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Is it morally justifiable to kill animals for meat?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by eddtox, 1 Oct 2010.

  1. SuicideNeil

    SuicideNeil New Member

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    If one person says, or FEELS that it is morally okay to do something, and another person says or FEELS that it isnt morally okay to do something, doesnt that make the entire concept of morals & morality completely arbitrary? There is no right and wrong, only a personal opinion either way- society as whole can have its opinion swayed by people better qualified ( legally or intellectually ) than them on the issue of what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable; its a useful mechanism to ensure society doesnt fall apart overnight.

    Thus, let your own conscience guide you; if you like meat, great, if you dont, great- your morals are satisfied, but dont expect to be able to satisfy anyone else's, no matter how effective your argument.
    Whats legally right & wrong is separate to whats morally right and wrong, as morals arent governed by law ( not in that sense anyway ).
    Morally justifying eating other animals by saying its natural behaviour is perfectly acceptable as its the truth- its more unnatural to survive on tinned lentils and raw carrots...
     
  2. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    I did a quick google and came up with this definition which I liked:

    "inconsistency - When two statements or conditions are logically or empirically incompatible or contradictory."

    If you want to play by a set of rules, those rules have to make sense, otherwise you might as well not play by any rules. If you play a game of football in which the team with the most goals win and the team with the least goals wins, and there can be only one winner - then you may as well play without any rules.

    So too with moral systems. If the system makes no sense, then you are no better off than someone who is playing without rules (that is, someone with any morals to speak of). Given that, if you are being morally inconsistent, then you are no better than someone who is immoral.

    While Lions may eat outside their species, many animals do not (Hamsters eat their young, as do almost all spiders). So your common denominator is not so much a common denominator as a chance occurrence in some species.

    You are, ultimately, failing to understand that there is a difference between genetics and morality. I have explained, I think clearly, why there is an actual difference between humans and all other species in terms of moral requirements. This is far from arbitrary. An argument from genetics is not a moral argument, and until you realise this you are going to fail to progress in this debate.

    According to the ICD-10 entry of the World Health Organisation on psychopathy, psychopaths act amorally, that is, without morality. I understand there are differences of opinion on the difference between psychopathy and sociopathy, however what is clear is that there exist humans who lack an understanding or conception of morality. I feel my analogy stands unharmed.

    Moral relativity has been abandoned by most philosophers as, well, immoral basically. There most certainly is a right and wrong. Pre-pubescent girls being held down and having parts of their genitals cut off by their grandmother's is morally wrong. I think most would see no question in this. 8 year old Afghani boys being bought by richer Afghans, dressed up in woman's clothing, and then being taken into a bedroom and raped is morally wrong. Just because there is not a single right answer does not mean there are no wrong answers.

    People deciding their own morals based on their conscience has lead to countless genocides, mass rapes, and every other kind of atrocity you can think of. It is fairly apparent that some morals are simply wrong, and some are right. What we need to discuss is not whether any morals are right or wrong, but rather which ones are right and which ones are wrong.

    Is an argument from nature really the best you can do? We've already discounted that kind of argument several times in this thread.


    I feel at this stage of the thread that it might not be too condescending to say that I hope all the readers of this thread are prepared to have their morality changed. I approach this thread with the strong desire that someone will convincingly prove me wrong about the immorality of animal consumption. It would make me happier in my life if I could eat animals without knowing it is immoral. However as of yet no convincing arguments have been presented. On the flip side of that, I hope that those arguing for the consumption of meat are prepared to admit that they are wrong if they do run out of arguments against my points, as some in this thread seem to have.
     
  3. eddtox

    eddtox Homo Interneticus

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    all swans are white
    a swan is gets completely covered in crude oil from an overflowing well
    swans are sometimes white.

    ?

    Just because circumstances can make thinks seem ambiguous, it doesn't mean they really are.

    QFT
     
  4. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Oops! I stepped away from this thread and am now a little behind, but I don't like to leave things unanswered:

    Before saying anything else, that is a very big "If". I believe there is enough evidence to show that meats are an excellent source of various nutrients and are, at present and when consumed in conjunction with other foods, a good choice for someone who wishes to have a healthy diet. Now going into "If" territory, if there was a synthetic source which perfectly mirrored the nutrient content of meat, was equally digestable, and readily attainable then no. I would not eat meat, personal choice. However, I'm not sure if I'd call it immoral. Real meat would still provide the same nutrients and still be a viable option for those who preferred it.

