. Similarly a libertarian can make an argument against police tactics that socialists find compelling; socialists (or conservatives or liberals) are not required to accept libertarian axioms.

------------------
Belz:
Aside from the fact that I actually didn't repeat any of the questions, what's even more interesting is how you jump to Kevin's defense.

I'm sorry, you did not actually make the effort to copy/paste them but instead wrote: "So, are you going to answer the questions, or not ?"

:rolleyes: As for Kevin -- he doesn't need any defending from me. I used your bit of nonsense as jumping off point to highlight my own questions.

I will ignore your questions on plastics and driving -- please don't waste my time.

How do you justify killing bugs ?

I try to avoid killing bugs, but I'm much less uneasy about killing them than vertebrates because they're probably not conscious or capable of feeling pain. Later you ask for differences between plants and humans, which has already been explained, but if you're incapable of remembering, or making basic connections, I can say that it has to do with the capacity to consciousness and the capacity to suffer.

On torturing animals:
Which has nothing to do with eating them.

The question goes to establishing animal cruelty -- that animals can be treated in ways that one finds unacceptable. This has moral implications that are all too relevant.
-----------------------
GreNME-

From this:
My criticism is that we don't even apply things this way solely in the domain of human beings, so he needs to provide a justification for furthering such an application equally across the board to all animals.

I was to somehow deduce something like this:

No, that's not what I'm saying, but it's certainly rhetorically easier for you to point out error if it were. What I'm saying is three-fold: 1) that there are dispensations for humans to justifiably cause harm to other humans, in some cases to the degree of taking their lives, admittedly often in seemingly arbitrary ways, so what you demand be applied across the board to animals doesn't make sense in that context; 2) that the cases where rights are applied across the board with humans requires an agreement (either implicit or explicit) on both sides, with consequences applicable should one side disregard the agreement; 3) that in cases where rights might be conferred to a human party unable to agree, there are 3rd parties that stand in as surrogates or guardians until such time that they are able to agree, and in some cases where this remains an impossibility those rights are either severely curtailed or can be removed completely (Schiavo case as an extreme example), so there is no absolute guarantee for human cases where one party is unable to agree.

Examples for 1) and 2) would help tremendously as what you are saying is far from clear to me. I will with-hold comment instead of guessing what you are trying to say.

yes, I do fully believe that there are cases where human beings have forfeited their rights, even the right to life, depending primarily on the relative conditions of the situation and the context of the values I (and others, if applicable) bring to the situation. This allows for different measures of prioritization for survival in the most general of senses, though it can be measured in specific instances like when a doctor must choose between two patients who are dying or when a rescue worker (fireman, EMS, disaster recovery, etc.) must choose which people in equally treacherous conditions to save first. It's a form of social pragmatism that relies on the conditions at hand-- essentially the moral relativism RandFan and I have spoken of numerous times in this thread-- in order to operate, and the only real constant is that the values are relative to the conditions and not to any absolutes, whether called 'objective' or 'universal' or whatever other descriptor that can be thought up.

Do you remember earlier when you accused me of "moral absolutism," and do how I then proved you completely mistaken? Do I have to do that again? Because I already did it the one time...

-----------------
RandFan:
You are the king of evasion and obfuscation. As if declaring that it is a tangent is an answer. As if bald assertion somehow obviates logical and reasoned argument.

Ah yes, it's good to be king. I like how you sort of think you know what you're doing when it comes to debating, claiming assertion and rhetoric. If a question IS ACTUALLY irrelevant, there are few things one can do to demonstrate it's irrelevant. You want to ask if lying is ever justified, fine. I'm not sure why you have to ask if stealing is ever justified as well, at least in the context of this thread and its central arguments. Asking a list of generic questions head-bangingly silly. Do you have no understanding of dialectics?


Hint: it's not.

I don't need to justify eating meat. That isn't to say that I'm not happy to have a discussion in the abstract.

AKA a straw man.

It's difficult to take you seriously when you say these sort of things. My question "is it OK to torture animals?" is a straw man? Really? This is reminiscent of the things you've said about the naturalistic fallacy and tu quoque, which is to say you have no understanding of what these terms mean.

Moral skepticism doesn't equate to immorality.

I suppose it does not "equate" to immorality, but this is like saying 2 plus 2 is potato -- or, I'm sorry -- "equates" to potato. A moral skeptic can behave in a manner that is moral or immoral, but moral skepticism holds that all moral claims are unjustified, whether we're talking about killing humans or animals.
----------------------
RealPaladin:

Yup. The mod post was my demarcation line. Had it not been there, I would have gladly continued. But you can not deny the fact it is there, can you?

This reminds me of dialog from the film Role Models:

Black kid: Hey Ben Affleck.
White Guy #1: I'm not Ben Affleck.
Black kid: You white, you Ben Affleck.
White Guy #2: You are white.
White Guy #1: That's true, I am white...

Yes, that was your demarcation line. It is there...

As for the "huh"s, I will concede your first reply to me was not simply a series of insults but did contain an irrelevant argument against natural rights.

Rationally, there is also no reason why the communities and/or victim's desire should count.

To get there, you have to go the whole nine yards for 'survival of the species'.

This is not the case at all. The question is why should your interests count for more than your victim's? If you answer "because I'm me, and he's him," then you're not responding in a rational, impartial manner. Ethical egoists who aspire to universalism may claim "survival of the species" or resort to some unwitting form of utilitarianism, but that's symptom of a deeper problem.

My point about the caste system is that whilst people here do not have the slightes problem avoiding a cow that is lying on the road, and treating (specific) animals with respect, these same people hold nothing wrong with kicking the dogs in the street or just slapping a poor person because they are a caste lower than they are.

I put some of your arguments in front of them and they said: "Is that man mad? Why shouldn't I slap the poor guy or kick the dog? Both are vermin, as it is widely known."

And so, there is nothing universal about the 'desire' argument.

Do you see the fallacy here? Has it been demonstrated that dogs are "vermin"? These are unexamined cultural beliefs. My mother used to regal me with stories about her epic trip to India, and "widely known" beliefs that were mere superstitions.

I'm not sure how this undermines the "desire" argument. Dogs in India still do not like to be kicked, whales off the coast of Japan do not like to be harpooned. If people from lower castes do like being slapped, then they should not be slapped.

You missed the fact that it was there to show you that other cultures and other people think differently.

If you try to reconcile all these things then you show that even though you understand and respect someone else, you still can have a difference of opinion.

Well, thank you, but I already knew people in different cultures think differently. People in the same culture think differently. People living in the same house, igloo or tepee think differently. One of the only virtues of moral relativism is that it at least imparts an appreciation of tolerance.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 07:08 AM
You want to ask if lying is ever justified, fine. I'm not sure why you have to ask if stealing is ever justified as well, at least in the context of this thread and its central arguments. Asking a list of generic questions head-bangingly silly. Do you have no understanding of dialectics?So you CAN'T answer the questions? You claim there is such a thing as objective morality and I ask you if killing another person is objectively immoral and you ask me if I understand dialectics? Yes. And?

Dialectics is a form of reasoning the purpose of which, in part, is to draw out contradiction and inconsistency. It doesn't work when one of two people in a discussion/debate refuses to answer questions.

I've asked you if killing another person is objectively immoral.

You could answer, yes, no or it depends. That would be an honest answer. But, in case you haven't figured it out yet, refusing to answer isn't part of the dialectical process.

It's difficult to take you seriously when you say these sort of things. My question "is it OK to torture animals?" is a straw man? Really? Given that no one is advocating the torture of animals, yeah, really.

A moral skeptic can behave in a manner that is moral or immoral, but moral skepticism holds that all moral claims are unjustified, whether we're talking about killing humans or animals. Moral skepticism does not hold *necessarily that all moral claims are false (yes, you said "unjustified" i'm just trying to clarify) only that there is no objective means to verify that they are true. Further, moral skepticism does not preclude one from behaving in a manner that is consistent with societal mores or ethics nor does it preclude one from reasoning rules of behavior to further goals such as social cohesion and those that spring from our innate sense of morality (empathy, compassion reciprocal altruism).

*There are three forms of moral skpeticism.

realpaladin
7th July 2009, 07:14 AM
This is not the case at all. The question is why should your interests count for more than your victim's? If you answer "because I'm me, and he's him," then you're not responding in a rational, impartial manner. Ethical egoists who aspire to universalism may claim "survival of the species" or resort to some unwitting form of utilitarianism, but that's symptom of a deeper problem.

As long as you can not get your point across except in a 'from A follows B' manner, you are getting nowhere, and judging by the length of this thread, not fast at all.

It does not matter if you call it a 'problem' or Humbug or bibbedybobbedy, people will not be convinced by rational arguments in this matter.

I am trying to convince you that if you think rationally about this issue, you should understand that IN the issue itself, rational arguments amount to very little.

If your cause is to convince people that 'doing harm to animals is not really ok' then you are doing not a very good job.

If your cause is to make all the philosophical lines a lot clearer about a specific philosophical view on the world, then you are just keeping yourself busy.

I have gathered from the onset that both sides have more or less dug in and will now confabulate like world champions to just not lose the argument.

But nothing is gained by 'not losing the argument'.


Do you see the fallacy here? Has it been demonstrated that dogs are "vermin"? These are unexamined cultural beliefs. My mother used to regal me with stories about her epic trip to India, and "widely known" beliefs that were mere superstitions.

Yes, it is not a fallacy, it is the *whole* point here. They *are* superstitions and no more.

But you are just managing to make a sermon to your own choir that they are that, when looked at rationally.

A rational person can see that these people will not listen to rational arguments and will chose something different, something that does work.

I'm not sure how this undermines the "desire" argument. Dogs in India still do not like to be kicked, whales off the coast of Japan do not like to be harpooned.

Exactly! But is it rational to try and have a rational discussion about it with the people who do like to kick and the people who do like to eat the whale? No.

Use your reasoning to create your own firm base, then get into their heads and use their terminology, superstition or beliefs.

If people from lower castes do like being slapped, then they should not be slapped.
That is just plain cruel! :p



Well, thank you, but I already knew people in different cultures think differently. People in the same culture think differently. People living in the same house, igloo or tepee think differently. One of the only virtues of moral relativism is that it at least imparts an appreciation of tolerance.

Do not just 'know' it. Use it.

My physics teacher used to say: "People are like magnets in a coil, move them and you get resistance." (horribly shortened, so don't get pedantic, you do get the gist).

People never really care if someone is right or wrong, they care if someone can move them without a natural resistance.

Find out what moves other people.

Belz...
7th July 2009, 07:20 AM
As for Kevin -- he doesn't need any defending from me. I used your bit of nonsense as jumping off point to highlight my own questions.

If you think asking somebody to answer a question is nonsense it's no wonder you have a hard time understanding the discussion, here.

will ignore your questions on plastics and driving -- please don't waste my time.

They were very serious questions, and if you can't answer them you might see why your own question was ridiculous. That is, of course, if you didn't think asking somebody to answer a question was nonsensical.

GreNME
7th July 2009, 07:24 AM
Cain, we've already been over this. Also, I don't care if you call it absolute or universal or whatever, you're simply lawyering up your language at this point to use a whole lot of words to say nothing or provoke. Be clear about what you don't understand and I'll see if I can clarify. I'm not going to play guessing games trying to figure out what it is you're seeking.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 07:24 AM
They were very serious questions, and if you can't answer them you might see why your own question was ridiculous. That is, of course, if you didn't think asking somebody to answer a question was nonsensical.For Cain the dialectical process works in one directions. From his mouth to your ear.

Belz...
7th July 2009, 07:26 AM
Sorry, didn't spot these at first.

I try to avoid killing bugs, but I'm much less uneasy about killing them than vertebrates because they're probably not conscious or capable of feeling pain.

I don't know, that ant seems to writhe pretty much like it's feeling pain.

Later you ask for differences between plants and humans, which has already been explained, but if you're incapable of remembering, or making basic connections, I can say that it has to do with the capacity to consciousness and the capacity to suffer.

I do remember. In fact you don't seem to remember me acknowledging that. However several animals share this characteristic with plants. Also, I find it quite suspect to use that criterion because then if you will an animal without causing any suffering then you should be OK with eating meat. Since this doesn't seem to be the case one has to ask: what other criteria are you using ? If it's the "right to live", then plants should have it too.

The question goes to establishing animal cruelty -- that animals can be treated in ways that one finds unacceptable. This has moral implications that are all too relevant.

Indeed, but it still has nothing to do with torture. Killing something is not torture. Killing is not cruelty. Otherwise killing plants is cruelty, as well, because the actual killing doesn't cause pain.

I'm simply asking for a logically consistent set of criteria as to why killing animals for sustenance is wrong.

Rogue1stclass
7th July 2009, 08:23 AM
Cruelty to bugs is less immoral than cruelty to cattle?

So, how is it hard to understand that cruelty to cattle is less immoral than cruelty to humans?

volatile
7th July 2009, 08:31 AM
Cruelty to bugs is less immoral than cruelty to cattle?

So, how is it hard to understand that cruelty to cattle is less immoral than cruelty to humans?

Cain's explained this already, if you'd care to read his posts:

"If it is wrong to cause harm to animals under certain circumstances, then it is wrong to cause harm under all similar circumstances."

It's about context, and, crucially, consistency. Not about stratification. If a herd of cows was invading your home and you had no other way to remove them, then killing the cows becomes morally tenable.

Morality is a cost/benefit trade-off. Always. And as the costs of meat-eating are demonstrable and the benefits spurious, I don't see those who eat meat have a case, really.

Telaynay's G'son
7th July 2009, 08:48 AM
People, the tone of this thread is getting increasingly nasty. Please keep it civil.

Could it be because the issue is so emotionally based?

The bottom line line is humans are omnivores as evidenced by certain teeth they are born with and to deny that fact is the result of inserting artificial thinking into the equation.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 08:51 AM
Morality is a cost/benefit trade-off.I like that. Trade-off. If life is itself a benifit then I give that to the animal (as you note it wouldn't exist otherwise). On top of that I give it day to day protection from predators, the elements, health care and plenty of food.

In return it gives me food.

Seems like a pretty damn good trade-off to me.

How clever of wild sheep to have acquired that most versatile adaptation, the shepherd! By forming a symbiotic alliance with Homo sapiens, sheep could outsource their chief survival tasks: food finding and predator avoidance. --Dan Dennett

Belz...
7th July 2009, 09:05 AM
It's about context, and, crucially, consistency. Not about stratification. If a herd of cows was invading your home and you had no other way to remove them, then killing the cows becomes morally tenable.

