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Old 28th November 2012, 01:08 PM   #241
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I'm outnumbered dozens to one.
I think there's a reason for that....
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Old 28th November 2012, 01:11 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Why would you think I'm being factitious?
Facetious, you mean? I thought this because of previous posts you've made.

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Cain says suffering is the dividing line, you say sentience is the line but in either case you'd have to show that plants can't suffer and don't show a rudimentary awareness of their environment that could be classed as sentience.
Yes, you're right. I think animal rights philosophy still has a long way to go and sentience needs a more concrete delineation. That said, I think there's ample reason to suggest that sentience is a property of organisms with advanced brains.
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Old 28th November 2012, 01:42 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post

In the best case scenario that animal-derived vaccinations are eliminated, I believe in the healing power of the invisible hand would fill a need for life-saving vaccinations without non-consenting animal victims.
What does this mean, please?
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Old 28th November 2012, 01:45 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
It's also buggered up many natural ecosystems by releasing a previously unknown savage top predator into a formerly stable environment including in some places nearly wiping out the local mink.

Whoops.
Still no response to the fact that ALF, even taking just their freeing of mink (which you claim makes them heroes) have absolutely trashed various natural ecosystems by releasing a savage and dominant top predator?

I'm against the mink fur trade myself. I think that using the skin of an animal and throwing the rest away is akin to killing sharks for the fins. It's a massive waste of an animal. The difference between you and I Dessi, is apparently that I would rather these animals were all exterminated and the places closed down, whereas you either don't mind or didn't realise they caused ecological terrorism.
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Old 28th November 2012, 01:47 PM   #245
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I think that using the skin of an animal and throwing the rest away is akin to killing sharks for the fins. It's a massive waste of an animal.
Why? Either other animals or decomposing microbes consume the carcass.
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Old 28th November 2012, 01:50 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by DragonLady View Post
Why? Either other animals or decomposing microbes consume the carcass.
Why not use as much as we can?

If the rest of the shark can be eaten it would mean less sharks are killed.

Of course, I would be against killing sharks at all in the same way I wouldn't want to eat panda or bluefin tuna.


ETA: Of course, this is rather a side point compared to what I am actually driving at.
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:00 PM   #247
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Originally Posted by Agatha View Post
What does this mean, please?
She's saying she has faith that if animal experimentation is banned, a way of developing new medicines that doesn't involve animal testing must and will appear somehow. "The invisible hand" is a common euphemism for capitalistic market forces.
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:03 PM   #248
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Why not use as much as we can?
Generally, I agree.... But not quite.

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If the rest of the shark can be eaten it would mean less sharks are killed.
How would eating the rest make the fins less desirable? The way I see it, the shark is killed, the fins are taken, and (most likely) the rest is thrown back into the water for other fish. It's not like any part of it is ever really "wasted".
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:12 PM   #249
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Originally Posted by DragonLady View Post
Generally, I agree.... But not quite.



How would eating the rest make the fins less desirable? The way I see it, the shark is killed, the fins are taken, and (most likely) the rest is thrown back into the water for other fish. It's not like any part of it is ever really "wasted".
Have you ever seen the places where they get the fins?

Hundreds, maybe thousands of sharks, lined up to have the fins hacked off and nothing else.
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:35 PM   #250
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And then the sharks are thrown back into the water, still alive, suffering pain (I assume) and unable to swim, so they die. It's an appalling waste of the animal's life, even if one is a meat eater.

I could never be vegetarian or vegan due to intolerances and stuff, but try to only eat meat/fish which has been reared and slaughtered with as much care for the animal's welfare as possible. One of my adult children is almost vegan (but she does eat free range eggs and honey), which is fine by me, that's her choice.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
She's saying she has faith that if animal experimentation is banned, a way of developing new medicines that doesn't involve animal testing must and will appear somehow. "The invisible hand" is a common euphemism for capitalistic market forces.
Thank you. That seems to me to be unlikely, at least in the near future.
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:40 PM   #251
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Originally Posted by DragonLady View Post
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If the rest of the shark can be eaten it would mean less sharks are killed.
How would eating the rest make the fins less desirable? The way I see it, the shark is killed, the fins are taken, and (most likely) the rest is thrown back into the water for other fish. It's not like any part of it is ever really "wasted".
I think an argument could be made that while we can't totally eliminate our impact on the environment, we should at least try to minimize it. By killing off animals unnecessarily (or, as was earlier pointed out, introducing new species) can cause unexpected ecological problems that could eventually end up affecting us. Yes, other fish will eat the remains of a shark killed just for its fins, but its not something that would have happened without human intervention.

That doesn't mean we should totally give up eating meat, or go back to a caveman existence.
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:52 PM   #252
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And then the sharks are thrown back into the water, still alive, suffering pain (I assume) and unable to swim, so they die. It's an appalling waste of the animal's life, even if one is a meat eater.
Okay; I agree that is abusive. I do not condone animal (or fish) abuse in any way.

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I think an argument could be made that while we can't totally eliminate our impact on the environment, we should at least try to minimize it. By killing off animals unnecessarily (or, as was earlier pointed out, introducing new species) can cause unexpected ecological problems that could eventually end up affecting us.
Yes; I agree with that.
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Old 28th November 2012, 04:23 PM   #253
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur
So, no "animal testing can help but sometimes its unnecessary." They've outright stated that its a "misconception" that animal tests can help humans.
I'm aware of PeTA's position on the utility of animal research, I agree that they're wrong, and I would be happy to see people in the animal rights movement in general stop making this claim.

But their behavior indicates that this position isn't a significant driver. They're strongly in favor of the three Rs, even if they think only one of them is genuinely necessary. They don't target vaccine manufacturers for protests. I guess the question I ask here is "What would they do differently if they did not hold this view?" Apart from not repeating this claim in their literature, I suspect the answer is "nothing." They'd just move to opposition on strictly ethical grounds.

