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Is it morally justifiable to kill animals for meat?

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

  1. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    Yourself. You're just filtering your thoughts through language. Monologues can be both internal or external. You may play with the grammatical person, but you're still speaking to yourself.

    Most farmers don't have time to play. A kid does. What it shows is...

    A child will quite happily pull the wings of a fly, or kick a hamster ball down the stairs. We are not moral by default. We are socially conditioned in to our morality, based on the moral values of that society. These moral values, as you know, can vary widely from society to society, rendering the notion of absolute morality meaningless - Remove that and all you're left with is survival strategy.

    Ah, so then it would it make a difference if the animals in the thought experiment were dumped in that place to fertilize the soil for future farming? If you farm, that's you.

    Ok, lets mix up the subject a bit...

    You control the animal's only food source
    Letting them starve - Not immoral
    Killing them - Immoral

    You control a baby's only food source
    Letting it starve - Not immoral
    Killing it - Immoral

    *sings* How much difference a dna makes


    And what about a society without these social safety nets? Or perhaps the treatment is performed in a foreign clinic?

    When you boil it down the choice is "Would you choose to give someone an opportunity, knowing that it could have negative reprocussions" Is it, for example, moral to save the life of a dictator, knowing that there is a chance that others will suffer due to your choice?

    Given the examples so far, it seems to me that notion of morality is incredibly short-sighted - As long as you're one step removed from responsiblity then its moral to ignore the reprocussions.
     
  2. memeroot

    memeroot aged and experianced

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    it's perhaps interesting to view the legal side.

    actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea

    an act does not make a person guilty unless (their) mind is also guilty

    or

    strict liability

    a person legally responsible for the damage and loss caused by his or her acts and omissions regardless of culpability

    does this define to some extent the difference of opinion between VipersGratitude and Nexxo in relation to the above? Nexxo as the former and VipersGratitude the latter?

    (accepting the difference between a socially generated and absolute moral systems has been covered)
     
  3. Nexxo

    Nexxo Stopped treating this country as if it was his own

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    Or you are swearing at/imploring the computer/gods/fate/universe --all anthropomorphications.

    We are capable of morality. Two-year olds show altruism (and theory of mind --they simplify their language when talking to younger siblings). That has a biological basis (inclusive fitness etc.) but we are able to take it further.

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that since morals are a product of socialisation, they are relative and subject to interpretation, YMMV etc. On the other hand, humans basically function the same way the world over, with the same basic needs, feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Hence their societies often have the same basic "universal" values. Hence there are basic, "universal" moral values.

    If the animal was specifically killed for that or another purpose, yes.

    The Nazis (yeah, Godwin's law, but that only counts if the comparison is not rationally pertinent to the discussion, so bear with me) performed many scientific experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Useful experiments, the results of which we could learn a lot from, and which could save a lot of lives in the future, but very immoral ones. Should we use the data anyway?

    I argue no. The results are only as good as the means by which they were obtained. If we use the data, we separate the morality of outcome from the morality of the act. And although some scientists like to think that science is morally neutral, and most politicians like to separate the morality of outcome from the morality of the act a lot, it always gets us in a big mess.

    Does it matter whether the baby lives in Darfur or next door? (think about it ;) )

    Those clinics may well operate under unethical conditions, so the point is moot. But again: you are not responsible for the patient's family. If a drunk driver kills his family we do not arrest the gas station attendant who fueled up his car or the supermarket owner who sold him the booze (unless, possibly, the man was already demonstrably off his face = complicity in acute neglect and endangerment).

    Think of it another way: if you are a doctor, would you save the life of a wife beater? You would --and then you'd call social services.

    Depends on whether you are happy to take on his responsibility over other people's lives and deaths --and that may be trickier than you think. We see how well that worked out for us with Saddam Hussein.

    No, it is all about recognising who owns the responsibility, and whether it would be a Good Thing if you took that responsibility away from the people who seem to be abusing/neglecting theirs. If you are certain it would, go ahead... But if you may make a big mess of it, then you also own the moral blame. Playing God with good intentions is still playing God. And we all know what the road to hell is paved with.

    Babies in Darfur, remember?
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2010
  4. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    It really makes no difference in the end, we obviously have the circuitry to distinguish a human from a computer, or a cow.

    Isn't that what I've been saying all along? That morality's basis is in survival instinct e.g. killing in self defence


    It isn't immoral based on that thought experiment. The reason is that you are a society of one. Killing isn't inherently immoral - Moral value is defined by social judgement.

    Had the Nazi's won the data would be perfectly viable. But the Allies won, so Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortened the war and "saved both Japanese and American lives" - They teach this in American schools.

    Social Judgement


    That is a matter of enablement. An average individual can easily intervene and feed the baby next door. An average individual cannot easily travel to Darfur to feed a child, or fix the political economic problems to ensure no Sudanese child starves again.

