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Author Topic:   When does killing an animal constitute murder?
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 301 of 352 (597692)
12-23-2010 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 297 by Blue Jay
12-17-2010 4:40 PM


Re: Compassion and Abhorrence
Bluejay writes:

So, there is no reason to continue discussing the breeding of things for research purposes, right?

This thread is about the moral worth we accord to different species. If there are things you have no moral objection to doing to one species but do another - then yes it is very definitely on topic.

I would personally morally object to the breeding and raising of human beings for the purposes of eating or experimentation in all but the most extreme end-of-the world-if we-don't-do-it nightmare sci-fi scenarios.

I have no such moral qualms about mice or cows or fruit fly. Primates come somewhere in-between for me. I do have a moral problem with using these creatures for eating unless absolutely necessary and I would limit experimentation on primates to the less frivolous things that can be demonstrated to have genuine benefits to humanity.

Bluejay writes:

Can "all other things" actually be equal, Straggler?

In reality there rarely, if ever, is a situation in which all other things are equal. Each situation is unique. A real life situation comprises all sorts of competing and conflicting general moral principles. As well as self interest and a whole host of other factors which make a complex moral web. But it is the subjective weighting we accord to these general principles that makes each such decision not just unique but highly individual.

However in the absence of these competing and conflicting moral principles we have nothing to distinguish one situation from another.

As a general moral principle I consider human life as of more moral worth than bacteria, fruit fly, mice etc. I have never said that this was the only moral principle at play in any specific scenrio. In fact I have said the opposite. But it is a general moral principle that I advocate

I had no idea this was going to be quite so controversial given that it seems to be the attitude taken in mainstream Western society as a whole.

Bluejay writes:

I special plead humans because I don't want to risk other humans not special pleading me in a similar situation.

I object to Nazi style experimentation on humans for the same reason I object to vaginal rape. Because I personally think it is morally reprehensible.

The fact that I could in theory be the victim of the first whilst (as a man) it would be impossible for me to be subjected to the second has very little bearing on my stance on either.

Call me a wild eyed idealist if you will.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 297 by Blue Jay, posted 12-17-2010 4:40 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1043 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 302 of 352 (597704)
12-23-2010 3:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
12-05-2010 4:12 AM


Sorry I'm late.

Meldinor writes:

(O)ur ability to empathize instills us with a moral obligation to protect our own and others' right to live.

But this empathy only truly extends to members of our own species

I disagree, based on the evidence of my own sensibility and that of others I know personally.

I consider the killing of great apes, corvids, cetaceans and elephants--for reasons other than self-defense--murder. I suspect I would include other animals in that group if the intelligence and self-awareness of all species were fully defined.

I do what I can with financial support, public demonstrations, and political organization and expression to stop the murder of these species. Our devastation of their populations is a holocaust.

I consider the moral worth of humans guilty of the murder of sentient creatures to be less than their victims. Under the right circumstances, I would defend these species with direct action; I would consider any harm to the murderer justifiable. Had I the means, I would sink Japanese whaling boats rather than stand by and watch that obscenity--as Bruce Cockburn sings about death squads in Guatemala, "If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate."


I know there's a balance, I see it when I swing past.
-J. Mellencamp

Real things always push back.
-William James


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 303 of 352 (598886)
01-03-2011 2:17 PM


lulz

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 304 of 352 (599768)
01-10-2011 1:58 PM


Human Rights For Apes?
The campaign to accord some basic human rights to apes seems relevant to this thread.

Link writes:

Great apes should have the right to life and freedom, according to a resolution passed in the Spanish parliament, in what could become landmark legislation to enshrine human rights for chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans and bonobos.

The environmental committee in the Spanish parliament has approved resolutions urging the country to comply with the Great Apes Project, founded in 1993, which argues that "non-human hominids" should enjoy the right to life, freedom and not to be tortured.

The project was started by the philosophers Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri, who argued that the ape is the closest genetic relative to humans that it displays emotions such as love, fear, anxiety and jealousy and should be protected by similar laws.

I personally (in an admittedly rather impractical and apathetic way) would broadly support these sorts of measures.