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Also missing is a discussion of things like vaccine manufacture, which cannot be done using our current technology without animal products (something that would be forbidden under PETA rules.)
My understanding is that this is false, at least if we're talking about eggs used for influenza vaccines, but animal products are used all over the place, so I don't think it matters very much--if it's not true here, it's true of similar products elsewhere. PeTA has policy positions, not outwardly facing rules. Should they triumph in the real world, implementation would look more like Proposition 2 (something PeTA supported despite their opposition to animal agriculture in general)--incremental phase outs with lots and lots times to implement alternatives. "Forbidden under PeTA rules" is not something I'm going to worry about, for obvious reasons. I mean, I'd give them $30, $50, $100...not a magic wand that puts them in charge of everything.

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You're taking a completely reasonable position (along the lines of "hey, lets not do useless tests") and falsely assuming that that is all PETA wants to stop.
Not at all. I am well aware that I'm more reasonable than PeTA--I'm also better looking.

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They not only want to stop what even I would consider unnecessary research, but also things that actually save lives and cannot be done using alternative methods.
I'm going to have to insist on that qualification again: it would save human lives, sacrificing however many animal lives in the process. To those of us who have rejected rank speciesism as an irrational prejudice, this isn't a slam dunk in favor of animal experimentation.

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Old 28th November 2012, 07:56 PM   #254
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post
Nevermind that evolution isn't a normative moral theory.
A straw man, and irrelevant to boot.
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Old 28th November 2012, 07:56 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by Agatha View Post
Thank you. That seems to me to be unlikely, at least in the near future.
To me as well. One has to consider that the market is not its own closed system. If a law was proposed for instance to ban animal testing for medical research, it is not really likely that medical research companies will start researching and developing non-animal research methods; it is much more likely that they will instead spend money on lobbying against the proposed law. If the law passes anyway, it's more likely that many of these companies will simply go under before they're able to adapt, or outsource their animal research to other countries with less restrictive laws. The "invisible hand" might make a new method appear, but it will come with significantly increased consumer cost, while the current cost is already enough to bankrupt and destroy the credit of many.
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Old 28th November 2012, 08:00 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
To those of us who have rejected rank speciesism as an irrational prejudice, this isn't a slam dunk in favor of animal experimentation.
Well, at least you admit you're a traitor to your species.

I agree entirely with the point various people have made about not doing unnecessary harm, but the whole excuse of "nothing is necessary" based on what amounts to a religious belief is just unacceptable, and further untestable.
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Old 28th November 2012, 09:13 PM   #257
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post

Let's take a step back for a moment: are you familiar with the expression that perfect is the enemy of good?
Another interesting and contradictory post.

Using this reasoning, it is best to argue that we just eat a little bit less meat than we already do. Then we might eventually get to the point that since we eat so little meat anyways, we could do away with meat in our diet.

Does PETA do this? Or do they argue for "perfection" in their moral views.

You could show to any one of us that it's in our best interest, healthwise, to eat less meat. I personally do this. PETA could advocate this as well. It'd be the rational choice to lower animal suffering without badgering anyone or pushing the extremist view.

Let's see PETA say something like this. "We respect people's varying moral views and dietary choices but eating less meat benefits both animals and humans by saving more animal lives and letting humans live longer healthier lives"

I'll put my money where my mouth is. I'll donate to PETA myself when I see this become their official stance.
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Old 28th November 2012, 09:55 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Still no response to the fact that ALF, even taking just their freeing of mink (which you claim makes them heroes) have absolutely trashed various natural ecosystems by releasing a savage and dominant top predator?
Pfft... who cares about the other animals? The important thing is that the cuddly friendly minks didn't get killed.

Quote:
I'm against the mink fur trade myself. I think that using the skin of an animal and throwing the rest away is akin to killing sharks for the fins. It's a massive waste of an animal. The difference between you and I Dessi, is apparently that I would rather these animals were all exterminated and the places closed down, whereas you either don't mind or didn't realise they caused ecological terrorism.
So if they used more of the mink you'd be happy with the trade?

Which raises the question, are minks tasty?
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:36 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by Kahalachan View Post
Another interesting and contradictory post.

Using this reasoning, it is best to argue that we just eat a little bit less meat than we already do. Then we might eventually get to the point that since we eat so little meat anyways, we could do away with meat in our diet.

Does PETA do this? Or do they argue for "perfection" in their moral views.
Looks like you got hung up on that word "perfect", and misunderstood me as saying that perfectionist or idealistic ethics are bad in principle.

Let me clarify myself: I'm responding to an argument - which has cropped up in this thread half a dozen times already - that if we cannot eliminate absolutely every granule of harm within and outside our control, then its pointless to bother reducing suffering at all. I hope you can agree that argument just isn't a good precedent for anything, and embodies just about everything meant by the phrase that "the perfect is the enemy of the good". My response is that minimizing suffering is desirable, even if we can't reach the impossibly idealistic standard of eliminating all suffering entirely.

In any case, I agree that eating less meat absolutely does help, and reducing intake as opposed to hopping on the vegan train overnight is a good strategy for some people. (Speaking from my own experience, I was mostly vegetarian for about 2 years before becoming vegan entirely.)

Quote:
You could show to any one of us that it's in our best interest, healthwise, to eat less meat. I personally do this. PETA could advocate this as well. It'd be the rational choice to lower animal suffering without badgering anyone or pushing the extremist view.

Let's see PETA say something like this. "We respect people's varying moral views and dietary choices but eating less meat benefits both animals and humans by saving more animal lives and letting humans live longer healthier lives"
I agree, veggie diets are healthy, but it just sounds like you're criticizing PETA for having a politically incorrect message.

Speaking for myself, I support PETA because they get **** done (small list documented at the end of this post). If they weren't good get getting **** done, I wouldn't bother giving donations every so often. That's not necessarily the same thing as being a fan of their PR department. If I were elected president of PETA, trust and believe "Sea Kittens" campaign would be nuked off the planet, I'd also reframe PETA's animal rights message closer to Peter Singer's style.

