Try Veganism

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Re: Try Veganism

Postby YAFF » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:12 am

Elessar wrote:We seem to differ in that you think all sentient beings should be treated equally (correct me if I’m wrong), whereas I think the capacity to reason elevates humans above other animals.


Elevates humans "above" in what sense? Not all humans are capable of reason and we've already discussed that. Because humans are smarter than all other animals that entitles them to what exactly? And so the humans that are not smarter than all other animals shouldn't be elevated above other animals? Humans are smarter. Other animals are stronger, faster, etc.. What does reasoning ability entitle us to? I think greater responsibility.

I'm not saying all sentient beings should be treated equally in ever sense. I don't think we should grant animals the right to vote. But, seriously, what I'm saying is that humans and other animals are similar in all the traits that matter and you could could say BECAUSE we have the ability to reason it is imperative that we treat other animals equally when it comes to life and liberty. Do not unnecessarily harm them. Only in self defense and to prevent starvation.

Elessar wrote:That’s probably just a difference of opinion that we’re unlikely to find common ground on. My belief is that animals may well feel basic emotions and may have what we perceive as personalities (projecting human values onto animals), but they live almost exclusively in the present with no ability to mentally time-travel (this is backed by evidence), and therefore an animal won’t feel at all short-changed by not living to old age.


Unless you believe in consciousness after death humans will also not at all feel short changed by not living longer. When you're dead you're dead. With you being an atheist I assume that's what you believe. All animals want to live and do not want to die. Well, actually, some humans DO want to die so animals collectively value life more?

Elessar wrote: I saw your comment about differences in animal lifespan in captivity vs the wild but remember there’s a difference between lifespan and life expectancy. Human life span has been around 120 for hundreds of years, but life expectancy has gradually increased. Very very few wild animals die of ‘old age’.


Statistics to back that up? That "very very few....die of 'old age'". And how much of that is the result of human impact on the environment? I see no reason why we shouldn't allow nature to take it's course with animals. We should let them live their lives. We don't need them to live ours.

Elessar wrote:I also don’t believe animals have much of a concept of death. Yes, there are videos of chimps carrying their dead young for weeks, or of elephants standing near elephant skeletons, but again we assign human explanations and to these animal behaviours. Evidence suggests that elephants will be curious of any ivory material, regardless of whether or not it looks like an elephant tusk, and one possible explanation is that the presence of elephant material indicates a good place to be. To say it indicates ‘mourning’ is a huge leap, and one not backed up by neuroscience.


Mmmm. Some animals do appear to mourn. Some clearly recognize death in a "loved one" and we really don't know enough about animal behaviors to dismiss strong anecdotal evidence out of hand. Some animals do get a sense they are dying. None of this really matters much to the ethical question if you ask me. Humans have a greater capacity to experience life but perhaps that ability makes us enjoy life far less than if we lived like Epicureans.

Elessar wrote:But as I say, I think the point at which we differ is earlier than our ultimate conclusions. If I didn’t believe that humans’ ability to reason was superior to the sentience of a cow or a rabbit or a gnat, I probably would agree that there’s never any justification whatsoever for consuming animal products. What this means is that our difference of opinion is on the science rather than the ethics.


You haven't made a convincing (to me) or a logically consistent argument for why our greater sentience gives us the right to "animal products", ethically. Would you eat a human without the ability to reason...if it tasted good?

In fact I'd say our ability to reason and have greater empathy obligates us to greater ethics. It's shameful and despicable- and inexcusable- the way we treat other animals. We know better and based on your deification of the ability to reason we should behave better.
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:32 am

YAFF wrote:
Elessar wrote:We seem to differ in that you think all sentient beings should be treated equally (correct me if I’m wrong), whereas I think the capacity to reason elevates humans above other animals.


Elevates humans "above" in what sense? Not all humans are capable of reason and we've already discussed that. Because humans are smarter than all other animals that entitles them to what exactly? And so the humans that are not smarter than all other animals shouldn't be elevated above other animals? Humans are smarter. Other animals are stronger, faster, etc.. What does reasoning ability entitle us to? I think greater responsibility.


It doesn't 'entitle' humans to anything, because 'entitlement' is again very much a human invention. However it enables humans to do all the things we're talking about: Farming, controlling their own diet based on whims or ethics rather than necessity, looking after members of the species unable to look after themselves, etc. Saying that humans are entitled to eat animals is pointless; animals are also entitled to eat humans, but the playing field is not a level one so it's rare that it happens.