Could you take a few minutes to answer my last post to you ?

Thanks :

Huh ? It's the same for abortion: if they couldn't pick an arbitrary line at which abortion was no longer legal then they never would've come up with the damn law. You're trying to make a case for an objective reason why one should or shouldn't eat this and that. It better be well-defined.



Your criterion is incompatible with your claim, Volatile. That's all I'm saying. If you think that taking down an argument for your claim is a claim for mine (assuming I had one) then you don't know much about skepticism.



Sure thing, Vol. And not collecting stamps is a hobby.



How so ? Because you rob the being of its interest in living ? It that's why then again you are being inconsistent because this AGAIN applies to plants and mushrooms. And bacteria.



I don't want to kill my kitten (if I had one) and it's not legal to do so for such a reason. I don't like killing or hurting animals (except bugs), because it's simply not something I do. I also do not like killing or damaging plants, but I eat them, too.



No, I'm happy to pay other people to do it for me.



No, I'm not. You are incapable of differentiating between a counter-argument against YOUR claim and an argument for MY claim. It's exactly the same thing yrreg is doing in the other thread, thinking that just because we don't know how the universe came into being then it MUST be god who did it.

I was saying that the harm of farming animals, to the animals themselves, is less than the harm said animal would endure in the wild. I'm saying that there is no harm in farming animals that are otherwise well-treated.



Such as ?



Broken record:

You're still not getting it. I don't need to justify myself to you. YOU are making a claim that eating meat is WRONG. YOU need to justify yourself.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 09:29 AM
f
As I have said earlier, it's not my goal, nor is it necessary, to espouse a comprehensive moral doctrine as most moral outlooks already possess the mechanisms to find meat eating problematic.

If you don't want to show people that meat eating is wrong, and instead, want people to justify their eating of meat to you, then I'm done talking at you. Your trying to convince me by telling me to prove that I'm right. Sorry, but that type of trickery won't work and it's not even close to being convincing.

realpaladin
7th July 2009, 10:42 AM
Could it be because the issue is so emotionally based?

Exactemundo!

The bottom line line is humans are omnivores as evidenced by certain teeth they are born with and to deny that fact is the result of inserting artificial thinking into the equation.

You know that this will end in crying, don't you?

We will go through all the arguments for and against, then we will go against all the for and against about each of the for and against, and in the end?

People calling each other names over it and nobody convinced.

volatile
7th July 2009, 11:29 AM
Hey Belz... I'll try and get to your post in the morning. To be honest, I feel like we're going round in circles at the moment.

Rogue1stclass
7th July 2009, 11:39 AM
Cain's explained this already, if you'd care to read his posts:

I find Cain's posts rather tedious to read so I usually end up skimming them.

"If it is wrong to cause harm to animals under certain circumstances, then it is wrong to cause harm under all similar circumstances."

So, in other words, yes, it is less immoral to kill cattle than humans. If we have less moral obligation to invertebrates because they have less consciousness than mammals, then we have less obligation towards cattle since they have less consciousness than humans.

It's about context, and, crucially, consistency. Not about stratification. If a herd of cows was invading your home and you had no other way to remove them, then killing the cows becomes morally tenable.

I agree about context, but I just don't see where consistency between species is crucial, or even desirable. Different species are, well, different on a fundemental biological level. They have different wants, needs, and levels of understanding. What is cruel to one may be indifferent or even desirable to another.

Morality is a cost/benefit trade-off. Always. And as the costs of meat-eating are demonstrable and the benefits spurious, I don't see those who eat meat have a case, really.

Thing is, cattle don't really understand or value life. In rearing cattle for meat, we are exchanging things that cattle do value, freedom from pain and fear and hunger and the chance to reproduce, for something they don't. Out of this exchange, we get hamburgers.

It is, to the extent that we hold up our end, a mutually beneficial relationship.

Belz...
7th July 2009, 12:05 PM
Hey Belz... I'll try and get to your post in the morning. To be honest, I feel like we're going round in circles at the moment.

So do I. Perhaps we could focus on a single point of contention and stick to that.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 12:43 PM
Volatile, what happened to the "logical progression of less is zero" argument? Are you going to use that one again?

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:22 PM
So, Ken - if you don't accept that in this context, the logical end point of "less" is "zero", I hope you're willing to follow that line of thinking through:

1) You accept that eating meat is harmful,
2) You accept that in light of this, we should eat less meat.
3) As you do not accept that the logical end point of an obligation to eat less meat is an argument to eat no meat at all, you must then propose that at some point, eating less meat becomes more harmful.
4) Therefore: there's a minimum amount of meat, beyond which the harm caused by a meat-eating diet is mitigated by some greater harm.

So, what's that greater harm? Please do tell.

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:25 PM
So do I. Perhaps we could focus on a single point of contention and stick to that.

OK.

Let's narrow down this argument about "similar circumstances". To do that, let me start with an unambiguous question.

Are you opposed to someone killing animals for fun? That is, are you opposed to, for example, kid going down to the local park and kicking ducks to death, because it gives him a thrill?

If you are - and I note that there are laws against this act in my country, so it would not be surprising if you were - might I ask you to explain why?

After that's clarified, we can hopefully demonstrate what Cain and I mean.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 01:27 PM
So, Ken - if you don't accept that in this context, the logical end point of "less" is "zero", I hope you're willing to follow that line of thinking through:

1) You accept that eating meat is harmful,
2) As you do not accept that the logical end point of an obligation to eat less meat is an argument to eat no meat at all, you must then propose that at some point, eating less meat becomes more harmful.
3) Therefore: there's a minimum amount of meat, beyond which the harm caused by a meat-eating diet is mitigated by some greater harm.

So, what's that greater harm? Please do tell.

1. Eating meat is not harmful. There are, however, ecological ramifications to raising the livestock, too much livestock.

2. It makes no sense that the logical progression of eating less meat is to eat none. This also doesn't mean that I propose that eating less meat becomes more harmful at some point.

3. Your premises are false, therefore your conclusion cannot be logically sound.

Rogue1stclass
7th July 2009, 01:31 PM
Hmmm...

I'm about to go to a pet store and buy a rat to feed to my boa contrictor, and it occured to me that were I the rat, I would not want to wind up in the coils of a large snake.

However, were I a large snake, I would very much like to eat.

So, which is the moral choice?

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:33 PM
Your trying to convince me by telling me to prove that I'm right.

Wouldn't you ask anyone else making a claim on this forum to "prove they're right"?

Yes, you would. It's not "trickery" - and it is perhaps rather illuminating as to just how unconsidered and unsceptical your dietary choices are that you would think it was.

Why is your diet the only topic beyond reproach? And what would you say if someone offered this response to you in any other discourse on this forum?

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:34 PM
Hmmm...

I'm about to go to a pet store and buy a rat to feed to my boa contrictor, and it occured to me that were I the rat, I would not want to wind up in the coils of a large snake.

However, were I a large snake, I would very much like to eat.

So, which is the moral choice?

You tell me. You're the one who has to make it.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 01:39 PM
Wouldn't you ask anyone else making a claim on this forum to "prove they're right"?

Only if they made absurd claims. If someone says "the sun is hot", for example, I would not ask them to prove it.

The claim that eating meat is wrong is absurd and, seems to be, not based on any real logical reason. In essence, prove that eating meat is wrong. I do not need to justify eating meat to you.

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:40 PM
1. Eating meat is not harmful. There are, however, ecological ramifications to raising the livestock, too much livestock.

Ken - explain to me how, with current technology, you can eat meat without raising livestock. :rolleyes:

2. It makes no sense that the logical progression of eating less meat is to eat none. This also doesn't mean that I propose that eating less meat becomes more harmful at some point.

No, it really does.

If you think less meat is less harmful than some meat, but that zero meat is not the least harmful option, it logically follows that at some point between "some" and "zero" there is a point at which eating less meat becomes more harmful. What's that point?

It's a silly argument, sure, but it's your argument. Follow it through, or discard it.

3. Your premises are false, therefore your conclusion cannot be logically sound.

My premises are that the less meat you eat, the more ecologically-sound your diet. This is backed up by scientific fact, and scientific fact you agreed with. That's the premise.

You want to argue that at some point, this observation becomes false; that is, at some point before meat consumption falls to zero, there is a point at which to reduce meat consumption becomes more harmful. You're arguing that there is a minimum amount of meat that it is morally obligatory we all eat, to avoid harms.

It's a silly argument, but it's your argument.

What's that point, Ken?

ZirconBlue
7th July 2009, 01:42 PM
I know these weren't addressed to me, but I'm going to stick my nose in and answer anyway.:p

3) As you do not accept that the logical end point of an obligation to eat less meat is an argument to eat no meat at all, you must then propose that at some point, eating less meat becomes more harmful.

Alternatively, there could be a point where the "harms" are sufficiently reduced so as to no longer be a concern (or to be sufficiently balanced by taste, convenience, etc.). At which point, there would be no need to continue reducing meat consumption further.


Are you opposed to someone killing animals for fun? That is, are you opposed to, for example, kid going down to the local park and kicking ducks to death, because it gives him a thrill?


I might have a problem with him/her kicking the ducks to death, but I wouldn't have a problem with him/her killing ants in the same circumstances. A duck's life is worth more to me than an ant's.

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:44 PM
Only if they made absurd claims. If someone says "the sun is hot", for example, I would not ask them to prove it.

But they could prove it, and easily.

Why can't you? Why can't you even ARGUE it? You don't even have a BAD case. You don't have a case at all.

The claim that eating meat is wrong is absurd and, seems to be, not based on any real logical reason. In essence, prove that eating meat is wrong. I do not need to justify eating meat to you.

I claim that eating meat causes demonstrable harms, and that in the lack of a positive case to support it, it should be eschewed. The lack of a positive case is entirely the problem.

So - what's the positive case? It's as obvious as "the sun is hot", right?

volatile
7th July 2009, 01:49 PM
Alternatively, there could be a point where the "harms" are sufficiently reduced so as to no longer be a concern (or to be sufficiently balanced by taste, convenience, etc.). At which point, there would be no need to continue reducing meat consumption further.

Firstly, that doesn't negate my point - Ken was mocking me (!) for arguing that the end point of harm reduction is zero meat consumption. Even if the harms were negligible, my point would still hold - so it can't have been what Ken meant.

Secondly, your "sufficiently balanced" would require a case to be made for meat eating.

Thirdly, I would suggest that for this hypothetical point to be reached, most people would need to go more or less vegan ANYWAY, and eat meat only sparsely. This is clearly not acceptable to posters in this thread, as meat eating is so awesome, so the case to eat meat beyond this point still needs to be made.

Fourthly - what's that point?


I might have a problem with him/her kicking the ducks to death, but I wouldn't have a problem with him/her killing ants in the same circumstances. A duck's life is worth more to me than an ant's.

Good.

Why? What is the source of your "problem"? What do you find objectionable about a kid kicking a duck to death?

RandFan
7th July 2009, 01:54 PM
I claim that eating meat causes demonstrable harms...The act of being born causes demonstrable harm. Every living organism will die.

...and that in the lack of a positive case to support it, it should be eschewed. The lack of a positive case is entirely the problem.

Why do I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness?

If life is itself a benifit then I give that to the animal (as you note it wouldn't exist otherwise). On top of that I give it day to day protection from predators, the elements, health care and plenty of food.

In return it gives me food.


How clever of wild sheep to have acquired that most versatile adaptation, the shepherd! By forming a symbiotic alliance with Homo sapiens, sheep could outsource their chief survival tasks: food finding and predator avoidance. --Dan Dennet

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 01:54 PM
Ken - explain to me how, with current technology, you can eat meat without raising livestock. :rolleyes:

As smug as you are, you seem to have forgotten about the activity of hunting.


If you think less meat is less harmful than some meat, but that zero meat is not the least harmful option, it logically follows that at some point between "some" and "zero" there is a point at which eating less meat becomes more harmful. What's that point?

This makes absolutely no logical sense at all. It does not follow that at some point between some and zero that eating meat becomes harmful.


My premises are that the less meat you eat, the more ecologically-sound your diet. This is backed up by scientific fact, and scientific fact you agreed with. That's the premise.

You mean the less livestock is raised, the more ecologically sound the diet, provided you're eating raised livestock. Right?


You want to argue that at some point, this observation becomes false; that is, at some point before meat consumption falls to zero, there is a point at which to reduce meat consumption becomes more harmful. You're arguing that there is a minimum amount of meat that it is morally obligatory we all eat, to avoid harms.

This straw man that you've constructed is rather silly. Why don't you actually address my points instead of twisting and torturing the words to make an absolutely ridiculous argument I never made?


Prove to me that eating meat is wrong.

Why can't you? Why can't you even ARGUE it? You don't even have a BAD case. You don't have a case at all.

When someone is fighting the status quo, it's up to them to show why that status quo is wrong. That's not an appeal to ignorance, that is just how society works. You're not doing a very good job.

You've only shown that raising too much livestock has a negative impact on the environment.

GreNME
7th July 2009, 01:57 PM
I claim that eating meat causes demonstrable harms, and that in the lack of a positive case to support it, it should be eschewed.

Wow, your simplified explanation is worse than Cain's. I mean, straight out of the Ashoka Edicts (Buddhism [example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edicts_of_Ashoka#Social_and_animal_welfare)]).

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 02:00 PM
If we stopped raising livestock, I think most of those animal species would become extinct. What environmental impact would that have? Would it be negative or positive?

ZirconBlue
7th July 2009, 02:10 PM
Firstly, that doesn't negate my point - Ken was mocking me (!) for arguing that the end point of harm reduction is zero meat consumption. Even if the harms were negligible, my point would still hold - so it can't have been what Ken meant.

Say you could graph "harm" against amount of meat consumed. You could reach a point where "harm" graph levels off, or even reaches zero before you get to to zero meat consumption. So reducing consumption below this point would not reduce "harm" any further. The problem is that we don't all acknowledge the same things as "harm".

Secondly, your "sufficiently balanced" would require a case to be made for meat eating.

I mean reduced enough that "it tastes good" and "it more conveniently provides the nutrition I need" are a sufficient case. If the harm is seen to be very near zero, then virtually any "plus" will balance it. Again, though, we don't agree on what is or isn't harm, let alone what value to assign to that harm.


Good.

Why? What is the source of your "problem"? What do you find objectionable about a kid kicking a duck to death?