I've been a longtime fan of Singer. He promotes animal rights by articulating strong arguments against speciesism; and once we reject speciesism, animal rights follows easily as a logical extension of the morals and principles we generally hold regarding the ethical treatment of humans. Without the species barrier, it's hard or impossible to draw any relevant moral distinction between suffering whatever its origin, whether its experienced by a human or non-human organism. And that's kind of a problem, because animals are treated in a way that causes a whole boatload of suffering, putting human interests against animal interests. He usually falls back on a kind of utilitarian calculation, like weighing the suffering of animals raised for slaughter to the suffering of people prevented from eating animals. Obviously, actually measuring suffering like that is intractable, which is why Singer falls back on the intuition that, if we treat animals in a manner where it'd be considered unethical to treat a mentally similar human in the same way, then -- absent of a damn good reason -- we ought to consider that particular treatment of animals unethical for the exact same reason.

I take a lot of inspiration from Singer, and try to present animal rights using slivers of Singer's reasoning throughout most of my posts. I think a good argument for animal rights starts by recognizing speciesism as irrational prejudice, make a persuasive case on the basis that it's in the best interests of non-human animals, and promotes veganism as a generally easy way to tangibly reduce animal suffering. I'd only give a nod to the health argument as a fringe benefit, not the primary driver for animal rights.

I am fully aware that I hold fringe opinions, but I don't think they're generally unreasonable* with the understanding that most of my posts rehash arguments for human rights, minus the pseudo-religious belief in magically privileged taxonomic classifications. Without the speciesist prejudice, the case for human rights is almost always logically inclusive to non-human animals, making human rights and animal rights are two sides of the exact same coin.

* "not generally unreasonable" here refers to steps used to arrive at an animal rights ethic, not necessarily a statement on style or presentation. I try to write as non-provocatively as possible, even on personal hot-button topics. But for some reason, AR discussions draw the venom out of people, too many go out of their way to get under my skin every change they get, activating an ordinarily polite Dessi's mystical hyper-bitch powers.
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Old 29th November 2012, 04:55 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
Pfft... who cares about the other animals? The important thing is that the cuddly friendly minks didn't get killed.
Quite. It's still not been answered.
Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
So if they used more of the mink you'd be happy with the trade?

Which raises the question, are minks tasty?
Possibly I would. Certainly I don't like the idea of killing an animal for fashion compared to killing one for protein. Of course I don't think eating meat is absolutely vital for survival but it IS a good way of getting protein, which is.

On the other hand, wearing fur is simply a luxury, and not a terribly efficient one. If mink were farmed for food and the fur was taken as an added benefit like sheep and wool then I might have no problem with wearing mink.
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:46 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by mikeyx View Post
if one were to eat a peta member is that considered veganism?
Plenty of fiber!
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:50 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
Congratulations on supporting terrorism, Cain, Dessi and John. There is now blood on your hands. Not animal blood--that doesn't count. Also, not the blood of humans. The most important blood of all: property blood.

In response, I'm going to donate like $501 in steaks to me. (For the record, that is divisible by three.)
When PETA releases animals into the 'wild' such as minks, sometimes they aren't released into the right 'wild' and can harm the local wildlife.

When a lab is broken into and lab animals liberated, you don't know what is liberated with the animals. I personally worry about the microbes that are liberated with the mice.
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Old 29th November 2012, 07:08 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Quite. It's still not been answered.
Did they end up getting rid of all the minks in the end? Or are they now a permanent presence in the places where they've been released.

Quote:
Possibly I would. Certainly I don't like the idea of killing an animal for fashion compared to killing one for protein. Of course I don't think eating meat is absolutely vital for survival but it IS a good way of getting protein, which is.
I can live with that.
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Old 29th November 2012, 08:41 AM   #264
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Who at PETA was responsible for that abhorrent "your mommy kills animals!" campaign?
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:31 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by Mister Earl View Post
Who at PETA was responsible for that abhorrent "your mommy kills animals!" campaign?
Your mom!

Sorry... couldn't resist that one.
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Old 29th November 2012, 10:38 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post
Let me clarify myself: I'm responding to an argument - which has cropped up in this thread half a dozen times already - that if we cannot eliminate absolutely every granule of harm within and outside our control, then its pointless to bother reducing suffering at all.
Straw man.

I doubt even the most anti-PETA poster posting in this thread objects to things like the Animal Welfare Act (which works to reduce the suffering of animals used in research).

I'm pretty much saying that everyone here probably wants to reduce suffering. We just don't want to decent to the lunacy level of PETA because:
- We don't support terrorist activities (like arson), that PETA helps pay for
- We actually like animals and view PETA and its activities as being counterproductive to animal welfare.

Quote:
Quote:
You could show to any one of us that it's in our best interest, healthwise, to eat less meat. I personally do this. PETA could advocate this as well. It'd be the rational choice to lower animal suffering without badgering anyone or pushing the extremist view.
I agree, veggie diets are healthy...
First of all keep in mind that there is a difference between "eating less meat" and being "vegetarian/vegan". Reducing meat intake does not mean someone is automatically going to eliminate meat products from their diet.

Secondly, veggie diets are not "healthy". You know what is healthy? A balanced diet. With a decent mixture of proteins, carbs, vitamins and minerals. Eating meat does not make a diet 'unhealthy'. In fact, were it not for the existence of dietary suppliments, a vegitarian/vegan diet would be extremely difficult to live with. (Not impossible, just difficult/risky).

I myself have an iron deficiency. The body absorbs iron from animal sources better than it does from plant sources. As such, it is healthier for me to eat meat than it would be to avoid it.

http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/dietan.../p/IronIBD.htm

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Speaking for myself, I support PETA because they get **** done (small list documented at the end of this post). If they weren't good get getting **** done, I wouldn't bother giving donations every so often.
If by "getting **** done" you mean "supporting arson, and actually setting animal welfare back by being attention-seeking idiots" then yeah, they are getting **** done.

But lets look a little more into your claims of "getting **** done", shall we? In particular, that little list of supposed "successes" that PETA has had....

