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In My Memory

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  1. Dr Dalek, It probably comes from the strawman characterization of AR activists as caring more about animals than people. But as a philosophy, I really doubt it exists outside of in satire and literature, not in the real world. I can only think of 3 examples where "animal supremacy" has ever been articulated: 1) The closest example that comes to mind is ne of the first feminist authors, Mary Wollstonecraft, published a book in 1792 called "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" as a response of the aristocracy who denied women education, property, a right to vote, and a right to work. The book called for an equality between men and women. Shortly afterward, an anonymous author later identified as Thomas Taylor published a parody of Wollstonecraft's work called "A Vindication of the Right of Brutes". Tayloar attempted to refute Wollstonecraft by reductio ad absurdium, stating "to evince by demonstrative arguments the perfect equality of what is called the irrational species to the human", essentially stating that if we should seriously consider the rights of women no more than we should consider the rights of animals. 2) Another example is George Orwell's novel Animal Farm which satirized the soviet republic, its famous for the phrase "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". That would be Animal Supremacy, but not in the sense that you were probably thinking. 3) I used to spend long hours on USENET reading some very bizarre newsgroups. I came across some groups with stage philosophies in alt.lifestyle.furry and alt.religion.otherkin, which are the furry and otherkin movements. Some of them believe that they are animal souls trapped inside of human bodies, some of them self-identify with an animal persona (fursona), some of them have really disgusting sexual fantasies. A lot of people in these movements absolutely dread the idea that they are trapped in human bodies, and look at the human form as crippled and just "wrong" in some indescribable way. Its comparable to transgendered people who dread waking up each and everyday as a male or a female when they are mentally the opposite sex. Furries / otherkin feel the same way, they are sincerely disillusioned by their own species, and occasionally enjoy dressing up in costumes to express their inner animal identity. I've havent ever met or seen misanthropic furries though. To date, I dont know of any established furry/otherkin philosophies, but if an animal supremacy theory exists, then option #3 is probably the best place to find it. Someone actually accused me of favoring animals above humans, which is certainly not true at all. I'm misanthropic, but no animal supremacist. I just want to kill all humans. HURRAH!
  2. (I'm substituting an x because 1 and l are hard to distinguish from one another) n-1 __ \ (2x + 1) /_ x = 0 The first term = 1, so we'll just rewrite that equation like this: n-1 __ 1 + \ (2x + 1) /_ x=1 Now lets just split our summation into two parts, basically so we have this: n-1 n-1 __ __ 1 + \ (2x) + \ 1 /_ /_ x=1 x=1 Solving this is really easy now, the last summation is just a constant, so we get: n-1 __ 1 + (n-1) + 2* \ x /_ x=1 Rewrite that summation in two parts: a simple summation identity minus the last term of that identity: [ n [ __ 1 + (n-1) + 2* [ \ (x) - (n) [ /_ [ x=1 w00t! Solvable now: n + 2* [n(n+1)/2 - (n)] = n + (n(n+1) - 2n) = n + n^2 + n - 2n = n^2 Therefore: n-1 __ \ (2x + 1) = n^2 /_ x = 0
  3. Happy Klingon New Year! May death come swiftly to your enemies
  4. My first post was a "lolz I'm new" post from January 2005: Hmmm... In America, our president has pushed forward a bill called the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" (bills like this have been around for a while). There is a great deal of concern about prosecuting women for what would otherwise be non-crimes. I came across this quote from House Rep Conyers who debated the 1999 version of this bill: w00t, I was so modest then
  5. This year I will: - Continue habitually lying about my age, vowing never to age past 25 - Learn a programming language so I can be a l33t ha><0rz - Wear miniskirts everyday during the spring and summer - Try to celebrate more holidays with friends and family - Donate US$1000 to PETA and the Humane Society every month - Snuggle with hubby everyday, enjoying our intimate times together, holding together our deep and passionate love for one another for the rest of eternity
  6. Paranoia, Plants dont have brains, neocortexes, sense organs, nervous systems, or processing facilities. So they dont have any cognitive capacities whatsoever. But why would they even evolve pain experiences in the first place? Pain experiences are a selective advantage for creatures because it helps them move away from the source of pain, but plants are anchored in the ground. Theres not much evolutionary incentive for them to evolve a capacity to feel pain in the first place. We have every good reason to doubt that plants have any mental experiences whatsoever, and zero reasons to think that they do. If they do, then certainly their experience is so miniscule that (for all intents and purposes) its negligible. What makes you think plants feel pain? Are the pain experiences on the same level as animal pain experiences? I'm pretty sure you kick rocks and tin cans without remorse, probably because they dont have feelings. Basically, if a being doesnt have a capacity to feel suffering or satisfaction, its indifferent to whatever you do to it, it doesnt recognize any moral difference between its continued existence or its death. Its very difficult to pin down just how you harm a being by killing it, if it doesnt care (or even know that) whether its alive, and nothing we can possibly do to it will affect its welfare. But we can affect the welfare of feeling beings, thats an important important moral difference. Thats one I havent seen before Dont worry, it'll be alright, humanity hasnt totally destroyed the earth, and there will be plenty of air for everyone to breathe. Also, remember, many vegans are strong environmentalists. How nice would it be if everyone became a vegan and an environmentalist, driving electric cars, minimizing use of pesticides and herbicides, and keeping the natural environment clean. I think it would be nice being able to breathe fresh air in L.A. again
  7. Teri, Life has no intrinsic value, only extrinsic value. We respect life only because its a prerequisite for respecting all the other morally relevant characteristics a being has, such as its continued happiness and pursuit of longterm goals. When you destroy a life, you harm all of its morally relevant characteristics which depended on its continued existence, and you harm those characteristics in the most absolute way, by reducing them down to nothingness. A beings moral characteristics depend on its mental and feeling characteristics. Plants have no mental or feeling characterisics whatsoever, they have no wants of any kind, so they have no moral characteristics to take into consideration. Animals, on the other hand, are feeling beings with an experiential welfare, they have all the same moral characteristics as their mentally similar human counterparts, making animals and mentally similar humans are moral equals. Thats the difference between taking animal and plant life. No you dont. Eating animals is absolutely gratuitous, not necessary for anyones survival. If you stopped eating animals, you wouldnt starve to death, you'd just live out the rest of your natural life as a vegan. Can you say "naturalistic fallacy"? Evolution is not a moral theory. Edit to add: *sigh* I didnt realize this was a long dead thread resurrected, please ignore this post...
