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Food Ethics 2 (or is it 3?).... Trying yet again

 
 
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 11:58 am
It's difficult to get meaningful discussion on food ethics on able2know, with a handful of people willing to actually explore the issue and dozens more that seem to just want to read themselves saying something remotely related to food or disparage vegetarians (and due to daftitude on the last thread I feel compelled to point out that I am not a vegetarian nor will I ever be, so if that's all you bring to the table please pick a different table). But it's interesting enough to me that I'm going to give it another try, and this was an ethical exercise I found interesting (reportedly from Eating Animals):

"You are brought before a race of hyperintelligent extraterrestrials and charged with the task of presenting a single argument of why they do not have the right to eat us. What do you say?"
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Type: Discussion • Score: 16 • Views: 4,875 • Replies: 74

 
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:03 pm
I can think of no reason they should not eat us, assuming we are of no other use to them. We would be more distant, biologically, than a chicken or fish is from us.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:09 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I am approaching this one on a very loose light minded way...

Assuming the rarity of life in this universe as a premise I would plead for the conservation of bio-diversity in the galaxy as means of hypothetically competing with any other around...and not because I believe that our specific presence as a acting part in this bio diversity asks for any special case consideration on itself, but essentially because we are the ones around to work with in the first place...
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:19 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm not really smart enough to make this argument (so they'd probably eat me) but I'd approach it from the perspective that we understand the germs and bacteria and other microorganisms of this planet and that these things could potentially devastate their population.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:23 pm
@boomerang,
Is that a "we are the best sherpas to navigate the other tasty creatures here" approach? (if so, I say you bring a slice of pig : - )
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:25 pm
@edgarblythe,
I agree with Edgar. I can think of no compelling moral reason why a higher-order predator than we are should feel remorse about eating us.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:30 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I'm in the same boat, and something that made the mental exercise still-playable to me was realizing that I could easily think of reasons I'd not want to be eaten and would probably try to come up with an argument anyway, even if I couldn't believe in it.

With that in mind, do you have any ideas for arguments you might find most compelling, even if you don't ultimately subscribe to the position?

Edit: I want to disqualify in advance the best argument I have seen posited; that you should pose this very scenario to them and get away while they engage in meta-argument.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:35 pm
@Robert Gentel,
As I suggested previously the only objective grounds that I can think of for an inter species working ethics would be based on the assumption of a potentially fruitful cooperation, thus implying a similar level of development...aside that I cannot see any other valid natural argument.
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:37 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:

With that in mind, do you have any ideas for arguments you might find most compelling, even if you don't ultimately subscribe to the position?


I guess my first question would be: why does a hyper-intelligent alien race rely upon energy intake in such a gross fashion? Surely they could come up with a better solution. It would be one of my top priorities, were I them.

... and yes, that same argument applies to us, as well. I think that we're WORKING on a better solution, but still lack the technology to implement it.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 12:44 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
"You are brought before a race of hyperintelligent extraterrestrials and charged with the task of presenting a single argument of why they do not have the right to eat us. What do you say?"

"People aren't kosher."
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 01:10 pm
@joefromchicago,
You know, religion might really be the argument with the best track record for getting people not to eat stuff.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 01:11 pm
@Robert Gentel,
No... not really that..... though I would suggest some tasty meals.

I'm thinking more that they might need our knowledge to understand the types of microorganisms that live here and how best to combat them. Even if they were supremely intelligent our practical experience in fighting disease might come in handy.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 02:00 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

You know, religion might really be the argument with the best track record for getting people not to eat stuff.

I can think of only one better way to convince people not to eat something: tell them it's disgusting.
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chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 02:21 pm
While my views aren't perfect, at this point I am finding sense in what cyclo had to say in 2 of his posts.

Re: remorse.
I feel remorse for having eaten so many animals when I didn't have to. I have remorse when I realize the horrible conditions animals had to live in, simply to satisfy what was basically a whim on my part. I continue to feel remorse when I occassionally cannot summon certain feelings to the surface when I am over hungry and fail to hold on until I can find something more suitable to eat.

I think a creatures capcity for feeling remorse increases as their intelligence increases. A slug doesn't know that emotion, but does a horse, a dog, a chimp? I dont' know, but I've seen instances that lead me to believe so.
If another race were hyper intelligent, surely they would have the capacity to regret also.

It's not necessary for me to kill a living creature to enjoy health and good food. Surely a hyper intelligent race would understand that even more. I just don't know if I believe hyper intelligent people would even find eating meat attactive, and protein and enjoyment can be found easily. It wouldn't make sense to them.

Honestly? Eating meat is pretty darn lazy, if you're not the one doing the actual slaughter.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 02:23 pm
@chai2,
Are n´t plants and vegetables living creatures to ???
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 02:28 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Well that's just an amazing argument I have never heard before.

Please, let us not prove to these ET's we are no more than mindless slugs.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 02:34 pm
@chai2,
And so now that you actually heard it from me what is your saying on it ?
Do you have a reply, or are you considering eating rocks after all ?
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 02:39 pm
...defending animal rights does n´t have any direct relation with preaching Veganism any more then God has a necessary relation with the existence of our Universe...the difference being that animal rights actually exist, or can be conceived off...maybe instead you are up for debating the extension of those rights instead...
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tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 03:08 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'd tell them I taste too gamey for their refined tastes. Plus, I'd be a bit too chewy as to be quite inedible.
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tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 03:15 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

You know, religion might really be the argument with the best track record for getting people not to eat stuff.


joefromchicago wrote:

"People aren't kosher."

You're not taking it literal enough Robert. Most people technically aren't kosher except if they're vegans. Nonvegans and those not suffering from lactose intolerance ingest all kinds of dairy products. Dairy and meat ≠ Kosher qualified. All one has to do is eat some cheese or consume a pint of ice cream before the alien plans on eating you and pray they hold to Kosher law.
 

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