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Richard Dawkins - Science and the New Atheism
Posted: 01 November 2008 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 196 ]
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Chris Crawford - 30 October 2008 10:08 PM

The list of initiatives that you provide makes very clear that Americans are opposed to the used of non-humane traps, that they oppose hunting of certain rare or special species, and that they oppose certain nasty agricultural practices. It also makes it very clear that they have no problem with the vast majority of hunting, because most hunters go after deer or ducks. Hunting of cougars and bears is a tiny subset of overall hunting. Therefore, inasmuch as Americans have banned perhaps 1% of hunting activities and refused to ban 99% of hunting activities, I think your data clearly demonstrate that your opposition to all forms of hunting is not supported by most Americans. (BTW, I voted for one of those initiatives that passed banning cougar hunting.) You claim that ” The majority of people do not support the killing of animals for recreation” but in fact the majority of Americans have no problem with the great bulk of hunting, as demonstrated by your data.

I said that the majority of Americans oppose killing of animals for RECREATION. The majority of hunting in the U.S. is done for recreation. Hunting overall is dying.
The point I was trying to illustrate by providing the list of pro-animal initiatives that passed is that society is improving morally.  Its attitude towards animals is changing.  There is moral progress.

So, in other words, you are throwing all morality out the window.  To you, morality is whatever suits someone.  I cannot agree.  Society could not function.

Chris Crawford - 30 October 2008 10:08 PM

I have said many times that I differentiate between private morality—a subjective matter—and social morality, which is expressed in law. We have gone round and round on this and you just keep repeating your claims without ever acknowledging my explications. I am therefore abandoning all hope of explaining this point to you.

And I said that I am not interested in your private morality.  I am interested in universal morality and how to advance it.

What is so special about the capability of language?  Please explain.

Chris Crawford - 30 October 2008 10:08 PM

This is another example of how you just keep repeating your claims without ever responding to my explications. I have already answered this question thoroughly.

I did not see any explanation.  Could you tell me which post it is in?

Chris Crawford - 30 October 2008 10:08 PM

I will conclude my participation in this discussion with a simple restatement of the point that I have been making over and over and over and over:
You are not the center of the moral universe. Your personal moral code is not better than anybody else’s. You are welcome to believe that your personal moral code is superior to everybody else’s. You are also welcome to believe that you are the most handsome, intelligent, saintly, kindly, wise, and virtuous person on the planet—as well as being better in bed than everybody else.

As I said before, all universal moral codes start out as personal moral codes.  Someone had a personal moral code that children should not be sent to coal mines.  That person(s) then convinced others that child labor is wrong.  When enough people were convinced, child labor was banned and this became a public moral code.  It will be the same with rights for non-human animals.  The movement started in the 1970’s, so it is still young, but it has made a lot of progress.  Everyone knows the phrase “animal rights”.  Pro-animal voter initiatives are being passed.  Chimpanzees were granted rights in Spain.  Animal testing is about to be banned in the European Union.  The list goes on and on.  When enough people are convinced that exploitation of non-human animals is wrong, animals will be granted basic rights and it will become a public moral code.

I have a right to my beliefs, and in a free society, I also have a right to express these beliefs and try to convince others that my beliefs are correct.  This is what I am doing.  Is that wrong?

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 197 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 31 October 2008 04:53 AM

I agree with BaIB’s last few points.  It should be simple enough to say that people are moral.  It very well may be that some people have a greater biological inheritance for things like empathy, care, concern for others, etc than others do.  But that is an afterthought.  The main point is that some people are more reasonable about this phenomenon than others.  Of course, to think about moral situations requires that we care about others.  We can choose to think about situations that effect others rationally, or we can choose to dispense with reason altogether for lack of care.  But the second choice is a choice to be amoral.

It is not as complicated as you make it seem.  When it comes to non-human animals, it is very simple: LEAVE THEM ALONE, let them live their lives in peace.
I disagree that one has to care for others.  All that is needed is that one respects the rights of others. Do I care if my neighbor cares about me?  Not really.  As long as he does not do me harm and respects my rights, I am perfectly OK with it and think that he is moral.

erasmusinfinity - 31 October 2008 04:53 AM

Also, although I support the passing of certain laws to protect beings from the harm of others (laws against cruelty to animals, etc.) I do also think that there is a valid and important place for moral advocacy and argument outside of the courtrooms.  It is a mistake to think that we should either be at work to pass laws or just shut up about things.  Sure, authority is useful and necessary in many situations.  But well reasoned persuasion is as good and even, in general, a more ideal motivator than is being letigious.