  8. As if I could make title of this thread more daunting enough, the length of this post should scare off 90% of you I've buried two questions in this post, which I've highlighted bold to make easier to see. I dont know why I've been thinking about it recently, but I was wondering about (Newtonian) gravity and the equations to calculate the movement of objects. I have a naive idea of how to do it: - For every object in space, sum up all of the gravitational vector forces acting on it, "press" the force against your object to plot its new coordinates. Basically, that does work, but its not very efficient. If you were trying to create a computer model of gravitation using that approach, it would bring your computer to its knees, because the amount of processing overhead increases at a rate of O( (x^x) * n) for each successive movement, where x is the number of planets you're trying to model and n number of actual moves you want to make. (At just 10 objects, you're computer has to go through 10 000 000 000 loop iterations for each step). I've thought of a better way to model gravitation: - Calculate the gravitational vector field as a series of time-based parametric equations, plot the coordinates with respect to time. That works a lot more efficiently, you only have to calculate the vector field once, and then loop through all of your planets and plot their new coordinates. So the processing overhead is closer to O(xn), because you need to loop through your planets twice (once to get the values necessary to make your vector field, and once more to move your planets). I understand the process of calculating a gravitational vector field, its just a very simple gradient of your force vector, where the force of gravity is given as: F = Force of Gravity = G * mass1 * mass2 --------------------- (mass1.x+mass2.x)^ + (mass1.y+mass2.y)^2 + (mass1.z+mass2.z)^2 Assuming mass1 is located at the origin, Gradient of F = Vector r = x2[i]i[/i] + y2[i]j[/i] + z2[i]k[/i] Unit vector u = r / ||r|| G * mass1 * mass2 ----------------- * u ||r||^2 Thats works nice, but I guess physics isnt my strong area, because that equation only works for 2 objects. What if I wanted to model 12 objects? I cant, because theres no such thing as a distance between 3 or more non-coplanar points. At this point, my calculus knowledge comes to a hault, because the simple vector field above is a little too simple, it doesnt work for more than 2 planets. How exactly do we generalize the gravitational vector field for more than 2 planets at any specific time t? Ok, this is just a followup to the previous question, but I just noticed that its still not a very good model. It tells you the instantaneous vector field at any given time t, but the vector field itself is constantly shifting (because the masses are moving). To make the model above work in a visual demonstration, you need to create a loop that recalculates the vector field after each time you move your planets around, and that could be very resource intensive. So, in order to have a better model, we need to account for all of the masses in the vector field moving, so the vector field itself is actually in fluid motion. If we do this, then we only need to calculate our vector field once, then we can run our model indefinitely with O(x+n) (linear) processing overhead. To model a fluid vector field, my guess is that we actually need a gradient of a gradient, which is actually very easy to do mathematically, but I'm clueless as to how you'd even set up this kind of equation. How do we generalize a gravitational vector field at all points in time? All nerdy answers appreciated in advance (Nerdy answers with LaTeX appreciated 2x as much! )
  9. Snail, I dont think its relevant that I'm completely ignoring it, because its not really a big deal that something can belong to more than one group at once, especially since species group and stage of development group arent mutually exclusively. Its a human being (species group) who just happens to be a blastocyst at development (development group), theres no conflict. Well, now you're talking about a more abstract definition of "human", one thats distinct from the concrete biological definition, and you also introduce some fuzziness to the way human is defined. For instance, if you define a human as "having human qualities", then the definition of human is a little circular because "human" needs to be defined before you can state that something is a "human quality"... but thats just a word game and probably not really that important for discussion in the thread. What qualities did you have in mind that are "human qualities"?
  10. Well, taking the blastocyst as a whole, its rightfully called alive because it metabolizes food for growth, energy, and continued homoestasis, and it fits all conventional definitions of life: In addition to being alive, its rightfully called an organism: As opposed to Glider, I think the tissues of a blastocyst arent just an undifferenciated mass, they actually work together as a unified whole to give rise to other components and processes, and its classification as an organism isnt wholly different from the classification of single-celled protozoa as organisms. And with being a living organism, they contain all of the necessary genetic information to fit neatly into the human family, genus, and species. By all biological and academic definitions, blastocysts are human in the most concrete sense. I dont think there is a difference between calling something a human or calling something a human being, the words are (for all intents and purposes) nearly sematically equivalent. Any quibbling over whether something can be a human, but not a human being is a trivial dispute. Now, as far as a moral discussion goes, something being a human or not is irrelevant. What matters is personhood (and it should be understood that some humans can be non-persons, and some non-humans can be persons)... but I dont know if defining personhood is really the intent bascule had when he started this thread.
  11. the tree, Some practical advise and wisdom I learned over the years: - Cigarettes = bad Alcohol = ok, in moderation Marijuana = good, but dont let anyone find out - If you've got the legs for it, wear a cute skirt. They are not only very feminine, adorable, and comfortable to wear, but you can quietly revel in the fact that you're better than everyone else. - Skirts should between 2 and 4 inches above the knee. Any lower and they arent feminine, any higher and they arent modest. - High heels with short skirts, low heels with long skirts. Corollary: with rare exceptions, like funerals and weddings, there arent any reasons to wear long skirts and dresses, so you should never have less than 5:1 ratio of high heels to low heels. You should also try to wear skirts and heels everyday, because they are incredibly cute and feminine - Dont wear light-weight, loosefitting skirts in the wind, wear jean skirts instead. Or you can wear black panty hose, but its a bit gauche to wear anything other than a short black form-fitting skirt with panty hose. But dont wear "spanky pants" (a tiny pair of shorts that goes under skirts to provide coverage similar to what you might see on a cheerleading uniform), those are tacky. I've actually been known to wear two pairs of skirts, a light-weight skirt on top and a shorter denim mini or microskirt underneath just in case the light-weight skirt wants to blow away. The denim provides enough friction and surface area to hold the light skirt in place, but its also a safety net in case the skirt blows up. Its better to have people look at you funny for wearing two skirts than to look at you funny for flashing them. - Dont wear socks with heals, especially open-toed heals. - DO NOT get drunk / high and cook at the same time. - Almost ALL of the people in the highest income quintile invest their money in the stock market or currency exchange. You cannot be up their with them without having your money invested in something. If nothing else, start small and get a money market account or a CD, then work your way up to more profitable investments. - Learn how the economy works before criticizing it. - Vote in every state and national election; and if you dont vote, then dont gripe about the government. - Dont vote Republican. - A problem for men is that their arousal is very visible, but its also very embarrassing, so they condition themselves from very early on to suppress their arousal in public. But women dont have that problem, their arousal isnt visible and they dont have to suppress themselves, so we can let go and stay aroused whenever and wherever we want for long periods of time. Now you know why women smile so much! - Couples should find mutual hobbies, something they both like doing together. Dancing is a good hobby, even if you're not very good at it, its very healthy for you on a physical and relationship level. Recently, after being seperated for almost 2 years, my husband moved back into my house with me, and since then we've been extra cuddly and snuggly together, but we dont exactly have a lot of mutual hobbies. So I'm teaching him how to do