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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    FireFly85 wrote: »
    Personally I think Singer on speciesism is slightly flawed, although he does have some good points. To say that there should be equality between people, and between people and animals, completely misses the point of the way we actually think about people. When we're considering why women

    SNIP ...

    in favour of animal testing for medical purposes. I think that although we should carefully examine our attitudes towards animals, and that perhaps viewing them as fellow creatures would be a positive way forward, there nonetheless IS a big difference between animals and humans, and there is nothing morally questionable about valuing human life above animal life.

    Singer doesn't rest his claim for animal equality on the assertion that a human and an animal's capacity for suffering is equal. They're clearly not. He doesn't argue either that the treatment human and animals should receive should be equal; equality isn't about equal treatment - it's about equality of consideration.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Singer doesn't rest his claim for animal equality on the assertion that a human and an animal's capacity for suffering is equal. They're clearly not. He doesn't argue either that the treatment human and animals should receive should be equal; equality isn't about equal treatment - it's about equality of consideration.

    Yeah :) I am aware he isn't saying that human and animal suffering aren't necessarily qualitatively or quantitatively the same, but rather that it is consideration of the capacity of suffering that should be the salient moral consideration. But I don't agree that equality should rest on consideration of capacity for suffering, nor does that reflect how we think about equality either amongst humans or between humans and animals. I think it is quite a reductive viewpoint, even though I like him for making a lot of progress with the issue and providing a much better response to questions of animal rights than had been presented previously.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    So does anyone here think that if I stepped on 30 ants and killed them, it would be as much of a terrible act as if I'd killed 30 humans?
    EDIT: For the sake of the argument, let's say I did it on purpose.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So does anyone here think that if I stepped on 30 ants and killed them, it would be as much of a terrible act as if I'd killed 30 humans?
    EDIT: For the sake of the argument, let's say I did it on purpose.

    No. No one thinks that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Call me a terrible person but I'm completely ambivolent towards HLS.

    I am an animal lover in the sense that I grew up with dogs and horses and to me, a home isn't a home without domestic pets. Perhaps because of the fact that I grew up with them, I can distance myself from those at HLS. Depending on who you believe, things that go on there range from the mildly naughty to the barbaric.

    That said, I don't think you can apply such a vague and unhelpful notion as 'rights' to all sentient beings. 'Rights' are a human construct and, presumably if you take the line that humans are just another animal, you can't apply a human notion as complex as rights to every creature under the sun. Just doesn't hold water for me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »

    I think we should keep the research we have already aquired by testing on animals, but we should begin phasing it out as much as possible.

    I don't think human beings are any more special than animals. I don't see any difference morally in testing on an animal, or a human. I believe in seeing all creatures as deserving of compassion and respect. Human beings aren't seperate from animals, we're just better at some things than non human animals are.

    :yes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That said, I don't think you can apply such a vague and unhelpful notion as 'rights' to all sentient beings. 'Rights' are a human construct and, presumably if you take the line that humans are just another animal, you can't apply a human notion as complex as rights to every creature under the sun. Just doesn't hold water for me.

    Why not? Particularly in cases where you're talking about human activity towards another sentient being. If we have acceptable moral behaviour, then that's something that we can control, and doesn't require animals to be in on the human notion of rights or morality. They don't have rights as such, but we have acceptable moral behaviour we expect from human beings. And one of those things should refer to the deliberate causing of suffering in my view, and there's no reason why the species doing the suffering should be any factor in that equation.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Why not? Particularly in cases where you're talking about human activity towards another sentient being. If we have acceptable moral behaviour, then that's something that we can control, and doesn't require animals to be in on the human notion of rights or morality. They don't have rights as such, but we have acceptable moral behaviour we expect from human beings. And one of those things should refer to the deliberate causing of suffering in my view, and there's no reason why the species doing the suffering should be any factor in that equation.

