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Animals, Eating Meat and Moral Standing

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 12:39 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:

But that's also a natural behavior as well. Animals 'prepare' their food all the time using different methods - cracking food open using tools is no different than using fire to prepare meat.

If you're going to discuss behavior factors in animals, then choose an example that demonstrates an animal augmenting its digestive ability. The only example that comes to mind is that rabbits eat, then ****, then eat their ****. They get their nutrients the second time around. If rabbits where to be able to manage tools that allowed for them to digest their food on the first pass, that would be a decent example. It would however be a demonstration of augmentation and would be a hard sell in terms of natural behavior.


Many different birds use rocks to break open shells, or drop shells from a height to make them accessible. That's an example of food preparation in the natural world right there.
Quote:


Cycloptichorn wrote:

Nothing that humans do - nothing - is 'unnatural.' All of our abilities and decisions are expressions of who we are as animals. If other animals knew how to use fire to cook food, they'd do it too. I think what you are pointing out here is a false distinction.

If nothing can be unnatural, then the word natural loses all meaning. Why say that eating meat is natural? The term is meaningless. Eating cardboard is then natural.


Yes, you're correct. Nothing is unnatural. The word HAS no meaning. It is an artifice, a false construction, designed to draw a distinction which really doesn't exist.

Quote:
If other animals knew how to use fire they would. This is essentially what I said RE: a deer eating you or I. I think you downplay the role tech augmentation plays in our ability to digest meat. I'm not really on board to call that natural. That said, I don't think that something by virtue of being unnatural excludes us from use. Certainly the internet augments our communication abilities far beyond our ability to speak and hear. That said, it would be absurd to say that we are designed for the internet.


Why? The internet is a technological advancement of our natural monkey tendency to blather and babble at each other all day. It is fundamentally no different than any other information stream. I think we ARE designed for the internet; the fact that within 20 years of its' inception, the entire modern world is completely and totally dependent on it, is proof enough of that. It's like we were waiting for it all along.

Quote:
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Only if you somehow attempt to divorce animal behaviors from the animals who engage in them.

Can you reiterate? I couldn't quite follow how this fit in regards to what I wrote. Thanks.


It's not un-natural to eat meat, even if you have to cook it first. It's perfectly natural. There's plenty of evidence that humans were cooking and eating meat dozens of thousands of years before writing or communication. It is a fundamental part of who our species is.

Besides, it's not just 'meat' we're talking about here. What about Eggs? You can eat them raw without much problem, and those are by any measurement, meat.

I think that part of this conversation revolves around the idea that there is some sort of universal moral standard that we have to live up to, which I don't really agree with. Every bit of evidence we can see shows that animals eat each other on a regular basis, and predators - such as, say, me - eat meat on a regular basis. I don't know what could be more moral than following the course of nature and continuing to do what I evolved to do.

Cycloptichorn
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 12:39 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
you asked if we wanted large distended bellies.


From what I've seen, that's already the case.

Sadly accurate. McDonalds be damned.

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0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 01:12 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thats because you, ROBERT, like to stand on the hill of morality with this clown and preach to the unwashed meataraians when you have no ideas about the economics and the methods of stock raising , either "factory" or " boutique".

Ive never been surprised by the "go for the throat" tactics of you militant veggiephagiacs. Why not start a group with the rules that no meatatrians need apply.

Big stew doesnt have a clue about farming, animal husbandry or how economics rules this market. Boutique and grass fed
Livestock all gather much higher premiums than confinement or stockyard finishing. The points that Biggie made are mostly invalid and even his choice of words like "normative" are bullshit assumptions by him alone.
I recall your own forced position re"cute animals" v "uncute animals", vapid.
BUT, if you want to start up again.

Ive argued with R Gentel whose own arguments are pretty vapid and fairly fact -free yet he wants to be respected with his opinions on this. WHen you can speak from 30 years of experience inall aspects of livestock raising,care, and marketing, then we can talk. You have no idea abut what you speak.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

failures art wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:

But that's also a natural behavior as well. Animals 'prepare' their food all the time using different methods - cracking food open using tools is no different than using fire to prepare meat.

