Too deep a reply for an emulation board, lol.
I can’t help it
I was joking about the eating Vegans bit. I joke about a lot of what I say.
I know that it was a joke. I wasn’t replying to it, though, but to the bit about the PETA advocating vegetarianism. BTW, there’s a large difference between a vegan and a vegetarian
When i talk about "morals" I just look at what I learned from Nietzsche (Wait until I finish before namecalling) that ethics and morals are derived from the religion that was inherit to the area in which we live. In the Middle East under Islam a man can marry four women at the same time. He cannot however eat an animal that itself eats meat. In Western Europe and North America, we have morals based on the form of our Judeo-Christian roots. Albiet they differ in areas due to different religion, conservatism, and ... Germany (j/k).
The stronger desiratum for an ethical system is moral symmetry. Moral codes derived from religious beliefs or cultural mores are useless as far as moral symmetry goes. They have too narrow a definition of the reference class worthy of ethical consideration (usually members of the religion in question, or citizens of the same nation-state or whatever).
Read ethical texts about the “expanding moral circle” for a fuller explanation of this subject.
BTW, the concept of moral symmetry can be defined, formalized and justified mathematically, though game theoretical models. Read something by Matt Ridley or Robert Axelrod for a primer on these models (but don’t forget the massive literature on games theory, if you’re not familiar with it).
I’m not sure whether objective morality exists, but morality isn’t as fluid as you’re proposing (in fact, Nietzsche recognized several levels at which morals operated; cultural mores were just one such level). If morals were so fluid, we’d be able to justify Na_zism: it was part of Germany’s culture…
Morals don’t necessarily flow from a Kantian Categorical Imperative, but they’re still bounded to practical results (in this respect, every current theory of morals is at least a bit utilitarian). Killing other human beings for pleasure or gain is wrong, no matter which culture you’re part of.
As for your arguement for slavery. Slavery descended from African rules stating that some criminals, as punishment, may be sold into slavery. Then the Europeans came, did the same, until they decided, in their Christianity ways, that they were "higher beings" and just said "enslave 'em all."
I know the origins of slavery. But what I was saying that your argument pro-killing animals could be used to justify slavery as well, on the grounds that “it was always like this”.
Keep in mind that I’m not saying that eating meat is wrong, or “evil”. But it needs stronger justification than “we always ate meat, we were designed for it, it’s our inalienable right”. Until further evidence (or newer technologies) comes in, I’m satisfied with assuring that the animals receive humane (not human, note the difference) treatment at the farms.
What I am saying with my initial post is that we have been eating animals for thousands of thousands of years. It is not a man-made "thing" such as slavery. I back this up by mentioning the teeth. I mean, the "theory" of evolution states that we gained two sets of teeth (canines and molars) from eating both meat and plants.
Forget evolution as a justification. Evolution also make some of us want to rape women (read the book I recommended, “A Natural History of Rape” by Palmer and Thornhill), yet this doesn’t justify rape, not at any level.
Evolution also justifies and explains selfishness, vengefulness and aggressiveness, yet those behaviors are rightly frowned upon. We cannot argue morality on an evolutionary basis (although we can explain inherent tendencies in humans though it). To justify moral positions though evolutionary explanations would be a case of the naturalistic fallacy (where the “is” dictates the “ought”).
For instance, take the biological basis for sexual coercion (rape). Following your logic, I’d be justified to say that since males have been designed to rape women when the situation is unfavorable, raping is a morally justified action.
Once again, I admonish you: forget evolution as a foundation of a theory of morals.
And my fact about the "food chain" and humans. Yeah it doesn't kinda of apply now since to most Americans and people in my country prefer to hunter/gather themselves a Big Mac and fries instead of freshly slaughtered cow.
Right, so forget about making claims based on our position at the “food chain”. It’s not applicable anymore.
This fact in itself brings up another can of worms. Would it be morally wrong for me to run into a field, and just slaughter and eat a cow out of instinct? To me, no (I wouldn't actually DO that though). As it's a genetic trait. By today's "morals" and our holier than thou attitudes, I would be frowned apon by PETA, etc for causing an animal undue stress because i didn't stun it first. But what if I were starving? This too would bring up the fact of ownership, i have slain and eaten someone's property.
PETA doesn’t frown upon you killing an animal for your subsistence; as long as it’s not treated with cruelty (see the conditions at the slaughterhouses for their definition of cruelty).
Yet, you’re right about one point: it does bring up a lot of interesting questions (such as the ownership issue). Yet, those issues cannot be solved by a general statement like “evolution made us do it, therefore we’re morally justified”.
And no, I am not saying we are the same as Neanderthals. We are a whole different animal to them as ****-sapiens.
Indeed, we’re very different. We’ve a much larger cerebral cortex and a neocortex too. We can understand and drastically adjust our behaviors according to the circumstances (since now general intelligence entered the picture).
I never said we were built just to eat meat. I just said that we evolved these canine teeth for a reason.
That’s beside the point. The fact that we evolved canine teeth means nothing, other than we’ve evolved canine teeth; i.e. it cannot justify any moral proposition regarding the habit of eating meat.
We humans have also evolved a tendency for philandering. It doesn’t justify philandering, though, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
As i said before, this has been done via creating morals based on religion.
Crating morals from religion is almost a non-sequitur. Religions provide very weak moral grounds, because their moral circle is too small, and their moral principles aren’t rooted in practical results, but in outdated (and often falsifiable) beliefs.
Moral propositions derived from religion must stand or fall on their own, independent of what any ancient tome (the bible, the Q’uran) or church leader says.
Killing is wrong, no matter what the bible says about it. As I’ve said before, mathematical models are much more powerful tools than ancient tomes or church leaders.
Do you remember what happened in Europe when religious leader had their way with morality? Witch burning, that’s what happened. Atheists being for their lack of belief. That’s what happens when you derive morals solely from religion (the same goes for radical nationalism, or secular religions such as communism).
After the 18th century, we have secular laws, and we can say that murder is a crime, regardless of the religion, culture, nationality (or lack thereof) of the killer.
And when I said my facts about human and animal suffering, i did NOT try to polarise things. Hell, I have a cat and I don't like seeing it suffer. I donate money to my local animal shelter. At the same time I gave £20 to the tsunami relief fund plus some spare change at the shops. My dad gives money to Amnesty International as well.
Fine, then we agree on this point.
Synthetic meat, lol. What about the nutritional goods that meat provides? You're getting all Star Trek: Next Generation here.
Not really. Synthetic meat isn’t as far-fetched are you’re suggesting.
Everyday we’re getting better at manipulating synthetic compounds. I’d be very surprised if creating synthetic food isn’t created before the end of our lifetime (especially so if we get molecular nanotechnology [at least diamond-based] within the next 20 years).
And as for the intellectual evolution of animals ... maybe they might want to eat us, or punish us for eating/ sacrificing them for millenia? I'd stop then, but probably be dead way before then.
You’re anthropomorphizing the animals. Beware of anthropomorphizing. It plagues all discussions about AIs or animal uplifts.
And I apologise for taking this thread a bit off-topic.
No apology needed. You're providing an interesting discussion.