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03-08-2012, 10:20   #121
Mark Hamill
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Originally Posted by The Corinthian View Post
OK, now this discussion is becoming a joke. I suggest you study the English language a little more before making such arguments because I was no more humanizing nature than I would be implying that a ship is female simply because I would refer to it as 'she'; it is simply a turn of phrase that should never be taken literally - unless you don't actually understand English grammar, naturally.
So let me get this straight: I said that people don't do a lot of things because of guilt, sometimes that guilt has a point. Your reply "nature would appear to disagree with you", you now say, is not a humanisation of nature, its merely saying what, not everyone feels the guilt? What type of argument is that? If you aren't humanising nature, then what difference does it make what nature is now? If its not humanised, then why exactly should we be limited by it? What difference does it make?
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The rest of your post ...
Don't label my post as derailing and just reassert the points you already made because of your inability to respond to my points, that's not how discussion works. Most of what I had in my last post was questioning what you mean by your various points, how can that be derailing?
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03-08-2012, 10:33   #122
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What gets me though, it that the "animals do not want to die" argument seems to follow little logic. Every time we use detergent to clean the floor we kill (very small) animals. Or how we will tend to show more empathy twoards 'nice' animals such as rabbits, rather than 'nasty' animals such as rats, even though the former are far more ecologically harmful.
Bacteria aren't animals, they are bacteria. Also, canyon-wide gap between not killing animals for food because we don't need to and defending our health against pests.
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You missed the point I made completely; congratulations. No animal wants to die, however can you seriously claim that you hold the life of all animals with equal regard? If not, you're indulging in a fair bit of hypocrisy.

Or perhaps does the reason we kill them become a justification for killing them? If so, your argument that "no animal wants to die" is no longer binding.
How religiously absolutist. No human wants to die, so I wont, as a rule, kill people. However, if someone attacks me or a loved one and offers me no other choice, then I will kill them.
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Evolution does make a very clear statement on what we should or shouldn't eat
For someone who told me to learn proper English, you do use the worst possible language for someone claiming to be arguing from a completely ration and non humanising-of-nature position. Evolution doesn't make any statement, not in any sense. You might as say we should all lie on the ground, because gravity makes a very clear statement on falling down.
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04-08-2012, 23:54   #123
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We can eat meat, yes. That we are omnivores in this sense says nothing about the morality of meat eating. Seems like an entirely moot point to me.
So you've backtracked from our appearing to be omnivores to actually being omnivores. And that was my point; that you made an accusation of pseudo-intellectualism on the basis of, ironically, a pseudo-intellectual assertion.
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However, what is wrong with artificial supplements? You just dismissed them as idiotic earlier with absolutely no reasoning. If they enable people to live healthily without causing harm to other sentient beings, how is that idiotic?
If you take out the "causing harm to other sentient beings", then they do become a foolish way of taking in necessary inputs. And that's really the point - you seem to presume it is immoral to eat 'sentient' creatures, I do not.
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? It is morally wrong to eat grass because it is likely to make me ill?
No but it does debunk your rather spurious claim that "evolution makes no statement on what we should or shouldn't eat", which is what I was clearly responding to. Any reason you decided to ignore that?
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I mean, if you don't have any empathy for animals, I can see why you would reject this. It's bizarre that you would categorize those with differing empathy levels as being neurotic or brainwashed though.
But I do have empathy for animals; I neither consider blood sports nor abusive treatment to be moral. Nor factory farming.

The difference is you are hyper-empathic, in that you have humanized them, despite the fact they're not actually human and then presume that unless everyone else does the same they must have no empathy.
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If you aren't humanising nature, then what difference does it make what nature is now? If its not humanised, then why exactly should we be limited by it? What difference does it make?
Are you being purposely obtuse?

By virtue of biology we are omnivorous and require both plant and animal inputs for a healthy diet. You might want to kid yourself that this is not the case, but that's how we are - to use poetic licence nature would disagree with you; not that complicated, is it?
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Don't label my post as derailing and just reassert the points you already made because of your inability to respond to my points, that's not how discussion works. Most of what I had in my last post was questioning what you mean by your various points, how can that be derailing?
Because you are repeatedly nit-picking on ridiculous points related on my use of English to convey my argument and ignoring the question of whether it is moral or not and (repeatedly) ignoring my accusation that this is a largely urban, middle class and, frankly, Anglophone phenomenon.