First of all, keep in mind that there is no guarantee that PETA was the only (or even the main) reason for "success" in at least some of those cases. For example, you pointed to how they helped stop the use of Animals in crash tests, but according to the reference you provided, the ASPCA had an involvement (in fact, PETA wasn't even mentioned in that article.)

So, at least some of your "PETA successes" must be viewed with skepticism.

Secondly, lets say they actually do help some animals. But they also support arsonists. Financially. With money. So they share at least some blame when some research lab goes up in flames. (Sorry, but all the claims made by PETA of "we don't support violence" becomes irrelevant if they're opening up their checkbook and giving cash to people who burn stuff up.). Lets ignore the property damage for a minute and the risk to humans... Fires kill animals. Pretty much any building is going to have various rodents and other critters running around in basements. While the ALF people were setting animals free and burning down labs, they're probably going to end up with even more deaths of creatures they didn't "rescue" from the burning building. Add to that the thousands of animals that will die during any rebuilding process as raw materials are harvested . (Even if researchers did decide to stop experimenting on animals, they would still need lab space.) End result: More animals dead than saved.

Lastly, lets consider this: PETA collects roughly $32,000,000/year in 2011. (http://www.peta.org/about/learn-abou...al-report.aspx) I recall reading that it costs roughly $200/month to care for a dog or cat in an animal shelter (including food, staffing, vets, etc.) Many animals die because shelters cannot afford to care for them.

If, instead of giving to PETA they decided to give their money to local shelters, it would mean that ~13,000 animals could be saved per year. So tell me, how many of PETA's activites save anywhere close to that number of animals?

Or here is another suggestion... The Nature Conservancy (a fairly well respected charity) has saved roughly 600,000 acres of wilderness, and that's from only $22 million. (See: http://adopt.nature.org/) If the donations to PETA went to the nature conservancy, in one year they could save around 870,000 acres. How many rodents, birds and other animals do you think would be saved? Heck, if you look at mice alone (according to this source, the number of field mice vary between 3 and 36) you're talking millions of animals that would be saved. Just by giving to The Nature Conservancy rather than PETA.

Lastly, you're assuming that there is not going to be any 'blowback'.... people who might be interested in improving animal welfare, but look at PETAs actions and consider the whole concept to be moronic as a result.

Frankly, I think trying to justify donating to PETA because they sometimes rescue animals that actually are suffering is a little like trying to justify pedophilia by priests because some churches happen to run soup kitchens.
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That's not necessarily the same thing as being a fan of their PR department. If I were elected president of PETA, trust and believe "Sea Kittens" campaign would be nuked off the planet....
In case you didn't know.... Things like their "sea kittens" campaign are probably the majority of what PETA donations are used for. If you want to actually save animals, try giving to the ASPCA. Or the Nature Conservancy.

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I've been a longtime fan of Singer. He promotes animal rights by articulating strong arguments against speciesism...
Yeah, so much that he actually supports beastiality. (At least according to Wikipedia.)

Ewwww.

I know we're supposed to deal with the argument itself, not the person making the argument, but... ewww.
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...and once we reject speciesism, animal rights follows easily as a logical extension of the morals and principles we generally hold regarding the ethical treatment of humans.
Your argument fails because you are assuming that it is morally right to "reject speciesim".
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I am fully aware that I hold fringe opinions...
Yeah, given the fact you've basically said that "babies with AIDS can die because they're no more valuable than a mouse". I doubt you'll find many people agreeing with that.

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...but I don't think they're generally unreasonable*
Lets see... you claim you don't agree with Arson, but you give to an organization that gives money to arsonists. Furthermore, when I point out a specific case where PETA gave money to an arsonist, you claimed you weren't sure how you felt about it.

Show of hands how many people think Arson is reasonable? And remember, your financial contributions mean more than your (empty) words.

ETA:
Oh, forgot to remind people: We're still waiting to hear about whether you'd be willing to host a nest of cockroaches or head lice, to prevent them from being killed.
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:02 AM   #267
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A couple of gripes here...

Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Your argument fails because you are assuming that it is morally right to "reject speciesim".
That seems a fair assumption to me. Is there a rational argument in favor of speciesism?

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Yeah, given the fact you've basically said that "babies with AIDS can die because they're no more valuable than a mouse". I doubt you'll find many people agreeing with that.
I don't recall her saying anything even close to that. Nor do I see how extending rights to others entails a loss of rights or care for the original group.

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ETA:
Oh, forgot to remind people: We're still waiting to hear about whether you'd be willing to host a nest of cockroaches or head lice, to prevent them from being killed.
I don't think insects have the necessary attributes to be granted rights. Maybe I differ from Dessi in this regard and don't want to speak for her, but animal rights should only be granted to those organisms with advanced brains (most fowl, pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, camels, etc.).
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:12 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Nor do I see how extending rights to others entails a loss of rights or care for the original group.

.
Banning animal testing removes the ability to save lives. Granting animals such as mice dogs and pigs the same rights as humans, including a banning on testing without consent (which would equate to a total ban on testing as these animals can't give consent and don't understand what consent even is) means that there would be a huge loss of care for those that need treatments based on animal testing, that is all treatments.

Myself for example. I would be dead if it were not for animal testing. People with diabetes, people who need vaccines and various anti-biotics...banning animal testing on medicines retards the field of medicine severely. Retarding the field of medicine can and will lead to human deaths. It may even lead to animal deaths from lack of veterinary medicine.

Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
Did they end up getting rid of all the minks in the end? Or are they now a permanent presence in the places where they've been released.
Let's just say that they're compared to the cane toad problem in Australia.

Yeah, we might actually lose species because of American mink releases.
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:45 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Quote:
Your argument fails because you are assuming that it is morally right to "reject speciesim".
That seems a fair assumption to me. Is there a rational argument in favor of speciesism?
Pretty much all creatures have the goal of, well, existing. Being members of a tribe/group/etc, is a way to help guarantee that existence. We (as humans) are just considering the species as an "extended tribe".

