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Plant eating

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#1
Not sure where to start. So, obviously the farm animals we keep have feelings and are able to experience pain, fear, are able to form bonds with other animals (or humans if they grow up with them). We could talk about consciousness, which is probably a more controversial theme, personally I think animals have a certain level of it (depending on definition). They are able to experience themselves as an animal in a world of stimuli. Obviously they are different from humans, plus they lack the type of complex language humans have, so obviously their understanding and perspective will be quite different from ours, in most part. Their understanding is mostly based on what is and what is possible, abstract themes like morals and communicating a deeper degree of understanding is impossible without a complex language or unusual complexity of thought (a lot of humans adapt to the morals and beliefs they grow up with, not questioning it or feel the need to). That being said, most animals (most because never assume) wouldn't have an understanding of complex concepts beyond that of a young human child.

So. Some of us live in a world where we have access to information and have the funds to support a cheap lifestyle based on plant foods (eating plant based is usually very cheap, me saying that as someone who lives in the middle of nowhere). Some of us can live mostly or entirely based on plants. So in that respect, I do think our perspective on killing and using animals for food comes into question. If we are able to live on plants, shouldn't we question our morals when killing beings capable of feeling? Shouldn't the degree other beings are able to experience and feel the world have a saying when it comes to our values? Animals have a pain system, a neurological system, plants do not have that

I used to eat a lot of meat myself and never question it. Like most people, I loved the taste of it. But when I did start to question it, I did realize that eating meat was mostly due to habit and comfort. I didn't need the nutrition as I could get it from plants, I ate meat because I liked the taste, it was convenient. But if I was to adhere to morals beyond my own desires, I had to recognize I didn't need meat and thus I had to question my motivation for keep eating it, and since I couldn't see a reational reason for keep eating meat, I changed my lifestyle
 

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#2
I dislike farmed livestock because of disease risk, environmental damage, and because it often produces a poor quality product, but I see pain, suffering, and death as an unavoidable part of life, and see no problem with eating animals.

Also, plants know when they're being eaten.
 
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#3
I dislike farmed livestock because of disease risk, environmental damage, and because it often produces a poor quality product, but I see pain, suffering, and death as an unavoidable part of life, and see no problem with eating animals.

Also, plants know when they're being eaten.
What do you mean unavoidable? I you are able to choose between a lentil and a beef, that's a choice, not inevitability

You say plants know when they are being eating. But seriously if you're an intelligent human, you know plants don't have a neurological system or a brain with consciousness. You can never compare a bean to a human, or a bean to a cow, if you think they have an equal level of intelligence and conciseness, frankly I don't know what to say. Obviously there's a difference between a bean and a human brain, and a bean and an animal brain
 

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#4
Neither cows nor lentils are immortal.

Is a neurological system necessary for consciousness, or processing information as pain? Science says plants respond as if they're being eaten when exposed to the sound of caterpillars chewing. Where are their ears?
 
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#5
A neurological system might not be the only factor in a consciousness system, no, but going from that to plants are able to feelz is quite drastic. Are you seriously saying plants way of functioning can compete with that of animals or humans in terms of being able to experience pain or life in general? How is plant suffering different or the same to
human suffering? How is plant suffering different or the same to mammals?
 

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#6
A neurological system might not be the only factor in a consciousness system, no, but going from that to plants are able to feelz is quite drastic. Are you seriously saying plants way of functioning can compete with that of animals or humans in terms of being able to experience pain or life in general? How is plant suffering different or the same to human suffering? How is plant suffering different or the same to mammals?
Why are you asking me? I'm just a lowly human bunny, so isolated from being a plant that I simply couldn't know what a plant feels, let alone a cow or even another human bunny, if empathy works the way I understand it.

I've seen animal rights activists use the term "speciesist" before. Is it speciesist to elevate animals over plants?
 
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#7
I'm asking you and other people because I assume you have some sort of basic ability to understand and interpret the world. I assume you and other people are able to understand the difference between a plant an a rabbit, or a plant and a human. Or a human and a human child. I assume you and other people are able to judge people and animals according to what they are and their abilities. I don't assume you will equate a human child with a plant or a dog with a cactus. Do you think that is presumptions of me?
 

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#8
I'd say that assuming what something does or doesn't experience is a little different than assuming what something is.

*EDIT: For increasing mirth:
 
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#9
Ok. Blargu infinate sorgum beriacium elso, ah, ehehe, mirigum somu des
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#11
The problem with the meat-eating in my view isn't the killing of the animal, it's the conditions that the animal was raised in. Saying "pain is inevitable" when the levels of pain in the world are not a fixed quantity seems foolish.

At the same time, I still eat meat. Why? Because my spirits tell me to.

Jordan Peterson said that veganism is ritual without philosophy, but it seems like more often the case that meat eating is ritual without philosophy.
 

The Grey Man

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#12
If we are able to live on plants, shouldn't we question our morals when killing beings capable of feeling? Shouldn't the degree other beings are able to experience and feel the world have a saying when it comes to our values? Animals have a pain system, a neurological system, plants do not have that
It's reasonable to think that whatsoever has a pain system like ours feels pain, insofar as that pain system is the objective corollary of the subjective experience that is pain. But there's no reason to think that whatsoever feels pain has a pain system like ours. What is pain, objectively? It's positive feedback, a signal telling the brain that not all is well. At bottom, it's a transfer of energy, and energy is about as fundamental as it gets in nature. So why doesn't anything and everything in nature feel pain? Doesn't it?

