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Tags anti-vaxxers , diet issues , parenting incidents , parenting issues , veganism

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Old 14th May 2019, 08:36 PM   #121
Skeptic Ginger
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I want to know if anyone found the meteorite that landed near you.
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Old 14th May 2019, 08:49 PM   #122
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A farm critter is one thing, a delicious chili dog is quite another.

I never want to be part of the process that makes the critters into sausages again. I leave that to others. Meanwhile I fix the trucks that bring tired old laying hens to their conversion into drumsticks and tamales. I used to drive one of those trucks.

It was not pleasant to watch at all as the process went on. Then I would load another truck with featherless chickens and deliver the crates around the city to little local butcher shops.

A time proven method of getting fresh meat out to a healthy population for sure. It just wasn't what I felt good doing.
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Old 14th May 2019, 09:18 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
The world is insane.

Not really, I don't think, not in this context. Different people have different levels of empathy, that's all.

I think the way to make sense of this apparent insanity is critical thinking. One's level of empathy is probably intrinsic. Where critical thinking comes in is in recognizing this and, after that, in cutting through the faff and simply owning it.

Some people are so callused that they'd probably eat their own mother without batting an eyelid, if the law let them. Some are so very sensitive that seeing the apocryphal hunter-shooting-down-a-bird-at-a-distance might wrench at their heart. Both these are extremes -- so extreme as to probably be figures of caricature -- and most of us probably occupy different places in the continuum going from the one to the other.

"Owning it" would probably mean simply doing what comes naturally, without apology -- and within reason of course -- and what is "natural" will be different for different people.
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Old 15th May 2019, 06:52 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I want to know if anyone found the meteorite that landed near you.
Nope! Never heard another thing. I'm going with "power arc flash" as my explanation. It makes the most sense.
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Old 15th May 2019, 08:21 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think the way to make sense of this apparent insanity is critical thinking.
Quote:
"Owning it" would probably mean simply doing what comes naturally, without apology -- and within reason of course -- and what is "natural" will be different for different people.
I mean, these two ideas are in direct contradiction. The whole task of a rational, normative ethics is to think critically about how to treat others, and you're advising people to just feel their way through it.

Empathy is a poor basis for ethics, not least because of the existence of the low-empathy people you mentioned earlier. The failure of high empathy people isn't empathizing with a bird that's about to be killed, but empathizing with, I dunno, a six-week-old embryo or a Japanese body pillow--something that is incapable of favoring one outcome over another. It's also notably tribal--people feel more for those who are socially proximal. My sister-in-law needs surgery that she can't afford, I'll probably chip in $1,000. Some women in South Sudan loses her whole family to mortar fire? Well, that's terrible, but it's just another day in South Sudan.

The biggest problem, however, is that you're saying that the important thing about your feelings are my feelings about your feelings. That's hopelessly provincial; there's no good reason to privilege our own interests over those of others. A rational ethics is an impartial ethics.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:15 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
...you're advising people to just feel their way through it...
No, I'm saying that empathy levels are probably intrinsic, and individual, and I'm suggesting we become aware, unapologetically, where we find ourselves on this.

Now how translate this into real-life decisions? You think I'm suggesting feeling our way through, but that's a strawman. But I don't really blame this error on your part, because the fact is I said nothing at all about this, when I absolutely should have. (After all I'm only thinking my way through this myself.)

No, I don't suggest simply feeling our way through, critical thinking is probably essential here also.

One man's stomach may turn at the thought of eating (or killing, or hurting) another human being (or any sentient being). Another man may be indifferent to this.

Clearly recognizing where one lies on this continuum is probably an essential first step to deciding, rationally, what to do about it.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:36 AM   #127
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Now that I've cleared up what I think is the fundamental misunderstanding, perhaps your other disagreements may resolve themselves directly. Still:

Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
Empathy is a poor basis for ethics
I don't think I agree, but that discussion may merit a whole thread all its own.

Quote:
The failure of high empathy people isn't ...
I suggest there's no "failure" at all, no right and wrong. It isn't as if higher empathy is 'better' than lower empathy. I suggest we simply recognize where we're at, clearly, and unapologetically.

Quote:
My sister-in-law needs surgery that she can't afford, I'll probably chip in $1,000.
And you personally will pay zero for the Sudanese woman, and probably be prepared to bankrupt yourself for your child.

Surely that underlines my own argument? You feel different levels of empathy for these three people. And each person makes this evaluation and this decision for themselves.

Which -- although all this is only peripherally related to our original discussion -- kind of shows up how the following is wanting:

Quote:
A rational ethics is an impartial ethics.

Last edited by Chanakya; 15th May 2019 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:43 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Now how translate this into real-life decisions? You think I'm suggesting feeling our way through, but that's a strawman.
That's not a straw man, because that's what "do what comes naturally" means. Nobody uses "do what comes naturally" to mean "think carefully and critically about it".

Quote:
Clearly recognizing where one lies on this continuum is probably an essential first step to deciding, rationally, what to do about it.
That's not clear at all. Empathy is just irrelevant to a rational ethics. As irrelevant as the bible.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:51 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Now that I've cleared up what I think is the fundamental misunderstanding, perhaps your other disagreements may resolve themselves directly.
You haven't done that so much as tried to retreat from normative to descriptive.

Quote:
I suggest there's no "failure" at all, no right and wrong.
I reject the suggestion, as I'm not a nihilist.

