Timothy, I disagree with your assessment of atheists. I have not met one that is cold and unable to connect with people. I will assign that assessment to xtians. Cats will come to me and try to rub on my legs and I will send them packing.
As for a big cat, I have no problem with them. They can rub all they want as long as they don't think I will be their next play toy or dinner. :-)
Whether you are a cat person or dog person, the important thing is for as atheist/humanist, to cherish all living creatures.
Insects are not my favorites. I am quite partial to snails as an appetizer, but that probably doesn't count as "cherishing" them.
Well put Oscar,
and that is why I am a vegetarian.
As an aside, I am often confused by people who describe themselves as 'animal lovers' (once said to me - unaware of the irony - by someone who was eating a burger at the time!).
If one professes love for animals I am baffled as to how one can then eat them. Cat, dog, budgie, hamster, horse, iguana, pot bellied vietnamese pig, cow, snake, chicken, what's the difference? They are all sentient beings capable of feeling pain, and also capable of giving companionship and affection.
Scientifically, biologically, we are not vegetarians, we are omnivores by content, and scavengers by behaviour, through 4 million years of evolution. A societal ideological dogma can indeed be imposed or sold or coerced, just as religion and patriarchy have been, but any such super-imposed ideology is bound for eventual failure. True nature eventually shines through. Treat the animals right, stop human population growth (land use growth), and eat less meat. Elimination is not the solution.
did I hit a nerve? Nobody is trying to convert you to a non meat diet, why so touchy?
So you think being vegetarian is an 'idealogy bound for certain failure' ? 4 million years of evolution you say, are we still evolving, are you denying the possibility that humans cannot evolve into vegetarians? The Panda did it, I think in a lot (whole lot) less than 4 million years.
And just who or what exactly is super imposing this ideology? And, do you really think vegetarianism can be 'imposed, sold or coerced', and by the way, putting vegetarian dietary choices in the same category as religion and patriarchy is pure hyperbole.
Believe it or not TNT666, I made up my own mind on what I eat and where I get my food, you know, kind of like critical thinkers do. It was my informed choice.
I do not know what you mean by 'treat the animals right' - what does that mean to you? If you have even a rudimentary understanding of the life of an animal bound for your dinner table and you are a compassionate being, how can you not wish to separate yourself from such cruelty?
In closing, your last sentence confuses me, you say "elimination is not the solution".......the solution to what? Was there a problem that needed a solution?
You hit no "nerve" and I was not being "touchy", I simply disagreed with your point and described why. I like discussions to stick to scientific facts. Vegetarianism (I was one for 10 years) is touted by its many proselitysers to be the "answer" to "feeding more people" -- "reduce pollution" -- "stop animal cruelty". Those are the leitmotivs of the movement. The greatest animal cruelty of all is the sheer number of Homo sapiens on the planet. Going vegetarian will not achieve success on those three problems. Then again, maybe you're just vegetarian for your own pleasure and it has nothing to do with world politics.
As for the use of "superimposed"... I suppose I could have been clearer... an ideologically based concept (vegetarianism) superimposed over our scientific understanding of our biology and general food systems.
As for treating animals right... I imply ethical farming vs agribusiness. At soon to be 8 billion people on the planet, manure is the best garden fertiliser, and in fact has been for a very very long time (unless you look back to the very beginnings of agriculture, where it was practiced on a very small scale).
As for your "love" of animals... if you're assuming that Homo sapiens have "souls capacity of love" and that the animal kingdom's carnivores, omnivores and scavengers do not... then sure. But scientifically there is no distinction to be had, we humans will eat some amounts of meat, just as all other meat eaters do, according to their evolutionary make-up. It has absolutely no relationship to "loving" animals or not.
Homo sapiens "evolving" into vegetarians... as me again in 50,000 years, if we haven't outbred all other species, or bred ourselves into extinction. In that time span, IF meat sources were to go extinct entirely from the face of the planet, and vegetarians somehow experienced greater breeding success than omnivores, then MAYBE, after 50,000 years, you might see a small subset of H.sapiens having evolved. But that's a lot of maybes. I don't live on 'maybes' but on reality. Light-meat-eating omnivores show more "love" for animals than Hollywood-Pineapple-banana eating-cafeine sipping-urban-sprawl vegetarians.
You assume that being vegetarian, you are demonstrating that you "cherish" animals. This is what I'm refuting. But to know for sure, I'd have to know the rest of your life, and I don't, you may have other ways of demonstrating that you cherish animals, wild animals and animal biodiversity... I certainly hope so.
I'm sorry, I did not realize you knew everything about everything, I stand corrected and suitably chastised, and accept that debating you, a published author and wordsmith would probably be pointless - no doubt you are a masterdebator.
Another one of my quotes, this one from Henry Beston:
For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.
If you like the quote and nature writing appeals to you, you might like the book from which it was drawn. Beston's book, The Outermost House, was written while he lived by himself in a tiny house on the beach out at the end of Cape Cod, enduring rough weather through the winter. It was 1925. He was 38 and single, still recovering from the psychological trauma of the First World War. He begins the Foreword with the words:
It is the privilege of the naturalist to concern himself with a world whose greater manifestations remain above and beyond the violences of men. Whatever comes to pass in our human world, there is no shadow of us cast upon the rising of the sun, no pause in the flowing of the winds or halt in the long rhythms of the breakers hastening ashore.