Tom Gilson

Save the Sea Kittens!

Values gone haywire. Who else but PETA?

Of course, if you look at it another way, what all this really means is that fish need to fire their PR guy—stat… And we’re going to start by retiring the old name for good. When your name can also be used as a verb that means driving a hook through your head, it’s time for a serious image makeover. And who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?

(Thanks to SteveK for the notice.)

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76 thoughts on “Save the Sea Kittens!

  1. Values gone haywire.

    first, its unclear how determining that fish shouldnt be killed is values out of control. id venture to argue you have a feeling inside you that says, “eat the meat”, and so, believing this feeling to be natural, you also believe it to be right. if this is true, how would you account for other times when you choose to trump your nature in terms of your morality?

    second,
    your link to the plant article is funny, however, vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are typically based on the concept that organisms with central nervous systems are sentient and can suffer, and thus shouldnt be killed.

    third,
    i have no problem with you eating meat, however, your statement seems also to indicate that you may be cool with the current practices of the american meat market. i would consider this an immoral position to take (check out the book dominion for a christian perspective). if you arent cool with the american meat market’s practice, then your statement seems irresponsible.

    fourth,
    months ago when i saw the sea kitten thing, i was all for it! relabeling anything to include the word kitten is way cool.

    you had to have known youd get some veghead yelling at you when you wrote this post; excuse the rant.

  2. Almond-crusted Pan-seared Sea Kitten in Green Chili Bechamel
    Yum!

    That said, the problem is that inflicting pain is not immoral per se unless you are a materialist. What does PETA think would happen if it was totally successful in ending carnivorous behavior? Wouldn’t carnivores die of hunger pains inflicted by over-zealous PETA-heads? While PETA is good at grabbing attention by radicalizing its causes, it’s very poor at thinking them through.

  3. j.

    first, its unclear how determining that fish shouldnt be killed is values out of control.

    For one thing, ‘shouldn’t’ is too strong a word. I assume you know how Christian’s determine that fish can be killed. I’m curious how do you determine that fish shouldn’t be killed? Is it because we now have alternatives and don’t need to eat fish, or is it the principle itself?

    I’m OK with vegans doing (and eating) as they please. My gripe with PETA is they try to humanize non-humans. If a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy when it comes to the value of life, then that’s where “values gone haywire” starts. A vegan who eats what they do *because* they first and foremost believe a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, is a vegan who has a problem with their value system.

  4. SteveK, it’s not necessary to equate human and animal life, or humanize non-human life, in order to hold PETA’s position. One could value human life over animal life but still hold both high enough to claim that one should never kill either.

  5. True, Paul, but that’s not the kind of vegan I have a problem with and PETA is not that kind of vegan organization as demonstrated by their slogan ‘a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy’.

  6. Wait a darned minute:“… one should never kill either” ?!?

    This… coming from a categorically-declared moral relativist?

    I’m reaching for my thesaurus to find a term for “confused”… Ahhh, here it is: “materialist.” After all, aren’t all ideas (like moral relativism or “we should not kill”) “only neurons”?

    Chesterton’s chestnut is worth repeating: “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can’t see things as they are.”

    It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

  7. @Paul:

    SteveK, it’s not necessary to equate human and animal life, or humanize non-human life, in order to hold PETA’s position.

    That’s probably true. However:

    1) The converse is probably not true. If one does equate human and animal, or humanize non-human life, one is probably forced to PETA’s position.

    2) I’m not sure if this is what PETA officially says, but I’ve seen enough from them and other animal-rights groups to conclude that for many such representatives, this is indeed the underlying basis for their beliefs.

    3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

  8. I’m curious how do you determine that fish shouldn’t be killed?

    i think we can appeal to the desire to minimize the suffering and pain of sentient creatures given that humans have other sources of food. if we only had sentient stuff to eat, well….

    more importantly, from a Christian perspective, the way american’s and the meat industry view sentient creatures (sometimes excused from the “god gave it us” line) betrays a scary mentality that goes against the concept of biblical stewardship, and even into interesting questions of power and responsibility.

    I’m OK with vegans doing (and eating) as they please. My gripe with PETA is they try to humanize non-humans.

    in terms of sentience and suffering, how would you justify the difference (between pig – dog – boy)?

    granted im not cool with peta, but lets be very clear as to what we are calling haywire in terms of morals; viewing animals in terms of suffering sentient creatures is hardly haywire.

    Holopupenko

    “only neurons”

    do some more reading before misrepresenting materialist positions.

    3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    and i would argue, even possibly from a Christian morality. they get to be here once; why take that away from them or make their lives shit in the mean time?

  9. I agree with Peta and all animal lovers (who I doubt have more love and respect for animals than I have) that animals should not be treated with cruelty nor should their lives be made painful or unpleasant. I have a serious aversion to fishing and hunting, but, as so many here will insist ought to be the case, I do not judge/condemn those who hunt/fish.
    But I have a huge problem with bestowing “rights” upon animals, which, as we’ve seen in discussions regarding humans and morality, are nothing but arbitrary grants from a given human society when God is taken out of the picture. The concept of human rights makes no sense without religion and that much the less animal rights. Nor do I know what “rights” God has granted animals. He certainly did not grant them the right not to be killed and eaten by humans, nor did He grant them the right not to labour for us (and we for them).

  10. 3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    Not at all. Evolution provides for very strong group bonding (which means not bonding with others outside the group), which sets up inequality.

  11. Hi Paul,
    That’s a new and interesting angle from you.
    How about humans outside your group?

  12. Hi j.
    re: your first comment.
    I have no feeling inside me that says “eat the fish”. But that doesn’t make it wrong. Believing in objective, realistic morality I don’t believe we get to just make up what is right and wrong. And our moral source seems to make it quite clear that killing and eating animals is not wrong. Misusing them and being cruel, on the other hand, is.

  13. j.

    i think we can appeal to the desire to minimize the suffering and pain of sentient creatures given that humans have other sources of food. if we only had sentient stuff to eat, well….

    I have no problem if you follow your desire to not eat formerly sentient stuff. But that doesn’t explain PETA’s insistence that one shouldn’t desire the opposite.

    in terms of sentience and suffering, how would you justify the difference (between pig – dog – boy)?