    Social Judgement


    These examples are down to social systems of responsiblity - That's why I suggested removal of the social safety nets. Without the chance to defer responsiblity would it be moral in an anarchist state to save the life of a mass-murderer? Without the social safety net of a justice system would you be thanked by your peers for indirectly endangering their lives? No...you may even be killed yourself for making such a bad choice.

    Social Judgement.
     
  5. Nexxo

    Nexxo Stopped treating this country as if it was his own

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    Social judgement = moral judgement only for a given value of "moral" and "judgement". See Raoul Moates' tribute Facebook page.

    Morals values started in social rules. Inclusive fitness begat altruism, cooperation and living at close quarters (without ripping each others' heads off) begat theory of mind, etc. Of course theory of mind begat lying also. But in humans that is not where it stops.

    Kohlberg talked about stages of moral reasoning. There are some issues with the model but basically it is pretty sound. Children start acting moral to avoid punishment and get reward ("It's OK as long as you don't get caught"). This becomes internalised and moral behaviour becomes about avoiding social disapproval/rejection and getting social approval ("It's the law!" etc.). Later, typically when people develop the capability for abstract conceptual thought and hypothetical reasoning, they develop an internal value system of morals, not necessarily based in social norms, that fits with their personal worldview and view of themselves as "good" human beings ("Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do"). Needless to say many people don't get that far, just as many don't develop very good formal operational thinking.

    But those who do go well beyond basic survival instinct. Moral philosophy is born. Taoism, Buddhism, western philosophies etc. are all products of this.

    So social judgment is only moral for a given value of "moral". And it is judgement only for a given value of "judgement"... If I were a doctor I would be expected to save the life of my patient, even if he is a mass murderer. There is a whole moral framework behind that. It might get me lynched in an anarchist system, but that would not be a moral act, just one of social disapproval.
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2010
  6. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    googled "Raoul Moates facebook" and this thread was the 5th result....holy craps, thats some fast indexing!
    But, yeah...can't find it.

    I'm guessing you're refering to a similar situation as troop support still being encouraged even following never-ending incidents of "collateral damage".

    I think you mean only for a given value of social affinity

    EDIT:

    So morals are the codification of surival tactics, concurrently relating to both the individual's internal value system and their environment (social, situational or otherwise).

    /Thread
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2010
  7. Nexxo

    Nexxo Stopped treating this country as if it was his own

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    Sorry, I should have explained; in the UK he is infamous (or famous, depending on social judgement). Introducing Raoul Moat. Basically a guy with a history of violence and 'roid rage who blamed the police somehow for the collapse of his business and going to prison. When he came out he shot his ex-girlfriend, her boyfriend and some random policeman, and threatened to kill many more. This quality example of humanity was then the subject of a police chase for 6 days before he shot himself in a stand-off.

    After Moat's death, a Raoul Moat memorial page was established on Facebook, which attracted more than 36,500 members saying what a nice, misunderstood and villified guy he was.

    Morals are the codification of social survical tactics, evolved into an internal value system that enables the individual to maintain a coherent view of self and the world. It's a bit like religion but for people without attachment issues.
     
  8. Lord-Vale3

    Lord-Vale3 His Tremendousness

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    Hey, I contributed a valid viewpoint of many on this topic of discussion - you in your OP asked for views. Just because my viewpoint is based off two rather simple statements isn't cause for me to be flamed.

    Simplicity is naturally elegant.

    This is quite an interesting thread, I had the same thought as Bumsrush when he stated:

     
  9. eddtox

    eddtox Homo Interneticus

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    I'm sorry, but for those of us who reject the authority of the bible the quote doesn't add much to the discussion. This discussion is about rational reasons and I don't consider "an old book told me so" to be one. I do apologise if you felt I was flaming, though. "lowest-form-of-wit" was meant as a comment on my own sarcastic remark.

    While Bumsrush has a point, I would argue that most of us think very much of killing each other. Even professional soldiers require significant "training" in order to overcome their natural aversion to killing other human beings. That is why you will rarely (if ever) hear a military leader refer to the other side as "people".
     
  10. TheBlackSwordsMan

    TheBlackSwordsMan Fellow of the Teelzebub Society

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    Its not pointless because I don't feel any remorse, you missed the point. Its pointless because there is no way that we can fully agree in one single way. Its like trying to make an Homogeneous mixture with both water and oil.

    I agree to say that sport hunting is a pure crap, but I'm fine with Beef cattle. On the other side, for you, both are crap and I'm the evil meat heater.


    Like I say, what do we do ?
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2010
  11. Lord-Vale3

    Lord-Vale3 His Tremendousness

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    Ah, thanks putting out the perceived fire. It's not so much 'an old book told me so' as it is I believe there is a God and that He put animals on earth for our use, but if you want to limit the discussion to just the thought process of us temporal men, then your right my justification does not do much to satisfy your question.