If you're going to discuss behavior factors in animals, then choose an example that demonstrates an animal augmenting its digestive ability. The only example that comes to mind is that rabbits eat, then ****, then eat their ****. They get their nutrients the second time around. If rabbits where to be able to manage tools that allowed for them to digest their food on the first pass, that would be a decent example. It would however be a demonstration of augmentation and would be a hard sell in terms of natural behavior.


Many different birds use rocks to break open shells, or drop shells from a height to make them accessible. That's an example of food preparation in the natural world right there.

That's not really food prep. If what they did made it so they ate the shell as well. What you're talking about is more about fitness in terms of accessibility to a food source. If the bird is in competition for a food supply with another animal that cannot crack open the shell, then that is it's fitness. It's not food prep as much as defeating the creature's defense (the shell). Should we consider food prep as a means to bypass a creatures defense? If so, then do we consider our uncooked selves to be a part of our natural defenses?

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Quote:


Cycloptichorn wrote:

Nothing that humans do - nothing - is 'unnatural.' All of our abilities and decisions are expressions of who we are as animals. If other animals knew how to use fire to cook food, they'd do it too. I think what you are pointing out here is a false distinction.

If nothing can be unnatural, then the word natural loses all meaning. Why say that eating meat is natural? The term is meaningless. Eating cardboard is then natural.


Yes, you're correct. Nothing is unnatural. The word HAS no meaning. It is an artifice, a false construction, designed to draw a distinction which really doesn't exist.

If you've listened to my reasoning, I'm not basing my choice on natural/unnatural. It simply is unnecessary to eat, and I find no further desire to. There is no imperative that I must eat animals and given that, along with the reality that to eat something I don't need something must suffer and die, I don't.

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Quote:
If other animals knew how to use fire they would. This is essentially what I said RE: a deer eating you or I. I think you downplay the role tech augmentation plays in our ability to digest meat. I'm not really on board to call that natural. That said, I don't think that something by virtue of being unnatural excludes us from use. Certainly the internet augments our communication abilities far beyond our ability to speak and hear. That said, it would be absurd to say that we are designed for the internet.


Why? The internet is a technological advancement of our natural monkey tendency to blather and babble at each other all day. It is fundamentally no different than any other information stream. I think we ARE designed for the internet; the fact that within 20 years of its' inception, the entire modern world is completely and totally dependent on it, is proof enough of that. It's like we were waiting for it all along.

But this frames the relationship backwards. We aren't designed for the internet, the internet was designed to us. We can agree we has a neccesity to communicate, but if a person was to reject the internet because they found it unnecessary, they would not be doing an action that is adverse to their nature.

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Quote:
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Only if you somehow attempt to divorce animal behaviors from the animals who engage in them.

Can you reiterate? I couldn't quite follow how this fit in regards to what I wrote. Thanks.


It's not un-natural to eat meat, even if you have to cook it first. It's perfectly natural.

You just addressed the weakness of the distinction of natural and unnatural.

Cycloptichorn wrote:

There's plenty of evidence that humans were cooking and eating meat dozens of thousands of years before writing or communication. It is a fundamental part of who our species is.

"Who our species is" is a interesting phrase. I'm not sure what to make of it. I think you refer to adaptations made to a environment so radically different than our own. Certainly our environment should factor into such a philosophical entity as "who we are."

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Besides, it's not just 'meat' we're talking about here. What about Eggs? You can eat them raw without much problem, and those are by any measurement, meat.

Meat is very specifically muscle tissue. Eggs have animal protein, but should not be called meat. That said, I don't eat eggs. I'd have no issue with free range eggs on a moral level, but my exclusion is based more on health. The same applies for dairy.

Cycloptichorn wrote:

I think that part of this conversation revolves around the idea that there is some sort of universal moral standard that we have to live up to, which I don't really agree with.

I don't think there is a universal moral standard. This is where I disagree with big stew. For example, the Native Americans relationship with animals was one where they did give animals moral standing. They treated animals as scared and thought they had to share the land equally with them. The natives did still eat meat. The idea the moral standing alone leads to vegetarianism is not something I've endorsed.

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Every bit of evidence we can see shows that animals eat each other on a regular basis, and predators - such as, say, me - eat meat on a regular basis. I don't know what could be more moral than following the course of nature and continuing to do what I evolved to do.

Suggesting that there is a course, or that by only eating plants we are off course is a hard sell. You are correct that many animals have a predatory relationship. Only one animal has a mercenary relationship with other though. Viewing ourselves as predators is one thing, but we still are using our gathering skills to acquire meat in a grocery. Very few humans feed themselves using these predatory skills.