I do however thing that humans' ability to reason makes our lives more valuable. Unless you believe that life force is a magical gift from the gods, then there's no particular reason why it should be preserved. We eat other living things, eg plants, without any opposition from any mainstream groups. The reason why you say animals should be treated differently to plants is because they're sentient. I agree that their sentience gives them the ability to feel pain and fear, but if they can e eliminated from the process, what's the problem?

As for humans that lack the ability to reason: Yes, a logical conclusion from what I've said might be that it's acceptable to eat mentally disabled humans. I don't dispute that. However, nobody is suggesting that, and very few people would want to do that.


YAFF wrote:I'm not saying all sentient beings should be treated equally in ever sense. I don't think we should grant animals the right to vote. But, seriously, what I'm saying is that humans and other animals are similar in all the traits that matter and you could could say BECAUSE we have the ability to reason it is imperative that we treat other animals equally when it comes to life and liberty. Do not unnecessarily harm them. Only in self defense and to prevent starvation.


Well, 'liberty' is a human concept as well. If you disagree, the ramifications for the millions of seemingly happy pet dogs are very disturbing indeed. I'd argue that we shouldn't cause animals unnecessary pain or suffering. Pain and suffering are an insult to their sentience. 'Harm' in the form of ending their life is no more profound than ending the life of a plant, because they haven concept of their own life. If they can be killed without either of those things, I don't see a problem.


YAFF wrote:
Elessar wrote:That’s probably just a difference of opinion that we’re unlikely to find common ground on. My belief is that animals may well feel basic emotions and may have what we perceive as personalities (projecting human values onto animals), but they live almost exclusively in the present with no ability to mentally time-travel (this is backed by evidence), and therefore an animal won’t feel at all short-changed by not living to old age.


Unless you believe in consciousness after death humans will also not at all feel short changed by not living longer. When you're dead you're dead. With you being an atheist I assume that's what you believe. All animals want to live and do not want to die. Well, actually, some humans DO want to die so animals collectively value life more?


Again, I disagree that animals "want to live". They want to avoid harm. I don't believe they have a concept of being alive. We can disagree on that, and that's a different discussion altogether. And while we disagree on that, we're working on completely different baselines of assumptions, which I accept are contentious.

I made the point about humans feeling short-changed by dying not as a reason front killing humans, but rather to demonstrate that humans have an understanding of life and the finite nature of it. We have a pretty clear idea that ideally we should live around three score year and ten (or probably a bit longer nowadays). Animals don't have that, in my opinion, so curtailing an animal's life prematurely isn't particularly robbing them of anything, unless you believe in a mystical life force etc. Furthermore, although when we're dead we're dead, we have friends and relatives who will mourn our loss.


YAFF wrote:
Elessar wrote: I saw your comment about differences in animal lifespan in captivity vs the wild but remember there’s a difference between lifespan and life expectancy. Human life span has been around 120 for hundreds of years, but life expectancy has gradually increased. Very very few wild animals die of ‘old age’.


Statistics to back that up? That "very very few....die of 'old age'". And how much of that is the result of human impact on the environment? I see no reason why we shouldn't allow nature to take it's course with animals. We should let them live their lives. We don't need them to live ours.


That's literally natural selection in action. The endpoint of natural selection is successful reproduction. Everything after that is largely pointless from an evolutionary point of view. As soon as an animal starts to slow down or becomes weaker, the fine balance that allowed it to make it this far and to reproduce tips against it. Man impact may be responsible for many deaths in the wild, but even without us, very few would make it to old age.

It's actually surprisingly difficult to find evidence that animals in the wild don't die of old age. It seems to be something so obvious that it is accepted as fact. I found this essay that covers some of the evidence, but it's still surprisingly sparse.

http://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2 ... -the-wild/

Again it's something that I accept is probably true, but it's fair enough if you disagree.

YAFF wrote:
Elessar wrote:I also don’t believe animals have much of a concept of death. Yes, there are videos of chimps carrying their dead young for weeks, or of elephants standing near elephant skeletons, but again we assign human explanations and to these animal behaviours. Evidence suggests that elephants will be curious of any ivory material, regardless of whether or not it looks like an elephant tusk, and one possible explanation is that the presence of elephant material indicates a good place to be. To say it indicates ‘mourning’ is a huge leap, and one not backed up by neuroscience.


Mmmm. Some animals do appear to mourn. Some clearly recognize death in a "loved one" and we really don't know enough about animal behaviors to dismiss strong anecdotal evidence out of hand. Some animals do get a sense they are dying. None of this really matters much to the ethical question if you ask me. Humans have a greater capacity to experience life but perhaps that ability makes us enjoy life far less than if we lived like Epicureans.