Quote:
It isn't as if higher empathy is 'better' than lower empathy. I suggest we simply recognize where we're at, clearly, and unapologetically.
The failure is in the misidentification of targets of empathy. It makes some degree of sense to feel empathic towards someone. It makes no sense (and makes for terrible policy) to feel empathy towards no one.

Quote:
And you personally will pay zero for the Sudanese woman, and probably be prepared to bankrupt yourself for your child.

Surely that underlines my own argument? You feel different levels of empathy for these three people. And each person makes this evaluation and this decision for themselves.
That's not an argument, it's an observation. The argument is that this is a bad outcome--it leads to rich people in rich countries caring more about their relatively minor problems of their compatriots, while poor people in poor countries have no resources to deal with their far more serious problems. It why the world often looks insane--the thing you think you can refute by pointing out that empathy exists to varying degrees.

Quote:
Which -- although all this is only peripherally related to our original discussion -- kind of shows up how the following is wanting:
No, it shows that empathy is a poor basis for a rational ethics because it is not impartial. There's simply no reason to examine empathy at all, because it gets us nowhere. It's the worst kind of self-help navel gazing.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:55 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
That's not a straw man, because that's what "do what comes naturally" means. Nobody uses "do what comes naturally" to mean "think carefully and critically about it".
Agreed. I may not have put that very well.

Having seen my clarification in my two earlier posts, do you better understand my position, and do you agree?

Quote:
Empathy is just irrelevant to a rational ethics. As irrelevant as the bible.
This is not directly related to our original discussion, but how, then, do you explain shelling out 10K for your sister and zero for some random woman (and, probably, a great deal more for your child)? Would you say what you're doing is unethical, then?
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Old 15th May 2019, 11:01 AM   #131
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Just saw your post #129. I'm afraid we're speaking across each other. I see I must take the time to discuss this more fully and, hopefully, more clearly. I'll ge back to this when I have more time.

Feel free to citique what I've said thus far, further to what you've already done I mean, so I can address your objections when I do get back to this later.
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Old 15th May 2019, 11:04 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Agreed. I may not have put that very well.

Having seen my clarification in my two earlier posts, do you better understand my position, and do you agree?
I think you think it's very important to talk about empathy in vague terms, and that this somehow makes sense out of an often senseless world. I don't agree; I think we're much better off trying to think carefully about how we should treat others, without invoking the feelings we developed to help spread our genes when we were living in small kinship groups.

Quote:
Would you say what you're doing is unethical, then?
Yes, manifestly.

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Old 15th May 2019, 01:57 PM   #133
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Old 15th May 2019, 02:01 PM   #134
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Moved to correct thread.
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Old 15th May 2019, 03:04 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
That's certainly the common stereotype, but for my part I don't find it comes up except in conversations about food, nutrition, or what to have for dinner. If you've invited someone to dinner and they're vegan, you need to know that. But I've never had someone tell me they're vegan out of the blue for no reason.

Anecdotal, but there it is.
I have.

There exists a subset of vegans who are religious about it. It is comparable to the JWs at your door. It is the very definition of their being.

The problem is that while the overwhelming majority of vegans that I know or have me simply go about their business quietly and politely make their dietary needs know in, say, a restaurant setting, nevertheless it is the small minority of spittle flecked zealots that grab all the headlines.

In the end, it is those wingnuts that garner a bad reputation for vegans as a group.

In the end, all vegans get tarred with the same brush. They shouldn't be, but until they can figure out how to get rid of the few evangelist vegan wingnuts, then that is the broad brush with which they will be painted

Ultimately, it is the squeakey wheel which demands the lubricant. Has it ever been otherwise?
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Old 15th May 2019, 03:34 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
..... Has it ever been otherwise?
Of course not... There is a reason we have " stereotypes "..

Not always without good reason.
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Old 16th May 2019, 02:09 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
I think you think it's very important to talk about empathy in vague terms, and that this somehow makes sense out of an often senseless world. I don't agree; I think we're much better off trying to think carefully about how we should treat others, without invoking the feelings we developed to help spread our genes when we were living in small kinship groups.


Yes, manifestly.
Thank you for adding some reason and thoughtfulness to this thread.
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Old 16th May 2019, 06:47 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
I mean, these two ideas are in direct contradiction. The whole task of a rational, normative ethics is to think critically about how to treat others, and you're advising people to just feel their way through it.

No, I’m not advising people to feel their way through it. I’m suggesting that (one’s awareness of) one’s individual level of empathy is an essential input (but not the only one) in deciding one’s life (and dietary) choices. How to actualize this level of empathy, that, like most other things, is probably best guided by critical thinking.

But I agree, as I'd agreed yesterday, that my wording may have been sloppy. I may have neglected to clearly spell out the portions that appeared obvious to me, and that will not necessarily be obvious to you unless I do spell out what I mean.

Let me, then, flesh out my post #123 in the following terms, to make my meaning fully clear. (Put in spoiler tags, to make this huge post a tad more readable!)

  1. Different people probably have different levels of empathy.

    I know from what you've already said that you're prepared to accept this at face value, and indeed that you yourself base your own 'system' on exactly this, except from the other end (by criticizing variable empathy and therefore ignoring the empathy consideration).

    But still, I have to note that ideally at this point, the properly skeptical attitude would be to present evidence to back up this claim. And I must admit, upfront, that if there is any such research that touches on this, I'm afraid I am not aware of it.

    It seems intuitive to me that empathy isn’t universal (that is, not identical across individuals). Different people have different levels of empathy. One person may find it unbearable to kill or hurt another human being; while another may be entirely unmoved by this. Similarly, one person may find it unbearable to even think of consuming the body of another sentient being, while another may be unmoved by this. I’m suggesting that each of us probably find ourselves -- intrinsically -- somewhere along the continuum leading from the one to the other.