Maybe the question we should be asking is why we should wring our hands over savagely slaughtering other animals when we've failed to identify a single important difference between pain in humans and other instances of positive feedback without invoking the petitio principii that is Cartesian dualism. Maybe we should be asking whether so-called utilitarians, who pompously assert the segregation between "conscious" and "unconscious" nature as a self-evident fact, aren't wretched frauds trying to pass the pyrite of concept-juggling off as golden wisdom, born weaklings and failures cravenly obfuscating their own mediocrity with pretense and pedantry.
 
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#13
there's not really a consistent argument that makes eating tortured animals a moral behaviour. or if there is i'm yet to come across it

at the end of the day it's just a selfish investment/benefit trade-off. but those same inconsistencies that make justifications for eating meat don't really remain as indefensible when applied to plants. it's unreasonable to assume a complexity of being in plants equalling that of the mammals we so readily keep in torturous and awful conditions

the categorisation of suffering as positive because pain can be seen as 'positive feedback' is a particularly indefensible stance if you're applying it to sentient beings.
 

The Grey Man

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#14
Suffering is technically negative feedback because it generally leads to its own decrease in magnitude as the brain takes action to rectify whatever state of affairs in the body caused the transmission of the signal. This is the "final cause" of pain, its function in the body as an adaptation screened by natural selection. Positive feedback leads to its own increase in magnitude. I called pain "positive" feedback only because it is a signal, as opposed to the absence of one. Neither definition of positive feedback has anything whatever to do with what is good or moral. My point was that pain is feedback, a transfer of energy.

Asserting without grounds that eating tortured animals is an immoral behaviour, thus placing the onus on those who doubt that claim to disprove it, is another petitio principii. You'll agree that this is an unacceptable style of debate, unless you think it acceptable for me to demand that you disprove the existence of the Tooth Fairy.
 

Blarraun

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#15
Why are we eating? It's immoral to take anything from the environment.

Maybe you could argue that eating plants is less immoral than animals, but if you argue from that point you are killing living organisms anyway, only doing less harm.

Thusly obligatory frugivores and scavengers are enlightened saints.
 

Puffy

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#16
Agree with Lagomorph in that I see plants to be living things like animals. In one way or another life goes on by consuming life.

I'm vegetarian currently more because I object to the holocaustic conditions in which a lot of animals in the food industry are treated as being immoral than a moral objection in of itself to eating an animal.

Generally agree with principles like that of Robin Kimmerer's "Honourable Harvest." People take far more than is necessary from their environment and give far too little back in return. What's needed is a far greater degree of reciprocity & respect.
 

Cognisant

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#17
(in the voice of Super Kami Guru by TeamFourStar)

This conversation is duuuuumb, your opinions are duuuuumb.
There is no morality but majority consent, the majority consents to eating meat, therefore eating meat is okaaaaay.
 

QuickTwist

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#18
Who is to say that killing an animal is inherently a bad thing? Would killing a human actually be "worse"? What then can we say of war, or of one who kills people for enjoyment?

Here is the thing... animals can be killed without giving them much suffering. There is a way to stab a sheep with a large knife in a way that the sheep barely feels a thing. I might ask if people would compare killing an animal to abortion.

So to me, it is not so much about whether you are killing an animal or not, but the method to which this is done. I do want to say that many livestock "farms" in the US are pretty unethical because they do not allow the livestock to live a "happy" and free life until the time of its death.

Also, if your view of morality is based simply on the majority, you are really no longer talking about morals, but succumbing to the worst part of group-think in humans because all morality in this way tells us is what NOT to do and doesn't say a thing about what we actually need to do to actually live a moral life. Where the majority "draw the line" can enter into some pretty dark places.
 

Cognisant

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#19
True, very true.

So what is a moral life, what morality should people base their lives on? It seems to me once we figure that out the whole meat eating dilemma will be sorted.

"Eating meat is wrong, this is why"
"Oh ok then"

Undunno call me cynical but I don't think humans are interested in abiding a system of morality that isn't human centric.
 

QuickTwist

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#20
True, very true.

So what is a moral life, what morality should people base their lives on? It seems to me once we figure that out the whole meat eating dilemma will be sorted.

"Eating meat is wrong, this is why"
"Oh ok then"

Undunno call me cynical but I don't think humans are interested in abiding a system of morality that isn't human centric.
It is more than just the "meat thing" that gets sorted if everyone lives a moral life, but that when everyone lives a moral life it will literally transform the world for the better. Doing this WILL do the greatest good for the most people because people will stop living selfish lives and they will be willing to help others and this can be amplified on a grand scale.

It's not about what we need to do on a macro level - it's what we need to do on an individual level. Doing good is principled on people deciding themselves what is good compared to what they know is good. It is about character, not politics. Just think for a moment if everyone did what they thought was good the majority of the time. It is hard to imagine, but I am sure this would lead to many great things happening.

You see, when people stop blaming others for their own misfortune, it allows them to have true empathy for another, and true empathy is what changes the world, not rules and regulations. People can spite a rule that they break, but how is one going to spite the one who legitimately cares for them and does good to them? The only thing that would combat a compassionate giving to another is fear because people generally fear what they do not understand. When one is able to get over the fear of feeling like they don't "deserve" such kindness, they too will start to live a moral and good life.
 
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#21
Even after solving the problem of experiencing pain during animal killing, we still have the issue of their total exploitation.
The dairy cow is artificially fertilized year-on-year with an average life of 6-7 years., milked 3 times a day for 9 months. Unexploited cows live 25 years
Treating animals as an individual being is a selective whim of a humans. In exception to several pets, the rest has the status of raw material. The existence of these animals has the same character as the existence of oil deposits. With the difference that they are not taken from environment they are environment re-created by human.