Hard-wired anthropomorphism, I think. In general, the more like a human a creature is, the more "rights" (I'm using the term very loosely, perhaps "protections" would be a better word.) I think they should have. And, killing for "fun" is a foreign concept to me and makes me feel a little uneasy, because I can't really imagine enjoying killing anything.

Cavemonster
7th July 2009, 02:16 PM
If we stopped raising livestock, I think most of those animal species would become extinct. What environmental impact would that have? Would it be negative or positive?

I would say very likely positive.


From Wikipedia
A 400-page United Nations report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that cattle farming is "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases."[33] The production of cattle to feed and clothe humans stresses ecosystems around the world,[32] and is assessed to be one of the top three environmental problems in the world on a local to global scale.[34]

The report, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the environmental damage from sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are cited as the greatest adverse impact with respect to climate change as well as species extinction. The report concludes that, unless changes are made, the massive damage reckoned to be due to livestock may more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases. One of the cited changes suggests that intensification of the livestock industry may be suggested, since intensification leads to less land for a given level of production.[34]

Some microbes respire in the cattle gut by an anaerobic process known as methanogenesis (producing the gas methane). Cattle emit a large volume of methane, 95% of it through eructation or burping, not flatulence.[35] As the carbon in the methane comes from the digestion of vegetation produced by photosynthesis, its release into the air by this process would normally be considered harmless, because there is no net increase in carbon in the atmosphere it's removed as carbon dioxide from the air by photosynthesis and returned to it as methane. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, having a warming effect 23 to 50 times greater,[36][37] and according to Takahashi and Young "even a small increase in methane concentration in the atmosphere exerts a potentially significant contribution to global warming".[37] Further analysis of the methane gas produced by livestock as a contributor to the increase in greenhouse gases is provided by Weart.[38] Research is underway on methods of reducing this source of methane, by the use of dietary supplements, or treatments to reduce the proportion of methanogenetic microbes, perhaps by vaccination.[39][40]

Cattle are fed a concentrated high-corn diet which produces rapid weight gain, but this has side effects which include increased acidity in the digestive system. When improperly handled, manure and other byproducts of concentrated agriculture also have environmental consequences.[41]

Grazing by cattle at low intensities can create a favourable environment for native herbs and forbs; however, in most world regions cattle are reducing biodiversity due to overgrazing driven by food demands by an expanding human population.[42]

GreNME
7th July 2009, 02:30 PM
I would say very likely positive.


From Wikipedia

Two problems with that:

1) it's only telling a partial story (but hey, why stop now?)

2) the choice is not continued current use or complete eradication.

Cavemonster
7th July 2009, 02:57 PM
Two problems with that:

1) it's only telling a partial story (but hey, why stop now?)

2) the choice is not continued current use or complete eradication.

1) I'm sure there are more facets, you could write thousands of pages about the positive and negative effects of the way we raise animals. This UN commission found the net impact to be overwhelmingly negative. If you have evidence against these claims of negative impact, or evidence for claims of positive effects that overwhelm the negative, feel free to post.

2) Not in reality, no, it was the hypothetical I was responding to though. In reality, the choices are to cut back meat production/consumption or allow them to continue to exapnd as the human population does. The available data suggests that the more meat we're producing the greater the negative effects, so minimizing meat consumption would be enviromentally positive.

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:01 PM
Why do I get called "smug" by the guy smugly posting "I don't NEED a reason! I AM RIGHT?!"?

And why should I bother continuing this discussion?

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:04 PM
Hard-wired anthropomorphism, I think. In general, the more like a human a creature is, the more "rights" (I'm using the term very loosely, perhaps "protections" would be a better word.) I think they should have. And, killing for "fun" is a foreign concept to me and makes me feel a little uneasy, because I can't really imagine enjoying killing anything.

This is the point I was aiming at; this is the point Cain was aiming at. It's what he meant when he talked of "similar circumstances".

What's the difference between "fun" and "enjoying the taste of meat"?

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 03:20 PM
Why do I get called "smug" by the guy smugly posting "I don't NEED a reason! I AM RIGHT?!"?

And why should I bother continuing this discussion?

It's not smug to state a fact. I do not need to provide reasons to eat meat simply because it is legal and no one has yet to show that it is immoral.

The second question is a mystery, though, as you aren't really doing very well in convincing any meat eaters to stop eating meat.

Really, you just now equated "fun killing animals" to "enjoying the flavor of meat."

RandFan
7th July 2009, 03:26 PM
The available data suggests that the more meat we're producing the greater the negative effects, so minimizing meat consumption would be enviromentally positive.I've no problem with addressing the environmental impact of meat consumption.

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:27 PM
It's not smug to state a fact. I do not need to provide reasons to eat meat simply because it is legal and no one has yet to show that it is immoral.

Repeating, aggressively, not only that you're RIGHT (!) but that you don't even have to explain why you're right would certainly come across as smug in any other topic of debate.

Imagine a hypothetical Iranian: "It's legal to stone homosexuals to death, and NO-ONE has explained why it's wrong!". That's what you sound like, Ken.

The second question is a mystery, though, as you aren't really doing very well in convincing any meat eaters to stop eating meat.

Really, you just now equated "fun killing animals" to "enjoying the flavor of meat."

No, I equated "fun" with "taste" and asked for the difference between the two.

If it's wrong to kill an animal for fun (to satiate one particular whim), on what basis can killing for the satiation of a similar whim be justified?

The answer to this question requires either that you explain why "taste" is not the same thing as "fun", or that meat eating has a positive case above any beyond killing for kicks. Either would be a starting point for a meaningful discussion.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 03:28 PM
This is the point I was aiming at; this is the point Cain was aiming at. It's what he meant when he talked of "similar circumstances".I didn't think it fair to pull you into an argument with Cain but if you are going to defend him then I'm going to say that there is scant little argument to his posts. He mostly makes assertions and belittles others.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 03:36 PM
The answer to this question requires either that you explain why "taste" is not the same thing as "fun", or that meat eating has a positive case above any beyond killing for kicks. Either would be a starting point for a meaningful discussion.I'm not convinced on this idea of "purely for taste". Animal products are a good source of nutrition (I'm attending a nutrition class at UCLA at the moment). They provide dense and complete protein and a wide rante vitamins and nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body when they are eaten. Further, animal products provide not only taste but they are also very satisfying. A vegan diet is drudgery and unsatisfying for many of us. I just don't like it. Animals provide me a nutritious and satisfying meal and provides a sense of well being.

In return, in return, I give them the opportunity to live and to be free from predators and exposure to the elements on a day to day basis. The don't have to be stressed due to hunger or thirst. They can enjoy relatively good lives compared to their wild counterparts. I hate to argue ad nauseam but you won't respond to me.

How clever of wild sheep to have acquired that most versatile adaptation, the shepherd! By forming a symbiotic alliance with Homo sapiens, sheep could outsource their chief survival tasks: food finding and predator avoidance. --Dan Dennet

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:37 PM
I didn't think it fair to pull you into an argument with Cain but if you are going to defend him then I'm going to say that there is scant little argument to his posts. He mostly makes assertions and belittles others.

Seriously, I agree he's beligerent. But *read* between the belligerence. There's a keen intellect and a razor-sharp argument.

If you don't want to do that, argue with me instead. I make the same points, more politely.

So, the point stands. I contend (and Cain would contend) that killing a duck for fun is a similar act to killing a cow for the taste of its flesh.

Would you disagree? Well, I know you'd disagree - on what grounds? Is "taste" not a type of fun?

GreNME
7th July 2009, 03:39 PM
Seriously, I agree he's beligerent. But *read* between the belligerence. There's a keen intellect and a razor-sharp argument.

If you don't want to do that, argue with me instead. I make the same points, more politely.

So, the point stands. I contend (and Cain would contend) that killing a duck for fun is a similar act to killing a cow for the taste of its flesh.

Would you disagree? Well, I know you'd disagree - on what grounds? Is "taste" not a type of fun?

Look, everyone! An equivocating strawman!

Cavemonster
7th July 2009, 03:44 PM
Repeating, aggressively, not only that you're RIGHT (!) but that you don't even have to explain why you're right would certainly come across as smug in any other topic of debate.

Imagine a hypothetical Iranian: "It's legal to stone homosexuals to death, and NO-ONE has explained why it's wrong!". That's what you sound like, Ken.



No, I equated "fun" with "taste" and asked for the difference between the two.

If it's wrong to kill an animal for fun (to satiate one particular whim), on what basis can killing for the satiation of a similar whim be justified?

The answer to this question requires either that you explain why "taste" is not the same thing as "fun", or that meat eating has a positive case above any beyond killing for kicks. Either would be a starting point for a meaningful discussion.

Let me take a stab at the difference between shooting an animal because it's fun and eating an animal because it tastes good.

When you eat a non-organic tomato, there are pesticides used that kill bugs, the industrial harvesters invariably kill many more bugs, and other livestock. When the land was cleared for the farm, many more animals were killed. In the processing plant, rats are killed in traps to keep them away from the tomatoes. Emissions from the processing plant and all the vehicles, and runoff of the pesticides into rivers are part of more environmental damage and more deaths. In order for you to have the joy of eating that tomato, animals died.

When you eat a steak, there are all the same things, pesticides, land clearing, and in addition the life of the the cow. Your enjoyment of the steak required a certain share in the killing of the cow and all the other life forms.

When I kill something for pleasure, generally you only kill those animals directly, maybe you contribute a little bit driving out there, by getting some flies on your windshield.

The difference between eating a steak and shooting an animal? One of degree. Eating the steak makes you only responsible for one smaller share of an animals death as opposed to one action/one death. Eating the steak also puts a level of abstraction between your pleasure and the death.

But eating the tomato is just a matter of degree as well, your share in the deaths is a little smaller (although more pesticides are involved) you are a little more distant from the deaths, and at least conceptually, you can more easily choose not to think about them.

Of course, if you grew the tomato yourself or bought it from a small farmer, you may reduce your culpability even more.

Bottom line, any participation in industialized food production has blood of animals on it's hands. The difference between killing an animal for fun and eating a steak is similar to the difference between eating a steak or eating a supermarket tomato.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 03:46 PM
Seriously, I agree he's beligerent. But *read* between the belligerence. There's a keen intellect and a razor-sharp argument.Little if any argument. Seriously. I've outlined paragraph by paragraph and have time and again only found rhetoric. But that's fine. I just wanted to make the point. We can disagree.

If you don't want to do that, argue with me instead. I make the same points, more politely. If I could get you to respond to me I would. I sure have been trying.

So, the point stands. I contend (and Cain would contend) that killing a duck for fun is a similar act to killing a cow for the taste of its flesh.

Would you disagree? Well, I know you'd disagree - on what grounds? Is "taste" not a type of fun? Well, what do you mean by "for fun"? The fun of seeing it die? I percieve that as disturbing and repulsive. But that I'm sure is a result of natural and or social indoctrination. What objective basis do I have to rule that it is imoral to do so? Is there any reason to even consider the point (I'm not saying there isn't, I'm just trying to flesh out the argument)?

What IS our base premise? Here is where Kevin and Cain would stop the discussion, put their fingers in their ears and scream "natural fallacy" even though I'm willing to explore the extent of that argument. They don't want to go there.

So, if we rule out evolved adaptive behaviors and social mores, what is our base premise?

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:47 PM
I'm not convinced on this idea of "purely for taste". Animal products are a good source of nutrition (I'm attending a nutrition class at UCLA at the moment). They provide dense and complete protein and a wide rante vitamins and nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body when they are eaten. Further, animal products provide not only taste but they are also very satisfying. A vegan diet is drudgery and unsatisfying for many of us. I just don't like it. Animals provide me a nutritious and satisfying meal and provides a sense of well being.

Is "I just don't like the alternative" an argument you'd use in defense of any other action that was demonstrably harmful and which had excellent alternatives should one choose?

I doubt it. That's at the core of this issue, RF. Somehow, you want me to believe (and you need to believe yourself) that the taste of chicken is so sublime, so amazing, so wonderful, that it overwhelms every other sense in your body, and trumps your rationality such that you defend it in ways you would deem ridiculous if similar arguments were offered for any other cause.

Is chicken really that awesome? That harming the environment for no benefit other than the satiation of your taste-buds, and the killing of a sentient animal for no other reason than you get your kicks as a result of the action, is worth every mouthful of factory-processed, water-filled, adulterated sausage-meat you chow down on? Seriously?

The more I think about it, the more meat-eating seems like sadism. Can you explain to me where I'm going wrong?

In return, in return, I give them the opportunity to live and to be free from predators and exposure to the elements on a day to day basis. The don't have to be stressed due to hunger or thirst. They can enjoy relatively good lives compared to their wild counterparts. I hate to argue ad nauseam but you won't respond to me.

We've covered this. Over and over. It's a bad argument. You are not rescuing food animals from anything. You are raising them to harm them, and causing environmental damage to boot. It's not an altruistic action, because you cannot act altruistically towards something that does not exist.

GreNME
7th July 2009, 03:49 PM
We've covered this. Over and over. It's a bad argument. You are not rescuing food animals from anything. You are raising them to harm them, and causing environmental damage to boot. It's not an altruistic action, because you cannot act altruistically towards something that does not exist.

False dichotomy.

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:51 PM
So, if we rule out evolved adaptive behaviors and social mores, what is our base premise?

Be the best person you can be. That's the core of my moral system. That's my base premise. What's yours?

The "fun" issue is important (and it's why Cain and I have been talking about "torture"; to bring this into focus". When it comes down to it, honestly: You enjoy killing animals for fun. It excites you - your taste buds - when animals die. How is that different from a kid slitting duck's throats by the pond because he enjoys how he makes him feel? On what basis do you differentiate between the two?

volatile
7th July 2009, 03:52 PM
False dichotomy.

No it isn't.

Cavemonster
7th July 2009, 03:55 PM
Be the best person you can be. That's the core of my moral system. That's my base premise. What's yours?

The "fun" issue is important (and it's why Cain and I have been talking about "torture"; to bring this into focus". When it comes down to it, honestly: You enjoy killing animals for fun. It excites you - your taste buds - when animals die. How is that different from a kid slitting duck's throats by the pond because he enjoys how he makes him feel? On what basis do you differentiate between the two?

Unless you grow all your own food, I'm guessing that it excites your tastbuds to eat vegetables grown on industrialized farms, or brought in from a large distance. These processes kill animals as well, as outlined in my post above. On what basis do you differentiate?