First morality needs to be discussed outside courtrooms and legislature (like on this forum, for example).  When enough people are convinced that a certain act is immoral, then it will be banned by majority vote at the legislature.  The courts then will enforce the law and punish those who break it.

Is there any other way?

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 198 ]
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George - 31 October 2008 06:26 AM
BaIB - 30 October 2008 06:38 PM

We cannot leave universal moral principles up to individuals.

No, we leave them up to the majority. The rest will either adopt or die out.


No, the rest will either adopt or go to prison.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 199 ]
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sate - 31 October 2008 12:25 PM

  I do not understand your (erasmusinfinity’s) point about evolution. It is far too slow (and maybe for us, absent entirely) to play any role in social moral thought or policy even if you were taking as evidence 3000 years.

I think erasmusinfinity was talking about memenic (Dawkin’s term) evolution, which can be pretty fast. Let’s just hope that it goes in a desirable direction.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 200 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 31 October 2008 12:46 PM

I do think that things over the past 100 years or so have gotten generally better, with regards to the treatment of animals, then they were 200 or 300 or 400 years ago.  Although, not across the board.  Factory farms today, for example, are doing horrific things to animals that would have been unfathomable in the distant past.  I don’t know that this point has anything to do with morality, but anyway.  There clearly was not such thing as an “animal rights” movement during the middle ages.

As I said, the animal rights movement started in the 1970’s with the publication of Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation”.
The only reason why, in some aspects, animals are treated worse than in the past, is that in the middle ages they did not have the technology.  Imagine if they did!  I don’t even want to think about it.  Also, the population was much smaller.  Obviously, the bigger the population, the more animals will have to be killed to feed it.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 201 ]
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sate - 31 October 2008 12:25 PM

  I do not understand your (erasmusinfinity’s) point about evolution. It is far too slow (and maybe for us, absent entirely) to play any role in social moral thought or policy even if you were taking as evidence 3000 years.

I think erasmusinfinity was talking about memenic (Dawkin’s term) evolution, which can be pretty fast. Let’s just hope that it goes in a desirable direction. But this kind of evolution we can control.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 202 ]
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Posted through browser glitch. admin please delete.

[ Edited: 01 November 2008 02:18 PM by sate ]
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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 203 ]
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BaIB - 01 November 2008 01:41 PM

I think erasmusinfinity was talking about memenic (Dawkin’s term) evolution, which can be pretty fast. Let’s just hope that it goes in a desirable direction. But this kind of evolution we can control.

Perhaps. If so, it should be stated clearly as the two have little in common. Scientifically speaking, there is no such thing as memetic evolution.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 204 ]
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I was pointing out that there is nothing necessarily progressive about history.

500 years from now it is entirely possible that humans will evolve to be more cruel to both animals and each other.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 205 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 01 November 2008 01:47 PM

I was pointing out that there is nothing necessarily progressive about history.

500 years from now it is entirely possible that humans will evolve to be more cruel to both animals and each other.

It is possible, like regressing from ancient Greece to the middle ages.  Religion was to blame for that.  To prevent such regress from happening again, we should fight religion.
BTW, religious people in general are very hostile to the idea of animal rights.  That’s not surprising considering that they don’t want women or gays to have rights either.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 206 ]
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BaIB - 01 November 2008 01:19 PM

I said that the majority of Americans oppose killing of animals for RECREATION. The majority of hunting in the U.S. is done for recreation. Hunting overall is dying.
The point I was trying to illustrate by providing the list of pro-animal initiatives that passed is that society is improving morally.  Its attitude towards animals is changing.  There is moral progress.

What evidence supports the contention that hunting is dying? If this is true (which seems to me likely) it might have absolutely nothing to do with morality. It may be the simple result of more people living in urban/suburban places instead of rural ones where hunting is obviously facilitated and traditionally accepted. It could be a consequence of increased technological penetration as today’s yuong people might be a lot more interestted in blasting aliens on their Playstation 3 than sitting in a camo box for 4 hours waiting for a deer to happen by.