No we can continue wasting time questioning my use of English and your rather ridiculous literal interpretation thereof, or you can actually address the topic.
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How religiously absolutist. No human wants to die, so I wont, as a rule, kill people. However, if someone attacks me or a loved one and offers me no other choice, then I will kill them.
You're the one who brought up the 'no animal wants to die' argument, so don't get upset when someone points out what a silly argument it is.
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For someone who told me to learn proper English, you do use the worst possible language for someone claiming to be arguing from a completely ration and non humanising-of-nature position. Evolution doesn't make any statement, not in any sense. You might as say we should all lie on the ground, because gravity makes a very clear statement on falling down.
Straw man. Please stop digressing further.
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05-08-2012, 03:29   #124
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So you've backtracked from our appearing to be omnivores to actually being omnivores. And that was my point; that you made an accusation of pseudo-intellectualism on the basis of, ironically, a pseudo-intellectual assertion.
You do realise that "omnivore" is an extremely general term used to classify different species' observed eating patterns at a very high level? There is no "omnivore" vs. "appearing to be an omnivore", because "omnivore" itself is a vague term of convenience. I'm not sure what the argument is here.

If your point is that, because humans can be classed as omnivorous at a high level, that we must eat meat and vegetables to survive, well that's a non argument, because plenty of vegetarians are perfectly healthy. If we take this further to include all animal products, it is also a non argument because there exist perfectly healthy vegans. If your response to their need to take supplements is that "it's idiotic" or "it's not natural", well then that's a non argument also, for obvious reasons.

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If you take out the "causing harm to other sentient beings", then they do become a foolish way of taking in necessary inputs. And that's really the point - you seem to presume it is immoral to eat 'sentient' creatures, I do not.
Exactly. The issue is you make the inference that those who feel differently and have different moral standards to yourself are neurotic.

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No but it does debunk your rather spurious claim that "evolution makes no statement on what we should or shouldn't eat", which is what I was clearly responding to. Any reason you decided to ignore that?
I meant "should" in a moral sense.

If we mean it in a practical sense, evolution does not tell us we shouldn't live a diet of only animal byproducts instead of meat, or synthetic supplements instead of any animal derived products. It only tells us we should eat foods with certain nutrients etc.

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But I do have empathy for animals; I neither consider blood sports nor abusive treatment to be moral. Nor factory farming.

The difference is you are hyper-empathic, in that you have humanized them, despite the fact they're not actually human and then presume that unless everyone else does the same they must have no empathy.
Who gets to decide that they're hyper-empathetic? You?

Just because someone feels differently to you does not make them wrong or mentally ill.

I eat meat. I don't feel guilty for eating it in itself. I feel guilty sometimes that I don't try to get my meat from more ethical sources. I acknowledge and can see how some people would simply feel guilty about eating meat full stop, and while they think differently to me, I don't think they're wrong or neurotic for thinking this way. How is this hard?
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05-08-2012, 09:27   #125
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There is no "omnivore" vs. "appearing to be an omnivore", because "omnivore" itself is a vague term of convenience.
If so, I'm not sure why you chose to highlight "appearing to be omnivores" as a point then if it is so moot.
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If your point is that, because humans can be classed as omnivorous at a high level, that we must eat meat and vegetables to survive, well that's a non argument, because plenty of vegetarians are perfectly healthy.
And I've repeatedly said that a vegetarian diet is perfectly healthy. But a vegetarian diet is a bit misleading as it is not actually limited to only vegetables, but includes animal products such as eggs and dairy items, which we need for things that vegetables cannot supply us.