  2. This is a purely individual thing, and there is no right and wrong, good or bad, about this.

    Much like being tall or short, or whatever, it isn’t as if it is ‘good’ to be more empathic or the other way round. One’s level of empathy, it probably simply is what it is.


  3. It takes some self-awareness to clearly recognize and accept one’s level of empathy.

    I’d said in that other comment that where critical thinking comes in is in recognizing what one’s level of empathy is. On thinking about this, and as you've pointed out yesterday, that’s probably not right. It is not so much critical thinking (unless one is using that term in an unusually broad sense) as self-awareness that lets one clearly recognize one’s level of empathy. And of course, such awareness may simply come about spontaneously, without necessarily having to think about it. On the other hand, it may not. And when it doesn't it sometimes creates unnecessary guilt and confusion and frustration (which is what I'd been addressing, originally, with my post #123).


  4. It makes sense to base one’s life choices based on this awareness.

    For instance, some sensitive soul that finds it distasteful to hurt others is probably better off not considering a career as a soldier. Likewise, one’s sense of empathy may help guide one’s to the food choices that one is comfortable with.


  5. Of course, it isn’t as if this is the only thing that will guide one’s choices.

    I’m not suggesting “feeling one’s way through to our decisions”, as you'd suggested I was doing. I’m only suggesting that this is one necessary (but not sufficient) input to our decision-making.

    For instance, if circumstances so dictate, even someone who finds hurting others distasteful may have to actually get into active military service.

    Likewise, there are other reasons guiding one’s dietary choices. Reasons that have to do with health, with economy, with sustainability, with convenience, with one’s religious convictions if any, etc.


  6. Also, I guess it takes critical thinking to see how best to actualize one’s intentions that are based on how empathetic one is.

    For instance, it is one thing not to want to hurt other sentient creatures, but is refraining from eating them necessarily the best way to go about causing them the least hurt?

    It probably is -- when it comes to egregious questions like actually eating other sentient creatures -- but this is a textbook case where critical thinking can provide objective answers, far better than simply relying directly on one’s intuition. To be clear, I’m saying, let’s accept how empathetic (or otherwise we are), but let’s be guided by critical thinking rather than simply intuition in figuring out how best to actualize it.

TLDR : Different people have different levels of empathy. Empathy is an individual thing, there’s no universal good or bad about it. Recognizing this, and recognizing where one’s at on this scale, helps one make one’s life choices (including one’s dietary choices) without having to feel guilty or uncomfortable about it, and also without having to go all judgemental about others’s choices (where those choices are different than one’s own). Clearly recognizing one’s empathy level and “owning” it helps one align one’s life choices (and dietary choices) optimally.


Let me address the rest of your comments in light of the above:

Quote:
Empathy is a poor basis for ethics,
There we disagree. More on that later, basis your further comments on this.

Quote:
... not least because of the existence of the low-empathy people you mentioned earlier. The failure of high empathy people isn't empathizing with a bird that's about to be killed, but empathizing with, I dunno, a six-week-old embryo or a Japanese body pillow--something that is incapable of favoring one outcome over another.
Sure, empathy can misfire, if taken as one’s sole guiding force. We have critical thinking to help us, to ensure that doesn’t happen. We have critical thinking to help us see how best we can actualize our individual empathic drives (as well as all of our other drives).

Quote:
It's also notably tribal--people feel more for those who are socially proximal. My sister-in-law needs surgery that she can't afford, I'll probably chip in $1,000. Some women in South Sudan loses her whole family to mortar fire? Well, that's terrible, but it's just another day in South Sudan.
I get what you’re saying about empathy sometimes misfiring, when it comes to, for example, tribal instincts. But I’m not sure that the instance you provide is a very good example, not if it is taken in entirety.

How much time and effort and money you will devote to some individual is obviously going to be a function of how close (using whatever sense of “close” might work best) you are to the persons concerned. Obviously you will, in general, spend far more for the well-being of some relative or friend than you will for someone you don’t even know. And obviously you will spend very much more for someone who’s even closer to you, like your child perhaps, or your wife.

Where is the problem here?

Sure, if this gut reaction is the only thing we’re basing all of our ethics on, at both the level of the individual and the level of the state, then that’s a recipe for disaster. But I’m not saying empathy should be our only guide. I’m only saying we clearly recognize our individual empathy and, at our individual level, “own” it.

In fact, I’d say that your example actually makes my point for me. A world where all your personal resources go equally to all people depending only on their objectively observed need, that sounds like some dismal communistic dystopia, straight out of some sci fi written around previous-century USSR. Surely that’s not what you’re going for?

Again, recognizing this individual empathy and “owning” it -- and always recognizing that this is not the only factor guiding your actions at the collective level, recognizing that there are other factors in play as well -- will let you not feel guilty about not bankrupting yourself over some suffering person somewhere far away. (And those “other factors” will, ideally at any rate, facilitate some kind of support structure for that Sudanese woman as well. I don’t see any essential contradiction here at all.)

Quote:
The biggest problem, however, is that you're saying that the important thing about your feelings are my feelings about your feelings.
Sorry, couldn't parse that!

Quote:
That's hopelessly provincial; there's no good reason to privilege our own interests over those of others.
Let me get this very clear. Are you really arguing for some communist ideal, something like that? If you are, then sure, you are entitled to your ideas, but I disagree.

There is no reason for the state, or for society in general, to privilege my personal interests over another’s. Sure.