    Firstly, I don't think moral behaviour is something hard and fast. Morals are a very relative notion. What might be acceptable to you may not be acceptable to me and vice versa (shit, sorry, not allowed to use Latin any more). One might argue that human laws are an attempt to codify and harmonise the morals of a society but think of the huge disparity between laws of various nations that you've been to, and indeed the perception of people's views on various laws in this country and around the world, and the whole issue of morals becomes almost virtually incomprehensible. Morals are a personal thing and any attempt to codify them or draw conclusions across multiple persons will lead to some or all of some people's views not being represented.

    Needless suffering exists throughout nature. Who's ever seen a cat toy with a mouse, bird, frog or other creature for its own amusement before killing it, to not even go and eat it (and to think, many ancient cultures WORSHIPPED these barbaric creatures!!)? If we revert to natural tendencies, one might argue that it is the prerogative of the dominant species to subject the subservient ones to their whims, be they cruel or otherwise.

    Now whilst I'm not saying that because we are the dominant species, we should be doing these sorts of things, I just don't find it morally reprehensible that we do. Call me a terrible person but that's how I feel. I'm far from being an animal hater, in fact, I'm an animal lover, having lived and grown up with them. However, I can distance my emotions from the creatures that inhabit the lab from those that inhabit my parents' house. Just as I can from the rabbit / pheasant / pig / cow / sheep that ends up on my plate. Should I bring up my support for fox hunting here? Probably not the time or the place.

    One might also argue that it's not completely sadistic suffering in that there is something to be gained from the point of view of the cosmetic product or whatever it is they're testing at the end of it. Though I feel you might flame me for arguing that.

    Just take a gander at this - quite extraordinary:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4472521.stm
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Firstly, I don't think moral behaviour is something hard and fast. Morals are a very relative notion. What might be acceptable to you may not be acceptable to me and vice versa (shit, sorry, not allowed to use Latin any more). One might argue that human laws are an attempt to codify and harmonise the morals of a society but think of the huge

    [SNIP]...

    One might also argue that it's not completely sadistic suffering in that there is something to be gained from the point of view of the cosmetic product or whatever it is they're testing at the end of it. Though I feel you might flame me for arguing that.

    Not all morality is relative; the sexual abuse of an infant is never moral. I think a strong case can be made against killing for pleasure – where the pleasure is in the killing. Moreover, the idea that because some morality is relative, or that other peoples have chosen to codify and adopt different moral standards, doesn’t mean the discussion is futile and that we have carte blanche to treat anyone or anything however we like.

    The existence of needless suffering in nature is an argument that doesn’t hold any weight when it comes to discussing morality. I’ve never taken the actions of animals incapable of moral reasoning as an ethical cue.

    It seems, to me at least, you’ve drawn an arbitrary line in the sand. One side of the line is your species, and anything the other side is fair game to be treated with little-to-no concern. I think the argument is more nuanced than that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your argument seems to be that morals are relative (not necessarily true, though effectively, since we have no source of absolutist ideas of morality), therefore you're justified morally to test on animals. I'm more interested in what relative idea of morality you use to justify the use of animal testing. I use the suffering argument to decide what is moral and what isn't (causing the least amount of suffering to the least, most of the time), and any action that goes outside of that, I might still be complicit in (eating meat, taking drugs tested on animals etc), but I certainly wouldn't attempt to justify it morally, because it just doesn't fit.

    You seemed to use the nature argument. It is natural, therefore it is morally justified, or at least no-one has any authority to claim that it is immoral. Of course the problem with that is that it completely removes any concept of morals whatsoever. And since absolutely everything is natural (ultimately), everything goes. After all, taking your argument that it is not shocking that the dominant species to subject the subservient one to it's whims, the logical conclusion of that would be to replace the word "species" with "civilisation" or "tribe." And I'd agree that it's not shocking in the sense that it's not surprising, it would still be morally reprehensible. But as I said earlier on (I think), the powerful will put their family (and any extension of that) ahead of anyone else, and animal testing is effectively an extension of that. Plenty of Americans or Brits would be happy to see thousands of Iraqis die if they thought that it would save a few Americans or Brits. But I think there's a gap between accepting something as the way things are, and then using that as moral justification.