And this is where the 'moral' arguments begin to break down, because vegetarians can only really be vegetarians at present as long as most of us eat meat - without that reality production of eggs and dairy items becomes impractical and would doom to extinction those domestic species that cannot survive outside of farms - which bizarrely is considered 'moral' by vegetarians such as Mark Hamill.
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If we take this further to include all animal products, it is also a non argument because there exist perfectly healthy vegans.
As long as they take supplements, which if you do not see eating of meat as immoral becomes an insane way to survive.
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Exactly. The issue is you make the inference that those who feel differently and have different moral standards to yourself are neurotic.
No, I make the inference that those who feel differently and have different moral standards to yourself are neurotic because of why they do so. And this is the crux of the matter, because it suffers from so many inconsistencies and is more based on emotion (guilt) than any rational position.
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Who gets to decide that they're hyper-empathetic? You?
Animals are how we get certain nutrients, and how we have done so since our species first appeared, so developing a level of empathy that prohibits us from this would certainly appear to be exaggerated.

Of course, our technology allows us to use artificial means to get those nutrients if we wanted, but then again we could all simply reproduce using IVF also, as we have the technology to bypass sex.

In short, just because we can avoid the 'natural' way of doing things does not mean that it makes sense to do so.
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Just because someone feels differently to you does not make them wrong or mentally ill.
No, but genearally when someone feels so strongly that it creates physical and/or compulsive reactions to certain scenarios, you do need to question it's sanity.

What is happening is that people feel guilt to a level that invokes nausea to meat, or drive several kilometres to water to release some lobsters (that probably ended up dead shortly thereafter in the shallow water) that they originally bought to eat, yet they do not question if this is sane or rational behaviour - indeed, many hint that they realize it may not be.
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I eat meat. I don't feel guilty for eating it in itself. I feel guilty sometimes that I don't try to get my meat from more ethical sources. I acknowledge and can see how some people would simply feel guilty about eating meat full stop, and while they think differently to me, I don't think they're wrong or neurotic for thinking this way. How is this hard?
I respect other people's beliefs and principles. I don't respect their compulsions.
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05-08-2012, 14:51   #126
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Are you being purposely obtuse?

By virtue of biology we are omnivorous and require both plant and animal inputs for a healthy diet. You might want to kid yourself that this is not the case, but that's how we are - to use poetic licence nature would disagree with you; not that complicated, is it?
Are you being purposefully obtuse? Its been explained already that what we need are nutrients that we historically could only get from a diet containing meat products, but that is not the case any more. Pointing out that without human technology, we would require meat is irrelevant, without human technology we would be naked, but that doesn't mean we have to be naked.
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Because you are repeatedly nit-picking on ridiculous points related on my use of English to convey my argument and ignoring the question of whether it is moral or not and (repeatedly) ignoring my accusation that this is a largely urban, middle class and, frankly, Anglophone phenomenon.

No we can continue wasting time questioning my use of English and your rather ridiculous literal interpretation thereof, or you can actually address the topic.
I can only address the topic when I understand what you are saying. You claim to not be humanising nature, to not be pseudo-religiously looking at humanities place in the world, and yet you continuously use language that contradicts that, so I must question what you actually mean by language that you have admitted before you are only using figuratively.
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You're the one who brought up the 'no animal wants to die' argument, so don't get upset when someone points out what a silly argument it is.
Except its not silly, as I showed how the same reasoning applies to humans. I don't want to kill anything, but I recognise that sometimes yo aren't always given a choice. I never offered an absolutist view on killing, but you tried to debunk what I said as if I did. Thats a straw man.
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Straw man. Please stop digressing further.
That is not a straw man, stop running away from points you don't like. If you really don't put any humanisation into nature, then stop making points as if you do. Saying nature/evolution makes a statement on something makes about as much sense as saying gravity makes a statement on something.
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05-08-2012, 15:08   #127
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And this is where the 'moral' arguments begin to break down, because vegetarians can only really be vegetarians at present as long as most of us eat meat - without that reality production of eggs and dairy items becomes impractical and would doom to extinction those domestic species that cannot survive outside of farms - which bizarrely is considered 'moral' by vegetarians such as Mark Hamill.
Bit disingenuous to bring me up in relation to a point you ran away from. As I said before, its not immoral for humans to let wild animals live in nature by themselves, so why would it be immoral to let farm animals do so? Why would it be immoral to let evolution "make a statement" on farm animals "role" in nature? You seem to be assuming they couldn't evolve to live in the wild again.