    I don’t know.

    viewing animals in terms of suffering sentient creatures is hardly haywire.

    If the limits of morality stop at minimizing the suffering of individual sentient creatures then I agree with you and PETA. However I would still enjoy blackened sea kittens much to their disapproval I suspect.

  14. Charlie, I’m not sure what mean by the question for me in your last post. Can you rephrase?

  15. j:

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt since you’re apparently not aware that the quoted “only neurons” is EXACTLY what Paul claimed–not me and not non-reductive materialists (the latter is an oxymoron… but I digress). In other words, I was quoting Paul. I have the bona fides and experience (scientific and philosophical) to understand very, very well the various species of materialists. Your argument is with Paul’s silly assertion (that’s why I delight in repeatedly highlighting it), not with me. Paul’s hypocrisy is crystal clear: say one thing, do another, think a third… with appropriate subtrefuge sprinkled in to deflect criticisms…

  16. Certainly, Paul.
    You said :

    Not at all. Evolution provides for very strong group bonding (which means not bonding with others outside the group), which sets up inequality.

    And then I asked:

    That’s a new and interesting angle from you.
    How about humans outside your group?

    To clarify:
    You said that evolution itself sets up inequality. As I said, this is interesting because there are, of course, human beings left outside when groups bond. So evolution provides for inequality among humans.
    But one of your main tenets is consistent equality across groups. Where did this equality come from? Not evolution, I now see.

  17. But one of your main tenets is consistent equality across groups

    Not sure what you mean here, either. “Consistent equality across groups” is very general and vague. Are you talking about morality, or law, or rationality, or what? I don’t know where to go with this without something more specific.

  18. That’s ok, Paul.
    Thanks for your effort.

    For the record, you didn’t seem to have trouble knowing what equality meant here:

    Steve: If a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy when it comes to the value of life, then that’s where “values gone haywire” starts. A vegan who eats what they do *because* they first and foremost believe a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, is a vegan who has a problem with their value system.

    Paul:
    SteveK, it’s not necessary to equate human and animal life, or humanize non-human life, in order to hold PETA’s position. One could value human life over animal life but still hold both high enough to claim that one should never kill either.

    Tom:
    3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    Paul:
    Not at all. Evolution provides for very strong group bonding (which means not bonding with others outside the group), which sets up inequality.

    Evolution itself provides for and sets up inequality between members of different groups. Evolution does not provide for nor set up equality outside of one’s group.

    Thanks again.

    Galatians 3:28:
    There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.
    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)

  19. Charlie,

    But I have a huge problem with bestowing [arbitrary] “rights” upon animals

    Believing in objective, realistic morality I don’t believe we get to just make up what is right and wrong.

    the problem here is that if we both agree that suffering (prolonged pain) is wrong, then we can possibly both reason together that because animals possess the ability to suffer, it is wrong for us to make animals suffer. unless your willing to say you personally dont think prolonged pain is wrong, which typically most people arent willing to do.

    Nor do I know what “rights” God has granted animals.

    And our moral source seems to make it quite clear that killing and eating animals is not wrong.

    As far as im aware there is no place in the bible which says we should or can eat animals (Genesis 1:29-Gensesis 1:31 is unclear from my understanding of greek). youll have to refer me to what you mean by our moral source making it quite clear

    do we agree that one of god’s given rights is, something which has the ability to suffer, shouldnt be made to suffer (your appeal to not being cruel to them)?

    Holopupenko,
    my apologies for now.

    Steve,

    I have no problem if you follow your desire to not eat formerly sentient stuff. But that doesn’t explain PETA’s insistence that one shouldn’t desire the opposite.

    sure it does…unless you want to argue that you arent interested in decreasing suffering.

    in terms of sentience and suffering, how would you justify the difference (between pig – dog – boy)?

    I don’t know.

    so theres a difference, but you have no idea what, and all you can point to is “god”? i was under the impression this was were thinking christians came. i appreciate your owning your ignorance (even if you are reeming someone else for not carrying the distinction you carry), but i demand an answer to my question.

  20. Hi j.

    youll have to refer me to what you mean by our moral source making it quite clear [ that killing and eating animals is not wrong.]

    I’ll refer you to our Lord’s last meal before His Crucifixion and to His last acts after His Resurrection.
    John 21:12
    Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
    13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
    14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

    Mark 14:12
    On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
    13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.
    14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
    15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”
    16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
    17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
    18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

    Luke 24
    36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
    37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
    38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
    40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
    41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
    42They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
    43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

  21. Reasoning together and following you conscience are great. Creating new rights and inventing new morals are not.
    The Bible already tells us the difference between how a righteous man and am unrighteous treat their animals. It bans cruelty and allows for killing and eating.

  22. And, according to Saint Paul:
    Romans 14:
    1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
    2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
    3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
    4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

  23. j,

    sure it does…unless you want to argue that you arent interested in decreasing suffering.

    I’m interested in decreasing suffering, but not at the expense of my right to eat fish.

    J: in terms of sentience and suffering, how would you justify the difference (between pig – dog – boy)?
    Me: I don’t know.
    J: so theres a difference, but you have no idea what, and all you can point to is “god”? i was under the impression this was were thinking christians came. i appreciate your owning your ignorance (even if you are reeming someone else for not carrying the distinction you carry), but i demand an answer to my question.

    I don’t understand the question completely. Are you asking how I justify the different treatment when looking at sentience and suffering only? Please restate.
    BTW, I’m not reeming you for anything, I’m asking questions about your reasoning. Maybe I can learn something even if I end up disagreeing with you. You are not obligated to answer or defend. I do this with DL and Paul all the time. I don’t agree with them but they sure have helped me understand the way they think.

  24. Charlie, my question was not what *I* meant, but what *you* meant. It seems like you’re bringing past accumulated frustration to every discussion. I look at a new thread, even if it eventually goes over previous arguments and topics, as a fresh opportunity to convince or learn.

    Anyway, I thought about what you might have meant on my commute this morning, and I think I have a clarification (even though I’m still not sure exactly what you meant):

    If evolution supports groupings of organisms (ants, monkeys, people, whatever), then the largest group is, apparently, the entire universe, and, sure enough, some new agers believe that *everything* is interconnected. They identify with the largest group (the universe). All other groups besides that largest one will, inevitably, connect people within the group and distance from all others.