    Incidentally, I would presume there is some evolutionary benefit for a cat to toy with a mouse. Nature doesn't usually waste energy needlessly.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not all morality is relative; the sexual abuse of an infant is never moral.

    I could probably argue otherwise but at risk of sounding like a paedo, I shan't bother as I'll doubtless be flamed. I do remember writing a post aaaaages ago, not so much in defence of paedophilia but more in explanation of it but that's beside the point.

    I think I'm straying into Devil's advocate territory but here goes:

    Yes, all morality is relative. As IWS points out, there is no unversal correct source from which morals are derived and hence everything has to be relative. The best definition I can hazard is that morals are a set of principals, the opposite of which are acts detrimental to the functioning of society (which is a basic form of the definition of criminal law). However, there is no golden source, at least in philosophical terms, of what exactly constitutes acts detrimental to the functioning of society. Murder springs to mind as an apparently good example but give me an example and I could probably come up with a reason how it could be construed as in society's interests. Just to point out, I'm not advocating murder by the way.
    I think a strong case can be made against killing for pleasure – where the pleasure is in the killing.

    What if the killing is necessary (for whatever reason) but by a strange coincidence, pleasure in the act is also derived; would that be morally reprehensible?
    Moreover, the idea that because some morality is relative, or that other peoples have chosen to codify and adopt different moral standards, doesn’t mean the discussion is futile and that we have carte blanche to treat anyone or anything however we like.

    No, because we operate under the rule of law, not the rule of personal morals. However, animal testing is not prohibited by law if for scientific reasons (I think - feel free to correct me). Since there is no golden source of morals, the law is the next best thing and that must suffice.
    It seems, to me at least, you’ve drawn an arbitrary line in the sand. One side of the line is your species, and anything the other side is fair game to be treated with little-to-no concern. I think the argument is more nuanced than that.

    We all have to draw the line somewhere with our personal beliefs, don't we? What may appear arbitrary to you seems perfectly logical to me. I guess that's why this part of the forum exists in the first place.

    Incidentally, how many people here are vegetarians?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I could probably argue otherwise but at risk of sounding like a paedo, I shan't bother as I'll doubtless be flamed. I do remember writing a post aaaaages ago, not so much in defence of paedophilia but more in explanation of it but that's beside the point.

    I think I'm straying into Devil's advocate territory but here goes:

    Yes, all morality is relative. As IWS points out, there is no unversal correct source from which morals are derived and hence everything has to be relative. The best definition I can hazard is that morals are a set of principals, the opposite of which are acts detrimental to the functioning of society (which is a basic form of the definition of criminal law). However, there is no golden source, at least in philosophical terms, of what exactly constitutes acts detrimental to the functioning of society. Murder springs to mind as an apparently good example but give me an example and I could probably come up with a reason how it could be construed as in society's interests. Just to point out, I'm not advocating murder by the way.

    The fact that there isn't a universal, unalterable book of moral and immoral actions doesn't mean that some actions aren't always immoral - and anyone who says 'The Bible/The Qu'ran/The Torah' can do one! :P The molestation of a infant exclusively for a person's sexual gratification, is always wrong. There are a truck-load immoral actions where a cogent argument for them being moral could never be made; a person who commits rape exclusively to assert dominance over their partner is always committing a morally reprehensible action.

    I also promise not to call you a paedo. If we're going to have a proper discussion it wouldn't be cricket! :D
    What if the killing is necessary (for whatever reason) but by a strange coincidence, pleasure in the act is also derived; would that be morally reprehensible?

    What if the killing wasn't necessary?

    We all have to draw the line somewhere with our personal beliefs, don't we? What may appear arbitrary to you seems perfectly logical to me. I guess that's why this part of the forum exists in the first place.