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0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:21 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
Yes, you're correct. Nothing is unnatural. The word HAS no meaning. It is an artifice, a false construction, designed to draw a distinction which really doesn't exist.


This is an important point. I suspect that it is a relic of religious dogma which places man above a notional apex of ahimal life, and claims that man is the favored production of a special creation. Octopii in the Mediterranean Sea build "houses" on the ocean floor, and otters use flat stones to dreak open the shells of shellfish. All behaviors which have been used in the past to "distinguish" human behavior are not in fact unqiue. The special position of man in the alleged creation was used to suggest that we have dominion and stewardship of animals.

But it's a sham. What man does is natural because man is a part of nature. To allege that our artifacts are unnatural is as silly as to suggest that the huge termite mounds of Africa are products of artifice and therefore unnatural.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:23 pm
@farmerman,
Your economic concerns, nor my lack of experience in animal husbandry, do not make eating animals...

1) necessary
2) desirable

...to me. If you can't sell the demand of meat to me, how can you expect me to purchase your supply? That seems to be your major concern, that your commodity loses it's value.

farmerman wrote:
Ive never been surprised by the "go for the throat" tactics of you militant veggiephagiacs. Why not start a group with the rules that no meatatrians need apply.

A juxtaposition: Ridiculing vegetarians, and suggesting that you are persecuted.

farmerman wrote:
WHen you can speak from 30 years of experience inall aspects of livestock raising,care, and marketing, then we can talk. You have no idea abut what you speak.

What experience in either of these will make the eating of animals neccesary? You've not tended to tobacco crops either. Does this mean you cannot comment on smoking? You're committing a fallacy known as poisoning the well.

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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:28 pm
@farmerman,
I'm calm, don't start that **** again. Maybe Mythbusters has a salutary effect on the minds of children, but i'd not ever given that much consideration.

As for splinter damage in warships, it was significant enough that measures were taken to protect the crews from it. Mythbusters tested nine pound cannon on flimsy wood. They did not test the effects of 24, or 32 or 36 pound round shot on 26" of seasoned oak. Hell, carronades routinely ran 32, 36, 42 and 48 pounds. Those were some hellish big roundshot out there slamming in at relatively high speeds, given that, especially the Royal Navy believed in fighting yard arm to yard arm, where you couldn't miss. My problem with Mythbusters in that case and in others is a matter of scale. Sure, shoot some nine pound round sho0t into green wood at range and you probably won't produce lethal splinters. Firing a 24 pound or a 36 pound round shot into 26" seasoned oak planks is going to have effect greater by orders of magnitude.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:28 pm
I repeat part of my last post and then I retire from the thread:
I would be willing to bet most vegetarians would revert to meat eating in an instant, if the best, most tasty plants were no longer available.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:29 pm
@farmerman,
The Nature of Things is no longer regularly broadcast (Suzuki is, i think, in his 70s now). It is shown in re-run. You might find episodes online, i have never looked.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:32 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
In most arguments I have seen it used it usually is meaningless [i.e., natural]. Firstly the distinction is vague but beyond that it usually implies, but does nothing to substantiate, the underlying notion that natural is good.


A point worth repeating.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:32 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

I would be willing to bet most vegetarians would revert to meat eating in an instant, if the best, most tasty plants were no longer available.

So what? You're just saying that most vegetarians are hypocrites, not that eating meat is ethical.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:43 pm
@edgarblythe,
I think the greatest threat to plant diversity is industrial farming. If plant life was at risk, it's possible that many vegetarians would switch back. That however would be a larger statement about how we fucked the earth's ecology. Moreover, it wouldn't just effect the vegetarians. I can't imagine diverse plant life being only important to vegetarians.

If we can get all of our nutrients from plants, we don't need to eat meat. If someone comes along and makes it harder to get those nutrients from plants alone, I can't fault them from getting them elsewhere.

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gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 02:51 pm
@Ceili,
Quote:
While that may be true in most circumstances, I have severe allergies and I cannot eat most of the alternate protein sources. I buy all my meat from local farmers, not factory farms. Happy cows/chicken as it were......