But I take it as fundamental that my own actions, at my personal level, will be predicated largely (okay, not entirely, but largely) by my own “feelings”. Sure, guided by critical thinking, but the starting point would be my feelings.

How could it be otherwise? Are you really saying you think you personally ‘ought’ to be spending just as much one some random person’s well-being as you will on your own child? If that is your idea of ethics, then okay, no reason why you shouldn’t follow it yourself, but I’ll have to express my clear disagreement, then, in the strongest possible terms, with any ethics of that nature.

Quote:
A rational ethics is an impartial ethics.
Sure. “A rational ethics is an impartial ethics” sounds good. Can’t find fault with that, not worded that way.

But an “impartial ethics” isn’t necessarily an individuality-agnostic ethics, or one wholly shorn of reference to one’s feelings, including empathy.

If I’m favoring my feelings for my child, over your feelings for your child, then that’s obviously not right. That’s where the impartiality comes in, in letting us both do our own thing as best we can. Impartiality might also aim towards a assuring a basic minimum level for everyone.

But if you’re saying -- are you actually saying this, or do I misunderstand you? -- that I ought to be able to insist that you, as an individual, should devote all our resources to my well-being, simply because I happen to need it more than you do on some objective scale, and irrespective of your own “feelings” about this: then, once again, I don’t see any way for us to agree on this.

Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
... That's not clear at all. Empathy is just irrelevant to a rational ethics. As irrelevant as the bible.
Once again, unless I misunderstand you (in which case please correct me), that is something I myself don’t agree with, at all.

I agree, empathy cannot be the sole guide to our ethics. So, some kind of half-way house, some state-funded safety net that covers everyone, that sounds reasonable. But to go the other extreme, and totally leave empathy out of it, frankly sounds unbalanced to me. People being people, certainly such a system would be untenable.

Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
... I reject the suggestion, as I'm not a nihilist.
I’m afraid that “rejection” makes no sense. Like I’d said in the post you quoted from: “I suggest there's no "failure" at all, no right and wrong. It isn't as if higher empathy is 'better' than lower empathy. I suggest we simply recognize where we're at, clearly, and unapologetically.”

I think I made my meaning very clear up there, as far as this much. You simply pluck out that one sentence from that three-sentence paragraph, and say that you “reject the suggestion, as (you are) not a nihilist”. And because you do that, I’m afraid what you say makes no sense.

You may still disagree with me, you may still “reject (my) suggestion”, but if you do that, then what you’re rejecting is the idea that ‘higher levels of empathy isn’t necessarily either better or worse than lower levels of empathy’. There’s nothing nihilistic about that idea, so your basis for your rejection of that idea on ‘not being a nihilist’ makes no sense at all.

Perhaps you’d like to revisit this?

Quote:
The failure is in the misidentification of targets of empathy. It makes some degree of sense to feel empathic towards someone. It makes no sense (and makes for terrible policy) to feel empathy towards no one.
It makes for “terrible policy” only if we use empathy as the whole and sole guiding force for our “policy”. I’m not suggesting that.

Sure, empathy can misfire, in terms of “misidentifying” targets of … not of empathy, but of remedial action, of help. Sure, we can devise policy to account for that. Most countries and societies actually do that, with different levels of success. Sure, there’s scope for improvement there, ample scope. But to say that such improvement must necessarily devolve to some kind of a communistic dystopia -- if indeed that is what you’re saying -- is what “makes no sense” to me. If that is indeed what you’re saying, then I’m afraid I disagree.

Quote:
That's not an argument, it's an observation. The argument is that this is a bad outcome--it leads to rich people in rich countries caring more about their relatively minor problems of their compatriots, while poor people in poor countries have no resources to deal with their far more serious problems.
That’s true, it does. And the solution to that “bad outcome” is to devise policy to better take care of this, or try to. We do the best we can, already, and there’s lots we can do to improve. Wider safety net, and all that.

But to have everyone care equally for and expend equal amounts of resources on everyone’s children (for example) is communistic hell. Such a system will, in practice, end up serving no one at all, and serving the poor even worse than our current system, as history has clearly shown in the last century.

Quote:
It why the world often looks insane--the thing you think you can refute by pointing out that empathy exists to varying degrees.
First of all, if empathy does exist to varying degrees, then you can’t just wish it away by showing it leads to undesirable outcomes.

Is it true that empathy level varies across individuals? By all means critique that statement, ask for evidence, look yourself for evidence, reject it for want of evidence, whatever. But if the truth value of that statement is a yes then it’s a yes (and if it’s a no then it’s a no) irrespective of what kind of consequences that might lead to.

If indeed empathy levels vary across individuals, then we need to deal with it. I suggest here one way, a common sense way, to deal with it. You on the other hand seem to suggest simply suppressing this instinct. (Or am I misinterpreting you?) People being people, I see no way how that can possibly work.

And second of all, true, the world is unfair, and true, it often looks insane. The solution to that would be to try to improve it, make the societal safety net wider and stronger. Your radical solution of devising policy that ignores empathy will probably keel us over into actual insanity and actual ruin in no time at all. Your prescription is the route to dystopia. As history has shown, very clearly, with the communist states in the last century.

Quote:
No, it shows that empathy is a poor basis for a rational ethics because it is not impartial.
No, it shows that empathy is not a perfect basis for a universal ethics if taken in isolation. You’re saying we replace men with robots -- or at least, devise a system that pretends that’s what we’ve done -- and seem to imagine that such an “impartial” system will lead to utopia.