    Sure, I accept that. But you have to make the case for why killing animals exclusively for pleasure is morally permissible. Simply holding a counter claim isn't enough.
    Incidentally, how many people here are vegetarians?

    Oh, and I'm teetering on the edge of vegetarianism. I've recently subjected myself to the arguments from both sides of the fence, and I really can't justify eating meat any longer - despite lovin' it. :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your argument seems to be that morals are relative (not necessarily true, though effectively, since we have no source of absolutist ideas of morality), therefore you're justified morally to test on animals. I'm more interested in what relative idea of morality you use to justify the use of animal testing. I use the suffering argument to decide what is moral and what isn't (causing the least amount of suffering to the least, most of the time), and any action that goes outside of that, I might still be complicit in (eating meat, taking drugs tested on animals etc), but I certainly wouldn't attempt to justify it morally, because it just doesn't fit.

    Notwithstanding the blurriness of the suffering moral standards you set out here, how do you quantify suffering ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The fact that there isn't a universal, unalterable book of moral and immoral actions doesn't mean that some actions aren't always immoral - and anyone who says 'The Bible/The Qu'ran/The Torah' can do one! :P The molestation of a infant exclusively for a person's sexual gratification, is always wrong. There are a truck-load immoral actions where a cogent argument for them being moral could never be made; a person who commits rape exclusively to assert dominance over their partner is always committing a morally reprehensible action.

    If, as you claim, that there isn't a universal moral code book how did you reach the conclusion that the molestation of a infant exclusively for a person's sexual gratification, is always wrong ? Or that a person who commits rape exclusively to assert dominance over their partner is always committing a morally reprehensible action ?

    Seems contradictory.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If there is a society that accepts child molestation, and engages in it and doesn't see it as morally wrong, even when it's obviously causing emotional stress to the child - we are the ones who are morally upset by it (as observers to the society, not the society itself). Therefore it is a relative thing, it depends on the societies moral and social constructs and rules.

    In a similar vain, it's immoral to treat people as second class citizens because of the colour of their skin, but we did that for centuries with no moral problems with it at all. If society accepts something, it isn't morally wrong, morals are completely 100% dependent on what society accepts and doesn't.

    As I said I think in my first post, there is absolutely no such thing as right and wrong, we make those up as we see fit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If, as you claim, that there isn't a universal moral code book how did you reach the conclusion that the molestation of a infant exclusively for a person's sexual gratification, is always wrong ? Or that a person who commits rape exclusively to assert dominance over their partner is always committing a morally reprehensible action ?.

    I had myself a little think about it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes, all morality is relative.


    That is a self-defeating argument. Claiming that ALL morality is relative is a universal claim, not a relative one.

    The fact that different people have different perceptions of what is right and wrong is an obvious one but does not lead to the conclusion that there are no objective moral standards.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    FireFly85 wrote: »
    The fact that different people have different perceptions of what is right and wrong is an obvious one but does not lead to the conclusion that there are no objective moral standards.

    It depends where you sit on the philosophical fence. I am of the opinion that we are mere lumps of flesh and we attach meaning to things, and that we have decided consciously or unconsciously what is right and what is wrong in our society, evidenced by different cultures having often different standards. Whilst some things such as murder and child molestation are more widely condemned, that does not lead to the conclusion that there are objective moral standards.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,269 Skive's The Limit
    What if the killing wasn't necessary?

    I assume those here that are against 'killing for pleasure' are all vegetarians then? Else I'd find their stance rather hypocritical.
    Weekender Offender 
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »
    I assume those here that are against 'killing for pleasure' are all vegetarians then? Else I'd find their stance rather hypocritical.

    I think extracting pleasure exclusively from the killing of an animal, and extracting pleasure from the by-products of killing an animal are two different moral conundrums. However, I'm willing to accept me still currently eating meat and not really being able to morally justify it does make me a hypocrit. Of course, me being a hypocit doesn't affect the validity of any moral agrument I propose.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I had myself a little think about it.

