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When people feel sorry for farm animals

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I could't care less how farm animals are treated I just want to see an intense discussion about weather animals have feelings here

I wonder when they would start feeling sorry for plants as well
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Ok, here's my two cents on the issue. Other mamals are not fundamentaly different from humans in terms of the way their minds work. From this one can fairly safely assume that they have consciousness the same way we do, that they have feelings, and that because of this their lives have the same intrensic value as human lives.

Now like Boltz, I'm not going to try and go against any irrefutable arguments such as humans have souls and animals don't, since that proves nothing and gets us nowhere. The way I look at it though, the only proven difference between us and other mamals is that we happen to be marginally smarter than them. You can take away from that what you will.

Now if you would allow me to get side tracked for a minute, I think that the treatment of animals in our society is a good example or moral relativism in action. The things we consider "right" or "wrong" are mostly a result of what we've been told to believe, but the fact is that there are few things you can't justify if you try hard enough. The next time you feel like condeming someone because their morals disagree with yours, just remember how many people happen to disagree with you viewpoint on treating animals (whatever it may be) and I think you'll find it becomes pretty tough.
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__Xzyx987X said:
The way I look at it though, the only proven difference between us and other mamals is that we happen to be marginally smarter than them. You can take away from that what you will.
Let me be a bit more technical: humans have a much larger cerebral cortex (the ratio of cortex mass to brain mass is larger in primates than in all other mammals, and even larger in hominids), and a highly developed neocortex too (in fact, neocortical algorithms are the basis of intelligence).

__Xzyx987X said:
Now if you would allow me to get side tracked for a minute, I think that the treatment of animals in our society is a good example or moral relativism in action. The things we consider "right" or "wrong" are mostly a result of what we've been told to believe, but the fact is that there are few things you can't justify if you try hard enough. The next time you feel like condeming someone because their morals disagree with yours, just remember how many people happen to disagree with you viewpoint on treating animals (whatever it may be) and I think you'll find it becomes pretty tough.
And this kind of moral relativism always lead to double standards. Moral symmetry should be the dominating principle in ethics (not that I'm saying that I've solved all problems of human morality; but an asymetrical ethical system is inherently flawed).

klatch said:
I think the emphasis here (and in the flash movie) lies on the cruelty that is so common in the business. You won't find me complaining (at least, not yet) if the animal had a good life and was killed painlessly.
Ditto ;)
industrian said:
I have an idea.

If these vegans and PETA types are wanting us to stop eating animals, then ok. In return, we will kill and eat them. Fair?


>_>
Not everybody is advocating vegetarianism. Neither me nor klatch are advocating; PETA, as an institution is not advocating it (although some members, in their individual capacities, are). We’re against cruelty to animals.

industrian said:
But in all honesty. We've been doing this for centuries. There is no morality in it because there is no morality, period.
I gather that you’re profoundly unfamiliar with the contemporary world of bioethics and moral thinking. Hume has shown a long time ago that the “is” should never dictate the “ought”. Simple fact cannot dictate morals. I also perceived that you’re not familiar with the approach called “principleism”.

Apply your argument to slavery, for instance. If you were a 19th century land owner, you’d get something like this:

“But in all honesty. We've been doing this [enslaving other human beings] for centuries. There is no morality in it because there is no morality, period.”

You need a better moral argument to convince me, other than “we’ve always done so, there’s no morality in it”.

industrian said:
For example, watch a nature show, or if you happen to own a cat, just watch it as it goes off and kills some "poor defenseless" bird/ mole/ squirrel/ gazelle. Do we cast judgement on it? Hell no. It's expressing it's instinctual place in the food chain, as are we when we kill cows/ pigs/ chicken/ vegans (think of my idea, lol).
Instinct shouldn’t dictate morals.
We humans have deep settled instincts for philandering (it constitutes an evolutionary advantage in several circumstances, especially for males). Do you think that it’s moral for a man to cheat his wife?

Some male humans also have instincts towards raping women (it also constitutes an evolutionary advantage, under certain circumstances; see “A Natural History of Rape: Biological Basis of Sexual Coercion”, by Palmer and Thornhill). Does this “moralize” rape?

industrian said:
I eat meat. Humans are built to eat meat. See those sharp pointy teeth you have, we didn't get those by showing compassion or morality to animals below us in the food chain. You try telling a Neanderthal to eat more lettuce and greens, and I think he'd kill and eat you.
So you’re saying that we can do no better than Neanderthals, that’s it?