I think I covered my stance here in an earlier paragraph. I'm not convinced by the suggestions that animals mourn (and there's data to refute it: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1617198/ ). My stance is that if animals aren't made to suffer, there's no ethical problem.

Incidentally I think that many Epicureans would probably advocate vegetarianism, but that's another discussion altogether.

YAFF wrote:
Elessar wrote:But as I say, I think the point at which we differ is earlier than our ultimate conclusions. If I didn’t believe that humans’ ability to reason was superior to the sentience of a cow or a rabbit or a gnat, I probably would agree that there’s never any justification whatsoever for consuming animal products. What this means is that our difference of opinion is on the science rather than the ethics.


You haven't made a convincing (to me) or a logically consistent argument for why our greater sentience gives us the right to "animal products", ethically. Would you eat a human without the ability to reason...if it tasted good?


I don't think there are any major inconsistencies in what I've said, although there are some points you might disagree on, namely:
- That humans have a unique ability to reason
- That liberty is a human concept
- That there is nothing mystical or sacred about 'life'
- That animals don't have a concept of their own life or mortality
- That animals in the wild don't die of old age

You can disagree with any or all of those points and if any of them are wrong, my argument may well fall apart. But that doesn't make it inconsistent; just dependent on some contentious opinions.

And again, 'rights' are made up by humans, unless you believe in the Genesis story that God gave us dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. We don't need the 'right' to animal products.

YAFF wrote:In fact I'd say our ability to reason and have greater empathy obligates us to greater ethics. It's shameful and despicable- and inexcusable- the way we treat other animals. We know better and based on your deification of the ability to reason we should behave better.


I agree with that, but on the basis of intensive farming and the cruelty that it exposes animals to, rather than the ultimate endpoint of them being killed and eaten.
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:57 am

So on the balance, I think it’s probably ethically acceptable to eat meat if it’s farmed in an ethical way, but I accept there’s a lot of debate to be had. But add to that the environmental and health considerations, and I’m left with the conclusion that it’s probably best to avoid meat or to heavily limit the intake of it. Doing something that’s subject to such lively debate probably isn’t good for the human condition anyway, given that it’s not necessary. However, there’s enough of a grey area that I don’t like to see meat-eaters being attacked for it, especially when it’s by people who themselves have spent several decades eating meat, hence my continued defence of something I don’t do any more!
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Sole Survivor » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:15 am

YAFF wrote:....

In fact I'd say our ability to reason and have greater empathy obligates us to greater ethics. It's shameful and despicable- and inexcusable- the way we treat other animals. We know better and based on your deification of the ability to reason we should behave better.


I couldn't have put that any better if I tried. We have the unique ability among the animal kingdom, to be able to see things from another being's perspective- I'd say that because of this, we have a moral duty to be responsible for our actions with our fellow beings, rather than look upon our unique ability as something to put us above them for the sake of exploiting them.
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:31 am

Sole Survivor wrote:
YAFF wrote:....

In fact I'd say our ability to reason and have greater empathy obligates us to greater ethics. It's shameful and despicable- and inexcusable- the way we treat other animals. We know better and based on your deification of the ability to reason we should behave better.


I couldn't have put that any better if I tried. We have the unique ability among the animal kingdom, to be able to see things from another being's perspective- I'd say that because of this, we have a moral duty to be responsible for our actions with our fellow beings, rather than look upon our unique ability as something to put us above them for the sake of exploiting them.


Again, I’d argue that acting morally means not inflicting suffering on them, which doesn’t automatically excluding killing them for meat if it can be done in a way that eliminates suffering.

In any case, this is clearly a difficult ethical issue: If it wasn’t, you’d have both been vegetarians from the age of about 14. Even if we accept that you have the moral high ground (which I think is open to debate as I’ve said), I don’t think it’s fair to hold others to a higher moral standard than that to which you hold yourself, and to vilify them for doing something that you spent most of your lives thinking was fine.

You might be tempted to compare this to something like the slave trade, which we all now agree was awful. I’d be hesitant to say that someone working in the slave trade 200 years ago was necessarily a bad person, or morally inferior to me. It’s very easy to look down on the behaviours of people in the past but without living their lives it’s very difficult to know if we’d have acted any differently if we were in that situation.
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby YAFF » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:45 am

Elessar wrote:
It doesn't 'entitle' humans to anything, because 'entitlement' is again very much a human invention. However it enables humans to do all the things we're talking about: Farming, controlling their own diet based on whims or ethics rather than necessity, looking after members of the species unable to look after themselves, etc. Saying that humans are entitled to eat animals is pointless; animals are also entitled to eat humans, but the playing field is not a level one so it's rare that it happens.