    So I still don’t get what it is about that aspect of groups and evolution, particularly considering the scale (size, roughly) of the group and that fact that groups of all sizes, big and small, and possible, that is somehow contradictory with some tenet of mine about equality.

  25. Sorry Charlie, I missed this comment of yours:

    Evolution does not provide for nor set up equality outside of one’s group.

    But what is one’s group? For a monkey, that’s more easily defined than for a person. Evolution has given humans the ability to define their own group to some extent (as well as provide tendencies for some groupings [family is the obvious one] to *tend* to predominate or be common).

  26. Hi Paul,
    Your eyes keep deceiving you. I am not frustrated here anymore than I was on the last thread or on the one prior to that.
    I, too, look at every thread as a new opportunity. But I look at them all as an exercise in discussing truth and reality and, as such, the stands we choose in one must be consistent with those we choose in others. If they aren’t, we must wonder about the reasons we take those stands or upon what they are based.

    So I still don’t get what it is about that aspect of groups and evolution, particularly considering the scale (size, roughly) of the group and that fact that groups of all sizes, big and small, and possible, that is somehow contradictory with some tenet of mine about equality.

    Well, since you introduced groups and evolution, sizes and scales notwithstanding, to demonstrate to Tom and Steve how they were, yet again, wrong, it would seem you ought to know what it implies.
    Since you’ve determined here that evolution itself sets up and provides the inequality between members of different groups then, by your own evolutionary world-view, does it not follow that humans in different groups are not equals? And if the are equals, whence that equality? How do you deny Tom’s inference from materialistic evolution to equality of animals and men and then affirm the equality of different groups of men?

  27. Hi again,
    I just lost TC for a bit so my last comment did not save. I will try to recreate it.

    But what is one’s group? For a monkey, that’s more easily defined than for a person. Evolution has given humans the ability to define their own group to some extent (as well as provide tendencies for some groupings [family is the obvious one] to *tend* to predominate or be common).

    This is a good question – in fact, it is the very question I am asking – what is a group? Since you introduced it and used it to refute Tom’s point I would have thought you would know.
    You used “strong bonding” between members as a criterion. Of course, it is obvious that bonding strength will vary just as groups will.
    On the one hand you admit the universe as a group and will tell us that there are those who might see all of life as equal. You denied Tom a much more limited inference than this, so you obviously do not choose as a group so great a thing as the universe, so this must have just been an aside for you. You also suggest “families” as groups. Evolution, then, provides that non-family members are not equal to family members, correct?
    As a “philosopher” Dawkins, and many like him, suggests we ought to create an ape/man hybrid because this will show the dogmatists that the line between the human group and the ape group is artificial, speaking as an evolutionary materialist. Do you agree with the esteemed biologist and popularizer of science on that point? Do you agree with other ethicists who say that to treat man as a different group is merely speciesism? Given the fluidity of “species” and its arbitrary boundaries this would seem problematic for your “group” hypothesis.
    Or do you agree with scientists such as Darwin who would group some men nearer the apes than the would to other men?

  28. Your eyes keep deceiving you.

    I hate it when that happens. I better see my optometrist soon. ; )

    If they aren’t, we must wonder about the reasons we take those stands or upon what they are based.

    I’d ask for both sides to consider the substantive foundation on which an opinion is based before (and I chose my words carefully right there) we look at the reasons why that opinion is the way it is. It is far too easy to attribute base motives to an opponent as a way of not dealing with the substance of their argument, one need only look at politics to see the extent to which that tendency may go.

    Since you’ve determined here that evolution itself sets up and provides the inequality between members of different groups then, by your own evolutionary world-view, does it not follow that humans in different groups are not equals?

    I’m not saying that evolution *creates* the objective inequality (it may well create inequalities between groups – one group of organisms may be taller than another group) but that is not the inequality that I’m talking about. The inequality is merely the result of the grouping. Take monkeys: why does one group of monkeys fight another? It might be something like a mere accident of geography that has separated on group from another, with little or no contact. But once that first contact happens, they can react antagonistically, but one could very well have not been able to tell the difference, in objective terms (and in the sense I used the word above), between the two groups other than their geographic separation.

    When you ask me then, if then humans in separate groups are not equal, please clarify if you mean in objective terms or in terms of how one group views the other.

    Charlie, do you agree that there can be many overlapping (including supportive as well as contradictory) groups in humans?

    How do you deny Tom’s inference from materialistic evolution to equality of animals and men and then affirm the equality of different groups of men?

    I took Tom’s statement to mean that the connection between materialism and equality of men and animals was *necessary.* Materialism doesn’t define what groups are equal in the sense that I think you and Tom mean it. In the case of the monkeys, it was the accident of (materialistic) geography that defined one group versus the other. So, at the same time, it defined these monkeys as equals (roughly, because there’s stratification within the group, too, so smaller and smaller groups get made within the larger one), and those other monkeys as not equal with the first group. Equality and inequality happen.

    People’s groups, however, can be modified by the people themselves (but not in irrelevance to evolutionary tendencies).

  29. Charlie,

    odd that i hadnt remember the verses that you pulled for me…[insert me saying that ive had other things on my mind apparently]. i agree to your position; my apologies.

    and

    i read the bible in OT in greek because i take the Septuagint to be the best source for it that we have. (also, try youngs literal translation for some fun)

    steve,

    I’m interested in decreasing suffering, but not at the expense of my right to eat fish.

    why not at the expense of your right to eat fish?

    also

    you said there is a difference between fish – pig – boy (lets throw monkey in for fun). im asking you where you believe this differences lies in terms of both sentience and suffering.

  30. Hi Paul,

    It is far too easy to attribute base motives to an opponent as a way of not dealing with the substance of their argument, one need only look at politics to see the extent to which that tendency may go.

    That is easy. Since I always deal with the substance of your arguments the interesting point doesn’t really have much relevance though. But there are many other ways to avoid dealing with the substance, aren’t there?

    I’m not saying that evolution *creates* the objective inequality (it may well create inequalities between groups – one group of organisms may be taller than another group) but that is not the inequality that I’m talking about. The inequality is merely the result of the grouping.