Quote:
There's simply no reason to examine empathy at all, because it gets us nowhere.
You haven’t shown that. What you’ve shown -- and I agree -- is that empathy alone gets us nowhere. There’s a difference.

Quote:
It's the worst kind of self-help navel gazing.
Self-awareness as far as one’s empathy, one’s predilections, is different than navel gazing, because that, unlike navel gazing which is its own end, is merely the first step. And, while I agree that my comments yesterday may have indeed left some things vague, I trust that you won’t find what I’m saying today vague, at least no more than the measures you yourself suggest.

Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
I think you think it's very important to talk about empathy in vague terms, and that this somehow makes sense out of an often senseless world.
No, not what I'm suggesting. I trust my post thus far will have made that much clear.

Quote:
I don't agree; I think we're much better off trying to think carefully about how we should treat others, without invoking the feelings we developed to help spread our genes when we were living in small kinship groups.
You stretch that point too far.

“(Thinking) carefully about how we should treat others” does not necessarily preclude taking into consideration “the feelings we developed (however and wherever and whenever)”. On the contrary, any attempt to devise a system that ignores those feelings is probably doomed right from the get go.

The middle way. Individual choices guided by individual predilections, rationally examined and optimized. And collective policy guided by, among other things, a realization that empathy alone can lead one astray.

Quote:
Yes, manifestly.
What is it that you're claiming is "manifest"? Sure, your opinion itself is manifestly what you state it is, since you state it yourself. But that it is necessarily (and universally) unethical for one, at the individual level, to spend more on one’s child than on one’s sister, and to spend more on one’s sister than on some random lady in Sudan, that is most certainly not at all “manifest”.

You are personally entitled to hold to some personal ethics of that nature if you wish. But it isn’t manifest, it isn’t clear, that such ethics has universal application, or that such ethics can even be generally viable with real flesh-and-blood people.

(What is “manifest” is that our present political/economic system has flaws, sure. But it is not “manifest” that our system, while not perfect, is fundamentally flawed. What is also not “manifest” is that your prescription, of pretending that human beings are robots, is likely to head towards any better results, or indeed any result other than full-on dystopia.)

Last edited by Chanakya; 16th May 2019 at 06:53 AM. Reason: Whew, that turned out to be humongous long post! I'm editing this to put my revisiting of my earlier post #123 within spoiler tags, simply to make this enormous post a tad more readable.
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Old 16th May 2019, 08:10 AM   #139
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One thing that has been bugging me is the presumptive "seemingly respectable" characterization. "Seemingly normal" I could buy, based on the comments in the article. But how were they considered "respectable"? Just because they drove a Mercedes?

Perhaps we need to recalibrate ourselves as to what constitutes "respectable"?
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Old 16th May 2019, 10:33 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
One thing that has been bugging me is the presumptive "seemingly respectable" characterization. "Seemingly normal" I could buy, based on the comments in the article. But how were they considered "respectable"? Just because they drove a Mercedes?

Perhaps we need to recalibrate ourselves as to what constitutes "respectable"?
I've always defined respectability to be the sort of person who doesn't lick their monocle as a means to attach it. Monocles adhere of their own volition to the eyesockets of the respectable, through divine grace.
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Old 16th May 2019, 02:47 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
...there's no good reason to privilege our own interests over those of others. A rational ethics is an impartial ethics.
Why is that?

It seems rational to me to prioritize the well being of people I know and care about over people I don't know. Why should I pretend to be impartial?
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Old 16th May 2019, 03:16 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Why is that?



It seems rational to me to prioritize the well being of people I know and care about over people I don't know. Why should I pretend to be impartial?
mumblethrax is just taking your reasoning to its logical conclusion. It's in his best interest to convince you that his interests are as important as your own.
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Old 16th May 2019, 03:24 PM   #143
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They should have "egged" the kid.
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Old 16th May 2019, 03:34 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
They should have "egged" the kid.
Hitler was a vegetarian.
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Old 17th May 2019, 06:48 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Hitler was a vegetarian.

Law proved. Thread closed.
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Old 17th May 2019, 06:57 AM   #146
I Am The Scum
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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Why is that?

It seems rational to me to prioritize the well being of people I know and care about over people I don't know. Why should I pretend to be impartial?
The central problem is that this necessitates a very strange view of how one values lives. In other words, if Jim held this same view, then he would need to show that the property of being friends with Jim imbues one person's life with higher moral worth. That's really indefensible.

There are, of course, selfish reasons for prioritizing one's family members over strangers, but those are not moral reasons.

However, I fear we may be straying a bit off-topic for this thread.
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Old 17th May 2019, 10:07 AM   #147
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Chanakya--this is very long and largely off topic, and I don't have much interest in do-overs. I'll respond to a few points here.

Quote:
I’m suggesting that each of us probably find ourselves -- intrinsically -- somewhere along the continuum leading from the one to the other.
I understand. I'm asking you what the relevance of this is. It's neither relevant to a rational ethics, nor even to the post you were originally responding to. Isissxn was lamenting the fact that she has a different response to similar outcomes in different situations. That's not something where noting that "Different people have different levels of empathy" has any explanatory power.

Quote:
I’m only suggesting that this is one necessary (but not sufficient) input to our decision-making.
It isn't necessary. You can just think about what you ought to do critically, which you'll need to do eventually anyway, without doing trust falls first.

I keep being reminded of that line from the Matrix, that the machines use us for power (along with a form of nuclear fusion). Only one of those is doing any work for you. The other is just a dog chasing its tail.