Well since I'm conversing with a human I'm going to use some human inventions. That's not to say all human inventions are good. The gestation crate is not. Again, the "gift" of reason should obligate us to making better choices rather than just doing whatever feels good. Our ability to reason should (ethically) cause us to avoid creating and sustaining environmentally disastrous institutions like factory farming. Other animals are better conservationists than us. I agree it's pointless to say humans are entitled...simply because we have the ability to reason. The fact we have the ability to reason and are still eating other animals (while destroying our planet) is not very reasonable. This "debate" is mainly about ethics. Our superior intelligence obligates us to be more ethical but as a whole we are mostly vile.

Elessar wrote:I do however thing that humans' ability to reason makes our lives more valuable. Unless you believe that life force is a magical gift from the gods, then there's no particular reason why it should be preserved. We eat other living things, eg plants, without any opposition from any mainstream groups. The reason why you say animals should be treated differently to plants is because they're sentient. I agree that their sentience gives them the ability to feel pain and fear, but if they can e eliminated from the process, what's the problem?


"Valuable?" to whom? Ourselves? Isn't that convenient? It's rather circular. Reasoning makes us more valuable because we are able to reason that reasoning is more valuable and we choose to place more value on reason. Well, I do believe in "God" (currently, deist) but that's not why I think other animals' lives are just as valuable. I reject religion, which is a man made invention. I value sentience more than reasoning. I value reasoning because it has enabled me to value sentience.

Elessar wrote:As for humans that lack the ability to reason: Yes, a logical conclusion from what I've said might be that it's acceptable to eat mentally disabled humans. I don't dispute that. However, nobody is suggesting that, and very few people would want to do that.


I am. If reasoning skills are the it in the "name the trait" game than there's no good reason to keep these unreasoning human animals alive sucking up resources. That's the logical conclusion. It could happen. It has before.

Elessar wrote:Well, 'liberty' is a human concept as well. If you disagree, the ramifications for the millions of seemingly happy pet dogs are very disturbing indeed. I'd argue that we shouldn't cause animals unnecessary pain or suffering. Pain and suffering are an insult to their sentience. 'Harm' in the form of ending their life is no more profound than ending the life of a plant, because they haven concept of their own life. If they can be killed without either of those things, I don't see a problem.


Having a concept of life is ultimately meaningless, dear atheist, for we are all just animals. It's all subjective. Your ability to reason means something to you but with your death dies your meaning. We value life because we value sentience. Humans can be killed without pain. It's going to happen anyway. So why not? Humans have a long history of valuing our own lives over even different races of our own species. If we feel our lives shouldn't be taken against our will neither should those lives of other animals since we don't need to. Our ability to reason just makes us more responsible than the hungry lion. With greater intelligence comes greater responsibility. Since you value reasoning so highly then we should behave like higher animals. some of us do.

Elessar wrote:Again, I disagree that animals "want to live". They want to avoid harm. I don't believe they have a concept of being alive. We can disagree on that, and that's a different discussion altogether. And while we disagree on that, we're working on completely different baselines of assumptions, which I accept are contentious.


Yeah we're not going to solve that one right here right now. Suffice it to say I disagree. We do not currently have the ability to experience another being's mind.

Elessar wrote:curtailing an animal's life prematurely isn't particularly robbing them of anything, unless you believe in a mystical life force etc. Furthermore, although when we're dead we're dead, we have friends and relatives who will mourn our loss.


You are robbing that animal of it's life. The life it possesses. It's only possession. You are taking it away without permission. That's theft. You only get one life and all lives are equal in the end. "From dust you were taken to dust you shall return".

Your life is only more valuable to you or members of your own species. That's where you place your value and if you're fine with that I guess I'm not going to change your mind.

Elessar wrote:That's literally natural selection in action. The endpoint of natural selection is successful reproduction. Everything after that is largely pointless from an evolutionary point of view. As soon as an animal starts to slow down or becomes weaker, the fine balance that allowed it to make it this far and to reproduce tips against it. Man impact may be responsible for many deaths in the wild, but even without us, very few would make it to old age.


So let's other animals naturally select. We don't need them. Although they can bring much joy to our lives and ours to theirs if we are loving.