Meat production is strongly coupled with other processes of obtaining animal products into an efficient waste minimizing chain.
Calf- waste in milk production becomes a raw material in meat production. Cow is also a raw material in the production of gelatin for jelly and drug capsules, leather upholstery in luxury cars, tennis racket strings from their intestine, cattle bones into china bone for the dinner sets, protein from cow's hooves in fire-fighting foam.

The solution is to stop breeding animals for industrial purposes. Instead implement intensive synthetic materials production including meat and apply technology into experiments and product tests like on tissues and organs from stem cells and educational dissections in vr simulators

(stem cells bring another set of moral questions, some similar to those of abortion)

The universal experience of pain, suffering and ultimately death is a bad argument for eating animals.
The fact that something is unavoidable does not contain the consent for its own maximization.
Man always tries to minimize these aspects of life, or at least to move them away in time. This also happens in meat production. Laws and directives are created regarding the living conditions and transport of animals, the ways of feeding them, the processes that they can be subjected to and the ways of killing. Why are we doing this? Is it just a naive anthropomorphism of the raw material?
Why this thinking: reduction of an animal life into neurological processes, energy transfer isn't dominant? Why some of us care?
 
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#22
Oh god, I ended up with a bit of drunken rambling there at the end. Whops.

The problem with the meat-eating in my view isn't the killing of the animal, it's the conditions that the animal was raised in. Saying "pain is inevitable" when the levels of pain in the world are not a fixed quantity seems foolish.
Yeah, I guess you could ask 1. whether keeping animals the way we do is ok and 2. is killing other creatures with as certain level of being able to experience feelings etc ok

It's reasonable to think that whatsoever has a pain system like ours feels pain, insofar as that pain system is the objective corollary of the subjective experience that is pain. But there's no reason to think that whatsoever feels pain has a pain system like ours. What is pain, objectively? It's positive feedback, a signal telling the brain that not all is well. At bottom, it's a transfer of energy, and energy is about as fundamental as it gets in nature. So why doesn't anything and everything in nature feel pain? Doesn't it?
I'm kinda confused here. Biologically, we know quite a few similarities between mammals and humans. It's not like I saw an animal and though "hey, that thing seem to fear things so he must have a system like mine!". I mean, it's literally science.
Why doesn't anything and everything in nature feels pain? Well, maybe because not anything and everything has a pain system, and not everything has a system which inputs warns of danger creates a sensation that we can call pain. Read the definition of pain. In some cases we might struggle more to know exactly to what degeree another creature can feel pain, but in the case of for instance mammals, it's pretty clear.

Why are we eating? It's immoral to take anything from the environment.

Maybe you could argue that eating plants is less immoral than animals, but if you argue from that point you are killing living organisms anyway, only doing less harm.
You think it's immoral to take anything from the environment? Why?

Personally I think the deaths of other animals is justified for survival. Whether it's self defense from being attacked or living in a place where it's one of the few food sources available.

In the case of doing less harm, isn't that an argument worth considering, though? I mean, obviously agriculture in any form have a negative impact on wildlife etc. But in the case of farm animals, we're keeping millions of animals worldwife, in Norway alone we kill 200 000 of them everyday. That's a pretty significant difference between "more and less harm", I'd say. Where it's either wildlife + farm animals or "just" wildlife.

Obviously one single person can't change that, unless he's insanely charismatic and can turn people to his cult or something, but that doesn't change the fact I think it's important to at least consider how our actions has another suffering being in the other end, especially when there are alternatives and it's possible to live healthily and happily without killing any sentient beings at all.

I'm not arguing that any living life is able to experience pain or sentience, just to make that clear. Different creatures have different degrees and sentience. Even among individual humans there are different levels of sentience. I don't see a problem with killing plants.

I'm vegetarian currently more because I object to the holocaustic conditions in which a lot of animals in the food industry are treated as being immoral than a moral objection in of itself to eating an animal.
It's more the killing of a sentient being I find problematic. Eating meat grown in labs is fine, same with dumpster diving. I think it's hard to justify killing an animal as long as it's not in some form neccessary. I think to kill a being with that level of sentience requires a heavy and important reason, not something we can justify to kill for pleasure (taste) when we don't have to.

Who is to say that killing an animal is inherently a bad thing? Would killing a human actually be "worse"? What then can we say of war, or of one who kills people for enjoyment?
You could argue nothing is inherently good or bad, but that doesn't stop us from having perspective, feelings and values on what's good or bad. Even if you subscribe to killing random people is fine in theory, if given the chance, I'm pretty sure you'd save someone from being killed because you thought it was wrong for someone to kill a random person. And if you could stop someone from killing a street dog for fun, I think you'd be compelled to as well. Even if there is nothing inherently wrong with either killing that person or that street dog

There's no problem with having values even though we have no higher being that enforces them.

Killing a human would be worse in most cases, yes, but why is that relevant?

Here is the thing... animals can be killed without giving them much suffering. There is a way to stab a sheep with a large knife in a way that the sheep barely feels a thing. I might ask if people would compare killing an animal to abortion.

So to me, it is not so much about whether you are killing an animal or not, but the method to which this is done. I do want to say that many livestock "farms" in the US are pretty unethical because they do not allow the livestock to live a "happy" and free life until the time of its death.
Why would you ask if people compare animal killing to abortion? I don't get that part, why would it be natural to compare it to abortion?

