Discussion in 'Ethics' started by thumontico, Jan 8, 2005.
Is it ethical to destroy life for sustenance?
i don't think using a machine the way it was made to be unethical. driving a car to work is not unethical, though deliberately using it to run over people and animals is.
The question has no relevance. It's ridiculous to phrase "eating" as a moral problem. Life lives on life and there's nothing wrong about that. Killing to kill might be immoral, but killing to eat? Or in self defense even? That's not immoral, that's nature. Is a lion immoral for eating the water buffalo? Is the cow immoral for eating the grass? Is the water buffalo immoral for goring the lion to death as it struggles to live? Learn from your plant and animal brothers.
Anyways, If nothing ate anything else, animal, fungal, and a great deal of single-celled life would cease, and plant life would cease as we know it because most depend on the other living kingdoms. It's a dance, a rippling pattern of existence. Your question smacks of attachment to forms, where we want forms to remain forever; yet this is not possible. Whether I ate the chicken or not, it would have died eventually, and something would have eaten it's carcass. The water flows through but the river remains; forms come and go but the universe persists. We must recognize that the world is a changing dance of forms coming and going, and appreciate the dance. This doesn't mean to not eat, it means to eat with appreciation of the death involved. Amazing, life from death, and death from life. I think that is the cosmic joke, life depending on death, good depending on evil, and beauty depending on ugliness...everything depending on it's opposite to exist.
So, I and my prey are one, I and my enemy are one. I believe in freedom and life, but I would not exist to have freedom or life if I did not eat.
If humans stopped destroying other life forms, either animals or plants for food, we would all starve to death, as there is little in the way of inorganic food.
Would a collective act of suicide then be more ethically acceptable?
Hardly. So I don't think we got much choice -
How many people in the car? Just one? Could say thats un-ethical on environmental grounds.
I should refraise the the question:
Is it ethical to destroy sentient life for sustenance unncessarily?
I do not propose that no animals eat another animal. That is logistically improbable and physiologically impossible. This pertains only to humans, as we are the only omnivorous animals on Earth that have the capability to live soley on plants.
The argument in defense: Is it ethical for the Lion to eat the Gazelle or the Fox the Rabbit. It IS ethical because they do not have the intelligence, engineering, mental faculties, or physiological dispositions needed to survive without killing its sentient prey.
In my egotism: it is not my main concern that when I die the universe will continue to exist. My concern is that I will no longer exist. My 'energy' will remain, however, as that is not my consciousness, and my consciousness is what I value, I do not care.
TrippinBTM, I commend you for your lack of Ego. However, I do not think you have thought your statements through. You say it should be of little concern that you eat the chicken. It would die anyway. Indeed you are correct. However, I do not LIVE to DIE. I live to live. As I am sure the chicken would have prefered, and I am sure you would also prefer to LIVE as long as possible.
I ask you TrippinBTM: Would you give your life to feed a 49 year old man named Jose, that lives in Croatia, if Jose had a crop of corn in his back yard?
Would the chicken, being a conscious being, prefer to give its life to feed another species? Even more, would the chicken want to give its life to feed another species when that species could just as easily grow food, a process in which no sentient life must die?
I think you believe in Life and Freedom so long as that being cannot verbalize and articulate its pain and desire for Life and Freedom.
First, I never claimed not to have an ego.
Second, are you sure your consciousness isn't your energy, or that it won't survive?
Third, no I wouldn't give my life to be eaten by a guy with corn growing in his land. The chicken does not give it's life, nor does the antelope. I'd fight like the antelope fights to live. Because whether death comes now or later, it's always too soon. And know this: you live to live, but so does the chicken, and so does the corn.
Fourth, who is to say plants aren't sentient? What is sentience? Where is the line drawn, in your mind, and why in that place?
The way I see it, all life is sacred, not just animals. There is no way around the fact that I have to eat, and be it plant, fungi, or animal, I need to eat something. I still don't know why this is a moral problem.
Other than your assertion, I have no reason to. What is the soul[presumably this energy]? Your personality? Who YOU are? Well have a surgeon cut out your frontal lobes and then tell me if you feel like YOU anymore.. your soul will still be there, but nothing of what was YOU will be. (You won't be able to remember me telling you this)
Yes this is my point. And you seek to inhibit this unncessarily. I eat plants because they do not show sentience. If the plants did show sentience and there was no other source for food I would eat that sentient plant. Or if the plant was 'more' aware than an animal or 'more' intelligent I would kill the animal and eat it. We can only consider this in the first place because we have comfortable lives. It is unethical to unnesessarily take the life of a sentient being, however, it is not immoral if it is necessary. Survival of the fittest.
The parts of the brain that are responsible for awareness in animals are not present in plants. It is probable that plants are not sentient. Surely your arguement about eating animals is not: Plants might be sentient, therefore I see it as okay to eat animals because I KNOW they are sentient.
So these lives are sacred? I don't know about sacred. I'd say they are valuable. You need to eat something, INDEED. You could just eat plants and preserve these sacred lives, no? How can you consider this ethical when you claim this sacred status for your meals?
