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Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    17 Jul '18 16:56
    KEVIN HARRIS: Bill, what do you think about the title of this article, “Richard Dawkins Wants to Eat Human ‘Meat’ to ‘Overcome Our Taboo Against Cannibalism.’”[1] It got my attention, and I think I've just gotten yours! This was written by Wesley Smith in Washington DC. He is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at HumanExeptionalism.com. It begins,

    Richard Dawkins, the (in)famous atheism proselytizer, has mused about eating human meat.

    No, he doesn’t want to join the Donner Party. Researchers may soon be able to manufacture meat from cell lines in the lab, and Dawkins has suggested in a tweet that we could “overcome our taboo” by eating human flesh so manufactured.

    . . . What if human meat is grown? Could we overcome our taboo against cannibalism? An interesting test case for consequentialist morality versus “yuck reaction” absolutism.[2]

    All right. So growing meat in a lab. I know we just had lunch, Bill, but we're gonna have to stomach our way through this. He continues,

    Yes, we must break “taboos” or we are not free!

    Cannibalism is profoundly immoral in Western culture — absent absolute necessity, such as when members of the Donner Party consumed their already deceased co-travelers to stay alive — because it denies human exceptionalism and the unique dignity and meaning of human life.

    This view extends even to those who have died, which is why we treat the deceased in a respectful manner and why desecrating the dead is considered to be immoral and is against the law — even in war.

    DR. CRAIG: That's a very interesting paragraph. Smith is a bioethicist, and he points out why cannibalism is considered to be immoral. Even though the person is dead, that person – the corpse of that person – is to be treated as possessing dignity and therefore to be treated with respect. If someone were to take human bodies that were deceased and throw them off the roofs of tall buildings to watch them splatter on the ground, they wouldn't be killing anybody – it wouldn't be murder, they're already dead – and yet I think we would all say this is to treat the body of that person with profound disrespect and would be a practice that should be shunned, that that would be something that would be immoral. So this would give grounds for why one ought not to eat one’s fellows even if those persons are already dead. There would be no question that cannibalism that was as practiced by, say, the Fijians in the South Pacific where they would kill people of other tribes and consume them, that would be clearly wrong because it would be murder. But the claim here is that even eating dead persons is to treat the human body and that individual disrespectfully, not taking account of their inherent dignity in the same way that throwing bodies off of buildings just to watch them splatter would be. I think that is a persuasive argument.

    KEVIN HARRIS: This was examined in a movie in the early 70s with Charlton Heston called Soylent Green. It was about a dystopian future. There was terrible overpopulation. Charlton Heston's character discovers that soylent green used to feed the masses was actually the deceased, and it was seen as highly immoral even though they were people who were deceased. There were some people who were not yet diseased and needed to be used for the supply and so there was abuses of it. But even in cases of survival you can be convicted (as I understand) if you kill your fellow of travelers in order to survive, you eat them to survive. You've murdered.

    DR. CRAIG: Yes. That's a totally different question.

    KEVIN HARRIS: But if they die – if they're gone – and you have to eat them in order to survive, as the Donner Party did, that's not considered immoral.

    DR. CRAIG: And that's because of a kind of hierarchicalism in your system of moral values which is quite consistent. Sometimes there will be an overriding moral good or concern that would justify taking an action that wouldn't be justified in the absence of that.

    KEVIN HARRIS: Yes. The article continues,

    Dawkins, of course, rejects the concept, considering it “speciesist,” e.g., discrimination against animals. He thinks we are just a collection of carbon molecules and certainly of no intrinsic value simply and merely because we are human. (For example, he has yearned for the creation of a human/chimp hybrid creature as a means to prove we are not special.)
  2. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    17 Jul '18 16:58
    DR. CRAIG: You'll remember in The God Delusion and elsewhere Dawkins says on the naturalistic view of the world that he advocates there is no good, there is no evil, there is no purpose, nothing but pitiless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA, and that is the full reason for being. He says we're just animated chunks of matter and have no intrinsic value. So there's two things going on here. One would be the claim that human persons aren't any different from just animals like cows and rats and sheep. But then the even-worse claim – this reductionistic claim – that we're just collections of carbon molecules in various configurations, animated chunks of matter as Dawkins puts it, and therefore have no intrinsic value. Here, I happen to think that Dawkins has correctly followed atheism to its logical conclusions. I think that in the absence of God as a foundation for objective moral values and duties then there isn't any grounds for human exceptionalism or intrinsic human worth.