    And yes many fellow military men must psychologically differentiate the enemy from 'people', hence why we refer to our foes as 'the enemy', 'insurgents' etc. Although the mindset of killing these people in order to defend your loved ones I think makes it all the easier.

    To put aside the spiritual beliefs entirely and consider the problem with just the mind - I consider it moral to slaughter animals for our benefit because especially in times of famine or when crops go bad, meat is the only way to sustain ourselves. In todays society we have means of artificial nutrition - however there are most always negative side effects to this nutrition that can be avoided through the consumption of flesh.

    I believe that the order of healthful sustainment is fruits/vegetables/grains > meat > artificial foods, and that most of our nutrition we should gather from sources other than meat and that meat should only be eaten in small amounts. In todays society many animals are unnecessarily slaughtered because the consumption of meat is much higher than it needs to be - with bacon and sausage appearing in most everyday breakfasts, hamburgers/steaks/roasts and all the forms chicken takes often appearing in lunch/dinner/supper etc.

    I also believe that when slaughtering the animal it should be done in a way that the animal suffers minimally. Putting a bullet through the head is much quicker and more painless to an animal than slitting its throat. This however, is not economical.

    As for the killing of sentience. The animals we kill have little sentience beyond basic instincts and feelings such as pain, gratification, and fear. The animals dont mind being bred for slaughter, it is beyond their capacity to realize this, and if they are killed in a manner such as I mentioned above, they dont know whats going on, they wont feel fear or pain.
     
  12. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Like I said, we all do things we consider wrong. But I'd prefer there exists a driver who knows speeding makes him a bad driver and desires to reduce his speed, than one who thinks he's fine going way above the speed limit because the rules don't apply to him.

    On a day to day basis, not a huge amount. Sometimes more than other times. I am changing my ways, but obviously switching to a vegan diet is a massive lifestyle change, and what with my considering joining the military properly after university would necessitate an even larger change in my life plans, since you basically can not be a vegan and be in the army (they don't cater for you, simply). Certainly I don't believe that my consumption of animals is a victimless crime, each and every animal that dies so I can eat meat, wear leather, etc. is a victim.

    Moral relativity, the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    So I take it you think it's fine for me to kill you if I think it's morally OK? I'm serious here, are you ok with me killing you and going unpunished? If you are not, then I strongly suggest you reconsider your stance. If morality lies in the eyes of the beholder, then anyone can do anything they please so long as it's OK with them. That is no system of morality, that is amorality. You are better than that. You are capable of more than that. So is every other human capable of rational thought on this planet.


    Personhood is the quality one has when one is a person. You can change the words if it pleases you, it doesn't change the argument. Defeat the argument and not the terminology and we can start talking.

    Firstly, Webster's dictionary is a pile of pish, OED Cheesecake! Secondly, I understand if this seems like a cop out to you but I say this from a student of philosophy's perspective, not of a debaters, that one can not rely upon dictionary definitions to be complete when having a debate on philosophy. Partly because they are too limited, and partly because in philosophy words are regularly redefined to mean something slightly different. Personhood is not quite identiy, but rather the quality of being a person. A person is someone who is liable to recieve the same moral treatment that we ourselves are liable to recieve, as we too are persons.

    2. An immoral species isn't worth preserving.

    Acts and omissions would seem to activate here. You can use the land. That said, there is a palpable difference between growing crops on the land and utilising the universe's atoms and rearing cattle on the land and using their remains to rear more.

    Both options 1 and 2 are fine. If you are understanding the moral argument I'm forwarding, you'll understand that.

    With massive difficulty, to be honest. I've known a few vegans, and known of many more. It takes great effort to avoid all animal products, and a huge change to one's lifestyle. It is possible though, and frankly DXR's video exaggerated things a little bit (although not a great deal). In my experience most vegans don't assume things they consume are OK until otherwise informed, rather they seek out resources which tell them what they can morally consume and avoid everything else. It is a tough lifestyle, but then, being moral is rarely easy.

    As a student of philosophy you should know better. Philosophy underpins the majority of our existence in the western world. Without philosophy we could justify almost none of our science, morality, or politics. I used to liken philosophy to masturbation - satisfying but ultimately meaningless. Then I studied it formally. Now I realise that philosophy underpins our society, our technology, and our science, whether we realise it or not.

    I don't believe I have said that, although if I have I certainly have not intended to.

    Either you have misunderstood, or are deliberately misrepresenting my argument. I have made no argument regarding denial of future life (there are many good arguments there, but I have not called upon them as of yet) - Rather I have made arguments about using other beings as a means to an end, and of imposing will upon animals which either do not, or can not consent.

    Firstly, we do not need animals. It is perfectly possible for us to live without using them. Secondly, I reject your assumption.