Did you bother to ask any of the cows or chickens how happy they were about you eating them?
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 03:28 pm
It was a joke, too bad you once again show that you lack a sense of humour.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 04:00 pm
@failures art,
Quote:
If we can get all of our nutrients from plants, we don't need to eat meat.


I need to eat meat. I'm not interested in any explanation which shows me that I could get all my vitamins and nutrients or whatever from a careful diet of mung beans and sprouts or whatever. It's not the same and my body knows it. If I go a few days without eating meat - which does happen - I begin to crave it.

Why not listen to your body when it tells ya things?

I also wonder if we can't break this equation down a little more morally. I think of it like this:

Assertion: animals are morally correct to try and eat one another.

I think it would be hard to argue against that point.

Fact: Humans are animals.

Also hard to argue against.

Result: humans are morally correct to try and eat other animals.

Where's the break in the logical chain?

Cycloptichorn
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 04:08 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
The break in the chain is that other animals eat each other out of neccesity. Humans have no such neccesity. During the paleolithic era, deer ate filed mice out of neccesity.

You haven't established neccesity vis-a-vis craving. You've established desire or even addiction. Smokers crave their fix too. We don't say they need it.

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bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 04:09 pm
@JTT,
Haha oh the irony I know.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 04:19 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

The break in the chain is that other animals eat each other out of neccesity.


There's an unproven assertion if I ever saw one.

If you offered a cat fresh meat every day, or kitty kibble which is nutritionally balanced, which one do you think they will choose? I own two cats and already know the answer, so it's sort of a rhetorical question. They choose the fresh meat. Because it tastes far, far better and something in their brain says 'this is the stuff to eat!'

Meat tastes far, far better than everything else I eat and something in my brain says 'this is what you should be eating.' That's nature, baby. Why fight it?

Quote:
Humans have no such neccesity. During the paleolithic era, deer ate filed mice out of neccesity.


I believe that eating meat is a necessity for me. I define what's a necessity for me, not anyone else. It's a personal choice, and not one that has to be justified to outsiders.

There's Life and then there's Living. You would stay alive if I locked you in a 10x10' box, piped in food, fresh air and water, piped out waste, and that's it. All the requirements for your existence would be present. You would be alive. But you wouldn't be Living.

Your argument seems to imply that only those things most necessary to sustain life are worth considering in terms of morality. I think that this doesn't reflect reality. My desire to eat meat is a natural part of me; I didn't create the desire. It wasn't trained up by my parents. It is inherent in humans. To deny this is, based solely on the fact that it's POSSIBLE to live without meat, is foolish.

Cycloptichorn
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 04:23 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
I also wonder if we can't break this equation down a little more morally. I think of it like this:

Assertion: animals are morally correct to try and eat one another.

I think it would be hard to argue against that point.

No, actually it's quite easy to argue against that point. Your assertion that animals are "morally correct" is an unsupported assumption. What does it mean for a non-human animal to be "morally correct?"
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2011 04:25 pm
@wayne,
Thanks for the response, and though I disagree with you, the points of contention you raise are important ones.

Quote:

A simple appeal toward human decency would most likely have greater effect. It is really no different than the field mice, at this point.
To think we can remove meat and animal byproducts from our lives so easily, is naive. I doubt you will find many who don't agree we should treat animals as humanely as possible. I can't think of a more counter productive argument than ascribing moral standing to animals - and entirely unnecessary to boot.


I'll get to your practical arguments at the end, but I think this is the meat of you post.

What makes lighting a cat on fire wrong? I doubt that an appeal to human decency will suffice, because that is merely an indirect reason. Reason being, human decency, the way I interpret it (though you may not), sounds alot like being a good role model. We want to do the right thing because it encourages other people to do the right thing. Yet so long as nobody is around to see it, and human decency isn't affected, logically speaking, I don't see how lighting a cat on fire could be wrong given that premise. It is not the cat itself that matters, but indirect reasons like teh one you mention. Yet that seems extremely counter inutitive to many. When an animal is severely abused, we think it is wrong because animal itself makes a moral claim on us, that is, it's interests matter. So when it comes down to why we ought to treat animals humanely, I don't think indirect arguments provide adequate justification for the wrongness of the cruelty.

If the reasons for what people do does matter, then I think the proper justification of these sorts of issues is important. As a vegetarian, I'm not here to preach, but merely to test the logical coherence of my position.
0 Replies
 
 

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