    When you ask me then, if then humans in separate groups are not equal, please clarify if you mean in objective terms or in terms of how one group views the other.

    I am asking you to mean something and I don’t know what you are trying to say here differentiating between “objective” inequality and an inequality resulting merely from grouping or an inequality in how one group views another. You rebutted Tom’s reference to a straightforward inference by authoritatively stating that evolution itself sets up and provides inequality outside a group. What inequality were you talking about? Is it objective? Is it merely in “how one group sees another”? Which inequality has evolution provided that rebuts Tom’s point?

    Now that you’ve thought it over, do you have a different response to this point:

    3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    ?

    ===

    Charlie, do you agree that there can be many overlapping (including supportive as well as contradictory) groups in humans?

    You mean like when I said:

    How about humans outside your group?

    As I said, this is interesting because there are, of course, human beings left outside when groups bond.

    does it not follow that humans in different groups are not equals?

    This is a good question – in fact, it is the very question I am asking – what is a group? …

    You used “strong bonding” between members as a criterion. Of course, it is obvious that bonding strength will vary just as groups will.

    On the one hand you admit the universe as a group and will tell us that there are those who might see all of life as equal.

    You also suggest “families” as groups. Evolution, then, provides that non-family members are not equal to family members, correct?

    Of course I do.
    That’s why I’m asking you what a group is such that evolution sets up and provides inequality between non-members.
    More importantly, that’s why I’m asking you where the equality that you claim to champion comes from in your world view. You have given that evolution provides inequality, but does it provide equality?

  31. Hi j.,

    odd that i hadnt remember the verses that you pulled for me…[insert me saying that ive had other things on my mind apparently]. i agree to your position; my apologies.

    Thanks. But apologies are not necessary just for asking that one provide evidence for a claim.

  32. j:

    No need to apologize.

    On another point: on what basis to you claim that animals suffer in the same way humans do, i.e., what is the basis for the equivocation on the point of suffering? That is a very valid and fair question.

    Perhaps you should consider the following: we ought to avoid making animals suffer (note the moral imperative on humans I’m imposing) NOT for their sake, but for OUR sake. We are stewards: to mistreat animals (generally speaking, to abuse or misuse the gift of the nature around us) is to violate a sacred trust. It denigrates our very souls to misuse gifts–whether they be gifts of grace or material gifts. That is the reason why we treat brute animals HUMANELY. When we treat our own kind like ANIMALS, we denigrate their dignity. When we treat animals like animals, we treat them per their natures: you can’t elevate a brute animal to a higher ontological status without coming dangerously close to idolatry. We, as RATIONAL animals, are the ONLY animal on earth that can–quite literally–change our nature. (God doesn’t rape our natures or impose upon them: His grace PERFECTS our human nature.) We can–quite literally–become inhuman. Animals can’t do that. That’s why PETA is so deeply (and quite dangerously) confused: they just don’t get it because they’re blinded by emotional, anti-intellectual, ideological commitments.

  33. Charlie, no time right now.

    There is certainly equality within the group (to some extent and in some realms). Monkeys in a group will fight against a common foe. Is that the type of equality you’re thinking of?

  34. j:

    In addition:

    “It is a curious thing that human beings spend so much energy denying their own spiritual and rational nature. No other being tries with such effort to deny that it is what it is. No dog or horse would ever try to show that it is not a dog or horse but only a mixture of matter, force, and accident. Man’s attempt to deny his own spirituality is itself a spiritual act, one that transcends space, time, and the limitations of matter. The motivations behind this self-denial are mystifying indeed.” [Fr. Robert Sokolowski, Christian Faith and Human Understanding, Chap. 10]

    That’s why, apart from being fallacious and ideologically-burdened, DL’s and Paul’s and ordinary seeker’s ideas are so repugnant: materialism (and all related –ism’s) denigrates human nature, and makes a mockery of any possible reason why we should treat animals humanely…

  35. Hi Paul,

    There is certainly equality within the group (to some extent and in some realms).

    1) Does evolution provide it?
    2) Evolution does provide the inequality outside the group, according to you. And, being that there are lots of groups outside of which one will find himself, evolution provides lots and lots of inequality.
    3) What provides the equality?

    Monkeys in a group will fight against a common foe. Is that the type of equality you’re thinking of?

    I’m thinking of the type of equality you’d seek to enlist in rebutting Tom’s point. I’d like to know how this affects the type of equality you reference when you make equality the prime pillar (or should I say piling?) in your relative morality.

  36. Very good points, Holopupenko.
    You just illuminated the incoherence and self-contradiction of the Dawkins/Singer position in a new way to me.
    If we are just animals, and if they are our moral equivalents, then we have no moral obligation (in fact, we should have no moral ability – but we do [so their position falsifies itself]) to behave humanely. If we and the other animals are one and the same we and they should have the same obligations. But it is the very act of saying that we have the obligation to see them as our equivalents that proves that they are not. This very claim proves we are not merely evolved animals. So the argument from evolution provides us another evidence for the existence of God. Excellent.

  37. Charlie:

    1. Evolution provides the equality as well as the inequality.

    2. Yes.

    3. Evolution.

    I need clarification about what equality you’re talking about in my relative morality. You might mean the equality between moral systems, or the equality among people within my morality, or something else. I hope you can see that I’m not trying to delay or obfuscate when I ask for these clarifications, as the two options I’ve mentioned in this paragraph concerning what you might have meant would lead my response in very different directions.

  38. Tom:

    it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    Paul (in reply):

    Not at all. Evolution provides for very strong group bonding (which means not bonding with others outside the group), which sets up inequality

    So, would you say that different races are inequal, in precisely the same manner (though perhaps less of a degree) that a boy and a dog are inequal? That is the logical implication of what you’ve said here.

  39. Deuce, I qualified my reading of Tom’s post (which I now see may not have been what Tom intended) above by saying I took Tom to mean that equating human and animal life was a *necessary* inference from materialism. That necessity I disagreed with, as materialistic evolution can produce various equalities and inequalities, and would not mandate that someone look at human and animal life as equal, nor unequal. Same for races. This is consistent with relativism (not even evolution or materialism absolutely defines equality between some entities).

    If Tom didn’t intend that necessary inference, then we could still debate the issue as if he had (which is what I’ve been doing).