yoga, something we can both do together every morning (it'll also make us even more cuddly and snuggly in ways we've never tried before ). - Women: DO NOT be a submissive baby-making factory. Be an equal to your husband (or wife if thats the case ), and dont let yourself be treated as an "inferior vessel". There are still a lot of misogynists out there and still a lot of people like religious conservatives who want to roll back everything that feminism has accomplished. - Men: Gender roles mean nothing, they are a social fiction (after all, wearing high heels today is a feminine characteristic, but 100s of years ago only upperclass men ever wore them). There is no reason why men and women ought to conform to their gender role, and theres no threat to your masculinity for taking the place of a housewife. Being a stay-at-home dad, cleaning up after your kids, vacuuming and washing dishes while your wife goes to work is no threat to your masculinity. In fact, its a very serious health risk for men to say "I dont want to do dishes, its a womans job", saying that thing can take years off your life. Why? Because I'll hunt you down and KILL you - Egocentricism is the devil. Always, as much as you can, try to understand your actions from the point of others and how they are affected. - Be involved actively with your kids, not just passively. Kids can and will grow up just fine being raised by TV, but TV doesnt build character like parents. - Teach your kids how to cook before booting them out of the house. - Always support animal rights. Dont buy or use animal products. Evo, I so want to pick up smoking, just so I can say, "winners never quit, winners never quit" before I eventually get cancer and die
  12. Dak, Come on, be serious. I hear the line that "PETA does too many crazy things to be trusted" too often, and so far 100% of the time I've heard it from people who cant even answer the question "what crazy/stupid/dishonest things have they done" with even a single example. It wouldnt surprise me if you had to google and search for a website listing off a few dozen mundane examples like "PETAs 'Holocaust on your plate' campaign was dumb!; feminists object to their Lettuce Ladies, take that PETA!" I wonder how much your dislike for PETA is influenced by what you actually know about them, rather than your intuitional preconceptions. IAMSCruelty.com is a very wellknown website and has been actively updated for years, and theres no doubt at all that the president and legal department of IAMS / Proctor & Gamble have seen it. Can you imagine just how quickly P&G would sue PETA for monumental misrepresentation and slander (and potential loss of profit) if they hadnt actually been filming an IAMS lab? Believe me, IAMS acknowledges the video and that animals were being treated very cruelly, according to Envirolink.org, after the video appeared, an IAMS representative went out to the Sinclair research facility for a surprise inspection and found "problems with the air temperature and ventilation in the cage rooms, a lack of resting boards for the dogs and inadequate socialization for the animals" among other things; the violations were apparently severe enough that IAMS severed its ties with the Sinclair research facility. So, the video shows cruelty at an IAMS lab, that much about the video is true. Unfortunately though, while IAMS severed ties with the Sinclair facility for its own its sake, its still not that easy to submit the videos to a judge and have the facilities shut down immediately. People have this idea that that any lab animal has the same legal protection as your everyday house pet... but if that were true, all animal experimentation would be illegal. ... but we both know that isnt even close to being true (a lot of extremely cruel animal experiments are performed everyday with no intervention from the government on animals behalf). However, PETA did initiate a lawsuit against IAMS for numerous breaches in its own animal testing policy, namely its claim that it wouldnt euthanise animals or use lethal animal tests... ...however, the IAMS research facility didnt stick to that. You are basically correct that "anethetised dogs are allways spredagled, and allways look odd to the point of being disturbing". Here is the context of the opening scene, where all the dogs are laying out on the floor: 60 dogs are incapacitated and have tubes inserted into their throats in order to force them to injest some kind of food or liquid (the undercover PETA investigator identifies the substance as vegetable oil), this could be a metabolic study or a toxicology study. The animals are anesthetized and large chunks of tissue cut out of their thighs which is visible in at least one dog in the video, then they are subjected to a muscle biopsy. The animals are put in cages with bars so that fecal matter can fall through (possibly for nutritional analysis), however the procedure was apparently very tramatic, because according to this insane AR website: So, you're right that the video shows dogs coming out of anesthesia who look odd, but because you actually havent heard the commentary that accompanied each scene when PETA submitted a formal complaint to the FTC, you get the wrong impression that PETA is trying to turn some mundane event into a trajedy. But images of dogs laying on the floor isnt the objectionable part, its the process of forcefeeding the dogs a toxic substance, cutting chunks of their thighs, and caging them in conditions where become sick and die of untreated illnesses. The short 8 minute video is, as I said in my opening post, excerpts from a much longer video. IAMS fully acknowledges the claims made by PETA, as evidenced by the emails passed back and forth between PETA and IAMS spokemen, and excerpts from the letters contain descriptions of other experiments which show that the IAMS abuse in the video isnt just a single isolated event: In addition to the examples above, you can see a press release from PETA where they expose experiments where beagles gums are artificially repeatedly cut and sutured back to induce gingivitus. I can understand if you're skeptical of PETAs claims, but seriously, I think your skepticism isnt based on anything.
  13. Gib65, I'm pretty sure whatever makes a religion good or bad is circumstantial, whether it affects beings in a harmful way or not. If there was a religion that allowed questioning authority, science to come before faith, and democratic feedoms, then I guess religion wouldnt really be "bad" at all. For instance, if someones bible says "homosexuality is an abomination to to God; the penalty for homosexuality is death", yet it allowed for questioning authority, you could actually ask "but God, how is the act of homosexuality morally different from heterosexuality?" without being labeled a heretic and burned at the stake; thats a good thing in general. To me, the thing that makes religion so bad is that it absolutely destroys morality. "Gods will" cannot form the basis for any moral rule, but people invoke the will of God to justify anything and everything no matter how horrible, repugnant, morally inexplicable, or morally inconsistent. As of right now, religious fundamentalists are campaigning all over the world to abolish human cloning, because it fails to respect the dignity of human life; they dont say a word about respecting the dignity of any of the 10s of billions of non-human lives destroyed for profit, because they dont have souls. And that kind of mindset is a problem, because its based on precisely nothing, the claim that humans have souls is spurious at best (and even more spurious as to how anyone can know that people have souls and that animals dont, or what test one can use to determine which being has a soul or not)... its not a form of morality, its ignorance and superstition dressed up as the will of God, and its absolutely offensive to any serious conception of morality.
  14. Oh noooooos! t3h crazy vegan has started a thread on how great it is to be craaaaaazy! I dont usually start theads like this, but I thought it was in the interest of all the pet owners on this forum: Iams breeds dogs and cats for testing their petfood, and their tests consists of forcefeeding dogs to the point of sickness and death, the animals are treated without any respect from the animal handlers, dogs are trapped in cages and neglected to the point that they display stereotypical behavior for hours on end. The cages in particular are small and have nothing to stimulate the animals, the cage bottoms are lined bars spaced too far apart for the animals to stand on them comfortably (its done like that to minimize the cost of clean up, when the dogs go to the bathroom, the waste falls right through -- usually on top of any dogs in the cages below), and many times the dogs legs will slip through the cage and make it impossible for the animals to free themselves. An undercover video of the IAMs animal testing facility was shot and released. A shorter version of the video consisting of a few dozen it consists of a few dozen short excerpts of the facility is available here: Watch Video: Iams Cruelty Please boycott IAMS petfood.