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Yeah, given the fact you've basically said that "babies with AIDS can die because they're no more valuable than a mouse". I doubt you'll find many people agreeing with that.
I don't recall her saying anything even close to that.
In an earlier post, I asked her directly whether the policy regarding ending use of animals in experiments that would result in the deaths of thousands of humans were a fair tradeoff in the name of animal rights. I also made it clear that groups like the AMA (you know, people who actually know something about science) have stated that at this time animal research is a necessity in science.

Her response (post 234): ...(millions of) victims are used in animal vivisection every year, the argument is already so lopsidedly in favor of eliminating animal vivisection that its actually a pretty fantastic tradeoff.

So, sounds to me that she's pretty clear about her priorities.... animals are dying during research, and even if it would end up resulting in the death of humans, stopping that research woudl be a "pretty fantastic tradeoff".

Now, she didn't specifically say "AIDS babies can die", but how much clearer do you think she needs to be?

And need I point out the following quote from Ingrid Newkirk, the head of PETA (and, you know, the organization that Desi donates to):

Even if animal experiments did result in a cure for AIDS, of which there is no chance, I’d be against it on moral grounds.
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ingrid_Newkirk
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Nor do I see how extending rights to others entails a loss of rights or care for the original group.
Once again:
- Researchers have stated that medical experiments on animals are necessity for progress into finding cures for diseases. Now, you might argue about the necessity of some experiments (for example, by the cosmetics industry), and hey, I'd agree with you. But that does not mean that all such experiments are unnecessary
- If you slow/stop medical research, then diseases that might be cured in the future will be left without treatments. Result: premature death of humans.

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I don't think insects have the necessary attributes to be granted rights....animal rights should only be granted to those organisms with advanced brains (most fowl, pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, camels, etc.).
[/quote]
Why not? Insects have shown the ability to form memories and respond to stimuli. Bees can recognize humans. Lobsters can remember/identify specific members of their species. The portia spider can problem solve. Cockroaches can form memories. (Ok, not all of those are 'insects, but they don't have what you'd call "advanced brains")

I find it a little ironic... you complain about people like me dividing an "arbitrary" line between humans and other animals (OMG! I'm being speciest!) But you yourself are willing to paint a line that is probably even more arbitrary between "advanced brains" and "non-Advanced brains".
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:17 PM   #270
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Pretty much all creatures have the goal of, well, existing. Being members of a tribe/group/etc, is a way to help guarantee that existence. We (as humans) are just considering the species as an "extended tribe".
And we can't push that boundary any further?

Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Banning animal testing removes the ability to save lives. Granting animals such as mice dogs and pigs the same rights as humans, including a banning on testing without consent (which would equate to a total ban on testing as these animals can't give consent and don't understand what consent even is) means that there would be a huge loss of care for those that need treatments based on animal testing, that is all treatments.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
In an earlier post, I asked her directly whether the policy regarding ending use of animals in experiments that would result in the deaths of thousands of humans were a fair tradeoff in the name of animal rights. I also made it clear that groups like the AMA (you know, people who actually know something about science) have stated that at this time animal research is a necessity in science. [...]
You both raise excellent points. I guess it comes down to whether one ought to do the right thing (assuming animal rights is such) despite negative consequences.

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Why not? Insects have shown the ability to form memories and respond to stimuli. Bees can recognize humans. Lobsters can remember/identify specific members of their species. The portia spider can problem solve. Cockroaches can form memories. (Ok, not all of those are 'insects, but they don't have what you'd call "advanced brains")

I find it a little ironic... you complain about people like me dividing an "arbitrary" line between humans and other animals (OMG! I'm being speciest!) But you yourself are willing to paint a line that is probably even more arbitrary between "advanced brains" and "non-Advanced brains".
I think this depends on how you view rights. I see rights as engendered by a quality of the brain known as sentience, which spans more than just the human species. In this view, giving rights only to humans is entirely arbitrary, but extending them to all organisms with sentience (which I referred to previously as those organisms with advanced brains) is not. Granted, sentience is an abstract concept and we have much work to arrive at a more concrete delineation of it.

My position is that there is enough evidence to suggest that sentience exists objectively and can be discovered through scientific means, but that AR philosophy is new enough that much more research needs to be done.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:38 PM   #271
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I'm on my lunch break and I have a full day of work after this, then going to a vegan social after work, so I'm pretty pressed for time.

First, Segnosaur, thanks for a generally polite tone in your last post. I just want to touch two items:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Originally Posted by Dessi
I've been a longtime fan of Singer. He promotes animal rights by articulating strong arguments against speciesism...
Yeah, so much that he actually supports beastiality. (At least according to Wikipedia.)

Ewwww.

I know we're supposed to deal with the argument itself, not the person making the argument, but... ewww.
If you're strictly interested, read Singer's opinion in his own words:

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Almost a century ago, when Freud had just published his groundbreaking Three Essays on Sexuality, the Viennese writer Otto Soyka published a fiery little volume called Beyond the Boundary of Morals. Never widely known, and now entirely forgotten, it was a polemic directed against the prohibition of "unnatural" sex like bestiality, homosexuality, fetishism and other non-reproductive acts. Soyka saw these prohibitions as futile and misguided attempts to limit the inexhaustible variety of human sexual desire. Only bestiality, he argued, should be illegal, and even then, only in so far as it shows cruelty towards an animal. Soyka's suggestion indicates one good reason why some of the acts described in Dekkers book are clearly wrong, and should remain crimes. Some men use hens as a sexual object, inserting their penis into the cloaca, an all-purpose channel for wastes and for the passage of the egg. This is usually fatal to the hen, and in some cases she will be deliberately decapitated just before ejaculation in order to intensify the convulsions of its sphincter. This is cruelty, clear and simple. (But is it worse for the hen than living for a year or more crowded with four or five other hens in barren wire cage so small that they can never stretch their wings, and then being stuffed into crates to be taken to the slaughterhouse, strung upside down on a conveyor belt and killed? If not, then it is no worse than what egg producers do to their hens all the time.)