  40. Paul:

    That necessity I disagreed with, as materialistic evolution can produce various equalities and inequalities, and would not mandate that someone look at human and animal life as equal, nor unequal. Same for races. This is consistent with relativism.

    So, boiling it all down, your short answer would be that say, Asians and Africans are inequal, in the same sense that boys and dogs are inequal, correct?

    (not even evolution or materialism absolutely defines equality between some entities)

    Does it define equality between any entities? Can you name even one example?

  41. So, boiling it all down, your short answer would be that say, Asians and Africans are inequal, in the same sense that boys and dogs are inequal, correct?

    I can’t imagine what it was in my last post that presumably led you to think that I would have some pronouncement on the absolute equality or lack thereof between Asians, Africans, boys, dogs, or hatever. Can you offer a quote from my last post that led to this question of yours?

    Does it define equality between any entities? Can you name even one example?

    The first one I thought of was that all electrons are created equal. It is a little-remarked remarkable fact that all, say, electrons, are identical in every regard we can see, AFAIK.

  42. j,

    why not at the expense of your right to eat fish?

    also

    you said there is a difference between fish – pig – boy (lets throw monkey in for fun). im asking you where you believe this differences lies in terms of both sentience and suffering.

    Instead of putting Holo’s comment in my own words, which is what I would attempt to do, I’ll just refer you to his comment as my response here.

  43. In addition, Amy at the STR blog had this to say (emphasis, mine).

    “Misusing words as propaganda–separating them from the objects and concepts they represent in order to attach their emotional impact to a different object or concept of choice–will render those words meaningless in time. And PETA had better be careful because this kind of manipulation can seriously backfire. After all, if you convince enough people that land kittens are really just like fish, perhaps they will rethink their use of kittens.

  44. Once again I’m still catching up. I just finished the final version of a church report that has taken a lot of my free time that I would usually spend keeping up with these discussions. But once again I see it’s going just fine without me. Except for one thing: somebody asked me by email whether this from Holopupenko meets the comment guidelines:

    Paul’s hypocrisy is crystal clear: say one thing, do another, think a third… with appropriate subtrefuge sprinkled in to deflect criticisms…

    Since I was asked I feel I should answer, and since it happened here I should answer here. Holopupenko, my friend: I am quite sure you believe you are speaking accurately. When you do this, though, you introduce a difficult side issue into the discussion. Besides the issue at hand, it causes us also to deal with:

    1. Is what Holopupenko said accurate?
    2. Whether it’s accurate or not, did it need to be said anyway? Is it helpful, especially to Paul but also to the rest of us here?

    For what it’s worth, I appreciate Paul’s contribution here: even though I think he’s often wrong—dangerously so from the perspective of truth and spiritual life—he’s at least straightforward about it and courteous. From this distance it would be impossible for me to judge whether he is being honest, so I don’t ask that question. I assume the best, and deal with the propositions, issues, and questions at hand.

    And maybe later this week I’ll have my head above water and get back involved again!

  45. @SteveK:

    Interesting about re-thinking our use of kittens: I wonder what principle would prevent our taking this the reverse of what PETA intended? Their campaign on this is nothing but emotion, after all. There’s no moral principle whatsoever to be seen in the web page I linked to.

    Note that I said “principle,” not “principles.” Here’s what I mean by that. It’s not a question of their being “unprincipled” in the usual pejorative sense of the term. They have principles. I disagree with some of them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any.

    What I’m trying to point out is that the web page in question doesn’t offer any principle by which we should take their position rather than the opposite one (treating kittens like we treat trout). There’s nothing there but emotion attached to cuteness, cuteness that’s so extremely overdone, it’s ugly.

  46. Some interesting comments at the STR blog are below. Imagine if pro-life groups launched an emotional campaign like these comments suggest. I’m guessing most of the PETA supporters wouldn’t support it on the principle of a woman’s right to choose.

    – Can we start calling fetuses, “Precious Little Babies?”

    – Even better: womb kittens.

    – That would be really sad–to have to associate the unborn with kittens so people won’t kill them…as if being human isn’t enough!

  47. What I said is accurate, I stand by my words and will gladly listen to any attempts to refute what I said, it fits with the guidelines because it merely states the obvious, and it makes crystal clear Paul’s position. When a person asserts “… one should never kill either [one]…” while staunchly claiming they are moral relativists based on a twisted and unscientific interpretation of Darwinian evolutionary theory, such nonsense deserves to be exposed… over and over. Not only because it IS hypocritical and contradictory, but if nothing else because it IS dangerous. Perhaps those who share Paul’s views feel uncomfortable having the fallaciousness of their ideas exposed in public. If so, that’s not an issue of crossing the guidelines… but hiding behind them. It is wrong to sheepishly avoid the matter for fear of “offending” by merely bringing disordered views into the light of day. (Does is automatically merit the catch-all and overused label “offensive” simply because it exposes and stands staunchly against nonsense? Isn’t that the same problem with labeling people as “homophobic” simply because they support heterosexual marriage and expose the dangerous results of homosexual activity?) Why is it wrong? Because it is the sin of omission: it permits those propagating bad ideas to claim a monopoly on truth. If exposing Paul’s disordered ideas is “offensive,” then surely the ignorant broad-brushing denigration of faith we see so often here (as well as ignorance of historical facts and important terminology) merits that label even more.

  48. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for answering some questions.
    
Q:
    1) Does evolution provide it [equality within groups]?
    A:
    1. Evolution provides the equality as well as the inequality.

    Follow-up;
    a) You seem to know what equality and inequality mean now.
    b) How does evolution provide both of these? Since I presume you are not confusing “is” and “ought” I would presume that you’ve come up with some type of equality which you are referencing. Does this type of equality have anything any longer to do with the points in question?

    Q:
    2) Evolution does provide the inequality outside the group, according to you. And, being that there are lots of groups outside of which one will find himself, evolution provides lots and lots of inequality.
    A:
    2. Yes.

    Follow-up:
    As it does between in and out members of human groups, right?

    
Q:
    3) What provides the equality?
    A:
    Evolution.

    Follow-up:
    How?


    Is it just me, or does your problem with the definition of equality seem inversely proportional to the perceived difficulty of the question?

