Why are animal rights suporters so intolerant?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Fenrisulven, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    "Can you please provide a reason for moral action other than recognition of a conscious, experiential being that might have the capacity to suffer."

    I am a conscious experiential being that has the capacity to suffer.
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  3. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Agian, on the face of it, this comes back to being arbitrary.

    Neurological responses are, at the most basic level, a chemical phenomenom. What you're saying is that one type of chemical phenomenom should be given precedence of priority over another type of chemical phenomenom when it has a certain form, or occurs with a certain organisation?

    Why is the Biochemical response of a Tree having a limb severed, and different to the Biochemical response of me having a limb severed?

    Why is the Biochemical response of a firm wilting as a result of an impact less important then my biochemical responses after being punched in the face?

    Pain, when all is said and done, is simply a biochemical response to certain stimuli that has evolved as a survival instinct. Why should one survival instinct take precedence over others?

    This is the point that I find arbitrary.

    Again, I find this point arbitrary, for the reasons outlined above. What is so special about 'pain' - it is simply the name that we give to a pacrticular biochemical response to a certain stimulus. Why should one biochemical response be regarded as being special above all others.

    This is argument by ridicule.

    I disagree, They can not experience what we recognize as being pain, based upon the scientific knowledge we have amassed.

    But again, I stress that the criteria of pain is arbitrary, because it relies on a specific definition. Most organisms have some form of biochemical response evolved as a survival instinct, that takes effect as a response to forms of insult that were they done to a human, would be recognized as being painful.

    Again, the distinction between one biochemical response, and others is an arbitrary decision based on an emotive response, a response that is emoted by the familiarity of the response.

    I don't. I don't make that assumption. I treat that which I prey upon, the same way that I would wish to be preyed upon. If someone, or something was to prey upon me, I would wish for a quick and painless death, so when I must kill, I aim to do so quickly and painlessly.

    Simple, self consistent, and universal.

    It's arbitrary because 'Because it looks like ours' it represents no greater justification then 'because she's a girl'.

    See above, I think i've addressed this point.

    Irrelevant, Morality still has a strong societal influence.

    And yet others might argue that theirs is self consistent, and what further justification do they need?

    Not exclusively, this thread is afterall about animal rights, and animal rights activists - my point being that vegetarinism isn't simply a moral choice, as it has been portrayed to be.

    Not the point I was making.
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  5. heliocentric Registered Senior Member

    Yes. Again i dont know what other basis of moral action youre working from but im ready to hear it whatever it is.

    The tree doesnt have a cognitive centre with which to realise that its limb has been removed. I kind of feel ive already been over this several times, and im not sure how much clearer i can make it.

    If youre seriously objecting to the idea of moral treatment towards things that have 'mind' only, then i think youre going to have a hard time justifying it.
    If you dont feel there is a moral distinction to be made between conscious and non-conscious matter, then i wish youd just give some sort of justification for it.

    Now we're getting to the main point here. This is the tricky thing with consciousness - it isnt just the chemical response you observe at the molecular level. Its the subjective experience about the response as well (mind/matter).
    Where we recognise mind, we assume consciousness, where we assume consciousness we assume the right to be treated morally.

    Intuitively i think you already understand all this. Its the exact same reason why you wouldnt feel bad if you got annoyed and kicked a tree, but probably would feel bad if you got annoyed and kicked a cat.

    Why do you spend so much time in pursuit of pleasure when you could just as easily experience pain? Again, alot of these answers are staring you in the face.

    Psychophysics and comparative psychology unfortunately disagrees with you.

    Please look up what the word 'arbitrary' means. A method that's based upon a governing principle cannot by definition be arbitrary. You can argue against the principles of course, say theyre flawed, or contractive (etc), but what you cant say is that theyre arbitrary.

    Noones claiming that we have similar responses based on observation alone, we're talking about measurable similarities. Stuff you can verify and quantify.

    Nothing if they can prove its self consistent.

    It is the point youre making though - youre arguing against the recognition of pain responses in other animals as a valid means of assigning moral rights. My only question is (and i think its a fair one) what other method is there? And why should i believe its better than the one i already have?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
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  7. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Helio, how much are you willing to put me through for the sake of your beliefs?
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Different biochemistry, I guess. But that's not what is morally significant here.

