For some reason, all my posts seem to be Ethics and Morals issues. Sorry about that.

So my brother attended a colloqium lecture on species-ism, which is basically what it sounds like. The speaker was saying that it's wrong to discriminate animals. And he was, as you could guess, a devout vegan.

I know Athiest Nexus has a lot of strong vegetarians/vegans and a lot of carnivores as well. The reasons for both have been debated often. Species-ism, however, is a completely different genre.

In particular, I wonder how making the decision to be vegan isn't completely species-ist in and of itself. The moral reasoning of many vegetarians and vegans is that we can make a conscious decision not to eat our fellow creatures and live just fine. But humans are animals, and I've heard this argument from meat eaters, but the general defense is that we're smarter, we have more logical and ethical capabilities and therefore we have more responsiblity and more choice. I think that's true, but I think it's also species-ism! If we're saying that we're above eating animals, we're still putting ourselves above the animals, are we not? Again, this isn't really a vegetarian/meaty discussion, I respect both decisions.  But is species-ism something you could get behind? Does it even make sense?

There are the other obvious arguments, such as the fact that you kill animals every day, and the majority of us are species-ist in how we don't care if we step on a bug but we certainly do if we step on a cat. We don't flinch when we kill living bacteria with our hand sanitizer, but when you shoot Bambi's mum we've got a problem. Maybe the whole purpose is to get beyond that, or maybe it's about just doing what you can. I don't know. But I don't really understand it.

Thoughts? Arguments? Rude remarks? Compliments on my adequate grammar?  Does speciesism contradict vegetarianism? Is it a viable idea?


















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Aaron: Maybe you've got some of the others convinced, but the real reason why you won't respond to my arguments with actual arguments isn't because you're too lazy, it's because you can't.

Actually, if you payed attention, you would understand that I don't respond to your arguments because I don't dignify them as being relevant to anything other than making yourself feel better by moral grandstanding. Your arguments are pure typhos.

You are fabricating issues out of nothing and creating an orchard of strawmen by equating meat consumption to theft, rape and murder. You believe your analogies are valid. I don't. You're not wearing any clothes emperor.

And belief is the death of intellect as a wiser man than either of us was fond of saying.

Your hypotheticals, such as scattered through the thread, are beyond being merely stupid, they border on narcissistic disconnection from reality. You repeatedly equate humans to animals and that there is some kind of universal morality that applies to both. This is the psychedelic postmodernist relativism that if applied consistently will entitle the validity of some people to assume that pi = 3 and that they ought to be treated with equal respect.

Well I have faith and belief too - and its that your codswallop doesn't even deserve the dignity of serious consideration. You may, quite likely, turn around and accuse me of the arrogance of human exceptionalism, but I assure you I detest that concept as much as PETA itself. I am an animal. I am pure beast. This is the jungle. I eat to satisify my diet, not to pander to your bleeding conscience. As long as I know my meat is killed humanely, that is the only concern I have. Were you to argue about the mass meat production and burger industry, you would find I agree. But you are not arguing that - you are moral grandstanding. And I hold your arguments with the same contempt that I do any other morality crusader. Your arguments do not deserve the dignity of a serious response.
Actually, if you payed attention, you would understand that I don't respond to your arguments because I don't dignify them as being relevant to anything other than making yourself feel better by moral grandstanding. Your arguments are pure typhos.

And if you read my posts, you'd notice that I said that all you've done is call veganism stupid in various ways without ever responding to it. All I'm doing is calling you out on the fact that you will "dignify" me by making long responses, but never backing up a single statement with anything other than bald assertion and insult. I question your strategy - if you wanted to change my mind, this is certainly not the way to do it, and it's obviously not shutting me up.

I don't happen to be grandstanding my morality, and it's irrelevant in any case. This is a public discussion about speciesism, and all I've done is point out a few of the myriad inconsistencies in omnivorism. If you'd like to name-call, please at least name me something that can stick.


You are fabricating issues out of nothing and creating an orchard of strawmen by equating meat consumption to theft, rape and murder. You believe your analogies are valid. I don't. You're not wearing any clothes emperor.

And belief is the death of intellect as a wiser man than either of us was fond of saying.


More assertions, and even a quote. Belief, as you seem to suggest, involves accepting statements as true which are not backed by empirical observation or sound logic. That is not true of the "beliefs" I have advocated in this thread. It seems, rather, that it is you who is creating strawmen.


Your hypotheticals, such as scattered through the thread, are beyond being merely stupid, they border on narcissistic disconnection from reality.

I make frequent use of hypotheticals because very often an abstract argument is difficult for people to understand, and trying to put it in a real-world context can make it easier. Moreover, my hope in this thread specifically is that once they recognize the principle I am advocating, they will either see how it corresponds to the dilemma in animal rights I'm talking about, or won't and will be able to explain why. If you don't believe my analogies are informative, I'd welcome you to explain your criticisms of them for me.