  15. Herme3, It helps to at least remember that you dont have to go to church, its not a requirement for Christianity. Actually its not even biblical, theres no place in the bible that says anyone needs to go to church or worship in groups. It can sometimes be interesting to post on other boards about bible contradictions, but that usually comes off as trolling. And if you get your list of contradictions and copy-paste them large posts around different boards, you'll look like you're trolling for sure. Its much better to spend your time familiarizing yourself with the academic and intellectual side of religious studies, so if you have the time, take a look at Truth and Fiction in the Bible by Robin Lane Fox. Its a nice short read, has a lot of good information (although at least 1 part of the book seems out of place with modern scholarship, and thats where he makes an argument that the Book of John is written by a primary source). It'll provide you with a lot more interesting material than "omg, this verse says 7000 people fought in the war, and this verse says 7100, another contradiction!!!", and it'll help you really appreciate the complexity of Christianity from an informed point of view. iglak,
  16. Completely off topic: Number of posts I've contributed to this thread: 15 Average number of characters per post: 9605 Total number of characters (without spaces): 144079 Total number of printed pages (1" margins, Times New Roman, 12pt): 62 *** IMM scampers off to find a life... ***
  17. Paranoia, Paranoia, I see your reply to Technocrat as a kind of "I'm disagreeing with him just for the sake of disagreeing with him!"... I know that because in the last few posts, you've flipped between stating "good = natural" and "good = depends on circumstances". Technocrats analysis were a reply directly to your claim that good = natural, but you backtracked and said that you really meant good = depends on circumstances... later in the same post, you're going to go back to good = natural because its the principle that just happens to disagree with Technocrat at the moment. You probably dont realize that "good = natural" and "good = depends on circumstances" are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but not necessarily mutually inclusive either. Some natural things have bad consequences, some unnatural things have beneficial consequences. For instance, wearing contact lenses is unnatural* but its also very benecial, but being out in the sun so long that you get a severe sunburn (or skin cancer over a long period of time) is a perfectly natural thing to happen but its not desirable. * "Unnatural" really hasnt been defined yet. Neither has "natural". I havent heard anyone provide a definition, and I'm afraid no definition can actually provide a clear boundary for a moral decisions. So far, the only definitions I can think of for "natural" are: - Consistent with the laws of physics. But then again, when you make objections to something, such as homosexuality or vegetarianism, you're not necessarily denying that homosexuality and vegetarianism are inconsistent with the laws of physics. (I'm just using homosexuality as a convenient example, because a lot of people like to say "oh nooos! homosexuality is wrong because it isnt natural!") - Not manmade; existing in wildlife; opposite of artificial. But when people have objections to homosexuality and vegetarianism, they arent necessarily denying that those behaviors exist in the wild... so they cant be talking about that definition... but there are plenty of artificial things that are good, for instance plastic and (more abstractly) commerce are artificial and manmade, but they have their uses; and non-artificial things like hurricanes and fires are worth avoiding, they have negative value. - Pertaining the intrinsic nature of a thing. This is really abstract, and I dont think the definition really applies to humans, because there are very few (or any) intrinsic characteristics that humans have. And by "intrinsic characteristic", I mean a characteristic for which a negation of that contradiction leads to an internal contradiction (i.e. the characteristic of being "shaped" is an intrinsic property of cubes, and denying that cubes are shaped is contradictory). However, eating meat or practicing heterosexuality are not a part of the intrinsic nature of human beings, because people can do that without any logical contradiction whatsoever. - Consonant with the character of a thing. A little less abstract, you might say that its natural for people to do whats in their character, for instance its very natural for very jealous people to envy others possessions, and its very natural for heterosexuals to find other heterosexual partners. But, if its not obvious, talking about whats natural in this way in terms of the human species really doesnt make sense, because there are very few behavioral characteristics that describe humans as a whole. You cant say "its natural for people to eat meat", because it really isnt natural for every person (i.e. me and 600 million other vegetarians and vegans on the globe). Natural in this sense is intensely personal, so that it can be natural for one person to eat meat or be a heterosexual, and be natural for another person to be a vegan or a homosexual, and both peoples behavior would be consistent with the statement that its natural. Really, saying something "is natural" in this sense implies "is natural for him / her / it". Of course, if you try to use this definition as a moral principle, that peoples particular character and preferences determines the way that they should behave, then you run into problem like "its natural for anti-semites to despise Jews, so they ought to kill them", and you really dont have a basis for any moral claim at all. Of course, let me explain something: if you say a behavior is wrong based on its circumstances, then you're talking about the circumstances. Stating that a behavior is natural or not doesnt automatically tell you whether the consequences are desirable, so the fact something is natural is just a red herring. Sure, you can debate all day about whats natural, but it would only be a distraction from the real debate over what the consequences for particular behaviors are. Of course they contradict. He’s removed the partition. What is acceptable out-group is NOT acceptable in-group. This is very fundamental psychology here. I kinda wonder how you define "in-group" and "out-group". You belong to a lot of different groups: a race group, nationality group, species group, occupant in this quadrant of the galaxy group, member of a club, person who makes between X and Y dollars a year, a member of a specific language group, height above X but below Y group, occupant in your own body group, and infinitely many others. It seems like for whatever moral rules people should follow, they can essentially justify any action so long as they say "they arent a member of my group". <---- yes, that is a part of human psychology, and you see it all the time in politics (i.e. a lot of conservatives in the US think its ok to kill Iraqi civilians, but thinks its intolerable for Iraqis to kill Americans in the same way, and racists justify their racism on the basis that they dont need to give moral consideration to non-members of their race group), but so far I havent seen you bridge the gap between psychology and what people ought to do. After all, every act of violence one person commits on another person is perfectly consistent with psychology and psychological expectations; for example, if Bob is a violent homophobe, then his psychological disposition will lead him to torture or murder homosexuals, probably because those homosexuals are "icky" and arent members of his sexuality group. I get the feeling that you're trying to say "the rules of psychology define the rules of morality", but then you paint yourself into a wall where you cant actually object to anything, because every persons behaviors (whether natural or not, violent or not) is perfectly consistent with their psychological dispositions. To resolve that problem, you need to explain what you mean by a "in-group" and "out-group", and explain how we can identify whatever group we belong to in a non-arbitrary way. So far, in-group = human species has no more moral precendent than in-group = member of my race, they are arbitrarily selected groups. What? Maybe its because I tend to use moral and good interchangeably, but I dont see what the distinction is. Would you mind explaining it? Not that this point was really worth singling out for comment, but most of your posts seem to involve a lot of odd redefinitions of common words. I could imagine inventing new words to describe concepts, but you're taking everyday words with an everyday meaning and trying to subtly redefine them into some kind of moral scheme. But then, when people misread you for having substituted a new definition in for a common word (like distinguishing between whats "moral" and whats "good"), you become frustrated that people cant reply to what you really intended rather than what they read at face value. For instance, I agree that people are contradictory, they have principles but are willing to break to them whenever they want... but I dont think that understanding of "contradictory" carries over to nature. I dont have the faintest clue what it means to say "nature contradicts itself too", and I cant really think a single example. I can think of examples where nature behaves in ways which dont match our intuitional expectations, such as the speed of light is constant in all inertial frames, or the way that a marshmellow and an anvil fall at the same rate (neglecting air resistance), but I dont think thats what you mean. Its not very obvious what you mean when you say "nature contradicts itself". I've never heard of the scholastic fallacy, but in any case your comments are roughly categorical assertions without any justification behind them. Thats why Technocrat gets brownie points and you dont, because Technocrat writes short novels for posts that actually logically link his arguments