Even if it was immoral to put them into the wild to fend for themselves, how does that justify eating them, rather than taking care of them? This is just poor post hoc reasoning to justify eating animals - X wouldn't survive without me, therefore I can eat X when it grows up. Tell me, as someone who has no problem eating sentient creatures, couldn't this reasoning be used to justify eating human orphans?
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05-08-2012, 15:37   #128
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Are you being purposefully obtuse?
No, I'm responding to your rather tiresome attacks on my use of English.
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I can only address the topic when I understand what you are saying. You claim to not be humanising nature, to not be pseudo-religiously looking at humanities place in the world, and yet you continuously use language that contradicts that, so I must question what you actually mean by language that you have admitted before you are only using figuratively.
Sure and if I referred to a ship or a country as 'she', then I'd be using language that both humanizes either and even assigns a gender. Seriously, get over it.
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I never offered an absolutist view on killing, but you tried to debunk what I said as if I did.
Where did you suggest, with caveats or otherwise, that this was not an absolutist view on killing? And I mean before you have qualified your meaning.
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That is not a straw man, stop running away from points you don't like. If you really don't put any humanisation into nature, then stop making points as if you do. Saying nature/evolution makes a statement on something makes about as much sense as saying gravity makes a statement on something.
I've repeatedly even given you examples of how one could (if you were literal as you appear to be) humanize ships, countries or many other inanimate objects or even concepts. The use of anthropomorphic personification in English (e.g. Death), and other languages, has been around for centuries - but that does not mean that anyone literally means that Death is a bloke with a scythe and cloak.

I genuinely don't understand why you're still nitpicking on this non-issue at this stage. I actually hope it's because you're trying to derail the thread from the core debate at this stage as the alternative is not very flattering to you.
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Bit disingenuous to bring me up in relation to a point you ran away from. As I said before, its not immoral for humans to let wild animals live in nature by themselves, so why would it be immoral to let farm animals do so? Why would it be immoral to let evolution "make a statement" on farm animals "role" in nature? You seem to be assuming they couldn't evolve to live in the wild again.
I'm not being in any way disingenuous - you are. I'm actually the one who is arguing that it is better for 'nature to take its course', you're the one who wants to go against this, for the welfare of the animals, then suddenly letting 'nature to take its course' when they become extinct, due to their dependants on farming, is all right.

I'm not the one who's cherry picking from various moral frameworks here; you are.
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Even if it was immoral to put them into the wild to fend for themselves, how does that justify eating them, rather than taking care of them?
That's your problem to work out, not mine. I don't have a problem eating them. I don't believe we should be gratuitously cruel, but neither do I believe it is immoral to eat them or let them die out - you're the one who is so concerned about their welfare to that level.

As such, it's really your problem to work out, not mine. It's a gap in your reasoning not mine - which is why I highlighted it in the first place.
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Tell me, as someone who has no problem eating sentient creatures, couldn't this reasoning be used to justify eating human orphans?
Despite the fact I've repeatedly told you that cannibalism is pretty abnormal behaviour in mammals, 'sentience' really isn't that big a deal even without that point.

Who cares if they're 'sentient'? 'Sapience' is what makes a difference.
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05-08-2012, 19:30   #129
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And this is where the 'moral' arguments begin to break down, because vegetarians can only really be vegetarians at present as long as most of us eat meat - without that reality production of eggs and dairy items becomes impractical and would doom to extinction those domestic species that cannot survive outside of farms - which bizarrely is considered 'moral' by vegetarians such as Mark Hamill.
There couldn't be farms on which only animal byproducts were produced?

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No, I make the inference that those who feel differently and have different moral standards to yourself are neurotic because of why they do so. And this is the crux of the matter, because it suffers from so many inconsistencies and is more based on emotion (guilt) than any rational position.
You said you oppose blood sports and factory farming earlier. Why?
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06-08-2012, 11:54   #130
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There couldn't be farms on which only animal byproducts were produced?
The costs would likely be prohibitive.