Quote:
Clearly recognizing one’s empathy level and “owning” it helps one align one’s life choices (and dietary choices) optimally.
This isn't clear at all. It sound like something Tony Robbins would say.

Quote:
I get what you’re saying about empathy sometimes misfiring, when it comes to, for example, tribal instincts.
I don't think you do. I'm not saying "empathy misfires", I'm saying empathy and ethics are fundamentally about different things. Empathy does what it was "designed" to do. What it was not designed to do is moral inquiry.

Quote:
How much time and effort and money you will devote to some individual is obviously going to be a function of how close (using whatever sense of “close” might work best) you are to the persons concerned.

Where is the problem here?
You're failing to grasp the distinction between the positive and the normative. Yes, we're inclined to favor ourselves, and our friends an families, above others.

The problem here is that this leads to grotesquely unequal treatment, and the elevation of trivial concerns of the people close to us over the far more serious concerns of people halfway around the world.

It's true that we do this. We ought not to.

Quote:
Sorry, couldn't parse that!
Empathy is something I feel about your misfortune. By invoking empathy you're putting my feelings before your misfortune. "Oh man...the day I killed that guy with my car...that was the worst day of my life." It's an unavoidably egoistic way of doing ethics. And it's just unnecessary, because we can skip that step and say that, from a neutral point of view, your misfortune matters in and of itself, before I do or don't have any feelings about it.

Quote:
Let me get this very clear. Are you really arguing for some communist ideal, something like that?
No.

Quote:
There is no reason for the state, or for society in general, to privilege my personal interests over another’s. Sure.
There's also no rational reason for you to do this, because there's just nothing special about you. You can do it, but in doing so you abandon any claims that what you do as a result is ethical. The state, society...they're neither here nor there.

Quote:
But I take it as fundamental that my own actions, at my personal level, will be predicated largely (okay, not entirely, but largely) by my own “feelings”. Sure, guided by critical thinking, but the starting point would be my feelings.
Ok, but in doing so you are accepting that you are, in fact, trying to feel your way through ethical dilemmas.

Quote:
Are you really saying you think you personally ‘ought’ to be spending just as much one some random person’s well-being as you will on your own child? If that is your idea of ethics, then okay, no reason why you shouldn’t follow it yourself, but I’ll have to express my clear disagreement, then, in the strongest possible terms, with any ethics of that nature.
I think you're expressing your objections in the weakest possible terms. You can't find fault with it, but you don't like where it takes you, so you try to come up with bespoke definitions of "impartial" which allow you to put your feelings first.

That doesn't work.

Last edited by mumblethrax; 17th May 2019 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 17th May 2019, 10:19 AM   #148
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Yawn. Just give us the names and addresses of all "Vegans"* known to you (and where they are known to congregate). Thanks.



*Not "Vegetarians". Just the "Vegans".
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Old 17th May 2019, 11:18 AM   #149
I Am The Scum
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Yawn. Just give us the names and addresses of all "Vegans"* known to you (and where they are known to congregate). Thanks.
Do you have any juice in zis haus?
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Old 17th May 2019, 11:20 AM   #150
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Mt lovely wife is what I call an accidental vegan, she gave up meat to loose weight. She found that when she ate meat it was usually associated with a lot of other things that caused her to eat more than was good for her. So we went 'plant based' for our protein. While on that path she also gave up all cheese for a year, at the end of the year she found out that she is lactose intolerant.
So now she is mostly plant based, she swerves to the fish based protein occasionally.
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Old 18th May 2019, 04:28 AM   #151
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Just to try and get this back on track. The issue is not whether or not Veganism is a good diet or not.


It's because the parents allowed the child to starve and kept her away from anyone who could help.


There is this video on YouTube where the parents took their baby to a naturopath, who immediately told them to take the child to a hospital and did everything they could to make sure the child went to hospital.



What was the parents response, take the child home and then lie to the police because they did not want the child to be vaccinated.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fXVQhjKGFo
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Old 18th May 2019, 09:17 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Graham2001 View Post
.....
What was the parents response, take the child home and then lie to the police because they did not want the child to be vaccinated.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fXVQhjKGFo
The video is chilling, including the cops politely and courteously trying for hours to get the parents to just open the door. These parents should never get their kids back.

There are also the deranged quotes from U.S. Representative Kelly Townsend, who apparently thinks parents can do whatever they want to their kids.
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Old 18th May 2019, 01:33 PM   #153
Elagabalus
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Mt lovely wife is what I call an accidental vegan, she gave up meat to loose weight. She found that when she ate meat it was usually associated with a lot of other things that caused her to eat more than was good for her. So we went 'plant based' for our protein. While on that path she also gave up all cheese for a year, at the end of the year she found out that she is lactose intolerant.
So now she is mostly plant based, she swerves to the fish based protein occasionally.

Now we're getting somewhere. Thank you for your contribution, Dancing David! Finally a poster who sees the big picture. It always sends a chill up my spine when I see some poster here on the ISF show as much class as you've shown in this thread. As for the other posters, let Dancing David be your guide to show you just how easily and (yes!) painlessly you can denounce your own loved-ones. It really IS that simple! Just one thing, DD, your location listed in your avatar is a bit vague. I need a bit more meat to narrow down the search. Perhaps a street address, you know, something to flesh it out a bit?
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Old 18th May 2019, 01:56 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Just one thing, DD, your location listed in your avatar is a bit vague. I need a bit more meat to narrow down the search. Perhaps a street address, you know, something to flesh it out a bit?
I'd like to think that this post of yours and the one before it are an attempt at humor, but I'm failing to see any joke at this point. It's coming off as very creepy, and you should just stop.
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Old 18th May 2019, 02:57 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
I'd like to think that this post of yours and the one before it are an attempt at humor, but I'm failing to see any joke at this point. It's coming off as very creepy, and you should just stop.