Do you think it's ok to kill animals whenever as long as it's done painlessly? Like, if I felt like killing a fox just for the sake of it, then left it there. Is that ok as long as it didn't suffer? Or do you think there should be some rules regarding when you're "allowed" to kill animals?

Also, if your view of morality is based simply on the majority
It's not

True, very true.

So what is a moral life, what morality should people base their lives on? It seems to me once we figure that out the whole meat eating dilemma will be sorted.

"Eating meat is wrong, this is why"
"Oh ok then"

Undunno call me cynical but I don't think humans are interested in abiding a system of morality that isn't human centric.
I do think we can choose what morals we want and which we think makes sense, and enforce them in a society and live by that. Expanding as we gain new knowledge and insight. It being a creation of man kind doesn't mean we shouldn't value it or want it. I guess I'm saying I don't see a problem with living by rules we agree upon, even if the only ones who value and enforce them are ourselves. A combination of practicality, empathy and rationality.
Other than that, why concern yourself with what humans are interested in? Obviously you'd have your views on religion even if you moved to a place where the majority were religious. I'm not asking whether a change is realistic, I'm asking whether something that a lot of people take for granted is something we should continue to take for granted
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#23
Yeah, I guess you could ask 1. whether keeping animals the way we do is ok and 2. is killing other creatures with as certain level of being able to experience feelings etc ok
1. I would say that overall it is not ok to keep animals the way that we do. From what I've heard, the way animals are treated is completely out of line with what we know to be true about them.

However, there's another question: is the person who buys the meat indirectly responsible for the way that the animal was treated? Do we have a moral duty to avoid supporting anything which is produced through immoral means?

2. I think for sure, that in most cases (with exceptions like pets, endangered animals, and probably other cases) that it's fine to kill an animal. In nature, carnivores eat other animals, so we are not going against the natural state of things like we are with factory farming. There are probably counter-arguments to that, but I think that holds enough weight to give us the right to kill an animal.


And now, for The Bible! ^_^

Proverbs 12:10 "A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel."

Romans 14 "1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. "
 

Polaris

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#24
It's a difficult situation to be in if you have empathy.

I eat meat, and I think I'm not able to function without it. I have a lean body type, and shed weight very easily. I have tried vegetarianism, but I ended up feeling starved all the time, even when I ate the "right" sort of vegetarian things. I lost so much weight, people thought I was anorexic. No matter how much fat I was getting from nuts,beans and avocados, I was still starving. I have also developed a nut-allergy. (However, if you have suggestions Minu, I'd like to try, ofc). If I didn't have a lifestyle that required I expend as much energy as I currently do, I might just be able to exist relatively comfortably on a vegetarian diet (hooray for caffeine)

But I have never eaten a lot of meat. My body simply cannot handle meat every day. It makes me feel heavy and unhealthy. I eat meat maximum twice weekly (in winter - summer less so), and I try to buy certified free-range (hopefully not tortured). I disagree with cruel factory farming practices, and think it is unneccessay and too convenient/lazy to consume a lot of meat all the time. I understand a high protein diet is necessary for people who exert a lot of energy/live in cold conditions. That's different. But I don't preach about my preferences to others because I cannot decide for them.

However, I don't have a problem with providing information, so that people can make up their own minds. As someone with background in ecology, I'm used to looking at the big picture. I had this person come in to buy something that is often made of silk, and she said that she preferred a cotton or synthetic alternative as she was vegan (silk worms are boiled to extract the silk from their cocoons). I said that all the pesticides used in cotton production kill tonnes of insects every year, while the solvents, by-products and waste/energy use of synthetic materials production probably also kills an inordinate amount of microorganisms and invertebrates and thereby also affect the wildlife that depend on them.

She looked so distraught I almost regretted it, but she ended up buying silk as it is warmer, lighter and tends to be quite durable (hard to beat nature's experience of manufacturing).

I know this example is extreme, but it's often a case of where do you draw the line, kind of thing. I think it is wise to eat less meat, but to advocate for no meat at all is kind of excessive, and not realistic for everyone. I think this line of thinking could be applied to anything we consume/buy, and we could improve negative side effects/footprint significantly.

I think we could improve a lot in terms of how much meat we consume. But to expect full veganism is just silly.
 

Blarraun

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#25
You think it's immoral to take anything from the environment? Why?
It's not my belief, rather it's the result I get when I assume the point of view to minimize the harm caused to animals and other life.

The main idea is that if you take anything from the environment you decrease the amount of resources and restrict the ability of other beings to thrive and avoid suffering. I then see a moral expectation to either avoid decreasing the value of the environment or give at least as much or more value in return.

I think this idea can be a goal for people who want to cause less harm if they don't have to and add value if they can.
Personally I think the deaths of other animals is justified for survival. Whether it's self defense from being attacked or living in a place where it's one of the few food sources available.
Survival is a state of being far removed from levels of secure existence when moral dilemmas about one's food source become an important part of one's value system.
I'm not arguing that any living life is able to experience pain or sentience, just to make that clear. Different creatures have different degrees and sentience. Even among individual humans there are different levels of sentience. I don't see a problem with killing plants.
Would you avoid eating vegetables if you had an alternative?
What if there was synthetic food that could replace all plants and tasted just as good? Would you then agree that destroying plant life is unnecessary and immoral? Or do you see non-animals as forms of life incapable of suffering?

It is what led me to this half-serious conclusion that frugivores and scavengers act without causing suffering, they help plants pollinate and spread seeds or make use of carrion that no longer hosts a consciousness.