    KEVIN HARRIS: Dawkins actually said if a human-chimp hybrid could be created in a lab and presented to the world it would have this effect on the population showing that we're not so special. Do you think it would be a visual effect? It would be a monstrosity.

    DR. CRAIG: Yeah, it would be. It would be a monster, and I'm not sure how that would show that we have no value, the fact that you could produce a monster. I don't see the point.

    KEVIN HARRIS: Okay. This article continues, “That misanthropy may flow from his atheism, but a non-theistic belief system does not mandate the rejection of human exceptionalism.”

    DR. CRAIG: That is the question, I think. That's what I'm raising. I think this misanthropy does flow from Dawkins’ atheism, and it's just not clear to me how a non-theistic belief system would be able to justify human exceptionalism. You can point out that we have brains and highly developed nervous systems, but that's just to say that we're highly complex electrochemical machines. It's not clear that that itself is constitutive of moral value.

    KEVIN HARRIS: Apparently, William Smith's friend was an atheist, Nat Hentoff. He said, “the late, great atheist, Nat Hentoff, would have told” Dawkins that humans are exceptional.

    DR. CRAIG: I don't know Nat Hentoff’s views. I have no idea how he would justify his affirmation of moral realism.
  3. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    17 Jul '18 17:00
    KEVIN HARRIS: OK. It continues:

    The unique, equal, and inherent dignity of every human life is a core belief of Judeo-Christian moral philosophy and a foundation principle of Western civilization. Indeed, every historical evil committed in the West — slavery, eugenics, Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the Inquisition, you name it — flowed directly from rejecting or disregarding that principle.

    Seen in this light, Dawkins’s cannibalistic yearning — there is no reason to eat human meat except as a means of sticking a finger in the Judeo-Christian eye — is both decadent and subversive.

    DR. CRAIG: It's interesting that Dawkins refers to this as no more than a taboo. A taboo is something that has simply become socially unacceptable but that doesn't mean it's actually morally wrong. So in calling this a taboo you're already assuming that there's nothing immoral about cannibalism. So we mustn't allow ourselves to be fooled or misled by the characterization of this as a taboo. Smith would say this is not a mere taboo, but that this is something profoundly immoral.

    KEVIN HARRIS: What does it mean for something to be subversive or someone to be subversive?

    DR. CRAIG: The idea is to undermine something.

    KEVIN HARRIS: In a subtle way or . . . ?

    DR. CRAIG: Yes. It's not a frontal attack. You undermine it; remove its foundations and this will increase the danger of collapse.

    KEVIN HARRIS: He's listed two subversive ideas, two ideas of Dawkins that are basically subversive. If we eat human meat that was grown in the lab, we'll get rid of this taboo. And if we make a human-chimp hybrid, we'll get rid of another taboo, as he calls them.

    DR. CRAIG: That brings us back to that opening paragraph about growing the meat in the laboratory. It's not clear to me that that would be cannibalism because it never belonged to a human body. It was never a person. So, in that sense, it would fall outside of Smith's strictures concerning respect for the dead and proper care of the corpses of the deceased. One could grant that it would be wrong to begin to take people from the mortuaries and grind them up, say, for fertilizer and things of that sort. But what you're talking about here in this opening paragraph is somehow sort of growing things in the laboratory that really isn't human at all, it seems to me, because it never belonged to a human being. It would perhaps be genetically like human flesh.

    KEVIN HARRIS: Bill, I clicked on the link that he's referring to here[3] and it says, “Lab-grown 'clean' meat could be on sale by end of 2018.” This year. “Cultured tissue, harvested without killing any animals, could allow scientists to grow meals’ worth of products with just a handful of starter cells.”
  4. Standard member dj2becker
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    17 Jul '18 17:01 / 1 edit
    DR. CRAIG: So they would put in some beef cells or pork cells and then grow them into tissue. In this case, I suppose the question would be, not the growth and eating of these things, but whether it would be consistent to take human cells and use them in this way. Right from the get-go this is to deny human exceptionalism. You're not manufacturing so to speak “artificial” meat. What you're doing is you're using little starter samples and then growing it. And he would say that that would be to deny human dignity and respect.

    KEVIN HARRIS: If a human . . . if you contributed some of your cells to grow . . . this is getting really bad! You could conceivably donate some of your cells to be grown into meat – your own starter cells – and pack your own lunch!

    DR. CRAIG: You could eat yourself.