    Little, as in not much ?
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,269 Skive's The Limit
    I think extracting pleasure exclusively from the killing of an animal, and extracting pleasure from the by-products of killing an animal are two different moral conundrums.

    The meat you eat comes from animals which been specifically reared for that reason. It's not a by product. Their death is not a a necessity, infact their whole existance is not a necessity because you and I do not have to eat meat, but the killing goes on in it's millions.

    I don't have a problem in deriving pleasure for the killing of animals. I hunt, I fish, I eat meat and I don't have a problem in killing and animal. When hunting and fishing and eating meat it's not the death of the animal that I enjoy, it's the skills I use to do it and the taste that I take pleasure from.


    I do have a problem with people taking pleasure from and animals suffering but that's different.
    Weekender Offender 
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Little, as in not much ?

    No, as in Richard.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »
    The meat you eat comes from animals which been specifically reared for that reason. It's not a by product. Their death is not a a necessity, infact their whole existance is not a necessity because you and I do not have to eat meat, but the killing goes on in it's millions.

    Sure, 'by-product' was a bad choice of word - but you understand my point. Deriving pleasure exclusively in the killing of an animal is a different moral question to that of deriving pleasure from the products of an animal's death.
    I don't have a problem in deriving pleasure for the killing of animals. I hunt, I fish, I eat meat and I don't have a problem in killing and animal. When hunting and fishing and eating meat it's not the death of the animal that I enjoy, it's the skills I use to do it and the taste that I take pleasure from.

    I do have a problem with it. See the arguments put forward earlier in the thread.
    I do have a problem with people taking pleasure from and animals suffering but that's different.

    Agree.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No, as in Richard.

    Womp-bomp-a-loom-op-a-womp-bam-boom
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,269 Skive's The Limit
    Sure, 'by-product' was a bad choice of word - but you understand my point. Deriving pleasure exclusively in the killing of an animal is a different moral question to that of deriving pleasure from the products of an animal's death.

    I see no difference in deriving pleasure from eating and deriving pleasure from shooting/catching and animal. It's the not the death of the animal you celebrate, it's the skills you use to shoot/catch it, just as it's the taste of meat that you enjoy and not the actual slaughter.

    If anything hunting and shooting is more moral because up until the point of death the animal has led a completely natural life.
    Just because we treat it as sport doesn't not mean it's any less moral.

    What is wrong is the taking pleasure in the acyual pain and suffering of animals, which is not what hunting, fishing, or eating meat is about.
    Weekender Offender 
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    It depends where you sit on the philosophical fence. I am of the opinion that we are mere lumps of flesh and we attach meaning to things, and that we have decided consciously or unconsciously what is right and what is wrong in our society, evidenced by different cultures having often different standards. Whilst some things such as murder and child molestation are more widely condemned, that does not lead to the conclusion that there are objective moral standards.

    Of course :) and you're right as well in that there is virtually nothing that is universally morally condemned, even things that we would consider to be murder and child abuse are widely accepted by many people in many cultures. As you may gather from some of my comments in previous threads, I am certainly not of the opinion that the truth of a matter relates to how many people believe it, or the strength of their conviction.

    However, nor does the fact that morality is influenced by culture/upbringing/personal experience lead to the conclusion that there are no objective moral standards. Either the table is there, or it isn't. Either my chair has four legs, or it does not. The fact that 2 or more people may disagree on these matters and feel strongly about them does not mean that there isn't an objective truth, in the same way that the fact people disagree with regards to issues surrounding animal rights doesn't mean there aren't necessarily objective truths about morality and animals.

    Universal skepticism and relativism are both self-refuting positions; to claim that it is impossible to know anything is a contradiction because you are making at least one knowledge claim right there. Claiming that ALL moral values are relative is a universal moral claim - the reasoning is circular and anyone claiming moral values are relative is commiting a (philosophical and logical) fallacy.
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