‘Have to admit, as a city slicker I have occasionally been straight weirded-out when meeting sport hunters. I just don’t get it.. they are alien to me. And I’m no peta-lovin paint-hurtlin wacko like.. some.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 207 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 01 November 2008 01:47 PM

I was pointing out that there is nothing necessarily progressive about history.

500 years from now it is entirely possible that humans will evolve to be more cruel to both animals and each other.

I disagree. I think Penn Gillete compared progress to the stock market. Any month looks like a randomly zigzaging line but when you pull back to the big picture…it’s a steadily, inexorably rising line (even including the Great Depression and the recent tumult). I think the average person does not realize this both because they do not look at the wide view and because most people don’t realize what day to day life was like 10,000, 5,000 or 2,000 years ago. We see set backs localized in time and space but in the big picture progress along many fronts including moral thought, has been constant.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 208 ]
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It is possible, like regressing from ancient Greece to the middle ages.  Religion was to blame for that.  To prevent such regress from happening again, we should fight religion.

I agree that religion is retarding the advance of more civilized behavior today, but as a matter of history, it’s pretty clear that the Church was the primary civilizing agent for the West from the collapse of the Roman Empire up until the Reformation.

What evidence supports the contention that hunting is dying? If this is true (which seems to me likely)

I see no evidence in support of that. Hunting remains quite popular in rural areas. Ducks Unlimited has a membership of about 3/4 of a million people; the NRA (which admittedly is not all hunters) has 7 million. If the numbers are falling, then they’re falling very slowly.

I’m not weirded out by hunters, largely because so many of my neighbors hunt. I don’t approve of what they do and I want to make certain that the laws in place protect me from them, but I’m not about to impose my preferences on them. I find the notion of gay sex revolting but I’m not about to impose my tastes on gays, either. It’s a big world.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 209 ]
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Chris Crawford - 01 November 2008 02:45 PM

I see no evidence in support of that. Hunting remains quite popular in rural areas. Ducks Unlimited has a membership of ...
I’m not weirded out by hunters, largely because so many of my neighbors hunt. I don’t approve of what they do and I want to make certain that the laws in place protect me from them, but I’m not about to impose my preferences on them. I find the notion of gay sex revolting but I’m not about to impose my tastes on gays, either. It’s a big world.

No idea.. that’s why I asked. Your number by themselves mean little. The question is are those numbers bigger or smaller than they used to be? perhaps even more qualification is needed such as as a % of rural population etc.., regardless it is not a foregone conclusion either way.

As for the hunters, I did not mean to say I am afraid of them or that I would criminalize them. I’ve probably never considered the matter of law specifically for sport-type because banning hunting seems crazy as hunting/fishing is still how many people ya know, stay alive. I just don’t think I could have a discussion with the sport hunters. No common ground. No place to start. alien. Killing large animals for fun.. bizarre, incommensurate with any ideas in my head. I also don’t go for the gay sex but at least the general sex part I can understand. This point, this paragraph is not a moral or legal argument of course.. just a comment.

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Posted: 01 November 2008 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 210 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 01 November 2008 01:47 PM

I was pointing out that there is nothing necessarily progressive about history.

sate - 01 November 2008 02:35 PM

I disagree.

If we are to compare the lives of people living 2000 years ago with the lives of people living today we might find that people are better off on average these days, in the sense of longevity, happiness, etc.  But then again, there were people living in luxury 2000 years ago and there are many miserable people in the world today who are far worse off than were, for example, the pharaohs o Egypt.  There are millions of children, for example, who die from diarrhea every year.  So things are not uniformly better for everyone.  I also see no good reason to assume that they will ever get better, although I am not denying that it will.  I hope that you are right and that it goes the positive way.

Chris Crawford - 01 November 2008 02:45 PM

I’m not weirded out by hunters, largely because so many of my neighbors hunt. I don’t approve of what they do and I want to make certain that the laws in place protect me from them, but I’m not about to impose my preferences on them. I find the notion of gay sex revolting but I’m not about to impose my tastes on gays, either. It’s a big world.

Hunting involves victims.  Gay sex involves only pleasure for it’s participants (assuming of course that they are willing participants).  It is entirely victimless.  I don’t think this is anything reasonable of a comparison.

We should impose things on others only when they are imposing, and only to the extent that our imposition is a demand that they not be allowed to impose.

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