    My idea of "survival" is a little relaxed. I'll be one of the first to play the "don't be so spoiled!" card when things get too serious about survival. It gets very easy for all of us to sit, think and discuss without actually having to worry about what we're discussing. It's pretty safe to say that none of us will ever be in a real survival scenario. It gets all too easy to discuss what is necessary for survival without looking at what the bigger picture really means. Not to critcize you bringing up the topic, but before considering what food is required consider what luxury items are required. Consider what happened to animals, other humans, and our environment to get those items. That will make you question your morality!

    ...okay Hippy Mode deactivate. :hehe:
     
  5. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    Last edited: 4 Oct 2010
  6. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    *sigh* You should read the thread....
    No animal exclusively cannibalistic. Its a reductive energy cycle that leads to extinction.

    Filial cannibalism does exist (as I have pointed out) but it is a survival strategy - Eat the weaker young to give the stronger young a greater chance of survival...while recycling energy for future reproductive encounters.

    What I said was that your presupposition that we do not eat human meat because we infer personhood on them was incorrect, and I explained why it was incorrect. But let me do it AGAIN so you'll get the point.

    You said the benchmark we use to distinguish permissibly edible from inededible was "personhood". I pointed out that we, like all other animals, already had a mechanism to distinguish the edible from the inedible - Negating the need for your personhood explanation, which was mistakenly retrospectively applied. Put simply. Our mechanism for distinguishing edible from inedible is the same as all other animals, we do not need the notion of personhood to instinctually know that eating a member of our tribe isn't a good idea.
     
  7. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    and if push came to shove, i am sure, people would eat people, if it meant they survived a bit longer, if there was no other source of food available
     
  8. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Excellent article, the first one. I really liked how it touches on the hard question of where our food products come from. Be it animals on ranges, or fields of crops. We impact local ecology and environments with everything we do. The morality of meat becomes a bit trivial in comparison.

    Expanding on that, just having my house to live in impedes on owl, coyote, raccoon, eagle, and even bear territory. We're pretty terrible for every other living thing that comes in contact with us.

    Referencing an early post of mine, funny how our morals align with our survival as a species, isn't it? As you say, personhood does not prevent cannibalism (well, it helps) but rather our instincts as a pack/tribe/herd based creature. One of our own is another chance at our species succeeding and should be protected at all costs. There is evidence of human cannibalism, but notice how it typically only pops up in absolutely dire or very specific situations. Seeing as we're a long way from any dire situation it becomes a shockingly immoral act.
     
  9. TheBlackSwordsMan

    TheBlackSwordsMan Far over the misty mountains cold

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    Can you imagine a Lion asking to himself 'Is this Zebra deserve to die ? Its a living thing like me' NO !! The big cat pull out his claws and cut his prey in pieces with no remorses. I do the same with my BK Stacker triple bacon with no remorses.
     
  10. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Well, I was only pointing out that there exist exceptions to the rule, although I suppose my time would have been better spent pointing out why this avenue of argument is fruitless, as follows.



    See the thing is, in the above you're arguing for a practical reason why we don't eat babies, not a moral reason. Morality isn't concerned with why we do or do not do something, rather whether we should or shouldn't - that is, whether it is right or wrong to.

    You are providing a practical reason why do not generally eat humans. I am positing a moral reason why it is wrong to eat animals. This is almost a category error on your part. Until you start addressing the moral reason of why it is OK to eat animals but not humans, rather than the instinctual reason that we do not eat animals, you are not addressing my argument.

    Desperation does not absolve one of moral guilt. Your argument is valueless.

    This has already been addressed. You are not a lion. If you would like to attempt to reduce yourself to the status of an animal then I wish you every success, and hope you have no problem with people hunting you down and killing you for pleasure, meat, or your skin.

    edit: By the way VipersGratitude, are you a chemist? You argue like you might be one. If so, hello fellow chemistry buddy!
     
    Otis1337 likes this.
  11. karolis

    karolis Code Monkey

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    I'll say straight away that i haven't read the entire thread, i only like to express my view on this topic.

    The vegetable vs meat question has existed since the dawn of our species and I don't think there is any ethical dilemma to be discussed. There were hunters and there were gatherers (which were later replaced by breeding and planting for food). The situation hasn't changed much since then - for sustained existence we need both.

    We're not herbivores by nature, nor are we carnivores. Variety is key.