But sex with animals does not always involve cruelty. Who has not been at a social occasion disrupted by the household dog gripping the legs of a visitor and vigorously rubbing its penis against them? The host usually discourages such activities, but in private not everyone objects to being used by her or his dog in this way, and occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop. Soyka would presumably have thought this within the range of human sexual variety.

At a conference on great apes a few years ago, I spoke to a woman who had visited Camp Leakey, a rehabilitation center for captured orangutans in Borneo run by Birute Galdikas, sometimes referred to as "the Jane Goodall of orangutans" and the world's foremost authority on these great apes. At Camp Leakey, the orangutans are gradually acclimatised to the jungle, and as they get closer to complete independence, they are able to come and go as they please. While walking through the camp with Galdikas, my informant was suddenly seized by a large male orangutan, his intentions made obvious by his erect penis. Fighting off so powerful an animal was not an option, but Galdikas called to her companion not to be concerned, because the orangutan would not harm her, and adding, as further reassurance, that "they have a very small penis." As it happened, the orangutan lost interest before penetration took place, but the aspect of the story that struck me most forcefully was that in the eyes of someone who has lived much of her life with orangutans, to be seen by one of them as an object of sexual interest is not a cause for shock or horror. The potential violence of the orangutan's come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.
I understand the gut reaction, but the view expressed above is not entirely dissimilar what what opinions I've seen expressed by others on this board: namely that, if there's no cruelty involved, it's not immediately obvious what the objection is.

I've personally never met a zoophile myself, but out of morbid curiosity I've browsed through zoophile/zoofetish messageboards. I summarized some thoughts here:
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Have you ever actually seen a beastiality community? Do a search for one on Google, you'll get a feel people's motives and how they fetishize it.

People will often keep public diaries filled with their fantasies of mostly an absurd sort like dolphin ***********; sometimes they're personal accounts of a very terrifying sort like chicken ***********, where the animals are too small for safe penetration, so the animals thrash and flail violently, and often die from internal damage.

I got the impression that they aren't really into zoosadism per se, but really view animals as a kinky sex toy. In their universe, some people **** pies, other people **** chickens, what's the difference?

So, yes, I think there is a very strong objection to beastiality not only because its non-consentual, but animals are tangibly and severely harmed or killed in the process.
There's a strong objection to zoophilia when there's cruelty involved. But when there isn't? Not quite as straight-forward.

I fully understand the gut reaction to Singer putting that particular taboo under the microscope, and I understand the feeling that Singer's conclusion must be wrong. I would just hope if we're going to dismiss his conclusion, we take the time to address his analysis in the process.

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Oh, forgot to remind people: We're still waiting to hear about whether you'd be willing to host a nest of cockroaches or head lice, to prevent them from being killed.
No, I would not, there's just not an incentive to do so. It's not clear whether they experience their lives from a first person point of view, whether responses to harm are accompanied by agony.

Are you familiar ketamine as a dissociative anesthetic? It has an interesting effect on humans that it doesn't really shut off nociception, but shuts off the emotional response to nociception. Depending on the dose, patient's simultaneously "feel" things happening happening to their bodies, but detached with not emotional response. That might be superficially analogous to the first-person perspective, however minute, of lice. It's just not clear that their intensity of their emotional lives is at urgent as their vertebrate and cephalopod counterparts.

That said, I have a serious question for you: is there actually any disagreement between us on the subject on plant, bacterial, or lice consciousness? Because, never, not one time have I ever seen skeptics argue that lice, euglena, and plants have substantial conscious experiences on par with a horse or even a rodent with a straight face. I distinctly remember around 2002-2003ish, a woman came to the forum, stated a personal belief that plants are conscious, and was laughed off the forum by dozens of skeptics lobbing literally hundreds of insulting remarks at her. I get the feeling when people ask the what about insects! "stumper", the question is facetious. There's no disagreement on facts, more a desire to get under my skin than anything else.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:46 PM   #272
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Let's just say that they're compared to the cane toad problem in Australia.

Yeah, we might actually lose species because of American mink releases.
Wow, it's that bad. I honestly never expected that.

I guess people like Dessi can live in comfort knowing that while an ecosystem is slowly being destroyed by the introduction of such a predator, at least the minks aren't being turned into coats.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:54 PM   #273
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Quote:
Pretty much all creatures have the goal of, well, existing. Being members of a tribe/group/etc, is a way to help guarantee that existence. We (as humans) are just considering the species as an "extended tribe".
And we can't push that boundary any further?
Well, you asked for a rational reason/justification of why we should be "speciest". I gave one. If we "push the boundary further" then you are basically saying is "a mouse=a dog=a human", and as a result members of our species will die because of that equality.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't have empathy for other animals, and work to reduce their suffering if/when we do need to use them. In fact, I think the ability to feel empathy (especially for other species) is one of the things that differentiates us from other animals.

Quote:
You both raise excellent points. I guess it comes down to whether one ought to do the right thing (assuming animal rights is such) despite negative consequences.
One of the objections to PETA is that they seem to have a "double standard". They want to "do the right thing" (stopping AIDS research on animals) yet many of their members aren't willing to face the negative consequences themselves. (e.g. the vice president of PETA using insulin developed from animals, or the president using pain killers that were tested on animals following a broken wrist.)

That's why I keep asking Desi whether she'd be willing to host a colony of cockroaches or head lice. She keeps pointing to how we should "save animals" and that its an acceptable trade off to stop life-saving medical research and techniques if it involves animals. I am seeing just how far her desire to "preserve the helpless animals" goes.

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Re: extending "rights" to insects and other "lower" animals...