You repeatedly equate humans to animals and that there is some kind of universal morality that applies to both.

Ironically, you've also repeatedly equated humans to animals, as you do in your next paragraph. Why did you point this out as a criticism?


Your arguments do not deserve the dignity of a serious response.

Evidently so - your responses thus far clearly lack your usual intellectual rigor and integrity (or even internal consistency).
Wait a minute, PETA really did that?!
Of course they did. And in endless variations.

This is what is so repugnant about these arguments - it is a sense of displaced narcissism. People invest so much in their petty, and ultimately irrelevant, causes that they lose all empathy for actual reality and the people in it. As I said earlier, the most selfish and ethically bankrupt people I have ever met have been the ones that choose to ram guilt down your throat about whatever their particular issue of choice is. They don't have any humanity in them, they only have a facade of humanity. Spindly little twigs propping up a warped and perverse reality. Fucking nauseating.
PETA does controversial things like that specifically because they know that people will talk about them - and if people are talking about PETA, then they're usually also talking about animal rights. PETA is very upfront about this.

Moreover, I think it's a bit silly to expect PETA to advocate human rights. They're not a human rights organization, they're an animal rights organization. Telling PETA that they need to pay more attention to human rights is like telling Doctors Without Borders that they don't spend enough time cleaning up rivers - it's not their job.

Seriously though, if you dislike PETA, really the only thing you can do is stop talking about them. PETA does what it does because it knows that people will talk about it.
Aaron, please. It's a question of perspective. The point is that PETA lost sight of the fact that the donkey was of secondary importance in that scenario. It made them a laughingstock and worse, made people think they don't care about people. How is that effective publicity?
You'd have to ask them - I'm not a fan of PETA myself and this is only one of any number of things they've done that I would disapprove of. However, the simple fact of the matter is that PETAs antics apparently work - it's essentially because of PETA that vegetarianism is so well-known in Hollywood (and thus gets so much airtime), why you see "cruelty-free" on the back labels of cosmetics, and I myself first started learning about veganism because I wanted to see what all the controversy was about, just to give a few examples.

There are dozens, probably hundreds of animal-rights organizations that no one will ever hear of simply because they don't do anything controversial. Whether you like their tactics or not, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and it's difficult to argue with pragmatism. Your argument sounds like what I've heard from conservatives complaining about environmentalism, or could also be said about Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.
Aaron, the point is that that protest did their cause more harm than good. They are not good at choosing their battles. I'm sorry, but I reject the notion that any publicity is good publicity. If they create more opponents than recruits, they're fighting a losing game. Being controversial is one thing, but this protest was self-defeating, the more so because it revealed that they just don't give a damn about humans. Isn't that just reverse speciesism?
Am I talking to a Christian? Do you really not see the irony in all of this? You're telling me that PETA needs some perspective on the greater good, when you'll advocate butchering animals for no reason other than because you like it. And PETA is the one that needs perspective?
Aaron, this pointless. I didn't say I like it. I said that's the way I am, and there's nothing wrong with it. If you're arguing from a rights-based morality, then we're just always going to talk past each other. If you can't see what's glaringly wrong with that PETA protest, then we are so far from the same wavelength there's just no point continuing this debate. We're not starting from the same premises, so there's no way our reasoning is going to lead to the same conclusion.
Reasons people have been pissed off at PETA:
1. Things like the donkey example.
2. Their obsession with scantily clad women. ("Treating women like cattle". Not saying I agree, but that's what some people think.)
3. Being misleading or dishonest.

It does get people to talk about the issues, but it also gets some people to say "oh fuck animal rights!" although I think that is rather silly; it isn't animals' faults that the people defending them are (in those people's opinion) jerks.
The basic idea, AFAIK, is to have a consistent ethic. If you say, "Pain hurts, people don't like it, so therefore you shouldn't hurt people", and then go on to say that it's okay to hurt animals, that's inconsistent, since we know animals can hurt. That's speciesism. If you say that humans are smarter, so we can kill them, but we can't kill small children, even though they're on the same cognitive level as most farm animals, then that's speciesism. The principle is that you can't make special exceptions for non-human animals simply because they're not human.

You can consistently say that it's okay to kill plants or bacteria, but not animals, if you're basing your ethics on the premises of cognitive ability or ability to suffer, since as far as we can tell, plants and bacteria have no consciousness the way that we think of it, and are unable to experience pain. Personally (and obviously I'm a vegan), I don't see how you could exclude animals from moral consideration, unless you're also willing to include, at bare minimum, small children and the mentally infirm.

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