What do others think?

ringo writes:

What do laws have to do with what is morally acceptable? Message 209

ringo writes:

Morality is applied in specific instances and the specific humans or cockroaches are vital to the application. Message 201

Presumably those who deny that moral considerations are ever applied to anything other than specific individuals (of whatever species) are utterly mystified, baffled and confounded as to what this campaign could possibly be seeking to achieve.


Replies to this message:
 Message 305 by ringo, posted 01-10-2011 2:17 PM Straggler has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 16227
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 305 of 352 (599771)
01-10-2011 2:17 PM
Reply to: Message 304 by Straggler
01-10-2011 1:58 PM


Re: Human Rights For Apes?
Straggler writes:

Presumably those who deny that moral considerations are ever applied to anything other than specific individuals (of whatever species)....


Do you understand the difference between moral and legal?


"I'm Rory Bellows, I tell you! And I got a lot of corroborating evidence... over here... by the throttle!"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 304 by Straggler, posted 01-10-2011 1:58 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 306 by jar, posted 01-10-2011 2:22 PM ringo has responded
 Message 313 by Straggler, posted 01-11-2011 12:29 PM ringo has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 306 of 352 (599774)
01-10-2011 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 305 by ringo
01-10-2011 2:17 PM


Re: Human Rights For Apes?
Well, I for one am glad the the great apes in Spain may soon have their rights.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 305 by ringo, posted 01-10-2011 2:17 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 307 by ringo, posted 01-10-2011 2:29 PM jar has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 16227
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 307 of 352 (599776)
01-10-2011 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 306 by jar
01-10-2011 2:22 PM


Re: Human Rights For Apes?
I'd extend the right not to be tortured to cows, cats, rats, etc. I have reservations about extending the right to life to cows and I'm hesitant to grant the freedom of the streets to bears.


"I'm Rory Bellows, I tell you! And I got a lot of corroborating evidence... over here... by the throttle!"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 306 by jar, posted 01-10-2011 2:22 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 308 of 352 (599779)
01-10-2011 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 307 by ringo
01-10-2011 2:29 PM


Re: Human Rights For Apes?
Well, I think it is only one day of the year and one street in one city where the freedom of the street is given to cattle and then only to cattle of the masculine child type. I could likely live with the bears in Spain being given equal rights.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 310 by xongsmith, posted 01-10-2011 5:31 PM jar has responded

  
CosmicChimp
Member
Posts: 306
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 309 of 352 (599787)
01-10-2011 3:46 PM


murder is irrelevant
Considering the salient point of the thread to be human action regarding other species; how could the issue not resolve to mankind's population size varies inversely to the conservation of earth's fauna. At one extreme we have mankind's extinction first the other side of the scale is man's extinction last.
  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1871
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009


Message 310 of 352 (599803)
01-10-2011 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 308 by jar
01-10-2011 2:46 PM


The US Declaration of Independence needs to be fixed
Here is the original text:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

First off, the United States, after WAY TOO LONG A TIME, granted these rights to women and black people and so forth. They are still bogged down in stupid religiously fucked up brains on the issue of gay rights.

This did not go far enough. And even if it were at last extended to all of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, it would still not be far enough.

In the Science Fiction world you may run across the acronym HILF, which stands for Highly Intelligent Life Form. Even this is not enough. We rightly protect the rights of those among us who have damages or conditions of the brain that some may construe as judging them "not highly intelligent". I suggest we use the term SALF, Self-Aware Life Form.

Therefore,
my first recast of the Declaration of Independence quote would thus look like this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all self-aware life forms are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, the best health care available, and the pursuit of happiness, but there may be others that are too hard to write down in a cogent way here*, and that is why we only say "among". That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among self-aware life forms, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the self-aware life forms to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

* to allude to Fermat's Last Theorem

But there is room for more of this sort of thing here. I think we might consider, in this wonderful forum, some ideas to improve on the various governmental documents around the world so far.

The bit about the Creator is perfect. No God need be mentioned specifically or even needed. ("Hi, Ma and possibly Dad and possibly THuihuiygkca numbers 4,5,6,7,8 and 9!)

It is the words Inalienable and Endowed that make the US Founding Fathers (probably Jefferson as attributed, but with people talking into his ears in each side) statement so POWERFUL.