together to form a coherent conclusion (although he could never match the length that my posts tend to reach ); on the other hand, you criticized Technocrat like this (I've numbered off your individual premises, and I'm laying them out in sequence): (1) Technocrat says we ought not do something we've been doing for 5 million years. (2) On the contrary, the ought is correct. (3) Thats why I believe we ought to do something that we've done for 5 million years. Thats an example of what we call circular logic: we ought to do what we've been doing for 5 million years because we ought to do it.... of course, I could forgive you for this really elementary fallacy, one that everyone has already heard of, and just presume that you didnt actually intend to present a structured and logically consistent counter-argument, but merely skipping to the chase and stating your final deductions... usually, thats acceptable, but only if you've already provided an argument, and you havent. In fact, not only have not provided an actual argument that we should do what we've been doing for 5 million years, but you dont even seem to be aware of the actual lengthy philosophical tradition behind Technocrats comments that "an 'is' does not imply an 'ought'". Its something very basic called the is-ought problem which is discussed by Hume and (my favorite) G E Moore, and people who try to state that we ought to do by appeal to certain facts (i.e. that something is more evolved, or that people are selfish) commit whats called the naturalistic fallacy. I've personally seen a lot of discussions on this topic, but I still think Hume has the best explanation for why the distinction between and "is" and "ought" is really problematic in the first place: In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark'd, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surpriz'd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it shou'd be observ'd and explain'd; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. (Treatise of Human Nature: Book III, part I) Basically, the "is" is just a descriptive statement about the universe, but by what process does it it transform into a prescriptive "ought"? And more importantly, how can you say one fact about nature is really something that we ought to do, rather than what we ought not do? For example, if someone tortures you for months on end, theres no doubt that you will be in a state of horrific suffering; so lets turn it into a moral question. The "is", or the fact in nature, is that you will suffer when someone tortures you, and the "ought" or "ought not" is the act of torture and bringing you in a state of suffering; how do justify attaching an "ought not" to that fact, rather than an "ought"? Or in another words, how do you say that fact you will suffer for being tortured implies that people shouldnt torture you, as opposed to that fact implying that they should torture you? Its little questions like that which make the is-ought problem an actual problem. Theres no explanation for how a fact about nature transforms into a moral prescription, and theres no explanation for how we can say a fact about nature is what we should do rather than what we shouldnt (and vice versa). But now theres other issues worth considering: you havent exactly explained why something being practiced for 5 million years takes moral precedence over something that only been practiced for 50 years. As far as I'm concerned, you're just committing another elemetary fallacy, an appeal to tradition, basically stating that something is morally obligatory as long as its been in place for a long time. Of course, I dont really see the argument that we should preserve the status quo. For instance you might say that we shouldnt genetically modify plants to make them produce a larger yield on the basis that we've never done that in the thousands of years we've been cultivating plants, but then how is that a counter-argument to the statement that we should genetically modify plants on the basis that its something we've never done before? For every appeal to tradition, theres an appeal to novelty, and without further enumeration of moral principles, theres no way to resolve the dispute between doing things the old way or doing them in novel ways. And so you cant justify anything at all by the principles you've stated. *sigh* Evolution isnt a moral theory. Its a purely descriptive theory that explains diversity in the world. Its just like everything other descriptive theory like Relativity, Plate Techtonics, and Germ Theory. Natural selection says nothing about what people "ought" to do... ... unless you're just redefining the word "ought": - If by "ought", you mean "a proposition that must obtain to achieve another proposition", then you're basically right, natural selection does state that beings must dominate and spread their DNA before the laws of natural selection can carry out. In this way, the word "ought" really means "something that enables something else to happen". But then, this is just a trivial, and probably even weasley definition of "ought", and the statement that beings must spread their DNA to be affected by the laws of natural selection is trivially true. Its also trivially true that, for you to be in a state of suffering, that some someone must kidnap you and torture you (i.e. the proposition that you are suffering doesnt obtain unless someone kidnaps and tortures you, so they "ought" to kidnap and torture you to make you suffer). Its also trivially true that you dont usually become poisoned without drinking something poisonous, so you ought to drink something poisonous in order to poison yourself. Its also trivially true that the 3 sides of a triangle need to meet at certain angles and be of certain lengths to be called a "right triangle". Its also trivially true that That kind of "ought" is just descriptive and only makes descriptive utterances about the universe. - If by "ought", you mean something that corresponds to an obligation or duty, in the sense moral right and wrong, then natural selection says nothing of the sort. Its not alive, its not corporeal, its not even a set of rules inscribed in the fabric of the universe, and it doesnt care whether we propagate our genes or not. Of course, you havent actually explained by propagating our genes is a good thing in the first place, and you havent explained why letting your species go extinct is a bad thing; Why ought we propagate our genes, as opposed to the competing propositin that we ought not? On what basis can you prefer the statement "progation is good and extinction is bad" over the competing statement "extinction is good and propagation is bad"? You havent stated that its even possible in principle, you only stated it categorically with no further justification. This has got to be one of the top 10 most bizarre comments I've ever read in my life... ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU RAILED ON TECHNOCRAT JUST TWO SECONDS AGO FOR DERIVING NONSENSE CONCLUSIONS.. Dont you remember the scholastic fallacy? Dont you remember "1) Rabbits having sex with dogs is not wrong, therefore 2) interspecies sexuality is good 3) Technocrat is not wrong"? What was the point of even making that comment in the first place if logic is overrated? What is the point of stating that Technocrat's conclusions "proudly display his ignorance" if logic is overrated? On the one hand, you railed against Technocrats nonsense arguments and nonsense conclusions, because they were logically fallacious --- that is, they didnt conform to the rules of valid logical deductio and induction... on the other hand, you think logic is overrated... ... I'm sure you could see the glaring contradiction between your two different attitudes, but it probably doesnt matter because you've practically admitted that you are unlike Technocrat and others who are so obsessed with logical consistency. Alright Paranoia, I generally like your posts, but you have to admit, theres so much lingual gymnastics, so many vague and undefined terms, and so much internal inconsistency that it would make any normal person shake in a fit of cognitive dissonance. In the end, and I'm pretty sure you'll agree with my analysis, you havent really thought of morality at all or know a great deal about the topic. Probably, you just dont concern yourself with those kinds of thoughts because, "hey, I like where I'm at", you just arent affected when someone else is tortured and killed. Things are justified because you like them, but mind you if you ever met a person who would very much like to torture and kill you for their own pleasure, you would consider such a person a vile monster. But then again, that kind of thinking is too close to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", but you can safely ignore it as long as you dont need to worry about being morally consistent. Of course, I'd really wonder why you'd object to anything at all; sure, someone could agree with you that natural = good, but they could also agree with you that they dont need to be morally consistent and they could destroy natural things to their hearts content. And you wouldnt be able to level and objection to that kind of behavior. So far, I've liked Technocrats posts, his analysis are spot on and (enviably) much more succinct than mine. Please dont take this as a personal insult, but your objections have been infantile.
  18. - You think you can disprove other holy books by citing your own. - Your arguments against illegal immigration inexplicably apply to all legal immigrants too. - You use the words "communist" and "fascist" interchangeably. - You rail against the evils of homosexuality and will actively boycott Disney, Ford, and other companies for supporting gay equality. - Yet, when you rail against the evils of communism, you dont think twice about shopping at Walmart which funnels money directly to the communist countries that manufacture Walmart's products. - You think Matthew Shepard "deserved it". - You believe science which reaffirms your beliefs, and reject all science which contradicts it as stupid and misguided.