And why do you keep speaking about the food chain? There’s no such a thing as “food chain” for modern humans, other than fast food chains. Now we have supermarkets. You don’t have to hunt for your food anymore.

We humans are built for much more than eating meat. Read some evolutionary psychology textbook and you’ll be amazed. All of our emotions have been crafted by natural selection: hate, love, jealousy, envy, vengeance, aggressiveness … Not all of them are good, but they all share the same origin.

Saying that something is “natural” doesn’t make it right by default. This is the so-called “naturalistic fallacy”.

industrian said:
Or if you believe in the theory of Creationism, then just look at it like this: we killed and sacrifice animals for Jehovah anyways, so why are you on a high-horse about it now?
No comments here. Creationism is false, period.

industrian said:
I can relate to PETA saying "we don't want animals to suffer." But, humanity suffers. Should I form "PETH" and basically rant non-stop about the 35.9 million people in the USA living under the poverty line (amongst others throughout the world)?
Advocating animal rights and advocating the end of human misery are not mutually exclusive endeavors. You can approve both. The same Peter Singer who is an animal rights activist also defends the rights of 3rd world countries’ inhabitants.

And yes, something should be done to ameliorate human suffering. It’s our moral duty, IMHO. You can donate to NGO non-profits, or you can do volunteer work.

Personally, I’ve donated to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, in the hope of one day helping to save the world (sounds cheesy, but that’s the truth). But there’re plenty of non-profits out there, if you don’t like SIAI.

With that said, I’ve to add that I eat lots of meat, and plan to go on eating until:

a) synthetic meat arrives, tasting the same as natural meat;
b) animals can be uplifited to human intelligence-level; in this case I think it would be a violation of sentient life’s rights.

But I’ll still support initiatives that attempt to reduce the amount of animal suffering in the world.
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industrian said:
Too deep a reply for an emulation board, lol.
I can’t help it ;)

industrian said:
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 ;)

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
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”.

industrian said:
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).

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
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.



industrian said:
Synthetic meat, lol. What about the nutritional goods that meat provides? You're getting all Star Trek: Next Generation here. :D
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).

industrian said:
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.

industrian said:
And I apologise for taking this thread a bit off-topic.
No apology needed. You're providing an interesting discussion.
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industrian said:
Vegetarians don't eat meat, vegans don't use products derived from animals. I know that.
Just to make sure :)

industrian said:
It was discovered that during World War 2, only around 27% of all American soldiers fired to kill their enemy. Some people see this as a primordial instinct that deems that an overriding instinct of humanity is preservation of the species. You also see this instinct in the animal kingdom.
The situation here is a lot more complicated than just the preservation of the species (which would require an improbable case of group selection). But there're evolutionary grounds to explain this fact as well, within our inborn morality sense. Evolutionary psychology can explain a lot of things.

industrian said:
Also, National Socialism is justifyable. I won't. It is a political system and social structure that works in theory. I won't defend it though, and in actual fact unless Adolf Hitler was Ayatollah of Iran, he wouldn't be able to bring back Aryan superiority.
There's no way to justify killings in the name of "the greater good"...

industrian said:
I'll keep that in mind, and add those books to my list. The last few philosophy/etc books I've read have been The Antichrist and Mein Kampf. I got the Koran and The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine is on my shelve. I'm more into political and philisophical books, but I'll expand to ethics. :D
Try taking a look at Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes (if you haven't done it yet, that is) or anything by John Stuart Mills ("On Liberty" and "Utilitarianism" are a must).

industrian said:
I'm not standing before the court using my evolution as an alibi, I'm just saying. Most humans will not look on cows, pigs, etc as equals, thus will not extend their morals to them
Now you're getting to the point. It's this expanding moral circle which I'm talking about. Little more than a century ago, white men didn't see black men as equals, thus denying them moral rights. Since then, the moral circle has expanded, and now it includes all of mankind. I wonder if it'll ever include non-human mammals (such as other high primates).

industrian said:
Canine teeth are used for tearing and shearing meat. Carnivores have them. I'm just stating Darwinism. As in, we got them for a reason. Or, we might have been made with them, i don't know. My excuse is, we have them, why not use them?
And we also have instincts for raping. My excuse is, we have it, why not use it?

You see what I mean? Raping is wrong, despite the primal drive towards it.