As far as your argument. If you recognize that the ability to reason isn't something every human possesses and if that is our standard then the mere fact of being human doesn't give us greater value then you're consistent. If Reasoning ability alone should ethically give us greater right to life this creates some troubling realities. That it is morally acceptable to kill and eat a human that can't reason. Interestingly, if sentience gives us the right to life then all sentient beings are equal so therefore our ability to reason and recognize this obligates us to be ethical. You artificially inject the importance of reasoning ability into the equation to make the consumption of animals more palatable. The religious person values the belief of humanity being made in the image of God. You value reasoning ability. Neither convinces me. Ironically, it's the "golden rule" that I live by when it comes to other animals.

I have either been blessed with or cursed with the ability to reason. I consider suffering and death as bad things. I therefore believe causing unnecessary suffering and death is immoral. Consuming animal products causes suffering and death. It is unnecessary to consume animal products. Therefore to do so is immoral. That's my reasoning.
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:56 am

It’s a bit disingenuous that when you quote my posts you remove all references to me not eating meat either, and say things like “we should behave like higher animals, some of us do”, as if you’ve chosen a better path than me. I actually stopped eating meat at an earlier age than you I believe, so the net damage I’ve caused animals is potentially less than yours, if we’re going to try to establish who has the moral high ground.

Otherwise, I think that as we’ve both said, we have different opinions about the various issues along the way and it’s unlikely either of us will convince the other. One point I will object to is the idea that if you eat meat you must be prepared to eat mentally disabled humans as well (I could say “You only eat non-sentient organic matter? You should be prepared to eat faeces then!”). I agree that if the ability to reason is the only factor at play then yes, the two are equivalent. However there are clearly other issues at play as well. For a start, we don’t kill humans. Now we can talk about euthanasia and eugenics and genetic screening and abortion and I’m actually not strictly against any of these things, but there are clearly enormous dangers associated with them as history has shown us. There’s a big difference between the intellectual ethics of something and putting it into real life practice, and whilst eating the meat of mentally disabled humans is an emotive concept that at first glance exposes a flaw in my logic, the reality is that there really is no meaningful equivalence applicable to real life. I can just leave it at “Yes, okay, it’s sometimes ethically okay to eat a baby, but I’m not going to.”.

I believe it’s important to understand why you’re doing something, otherwise you’re just blindly following a set of rules. You’ve got a nice, internally consistent set of reasons for not eating meat, and that’s great. I couldn’t use that same set of reasons because I disagree with the basis of a lot of them. And for that reason, when vegetarians or vegans attack meat-eaters for doing so, I’ll often defend them. But equally I’ll explain to a meat-eater my own reasons for not eating meat and I’ve had some interesting discussions as a result of that.

Personally my reasons are a triple lock of environment, health and ethics. To me, the ethical argument is the weakest one, but it’s also the most emotive one so it’s the one that will stop me from drunkenly walking into McDonald’s at 1am.
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:36 am

YAFF, I have a question: Are you in favour of euthanasia of sick animals?

I ask because it’s not a particularly contentious issue; people are pretty much unanimous that it’s appropriate to put a suffering animal out of its misery. However euthanasia of humans is significantly more contentious and is illegal in almost every country. I wonder why that is, and what your view on that might be?
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby YAFF » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:10 pm

Elessar wrote:It’s a bit disingenuous that when you quote my posts you remove all references to me not eating meat either, and say things like “we should behave like higher animals, some of us do”, as if you’ve chosen a better path than me. I actually stopped eating meat at an earlier age than you I believe, so the net damage I’ve caused animals is potentially less than yours, if we’re going to try to establish who has the moral high ground.


Wasn't my intention. Apologies. It's not about you or I. Granted the "some of us do" seems to imply that. D'oh! I should have scrutinized my post better. I commend you for your personal approach to meat eating! Besides I'm not interested in determining on who has the moral high ground. I just care about animals. Just being kind to nonhuman animals doesn't make me more moral as a person. That said, since it's out in the open, I do think veganism is the high moral ground. But if I cheat on my wife, steal, etc...To be frank, I'm just not relevant in my mind when I discuss this.

Elessar wrote:Otherwise, I think that as we’ve both said, we have different opinions about the various issues along the way and it’s unlikely either of us will convince the other. One point I will object to is the idea that if you eat meat you must be prepared to eat mentally disabled humans as well (I could say “You only eat non-sentient organic matter? You should be prepared to eat faeces then!”). I agree that if the ability to reason is the only factor at play then yes, the two are equivalent. However there are clearly other issues at play as well. For a start, we don’t kill humans.