Personally I don't disagree with you on the point of avoiding the harm done to animals. I would further consider that it would be a good cause to try to add more value to the ecosystem than one is taking away from it.

This to me seems like a reasonable ethic of an environmentalist post-scarcity civilization, either synthetic food, or genetically modified fruit.
 

The Grey Man

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#26
I'm kinda confused here. Biologically, we know quite a few similarities between mammals and humans. It's not like I saw an animal and though "hey, that thing seem to fear things so he must have a system like mine!". I mean, it's literally science.
My argument was not that animals do not have pain systems like ours, but that there does not seem to be any reason why subjective pain must necessarily have a pain system like ours as its objective correlative. If pain is merely a signal, a transfer of energy, why shouldn't every transfer of energy we might observe in nature be accompanied by subjective pain?

Why doesn't anything and everything in nature feels pain? Well, maybe because not anything and everything has a pain system, and not everything has a system which inputs warns of danger creates a sensation that we can call pain. Read the definition of pain. In some cases we might struggle more to know exactly to what degeree another creature can feel pain, but in the case of for instance mammals, it's pretty clear.
This would be a satisfactory answer to my question if we were having a discussion about anatomy, but we're not. This thread is about morality. Accordingly, when I ask why everything in nature doesn't feel pain, I'm not referring to the objective phenomenon, but to the inscrutably anathematic subjective experience that the philosophers of every great ancient culture wrote about without having the faintest idea of its concomitant physiological mechanisms.
 

The Grey Man

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#27
A personal anecdote that may help illustrate my viewpoint:

I ran for an unusually long distance this morning. Long-distance running is a humbling experience. What is five kilometres to us Westerners, who can drive from Chicago to New York or fly from New York to London in a day? What is ten kilometres? 20? 100? And yet, when we try to cross these meagre distances dismounted, not only are we pitifully slow, but when we try to expedite our transit by taxing our bodies, something fails. Muscles weaken and joints buckle, if the pain signals they send to that hard taskmaster the brain don’t stop us in our tracks first. To quote Johnny Cash, “You can run on for a long time, but sooner or later God’ll cut you down.”

There is yet a period between when one starts running and when one can continue no further that it is the business of long distance runners to extend. They achieve this first by hardening the mind, and then by hardening the body; before they can expect to see improvements in their speeds and finishing times, they must enforce discipline upon themselves. But what does it mean to enforce discipline upon oneself? Every runner knows what it means: muscles on fire screaming for an end to the ordeal and a cold, cruel consciousness demanding that they keep slicing the air and churning against the Earth for just a while longer. So it is when the mind wins the argument and the run continues. But what about when the muscles win and they slacken against the will of the runner, bringing an end to his progress? Why shouldn't there be something of the brain screaming at them to go on? To expand my question beyond the inner workings of the body, why shouldn't our subjective experience of effort in compressing a spring be reflected in a subjective experience of that spring, so that Newton's third law has a subjective correlative? What is the difference between the pain experienced by the human brain and any other action of forces in nature?
 

onesteptwostep

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#28
There's always self-cannibalisation if you think all methods of consumption is unethical or immoral for some reason. *pssst this is a trick...*
 
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#29
Two thoughts before shower:

When slaughtering animals, it's impossible to speak of any adaptation by pain-is-feedback.
The natural task of pain as a tool for organism self-regulation to environmental conditions is distorted by human actions.
The animal can't make any instinctive decisions to survive. It won't adapt nor evolve.Whole process of its existance is under total human control.
So what is the point of keeping this pain? When ignored the meat of a stressed animal tastes worse. Minimizing pain makes sense even from a purely economic point of view.

Morality is a concrete set of values and orders / prohibitions that realizes these values. If I consider the life of an animal important and I eat its parts, I act immorally. If I don't recognize and eat it, it isn't immoral.

One could reformulate the question from OP to: Concerning human need for nutrition what is the universal value of other forms of life and what rules of conduct should reflect them ?
 
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#30
To me, meat tastes good. Biologically humans are designed to eat meat. My ancestors have been cooking meat for over 1 million years. It is what I inherited. Farming has been around only 10 thousand years. That is when human brains shrunk. Only this century have they gotten bigger as they once were.

I understand that animals don't deserve to be factory farmed and I know industrial farming is unhealthy for me. I cannot afford a healthy diet, (I eat fast food). But I also know that I make no difference in stopping these practices. The only way forward is a Transhumanist future with simulated food and enhanced bodies not requiring food.

I do not feel bad eating meat. That is my life's conditioning and my biology. Someday it will stop worldwide, but currently, I see no reason to become vegan myself. That does not mean I think others should not be vegan.
 

elliptoid

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#31
Basic thoughts-
Varying degrees of culpability when it comes to inflicting suffering

Sadistic.
Most morally reprehensible. Intentional and deliberate (relative entropy >1). Accelerates the death of the universe.

Careless/neglectful.
Moderately reprehensible. Cosmically neutral (relative entropy =1)

Empathic.
Least reprehensible. A net loss (<1) for the individual.

I conclude that input :: output ratios are most balanced when one is neutral as probably many variables can be optimized for efficiency under this domain.
 