Anyway, Darwinism isn't a moral theory. It's a theory about how life evolved on Earth (and possibly everywhere else in the universe - read "Universal Darwinism" by Richard Dawkins).

industrian said:
Don't get me started on religion. I'm like a wind up doll when I'm provoked. Religions polarise things into "good" and "evil" categories on what to base their morals. The "Moral Majority" movement on America ... enough said.
Worry not, I'm a militant atheist as well ;)

industrian said:
I wouldn't trust it. In the same way i don't trust those pills and stuff health stores throw at you. Kelloggs Corn Flakes in the same way when I heard they were made to stop people from procreating. It might be paranoid (it probably is) but I don't trust anything that has been created or tampered with. Thank you Tony Blair, you've at least not accepted GM produce ... yet.
I say, let's bite the bullet. I'm a transhumanist, therefore I'm an incurable tecnophile ;)
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Our whole "looking down" of blacks, Indians, Pashtuns, Pakistanis came from Christianity and the "morals" it brought. Most atheists and Communists back then were all for (and still are for) total unity. Before that it was the high-and-mighty attitudes of the "civilised" Romans. Hell, in the 13th century the English didn't look on my people (Scots) as equals.
As much as I agree with your other points (like putting the species good above the individual good, or being an atheist and understanding the many flaws and slowers religion has brought) I think you are trying to blame every single flow humanity has had upon religion, and by doing that you are missing the economical, cultural, political and social backgrounds that also contributed to many of the worse stages humanity has passed through.

As for transhumanism... personally i don't like to define my ideals. The one thing i hate more than anything else on this planet is people who try to put a label on things where there is none. I'll look into your philosophy more, but i believe myself to be partially Nietzschean, mainly due to a Nietzschean screenplay i am in the middle of writing.
Again, while I agree, you have to consider that when people want to label their ideals, its not always because they want to pertain to an specific group, but rather because they want to get with people of similar thought so that in a groupal effort they can try to make some change happen in the direction of whatever they think...


I say, let's bite the bullet. I'm a transhumanist, therefore I'm an incurable tecnophile
*beep* AI p0wn posthumans :eyespin:

PS: And... as much as I agree with Nietzche on many things I believe him to be terribly flawed on some aspects but getting into that would be derailing the thread further more :lol:
industrian said:
I'm sure the "instinct to raping" is either a genetic/otherwise flaw (the same one that causes sociopathy) or just an extreme instinct to progress the species. you mentioned a book about that. I'll add that to the list.
It's not a flaw, but an evolutionary advantage. Palmer and Thornhill show why this is the case in the book that I mentioned.

In a nutshell: an unnatractive (or otherwise unfit) male would be unable to copulate. Taking females by force he would spread his genes, therefore genes that promote such behavior tend to accumulate in the gene pool (since they spread themselves efficiently this way). Evolutionary dynamics (described by Maynard Smith's ESS concept) will ensure that these genes are relatively uncommon in the population, but they'll be there nonetheless (Zahavi's handicap theory also supports this notion).

industrian said:
Killing for the greater good however. One could argue that if it were not for Stalin "exporting" millions of people to the industrial yards, then Germany would have won World War 2. Personally my belief is that no man is worth more than any other man, and the greater good of humanity is worth more than any man's life. I do not agree with the "kill them they are inferior" though. Every man is equal. And when i say "humanity's cause is worth more than one man's life" i don't actually mean "they must die" because i believe that there are no situations where people must die for others to live...
I agree with you here. The problem with talking about humanity's greater good is that human beings are often self-deluded about their own altruism (that's why context-insensitive power is so dangerous to humans).

industrian said:
Star Trek II excluded. :D
Now I agree with you 100% :thumb:
I almost cried when Spock died :emb:

industrian said:
Our whole "looking down" of blacks, Indians, Pashtuns, Pakistanis came from Christianity and the "morals" it brought. Most atheists and Communists back then were all for (and still are for) total unity. Before that it was the high-and-mighty attitudes of the "civilised" Romans. Hell, in the 13th century the English didn't look on my people (Scots) as equals.
Christiany isn't the only one who is to be blamed.
Humans have a tendency to group themselves and create "us vs. them" situations. This happens with religions, soccer/baseball/football teams, countries, political parties, etc. This a basic instinct, inherent to human nature. The christian religion is just a product from these natural instincts.