Apologies. I meant no offense.
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Old 18th May 2019, 11:29 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Apologies. I meant no offense.
You crossed a line.
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Old Yesterday, 07:12 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
Chanakya--this is very long and largely off topic

I agree. My original post #123 was short enough, and a casual response to isissxn’s post #119. Our subsequent responses to each other seem to have snowballed into a whole off-topic branching off from the thread topic. In fact, when you said to me, in your initial response to my general post, that “empathy is a poor basis for ethics”, I did anticipate exactly this, and said: “I don’t think I agree, but that discussion may merit a whole thread all its own.” Perhaps it does.


Quote:
I don't have much interest in do-overs. I'll respond to a few points here.

Would you call this a do-over, though? It isn’t as if you’ve explained yourself fully or satisfactorily, yet.

But as you wish: I will limit my response now strictly to what you’ve said in this last post of yours, and take care not to revisit the other points from our earlier discussion, that you’ve chosen to leave out in this last response of yours.

And should you want to take this discussion forward after all, then I will report my own post #123 and request the mods to branch off this discussion into another thread, so as not to further derail this one. But that’s up to you, up to whether you wish to go on with this subject.


Quote:
I understand. I'm asking you what the relevance of this is. It's neither relevant to a rational ethics, nor even to the post you were originally responding to. Isissxn was lamenting the fact that she has a different response to similar outcomes in different situations. That's not something where noting that "Different people have different levels of empathy" has any explanatory power.

Well, as for “relevance to rational ethics”, that does not directly bear on what I had originally said. That was your objection to my post, and since you raised that objection, I should have thought that it is for you to show the validity of your objection. I’m afraid I don’t see that you’ve done that, and I tried to discuss the areas where I disagree with what you've said (as well the points where I do agree with you) in my subsequent response to you. If you wish to argue your case -- that empathy has nothing to do, either directly or indirectly, with rational ethics -- then I can try to offer counter-arguments. (And if can’t, then I’d agree that you’re right after all). But that’s up to you, the onus is on you to make those arguments.

And as for relevance to isissxn’s post, to which my original brief post was a response: It seemed to me that isissxn’s confusion and/or frustration stemmed from (a) not fully exploring/understanding and “owning” her own empathy level, and (b) perhaps comparing herself with others who demonstrate different empathy levels, on either side of the scale. (For the sake of brevity -- given the rather obscene length of my previous post addressed to you -- I leave it at that, but if my meaning in this short paragraph isn’t fully clear, and if you wish me to elaborate on this, then I’ll be happy to do that if you ask me.)


Quote:
It isn't necessary. You can just think about what you ought to do critically, which you'll need to do eventually anyway, without doing trust falls first.

I don’t see how “trust falls” come into this. And I think what one “ought to do”, is based -- not blindly, not without reasoning, and necessarily within reason -- on one’s basic predilections, of which one’s intrinsic level of empathy is a part. You state that that is not so, but you don’t really explain why. (That is, you do show that this leads to results that you don't like, but you don't show why your dislike for consequences must take precedence over mine, given that I also have shown that your system also leads to consequences that are difficult for anyone to like.) We can agree to disagree, then. Or, if you wish, we can take this further forward. I leave it to you.


Quote:
This isn't clear at all. It sound like something Tony Robbins would say.

I’ve heard of Tony Robbins, but I’m afraid I’m not at all familiar with what he’s actually said (or written). So I’ll have to let that pass.

Let me, very briefly, try to make my meaning clear one more time: If you take care to align your life choices (including dietary choices) to your intrinsic predilections, including your intrinsic level of empathy -- within reason, of course -- then you will probably be able to steer away from unnecessary inner conflict. This relates directly to isissxn’s post.

Again, I leave it at that, not wanting to increase the size of this post overly much. But if you wish me to elaborate further on that above paragraph, I will be happy to do that if you ask me.


Quote:
I don't think you do. I'm not saying "empathy misfires", I'm saying empathy and ethics are fundamentally about different things.

Oh, ok. I see I had indeed misinterpreted you, then, as far as that particular part of your post.

I understand now, but I still don’t agree. You do state that “empathy and ethics are fundamentally about different things”, but no, I don’t see, at all, that the two, while obviously “different things”, are necessarily mutually exclusive.

After all, as far as I can see, ethics (in this context, in the context of something being ethical or not) is no more than simply a codification, a systematization, of what is right and what is wrong. And what is right and what is wrong is ultimately subjective. So, in as much as there is no God-given or otherwise universal right and wrong, therefore the best we can do, when we seek to agree on ethics, is to come to an inter-subjective agreement on what we would consider right and what not, and to ensure that our ‘system’ is internally consistent.

And caring for one’s child definitely qualifies as “right” in my book, and probably in the worldview of an overwhelming majority in this world. And nor is that necessarily an appeal to popularity: because I simply don’t see any right or wrong, or indeed any ethics, outside of what we subjectively feel is right or wrong or ethical. The best we can do is to think about this so as to consider the full implications of what we hold to be right and wrong, to be consistent in our worldview as far as these rights and wrongs, and to come to such agreement with our fellow men (and women!) as we can.

(And nor is that “feeling one’s way through” -- unless, having begun with “feelings”, we simply stop there. We are free to think our way through and reason our way through, and if we do that, then even though we do start with subjectivity and feelings, nevertheless we’re being rational and reasonable.)