    KEVIN HARRIS: Eat yourself. Yeah! So these are starter cells and so it's artificial in that sense, but you have to have live human cells or animal cells in order to begin.

    DR. CRAIG: In one sense it would be very similar, quite honestly, to sort of experimenting with human embryos where I think we would insist that the human embryo is a person and therefore entitled to respect and so forth. In this case you're dealing with at least parts of human bodies that should be treated in a respectful and dignified way as well.[4]

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/richard-dawkins-the-cannibal/
  5. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    17 Jul '18 20:12
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    Cannibalism is profoundly immoral in Western culture —
    Based on ...
    Religion, tradition, etc.

    There are/have been peoples from around the world
    who see/saw eating the dead as a way of honouring them.

    There is no logical reason why we should not eat the dead
    (you can eat me after I'm gone) but we think it yucky in the
    same way most of us cannot face eating bugs and grubs.

    If its grown in a lab, why not? It's just protein.
  6. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    18 Jul '18 19:46
    Originally posted by @wolfgang59
    Based on ...
    Religion, tradition, etc.

    There are/have been peoples from around the world
    who see/saw eating the dead as a way of honouring them.

    There is no logical reason why we should not eat the dead
    (you can eat me after I'm gone) but we think it yucky in the
    same way most of us cannot face eating bugs and grubs.

    If its grown in a lab, why not? It's just protein.
    Logically if there is no universal lawgiver, morality is simply a matter of personal preference. So it seems your personal preference would be to eat humans.
  7. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    18 Jul '18 20:11
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    Logically if there is no universal lawgiver, morality is simply a matter of personal preference. So it seems your personal preference would be to eat humans.
    My personal preference is for wild boar and
    not putting words into the mouths of others.
  8. Subscriber Tom Wolsey
    Aficionado of Prawns
    18 Jul '18 20:12 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    Logically if there is no universal lawgiver, morality is simply a matter of personal preference. So it seems your personal preference would be to eat humans.
    Indeed. If morality is subjective then there is no morality. Many atheists on the one hand will say there are "universal moral principles" we should all follow... no killing, no hurting others, etc., but on the other hand claim they (atheists) have no written code of ethics. But subjective morality causes a contradiction with at least someone, on any "universal" principle. So then, it boils down to a "majority rule" morality, dictated by the community. Ok, what community? The neighborhood? The city? The state? Country? World? And we're right back where we started.
  9. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    19 Jul '18 10:10
    Originally posted by @wolfgang59
    My personal preference is for wild boar and
    not putting words into the mouths of others.
    And if someone else were to prefer human flesh you would be cool with it?
  10. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    21 Jul '18 07:12
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    And if someone else were to prefer human flesh you would be cool with it?
    Why should someone's taste preference bother me?
  11. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    21 Jul '18 07:13
    Originally posted by @tom-wolsey
    ... If morality is subjective then there is no morality.
    And if there is no morality it cannot be subjective.

    Nice hole you dug there cowboy!
  12. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    21 Jul '18 18:42
    Originally posted by @wolfgang59
    Why should someone's taste preference bother me?
    With no moral absolutes no preference should rightly bother you.
  13. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    22 Jul '18 01:49
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    With no moral absolutes no preference should rightly bother you.
    Not sure I follow - can you say that again without the double negative.
    Thanks.
  14. Standard member sonship
    the corrected one.
    22 Jul '18 07:03 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    With no moral absolutes no preference should rightly bother you.
    Find out what he really cares about and you'll discover that others' preferences DO concern him.

    Just observe his talk to see here or elsewhere what ethical issues he holds as really important.

    Apparently he had some concern about Flat Earthers and distrust of science:

    A recent survey found that just 66 percent of young adults aged
    18 to 24 years old have "always believed the world is round."

    What is going on?

    Why is there a distrust of science?

    What are the ramifications for the future?


    https://www.chessatwork.com/forum/debates/flat-earth-believers.177865#post_3921379
  15. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    21 Aug '18 11:10
    Originally posted by @sonship
    Find out what he really cares about and you'll discover that others' preferences DO concern him.

    Just observe his talk to see here or elsewhere what ethical issues he holds as really important.

    Apparently he had some concern about Flat Earthers and distrust of science:

    A recent survey found that just 66 percent of young adults aged
    18 ...[text shortened]... ?


    https://www.chessatwork.com/forum/debates/flat-earth-believers.177865#post_3921379
    Twisting my words again?
    I said "Taste preferences".

    I hardly think deciding the Earth is flat is a matter of taste!