How do I preserve the plants' sacred lives if I eat them? I said all life is sacred, from bacteria to sequoias to humans.
I consider it ethical because it is the natural way of things. Eating is not immoral, even though we live by killing. Plants are as alive as animals, killing them is like killing a chicken. Because in case you didn't know, plants have perception (to light, touch, gravity, they react when attacked, for example by releasing toxins, even reacting in groups, indicating communication). You do realize that aside from humans, only [some] chimps and [some] dolphins, are self aware, right? Just because a thing has a brain does not make it sentient, therefore animals are mostly not sentient.
Having sense perception; conscious: “The living knew themselves just sentient puppets on God's stage” (T.E. Lawrence).
Experiencing sensation or feeling.
n 1: state of elementary or undifferentiated consciousness; "the crash intruded on his awareness" [syn: awareness] 2: the faculty through which the external world is apprehended; "in the dark he had to depend on touch and on his senses of smell and hearing" [syn: sense, sensation, sentiency, sensory faculty] 3: the readiness to perceive sensations; elementary or undifferentiated consciousness; "gave sentience to slugs and newts"- Richard Eberhart [ant: insentience]
Main Entry: con·scious·ness
1 : the totality in psychology of sensations, perceptions, ideas, attitudes, and feelings of which an individual or a group is aware at any given time or within a given time span <altered states of consciousness, such as sleep, dreaming and hypnosis —Bob Gaines>
2 : waking life (as that to which one returns after sleep, trance, or fever) in which one's normal mental powers are present <the ether wore off and the patient regained consciousness>
3 : the upper part of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes
n 1: an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation; "he lost consciousness" [ant: unconsciousness] 2: having knowledge of; "he had no awareness of his mistakes"; "his sudden consciousness of the problem he faced"; "their intelligence and general knowingness was impressive" [syn: awareness, cognizance, cognisance, knowingness]
So, if you use the first definition of sentience, neither plants nor animals are sentient besides humans, chimps and dolphins because besides these 3, no other creature is self aware/conscious (because in the first definition of consciousness, none apply to animals and plants besides "being awake", and the second one indicates self awareness). If you use the second definition of sentience, both plants and animals (as well as basically every other life form) are sentient.
Are your definitions different?
All I see is you saying that you choose the lesser of two evils by eating plants (as you said, if animals were less intelligent than plants you'd eat animals). Choosing the lesser of two evils is still evil, is it not? Thus, the whole question loses relevance because we have no other choice, so it can't be evil or wrong. I just try to keep in mind that I'm eating life, and that I depend on these things on my plate that died so I may live.
It comes down to preservation of life. Animals have a nervous system that we can observe. Plants may also possess a similar nervous system, however, by our current scientific methods, there is no indication of such. So, once again, you have two sets of beings, one set that we know are sentient [or atleast have a developed nervous system] and a set that we [know] are not sentient [or atleast show no indicative evidence for a nervous system].
It is true, we cannot say NECESSARILY that cattle and poultry are self aware as we have determined higher-evolution primates are, however, should we not give them the benefit of the doubt? Reguardless you are taking more highly developed life UNNECESSARILY, when you could be taking less developed life.
INDEED it is the lesser of two 'evils'. If you killed Sally, would it make the fact that you later killed Billy any less 'evil'? I say it would not. The flaw in your thinking is this all or nothing mentality.
On a side note, I got my hair cut for the first time in two years today!
It isn't evil to kill to keep from being killed. If Sally or Billy were trying to kill me, because I value my own life as well as others, I'd fight to live, and kill to live if I have to. Killing just to kill, out of rage hate or revenge is wrong. It is not necessary to live. Eating is. If the choice is between plants and animals, and I feel both are sacred, living beings worthy of life, I'm screwed because I have to kill to live. This is why the question becomes irrelevant. If there is no other choice but to eat a living being, then it can't be evil.
And you cannot NECESSARILY say plants aren't conscious. It might be a different form of consciousness than the human/mammalian/animalian kind, but since when is being different being nothing?
I am not certainly logistically, but what if ultimately eating only plants meant less death over all?
If you eat an animal you are also eating the plants that the animal ate.
If you eat the plant it means more death. Think about it, you eat the plants the animal ate but also prevent it from ever eating another plant. The plants however are(mostly) self sufficient, and kill nothing their lives are blameless. Is intelligence more importance than innocence. If Sally kills people regularly, and you have to choose one, then surely killing her is less immoral. Even if she is better qualified.
I think that all killing is wrong, the fact that we have to to live leaves a stain on our karmic history, that we cannot escape from until we break free of physical existence.
I think plants are self-aware and can sense their surroundings using the same senses that humans have but can't attribute to a bodily sense organ. Eyes aren't the only way to see.
Plants struggle to live as any other living being; they aren't siimply passive background for animals to live in. There are plant parasites, plant predators (venus fly trap, for example), plants stuggle for light and shade out other plants, killing them, vines climb trees and smother them, some have poison to kill off whatever tries to eat them, or to leech into the soil so only they can grow there, some rob nutrients from other plants through their invasive roots, etc etc. They aren't blameless, whatever that's supposed to mean.