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Why not? Insects have shown the ability to form memories and respond to stimuli. Bees can recognize humans. Lobsters can remember/identify specific members of their species. The portia spider can problem solve. Cockroaches can form memories. (Ok, not all of those are 'insects, but they don't have what you'd call "advanced brains")

I find it a little ironic... you complain about people like me dividing an "arbitrary" line between humans and other animals (OMG! I'm being speciest!) But you yourself are willing to paint a line that is probably even more arbitrary between "advanced brains" and "non-Advanced brains".
I think this depends on how you view rights. I see rights as engendered by a quality of the brain known as sentience, which spans more than just the human species. In this view, giving rights only to humans is entirely arbitrary, but extending them to all organisms with sentience (which I referred to previously as those organisms with advanced brains) is not. Granted, sentience is an abstract concept and we have much work to arrive at a more concrete delineation of it.
Regardless of the work you do to establish what "sentiece" is, or how you define it, you will probably always be left with some fuzzy area... some creature that may or may not have the properties you define as sentient.

And even if you do come up with a "good definition", there is no guarantee that it will be universally accepted. If you say "a mouse is not sentient", does that mean everyone will assume "Ok, I'm going to start a torture program for mice"?

Quote:
My position is that there is enough evidence to suggest that sentience exists objectively and can be discovered through scientific means, but that AR philosophy is new enough that much more research needs to be done.
Ironically, since PETA is against all research involving animals, then you'd probably never actually be able to do that research. (At least if they had their way.)
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:11 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Well, you asked for a rational reason/justification of why we should be "speciest". I gave one. If we "push the boundary further" then you are basically saying is "a mouse=a dog=a human", and as a result members of our species will die because of that equality.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't have empathy for other animals, and work to reduce their suffering if/when we do need to use them. In fact, I think the ability to feel empathy (especially for other species) is one of the things that differentiates us from other animals.
Yes, you are talking about the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. I'm a deontologist and, as such, side with the former, at least when it comes to sentient animals.

Quote:
Regardless of the work you do to establish what "sentiece" is, or how you define it, you will probably always be left with some fuzzy area... some creature that may or may not have the properties you define as sentient.

And even if you do come up with a "good definition", there is no guarantee that it will be universally accepted. If you say "a mouse is not sentient", does that mean everyone will assume "Ok, I'm going to start a torture program for mice"?
Yes... but I'm not understanding the point(s) you're making here.

Quote:
One of the objections to PETA is that they seem to have a "double standard". They want to "do the right thing" (stopping AIDS research on animals) yet many of their members aren't willing to face the negative consequences themselves. (e.g. the vice president of PETA using insulin developed from animals, or the president using pain killers that were tested on animals following a broken wrist.)

[...]

Ironically, since PETA is against all research involving animals, then you'd probably never actually be able to do that research. (At least if they had their way.)
Yes, and I neither like nor support PETA. Also, I unfortunately see no other means to discover which creatures are sentient except to experiment on them. It's a necessary evil... at least until sentience in that species is identified.
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:26 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
Wow, it's that bad. I honestly never expected that.

I guess people like Dessi can live in comfort knowing that while an ecosystem is slowly being destroyed by the introduction of such a predator, at least the minks aren't being turned into coats.
It's not QUITE cane toad levels yet because they're spread out too much and don't breed as quickly.

They're still responsible for a huge decline in local species like otters, European mink and voles.
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:19 PM   #276
Segnosaur
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post
First, Segnosaur, thanks for a generally polite tone in your last post.
You thought it was polite? Darn, I was going for offensive.

I guess I have to go back and edit my previous post.

Quote:
Re: "Animal Rights" supporter Singer on beastiality...

If you're strictly interested, read Singer's opinion in his own words:
...But sex with animals does not always involve cruelty....

There's a strong objection to zoophilia when there's cruelty involved. But when there isn't? Not quite as straight-forward.
I never really cared that much about what Singer said. I consider him as more or less just an animal rights activist... no need to hold him in any higher regard than anyone else on this planet.

Here's what I find interesting... of all the things I wrote about, with me highlighting the fact that you are OK with "aids babies dying", of my highlighting the problems with PETA's supposed success that is no success, this is what you find significant to respond to? Why?

Wouldn't it be more useful to respond to my point that, dollar for dollar, you will save more animals by donating to organizations other than PETA? Or to deal with the whole "Desi is OK with AIDS babies dying" statement?

Or, you could have answered one of the other questions I had asked which you have avoided... how many acts of arson, grave robbery, and threatening children do the ALF have to do before you no longer view them as "heroes", but instead as an organization that you see as distasteful?

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Oh, forgot to remind people: We're still waiting to hear about whether you'd be willing to host a nest of cockroaches or head lice, to prevent them from being killed.
No, I would not, there's just not an incentive to do so. It's not clear whether they experience their lives from a first person point of view...
But if its "not clear", should you not err on the side of caution, until you can truly confirm that those cockroaches you are willing to exterminate don't have at least a rudimentary "first person point of view"?

And why exactly are you considering "first person point of view" to be the dividing line between worthy of "full rights" and not worthy of full rights? Aren't you engaging in the same type of "arbitrary division" that you were complaining about when someone says "A human is intellectually different than other species".

I could also point out in the past you've used arguments about "Can insects suffer" (yes they can...) and "Do they have a mental life" (they can respond to stimuli and form memories). So you don't seem to be very consistent in how you're dividing those with lives worthy of protecting and those you are happy to exterminate.

Quote:
That said, I have a serious question for you: is there actually any disagreement between us on the subject on plant, bacterial, or lice consciousness?
I have no idea. Mostly because the term "consciousness" doesn't really have an explanation in this context.

There are a lot of ways to define Conciousness... some definitions might include only humans, others might include just humans and "more intelligent" vertebrates. Some might include all animals (even lowly insects.)
Quote:
Because, never, not one time have I ever seen skeptics argue that lice, euglena, and plants have substantial conscious experiences on par with a horse or even a rodent with a straight face.
And you're right.... I don't think that insects have conscious experiences "on par with a horse or rodent". It will likely be far less. But it doesn't mean that those "conscious experiences" do not exist.

I also don't think that horses and rodents have conscious experiences on par with humans either. We do have superior mental capacities to those animals. But if we are going to say "A mouse has at least some similarities with humans and must be given full rights", then you also have to assume an insect also has at least some similarities with mice, and thus also with humans, and must be protected.