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:02 PM
Unless you grow all your own food, I'm guessing that it excites your tastbuds to eat vegetables grown on industrialized farms, or brought in from a large distance.

True.

There are two responses to that. The first is that as I can't grow my own food, and I have to eat, I should take reasonable steps to reduce the impact of my diet. I do this by going vegan, shopping locally and buying with consideration..

The second is that pointing out the foibles of my diet do not invalidate the points I'm making - if anything, they strengthen it. No-one;s perfect, but you're right. I should be growing my own food, and that tinned pineapple I had for desert was, on balance, probably immoral. I accept that. That's not a defence of meat-eating, though. Not at all.

These processes kill animals as well, as outlined in my post above. On what basis do you differentiate?Direct vs indirect harms, principally, as well as numbers. A meat-eating diet causes all the harms I do indirectly, plus lots more directly.

But as I said, pointing out that I'm not perfect is just an exhortation to me to be more careful in practicing what I preach. It's an argument for my position, if anything. It does not invalidate anything I've said in this thread, and nor can it lend any weight to the opposing argument.

GreNME
7th July 2009, 04:02 PM
No it isn't.

When you only present two alternatives as if they are the only choices, it surely is. Same goes for your strawmen ("you enjoy killing animals for fun") and your equivocations ("what's the difference?"). While I realize these Buddhist qualities seem perfectly reasonable to you, I've already submitted that there are elements to these arguments that you continually fail to acknowledge.

First, you haven't defined why the death of one animal should be considered equal to the death of a different animal. Second, given the first, you have insufficiently supported the (supposed) inherent wrong associated with eating livestock. Third, given the previous two, you have not presented a single argument that explains why the value system you are applying is intrinsically more moral. You keep jumping to the third without sufficiently addressing he prior two, particularly the first, which at this point stands as an assertion of equivocation.

Or, in short: uh huh.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 04:08 PM
Is "I just don't like the alternative" an argument you'd use in defense of any other action that was demonstrably harmful and which had excellent alternatives should one choose?

I doubt it. That's at the core of this issue, RF. Somehow, you want me to believe (and you need to believe yourself) that the taste of chicken is so sublime, so amazing, so wonderful, that it overwhelms every other sense in your body, and trumps your rationality such that you defend it in ways you would deem ridiculous if similar arguments were offered for any other cause.For example?

Is chicken really that awesome? That harming the environment for no benefit other than the satiation of your taste-buds, and the killing of a sentient animal for no other reason than you get your kicks as a result of the action, is worth every mouthful of factory-processed, water-filled, adulterated sausage-meat you chow down on? Seriously? Given the choice between a vegan diet and eating animals, I much prefer the animal diet for all of the reasons I've mentioned. A sense of well being after a meal isn't an immoral desire nor is choosing to eat animal products immoral especially given that there is a trade off.

The more I think about it, the more meat-eating seems like sadism. Can you explain to me where I'm going wrong? I don't eat the meat so the animal will suffer and thereby derive pleasure from the fact that the animal suffers. Also eating meat doesn't necassarily equate to suffering.

We've covered this. Over and over. It's a bad argument.Now you are pulling a Cain/Kevin. No, no you haven't covered this. You've given a lame argument that was rebuted and you refused to follow up with the rebuttal. You will argue with Ken for all eternity over who is smug but won't follow up on this.

You are not rescuing food animals from anything.Straw man. No one said that I am rescuing them. I'm giving them life. I think that life is itself a benifit. Do you think that every existence that leads to death is a priori wrong?

You are raising them to harm them...I'm raising them knowing that they will die. I simply choose when.

It's not an altruistic action, because you cannot act altruistically towards something that does not exist. But giving life to something so that it will exist and then die is not in and of itself immoral. Or the act of having children would be immoral.

As to the environment. I'm not against steps to mitigate environmental impact. I don't see that as an argument that eating animals is per se immoral.

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:11 PM
When you only present two alternatives as if they are the only choices, it surely is. Same goes for your strawmen ("you enjoy killing animals for fun") and your equivocations ("what's the difference?").

That's not a strawman. In fact, it was posed, initially, as a question. If taste is the satiation of one whim, on what grounds can it be defended whilst another (similar) whim condemned? I don't see that you, or anyone, has attempted to address that very salient point. What is the difference?

First, you haven't defined why the death of one animal should be considered equal to the death of a different animal.People don't eat ducks? Or shall we talk about killing cows for kicks? If talking about two species for illustrative purposes is too abstract, then we can be more direct. It's interesting that you'd rather nit-pick than discuss the points on the table, though.

Second, given the first, you have insufficiently supported the (supposed) inherent wrong associated with eating livestock.You've seen the environmental numbers.


Third, given the previous two, you have not presented a single argument that explains why the value system you are applying is intrinsically more moral.It results in less harm, is internally consistent and can make a positive case for itself. Now we really are going in circles.

You have - again - pretended that the arguments have not been made, rather than actually address them. That doesn't speak strongly for your position, frankly.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 04:16 PM
Be the best person you can be. That's the core of my moral system. That's my base premise. What's yours?But what does it mean to be "the best person you can be". I won't forget your question but I want to resolve this first.

The "fun" issue is important (and it's why Cain and I have been talking about "torture"; to bring this into focus". When it comes down to it, honestly: You enjoy killing animals for fun. It excites you - your taste buds - when animals die. How is that different from a kid slitting duck's throats by the pond because he enjoys how he makes him feel? On what basis do you differentiate between the two? He enjoys the killing for the sake of killing. I don't. But you haven't told me why he is immoral. We can't address your "torture" issue because we don't know what basis to declare killing for enjoyment immoral.

Can you give me one?

Cavemonster
7th July 2009, 04:16 PM
But as I said, pointing out that I'm not perfect is just an exhortation to me to be more careful in practicing what I preach. It's an argument for my position, if anything. It does not invalidate anything I've said in this thread, and nor can it lend any weight to the opposing argument.

Pointing out that you (and all of us) are not perfect is the point though. Almost every convenience, comfort or pleasure we take has some moral cost, and we all decide where to draw that line. We could live like the Jains and eat only fruit that falls off trees and wear masks to avoid breathing in tiny bugs.

We choose to a certain extent the comfort, pleasure and convenience that we will allow ourselves in the knowledge that it come at the detriment of other life forms, it is our personal moral compass that tells us when reasonable self interest crosses over into selfish cruelty. You draw the ideal line at causing no harm to anything, I don't. Life is compromise and it's really only a matter of degree.

Posting here when I could be out raising money for orphans is imperfect too, I can call it an immoral act, just like your tinned pineapple is immoral. Every day, we draw the line, but it doesn't help anyone to feel guilty about it (unless that causes you to re-draw your line) It doesn't help a single soul to feel bad about eating pineapple or steak.

A single cow provides about 600lbs of meat more or less. If I eat a one pound steak, I'm adding 1/600th, less than .2% of a life to my tally over the background death of running a farm. In contrast, if you eat a vegetable like a tomato that growers want to look good in stores, it uses much more pesticide than the corn that's fed to the cows and ups the death tally of insects, fish, birds and anything else in the area, I don't have hard numbers, but I'll bet it'll cover .2% of a life.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 04:19 PM
Volitile,

Having been in threads where I was answering more posts than anyone else I've been in your shoes before. It's a lot to respond to. Please, take as much time as you need and if you want to put me on the rear burner at any point I've no problem with that.

I really, really appreciate your responses and the even tone. Sorry for the Cain/Kevin remark.

I've no ill will for you.

ETA: I've no ill will for anyone but I've a bit more appreciation for you than some posters. I do think you are a reasonable and thoughtful person.

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:22 PM
For example?

One immediate one is dropping litter. "I don't like carrying trash around" is not an argument in favour of littering. Another, more extreme one, is paedophilia - "I don't like having sex with adults" is not an argument for having sex with children.

Given the choice between a vegan diet and eating animals, I much prefer the animal diet for all of the reasons I've mentioned. A sense of well being after a meal isn't an immoral desire nor is choosing to eat animal products immoral especially given that there is a trade off.

Not immoral in and of itself, no. As I said, it is not inherently wrong to eat meat. But eating it when tasty, nutritionally-equivalent sources are readily available - that's when it becomes immoral, because it is at that point that you let your personal whim over-ride your good conscience.

I don't eat the meat so the animal will suffer and thereby derive pleasure from the fact that the animal suffers. Also eating meat doesn't necassarily equate to suffering.

Who said suffering? I'm talking about death. As far as I can see, the duck-killing kid is immoral even if he breaks the ducks' necks quickly and painlessly. And, perhaps relevantly, perhaps not, his actions would be a crime in the UK either way.

Your whims are only satisfied by animal death, like his. How is that not sadistic?

Now you are pulling a Cain/Kevin. No, no you haven't covered this. You've given a lame argument that was rebuted and you refused to follow up with the rebuttal. You will argue with Ken for all eternity over who is smug but won't follow up on this.

We have, RF. You cannot act in the interests of something that will not exist.

Straw man. No one said that I am rescuing them. I'm giving them life. I think that life is itself a benifit. Do you think that every existence that leads to death is a priori wrong?

Nope, obviously not. That would be impossible.

If altruism is your goal - of you have these animal's interests at heart - then killing them becomes even less tenable. After all, if the gift of life is so precious - and this is your argument, remember - then taking it for a cheap whim is even more ridiculous. If some life is good, then more life is better - and the sooner you kill an animal, the worse the problem, by your own standards.

This is what I mean about inconsistency, RF. You need to follow through the consequences of your arguments.

I'm raising them knowing that they will die. I simply choose when.

But giving life to something so that it will exist and then die is not in and of itself immoral. Or the act of having children would be immoral.

As to the environment. I'm not against steps to mitigate environmental impact. I don't see that as an argument that eating animals is per se immoral.[/quote]

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 04:29 PM
Repeating, aggressively, not only that you're RIGHT (!) but that you don't even have to explain why you're right would certainly come across as smug in any other topic of debate.

You are wrong. I said that eating meat hasn't been shown to be wrong. I am not claiming that eating meat is right.


Imagine a hypothetical Iranian: "It's legal to stone homosexuals to death, and NO-ONE has explained why it's wrong!". That's what you sound like, Ken.

That doesn't quite fit with my philosophy that people should be allowed the freedom to do what they want, as long as it's not impeding on other's freedoms or damaging to society.


No, I equated "fun" with "taste" and asked for the difference between the two.

If it's wrong to kill an animal for fun (to satiate one particular whim), on what basis can killing for the satiation of a similar whim be justified?

People eat meat for taste, they don't kill animals for taste.


The answer to this question requires either that you explain why "taste" is not the same thing as "fun", or that meat eating has a positive case above any beyond killing for kicks. Either would be a starting point for a meaningful discussion.

It would be meaningful if you actually gave a reason as to why eating meat is wrong. So far, you only have shown that too much livestock breeding can impact the environment.

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:29 PM
But what does it mean to be "the best person you can be". I won't forget your question but I want to resolve this first.

Taking reasonable steps to increase the good I do to the world and decrease the harm. It's not that complicated.

He enjoys the killing for the sake of killing. I don't.

You cannot satiate your whim without death. Neither can he.

But you haven't told me why he is immoral. We can't address your "torture" issue because we don't know what basis to declare killing for enjoyment immoral.

That was discussed in the "Animal Rights" thread and is a long, complex and intricate argument that (in my case) draws mainly on questions of interests and agency. But that's by the by, really: if we can find a point of agreement that the duck-killing kid is at fault, then we can skip the preamble. Again, we're talking about consistency here.

I would argue (in fact, I know) that you hold moral positions towards animals - you are in favour of animal cruelty laws; you've said as much yourself. So let's take that as axiomatic, since we both agree. What I'm interested in is why you find one set of behaviours OK and another problematic, when the only difference I can see is that one satiates the taste buds and the other satiates another set of pleasure-receptors.

On what grounds does taste get elevated above the thrill of the kill? On what grounds do you, personally, find one OK and the other problematic?

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 04:33 PM
It's not an altruistic action, because you cannot act altruistically towards something that does not exist.

Did you just make the argument that these animals should be extinct rather than live a full life just to be eaten at the end of it?

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:34 PM
You are wrong. I said that eating meat hasn't been shown to be wrong. I am not claiming that eating meat is right.

What's the opposite of "wrong", Ken?


That doesn't quite fit with my philosophy that people should be allowed the freedom to do what they want, as long as it's not impeding on other's freedoms or damaging to societyRemember the UN report? Remember how meat-eating "damages society" more than the vegan alternative?

If you're against damaging society, how can you defend your socially-destructive diet?


People eat meat for taste, they don't kill animals for taste.Ken - that steak is DEAD, dude. If it wasn't dead, you couldn't eat it.



It would be meaningful if you actually gave a reason as to why eating meat is wrong. So far, you only have shown that too much livestock breeding can impact the environment.Yes. And eating meat involves breeding livestock. :rolleyes: You agree with all the premises:

1) You agree that eating meat is more damaging than the alternative
2) You agree that people should not in good conscience engage in damaging activities
3) You are against killing for fun
4) You understand that animals must die to enjoy the taste of meat.

You agree with all the points that underpin the argument. YOUR OWN REASONING shows that eating meat is wrong.

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:37 PM
Did you just make the argument that these animals should be extinct rather than live a full life just to be eaten at the end of it?

Why would they be extinct, Ken?

If we want to keep them alive -- if their continuation as a species is our paramount reason for eating them -- we could raise them in exactly the same way we do now, but just not kill them half-way though.

Or were you making it up as you went along when you decided to head down this particular tangent?

Hey! I know! To save the panda, maybe we can all go out and eat panda steak tomorrow...

volatile
7th July 2009, 04:41 PM
Pointing out that you (and all of us) are not perfect is the point though. Almost every convenience, comfort or pleasure we take has some moral cost, and we all decide where to draw that line. We could live like the Jains and eat only fruit that falls off trees and wear masks to avoid breathing in tiny bugs.

We could. And a convincing case could be made that we should, perhaps. This, of course, does not invalidate other forms of behaviour in the meantime. That I'm not perfect does not excuse your bad behaviour. Quite the reverse.

"You shouldn't litter!" "Well, some companies are pumping sewage into the sea!". It doesn't matter. That we are not perfect is an argument to work towards perfection, not just to give up and say "to hell with it", particularly when the sacrifices are minimal. Being vegan is EASY and the gains are HUGE.

Cavemonster
7th July 2009, 04:42 PM
Why would they be extinct, Ken?