Some of us kill humans. How do you feel about the death penalty? Let's pretend there was no manmade laws against killing humans for sport. Why shouldn't we kill humans? I didn't say you should be "prepared" to eat unreasoning humans. I just said you shouldn't find fault with it but, yeah, you should be prepared to allow others to do so. You can't find fault with someone eating feces either. I have no problem with logical conclusions.

Elessar wrote:Now we can talk about euthanasia and eugenics and genetic screening and abortion and I’m actually not strictly against any of these things, but there are clearly enormous dangers associated with them as history has shown us. There’s a big difference between the intellectual ethics of something and putting it into real life practice, and whilst eating the meat of mentally disabled humans is an emotive concept that at first glance exposes a flaw in my logic, the reality is that there really is no meaningful equivalence applicable to real life. I can just leave it at “Yes, okay, it’s sometimes ethically okay to eat a baby, but I’m not going to.”.


"Real life"? Not always and everywhere. Things can change. Human cannibals exist. They are just choosing to eat human like you and I can choose to eat chicken. We really can't condemn them if we eat "meat". We just selfishly say you can't eat humans because we ourselves don't wan to be eaten.

Elessar wrote:I believe it’s important to understand why you’re doing something, otherwise you’re just blindly following a set of rules. You’ve got a nice, internally consistent set of reasons for not eating meat, and that’s great. I couldn’t use that same set of reasons because I disagree with the basis of a lot of them. And for that reason, when vegetarians or vegans attack meat-eaters for doing so, I’ll often defend them. But equally I’ll explain to a meat-eater my own reasons for not eating meat and I’ve had some interesting discussions as a result of that.

Personally my reasons are a triple lock of environment, health and ethics. To me, the ethical argument is the weakest one, but it’s also the most emotive one so it’s the one that will stop me from drunkenly walking into McDonald’s at 1am.


Well to be honest my reasons are emotive at the core too. I'm just forced to use my "internally consistent set of reasons" because I'm always challenged to do so. Honestly, I begrudgingly defend my reasons. That's not a negative thing. It's essential. Just a lot of work lol. For me the ethical issue is tops and from my experience those who are ethical vegans tend to remain vegan longer. Why? Because like you said it's emotive one. So for the record. I have great respect for you or anyone that believes it's "important to understand why you're doing something, otherwise you’re just blindly following a set of rules". You may have noticed over the years my once ubiquitous truculent tone towards you has waned. Partly because I've matured (except when I slide back and attack action...he's just such a little antagonistic shit sometimes) but moreso I understand you better and respect you more.
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby YAFF » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:19 pm

Elessar wrote:YAFF, I have a question: Are you in favour of euthanasia of sick animals?

I ask because it’s not a particularly contentious issue; people are pretty much unanimous that it’s appropriate to put a suffering animal out of its misery. However euthanasia of humans is significantly more contentious and is illegal in almost every country. I wonder why that is, and what your view on that might be?


I'm 100% in favour of euthanizing sick animals AND humans. If the situation is hopeless and they are in constant pain. Assisted-suicide should absolutely be legal and I'm confident it will be someday (if religious adherence continues to decline). Although I'm against abortion in principle (when the fetus has developed sentience) I would even be in favor of aborting a fetus that would be born with a horrible, miserable, incurable sickness. Perfection just isn't possible outside of math. As far as abortion, other than for the life of the mother, I can't logically be in favour of it. That said, in the case of rape and incest, I can't bring myself to vote to ban abortion. I'd be a hypocrite though if I ignored the sentience of a fetus. Abortion is an Achilles' heel of the vegan movement.
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:23 pm

YAFF wrote:
Elessar wrote:YAFF, I have a question: Are you in favour of euthanasia of sick animals?

I ask because it’s not a particularly contentious issue; people are pretty much unanimous that it’s appropriate to put a suffering animal out of its misery. However euthanasia of humans is significantly more contentious and is illegal in almost every country. I wonder why that is, and what your view on that might be?


I'm 100% in favour of euthanizing sick animals AND humans. If the situation is hopeless and they are in constant pain. Assisted-suicide should absolutely be legal and I'm confident it will be someday (if religious adherence continues to decline). Although I'm against abortion in principle (when the fetus has developed sentience) I would even be in favor of aborting a fetus that would be born with a horrible, miserable, incurable sickness. Perfection just isn't possible outside of math. As far as abortion, other than for the life of the mother, I can't logically be in favour of it. That said, in the case of rape and incest, I can't bring myself to vote to ban abortion. I'd be a hypocrite though if I ignored the sentience of a fetus. Abortion is an Achilles' heel of the vegan movement.