I think its probably an accurate assessment to say that when a skeptic brings up insects, plants and microbes when challenging a PETA member, they're not claiming "They think exactly like us". Its more along the lines of "They have some sort of reaction mechanism and sensory input, often capable of developing memory, even if it doesn't look like our mental capabilities. If you are going to equate mice/cats/etc. with humans then you have to include those other creepy crawlies."
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Last edited by Segnosaur; 29th November 2012 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Edited to fix mismatched tags
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Old 29th November 2012, 05:44 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Quote:
Well, you asked for a rational reason/justification of why we should be "speciest". I gave one. If we "push the boundary further" then you are basically saying is "a mouse=a dog=a human", and as a result members of our species will die because of that equality.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't have empathy for other animals, and work to reduce their suffering if/when we do need to use them.
Yes, you are talking about the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. I'm a deontologist and, as such, side with the former, at least when it comes to sentient animals.
You know, I actually had to look up what "deontologist" was. I thought it had something to do with dentistry. (Hey, I studied science in university, not philosophy).

From a quick look at the dictionary and various definitions, I can't really see any reason why a "deontologist" must automatically side with "animal rights". From what I've seen, it involves mostly how rules that are to be followed to be "good/moral", but there is nothing there that says what creatures must be included when developing the rules.

Quote:
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Regardless of the work you do to establish what "sentiece" is, or how you define it, you will probably always be left with some fuzzy area... some creature that may or may not have the properties you define as sentient.

And even if you do come up with a "good definition", there is no guarantee that it will be universally accepted. If you say "a mouse is not sentient", does that mean everyone will assume "Ok, I'm going to start a torture program for mice"?
Yes... but I'm not understanding the point(s) you're making here.
The point I was making was that:
A: Its impossible to actually define sentience (i.e. there will always be creatures "on the line", regardless of how you define it.)
B: Even if you do manage to define it, it doesn't mean that it is the only guideline that people will follow. (If you come up with some definition for sentience, and find a mouse is not sentient, does it mean its moral to torture it?)
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Old 29th November 2012, 06:31 PM   #278
jj
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
You know, I actually had to look up what "deontologist" was. I thought it had something to do with dentistry. (Hey, I studied science in university, not philosophy).

From a quick look at the dictionary and various definitions, I can't really see any reason why a "deontologist" must automatically side with "animal rights". From what I've seen, it involves mostly how rules that are to be followed to be "good/moral", but there is nothing there that says what creatures must be included when developing the rules.
What you see here is actually an attempt to deconstruct the idea of ethics, and then slip in hypotheses that aren't validated, and then via ontology, converting them into the intended conclusion. Of course, that pretty much covers all of deontology in any PRACTICAL sense, I think.

It all depends who makes the rules, and PETA supporters very clearly make up their own rules, outside of reality and logic.

As a personal choice, I'm willing to allow somebody else to be vegan, or vegetarian, or whatever, and to not have pets, and to buy animal-testing-free products.

But when their personal belief system intrudes on mine, there is a problem. Beyond some very basic universals, all of which are not based on deontology, but rather on long-term individual welfare, sorry, one does not get to do that.

(I refer to the fact that it is in one's own long-term self-interest to support things like value of life, avoiding creating suffering, supporting those who can't cope themselves, etc, as an obvious philosophical basis for "rules", but as always, one must understand the REASON behind the rules, not just the rules, because there will always be corner cases in any rule set. Goedel basically requires it when one gets down to logical discussion.)
Quote:

The point I was making was that:
A: Its impossible to actually define sentience (i.e. there will always be creatures "on the line", regardless of how you define it.)
B: Even if you do manage to define it, it doesn't mean that it is the only guideline that people will follow. (If you come up with some definition for sentience, and find a mouse is not sentient, does it mean its moral to torture it?)
I suspect it's obvious that I agree with both of those points. I said as much about sentience myself, only to see that the "opposition" decided to hide in personal insults that, for instance, dishonestly insinuated I was a racist.

On your side I see consideration and logic. On the other side, what I've seen is unethical emotional manipulation coupled with deontological scatology.

'nuff said?
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Old 29th November 2012, 06:34 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
YouI think its probably an accurate assessment to say that when a skeptic brings up insects, plants and microbes when challenging a PETA member, they're not claiming "They think exactly like us". Its more along the lines of "They have some sort of reaction mechanism and sensory input, often capable of developing memory, even if it doesn't look like our mental capabilities. If you are going to equate mice/cats/etc. with humans then you have to include those other creepy crawlies."
Octopii in particular utterly demolish the idea of "vertibrates" as a good limit as non-vertibrates that clearly have some sense of self-existance, as do tunicates, and some other very simple critters with a notochord, which do not seem to show much cognition, even reactivity is still mostly moderated at the cell level.
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Old 29th November 2012, 06:53 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
You know, I actually had to look up what "deontologist" was. I thought it had something to do with dentistry. (Hey, I studied science in university, not philosophy).

From a quick look at the dictionary and various definitions, I can't really see any reason why a "deontologist" must automatically side with "animal rights". From what I've seen, it involves mostly how rules that are to be followed to be "good/moral", but there is nothing there that says what creatures must be included when developing the rules.
Correct, animal rights is not inherently part of deontological ethics; however, if one identifies sentience as the quality that creates these rules (or at least some of them), then he or she would have to support AR for consistency.

Quote:
The point I was making was that:
A: Its impossible to actually define sentience (i.e. there will always be creatures "on the line", regardless of how you define it.)
B: Even if you do manage to define it, it doesn't mean that it is the only guideline that people will follow. (If you come up with some definition for sentience, and find a mouse is not sentient, does it mean its moral to torture it?)
I guess I don't see how any of that is a problem. As long as we have some idea of what sentience is, we can reasonably act on that knowledge. Also, I didn't mean to give the impression that Ethics is only concerned with rights; that was merely the most relevant to this particular discussion.
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