  19. Technocrat, You've probably noticed my ethics are heavily utilitarian also, and they are very similar to the Peter Singer's Preference Utilitarianism (I know for a fact that you're familiar with him, because you use a lot of direct quotes from him in your post). But Singer argues that animal experimentation is wrong on the basis that it results in a lopsided utlitarian calculation: the benefit to humans is too small and trivial next to the harm caused to animal. For example, a huge percetange of research goes into cosmetics testing (and cosmetics are not necessary to protect human life) and psychological research (which doesnt save lives at all). The fact that humans are not willing to sacrifice human infants for experimentation to save other human an animal lives gives away the lopsidedness of the calculation. They believe that 1000s of animals are worth sacrificing to save one infant, but it would be morally evil to sacrifice 1 infant on behalf of 1000s of animals... the only explanation behind that contradiction is that people just have an irrational prejudice against animals interests, they just dont care, and so (by the implications of utilitarianism) they are contributing to a huge amount of gratuitous and unjustified harm. Psychological and cosmetics testing are expendable, the only kind of experimentation that requires consideration is medical testing that saves lives (which happens to exclude testing for non-lifesaving pills like Viagra and OTCs). Of course, with respect to utilitarianism, no one believes that a life destroyed is equal to a life saved (or a new life created in its place). Here are just a few simple examples to demonstrate this point: - Most people believe that its wrong to kill one innocent human even if harvesting his blood and organs saves the lives of 10 others. So at the very least, killing 1 person is worse than failing to save 10 others. This implies that taking life and being unable to save it are not morally the same, willfully killing innocents is worse than being unable to save innocents. - No one believes that a woman could kill a person even if she promised to bring another person into existence. Although from classical utilitarian point of view, there isnt much difference in the amount of happiness in the universe before the murder than there is after the woman gives birth, yet the woman's behaviors were morally objectionable. This implies that taking life isnt justified in an obvious sense just by saving another or bringing more lives into existence. If the woman doesnt kill anyone, then she hasnt harmed anyone; even if she never brings another human into the world, the net utility in the universe never decreases for constraining the woman's right to kill others. In a more everyday scenario, presuming that money can be can an objective quantification of utility (which I think it is), if Bob steals $100 from Jack, then Bob's utilitarian benefit is $100, and Jack's utilitarian benefit is -$100 (he has been harmed), even though $100 - $100 balances out to zero (by classical utilitarianism it should be considered morally neutral, as well as all theft), people still object to theft on the basis that the thiefs harm is more profound than his benefit. By contrast, thiefs are not harmed as much for being unable to steal money, than people are harmed for having their money stolen, so we have a utilitarian argument that implies victims of harm are harmed to a more profound extent than the beneficients of harm (i.e its worse to harm someone to achieve a benefit, than not to harm someone and be unable to attain the benefit). With those principles above, we can still make a utilitarian evaluation of animal experimentation, but its more difficult to justify because animal experimentation takes lives at a MUCH faster rate than it saves lives. In the example above, I looked at taking 1 life to save 10 others, but the situation is even more difficult to evaluate because animal experimentation usually means taking 1000s of lives to save just 1 other (a hugely disproportionate utilitarian calculation); on the principle that taking lives is worse than not being able to save them, it appears as if animals are harmed for being the victims of animal experimentation, but no one is harmed at all for preventing experimenters from practicing experimentation. Taken together, its almost self-evident that utilitarian benefit cannot catch up to the utilitarian harm, so we have a utilitarian argument against animal experimentation. Utilitarianism is fun, but the fact people dont sacrifice babies to save animals, the fact that taking life is worse than not saving it, and the fact that taking life is not justified by saving another life all form a cumulative utilitarian argument against animal experimentation than for it. I'm proud to be a member of PETA and ALF I think a lot of people are too quick to criticize ALF as a terrorist organization without understanding how ALF justifies their actions: Most everyone accepts that beings have a right, whatever that is, to defend themselves. For example, its not murder to kill someone else in self-defense. However, some beings arent capable of defending themselves; for example, babies are a classic example of helplessness, and while they have the right to defend themselves, they just cant because of their physical limitations. In that case, almost everyone accepts that we can intervene and defend the baby on its own behalf, and very often emergencies require violent intervention (i.e. if a parent is beating their kid into the ground, I think its perfectly acceptable to crack a 2x4 across that parents head). ALFs defends animals from harm on their own behalf, because the animals are just so overwhelmed that they cant defend themselves on their own. I think most people will support terrorism given the right circumstances, but I would godwin the thread to death if I explained the circumstances in much detail. At least from the point of view of someone whose been in the AR debate and AR activism for years, its extremely frustrating to be in the microminority. Only 0.5% of people make animal rights a voting issue, and governments are too slow to respond or they just dont care at all. The work of the Humane Society, PETA, ASPCA, and other lobbyist organizations are good, but for how much good work they do, its infinitely frustrating that the business of animal torture keeps growing and growing so much faster than any lobbyist's ability to affect legislation. Its infinitely frustrating, so what can we do? I dont really think there is much else. I dont care that the ALF is classified as a terrorist organization, businesses shouldnt be allowed to profit from animal cruelty. ALF has never killed any humans (can muslim extremists, white nationalists, or militant pro-lifers say that?), they destroy property. When they burn a slaughterhouse to the ground, it drives the price of meat through the roof and destroys a companies stock. Demand for meat goes down when prices go up; a company takes a huge loss from the destroyed meat, and they are unable to recover or rebuild (without huge expenses) when people are unwilling to invest their money into the company. A lot of times, the affects are midrange to longterm, which reduces the net number of animals tortured and killed for profit. I think thats a good thing; the financial harm to companies is trivial next to physical harm caused to the animals, companies are harmed less for losing profit than animals are harmed for being tortured and killed. I used to think the same thing, and a lot of times I still disapprove of their rhetoric and emotional pleas that really undermine the rigorous and complicated philosophy that forms the foundation of the animal rights movement... ...but as a utilitarian myself, they do accomplish a lot more good than people give them credit for. Take a look at this timeline of PETAs actions since 1981, they are very good at what they do, and for that, I support them, and I became a PETA member this year. And on the topic of PETA killing animals, you need to look at it in context and see what PETA says about it: PETA euthanizes sick and dying animals, because it would be extremely cruel if those animals were compelled to exist in their miserable states. So yes, PETA "kills" animals, but their practice of humane euthanasia isnt even remotely comparable to the way slaughterhouses kill animals. As a utilitarian, you should support euthanasia, and you should understand there is no inherent hypocrisy in valuing the lives of animals but yet conceding that sometimes painless euthanasia is the only humane thing to do. The real hypocrites are idiots like Penn And Teller parrot the lie that PETA is hypocritical for "killing" animals, because Penn and Teller are diehard supporters of euthanasia too.