They would be extinct because they cannot survive without human aid, they have been bred, and the landscape changed and animals transported out of context, so that they can only live with a lot of help from humans, feed, land etc. And that stuff ain't cheap. As soon as there's no economic reason to raise them (meat, eggs, milk) there's no way to keep humans sheeling out all that money to keep breeding them and keep them alive.

When swine flew broke out, the zoo in Iran quarantined the only pig in the country. If we didn't eat meat eggs or dairy, after a few generations, farm animals would only live in zoos.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 04:42 PM
What's the opposite of "wrong", Ken?

Do you think homosexuality is wrong?


Remember the UN report? Remember how meat-eating "damages society" more than the vegan alternative?

That is not evidence that eating meat is damaging to society. It's evidence that too much livestock is damaging to the environment. Nice try though.


Ken - that steak is DEAD, dude. If it wasn't dead, you couldn't eat it.

I've never killed a cow for it's beef. Someone else does and provides it for me to eat.


Yes. And eating meat involves breeding livestock.

Unless it doesn't, like when a person hunts for his meat.


1) You agree that eating meat is more damaging than the alternative
2) You agree that people should not in good conscience engage in damaging activities
3) You are against killing for fun
4) You understand that animals must die to enjoy the taste of meat.

You agree with all the points that underpin the argument. YOUR OWN REASONING shows that eating meat is wrong.

1. No, I did not.
2. Yes.
3. I did not say that.
4. Eventually, yes. I've eaten live animals before though. It's more fresh.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 04:46 PM
Why would they be extinct, Ken?

If we want to keep them alive -- if their continuation as a species is our paramount reason for eating them -- we could raise them in exactly the same way we do now, but just not kill them half-way though.

And then what? What would be the purpose? If we kept raising the cows, and then not kill them, it would be just as harmful to the environment, would it not?

I didn't make this up, you did.

"It's not an altruistic action, because you cannot act altruistically towards something that does not exist. "

What did you mean by something that does not exist?

Ferguson
7th July 2009, 04:50 PM
That's not a strawman. In fact, it was posed, initially, as a question. If taste is the satiation of one whim, on what grounds can it be defended whilst another (similar) whim condemned? I don't see that you, or anyone, has attempted to address that very salient point. What is the difference?

The sociopathic 'whim' to torture an animal for your own gratification and the human 'whim' to seek nourishment are not "similar" no matter how many times you repeat so.


It results in less harm, is internally consistent and can make a positive case for itself. Now we really are going in circles.

Less harm? To whom? Do you really intend to feed the world with veggies and B12 supplements?

Do you live in a home? Why? Is it because of the sick sadistic pleasure you get by living in a house made from brutalized trees?


You have - again - pretended that the arguments have not been made, rather than actually address them. That doesn't speak strongly for your position, frankly.
Pot, I'd like to introduce you to Kettle.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 04:58 PM
One immediate one is dropping litter. "I don't like carrying trash around" is not an argument in favour of littering. Another, more extreme one, is paedophilia - "I don't like having sex with adults" is not an argument for having sex with children.It could be. I think one needs to take the aggregate in it's entirely. But you've given a laundry list of examples (I asked for them) but not told me why they are immoral or that the arguments are insufficent. You seem to think I'm just going to accept them.

Not immoral in and of itself, no. As I said, it is not inherently wrong to eat meat. But eating it when tasty, nutritionally-equivalent sources are readily available - that's when it becomes immoral, because it is at that point that you let your personal whim over-ride your good conscience. What is this "good conscience"? Are you saying that I should have it or that every person has it or that I should simply know better?

Who said suffering? I'm talking about death. As far as I can see, the duck-killing kid is immoral even if he breaks the ducks' necks quickly and painlessly.Ok, but you've not told me why it is immoral. You seem to appeal to my natural inclination to find such an act immoral. How do I know that isn't simply social mores or my involved sense at work?

And, perhaps relevantly, perhaps not, his actions would be a crime in the UK either way.I accept social strictures. Eating meat in the US isn't illegal.

Your whims are only satisfied by animal death, like his. How is that not sadistic?I don't take pleasure in the death of the animal. If there was a famine and you killed an animal for food that would make you sadistic?

We have, RF. No - you - HAVEN'T!

You cannot act in the interests of something that will not exist. Asserted. This isn't axiomatic.

If altruism is your goal - of you have these animal's interests at heart - then killing them becomes even less tenable.It's a contract. I have both of our interests at heart. I give it something and it gives me something.

You are now reduced to simply asserting things.


After all, if the gift of life is so precious - and this is your argument, remember - then taking it for a cheap whim is even more ridiculous.It wouldn't live if I didn't have a reason to grant it life. So your argument doesn't fly.

If some life is good, then more life is better - and the sooner you kill an animal, the worse the problem, by your own standards. But some life is better than no life and no life is what it would have had. It's a contract. I give it X amount of years in return for food.

Volitile, I know, that in your mind, you think you've been oh so clever at rebutting my argument but you haven't. Having some life is still better than having no life.

Dennets argument still holds true. From an evolutionary stand point domesticated animals have evolved survival traits that include humans.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 05:07 PM
You cannot satiate your whim without death. Neither can he.I know that you see the two as different but I can't find a reason to equate them. If I hire someone to work for me then I can keep him in a room performing meanial tasks. That's not the same as if I took away someone's freedom for 8 hours a day purely for the pleasure of it.

Your argument doesn't fly.

I would argue (in fact, I know) that you hold moral positions towards animals - you are in favour of animal cruelty laws; you've said as much yourself.Yes, because I percieve moral positions toward animals.

So let's take that as axiomatic, since we both agree. What I'm interested in is why you find one set of behaviours OK and another problematic, when the only difference I can see is that one satiates the taste buds and the other satiates another set of pleasure-receptors.

On what grounds does taste get elevated above the thrill of the kill? On what grounds do you, personally, find one OK and the other problematic?Perhaps it is an evolved sense. Perhaps it is indoctrination. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

You can't have it both ways. If you want me to question my sense of morality about one issue by appealing to an innate sense for another then I have a right to be moraly skeptical about my innate sense.

If you want to argue that it is ok to kill a duck for the pleasure of it in the abstract I'm happy to consider your argument and not dismiss the argument because of my innate feelings.

Do you understand that? I cannot say that my innate feelings against animal cruelty are moral truths.

GreNME
7th July 2009, 06:20 PM
When you only present two alternatives as if they are the only choices, it surely is. Same goes for your strawmen ("you enjoy killing animals for fun") and your equivocations ("what's the difference?").
That's not a strawman. In fact, it was posed, initially, as a question. If taste is the satiation of one whim, on what grounds can it be defended whilst another (similar) whim condemned? I don't see that you, or anyone, has attempted to address that very salient point. What is the difference?

Asserting that it's not a strawman does not automagically fulfill your wish. The reason is that it's not killing animals for fun, it's killing animals for food. Just because you're unwilling to acknowledge the distinction does not remove or reduce that distinction for anyone else. The fact that you continually fail to give a solid argument why I should join you in making no distinction is why this keeps coming back up.

First, you haven't defined why the death of one animal should be considered equal to the death of a different animal.
People don't eat ducks? Or shall we talk about killing cows for kicks? If talking about two species for illustrative purposes is too abstract, then we can be more direct. It's interesting that you'd rather nit-pick than discuss the points on the table, though.

It's more interesting that you're dodging what I actually said and instead arguing against what you may wish I said. Can you honestly and truthfully say right now that you are not equating the death of one animal to be equal to the death of a different animal? You can choose any two animals you like, because that's beside the point. The point is that you are equating the death of any given animal to the death of any other given animal, regardless of any other circumstances or conditions, when a human being is involved in the killing. Is this not so?

Second, given the first, you have insufficiently supported the (supposed) inherent wrong associated with eating livestock.
You've seen the environmental numbers.

The two things wrong with this is that first it has nothing to do with killing (or, if you want to split hairs, harming) animals, which has been part and parcel with every one of your other arguments, and as such is a non-sequitur (that I've addressed); second, I've already pointed out the issue with genetically engineered crops as just one example of how the environmental problem has to do with the entire food industry, so bringing up the farting cows is intentionally using only a part of a known issue that you find rhetorically convenient while ignoring that the problem as a whole has to do with production and the whole industry, which is not inherent solely to eating meat.

Third, given the previous two, you have not presented a single argument that explains why the value system you are applying is intrinsically more moral.
It results in less harm, is internally consistent and can make a positive case for itself. Now we really are going in circles.

Considering you dodged the first and evaded on the second, this is simply an (unsupported) assertion on your part.

You have - again - pretended that the arguments have not been made, rather than actually address them. That doesn't speak strongly for your position, frankly.

I understand completely that you feel completely convinced that these arguments you're making are totally consistent and morally irrefutable. Really, I do. However, I find them unconvincing and inconsistently applied. The primary reason obviously lies in the value you place on the morality of raising and consuming animals versus what value I place on it. However, the reason you keep running into a problem convincing me that your values are inherently superior is because, ultimately, they're subjective and arbitrary, requiring certain preconceived opinions that I simply do not share, the main one being that eating meat is a matter of morality in the first place. I'm not arguing to you that eating meat is either more moral or even moral in its own right compared to vegetarian and vegan diets. I think they're all morally neutral dietary choices that are fine by me.

And to show an example of where you constantly ignore arguments that are plenty valid but inconveniently still not making the dietary choice of eating meat a moral issue, I submit the following post from several pages back where you failed to address my personal position even though I answered you with a brief summary of what's remained my position throughout this thread:
I don't think I've ever seen either of you two articulate why diet is not a moral issue (in fact, I seem to remember both of you making moral arguments against animal cruelty).

For the sake of clarity - and the avoidance of strawmen - would you mind explaining why your dietary choices are not moral issues?

What? You obviously mean dietary choice regarding eating meat, but I'm not saying that what I eat doesn't have a moral value. I'm saying that the values are applied differently and to different things in my case. Like I stated many pages back, I feel that there are very logical and reasonably moral reasons for lowering consumption of meat, not only for the ability to better improve the conditions for livestock but also to minimize the ecological toll (keep in mind, I'm into conservationism) and quite possibly to lower greenhouse emissions (though I'm not 100% on that last one). The value system I apply to it doesn't have a problem with the death, but instead on the waste, and I'd agree that the current system for industrial food (with both meat and plant foodstuffs) is horrendously wasteful.

There's more as far as details and gradation within the value system, but if I had to give a quick nutshell that pretty much works.

Not surprisingly, Cain, Kevin, and yourself have not yet once addressed what is inherently wrong about this position.

Kevin_Lowe
7th July 2009, 06:40 PM
Hey Volatile, I think you're beginning to see why we gave up on them.

Neither RandFan nor Thaibixerken is capable of consistency on this issue. You can try finding common ground with them to reason from as much as you like, but as soon as you start the reasoning process they'll be running back to undercut that common ground. I cite RandFan's comical demand for you to justify RandFan's stated preference for laws against animal cruelty, and Thaiboxerken's dishonest attempts to equivocate between eating factory-farmed meat in the modern consumer context and eating road kill, a confusion Cain cleared up repeatedly.

GrenMe of course doesn'y even know what a straw man or equivocation is, but he's happy to post whatever he thinks sounds like an intelligent contribution.

You can't have a rational argument with irrational people. These aren't rational people, they're just irrational people who have hung out around the JREF forums long enough to ape the language rational people use.

GreNME
7th July 2009, 06:45 PM
GrenMe of course doesn'y even know what a straw man or equivocation is, but he's happy to post whatever he thinks sounds like an intelligent contribution.

Ahh, Kevin Lowe: poster boy for the Dunning-Kruger effect (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyOHJa5Vj5Y)

XyOHJa5Vj5Y

RandFan
7th July 2009, 07:12 PM
Hey Volatile, I think you're beginning to see why we gave up on them.You mean you couldn't answer simple questions.

Neither RandFan nor Thaibixerken is capable of consistency on this issue. You can try finding common ground with them to reason from as much as you like, but as soon as you start the reasoning process they'll be running back to undercut that common ground. I cite RandFan's comical demand for you to justify RandFan's stated preference for laws against animal cruelty...You are so dishonest. You yell over and over that I can't justify morality by adaptive behaviors or indoctrination (which I agree with). Yet when Volatile appeals to that base perception you accuse me of demanding that Volatile justify my preference.

That's intelectually dishonest. I asked him if I couldn't rely on my perceptions of morality then what should I base it on?

You can't have a rational argument with irrational people. Translation, you can't argue with people who don't agree with you and won't let you slide on your BS.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 07:13 PM
Ahh, Kevin Lowe: poster boy for the Dunning-Kruger effect (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyOHJa5Vj5Y)

XyOHJa5Vj5YI don't know how many times I told Lowe to look in the mirror.


DEMONSTRABLE FACTS:
I answered his questions and responded to his arguments.
He didn't answer my questions and he refused to respond to my arguments.

Telaynay's G'son
7th July 2009, 08:06 PM
If we stopped raising livestock, I think most of those animal species would become extinct. What environmental impact would that have? Would it be negative or positive?

Here in the US according to the USFW, there are ~9 million feral hogs roaming loose scattered among ~11 states. Most were livestock ~2 generations previous as it appears they can revert back to the wild state in that short of a time.

How many people have heard of "woods cattle"?

They're cattle that have been loosed to free range roam and forage off the land and are rounded up once a year by the owners.

Now...if you've ever been downwind of a cattle feedlot or worse, a hog confinement the stench alone will make a person consider the vegan route. Plus, the antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. they've been shot full with is why I try to keep the freezer stocked with wild game.

Whole food...not crap from a box.

tyr_13
7th July 2009, 08:36 PM
Here in the US according to the USFW, there are ~9 million feral hogs roaming loose scattered among ~11 states. Most were livestock ~2 generations previous as it appears they can revert back to the wild state in that short of a time.

How many people have heard of "woods cattle"?

They're cattle that have been loosed to free range roam and forage off the land and are rounded up once a year by the owners.

Now...if you've ever been downwind of a cattle feedlot or worse, a hog confinement the stench alone will make a person consider the vegan route. Plus, the antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. they've been shot full with is why I try to keep the freezer stocked with wild game.

Whole food...not crap from a box.

This has what to do with eating meat? Apart from the other issues. Sounds like a good topic for a different thread though.

thaiboxerken
7th July 2009, 09:02 PM
Whole food...not crap from a box.

This is an argument against certain livestock raising practices. The vegans here are trying to convince us not to eat meat at all because it's evil immoral.