So this question also addresses the questions you asked in the previous post about killing/eating humans.

I agree with you that euthanasia should probably be allowed in humans, although I accept that the potential pitfalls mean that it would be very difficult to safely allow it. What’s interesting is that many people are in favour of euthanising animals but not humans. Most vets advocate animal euthanasia but the majority of doctors are actually against human euthanasia. I wonder why this is? I suggest that it’s because we do intrinsically feel that a human life is different to an animal life. A suffering animal is simply suffering. A suffering human might put his suffering to one side in order to see his daughter get married. You’ve made the distinction of assisted suicide, and the important difference there is that in assisted suicide, the patient can consent to their life being ended, which of course an animal can never do.

What I’m saying is that we do have an understanding, perhaps even an innate or at least an intuitive one, that human lives are qualitatively different to animal lives, and part of that is that humans, unlike animals, are aware of their own mortality, and even in the case of humans without that awareness (including very young children), their family and loved ones are.

Of course another reason not to eat human meat is that you’ll get prion disease and die. Pragmatic considerations sometimes render the ethical considerations as nothing more than intellectual moot points.
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby YAFF » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:01 pm

Elessar wrote:I suggest that it’s because we do intrinsically feel that a human life is different to an animal life. A suffering animal is simply suffering. A suffering human might put his suffering to one side in order to see his daughter get married. You’ve made the distinction of assisted suicide, and the important difference there is that in assisted suicide, the patient can consent to their life being ended, which of course an animal can never do.


That intrinsic feel that human life is different than other sentient life is nothing but self preservation and ego if you ask me. The only way I could view human life as intrinsically more valuable is if there's an interventionist God that either stated such. I don't currently have much confidence in that belief. In fact I have a lower opinion of human life because unlike most animals we have exhibited a lust for cruelty and commit heinous crimes out of pure malice. Sure, dolphins can be jerks too. https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-a ... ant-jerks/

Animals do exhibit a great ability to endure suffering as well and don't commit suicide to escape it. Then again our superior intelligence puts more responsibility on us. The choice to euthanize an animal is a dicey one for sure. All I can say is it would be the absolute last resort. The animal likely doesn't know it's condition is hopeless.

Elessar wrote:What I’m saying is that we do have an understanding, perhaps even an innate or at least an intuitive one, that human lives are qualitatively different to animal lives, and part of that is that humans, unlike animals, are aware of their own mortality, and even in the case of humans without that awareness (including very young children), their family and loved ones are.


rather than an "understanding" we have a subjective opinion and an innate sense of self-preservation. I still posit humans and animals are similar in all the traits that really manner. While having greater intelligence helps ups in an evolutionary sense the "value" you or I place on humans is grounded is futility at best.

Elessar wrote:Of course another reason not to eat human meat is that you’ll get prion disease and die. Pragmatic considerations sometimes render the ethical considerations as nothing more than intellectual moot points.


Sure, disease is a possibility of eating human flesh but there's also a myriad of risks in eating nonhuman flesh. I reckon if we started eating other humans in time we'd build an immunity to it's dangers. Or perhaps we could breed these meat humans a certain way to lesson those dangers. At the end of the day. I won't eat any animals unless it was necessary. Now, you may ask. If I was given a choice between saving the life of a human or a nonhuman animal. I'd have to ask. Which human? Which nonhuman? Maybe if all things were equal I'd save the human. That's that self-serving "feel" you speak of. It's not my judgment the human is more valuable. It's just my preference that if I were the human in that equation another human would pick me. Now if the nonhuman was a family member and the human a stranger, well, it would be an easy decision.
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:33 pm

I’m not even saying humans are more intelligent, although we are. I’m saying we have a completely separate, qualitatively different ability - the ability to reason, and to mentally time travel to the past and future, and thus to appreciate life as having a beginning and an end. We live in four dimensions, whereas animals live in three. That’s not really an indictment of superior or inferior intelligence, although it is linked. Some animals have significantly better hearing or vision or smell than we do. We however have a sense of time that they simply do not have. And that, in my opinion, makes the issue of our death really quite different to theirs. For that reason I see suffering as the only problem with eating meat, as opposed to denying these animals ongoing life, and suffering is something that can be eliminated through ethical farming methods.
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby Elessar » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:45 pm