    I don't think that you seriously can't recognise suffering when you see it, as something more than just a biochemical response.

    In claiming that pain, when caused deliberately, is not of any moral significance, but a mere biochemical effect of no special consequence, you are being deliberately obtuse.

    You're seriously expecting us to believe that you feel nothing when you see a person or an animal in pain? That you just look at the situation clinically and marvel at the biology of the nervous system and the inticacies of the chemical processes in the nerves?

    I'm not buying it.

    That's all very convenient when you know that nothing will ever seriously prey on you unless you are very stupid.

    Are you seriously trying to claim that empathy is irrelevant to morality?

    Do you actually believe that?

    How would you argue that a system which allows, say, female genital mutilation, while it does not allow the same thing for men, is "self-consistent" and moral?
  9. Roman Banned Banned

    James, if you had the ability, would you forbid anyone from killing animals? Like outlaw/punish, etc. those who killed animals.
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    "Killing" is a very general term.

    What kind of killing do you have in mind, exactly?
  11. Roman Banned Banned

    For food, for sport, for material, because it's convenient.
    Raising cattle for consumption.
    Deer hunting.
    "Putting down" animals that you no longer wish to care for.
    These sorts of things.
    Fishing (does killing fish count as immoral?).
    Animal testing for drugs, research, cosmetics.

    For instance, I could most likely live totally comfortably on a diet without animal parts. However, I choose to hunt small game because I enjoy it, I hunt deer & moose because it's cheaper than buying beef, and I eat at McDonald's because a hamburger is cheap, easy calories.. Would I go to a re-education camp, if you were in charge?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  12. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Roman, you should actually try it and find out how comfortable you are on a diet without animal parts.
  13. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Exactly my point.

    This isn't exactly what I said.

    At a rational level, an it's most basic level it is nothing more than a biochemical response. The emotive response it evokes in me when I observe it is something that is distinct and seperate, and not something that I have discussed.

    In your opinion, perhaps.

    This is a pure strawman. At no point has any of this been implied.

    My response is not something that I have discussed in an depth, in fact, if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that I have routinely drawn the distinction between the biochemical response in an individual, and the emotive response evoked by it.

    Just as well then, because what you think i'm selling bares little resemblance to what i'm actually saying.

    I disagree, Once again, I mention Tigers.

    Again, this is a strawman, this query bares little resemblance to the point that I was making, and the context it was being made in.

    I wouldn't, for one main reason.

    Based on my moral background, and up bringing, I find the idea repugnant.
  14. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Like every other individual on this planet, my morality is based on emotive responses 'right' and 'wrong' which in turn are based upon a combination of personal circumstance, societal pressures, peer pressures, religous background, and other stuff.

    Again, this is part of my point.

    I understand your point.
    You're arguing that because a tree doesn't have a central nervous system, it doesn't respond to certain stimuli in a way that we could reasonably call pain, therefore, ostensibly the tree can not suffer, and therefore does not require the same considerations as a person.

    My argument is that drawing that distinction is based on a purely emotive response that's evoked by the familiarity of the physiological response - we see what we recognize as fear in an animal, but not a plant, so the same mechanism that allows us to empathize with a fellow human being, also means that we empathize with a sheep.

    This familiarty is why, for example, most people would shy away from killing their own beef (and processing it) but wouldn't think twice about pulling out a can of fly spray, mowing their lawns, or getting their house fumigated.

    I'm making the point that I consider it an arbitrary one based on an emotive response, rather then one based on anything logical.

    As far as I'm concerned killing is killing - as i've said before, in many regards, I actually have a very black and white view of the world.

    And this is the point that I consider arbitrary.
    Because it's based on recognition, and an emotive response rather than a logical derivation.

    Oh, as i've already stated, I understand the point you're making, however I draw a distinction between a biochemical response (pain) in an individual, and the sympathetic emotive responses that biochemical response evokes in another individual.

    Did you know that there's a neurological structure in the brain that causes the brain to mimic what it observes? If you observe someone clench their fist, this center provides an impulse to clench your own fist.

    Because like every other individual on the face of this planet, I am, when all is said and done, a hedonist.

    Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exageration, however you understand my point.

    Human beings, as a rule, choose pleasure over pain.