- xongsmith, 5.7d
This message is a reply to:
 Message 308 by jar, posted 01-10-2011 2:46 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 311 of 352 (599804)
01-10-2011 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 310 by xongsmith
01-10-2011 5:31 PM


Re: The US Declaration of Independence needs to be fixed
In the Science Fiction world you may run across the acronym HILF, which stands for Highly Intelligent Life Form.

What do they call a Minimally Intelligent Life Form?

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 310 by xongsmith, posted 01-10-2011 5:31 PM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 312 of 352 (599806)
01-10-2011 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 310 by xongsmith
01-10-2011 5:31 PM


Re: The US Declaration of Independence needs to be fixed
Does that really cover those lifeforms that are so highly evolved that they no longer separate self from all life?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 310 by xongsmith, posted 01-10-2011 5:31 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 313 of 352 (599886)
01-11-2011 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 305 by ringo
01-10-2011 2:17 PM


Re: Human Rights For Apes?
ringo writes:

What do laws have to do with what is morally acceptable? Message 209

ringo writes:

Do you understand the difference between moral and legal?

So which of those, moral or legal, do you think my above 'ape rights' example is concerned with?

Do you understand that in many cases the two things are not wholly unrelated and that this specific example exemplifies how the shifting moral outlook of a society operates in tandem with changing legislation?

Or are you going to talk about jaywalking again?

ringo writes:

Morality is applied in specific instances and the specific humans or cockroaches are vital to the application. Message 201

Given that the 'individual only' position you have espoused in this thread makes it impossible for you to make a moral distinction between a mass murderer and a roach exterminator it would seem rather inconsistent for you to start understanding those who do accord moral consideration along speciesistic lines pertaining to such factors as sentience.

ringo writes:

Straggler writes:

I am asking you for your personal moral position on the relative worth of different species as per the thread topic.

And I'm telling you I don't have one.

Then I guess the reasons, which seem very legitimate and obvious to me, for Spain implementing theses laws for apes but not for fruit fly must be very very perplexing to you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 305 by ringo, posted 01-10-2011 2:17 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 314 by ringo, posted 01-11-2011 7:13 PM Straggler has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 16227
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 314 of 352 (599975)
01-11-2011 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 313 by Straggler
01-11-2011 12:29 PM


Re: Human Rights For Apes?
Straggler writes:

So which of those, moral or legal, do you think my above 'ape rights' example is concerned with?


Since it's about legislation, I'm going to say legal.

Straggler writes:

Do you understand that in many cases the two things are not wholly unrelated and that this specific example exemplifies how the shifting moral outlook of a society operates in tandem with changing legislation?


I've never suggested that they're wholly unrelated. My objection is to the way you tend to use the concepts of moral, legal and socially acceptable as if they were interchangeable.

Straggler writes:

Given that the 'individual only' position you have espoused in this thread makes it impossible for you to make a moral distinction between a mass murderer and a roach exterminator....


On the contrary, I do make a distinction - an individual distinction. I gave the example of the ant colony and the wasp colony.

Straggler writes:

Then I guess the reasons, which seem very legitimate and obvious to me, for Spain implementing theses laws for apes but not for fruit fly must be very very perplexing to you.


Not at all. Human rights for non-humans supports my case.


"I'm Rory Bellows, I tell you! And I got a lot of corroborating evidence... over here... by the throttle!"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 313 by Straggler, posted 01-11-2011 12:29 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 317 by Straggler, posted 01-13-2011 8:39 AM ringo has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1871
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009


Message 315 of 352 (600021)
01-11-2011 10:49 PM
Reply to: Message 312 by jar
01-10-2011 5:41 PM


Re: The US Declaration of Independence needs to be fixed
jar writes:

Does that really cover those lifeforms that are so highly evolved that they no longer separate self from all life?

While I would like the opportunity to recast it again should that situation arise, I remember another SF story about an alien lifeform that sent a representative individual. Turns out all the individuals were telepathically connected and each one was expendable in the manner of trimming fingernails or cutting hair. When the species finally figured out that humans were not so connected and thus the investigative experiments of killing individual humans in various different manners for observation became woefully understood as the egregious killing of isolated entities, the species quickly terminated the earth-bound representative. Perhaps reminiscent of Douglas Hofstadter's character, Aunt Hillary, in Godel, Escher & Bach.


- xongsmith, 5.7d
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