That's why I say there's nothing divinely inspired about human religions. They're just your standard social constructs, a community where you belong to, clothed in metaphysical garbs about omnipotent deities.

industrian said:
As for animals, you are correct. We have recognised certain monkeys as our genetic ancestors, thus we don't eat them anymore. And we frown on eating Dolphins and Whales as they are seen as intellectual animals (they can identify themselves in a mirror, thus intellegent.) Maybe there will come a day when we all look on animals as equals. But that is gonna take one huge cultural revolution.
Indeed, a cultural revolution will be needed before we achieve this state.

industrian said:
As for transhumanism... personally i don't like to define my ideals. The one thing i hate more than anything else on this planet is people who try to put a label on things where there is none. I'll look into your philosophy more, but i believe myself to be partially Nietzschean, mainly due to a Nietzschean screenplay i am in the middle of writing.
I only define my goals/ideals insofar as it helps me to achieve them. Describing myself as a transhuman, I can find like-minded individuals more easily, and we can cooperate more efficiently. A sociological identity also helps fostering shared values (like the right of having cognitive/prosthetic/genetic modification - read my sig) in an organized way (see the ACLU, for instance) - so we can be a politically influent group (considering the high level academics among transhumanists, I can see this happening).

But it's not like we wear badges or anything. It's just that saying that you're transhumanist make it more clear what kind of values you have, at least on average. Having an organized NGO, like the World Transhumanist Association (WTA) also makes you more powerful politically.
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Good god! You people need to look beyond this thread and type elsewhere :p

The animals feel no pain really. Cows I know for sure. They are "slaughtered" with some huge number of volts of electricity and are dead within less than a second. One of my friends is in the cows business :p
The animals feel no pain really. Cows I know for sure. They are "slaughtered" with some huge number of volts of electricity and are dead within less than a second. One of my friends is in the cows business
here the animals just had thier troats slit with a knife
Bleh! I don't think that would be painful either, but isn't that kind of "hands on" :p
There is an slaughterhouse around half a mile from where i am sitting right now. There were a few protests there a few years ago. Nothing too big.

The animals feel no pain really. Cows I know for sure. They are "slaughtered" with some huge number of volts of electricity and are dead within less than a second. One of my friends is in the cows business
here the animals just had thier troats slit with a knife
The normal way for slaughtering meat is to deliver a huge shock to the animal to stun it, then you kill it. When it has it's throat slit it is usually being made for the Jewish and Muslim community in a specialist slaughterhouse that deals in Kosher/Halal goods as the Torah and Koran deem that the animal must be killed in one move then be drained of blood. Recently, animal rights activists have released quite grizley footage of supposedly "torturous" Kosher slaughterhouses.
I think people should feel sorry for the humans suffering in the poor third world countries before worrying about farm animals :rolleyes:

Yours,
-Elly
Hey yea ... Good thought Elly ^^
amen to that.
i made that point, but this post is more about cruelty to animals that killing farmyard ones.
industrian said:
There is an slaughterhouse around half a mile from where i am sitting right now. There were a few protests there a few years ago. Nothing too big.



The normal way for slaughtering meat is to deliver a huge shock to the animal to stun it, then you kill it. When it has it's throat slit it is usually being made for the Jewish and Muslim community in a specialist slaughterhouse that deals in Kosher/Halal goods as the Torah and Koran deem that the animal must be killed in one move then be drained of blood. Recently, animal rights activists have released quite grizley footage of supposedly "torturous" Kosher slaughterhouses.
Actuaily it is tso the meat can be sold to the Muslim majority here to maximise profit, I may not follow Islam but since the majority in Malaysia does it makes sense to slaugther animals in a way that can be sold to the majority
I eat a lot of Halal stuff as well. My local neighbourhood has a big Muslim community. It actually tastes a bit better (but not as good as Aberdeen Angus, NOTHING tastes better than that.)
エッリー said:
I think people should feel sorry for the humans suffering in the poor third world countries before worrying about farm animals :rolleyes:

Yours,
-Elly
They're not mutually exclusive worries ;)
The person who started all this animal rights stuff must have been from California. Califorians are so strange.
Just have some input here, raising hogs on a Nebraska farm.

The meat tastes better then the animals are free to do as they please. We raise our pigs in the pasture where there it little human interferance. The sows are allowed to build their own nests and be as they are in the wild.

So I guess puting the animals in an environment where they are allowed to be themselves makes them happy, and also the meat tastes better. Not saying that them being happy makes the meat taste beter...but well, you get the point. So animals should be treated well because it makes for better meat, and also makes you feel kinda good inside that they led enjoyable lives before being slaughtered.
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