The Grey Man

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#32
One could reformulate the question from OP to: Concerning human need for nutrition what is the universal value of other forms of life and what rules of conduct should reflect them ?
If you're asking what the value of a form of life is, you should have an idea of what life is. Otherwise you're just saying words with no connection to reality. If I'm not being too presumptuous in inferring that, because it has intrinsic value, a form of life must be an instance of consciousness which may have good and bad experiences- feel pleasure and pain- you should have an idea of what consciousness is. You should have a procedure whereby you can point at an actual phenomenon and say with justification that this is conscious or, perhaps more to the point, this suffers. No less importantly (and this is the part that utilitarians neglect with their ludicrous assertion that everything in nature is unconscious until proven otherwise), this procedure should enable you to say also that that is not conscious, does not suffer. You need to find some sort of concrete distinction between pain considered as an objective phenomenon and all other natural phenomena, one that is not purely taxonomical, but accounts for how and why the one is a correlative of the subjective experience of pain whereas the others are not.

The utilitarians substitute for this distinction the perfectly ungrounded contrapositive inference that, since subjective pain in humans corresponds to a very particular objective condition of the body of an animal, therefore wheresoever such an objective condition is not present, there is no corresponding subjective pain. The absurdity of this argument is obvious to all to whom it is made explicit, though that has unfortunately not stopped a parade of miserable charlatans, among them many academic "philosophers", from dazzling the public with phantasmagorical castles built on its implicit foundations.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#33
. No less importantly (and this is the part that utilitarians neglect with their ludicrous assertion that everything in nature is unconscious until proven otherwise), this procedure should enable you to say also that that is not conscious, does not suffer.
If we assume that nature is conscious, what do we then do about that? How should we come to learn what would cause pleasure or pain to that which is typically deemed unconscious?
 

The Grey Man

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#34
In order to identify objects other than our own bodies as objectifications of subjective pain, we must distinguish between which bodily phenomena are the necessary objective correlative of subjective pain and which are merely contingently manifest in moments of subjective pain. We must isolate the Platonic idea (or ur-type, if you like) of pain in general from the idea of pain as it manifests in our bodies in particular. Only then will we have an idea of pain, rather than a naïve generalization based on a multitude of implicit intuitive physiognomic judgments which take the form of (paraphrasing Minuend), "That thing does not appear to fear things the way I do, therefore it must not fear things at all."

Likewise in the case of pleasure.

Alternatively, we could cede the prerogative of deciding whether things are conscious or not to intuition and, instead of making an effort to study the terrain of our pious crusade against all suffering like a good soldier, blindly charge into the fray chanting refrains about animal rights.
 
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#35
Actually, it would take fewer plants to feed humans than it does to feed all the animals we eat. If we want to decrease the total suffering of plants (if they do suffer) then a vegan diet for everyone would do so. Because we would no longer feed so much plant to animals for human consumption.
 

The Grey Man

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#36
With what do you think we are left when we abstract away from the objective correlates of our own subjective experience of pain everything that is not a mere physiological contingency? Is it not something very much like Le Chatelier's principle, that spontaneous tendency of physical systems in equilibrium (or, in the case of the human body, 'homeostasis') to respond to a disturbance to that equilibrium from without ('stimulus') by establishing a new equilibrium? Is pain not the fate of all physical systems upon which is imposed some state which is contrary to its natural entropic tendency?

Do the growing acceptance of double-aspect theories such as that of David Chalmers and Integrated Information Theory's central identity between the phenomenological and the causal properties of consciousness not indicate that academic philosophy is taking its first timid steps towards admitting that Schopenhauer was right, after centuries of shamefully outstayed conceptual falsework to buttress pet political theories that cannot and will not ever support their own weight? Can we not also say the converse, that a physical system's causal properties are identical with its phenomenological properties? What's stopping us, other than vestigial religious belief in the immaterial human soul?
 
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#37
If form and matter are inseparable, and consciousness, as we experience it, is matter trans-form-ing. It could be that plants transform as integrated information just like us. This raises a question of identity. Do we appear only once in reality, or is there a continuity after death? One me exists popping in and out of existence? Would my form appearing again be me? The same as an integrated conscious plant.
 

The Grey Man

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#38
"I" means "here; this subjective moment", "he" means "there; that objective phenomenon".

Both of us say "I am here" and, of the other, "he is there", and both of us are right. Both of us have a double aspect.

"Are all mes me?": this is the answer to its own question and the question to its own answer. Reincarnation is for real.

The most famous lines in all Shakespeare bracket the moment when Hamlet well-nigh recognizes this "one me", this mental continuity between all things.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there's the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause.

- Act III, Scene i
 

Polaris

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#39
....that's why I want to be buried under a tree or scattered over the sea and not just wedged in next to some random boofhead in a coffin....:slashnew:

Sorry to end the philosophical discourse so crudely.
 

Blarraun

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#40
To me, meat tastes good. Biologically humans are designed to eat meat. My ancestors have been cooking meat for over 1 million years. It is what I inherited. Farming has been around only 10 thousand years. That is when human brains shrunk. Only this century have they gotten bigger as they once were.
Apes we evolved from are almost obligatory herbivores, they use meat more as a supplement.

Humans have evolved to rely on meat more and functionally we're omnivores.

I think there's a good argument to be made in favor of treating meat as a supplement, without relying on it too much. Although all the nutrition we get from meat can now be found in other sources.
 
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#41
apes eat meat opportunistically, not preferentially. roughly 5% of diet iirc
 

Gyppo

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#42
I've been a veggie for a few months now. It always did bother me to eat animals but I could usually ignore it. I couldn't for example when my dad served me a fish that looked as if it'd been freshly scooped out of the ocean.
In the grand scheme of things, the planet is headed for disaster anyway, nothing matters, etc.
But if one has any moral issues with eating meat like I did, then they should really stop.
Basically, just do what you want. Unless you solely seek to fit in. That's depressing.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#43
"I" means "here; this subjective moment", "he" means "there; that objective phenomenon".