Oh, and I've been to factory livestock farms. It did not deter me from eating meat. I also don't buy into the "dangers" of anti-biotics and growth hormones, etc.

Kevin_Lowe
7th July 2009, 09:04 PM
I don't know how many times I told Lowe to look in the mirror.


DEMONSTRABLE FACTS:
I answered his questions and responded to his arguments.
He didn't answer my questions and he refused to respond to my arguments.


I guess you did respond in a sense, but your responses and arguments were nonsensical and self-contradictory, and failed to demonstrate any understanding of the points they were presented as a response to. You frequently misused vital terms ("contradiction", "hedonistic relativism", "absolutism", "objective", "objectivism") making any attempt to discuss those terms pointless, you failed to grasp the urgency of the problem with the naturalistic fallacy despite having it explained to you countless times, you freely appealed to mutually contradictory and well-defined moral philosophies whenever it suited you, and now you are demanding that others prove moral claims that you yourself have recently claimed to believe in.

(Yes, I'm aware you denied doing all of these things. That just means you aren't aware of doing them, which just means your problems are with your philosophical skills rather than with your honesty).

I don't feel that such posts earn you some sort of credit, which you can cash in for opportunities to change the subject.

Rational discussion can only take place if you hold yourself to certain standards of discourse. To begin with that means understanding the terms you use, and using them consistently. It means thinking about the contradictions in your position when they are pointed out to you, and then rectifying your position so it is no longer self-contradictory. (If you aren't feigning and you genuinely can't see the problems, then rational discussion is actually impossible).

Can you honestly say that you've been using the terms I mentioned consistently? The point at which I gave up on you was when you went fully irrational and started claiming that it was okay for you to contradict yourself freely because constantly contradicting yourself was inherent to moral philosophy. (I have no words for how colossally inane that statement was).

You are so dishonest. You yell over and over that I can't justify morality by adaptive behaviors or indoctrination (which I agree with). Yet when Volatile appeals to that base perception you accuse me of demanding that Volatile justify my preference.

That's intelectually dishonest. I asked him if I couldn't rely on my perceptions of morality then what should I base it on?

Volatile was using your statement that you support laws against animal cruelty as a mutually agreed-upon starting point for discussion. He assumed, because you said you supported such laws, that it was not necessary to present a justification for such support because both of you already supported those laws.

That's how rational argument works. You establish premises you can agree upon, and argue from there.

You don't do that though. When Volatile started arguing from that mutually agreed-upon premise, you immediately demanded that Volatile justify the premise you already agreed with.

Do you remember an earlier statement of mine, that you responded to with "tl;dr"? Here, I'll grab it for you.


What you want to do is make a raft of claims like "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which you would desire of other people were your positions reversed", and "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which maximise happiness and minimise suffering for all affected, morally relevant entities", and "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which respect rational entities as worthy of respect as ends in themselves", and "Y'know, kinda sorta sometimes moral acts are those which we think are moral because of our evolved nature", and "Y'know, kinda sorta there are no objective moral claims at all" and "Y'now, kinda sorta moral claims are just the product of social convenience" and "Y'know, kinda sorta moral claims vary in different times and places and that's cool too, I'm not saying Vlad the Impaler was an immoral guy for his time and place".

You grab a sample bag of noises from every philosophy you come across, and then every time you want to justify an opinion you rifle around in it until you find something that suits you. When I point out that you are being inconsistent you get hugely offended because as far as you're concerned, the more random stuff in your grab bag the more philosophically and scientifically erudite you are and the more important your opinion is. In your world you don't need to apply reason to your grab-bag (although "Y'know, kinda sorta we can use reason to sort these claims out" is in your bag as well just for when you want to pretend to be rational).

The other advantage of the grab-bag is that any time anyone tries to pin you down on your claims, you can just point to a contradictory claim you made earlier and accuse them of attacking a straw man.

I think you snipped that and ignored it because it hit home.

Yet here you are doing it again - as soon as Volatile starts trying to engage with you rationally, you back up and start saying "I only kinda, sorta said I was against animal cruelty, I say all sorts of things, you can't hold me to any of them! Now you have to justify that premise, that I freely agreed to a minute ago".

"Kinda, sorta" believing in sixteen different moral philosophies of convenience isn't being nuanced, it's just being confused.

It's starting to look like your real moral philosophy, when we get down to brass tacks, is "This is all inherently so confusing we can't say anything for certain. Who is to say what makes something right or wrong? Nobody can ever make any moral claims, really. Now since you can't make a moral claim that I shouldn't XXXXXXXXXX, I'm going to do it".

In your case XXXXXXXXXX is eating meat, but that argument works when XXXXXXXXXX is a crime against humanity too, because it works where XXXXXXXXXX is anything.

Telaynay's G'son
7th July 2009, 09:31 PM
This has what to do with eating meat? Apart from the other issues. Sounds like a good topic for a different thread though.

Ty,

Mea culpa as it was in response to a previous post. :o

Shalamar
7th July 2009, 09:32 PM
Its like a religious argument: "I know my religion is right, and your beliefs mean you're going to rot in Hell!"

That said, I have a pair of bacon wrapped steaks thawing in the fridge. Mmmm.. Dead BBQ'ed cow...

Telaynay's G'son
7th July 2009, 09:43 PM
This is an argument against certain livestock raising practices. The vegans here are trying to convince us not to eat meat at all because it's evil immoral.

Oh, and I've been to factory livestock farms. It did not deter me from eating meat. I also don't buy into the "dangers" of anti-biotics and growth hormones, etc.

Well, they sure are nasty places from whence a store-bought steak comes from.

When I lived in Nebraska, the guy officing down the hall was a PI that did a lot of work for cattle ranchers. They hired him to pose as a feedlot wrangler to make sure (among other things) their cattle actually were getting the innoculations they were supposed to be receiving as (apparently) there were some feedlot operators with a bent toward shortchanging those items.

I didn't mean to imply antibiotics were somehow "dangerous" as they're certainly required considering the disease and filth endemic in feedlots. But heck, the dead pile is certainly a don't miss scenic sight on everyone's tour agenda.

I just choose to avoid beef/swine/poultry originating from those sources whenever possible. Once you've had personal/custom raised beef, pork or poultry the store bought stuff is certainly inferior especially in taste. I realize not everyone has access to such and more's the pity but it's like our first trip to Hawaii and getting some local pineapple versus the stuff you have on the mainland. Not even close.

RandFan
7th July 2009, 10:05 PM
{assertion snipped}

Rational discussion can only take place if you hold yourself to certain standards of discourse.Look in the mirror.

And please, read and consider what I mean and not what you THINK I mean.

He assumed, because you said you supported such laws, that it was not necessary to present a justification for such support because both of you already supported those laws.And I explained why I had reason to question those. I don't claim that those things "ought to be illegal" simply because of my perceptions or that I should govern my behavior simply because of my perceptions (naturalistic fallacy). Nor should an arbitrary perception be a base line simply because someone else agrees with me. That's just dumb.

You are being inconsistent.

Absent an argument for why they should be permissible I've no reason to think that they should. I don't rule out such an argument. At this point in my life I doubt one will be made.

That's how rational argument works. You establish premises you can agree upon, and argue from there.I only agree that I percieve these things as wrong and I support such laws. But that is simply due to my current perceptions. I've good reason to be skeptical of them. We need to be careful crafting "ought's" from "is's".

Let's start from a base line and not some cherry picked mutual agreement that relies on naturalistic fallacy. I could pick the converse and argue that since I perceive eating meat as moral that animal cruelty is moral. And what if I am in a discussion with someone where we mutually agree that eating meat is moral. Should I then reason that animal cruelty is moral?

That some arbitrary and cherry picked perception is mutually agreed upon should not be the basis for seemingly contrary positions. If for no other reason than it's a naturalistic fallacy but it is also arbitrary.

You don't do that though. When Volatile started arguing from that mutually agreed-upon premise, you immediately demanded that Volatile justify the premise you already agreed with. Not true, I agreed that I perceive something as moral. That I perceive something as moral doesn't mean that the perception alone should govern my behavior (naturalistic fallacy) nor should seemingly contrary views be deemed immoral because of this cherry picked basis or because it is mutually agreed on. I could pick the converse and find someone to mutually agree that eating meat is moral and then conclude that since I perceive eating meat as moral that animal cruelty is moral.

Yet here you are doing it again - as soon as Volatile starts trying to engage with you rationally, you back up and start saying "I only kinda, sorta said I was against animal cruelty, I say all sorts of things, you can't hold me to any of them! Now you have to justify that premise, that I freely agreed to a minute ago".That's dishonest. I have been consistent. I perceive certain things as moral and certain things as immoral because of adaptive behaviors and social indoctrination. It makes no sense that I cherry pick a single moral perception as a base line for seemingly contrary positions. Hell, I could cherry pick my perception that eating meat is moral and reason that animal cruelty is moral.

It's starting to look like your real moral philosophy, when we get down to brass tacks, is "This is all inherently so confusing we can't say anything for certain. Who is to say what makes something right or wrong? Nobody can ever make any moral claims, really. Now since you can't make a moral claim that I shouldn't XXXXXXXXXX, I'm going to do it". I'm a moral skeptic but that doesn't mean that I don't have perceptions of what is and isn't moral and that I can't consider arguments and reason my morality. That I'm a moral skeptic doesn't obviate my ability to feel compassion and empathy or that I can't reason rules of behavior.

Sorry Kevin but you are creating straw men and YOU are being inconsistent. When I debate with you about my perceptions and indoctrinated sense of morality you protest. When Volatile wants to appeal to the self same sense you demand that I must accept this cherry picked perception simply because Volatile agrees with it. Nonsense.

Make up your mind.

Kevin_Lowe
7th July 2009, 10:59 PM
Look in the mirror.

And please, read and consider what I mean and not what you THINK I mean.

I don't think it should be a starting point for discussion. Just because I perceive something as moral or immoral doesn't mean that my perceptions alone should govern my behavior (naturalistic fallacy). Nor should I simply cherry pick a perception to form a basis for all of my other decisions.

Consistency, RandFan, consistency. That's all we ask for.

If you agree with the claim "we should have laws against animal cruelty" and I agree with the claim "we should have laws against animal cruelty" then, if you are being consistent, we can begin a conversation about what follows logically from that claim. It doesn't necessarily matter why each of us believes that claim, as long as we both believe it.

You can call that "forming a basis for all of my other decisions" if you like, but thats not quite right. It's assuming that if you do believe it, then all your other claims must be consistent with it. We don't care what is based on what, necessarily. We just care that if you claim to believe A, you can't believe anything that necessitates not-A.

And I explained why I had reason to question those. I don't claim that those things "ought to be illegal" because of my perceptions or that I should govern my behavior simply because of my perceptions (naturalistic fallacy). Nor should an arbitrary perception be a base line simply because someone else agrees with me. That's just dumb.

You are being inconsistent.

Actually I think it's you. You claim to believe things (like "we should have laws against animal cruelty"), but when pressed it turns out you only kinda-sorta believe them.

Kinda-sorta believing in several contradictory things is incompatible with having a rationally justifiable position.


I don't agree with the premise. These things might indeed be moral. Let's start from a base line and not some cherry picked mutual agreement that relies on naturalistic fallacy. I could pick the converse and argue that since I perceive eating meat as moral that animal cruelty is moral.

Who said the claim that "we should have laws against animal cruelty" was based on the naturalistic fallacy? It looks to me like you just made that up.

Regardless, you could believe the claim "we should have laws against animal cruelty" because a leprechaun popped out of your bum and told you it was true for all I care - we could still have a logical argument about what logically follows from that claim, if you were only consistent about it.


And what if I am in a discussion with someone where we mutually agree that eating meat is moral. Should I then reason that animal cruelty is moral?

That some arbitrary and cherry picked perception is mutually agreed upon should not be the basis for my morality. If for no other reason than it's a naturalistic fallacy but it is also arbitrary.

Once again I have trouble figuring out the logical incapacity that can give rise to such a post.

If you and someone else have a discussion starting from the mutually agreed upon premise that eating meat is moral, then you could (assuming you argued rationally) mutually come up with conclusions consistent with the idea that eating meat is moral.

If you and someone else have a discussion starting from the mutually agreed upon premise that animal cruelty should be illegal, then you could (assuming you argued rationally) mutually come up with conclusions consistent with the idea that animal cruelty should be illegal.

In neither case would your conclusions be true unless your premise was true, but since you and Volatile both agreed that the premise was true, what's the problem?


Not true, I agreed that I perceive something as moral. That I perceive something as moral doesn't mean that the perception alone should govern my behavior (naturalistic fallacy) and all other decisions should stem from that cherry picked basis. I could pick the converse and find someone to mutually agree that eating meat is moral and then conclude that since I perceive eating meat as moral that animal cruelty is moral.

That's dishonest. I have been consistent. I perceive certain things as moral and certain things as immoral because of adaptive behaviors and social indoctrination. It makes no sense that I cherry pick a single moral perception as a base line for all of my morality. Hell, I could cherry pick my perception that eating meat is moral and reason that animal cruelty is moral.

How can you claim with a straight face to be "consistent"?

If you were consistent, then by definition you would not believe A while also believing anything that necessitated not-A. That's what consistency means.

Yet you argue "You cannot ask me to show how my beliefs are consistent with my claim A. That would be cherry-picking. It is cherry-picking because I also believe things which necessitate not-A. You could equally well cherry-pick one of those beliefs and ask me to be consistent with that belief, in which case I would have to claim not-A. Therefore I do not ever have to show that my beliefs are consistent, because they are inconsistent".

Inconsistency is incompatible with rationality.


I'm a moral skeptic but that doesn't mean that I don't have perceptions of what is and isn't moral and that I can't consider arguments and reason my morality. That I'm a moral skeptics doesn't obviate my ability to feel compassion and empathy or that I can't reason rules of behavior.

Sorry Kevin but you are creating straw men and YOU are being inconsistent. When I debate with you about my perceptions and indoctrinated sense of morality you protest. When Volatile wants to appeal to the self same sense you demand that I must accept this cherry picked perception simply because Volatile agrees with it. Nonsense.

Make up your mind.

If you have two perceptions, A and B, and they cannot both be true, then if you want to call yourself rational or consistent then you must abandon one.

Or at the very least you must admit "I believe mutually contradictory things and I'm confused, but I see no way out of it. I know my position is wrong, I just don't know what is right".

What you can't say, if you are honest, rational and consistent, is "I believe both of my perceptions to be true".