If you kill an animal, you stop that animal from eating more plants...but if you stay a meat eater, you need to continualy replace the animals you eat, ending up in a stasis, with animals still eating plants and me eating them.
If you eat only plants, not only you, but the animal too, will be eating plants. Again a stasis will form.
Face it, there is a circle of life and we are part of it, there is no escaping the fact that we kill to eat, and probably kill in equal proportion no matter what. My body needs a specific amount of nutrients. If I get it from plants, a quota of plants must die (while the animals I'm not eating continue to eat as well), if I get it from animals, an equivalant amount of life has been killed, as I eat the animal that ate plants.
Why do you think plants are self-aware? Everything that is attributed to such a thing is rooted in the complex nervous system of animals [excluding various creatures down the evolutionary ladder].
Do you think that if I severed your optic nerve [effectively cutting the line between sensing something visually and sending it to the brain] that you could still see?
You say eyes are not the only way to see. That is up for debate, but I see no reason, beyond unfounded mystical assertion, to logically reason that you can SEE the way a HUMAN sees without your eyes. We are speaking of the way WE sense visually, which I realize is subjective, but there is a basic concept implicitly agreed upon.
Do you think you would be able to See [visually or Supernaturally] if your the area of the brain responsible for perceptions was surgically removed? Of course that is what you are implying. A dualistic relationship, the mind is seperate and nonlocal to the body?
My question is: Why is it that you believe plants "can sense their surroundings using the same senses that humans have but can't attribute to a bodily sense organ"?
This implies some sort of universal standard for sensing. A 'soul' for the plants aswell. It only seems logical that everything would have a 'soul' if humans have 'souls', however, the concept 'soul' itself is illogical.
Indeed, but most important thing to point out is that this does not imply sentience. It is not a planned action to "rob nutrients from other plants", it is genetic dominance. It is not a conscious decision for the Venus Fly Trap to capture the fly, it is a reaction from the little hairs being touched. It is not a conscious descision to 'feel' this stimuli and 'know' to shut the trap. For there to be a conscioussness of the sort you wish to attribute to plants (human-like consciousness) a nervous system would be required, which plants lack.
Perhaps you are correct logistically, perhaps not. However, it cannot be disputed that growing plants as a renewable source of food is far better for the environment than mass producing sentient beings for food. I am sure you know what I am talking about.
It is not the same, however. Thought is the main difference here. A plant reacts to stimuli because that is how it is 'programmed' to. You cannot compare simple 'stimuli and reaction' phenomena in plants and naturally attribute similar reactions in animals and conclude that that plants are just as sentient or alive as animals. There is no cognition involved in plants, as there IS with animals with a nervous system.
The first definition of sentience certainly applies to applies to all animals [excluding aquatic life: recent research indicates that fish can at least percieve pain, however].
Sentience transcends consciousness insofar as MY hierarchial value goes.
--Hey Thumontico.... -If you dont start postin naked pics of your wife RITE NOW im gonna start eatin chichens IMMEDIATLY! -Pay very close attention if you truley value the life of your eddible companions. -Start postin the naked pics NOW and post another one in a diferant pose every hour, -if you dont, I'l EAT A CHICKEN!! -For every hour that you dont post some NAKID PICS OF YOUR OL LADY I'l eat ANOTHER chicken!! -One hour/One chicken. -YOU SAVY?!?!??
--Just as I thought Thumontico... -4 chickens are DEAD and EATEN and NO NAKED PICS?! ---So THATS how far your willin to go? -Prety FUKT UP dude! -I never clamed to have morals.... YOU did.. -Where are they now? -Now that YOU can stop the chicken eating, -where are you ? -Thats rite, -Im the big bad CHICKEN EATER!! -And Im eatin chickens, -one every hour till you start posten them naked pics of yer ol lady! --I thought this MENT something to you.. ---IF YOU REALLY CARED, YOUD POST NAKED PICS OF YER OL LADY TO STOP THE KILLIN!!! -So, your moral enoughf to start this thread but not moral enoughf to save ONE SINGLE CHICKEN from me?! -Is that it? -If I dont see any naked pics of yer wife soon Im gonna start postin pictures of BARBAQUES and PICNICS! -and Not some watered down pics either, -I mean WITH SAUCE and EVERYTHING!
PROVE to me that your more moral than me Thumontico... -Show us all some naked pics of your wife! -Thats ALL ya have to do.... -To save the lives of CHICKENS! -SHOW US YOUR NAKED WIFE and I'l stop eating. ..So whats it gonna be Thumontico.. -Whats it REALLY worth to you... ? -Is saving the lives of your fellow foodstuffs as important as your wifes modesty?? ---Show us the pics... -and I'l stop eatin your buddies! -ONE PICTURE EVERY HOUR, IN A NEW AND PROGRESSIVLY MORE EROTIC POSE, OR I EAT CHICKENS! -ON THE HOUR, EVERY HOUR.
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