Both of us say "I am here" and, of the other, "he is there", and both of us are right. Both of us have a double aspect.

"Are all mes me?": this is the answer to its own question and the question to its own answer. Reincarnation is for real.
"I" means a hypothetical entity which continues through a finite or infinite amount of time and happens to be me right here. So, one can say "I was there", or "he was there".

Then, yeah there's the whole thing about everything being the same mind experiencing itself from multiple angles. Like: everything is God, everything is the one electron.
 

The Grey Man

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#44
The reason I said that "I" means this subjective moment is because the continuation of the "I" as opposed to the "he" beyond the present moment is an illusion, just like the convergence of a road at the horizon that makes it look like the inviolable distinction between the road and the country goes on for ever. "He" is inwardly indistinguishable from "I"; reciprocally, "he" is the objectification of an "I" for another "I". "Me" and "him" are relative terms that refer only to each other and, more than that, are each other (it is in this sense that I agree with Wheeler's and the pan(en?)theists' thinking), the inscrutable existential dualism.
 
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#45
1. I would say that overall it is not ok to keep animals the way that we do. From what I've heard, the way animals are treated is completely out of line with what we know to be true about them.

However, there's another question: is the person who buys the meat indirectly responsible for the way that the animal was treated? Do we have a moral duty to avoid supporting anything which is produced through immoral means?
I think you're hard pressed to justify paying someone to kill an animal if you mean killing the animal is wrong. Sure, you wont be able to stop all animal deaths even if you abstain from eating what other people kill, but if you do abstain you're not contributing to it, and sometimes that's all we can do. I can't save the world from pollution, but at least I can avoid throwing garbage in nature (seriously, who does that?)

For me, a large part is definitively wanting to just not be a part of it, even if I consider it futile. The same way I would abstain from bullying, even when I know other people would always bully.

As for moral duty, I guess nobody really has a duty to do anything, in the end it comes down to your personal values and your interest in keeping them consistent even when they go against your preference.

We're not at the same levels as other carnivores, though, are we? We've developed an ability to think through what we believe and choose to do, which other animals have a limited ability to do. I mean, you can't really blame an animal for raping another animal or making another animal suffer by killing it slowly, because animals can't think and reason about pain and suffering like we can.

I guess I mentioned this in the random thread, but I do wonder if there are some individuals among animals who would feel reluctance to killing other animals. It's kinda fascinating, because it challenges how we assume animals function. What if there exists individual animals who feel bad about harming other animals because they have more developed empathy than other animals of the same species?
And now, for The Bible! ^_^

Proverbs 12:10 "A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel."

Romans 14 "1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
As for bible stuff, that's just very far from how I perceive the world and think have valid perspectives, so I don't think we'll see eye to eye on that one.

It's not my belief, rather it's the result I get when I assume the point of view to minimize the harm caused to animals and other life.

The main idea is that if you take anything from the environment you decrease the amount of resources and restrict the ability of other beings to thrive and avoid suffering. I then see a moral expectation to either avoid decreasing the value of the environment or give at least as much or more value in return.

I think this idea can be a goal for people who want to cause less harm if they don't have to and add value if they can.
Oh, I guess I kinda misunderstood what you were saying. That being said, trying to minimize harm doesn't mean you have to be perfect. Obviously human existence will influence the environment badly in a lot of cases, but I don't think that means we should give up and never try to attempt any positive change. I don't think we have to live in that black or white state where we either give it our all or let everything rot. Not saying that's what you think, just trying to clarify what I think.


Survival is a state of being far removed from levels of secure existence when moral dilemmas about one's food source become an important part of one's value system.
I agree

Would you avoid eating vegetables if you had an alternative?
What if there was synthetic food that could replace all plants and tasted just as good? Would you then agree that destroying plant life is unnecessary and immoral? Or do you see non-animals as forms of life incapable of suffering?
I do see plant life as incapable of suffering. Maybe there is a plant or two that function in a way where they are able to suffer, but mostly I see plants unable to suffer. Correct me if I'm wrong. That being said, I might as well eat synthetic food if that was an option. I'd very easily switch to synthetic

I'm also unsure about insects, if anyone have any in depth knowledge about them

Will reply to more later
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#46
I think you're hard pressed to justify paying someone to kill an animal if you mean killing the animal is wrong. Sure, you wont be able to stop all animal deaths even if you abstain from eating what other people kill, but if you do abstain you're not contributing to it, and sometimes that's all we can do. I can't save the world from pollution, but at least I can avoid throwing garbage in nature (seriously, who does that?)

For me, a large part is definitively wanting to just not be a part of it, even if I consider it futile. The same way I would abstain from bullying, even when I know other people would always bully.
Well, if I'm paying for the animal to be killed, but not paying for it to be put through a torturous life, then am I responsible for the way it was treated if I buy its meat? Logic seems to suggest that I am, but my spirits weren't buying the argument.

Taking the argument further would suggest totally ethical consumerism, i.e. only buying products from sources known to be ethical. If the company selling it engages in spurious practices, avoid. I don't know what this would leave us with though, but it probably is quite a noble goal.

As for moral duty, I guess nobody really has a duty to do anything, in the end it comes down to your personal values and your interest in keeping them consistent even when they go against your preference.
Well, if we know one course to be superior to another, I would say we do indeed have a duty to follow it. Though... everything is permitted, but not everything is beneficial.

Keeping personal values consistent sounds very Fi. I'm not very consistent a lot of the time, I just try to do my best.