    I said:

    I’m thinking of the type of equality you’d seek to enlist in rebutting Tom’s point. I’d like to know how this affects the type of equality you reference when you make equality the prime pillar (or should I say piling?) in your relative morality.

    You respond:

    I need clarification about what equality you’re talking about in my relative morality.

    I’m talking about the equality you reference when you say over and over again that equality (along with consistency) is an overriding principle of your relative morality. Do you not know what you mean when you say this?
    If the equality you enlist to rebut Tom’s point does not affect the equality you refer to in your relative morality I have to wonder if it had anything to do with Tom’s point.

    You might mean the equality between moral systems, or the equality among people within my morality, or something else.

    No, I am not talking about comparing different systems but about the equality between humans, perhaps the most important part of your system, within your system. You’ll recall such conversations?

    In response to your repeated questions about what equality means I asked, using your terms:

    What inequality were you talking about? Is it objective? Is it merely in “how one group sees another”? Which inequality has evolution provided that rebuts Tom’s point?
    Now that you’ve thought it over, do you have a different response to this point:

    3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    Since you have not responded I will decipher what you meant at the risk, of course, of misrepresenting you:

    Steve:
    I’m OK with vegans doing (and eating) as they please. My gripe with PETA is they try to humanize non-humans. If a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy when it comes to the value of life, then that’s where “values gone haywire” starts. A vegan who eats what they do *because* they first and foremost believe a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, is a vegan who has a problem with their value system.



    Paul says: 
January 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm
    
SteveK, it’s not necessary to equate human and animal life, or humanize non-human life, in order to hold PETA’s position. One could value human life over animal life but still hold both high enough to claim that one should never kill either.

    You defined what you meant by equality in your first response to Steve. Equality here means to value lives equally. You told Tom afterward and in this context that evolution itself provides/sets up inequality for those outside the tightly bonded group. Since this was intended to be an answer to Tom’s point, such that there is no straightforward inference from materialistic evolution to equality then the equality in question must be that lives are to be valued equally.

    I took Tom’s statement to mean that the connection between materialism and equality of men and animals was *necessary.* Materialism doesn’t define what groups are equal in the sense that I think you and Tom mean it

    But you said that the inference from evolution to equally valued lives was faulty not because evolution is mute on the point, but because evolution itself sets up and provides for the inequality. You didn’t say it was silent on the issue but yourself made it necessary that evolution provides/sets up the inequality for members outside the tightly-bonded group – and this was in answer to a question about the equality in value of lives.

    Do you agree? Or were you not actually answering Tom and Steve?

  49. Charlie, not that I’m unwilling to do it (I will if necessary), but it will take a lot to untangle what your questions are based on. So let me try to cut to the chase. If it doesn’t work for you, let me know and I’ll go the whole nine yards.

    Tom, as I understood him, posited the equality of human and animal life as a necessary result of materialism, but I disagreed. Evolution produces many types of organisms who have different approaches as to whether one form of life is equal to another. Carnivores, in general, don’t hold the lives of their prey to be equal to the lives of their offspring. But, generally, mammals of one group hold each other’s lives to have greater value than those of another group (monkeys would rarely kill within their group, but could kill monkeys outside their group).

    Materialistic evolution, I claim, makes no overarching, absolute claim about the equality of animal and human life. It makes no ought as well. Rather, the approach to this question is provisional, circumstantial, and relativistic. Describing the “is” (because people are just another primate), we can say that some people equate animal and human life in some cases, and in others no; and some people hold human life above animal in some case, and in others, no.

    Evolution doesn’t say that animal and human life are equal, nor does it say that they are unequal. Different kinds of organisms (and many different individual organisms) make different decisions about whether one animal’s life is equal (valued) compared to another or not.

  50. 1)Thanks Holopupenko.

    2)Oops, I meant “directly proportional” though, not inversely.

    3) By the way, Holopupenko. I’m on the wrong thread for this but I’ve asked several people and none can help me; maybe you can.
    I was arguing a while back about the conflict/warfare thesis myth and said that the Dickson White/Draper thesis became entrenched in our culture through Soviet propaganda. I was challenged on this and then couldn’t find my cite. I wasted much time Googling it (don’t repeat this effort on my account) but can’t find it. It must be in a book I read. You wouldn’t happen to agree with the assessment and have a reference?
    Thanks much.

  51. Hi Paul,
    The basis of my questions is not tangled. You can work more on it if you like and it shouldn;t be too hard.

    . Evolution produces many types of organisms who have different approaches as to whether one form of life is equal to another.

    We aren’t talking about many different organisms and their approaches but PETA and the rest of mankind, produced as you say, by evolution and about their values (gone haywire).

    Materialistic evolution, I claim, makes no overarching, absolute claim about the equality of animal and human life.

    Evolution can make no claims at all so I will take this to mean that proponents of materialistic evolution, drawing inference from the theory, make no such claims. But you are mistaken as this is just what they do as I described above.
    In fact, though you’ll deny it, you just did it if you speak consistently and mean what you say:

    Rather, the approach to this question is provisional, circumstantial, and relativistic. Describing the “is” (because people are just another primate),

    If we are JUST another primate, nothing other than the other primates, then we are equal in your eyes. Of course we aren’t equal in your eyes to (other) apes, so you now have to equivocate on what you meant when you said it. If you were consistent, as people like Dawkins and Singer are trying (they believe that the “species barrier” between us and apes is artificial and that we are “just” another primate) to be you would have to admit that being “just” another primate means “just” that. And if the inference from evolution is that we are just another primate then the inference is to equality.

    Rather, the approach to this question is provisional, circumstantial, and relativistic. Describing the “is” (because people are just another primate), we can say that some people equate animal and human life in some cases, and in others no; and some people hold human life above animal in some case, and in others, no.
    Evolution doesn’t say that animal and human life are equal, nor does it say that they are unequal.

    Now you are saying that the is of evolution is mute, silent and useless on the subject. As I showed above, that was not your claim. Are you withdrawing your claim? Or did you misunderstand it as you misunderstood Tom?

  52. Me:

    Evolution doesn’t say that animal and human life are equal, nor does it say that they are unequal.

    Charlie:

    Now you are saying that the is of evolution is mute

    What happened to the fallacy of the excluded middle? What if evolution implies multiple answers, each operating only in its context? Relativistically?