  20. skepticforums.net monkeymonkeymonkey.com I like the second one
  21. Probably others noticed, but I stopped participating in the thread because lucaspas comments that I "haven't had much training in hypothetico-deductive reasoning" when he doesnt know anything about my educational history were extremely offensive. And more to the point, I replied to all of lucaspas questions earlier in the thread, but he just asked them again, and I will usually lose interest in going in a circle. But in any case, I feel like joining the thread again... gcol, Really, do you want me to godwin this thread to death But in any case, I bet 99% of people will defend acts of terrorism given severe enough circumstances. For example, if the government began rounding up all Christians or all non-Christians for extermination, then a lot of people would fight the government with violence to get them to stop. Is opposing the government in that way terrorism? Yes... ...but terrorism isnt intrinsically wrong, the wrongness of terrorism is circumstantial based on how it affects others. Most acts of terrorism like are wrong because they cause so much harm to achieve nothing, and most acts of terrorism are justified by nothing. Protecting innocent people from gratuitous harm is a way to justify violence against the government, but saying "my god approves of this..." is not a justification because gods will is fundamentally unknowable and all conceptions of god are manmade fictions. lucaspa, Specifically speaking, they cant purposefully behave immorally because they arent rational beings and arent capable of taking responsibility for their actions, so they cant take blame or praise for their actions and they cant be criticized in a profound sense even if they cause harm. Thats why a piece of machinery that malfunctions isnt the subject of moral blame, neither is the sun the subject of moral blame when it causes skin cancer, neither are infants the subjects of moral blame, so the actions of those things and objects arent "immoral" per se. But in any case, I get asked a lot "what about animals in the wild? should we just let them keep killing each other?"... but 100% of the time, the person who asks that questions doesnt have a plan about what we could do to prevent predation in the wild. From the point of view of a utilitarian, which I'm fairly partial to, I think it would be ideal if we could end all predation --- but how is that idealization even remotely achievable? Even with all the resources we have, we just cant police the billion of acres land and billions of liters of ocean and police all of the ecosystems for even a second. Its not that we shouldnt police nature, but its that we cant because of our physical limitations. And with the record of huge ecological disasters we've created by trying to dominate nature, I think we would fail on a monumental scale if we even attempted to police all the ecosystems on the globe, and I think its very likely that we'll contribute to more harm than if we'd never interfered in the first place. For the time being, we cant address the issue of wild predation in a grand scale; at most, we can only address the behaviors of the animals in our care, such as prevent our dogs from tearing up cats or mauling kids, and preventing our cats from killing from eating mice and rabbits. We cant even begin to address the predation that occurs in African savannahs or the rainforest due to our limitations, but we are at least able to control our own behavior, and we should minimize the harm that we cause no matter what other animals are doing in the wild. When you asked the question the first time, I said: IMM: "Now, if your ethics are not just special pleading, then the idea of "no species barrier" must apply to all species, not just humans. But wolves kill members of other species every day. Why is this not wrong?" I've never said it was wrong, and I do think the principles of human apply to other creatures, including wolves (although I wouldnt fault wolves in the same way I'd fault humans for killing other animals, because wolves arent capable of making moral decisions). I'd like to live in a world where no one ever killed other species for their own gain... ... but you can see how thats such an idealist world that it isnt even remotely achievable, at least not right now. The globe is so many millions and millions of square miles (on land and in oceans) and there are so many billions and billions of ecosystems, and there are only a limited number of human resources that cannot (even with the wildest optimistic expectations) be spread over the entire globe to police the whole of wildlife. So even though it would be ideal for us to stop all predation, how could we? We just dont have the remotest capacity to police nature, and so we cant be held accountable for not policing it more than we already do. However, at the very least, we are rational being who can make ethical decisions about our diet and choose to minimize the harm we cause, so we are obligated to do that no matter what other animals are doing for themselves. You see how that reply from page 2 in the thread is identical to the reply in page 5? Instead of taking in consideration the actual limitations of resources that prevent humans from policing the globe, you restated your question as if it were some brand new profound epiphany. One of the reasons why I stopped participating in this thread was due to replying to the same comments over and over again. You made the same comment on page two, and I replied to it as follows: IMM: "Ethics and morals are what we decide applies to our species." lets just say I took what you said at face value, and agreed that morals are we decide they are; I can still make an argument for animal rights very easily, because even if morals are human-created fictions, we have to insist on taking out moral claims to their logical ends and being consistent with them. Otherwise, if we have no expectation that people will be consistent in their actions, morality (as a human invention) cant serve its purpose and theres no rational constraint on any action. I'm sure you agree with that much... ...now, you can probably see where an animal rights ethic can be built from two accepted basis: 1) taking the moral principles we hold true for humans to their logical ends, so that our humanistic principles are truly universalized. 2) If we dont universalize our ethics, then its the same as not applying them at all, because then we wouldnt have an argument against hypocrisy when someone says one thing and does another (such as saying "human life has intrinsic value" and then killing people anyway). So if someone says "its wrong to make innocent people suffer", then they're bound to universalize that ethic into the animal world and take it to its logical ends. A point has to be made that when people object to human suffering, their objecting the nature and elements embodied by "human suffering", which effectively seperates the experience of suffering from the experiencer. On universalizing their ethics, a claim can be made that animals have such similar sense organs and processing facilities that their suffering embodies the same elements as human suffering, so that an objection to human suffering is fundamentally inclusive to animals suffering as well (*). Because we're bound to be consistent in our actions, we're bound not to cause suffering to innocent animals; if we go around torturing animals, then we're not being consistent, and we have no objections to someone torturing us. Instead of replying to my comments that the consideration of animals rights follows from the application of our own manmade morality to their logical ends, you restated yourself again, which is a waste of time. I noticed when I replied to this very same comment on page 1, you either missed my reply or ignored it, but here it is again: IMM: "you have no problems destroying habitat of animals for farmland to grow the food you need to survive!" Nonsense. Not only do we have no rational alternatives to producing food outside of farmland, but the deaths that result from farmland are incidental, not intended, and cannot be conflated with one another. Your comments are a word game at best, and the rhetoric behind them is identical to the following: you say that its wrong for people to kill members of their own species, but you have no problems with people driving on roads and killing each other in accidents everyday, you hypocrite!!!!!! In my ideal world, we might take on farming like this: - teams of people would scour through farmland picking up and relocating animals. - or better yet, the government would give every family its own green house, or give neighborhoods a slightly larger greenhouse, where vegetables could be grown for everyone in local organic gardens. At least this way, farmland is fenced off, roofed, and harvested by hand so that animals arent hurt in the process. What more can I possibly say? That you're not being rational by "refuting" veganism on the basis that incidental harm is equal to intentional killing without applying that same standard to your own behavior? I think I've said all that I can, but when you just parrot yourself, we dont get anywhere. I understand that you have 3 or 4 "stumpers" in your pocket, (like "animals kill other animals, why houldnt I?", "isnt morality made by people for people?", and "but farming kills too!") but you just arent very good at defending your claims. I get the feeling its because you heard the claims from maddox or other sources and thought they sounded good, so then you started using them without even thinking them through or fleshing out the moral principles behind them... so in the end, after you parrot your stumpers, you dont have any further defense of them except to parrot them again as if they suddenly become more poignant (or to "win" an argument by getting the last word). And for that reason, I took a lot of offense to your comment that: Not only have your comments really really been academically subpar (in the sense that you never develop your arguments, state the principles your using to justify experimentation, state many moral conclusions categorically without justifying them, and do not carry any implied principles to their logical ends), but you dont even know my background education. Instead, you took a potshot at me, at the same time you chose to reply to the least interesting comment in the thread without even glancing at my earlier and more prudent replies... that speaks volumes to me about your intellectual integrity. I dont think you understand my point: because many morally relevant characteristics are indelibly connected to a beings mental and feeling characteristics, then two beings with similar mental and feeling characteristics will have similar moral charcteristics. If you list off some of the moral characteristics that make a being valuable, such as having a capacity to feel pain, practice moral reciprocity, pursue longterm goals, contribute to society, then almost certainly you can see that those characteristics are almost direct statements about the beings particular mental and feeling characteristics. I can imagine that age and health might have indirect moral conquences, but the relevance of those would reduce down to how they affect a beings mental and feeling capacities. Because you didnt understand what my comparison implied when you deduced your criticism, and as has been consistently the case, you havent actually shown that anything I've said is flawed at all. For a person who experiments on animals, and for someone who'd I'd expected to have thought about the morality of animal experimentation tremendously, your comments criticism of animals rights is infantile. I dont mean that just to take a cheap shot -- I've come across a lot of people who ask questions about animal rights, and some are actually thoughtful and interesting, and others come off as complete idiots. Your comments in this thread have been the least intellectually stimulating of any anti-animal rights arguments I've ever read (and believe me, I've seen them all), and for someone who is a vivisectionist, you dont have a coherent justification for your practice. Paranoia, Its hard then to see how that argument doesnt also justify human experimentation (after all, why not cut up one person to harvest his blood and organs to save potentially 10 others), but I'll let Henry Salt reply to that:
  22. Paranoia, Yes I know none of you have met ELL yet, but he's a lot like me, but doesnt wear skirts nearly as short as mine His philosophy is a lot more vocally misanthropic and existentialist than mine, and he thinks that "over and over again, people show that they dont have any redeeming value at all, they have negative value" (oh my!). But if we have kids, we promise not to keep any chimps in the house.