    Show me someone who doesn't eat meat because 'the animal suffered' and i'll show you an idiot. All animals suffer and we're actually the only ones who make an effort to try and minimize the time it takes the animal to die. Check out any documentary on animals feeding and see the real suffering for yourself.

    I enjoy my weekly steak with mash and salad and i wouldn't have it any other way.
     
  12. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    ffs! again?

    And as I've said before the burden is on you to give a moral argument against eating animals - the personhood theory didn't cut it.

    No. I was a Mensa member at age 11, though...then I smoked a lot of pot....then I wandered around europe....then I became a software developer.
     
  13. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    I'll keep saying it until you make a moral argument. If I ask you why it's wrong to rape and you tell me psychological reasons why people rape that is not evidence that it is OK to rape, just an explanation of why it happens. This is what you are doing here.



    Well refute it then. You've provided practical reasons why we might abstain from consuming babies but not moral reasons. You can't just say "your argument sucks, gimme another one" and expect me to agree. Refute my moral argument with a moral counter-argument.



    Ooh, Mensa? How thrilling. Pot's fun too, I assume. Oh well, no LN2 for you.

    edit: Also, not that it's an essential point to my argument but my argument actually rests on it being immoral to force one's will on any creature which achieves a certain level of sentience against it's will. So your assertion that all pro-vegetarian arguements are based on the wrongness of killing is not really accurate.
     
  14. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    Thats the whole thing. I have stated my moral argument against it, but I'm a pragmatist and practicality is as moral as I get. :D

    I don't believe in moral absolutes. I believe moral values are values within a system of socialisation. This system is defined by needs, desires, environmental factors, countless things and is extremely complicated. As such these moral variables are highly prone to change based on the ecology of the system. This system is comprised of a lot of individual brains, and just as individuals priorities or desires change over time that can scale up to the entire system. I used to want a scalextrix set; I don't anymore. What's true today may be untrue tommorrow.

    Pragmatism. Constantly redefining the norm. Superficially unrelated but highly related ted talk here

    WALKIES!!!
     
  15. SuicideNeil

    SuicideNeil New Member

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    Try this:

    Is it better to buy a piece of meat and eat it because it was available to you, or would you rather see it go out of date and be thrown away and wasted. Bearing in mind the meat will be there regardless of whether you eat it or not, is it morally justified to let the meat go to waste when some hungry starving African could have eaten the meat, but in your own self-absolved way you decided it would be more morally correct to let the meat go to waste than to be grateful you actually had the opportunity to eat it?

    We breed animals to be eaten, they arent pets ( ordinarily ), so loong as they have been treated well and their deaths arent pointless... *dun dun dun* the animal isnt immortal, it will die one way or another wont it? Is it better that the animal just wanders around and becomes roadkill, injured or diseased, starves through lack of food ( see: over population & lack of predators ) or ripped to shreds by some morally-devoid predator, or that it serves a useful purpose in becoming food for a different predator that in principle will care for the animal well during it's life and make its death as quick & painless as possible?

    I win I think :) ( as if... ).
     
  16. Throbbi

    Throbbi New Member

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    God-damn it! Why do i always find these!!

    Initital points:
    1 - I hate every person above me in this this thread because it is now 3a.m. and i've only just got to the end of it. :wallbash:
    2 - I love every person (especially OP for getting it going) above me in this thread for giving me a new, and widely scoped, topic to get friends going on when we next all get together and inevitably results in debating something or other. :clap: Recently I've been debating with my step-son and while he is very good with making an argument and providing both reason and substance to his arguments he struggles to bring related topics in. This will allow for a nice step up from from the subjects we've been slogging at recently. (Most recently being 'Liverpool didn't win the UEFA cup in 2001, Alaves lost it. Not very exciting but it's a start)

    Off-topic (well maybe on topic-ish since it relates to posts held within)
    - Many animals most definitely DO mourn and grieve and even hold ceremonies of a kind for their lost family. Elephants are known to visit the 'graves' (ok bone pile where the elephant in question died but the sentiment remains the same) for years, even decades, after that elephant has died. I'm fairly sure (but not certain and really can't remember where i heard it. Possibly Attenborough) that a few have been known to visit places where a family member died after all the elephants of the deceaseds generation have also died. Implying, to me at least, the beginnings of a culture through 'customs'. These elephants have no immediate relation to the one whose grave they are visiting, they're going because that's what their parents did. That's a mighty high level of sophisticated emotion for a dumb animal living in the now. (No that's not a dig at whoever used that line, I can't even remember who, just an observation)
    - My mother has worked with people who have 'severe learning difficulties' (that's the PC way to say it nowadays; 'mentally retarded' could get you sacked or sued in the UK) for 30 years and I can tell you that in most cases (not all of course) the higher brain functions are all there and in perfect working order. It's the other bits that have the problems. The brain just has no way to get those commands out. Whether that be to motor functions or memories. Using them as an analogy for lower sentience capacity doesn't make sense to me.