    I just heard the sarcasm in your initial reply.

    The basis of my questions is not tangled. You can work more on it if you like and it shouldn;t be too hard.

    When you want to discuss this with me without the sarcasm, let me know.

  53. On another point: on what basis to you claim that animals suffer in the same way humans do, i.e., what is the basis for the equivocation on the point of suffering? That is a very valid and fair question.

    i would make a distinction, that rorty used (inb4 moral relativist), and say that humans suffer in a slightly different way in that we conceptualize the future (thus feelings of dread, guilt, etc), and so we have a somewhat different cognitive way of suffering. however, again, i would point to the fact that creatures with central nervous systems *feel pain*, this includes humans, kittens, fish, etc.

    stevek,

    you making me laugh wit your landkitten and abortion comments. though i did see a wonderful pro-choice sign the other day:

    “how many unwanted children have you adopted?”

  54. Paul:

    I can’t imagine what it was in my last post that presumably led you to think that I would have some pronouncement on the absolute equality or lack thereof between Asians, Africans, boys, dogs, or whatever.

    Err, this isn’t especially complicated, and I’m being generous when I say that.

    It’s simple: Tom says that if materialism is true, then boys are equal to dogs. You responded by saying that no, evolution makes different groups unequal via group bonding, so that boys and dogs aren’t necessarily equal. I point out that if this is the case, then it means that different human races are also not equal. You respond by pretending to be confused by this.

    It would appear that you are not a materialist (one who believes that only material things actually real) after all, but a mapolicorrecterialist (one who believes that only material things that are politically correct are actually real)

  55. the deuce,

    race is a social construct, *not* a genetic one. however, there does appear to be some genetic differences between boys and their dogs.

  56. Paul,

    What happened to the fallacy of the excluded middle? What if evolution implies multiple answers, each operating only in its context? Relativistically?

    I think Charlie is granting you that already. If (as you said) evolution causes the inequality between the value of various groups, then state your context(s) so we can discuss it. In what context are the values equal and in what context are they unequal?

    Furthermore, if evolution deems them equal/unequal in a given context then isn’t this a necessary result of materialism? For reference, I’ll put your original comment below…

    TOM: 3) And it seems to me that equating human and animal life is a fairly straightforward inference to draw from materialistic evolutionary theory.

    PAUL: Not at all. Evolution provides for very strong group bonding (which means not bonding with others outside the group), which sets up inequality.

  57. Deuce, my January 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm post only did the following:

    Me:

    Not at all.

    This denies Tom’s assertion, but it doesn’t claim solely the opposite. There are, I think, more possibilities than just Tom’s claim and its logical opposite. That is, evolution creates organisms who vary in their equal treatment of other organisms (some do, some don’t, some change, etc.), and this applies to humans as part of the process of evolution. So you just can’t say that evolution does single thing regarding equality, everywhere, for all time, for everyone. It creates multiple situations regarding equality (see below).

    Me:

    Evolution provides for very strong group bonding (which means not bonding with others outside the group), which sets up inequality.

    Just because evolution set up inequality, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also set up equality. In fact, the mere creation of a group – that is, the boundary that separates a group from everyone/everything else – does both necessarily. Equality is created among the members within the group, and inequality is created between the members of the group and everyone else.

    Furthermore, even just considering whether humans are equal to animals, evolution doesn’t require equality nor inequality. Some people, created through the process of evolution, think animals are equal to humans, and some people, similarly created, disagree.

  58. SteveK,

    If (as you said) evolution causes the inequality between the value of various groups, then state your context(s) so we can discuss it. In what context are the values equal and in what context are they unequal?

    see my post immediately above.

    Furthermore, if evolution deems them equal/unequal in a given context then isn’t this a necessary result of materialism?

    I think I agree. The given context is crucial, making everything relative to the specifics of the context.

  59. Hi Paul,

    Me[Paul]:

Evolution doesn’t say that animal and human life are equal, nor does it say that they are unequal.


    Charlie:

Now you are saying that the is of evolution is mute


    Paul: What happened to the fallacy of the excluded middle?

    Nothing. It refers to an excluded middle. There is no middle between “evolution doesn’t say A and evolution doesn’t say not A”. If says neither it is mute on the subject of A, not A.

    What if evolution implies multiple answers, each operating only in its context? Relativistically?

    Well then you can show some way this happens relevant to your position, demonstrate why, given this position, evolution does not imply inequality among humans, and show why this does not undermine your claim to equality as an overarching principle of your relative morality. But if it does, in fact, give multiple answers then there is no basis for your telling Tom that none of those answers, in none of those contexts, is that people and animals are of equal value. Since your version of what evolution tells us is merely to restate what is already observed (some people think this, and evolution took care of that, and some people think that, and evolution, again, is responsible) then there is absolutely no foundation for your claiming that it is not a straightforward inference from materialistic evolution to the equality of humans and animals.

    
I just heard the sarcasm in your initial reply.

    Your ears are as deceptive as your eyes. You called my presentation tangled and I told you it wasn’t.



    When you want to discuss this with me without the sarcasm, let me know.

    Quoth Charlie:

    That is easy. Since I always deal with the substance of your arguments the interesting point doesn’t really have much relevance though. But there are many other ways to avoid dealing with the substance, aren’t there?

  60. Paul, to Deuce, and by reference, to Steve as well:

    In fact, the mere creation of a group – that is, the boundary that separates a group from everyone/everything else – does both necessarily. Equality is created among the members within the group, and inequality is created between the members of the group and everyone else.

    You are jumping several steps here. How can you claim that the creation of a group necessarily creates equal value of the lives among the members? What kind of animal are you talking about here, have you any experience with animals, and do you really think that animals in a group value one another’s lives equally?
    And how is it necessary that the animals (human or otherwise – human preferably, since those are the creatures peopling PETA) value non-members any less than members? Isn’t this merely a restatement of a select data set? As counters, have you never noticed that some animals will place very little value on the lives of some members of their group? They will eat their own young, they will kill members of their same sex, they will chase them from the group, they will torture them to death, etc. On the other hand, they can also protect and aid non-members in ways that they don’t their own groups.

  61. Some people, created through the process of evolution, think animals are equal to humans, and some people, similarly created, disagree.