RandFan
7th July 2009, 11:23 PM
If you agree with the claim "we should have laws against animal cruelty" and I agree with the claim "we should have laws against animal cruelty" then, if you are being consistent, we can begin a conversation about what follows logically from that claim. It doesn't necessarily matter why each of us believes that claim, as long as we both believe it. You are not being consistent. At the beginning of this thread you railed against any natural basis. Hell, I couldn't even mention it. Now, ta da... it doesn't matter.

I'm bothered by animal cruelty. It seems reasonable to try and address the issue. Absent an argument to allow animal cruelty and given current social more's I'm happy to support animal cruelty laws to reduce animal suffering.

I don't percieve eating animals in any sense as troubling. On top of that I've a good reason to think that animal husbandry can be a good thing for animals. I believe that existince is in and of itself a benifit. We see animals in the wild as a good thing and they must suffer day to day predation, exposure, disease, etc.. So we give animals an opportunity to live a life free of want and suffering for the trade off of providing us food.

If you were consistent, then by definition you would not believe A while also believing anything that necessitated not-A. That's what consistency means.This discussion came up not because I was trying to argue that on one hand animal cruelty is ok and on the other it isn't.


This discussion arose because I objected to Volatiles demand that I form a base line using my natural and or indoctrinated sense of morality and then apply that to all other areas. My objections have been:
My perceptions alone, in any single area, should not be a base line for my moral behavior (as you have argued) as I am skeptical of them.
I don't equate eating meat as animal cruelty (I'm happy to be skeptical of that also).
I've got to log off for awhile folks. I had two very significant projects come in today and they are both on rush.

Best of luck.

Kevin_Lowe
7th July 2009, 11:55 PM
You are not being consistent. At the beginning of this thread you railed against any natural basis. Hell, I couldn't even mention it. Now, ta da... it doesn't matter.

This is very, very basic reasoning. You should be embarrassed that someone has to explain this to you.

If you think A is true and I think A is false, and we want to reconcile our different beliefs, then we might have a discussion about how we came to our beliefs. You might say "A is true because believing A is true is natural", and I might say "Ah, but that is the naturalistic fallacy, so that argument for A is no good".

On the other hand if we both agree that A is true, but you think that B is true as well whereas I think that B is false, then we might have a discussion about how A relates to B. I might say "A and B cannot be true at the same time, you see" and you might say "Good point, I must abandon one of my two beliefs".

In this case the reason why you and Volatile each believe animal cruelty laws to be a good idea is not currently relevant. You could believe it because of fallacious reasoning or the bum-leprechaun or whatever, it's not relevant to that particular argument.

Accusing me of inconsistency is just a tactic to get the focus of the conversation off the actual problem: That you endorse laws against animal cruelty, yet you vigorously resist engaging with any argument that starts from the premise that laws against cruelty are somehow morally justified.


I'm bothered by animal cruelty. It seems reasonable to try and address the issue. Absent an argument to allow animal cruelty and given current social more's I'm happy to support animal cruelty laws to reduce animal suffering.

I don't percieve eating animals in any sense as troubling. On top of that I've a good reason to think that animal husbandry can be a good thing for animals. I believe that existince is in and of itself a benifit. We see animals in the wild as a good thing and they must suffer day to day predation, exposure, disease, etc.. So we give animals an opportunity to live a life free of want and suffering for the trade off of providing us food.

Okay. So the topic you should be responding to is whether or not these two beliefs are logically incompatible.

Volatile tried to argue that they were incompatible, and instead of arguing otherwise you started demanding that Volatile justify belief in the claim that animal cruelty laws are morally justified.

That's inconsistency.


This discussion came up not because I was trying to argue that on one hand animal cruelty is ok and on the other it isn't.

This discussion arose because I objected to Volatiles demand that I form a base line using my natural and or indoctrinated sense of morality and then apply that to all other areas. My objections have been:
My perceptions alone, in any single area, should not be a base line for my moral behavior (as you have argued) as I am skeptical of them.
I don't equate eating meat as animal cruelty (I'm happy to be skeptical of that also).


I just explained to you in some detail why it was incorrect to refer to consistency as taking your "perceptions alone, in any single area" as a "base line". That is a straw man. What is based on what is not the topic under discussion. We are talking about whether all of your beliefs are logically consistent with all of your other beliefs.

If any of your beliefs are inconsistent with any of your other beliefs, then you are wrong about something. We don't necessarily know what right away, but we know you are being inconsistent.

The fact that you claim to be skeptical of your own beliefs is all well and good, but only if you act on that skepticism by rejecting the beliefs which are incompatible with your other beliefs, or by just admitting that your beliefs are incoherent and you don't know where you have gone wrong.

Otherwise it's not skepticism in any positive sense. It's just incoherent wishy-washiness.

To come back to a very important point: Are you still claiming that constantly contradicting yourself is a necessary feature of moral philosophy? You seem to be at least flirting with the idea that not contradicting yourself is a desirable goal, which might indicate progress, but if you are clinging to that incredibly inane claim then I really doubt we'll ever get anywhere with you using the tools of rationality. Rationality, as I have to keep explaining to you, requires consistency.

Cain
7th July 2009, 11:59 PM
So you CAN'T answer the questions? You claim there is such a thing as objective morality and I ask you if killing another person is objectively immoral and you ask me if I understand dialectics? Yes. And?

Dialectics is a form of reasoning the purpose of which, in part, is to draw out contradiction and inconsistency. It doesn't work when one of two people in a discussion/debate refuses to answer questions.

I've asked you if killing another person is objectively immoral.

As I've said many times, I shun the word "objective" in Internet discussions because people have a misunderstanding of what it means. They seemingly want to suggest that morality is woven into the fabric of the cosmos and we find it with a microscope. Or they think "objective" means "absolute," and ignore circumstances.

Let me try to explain what I mean: killing a person under certain circumstances is wrong regardless of popular belief.

I should also say this sort of thing has been said many times before.

Given that no one is advocating the torture of animals, yeah, really.

Language matters, and I've brought this point up to you earlier. There's a difference between advocating a position and thinking it's permissible. A person may not advocate doing drugs, but he can still think it's an OK thing to do (if you're into that sort of thing).

I want to also comment on your Dennett quote, which you have obnoxiously repeated:

How clever of wild sheep to have acquired that most versatile adaptation, the shepherd! By forming a symbiotic alliance with Homo sapiens, sheep could outsource their chief survival tasks: food finding and predator avoidance.

Why haven't the anti-animal rights people taken this to task for its anthropomorphism? If sheep can enter into an alliance (social contract?), cleverly outsourcing food finding and predator avoidance, then, according to many here, they should have moral standing. Metaphor? Whaaaaaaaaat?

----------------------
Realpaladin:

A rational person can see that these people will not listen to rational arguments and will chose something different, something that does work.

So it goes. Your post here, which seems to be mostly about futility of discussion, does nothing if not support the idea that morality is an outgrowth of rationality... you just think rationality itself is doomed.

On the tolerance lesson from moral relativism...
Do not just 'know' it. Use it.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but you're preaching a higher order moral principle. A morally universal principle used for interacting with other people/cultures may say, "if making a slight change in behavior has a non-trivial outcome, then you should do it." So, perhaps knowing the left-hand is seen as dirty, you consciously avoid using your left-hand. Earlier you said you're willing to forgo eating meat if we had lunch so as not to offend. All I'm saying is that these not-so-difficult concessions apply to animals as well.
----------------------------
GreNME:

Cain, we've already been over this. Also, I don't care if you call it absolute or universal or whatever, you're simply lawyering up your language at this point to use a whole lot of words to say nothing or provoke. Be clear about what you don't understand and I'll see if I can clarify. I'm not going to play guessing games trying to figure out what it is you're seeking.

I said you could clarify them using examples. Illustrating an idea with an example can make it easier to understand. Earlier in this post I talked about a trivial changes in behavior and used the example of left-handedness in order to demonstrate a generalizable principle. Do you see what I just did here? I used an example to show how examples are helpful.

------------------------

Belz has two follow up posts:

I don't know, that ant seems to writhe pretty much like it's feeling pain.

You should be wary of others accusing you of anthropomorphism any second now. I have heard things about insects (not ants) experiencing pain, and I have heard the confident reassurances that they do not. I also have to guard against my own bias: I would prefer it if insects did not feel pain, but they do or do not regardless of my wishing.

I do remember. In fact you don't seem to remember me acknowledging that. However several animals share this characteristic with plants. Also, I find it quite suspect to use that criterion because then if you will an animal without causing any suffering then you should be OK with eating meat. Since this doesn't seem to be the case one has to ask: what other criteria are you using ? If it's the "right to live", then plants should have it too.

Two (important) disagreements. The bold text is wrong, at least as meat is produced now. Even if I did have emphasize pain and only pain, then factory farming is still immoral. Now I do not use that criterion alone. While it's preferable to kill a human being in a manner that causes as little pain is possible, killing can still be wrong because humans have future interests they wish to act upon. The same goes for most animals.

Indeed, but it still has nothing to do with torture. Killing something is not torture. Killing is not cruelty. Otherwise killing plants is cruelty, as well, because the actual killing doesn't cause pain.

I'm simply asking for a logically consistent set of criteria as to why killing animals for sustenance is wrong.

One of the advantages of a transition to this discussion is that these are things we can go out and investigate. Factory farming and animal processing do not simply involve killing animals. They have to be raised, transported, and then killed, and cruelties are visited upon in animals in each of these phases. Do you say otherwise? Earlier this decade the Washington Post printed a story about an undercover investigation into where your dinner really comes from, and Congress passed a new law (with bi-partisan support).
---------------------
Kevin L. on the more thoughtless meat-supporters:

they're just irrational people who have hung out around the JREF forums long enough to ape the language rational people use.

I've tried saying this many times about RandFan specifically, but this is the clearest expression I know.

realpaladin
8th July 2009, 12:43 AM
So it goes. Your post here, which seems to be mostly about futility of discussion, does nothing if not support the idea that morality is an outgrowth of rationality... you just think rationality itself is doomed.

No, I do not think the outgrowth is doing the matter at hand any good.

It does not matter one Iota if it is or is not an outgrowth of rationality.

I even would go so far as to say that it severely hampers the case, as it lends itself for meta-discussions and diversionary 'huffing and puffing'.



On the tolerance lesson from moral relativism...

I'm not sure if you noticed, but you're preaching a higher order moral principle. A morally universal principle used for interacting with other people/cultures may say, "if making a slight change in behavior has a non-trivial outcome, then you should do it."

I have even photographic evidence that people do not care for even that. Like picking up litter which would help reducing the number of diseases drastically. Which they know it would.

So, perhaps knowing the left-hand is seen as dirty, you consciously avoid using your left-hand.

Man, you have no idea what their right hand does. The left-hand thing, by the way, is religious dogma, not really cleanliness or rationality.

Earlier you said you're willing to forgo eating meat if we had lunch so as not to offend. All I'm saying is that these not-so-difficult concessions apply to animals as well.


Well, to put it in an easy way, 'it don't hit home'. I do not feel that way towards animals. I grew up amongst them, cared for a good many of them, loved oodles of them. And I still have no qualms eating them.

Belz...
8th July 2009, 04:17 AM
Are you opposed to someone killing animals for fun? That is, are you opposed to, for example, kid going down to the local park and kicking ducks to death, because it gives him a thrill?

Okay.

First, I'd like to point out that "killing for fun" also includes hunting, so there's a wide range of behaviours, right there. Am I against non-commercial hunting/fishing ? Not really. If properly controlled it doesn't threaten the animal populations, and hopefully it's done in a way that doesn't cause more pain than necessary. In short one would have to show that it is wrong before I become opposed to the practice.

Second, "kicking ducks to death" most certainly results in excruciating pain for the ducks before they go and certainly falls into the animal torture category. So it's a clear "yes, I am opposed to this" thing. Also, if a kid does this I'd recommend a full psychiatric evaluation, lest he eventually move up to humans.

So even there it isn't a simple answer because "killing for fun" is pretty broad.

Belz...
8th July 2009, 04:21 AM
But they could prove it, and easily.

Why can't you? Why can't you even ARGUE it? You don't even have a BAD case. You don't have a case at all.

I don't mean to start a second line of argument while we're still arguing the first one, but could you confirm if you understand our contention that one has to show that eating meat is wrong, and not the other way around ?

I claim that eating meat causes demonstrable harms

If "harm" is to include death, than eating vegetables also causes harm. Again, this is something that I never got an answer to.

Belz...
8th July 2009, 04:28 AM
This is the point I was aiming at; this is the point Cain was aiming at. It's what he meant when he talked of "similar circumstances".

What's the difference between "fun" and "enjoying the taste of meat"?

The difference is very clear to me: in "killing for fun" the fun is in the kill itself. In "enjoying the taste" the fun is derived from something that is already dead.

Belz...
8th July 2009, 04:36 AM
Is "I just don't like the alternative" an argument you'd use in defense of any other action that was demonstrably harmful and which had excellent alternatives should one choose?

While we're on the subject of torture, fun and harm, I'd like to point out (yes I know I'm still all over the place when I said we should focus on one thing) that forcing people to eat things they don't like, and therefore spend the rest of their lives hating eating, can easily be considered harm at best, and torture at worst. Now, apply this to six and a half billion people.

The more I think about it, the more meat-eating seems like sadism. Can you explain to me where I'm going wrong?

Be careful not to get into this territory. If you start personalizing this argument and claiming that your opponents in this debate are monsters, then you garantee that this debate with degenerate.

We've covered this. Over and over. It's a bad argument. You are not rescuing food animals from anything. You are raising them to harm them, and causing environmental damage to boot. It's not an altruistic action, because you cannot act altruistically towards something that does not exist.

I think the point is that livestock isn't suffering much harm when compared to their wild counterparts.

Belz...
8th July 2009, 04:55 AM
Its like a religious argument: "I know my religion is right, and your beliefs beef mean you're going to rot in Hell!"

Corrected that for you ;)

Belz...
8th July 2009, 04:57 AM
You cannot satiate your whim without death. Neither can he.

But that is a far cry from saying that he enjoys killing animals. It simply is a completely different thing.

What's the opposite of "wrong", Ken?

That's the problem I have with the so-called moral objectivism. Something isn't necessarily right or wrong. It can be neither.

Cavemonster
8th July 2009, 07:14 AM
Okay.
Am I against non-commercial hunting/fishing ? Not really. If properly controlled it doesn't threaten the animal populations, and hopefully it's done in a way that doesn't cause more pain than necessary. In short one would have to show that it is wrong before I become opposed to the practice.