    Then so be it.
    I'm open to the possibility that at some point we might discover something else, that we don't currently recognize as being consciousness (hence my use of the word).

    And i've been saying, more or less, that I consider the governing principle, and the method to be arbitrary.

    Measurement is still an observation.
    And again, you're still talking about similarities, which was my point in the first place.

    I consider my stance to be more general, and to be consistent (namely that killing is killing, and killing members of one phyllum is no different to killing members of another phyllum - having said that I also aknowledge that I routinely fail to live up to my own standard).
  15. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    They set the condition that no unnecessary pain should be inflicted then argue that all pain and suffering is unnecessary when the pain and suffering serves a human need. If you let yourself be jerked around you'll be arguing against several different definitions of necessity.

    Then they want to argue for a morality that's got no clothes on. Why do they argue for a morality based on strawman arguments, inverted definitions of terms, technophobia, a fashionable hatred of humanity, and on whatever the activist feels like saying at the time? Why do they say "I'm not an animal rights activist" when you know very well that they are? Because that way they make the rules, which may be no rule at all except "the pissy animal rights activist is always right no matter what you say." That's a six year old's way of arguing. When you started arguing with the child you were already in trouble.
  16. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    Your as bad as buffalo roam when its comes to projecting your faults on to others. God learn how to debate like an adult.
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    You asked whether, if I could, I would forbid (outlaw, perhaps) the killing of animals...

    Answer: in general, yes, unless it could be shown that there was a pressing need beyond what was "convenient", or that there was some bad effect that vastly outweighed the benefits of the ban.


    Yes. Hunting live animals for no reason other than your own pleasure is barbaric.

    Putting down healthy animals? Certainly.


    If these can be shown to be unnecessary, or that there are viable alternatives.

  18. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    And you refuse to admit that you are an animal rights activist, James.
  19. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Did I mention the fact that we really don't know if we have a pet overpopulation problem or a pet underpopulation problem?
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Most dog breeds have specific traits that people want. We breed Lhasa Apsos, which are small, inactive, solitude-tolerant, and astoundingly good at evaluating character. They're ideal dogs for people who live in small quarters, spend a lot of time away from home, can only have one pet, and are wary of letting strangers in when the doorbell rings. They also have no undercoat or dander so people are rarely allergic to them. They're also aloof and headstrong, so they appeal to a certain type of owner. If a Lhasa Apso is right for you, a poodle, Westie, Doberman, Labrador, or any of a hundred other breeds would be a disaster for you.

    When you get a mixed-breed dog from the pound you have no idea what you're getting and it might be the wrong dog for you. Even if you get a "rescue" dog from a breed association, half the time you don't get the papers and you're really getting the result of a "mis-mating" and you have no idea who the father was.

    If you have a big family with a big house and yard and a lot of visitors and you're planning on having several dogs who will form their own pack and invite your children to run with them, and you don't care how they behave, then almost any dog will work for you. But most people don't have that kind of life.

    Most dogs were bred for specific purposes.

    And yes, we're responsible breeders. We have a big spread with lots of dogs running around and three of them are rescue dogs.

    It isn't breeders who are causing the stray problem. It's people who get mongrels from their friends and don't have them neutered.
  21. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Believe it or not, I largely agree with James on this point, I don't believe that an animal should be made because it's owner was stupid (and lets face it, taking on an animal you don't have the resources to care for is precisely that - stupid).

    Where we may disagree, is that while in an ideal society, animal shelters would have all the resources they need to care for all the animals they recieve (actually, I suppose in an ideal society we wouldn't need animal shelters), we don't live in an ideal society.

    Unfortunately, animal shelters are, by in large, forced to rely on donated time, money, and other neccessities of life to run - meaning they only have a finite capacity, beyond which, taking on further animals is only going to result in those new animals, and the ones already in the shelter, suffering due to a lack of resources.

    Oh hey James, if you're still persuing this thread. If somebody were to develop vat grown meat (for lack of a better way of putting it - the ability to grow a steak without having to grow a cow) would that be an acceptable alternative for you? Because I know that I ceartainly would be able to live with that. By this I mean - there's now cow involved in harvesting the meat, it is simply vat grown muscle tissue that has the texture and taste of beef (for example) but was at no point a conscious animal (by any recognizable definition of the word).

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