    How is this saying anything other than that you believe evolution is the process by which people came to be? As such, as the only significant and ultimate force, it simply has to be responsible in some way for what you observe.

  62. Hi j.,
    That sign doesn’t sound so wonderful to me.
    Neither would a pro-slavery sign that said “how many slave-owners have you paid off to redeem their slaves?”. Or an anti-vegan sign that said “how many cows have you purchased to save from the slaughter-house?”.
    One can certainly have an opinion and speak to the perceived morality of these questions without first engaging in these admirable activities, wouldn’t you agree?

  63. That sign doesn’t sound so wonderful to me.

    Me neither. I don’t recall any pro-choice sign being wonderful. First thing I though in response to the sign was, why don’t you ask the mother discarding her unwanted child that question?

  64. Thanks Paul,
    Your well-wishes are appreciated.
    I wish you much more than that. I wish you the truth and a future where you quit running from the implications of your own worldview.

    Further to my last comment on your response to Deuce…
    According to you we now have a situation where Evolution creates our values – necessarily. It sets up and provides inequality (differentially valued lives), it creates varying degrees of equality, it creates varying degrees of treatment of equals/unequals, it creates a variable equality to fluctuate over time and between people, etc. As you defend, Evolution is not merely silent on the issue, but actually, necessarily, determines it.

    But you also recognize that the reality created by Evolution, the IS (our values), is not to be confused with the OUGHT. So once again we see that no moral value is right or wrong in your system and you undermine even your own claim to be able to say that relativistically, for you, other values are wrong. Again you show us why you can’t say this – without obvious inconsistency (I do think hypocrisy the better word) – because you happen to know the source, Evolution, and know that it does not create OUGHTS. So animals have the same value of life as humans, and animals don’t have the same value of life as humans, humans outside of certain groups are equal and humans outside of certain groups are not equal. Therefore, racism, a value created by evolution, and egalitarianism, a value created by evolution, are equally right (or wrong, or neither). Not just in an ultimate, absolute, sense, but in a relativistic sense, TO YOU, because you know their source and you know that source says nothing about OUGHTS.
    Morality is at best an illusion but it is one that you have seen through.

    This result, of course, has been concluded and pointed out before. But now you have given an evolutionary framework to the conclusion that there is no such thing as moral progress and no basis for moral judgment (again, in your system).

    I’ll quote me again.

    Evolution itself provides for and sets up inequality between members of different groups. Evolution does not provide for nor set up equality outside of one’s group. [according to Paul]

    Thanks again.

    Galatians 3:28:
    There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.

  65. j.

    Please read the discussion policies, esp. #5. I see you’re not big on using the shift key, but I want to remain consistent with these guidelines.

  66. j.

    you said there is a difference between fish – pig – boy (lets throw monkey in for fun). im asking you where you believe this differences lies in terms of both sentience and suffering.

    1. Why is sentience and suffering the only moral category you apply, j.? Where does it come from? How does it become chosen over other options?
    2. The difference between boy and fish – pig – monkey is the image of God in humans, and the unique relationship God has with humans—especially in the Incarnation.

    Later:

    race is a social construct, *not* a genetic one. however, there does appear to be some genetic differences between boys and their dogs.

    Why do genetics determine whether a construct matters to groupings? Why can’t appearance? Race may not be a genetic construct, and it certainly isn’t one with hard boundaries, but it is nevertheless a real construct. If I ask you to picture in your mind the differences between people with African, Asian, European, etc., heritages you will undoubtedly form mental pictures of each grouping with considerable accuracy. You and I can both do that even while bearing in mind the large variations that also exist within each such group.

    So we have groupings, that term which Paul has never yet in this discussion defined. What difference is there how we group them, whether by visual appearance or by genetics?

  67. Tom, a group, as I intended it, is any assembly of organisms that act together socially. This would include ant colonies, bee hives, tribes of monkeys, Democrats (save the wisecracks), families, etc. Admittedly, I stretched the definition when I talked about New Agers viewing everything as interconnected.

  68. Tom,

    Please read the discussion policies, esp. #5.

    Noted. piece of advice: if you could place a more noticeable link in your menu bar (or elsewhere), it would be appreciated (hadnt found discussion rules before). funniest part: i have my undergrad in english.

    1. Why is sentience and suffering the only moral category you apply, j.? Where does it come from? How does it become chosen over other options?

    the first question: if im to understand, i would respond by saying its not the only moral category i apply. second question: it comes partially from fostering a concept of empathy, which though not necessary, in my mind, is hard to argue against without saying “we’re cool with some things being in pain and suffering”. third question: im not sure what other options you are referring to. the option to eat meat? see answer to question two.

    2. The difference between boy and fish – pig – monkey is the image of God in humans, and the unique relationship God has with humans—especially in the Incarnation.

    ill give you this at face value, but i fear that at face value it can be made to posit differences that dont exist between creatures, and further, to justify inhumane behavior against animals for our convenience (again, i lean heavily toward concepts of biblical stewardship)

    race is a social construct, *not* a genetic one. however, there does appear to be some genetic differences between boys and their dogs.

    i gave this comment more as just a piece of information to help the greater thread-conversation along in terms of information (and hopefully to foster some understanding of folkbiology).

  69. j., about the visibility of the link for discussion policies: it’s directly above the comment box. I thought that was probably visible enough.

    The “other options” would be other things one might consider as general guidelines for moral decision making. In spite of what you just wrote, you haven’t offered any other principles for moral decision making besides sentience and suffering.

    About your undergrad in English—good show. Now this is not a requirement or anything for posting here, but for what it’s worth, not using the shift key makes it harder for the rest of us to read what you write. It has the appearance of something you’re doing for your own convenience, regardless of how it might affect readers. I don’t know if that’s what really on your mind, but still you might want to think about that if you want people actually to read and understand what you write. But that’s your choice.

    i gave this comment more as just a piece of information to help the greater thread-conversation along in terms of information (and hopefully to foster some understanding of folkbiology)

    It’s a little tough for me to understand how that was helpful, too. Apparently you don’t put much stock in what you had to say on it, and you didn’t posture it as “folkbiology.” If it’s a red herring you intended to write, you might as well have said so, or else not have bothered to throw it in there.

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