For example, with poultry farming, the quality of eggs and the ability for hens to lay them drops radically after they are one year old, at which point they are slaughtered for meat. If not they'll live another five or so unproductive years. Their productive egg-laying period is only about six months of their lives.

If we don't slaughter them, then what? Feed and house them for six instead of one year? Plus lose the income from the meat? How viable is that, environmental, or what do you think this would do to the cost of eggs?

Or milk; cows only produce when they're reproducing. What do we do with all the new livestock born or cows too old to reproduce? Let them all live to ripe old ages and forego the beef income? Other than the increased costs, that would likely make such farming untenable (or a pint of milk cost €25), I can't imagine that's going to be very ecologically sound.

Now perhaps science could overcome some of these issues by extending egg-laying for poultry or allowing cows to produce milk even without needing to give birth, but AFAIK this is not presently possible and even if it were may only marginally effect costs, so unfortunately, farming only for these by-products is presently, and perhaps even in the future, neither economically, nor ecologically viable.

As an addendum, there are those animals who do not produce by-products. Look at the world population of horses in the last 130 years; I doubt pigs would be as lucky.
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You said you oppose blood sports and factory farming earlier. Why?
Just because I recognise that eating meat is not a bad thing, does not mean that I do not recognise that needless cruelty is a bad thing - I've never opposed empathy for animals, only hyper-empathy.

Additionally, I do think that factory farming has let to our overconsumption of meat (and typically poor quality meat), by decreasing cost to the consumer. It would not be such a bad thing if cost increased and we were forced to eat less meat accordingly.
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07-08-2012, 00:45   #131
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Sure and if I referred to a ship or a country as 'she', then I'd be using language that both humanizes either and even assigns a gender. Seriously, get over it.
So then everytime you say something like "nature would agree/disagree" or "evolution makes a statement" you are just making empty statements. I'm making a statement on how something should be, and all you are saying is its not, so most of what you have said is moot.
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Where did you suggest, with caveats or otherwise, that this was not an absolutist view on killing? And I mean before you have qualified your meaning.
Where did I suggest otherwise? Saying we shouldn't do something is not the same as saying there aren't situations were we may have no choice but to do them anyway, I didn't think I needed to explain this. If you didn't understand, maybe you should have asked me for clarification.
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I've repeatedly even given you examples of how one could (if you were literal as you appear to be) humanize ships, countries or many other inanimate objects or even concepts. The use of anthropomorphic personification in English (e.g. Death), and other languages, has been around for centuries - but that does not mean that anyone literally means that Death is a bloke with a scythe and cloak.
And I have repeatedly pointed out that would mean that your points (which use this type of language) are all moot. You have used anthropomorphic personification in answer to me saying how things should be, but without humanisation all you have done is point out that its not. So what? So what if nature doesn't agree, or evolution makes a statement? Its irrelevant to what we should do.
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I'm not being in any way disingenuous - you are. I'm actually the one who is arguing that it is better for 'nature to take its course', you're the one who wants to go against this, for the welfare of the animals, then suddenly letting 'nature to take its course' when they become extinct, due to their dependants on farming, is all right.

I'm not the one who's cherry picking from various moral frameworks here; you are.
How is keeping animals for food letting nature take its course, but leaving them to their own devices in the wild not letting nature its course?
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That's your problem to work out, not mine. I don't have a problem eating them. I don't believe we should be gratuitously cruel, but neither do I believe it is immoral to eat them or let them die out - you're the one who is so concerned about their welfare to that level.

As such, it's really your problem to work out, not mine. It's a gap in your reasoning not mine - which is why I highlighted it in the first place.
This is one of the dumbest things I've heard. It's not my job to explain your logic, its yours. You've gone from "we should farm these animals because they wouldn't survive in the wild" to "we can eat them" and your justification for this jump is simply "I don't have a problem eating them". That's not a logical jump, you need to explain why keeping them alive entitles us to eat them because thats your claim.
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Who cares if they're 'sentient'? 'Sapience' is what makes a difference.
Why?
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12-08-2012, 00:18   #132
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You are doing a great job TC, though you have a great deal more patience than me. I am not even going to try and join the argument, I have too much empathy for the wall, and I'm going to need my head.
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