    On-Topic

    I have read through the entire thread and specifically stopped myself from making quick and hasty posts on the few occasions when I read something I thought ridiculous,pointless or wrong since it would not be helpful or coherent enough to make a positive contribution.

    With regards to the original question " Is it morally justifiable to kill animals for meat?" I think it's really very hard to say one way or the other (yeah that's a cop out I know).

    Personally I believe that IF we manage to produce an artificial meat which is 100% identical to natural meat in taste, nutritional value and all other respects (including production costs, guarantee of safety, etc.)then, and only then, does it become definitely immoral. At that point we would have the means to sustain ourselves to the exact same degree as we did previously without the need to kill animals for meat.

    Currently, whilst I believe we CAN get all of the nutrients we require without eating meat, I do believe that it is also massively expensive, almost entirely unpleasant (I have tried alot of the substitutes which are available thanks to vegetarians friends having dinner parties etc. and from what I have tried the substitutes are 80% - revolting, 10%, - just doesn't taste quite right and 10% - actually that's pretty close) and much more difficult to achieve. Not all shops in all areas cater for vegetarians or vegans very well at all.

    Until it becomes a simple 'this or that' with both 'this' and 'that' being the same in all respects except one being animal and the other being manufactured I, personally, will continue to believe that it IS morally justifiable since the same result cannot be achieved for the same effort. A crude argument maybe but that's as far as my personal thoughts go on it any deeper is possibly a bit deeper than my own vested interest in the subject is.

    Ok for this last bit i promise I'm not trying to derail or troll or anything, I do believe this is relevant. The whole thing made me think of this excerpt from 'The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy' regarding the Ameglian Major Cow.



    PURELY HYPOTHETICAL HERE (obviously since this is, for the foreseeable future, a complete impossibility and no, a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer will not produce one out of this air either)

    Were this animal to exist, would it allow for an amiable solution to your question? Since the animals primary instinct and 'need', as it were, is 'to be eaten' would it be morally wrong NOT to do so?

    Yes I know that last bit is ridiculously far fetched but given the circumstances I see it's implications as relevant. It would be a solution I think. I'd love to hear the OP's view on that one.

    Final thoughts:
    Keep this going, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through all the arguments and counter-arguments. I like to read a good debate almost as much as like having one, although I'm a bit pants at them when I can't speak. I'm not very articulate with type for some reason.:thumb:

    Feel free to ignore, comment on, tear apart or ridicule my thoughts. Just felt like adding my opinions.:)

    P.S. Can we get more debates like this going more often please or are they already there and i just keep missing them? :duh: lol
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2010
  17. eddtox

    eddtox Homo Interneticus

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    I don't think I could take more than one of these at a time :p But I do have some ideas for when this quietens down a bit. :D
     
  18. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    I do agree with you here that it seems odd that we do not make use of a food source due to social taboo's. I may be incorrect but is it not true that animals very rarely eat other predators as there is a higher risk of disease and parasites? Domesticated animals aside the animals we hunt for food are almost exclusively non carnivores.


    But is there a difference? To me that's the fundamental question here. We barely understand the human brain and how it functions. Is a sense of morality hard encoded into us? We are social animals who live in complex social groups so it makes sense that our brains are wired in a way which facilitates this. As Nexxo has pointed out rats will not take food if it means another is hurt and i doubt they needed a rat philosopher to tell them it was wrong.

    Again i ask the question. If we invented a synthetic viable alternative to meat tomorrow what would we do with the domesticated livestock in the world which has evolved to be codependent on us? If we release them into the wild they will die as they are not equipped to survive or do we eradicate them like we did with small pox? To me that is a far larger ethical issue then providing an animal the best quality of life before you humanely kill it for food.
     
  19. AcidJiles

    AcidJiles Member

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    Short Answer: Yes and anyone who tells you otherwise is unfortunately mistaken.
     
  20. eddtox

    eddtox Homo Interneticus

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    I stand in awe of the superior logic in your argument. You have convinced me. How could I be such an idiot. Thank you.
     

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