  23. Herme3, Keep in mind, a trade deficit doesnt mean we've lost money per se. It just means we import more than we export. We make a profit because we mark up the retail price on imported goods. Think about it like this:if we import 1000 miniskirts at 10 cents a skirt without ever trading anything in return, but resell all of the skirts for an average of 20 dollars a piece, our trade deficit is -100 but our gross profit is 20000 (net profit = 19900), so we havent actually lost money. It would be nice if we exported more goods, but pesky human rights groups are always shutting down our sweatshops, so our goods are just to expensive for anyone to buy.
  24. My views in exactly 75 words:: For the sheer number of beings affected (10s of billions every year), no topic is more important than animals rights. The arguments justifying animal cruelty are superstitious and false, and animals are entitled to a right to life and freedom from harm just like any of their mentally similar human counterparts. All the religions of the world are anthropocentric manmade fictions, which provide no basis for morality. There is no God, no afterlife. Miniskirts rock!
  25. Sisyphus, Yes, exactly. Everything after this point is the story of my life, you can skip it if you like: I've only been a vegan since 1999, and until then I never thought about the subject at all. My best argument against it was "f--- PETA, I like meat". Basically, when I was starting my first years in college, I was always thought of myself as a very bright person, and continued to think of myself that way because of how easily everyting was going for me. I was always fascinated by philosophy, so I began taking all of the philosophy courses available, and almost immediately my intellectual arrogance was displace by a feeling of being very very stupid. I thought I knew everything, but then I was introduced to the most wonderful philosophical ideas that I'd never thought of, and I read so many books that I'd never heard of... I focused especially on ethics, and immediately I was learning about moral principles that were so well reasoned. After about 2 months, I figured out that for my whole life, I'd never been a moral thinker, I'd never thought about anything and I found that my moral ideals were flimsy, half-baked values I'd learned, and not really the product of any profound thinking. Everything that I held was either contradictory or naive, and all of my rationalizations were ad hoc, wishy-washy nonsense that didnt really stand under its own weight (I used to be pro-life and anti-gay, because I was raised baptist, even though at the time I'd really stopped believing in gods. If only I had the time to tell you how much my philosophy professors dangled me on a string, asking me one question to hear an answer, and then asking the same question (slightly rephrased) to hear the complete opposite answer. I used to be basically an anti-gay bigot, and would say things like "how could you even call it moral, its completely UNNATURAL!", then my professors would ask me what I meant by unnatural, and I would say something idiotic like "its not what were designed for", followed with a comment a few minutes later like "so what if teenage girls were designed to have babies at the age of 12 or 13, that doesnt mean they should have babies that young". Then as you could imagine, I'd be asked whether I thought people should behave as they were naturally designed or not, and then I'd have to say "ok, I havent thought about this much, let me get back to you". And basically, dozens of events like that poked holes in my whole ethical world, and it showed me just how unforgivably contradictory my sense of ethics were. I dont want to bore you with the long drawn out story of how I was in a really depressed state of moral ambiguity, to how I had to build my ethics from the ground up several dozen times, to how I discovered that the concepts of morals I kept coming up with rediscovered the same principles expounded by Peter Singer years before I'd even heard of him, so I'll skip to the most important parts: Basically, I figured out the hard way that I couldnt reasonably take any of the moral principles I had for granted, especially not as "intuitively obvious", because almost all of my intuitions contradicted horrifically. So over the years, I've asked myself the most bizarre questions that most people never even think about: - why is it wrong to take human life? why should we bother to preserve it? - in what moral sense does non-human life differ from human life? - whats a perversion and why are perversions wrong? - on what basis can someone call something there "property", and what philosophical basis does "property" have in the first place? - whats the objection to racism? or nationalism? or enslaving everyone below 5'4" to serve everyone taller? - why should we obey god? why should we obey our governments? - I heard "because I'm the parent thats why" so often, but why does that mean anything? why should I obey my parents, why is the response "I'm the child and I'll do what I want" inadequate? - whats wrong with making innocent people suffer? whats wrong with sadism? - why cant men wear womens clothing? - etc. I just think about those kinds of things all the time, and I have an answer to most of them. Not many other people do, they just have irrational beliefs about what the answers are, but not what they should be. For the large part, peoples justification for believing anything is half-baked, usually non-sequitor, and even idiotic at times, and I come across things like that when reading debates on god, abortion, and most especially animal rights. I became a vegan out of principle, because I couldnt think of any reason why animals suffering doesnt matter, and because the arguments people were using to justify eating meat (i.e. "its tasty" "animals kill other animals, why shouldnt I" "but how do I know animals really feel pain?") were idiotic and fell desparately short of providing a real justification; and I literally lol'ed when I saw what passed for an academic defense of meat eating, such as Carl Cohen's argument "a being only matters if it belongs to a kind who is a rational species" (read about it). From the point of view who values being a good person more than anything, and has gone to great lengths to justify everything she does and believes, its just amazing to see just how little anyone else even thinks about the most simple things like why its wrong to kill people. Lately, the most recent question of that type has been: - whats the objection to terrorism? Probably that one catches people off-guard, because its just supposed to be intuitively obvious that terrorism is wrong... but I dont think that answer cuts it (similarly, the statement "its inherently wrong" doesnt cut it, because I dont see how the wrongness of terrorism can be inherent rather than extrinsic). I dont actually think a lot of people have thought about the question, and so their responses to it are naive, they say "because it forces the will of a minority onto the majority" (<--- of course you never hear anyone explain why its wrong for minorities to do that). So yeah, I answered your question and went off on a completely different tangent And if I come off as arrogant and having a superiority complex, thats because I am and I do
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