    Again wrong, we do not require animal flesh, we are just accustomed to it. It is perfectly possible to live as a vegan.


    Firstly, need is not a moral argument. If I'm starving and need to eat, that doesn't justify my stealing food of your plate. Secondly, you are wrong again as we are at a state where humans can live without the direct dietary consumption of animal flesh.

    Again you're working of premises which are wrong, but no, it wouldn't be immoral to follow the moral. If I am dying but could steal food from someone else who would die without that food, it does not make it moral or mean I can ignore morality and steal their food and be in the moral clear.

    I have not maintained this, or have not intended to. Please point out specifically where I have and I will endevour to either explain what I actually meant or explain my reasoning.

    You seem to be failing to understand the basics behind a rights-based system of morals. If patients have the choice to injest the pill then there is no "killing" involved, only people taking a risk with their own lives (as many sick people do) in order to extend their lives. If the doctor or pharmacist is forcibly admitting these drugs to all the old people they can find then very clearly it is an immoral act. This is remarkably simple and yet you do not seem to grasp it, which suggests to me that you are not quite grasping the basic moral stance I am forwarding.

    You're conflating kantian and utilitarian morality, and failing to understand acts and omissions. As Eddtox has pointed out, informed consent would be the key in the above thought experiment (although I suppose even uninformed consent would be perfectly ok from a moral perspective).

    No. Not in this case. He contributed nothing. At best, he wasted bits on some server somewhere. That's it. Unintelligent contributions don't contribute to a discussion, they take away from it. Frankly, if I didn't have to sift through so much crap in this thread I could reply to the decent arguments a lot more.

    Just because you don't understand it doesn't make it false. I don't understand quantum phsyics (very much) but that doesn't make it false.

    That's because a child simply isn't developed enough to be moral, the same as a cow isn't developed enough to be moral. That doesn't mean that what they do is immoral, it just excuses them their immorality because they are not capable of anything more. Seriously, arguments from nature are long gone in this thread. Lets get over them. And as I've already said at least a few times, just because there isn't a single right answer doesn't mean there aren't wrong answers. Morality varying between societies doesn't' mean that some of them aren't wrong.

    Frankly, you contributed a fictionally derived viewpoint which is lacking both value and morality.
     
  13. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    what total and absolute bull sh!t......
    http://www.earthlings.com/
    watch that if you have the guts, or the full thing that i have linked in a post before on this topic.

    Iv never eaten an animal in my life....and probably healthier than you.
     
  14. Lord-Vale3

    Lord-Vale3 His Tremendousness

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    What a worthless response to my post.:rolleyes:

    In the scenarios in that video, it would be quite obvious to the animals what is going on and thus they would feel fear, and the ways they were killed they would feel pain.

    Killing them in ways that didnt put them in a rotating throat slitter or didn't herd them masses of them into a noisy machine would prevent them from feeling pain or fear. There are also ways (like the bullet to the head example) to kill them without them feeling pain. Like I said, this is unfortunately, not economical.

    Your video didnt even apply to my suggestion in my previous post.
     
  15. Krazeh

    Krazeh Well-Known Member

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    specofdust, just a quick question because i'm a little confused. In this moral stance/viewpoint you're putting forward as what we should all use it's wrong to kill an animal to use it for food or clothing or whatever else you can produce from it's remains but it's perfectly acceptable to withhold food and allow it to starve to death?
     
  16. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    it isn't a matter if they know its coming or not.... its that is going to happen, what diffrance does it make if they know?
    I can go and commit a murder and its ok if they guy i was going to kill didnt know about it? no...
     
  17. Krazeh

    Krazeh Well-Known Member

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    No, but assuming you killed him in a single swift action then he would neither fear his death nor feel pain. Which was the point Lord-Vale3 was making.
     
  18. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    So its ok to kill that human for no survival needs because he didn't feel anything?
    What im saying is fear, and pain don't come into it....
     
  19. Krazeh

    Krazeh Well-Known Member

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    And this is what is called a strawman argument. Lord-Vale3 made a statement about animals not feeling fear or pain when slaughtered using modern methods. Instead of trying to argue against that statement you're creating new statements which neither he or I have made and trying to use them as a basis for your argument. So how about now trying to argue against the actual point Lord-Vale3 made?
     
  20. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    from footage i have seen, and iv seen a a lot, they do fear what's coming, and do know, this has been shown on TV on a show called "kill it, skin it, eat it" in the UK
    Something i did see also is where cows where locked into a moving belt above them been suspended by a single cable attached to the back leg, where they could see cows before them been killed, and you can see there are petrified, but hopeless as there locked into the belt.

    But you must understand where im coming from when i say it does not matter if they know its coming.

    Moden methods: throat cut, and left to drown in their own blood, OR Bolt to the head, which isnt always a successful kill.
    Animals are also often torched while in the factories by sick, twisted employees
     

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