Quote:
Empathy does what it was "designed" to do. What it was not designed to do is moral inquiry.

That’s what you state, yes, but while I agree that empathy cannot be the sole guide to our morality and ethics, nevertheless I don’t see that the latter are necessarily wholly divorced from empathy. I’m afraid your simply stating that does not make it clear to me.

(To be clear : I'm not saying empathy "does" ethics at all. But I am saying that, as far as I can see, "doing" ethics, determining one's ethics, at least doing or determining it effectively, while certainly calling for critical thinking, will probably involve looking at one's intrinsic empathy. It could be you misunderstand me as far as this.)


Quote:
You're failing to grasp the distinction between the positive and the normative. Yes, we're inclined to favor ourselves, and our friends an families, above others.

The problem here is that this leads to grotesquely unequal treatment, and the elevation of trivial concerns of the people close to us over the far more serious concerns of people halfway around the world.

It's true that we do this. We ought not to.


Empathy is something I feel about your misfortune. By invoking empathy you're putting my feelings before your misfortune. "Oh man...the day I killed that guy with my car...that was the worst day of my life." It's an unavoidably egoistic way of doing ethics. And it's just unnecessary, because we can skip that step and say that, from a neutral point of view, your misfortune matters in and of itself, before I do or don't have any feelings about it.


No.


There's also no rational reason for you to do this, because there's just nothing special about you. You can do it, but in doing so you abandon any claims that what you do as a result is ethical. The state, society...they're neither here nor there.


Ok, but in doing so you are accepting that you are, in fact, trying to feel your way through ethical dilemmas.


I think you're expressing your objections in the weakest possible terms. You can't find fault with it, but you don't like where it takes you, so you try to come up with bespoke definitions of "impartial" which allow you to put your feelings first.

That doesn't work.

Let’s just put this into perspective. Basis the example you yourself brought up, I asked you if you think that your willingness to spend a great deal of money and effort on your child (or sister) and little to none on some random person across the globe is unethical, and to that you replied that that is “manifestly” so.

You keep telling me that my objections to your objections are “weak arguments”, but I’m afraid your own original objection to my original post isn’t even that, it is less argument per se than statement of what appears right to you. You keep insisting that ethics necessarily is divorced from feelings, and that any acts that do take into consideration one’s feelings are, even though they might arise out of critical thinking over and above those feelings, are necessarily unethical, without in any way defending this position (other than showing that not doing this can lead to consequences that apparently you do not like).

I don’t see that my definition of impartiality is “bespoke”, given the context. If the state or society in general unfairly prevents you from doing for your child what it lets me do for mine, other things being equal, then that would be partial, and impartiality in that context is certainly something to strive for. That is how our economic and political systems actually operate, generally speaking. But impartiality in the sense that if I have real need for money then I should be entitled to reach into your pocket for it -- which is what you seem to be advocating here -- sounds the exact opposite of ethical to me. To use your own term, it sounds nothing less than grotesque to me.

In fact it seems to me it is your ideas around what is ethical that appear “bespoke” here.

It could be that I’m mistaken, sure. But you mustn’t expect me to agree with you simply on your say-so. You’ll have to do more than simply keep stating your own position to actually show me that, you’ll actually have to argue out your case clearly and defend your position more fully. (And, like I said, if you do that I’ll be happy to report my own earlier post and request the mods to branch this off into a separate thread.) Otherwise we’ll simply have to note that we happen to disagree on this and leave it at that.
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Old Today, 07:06 AM   #158
isissxn
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Now we're getting somewhere. Thank you for your contribution, Dancing David! Finally a poster who sees the big picture. It always sends a chill up my spine when I see some poster here on the ISF show as much class as you've shown in this thread. As for the other posters, let Dancing David be your guide to show you just how easily and (yes!) painlessly you can denounce your own loved-ones. It really IS that simple! Just one thing, DD, your location listed in your avatar is a bit vague. I need a bit more meat to narrow down the search. Perhaps a street address, you know, something to flesh it out a bit?
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Old Today, 07:08 AM   #159
JoeMorgue
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Apologies. I meant no offense.
In what ******* universe is threatening to Dox someone not offensive?

Agreed, you crossed a line.
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Old Today, 08:14 AM   #160
Puppycow
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Making your kids go vegan can mean jail time in Belgium

Quote:
On May 16, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium issued an opinion that will make it possible to imprison parents who enforce a vegan diet on their children.

The academy determined that veganism for kids is “unethical” because it can lead to health problems for growing children, the Belgian publication Le Soir reports (link in French). The animal-product-free diet isn’t technically prohibited, and the ruling doesn’t necessarily equate veganism with child neglect. However, it will make it easier to prosecute parents who impose the strict diet and whose children have health problems.

Children can follow a vegan diet if it’s accompanied by medical supervision, regular blood tests, and vitamin supplements, Belgian pediatricians concluded. However, parents who don’t follow through on the additional requirements risk two years in prison, fines, and the possibility that their children will be removed from their homes if the kids do have associated health issues.

As draconian as that sounds, there are some grounds for the new legal opinion, Belgian experts argue. Bernard Devos, a regional government official responsible for children’s rights and protection in Brussels and the French-speaking region of Wallonia, requested a ruling on veganism’s health effects on kids after a number of deaths in schools, nurseries, and hospitals believed to be linked to the diet. The ruling will make it easier for officials to take legal action against parents in cases where poor health is associated with a vegan diet.
Wow, so children are perhaps dying due to veganism.
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