Heck, if hunting is done right, it can be beneficial to both the animal group and the environment.

In many places, deer often become overpopulated. If their numbers are not thinned through hunting, they will starve and suffer through the winter months and decimate certain plants.

ZirconBlue
8th July 2009, 07:18 AM
This is the point I was aiming at; this is the point Cain was aiming at. It's what he meant when he talked of "similar circumstances".

What's the difference between "fun" and "enjoying the taste of meat"?

A) I don't believe that "fun" and "enjoying the taste of meat" are the same. Eating meat is pleasurable, but is not fun. I'm not sure I can articulate the difference, but "fun" has very different connotations, to me, than, say, "pleasure" or "enjoyment". Even if I conceded that they are the same, though,
2) Killing for "fun" is enjoying the act of killing itself. Enjoying the taste of meat is taking enjoyment in the results of the act, but not enjoying the act itself.

volatile
8th July 2009, 07:25 AM
2) Killing for "fun" is enjoying the act of killing itself. Enjoying the taste of meat is taking enjoyment in the results of the act, but not enjoying the act itself.

So you're cool with necro-bestiality? Killing animals to have sex with them?

ZirconBlue
8th July 2009, 07:36 AM
So you're cool with necro-bestiality? Killing animals to have sex with them?

I don't know. For some strange reason, I've never had reason to consider the subject before. ;)

I guess I'd prefer that such people wait to use animals that are already dead, or are already being killed for some other reason, rather than killing them just to have sex with them.

I note that killing animals for sex is still just killing to derive pleasure from them, while killing animals for meat has the added benefits of providing nutrition, leather, etc, in addition to the pleasure of eating them.

GreNME
8th July 2009, 08:39 AM
GreNME:

I said you could clarify them using examples. Illustrating an idea with an example can make it easier to understand. Earlier in this post I talked about a trivial changes in behavior and used the example of left-handedness in order to demonstrate a generalizable principle. Do you see what I just did here? I used an example to show how examples are helpful.

What do you want examples of? Different cases where harm is considered justified between humans? Which nation, culture, or group do you want examples from? Which ones would be "acceptable" in your assessment? My guess is that your acceptance of this as a "what is so" is solely dependent on your own ideas about the validity of those cultural mechanisms (I know mine is). You could also look at humor, which is resplendent with examples of joy being taken at the misfortune of others, but again that's going to be subjective by its very nature (some people don't like dead baby jokes). Then you can get into areas where the first and second part begin to overlap, like criminal cases where prosecutions urge trying children as adults-- one of the reasons for this being harsher sentences, and the second being the ability to actually hold the alleged criminal more accountable for their actions since a child is considered to have less responsibility for their actions due to a more limited assignment of rights. That goes even further for those who qualify as mentally disabled-- there's a current case in TX about a group home for the disabled engaged in "fight clubs" with the patients, and it's not the patients who are being held liable for this activity. This brings us to the third part, where these more limited applications of rights to fellow humans require other humans standing in as guardians or surrogates, which is the socially accepted agreement that for these humans who are deemed unable to hold responsibility for their behavior, a third party is to retain responsibility for the choices they make to differing degrees (dependent on the case).

Like I said, you may not share in those different distinctions of values-- I don't share in all of them or have what I do share in possibly different degrees of agreement-- but arguing as if they don't exist even among humans alone, let alone bringing animals into the picture, is irresponsible, or negligent, or just plain inconsistent with reality. I'm not faulting you for not sharing those values, but if you're proposing that we all operate from the value system you choose, then you're way behind in presenting any kind of case for why it should be applied "across the board" (in your own words). With regard to eating meat, as I said to Volatile, you would have to first define why the (human application of) death to one animal should be considered equal to the (human application of) death to a different animal-- you can use ducks or pigeons or leopards or cows or dogs or baboons or lemurs or pigs-- if that is actually what you believe to be so. From that, you should then be able to present an argument detailing the inherent wrong associated with eating livestock. And from that, you should be able to explains why the value system you are applying is intrinsically more moral than what is previously applied by anyone else.

But-- and I'm just making an educated guess based on past attempts to elicit this from you-- you're not going to present any such set of arguments. Instead, (I am guessing that) you're going to come back and nitpick over the examples you asked for, use that to disregard the whole of what I'm saying, and claim you don't have to present any such argument because your nitpicking has shown how obviously I don't know a damned thing about what I'm saying. I'm perfectly fine with you showing me that my guess is wrong, Cain, but we're two threads and several dozen pages of arguments and assertions into examples where this has clearly not been the case.

GreNME
8th July 2009, 08:44 AM
Several pages back I mentioned that Ingrid Newkirk, the head of PETA, was going to be on the radio that day. As it turns out, her appearance was moved because the president had a press conference that was covered instead. Instead, it looks like she's going to be on today, from 1PM to 2PM central standard time (-6:00 GMT), and one can get the live stream by going to this page (http://kera.org/think/) and clicking the "Listen Live" link in the upper right.

GreNME
8th July 2009, 11:55 AM
Well, I got a call through to the program, but since I had to hang up after my comment I couldn't respond to the lies and misdirections she answered with, particularly by implying myself and those who do what I explained (human networking to move dogs to places where they can find homes) were animal hoarders, I don't feel that there was an opportunity to really challenge her. However, it was interesting that most of the phone calls were either challenging or critical of PETA and Newkirk's statements.

realpaladin
8th July 2009, 12:01 PM
I note that killing animals for sex is still just killing to derive pleasure from them, while killing animals for meat has the added benefits of providing nutrition, leather, etc, in addition to the pleasure of eating them.

How about... killing them, have sex with them, THEN eat them and use the rest for additional clothing etc.?

Twice the fun! (I think)

Rogue1stclass
8th July 2009, 12:35 PM
Well, I got a call through to the program, but since I had to hang up after my comment I couldn't respond to the lies and misdirections she answered with, particularly by implying myself and those who do what I explained (human networking to move dogs to places where they can find homes) were animal hoarders, I don't feel that there was an opportunity to really challenge her. However, it was interesting that most of the phone calls were either challenging or critical of PETA and Newkirk's statements.

I think "animal hoarder" to Newkirk means "one who doesn't kill pets".

GreNME
8th July 2009, 12:59 PM
I think "animal hoarder" to Newkirk means "one who doesn't kill pets".

Yeah, she's actually now backpedaling out of being caught on that mark. She's now changed what she calls what PETA does with animals. It's no longer a rescue or shelter in their Virginia facility, it's what she calls a "euthanasia service" for people.

Rogue1stclass
8th July 2009, 04:05 PM
Yeah, she's actually now backpedaling out of being caught on that mark. She's now changed what she calls what PETA does with animals. It's no longer a rescue or shelter in their Virginia facility, it's what she calls a "euthanasia service" for people.

So they got busted on their own little final solution project and have decided to come somewhat clean.

I still doubt they are listed as "euthanasia service" in the phone book or have it on the side of their van.

GreNME
8th July 2009, 05:00 PM
So they got busted on their own little final solution project and have decided to come somewhat clean.

I still doubt they are listed as "euthanasia service" in the phone book or have it on the side of their van.

Nope. Oh, they may say as much on their website (somewhere, probably in smaller print, away from the front page), but I can attest to knowing that they still go to municipal and other shelters asking to "help" find the animals new homes and take some off the hands of the shelters. They have about five facilities like this that I know of personally.

Rogue1stclass
8th July 2009, 06:39 PM
This is why I don't laugh at their stupid antics. They aren't funny or pathetic or whatever. They are rotten, hate-filled people who secretly advocate genocide while claiming to stand for animal rights.

volatile
9th July 2009, 01:58 AM
So, PETA euthanising animals who cannot be re-homed (and this is not uncommon for rescue shelters) is "genocide". Maybe it is.

Why isn't killing cows for food "genocide"? What's the difference?

thaiboxerken
9th July 2009, 02:41 AM
PETA advocates not caging animals at all. They want animal liberation. This would render cows extinct if we did this. That's genocide. Raising animals to eat them is not genocide.

volatile
9th July 2009, 02:50 AM
PETA advocates not caging animals at all. They want animal liberation. This would render cows extinct if we did this. That's genocide. Raising animals to eat them is not genocide.

That's not what he was talking about - it was in reference to the euthanasia of strays.

thaiboxerken
9th July 2009, 03:13 AM
PETA doesn't even really try to find homes for the strays that they collect. They have over a 95% euthanasia rate.

Cain
9th July 2009, 03:34 AM
I have even photographic evidence that people do not care for even that. Like picking up litter which would help reducing the number of diseases drastically. Which they know it would.

Just because a behavior leads to social efficiency, or even promotes material self-advantage, does not mean people will rationally act upon it. Whether you realize it or not, you're not making an argument moral universalism. People the world over also continue to deny evolution as historical phenomenon.

Man, you have no idea what their right hand does. The left-hand thing, by the way, is religious dogma, not really cleanliness or rationality.

It's my understanding that they do view the left-hand as dirty, but it really does not matter if that is the case, or if they have a rational basis for their belief because the moral principle says extend courtesy if the expense is trivial. Forest, trees.

Well, to put it in an easy way, 'it don't hit home'. I do not feel that way towards animals. I grew up amongst them, cared for a good many of them, loved oodles of them. And I still have no qualms eating them.

This is not a rational argument as your "reasons" are purely based on emotions. It does not matter if we are pre-disposed to feel a certain way towards animals. More on this in a moment.
------------------------------
GreNME:
Like I said, you may not share in those different distinctions of values-- I don't share in all of them or have what I do share in possibly different degrees of agreement-- but arguing as if they don't exist even among humans alone, let alone bringing animals into the picture, is irresponsible, or negligent, or just plain inconsistent with reality. I'm not faulting you for not sharing those values, but if you're proposing that we all operate from the value system you choose, then you're way behind in presenting any kind of case for why it should be applied "across the board" (in your own words).

Thanks. With this clarification I can say a few things, but one very important thing: this is a terrible argument. It also seems to rely heavily upon a dark, stilted understanding of "across the board." Should I have said the law ought to strive for inconsistency? Most importantly, just because it's difficult to legislate and enforce competing claims does not mean animals lack moral standing. Perhaps more devastating to your (no pun intended) densely written objection is that the law is arguably simpler with regard to animals, whose interests are the same regardless of where we find them versus the competing moral claims of people rooted in a tribal or religious culture (read as "thick" identities).

With regard to eating meat, as I said to Volatile, you would have to first define why the (human application of) death to one animal should be considered equal to the (human application of) death to a different animal-- you can use ducks or pigeons or leopards or cows or dogs or baboons or lemurs or pigs-- if that is actually what you believe to be so. From that, you should then be able to present an argument detailing the inherent wrong associated with eating livestock. And from that, you should be able to explains why the value system you are applying is intrinsically more moral than what is previously applied by anyone else.

The problem with this construction is that you have it perfectly backwards. First we dispute relative merits of value systems -- are animals worthy of moral considerations -- then we can argue over circumstances (e.g., animals as livestock, which is an important and practical concern), and later we can argue over the "human application of death" on a species by species or case by case basis, but this is something any criminal justice system will "muddle" through anyway.

---------------------
ZirconBlue:
I guess I'd prefer that such people wait to use animals that are already dead, or are already being killed for some other reason, rather than killing them just to have sex with them.

I note that killing animals for sex is still just killing to derive pleasure from them, while killing animals for meat has the added benefits of providing nutrition, leather, etc, in addition to the pleasure of eating them.

While I agree you favor using animals in a more efficient manner, it's not clear you think "necro-bestiality" should be permitted. A direct answer will put you in one of two camps: those who believe in arguing for morality based on reason and those who prefer to legislate their sentiments. We may not enjoy the idea of gay sex or incest because those behaviors are "disgusting" -- the so-called "yuck" factor -- but these questions normally come down to "who's harmed here?" If you do not think an animal merits ANY moral consideration whatsoever, then what's the harm in allowing sadists to do as they please (compare with virtual child pornography)? If you say such sadists may eventually "escalate," harm humans, then that's an empirical claim we'd have to investigate.

The differences here are fundamental because they go to whether or not you think animals are property. If you think animals are property, then people should be able to dispose of their property as they please (provided they're not harming anyone else). Instead people like RandFan pussyfoot around the issue saying, "Nobody here ADVOCATES torturing animals." Well, maybe nobody here advocates burning the Bible either, but I'm guessing that most of us believe it's a right.

Belz...
9th July 2009, 04:16 AM
That's not what he was talking about - it was in reference to the euthanasia of strays.

Speaking of straying, will you answer my posts on the previous page, especially the one about our current point ?

volatile
9th July 2009, 04:24 AM
Speaking of straying, will you answer my posts on the previous page, especially the one about our current point ?

I haven't got the time at the moment, sorry. I'll try and get to it over the weekend if the thread hasn't moved on too much by then.

volatile
9th July 2009, 04:30 AM
The difference is very clear to me: in "killing for fun" the fun is in the kill itself. In "enjoying the taste" the fun is derived from something that is already dead.

OK, quickly, if only because the objection to this speculative and somewhat evasive answer is so obvious...

An animal has to BE dead - that is, it has to be killed, if you only ate animals that died of old age, then I'd be fine with that - for you to enjoy the taste. And yet you think the duck-killer is psychotic, and his actions indefensible. What makes you so different from the duck-kicking kid? You're both getting kicks from the death of an animal, and the kicks REQUIRE animal death. Why is "taste" a more justificatory pleasure than the endorphin rush that kid gets from killing? What, in other words, is so awesome about taste that it supersedes your moral sense on what is, on the face of it, a very similar issue?

Further: where do you stand on necro-bestiality? Let's tighten the analogy: If the kid slits the ducks' throats painlessly, then ***** them? No "suffering" in death, and fun derived from something that is already dead. Is that morally-permissible, in your opinion?

This isn't a question of how the death is performed, but a question designed to draw out why you think taste deserves special status. I mean, we could even industrialise the analogy, and have the meat-production industry exactly as it is today, but instead of selling steaks, they're selling stuffed-cow sex toys. The question is about your privileging of the sensation of taste such that it overrides clear moral concerns in similar circumstances.

volatile
9th July 2009, 05:48 AM
On a less abstract note, and perhaps to make comparisons that many of you will have already thought about:

It is highly probable that most of you are OK with medical testing on animals, but against (or, at the least, find problems with) cosmetic testing. Why?