YAFF wrote:Well to be honest my reasons are emotive at the core too. I'm just forced to use my "internally consistent set of reasons" because I'm always challenged to do so. Honestly, I begrudgingly defend my reasons. That's not a negative thing. It's essential. Just a lot of work lol. For me the ethical issue is tops and from my experience those who are ethical vegans tend to remain vegan longer. Why? Because like you said it's emotive one. So for the record. I have great respect for you or anyone that believes it's "important to understand why you're doing something, otherwise you’re just blindly following a set of rules". You may have noticed over the years my once ubiquitous truculent tone towards you has waned. Partly because I've matured (except when I slide back and attack action...he's just such a little antagonistic shit sometimes) but moreso I understand you better and respect you more.


That’s a very honest response. And there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to eat meat simply because you can’t stomach the idea of killing and eating other animals. I’ve heard of children who have refused to eat meat after they’ve found out it comes from cows and sheep.

I guess what annoys me a bit Ian when people (and I don’t mean you specifically) backwards engineer their reasons to make others feel bad, when in fact what they’re really doing is making themselves feel better. Someone might stop eating meat for very legitimate health reasons (and there are many good health reasons to do so), but then somehow decided that not only will she become vegetarian for health reasons, but she will also preach to meat-eaters that they are wicked, unethical people for harming animals - she’s done something for health reasons but has somehow also become Dr Doolittle. Is that because she envies her peers for continuing to do what she’s spent all her life enjoying and now can’t? Whatever the reason, it feels insincere, cynical, manipulative and patronising.

My other problem is that if the absolutism of it all. At the moment I don’t eat beef/lamb/chicken/pork, but I do eat dairy products and fish. I don’t have a particularly good rationale for this, and actually my research suggests that I should probably stop eating prawns, and could maybe start eating chicken, and the net harm I cause would decrease as a result. I’m also very happy to eat kangaroo on the rare occasion that I find myself in Australia, because it is healthy, wild (therefore environmentally friendly) and is killed for non-meat purposes, so if I don’t eat it, it’ll go to dog food instead. Having moral absolutes makes day to day life easier, but also strikes me as vulnerable to justifiable criticism. Would you, for example, eat completely free range eggs? I don’t mean eggs in a supermarket with a drawing of a happy looking chicken on the box. When I was growing up, my mum kept chickens as pets. They’d roam over a fairly large area of land, she’d feed them, and at night she’d lock them in a stable with food, to protect them from the fox. They saw this stable as their shelter and wouldn’t even need to be ushered into it; at dusk they’d all start to make their way in. They’d also leave eggs in entirely unpredictable places; different every day. On the rare occasion that one became broody we’d let her sit on the egg, perhaps having moved it to a secure location away from any predators, but most of the time they had no interest in their eggs and would leave them unattended. Would you eat those eggs? I can see literally no reason not to. But a strict vegan wouldn’t, and I can’t formulate a rational reason why not. They also tasted bloody marvellous - so much nicer than supermarket eggs.
 
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Re: Try Veganism

Postby YAFF » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:37 pm

Elessar wrote:I’m not even saying humans are more intelligent, although we are. I’m saying we have a completely separate, qualitatively different ability - the ability to reason, and to mentally time travel to the past and future, and thus to appreciate life as having a beginning and an end. We live in four dimensions, whereas animals live in three. That’s not really an indictment of superior or inferior intelligence, although it is linked. Some animals have significantly better hearing or vision or smell than we do. We however have a sense of time that they simply do not have. And that, in my opinion, makes the issue of our death really quite different to theirs. For that reason I see suffering as the only problem with eating meat, as opposed to denying these animals ongoing life, and suffering is something that can be eliminated through ethical farming methods.


I'll grant it's "different" but there's nothing intrinsic about us that makes us more deserving of life. You are just adding value. And, again, it isn't necessary to farm animals and any system that involves humans working with animals is always going to involve abuse and suffering. Suffering cannot be completely eliminated. Farmers aren't even required to use anesthesia from everything I've gathered. Vile. And as we both know the ethical issue is just one of many problems with animal agriculture. It's just a greedy and wasteful habit that needs to go away...and it will. Veganism is the future. It has to be. Either that or "clean meat" aka lab grown meat. I'd support that obviously.

Being that all animals die our sense of time and understanding of death is in many ways an unfortunate evolutionary gift. Our ability to reason helps our species in an evolutionary sense obviously but it also makes us miserable. Can't we stop making the planet miserable for every other animal? Can't we evolve?
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