We're not at the same levels as other carnivores, though, are we? We've developed an ability to think through what we believe and choose to do, which other animals have a limited ability to do. I mean, you can't really blame an animal for raping another animal or making another animal suffer by killing it slowly, because animals can't think and reason about pain and suffering like we can.

I guess I mentioned this in the random thread, but I do wonder if there are some individuals among animals who would feel reluctance to killing other animals. It's kinda fascinating, because it challenges how we assume animals function. What if there exists individual animals who feel bad about harming other animals because they have more developed empathy than other animals of the same species?
Another way to phrase this seems to be: just because an animal does something, that doesn't mean it is a good thing to do. If we can do better, we should.

Though I do think there is something to be said for the nature argument, but maybe it's just a guideline. Either way, I think a big reason that factory farming is so bad is because it goes against what would be a natural state for the animal. If the animal had been designed to live in a factory farm, there would be no issue.

As for bible stuff, that's just very far from how I perceive the world and think have valid perspectives, so I don't think we'll see eye to eye on that one.
To me it's a valid source of guidance, and provides insight into issues where I'm unsure.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#47
Alternatively, we could cede the prerogative of deciding whether things are conscious or not to intuition and, instead of making an effort to study the terrain of our pious crusade against all suffering like a good soldier, blindly charge into the fray chanting refrains about animal rights.
I was going to say what my intuition says on the matter, but it's somewhat like this:

With what do you think we are left when we abstract away from the objective correlates of our own subjective experience of pain everything that is not a mere physiological contingency? Is it not something very much like Le Chatelier's principle, that spontaneous tendency of physical systems in equilibrium (or, in the case of the human body, 'homeostasis') to respond to a disturbance to that equilibrium from without ('stimulus') by establishing a new equilibrium? Is pain not the fate of all physical systems upon which is imposed some state which is contrary to its natural entropic tendency?
I think that's a better formulated expression of what I would say. Something about pleasure and pain being about whether an entity (however entity is defined) is moving towards or away from the state that it has a tendency to move towards.

As an example, from intuition I can certainly see that a rock could be conscious, and if it is conscious, and has pain as an aspect of its consciousness, then doing something like smashing the rock would cause it pain. But maybe a rock is impervious to such things, I wouldn't know.

But I also think that when we treat nature in a way which increases its sustainability - something we should be doing anyway from a purely anthropocentric perspective - then we would probably be roughly acting in line with the utilitarian principle when applied to both living and non-living aspects of the world.

The reason I said that "I" means this subjective moment is because the continuation of the "I" as opposed to the "he" beyond the present moment is an illusion, just like the convergence of a road at the horizon that makes it look like the inviolable distinction between the road and the country goes on for ever. "He" is inwardly indistinguishable from "I"; reciprocally, "he" is the objectification of an "I" for another "I". "Me" and "him" are relative terms that refer only to each other and, more than that, are each other (it is in this sense that I agree with Wheeler's and the pan(en?)theists' thinking), the inscrutable existential dualism.
I don't completely follow, but does this amount to a rejection of the soul?
 

Polaris

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#48
I have some issues with christianity. It assumes this thing called a soul, which then supposedly sets humans apart from other animals and living beings, creating a hierarchy in which humans must - by christian logic - be on top due to this self nominated 'refining' quality. This of course, by the average human interpretation, assumes the inferiority of all other beings and organisms and matter - thereby opening up for abuse. We are thus more or less conditioned to disrespect the things that keep us alive.

However, if we didn't have complex language, we would not be able to construct ideas of dualism. We experience cognitive and emotional processing as a separate thing from our physical selves, when cognitive and emotional processing is most probably just an emergent phenomenon of holistic processing, involving every cell and atom in our own and other systems constantly interacting and relating to us.

'I' see 'him', and 'he' sees 'her' because the processes in our brains by necessity must define physical boundaries between ourselves and the objects we interact with. During meditation or when taking certain drugs, the processes that create the perceptive boundaries are suppressed or shut down, thereby giving a sense of interconnectedness and experiences of 'God'.

The idea of soul is limiting, and seems for a great part to have been a convenient solution for power hungry and paranoid church powers as a means to create the illusion of a sort of 'supermarked' for vulnerable, desperate and lonely people, wherein one can trade personal empowerment and integrity for a ticket to paradise - provided one agrees to relinquish all other intuitions regarding morals, instead relying on external prescription, validation and locally targeted agenda-tailored interpretations of the bible.

Why cannot mind and matter be one and the same? Is that idea too degrading, or threatening?

If mind and matter is the same, there is no heaven or hell, only the continuous cosmos of entangled consciousness and matter. Why do we lose a sense of self when walking through a landscape of mountains, desert or forests? Why does that experience often provide us with a sense of relief? Because we are insignificant and significant at the same time - it is the intuitive realisation and recognition of the greatness of the system of which we are an intrinsic part. God must by necessity be a natural part of this because we cannot separate matter from consciousness. To die is not to stop existing, it is merely transformation. We take on a different form, but we are still part of god.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#49
Not woo-woo enough.

This of course, by the average human interpretation, assumes the inferiority of all other beings and organisms and matter - thereby opening up for abuse. We are thus more or less conditioned to disrespect the things that keep us alive.
Look at the Bible verse I posted earlier in this thread which states that a compassionate person will be kind even to an animal. This is despite believing that only humans have souls. Yet, they may still eat meat because the act of eating meat doesn't imply an explicit cruelty on the part of the consumer.

If mind and matter is the same, there is no heaven or hell
How does this follow?
 
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