1. Joined
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    05 Jan '09 04:50
    It seems to me that many religious systems of thought are speciesist. Is this roughly correct, or am I off base?

    For instance, many Christians I know take it to be the case that God placed animals (read: those species distinct from Homo sapiens) on this earth for our use. I guess the implication here is that while we are to believe that humans are of intrinsic value, the other species apart from us are just of instrumental value. I mean, WTF? Are there some reasons to think this is true? Or is this just speciesist teleo-theo blather?
  2. Standard memberblack beetle
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    05 Jan '09 05:31
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    It seems to me that many religious systems of thought are speciesist. Is this roughly correct, or am I off base?

    For instance, many Christians I know take it to be the case that God placed animals (read: those species distinct from Homo sapiens) on this earth for our use. I guess the implication here is that while we are to believe that huma ...[text shortened]... ? Are there some reasons to think this is true? Or is this just speciesist teleo-theo blather?
    It seems to me that every religious system is shallow😵
  3. Joined
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    05 Jan '09 10:12
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    It seems to me that many religious systems of thought are speciesist. Is this roughly correct, or am I off base?

    For instance, many Christians I know take it to be the case that God placed animals (read: those species distinct from Homo sapiens) on this earth for our use. I guess the implication here is that while we are to believe that huma ...[text shortened]... ? Are there some reasons to think this is true? Or is this just speciesist teleo-theo blather?
    that isn't something inherent to religion, simply a sense of superiority that all humans have on lesser species. we are the top of the food chain and as such we feel we are entitle to skin animals for their fur, for hamburgers, to test cosmetics on bunnies.
  4. Standard memberknightmeister
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    05 Jan '09 11:23
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    It seems to me that many religious systems of thought are speciesist. Is this roughly correct, or am I off base?

    For instance, many Christians I know take it to be the case that God placed animals (read: those species distinct from Homo sapiens) on this earth for our use. I guess the implication here is that while we are to believe that huma ...[text shortened]... ? Are there some reasons to think this is true? Or is this just speciesist teleo-theo blather?
    Unless you are vegetarian then you might better hold your tongue on this subject. Even if you are one could still say that you are specieist for eating plants.
  5. Joined
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    05 Jan '09 23:311 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Unless you are vegetarian then you might better hold your tongue on this subject. Even if you are one could still say that you are specieist for eating plants.
    Unless you are vegetarian then you might better hold your tongue on this subject.

    I've been vegetarian for a long time (fruitarian for a portion of that time) because I think the deliverances of compassion and practical reason are pretty clear on this issue (for those who are lucky enough, like myself, to have the availability and means to pick and choose my food).

    Even if you are one could still say that you are specieist for eating plants.

    When I was a fruitarian, I wasn't eating plants. I was eating essentially the fallen fruits of plants (such that in theory not even the plants are "harmed" by my consumption, excepting that a natural seed cycle of theirs is disrupted). This IMO is probably ideal but certainly not practical for meeting consumption needs on large scale. At any rate, we need to eat something that would otherwise constitute biological life (rocks and dirt and whatnot aren't going to meet our basic needs). So I choose to eat plants and their fruits, which have no mentality or capacity to suffer from my consumption. They can provide me with all my nutritional needs.

    What I choose to abstain from doing (on the basis of reasons that I think are very straightforward and compelling) is killing and eating animals with mentality sufficient for the capacity to suffer and to be harmed (and abstain from providing to such cause). Many of these animals have their own perspectives and projects, and they ought not be subjected to our well-oiled death industries just because they taste good. In fact, I believe that many "lower" animals (for instance, many other types of mammals), are persons, and as such merit basic rights. Pain and suffering are always morally relevant, and -- at the very least -- we have obligations to minimize pain and suffering as much as we can even when we are in pursuit of our basic needs and sustenance.

    I am not here to point fingers in the name of casting blame, particularly since I understand that our evolutionary motivators to eat meat are very deeply infixed in us. Rather, I would like to see all the ignorance on this issue dissolve. My project here would be to expose the lack of good reasons we have for perpetuating our misguided practices that cause animals to suffer. I understand this to be actually a very complicated, textured topic; and, for instance, many are unfortunately not even in a position to take a moral stand as I have (they're starving, for example, and they have to eat whatever is available to them; we also have to provide for all the mouths to feed and this can place demands on our attention and priorities).

    But we can certainly start with some notions that are so utterly inane that we should just wipe them off the table immediately. For example, the inane notion that we are justified in our current practices concerning animals because the great invisible sky man above placed them on earth for our use as we see fit (not all Christians are this irresponsible, by the way, but many I have talked to are; so, sadly, we need to start here I guess).

    Here's a question for you: if your religion is supposed to be so focused on love and compassion, then why is it so anthropocentric? Does this stem from an ignorance concerning moral consideration and how it extends to sentient beings beyond our own species, or what? If Jesus was such a vessel for compassion, again why are his teachings so anthropocentric? Am I misinterpreting him? Why doesn't the bible have much to say on our treatment of other species, particularly since this is a natural topic as it regards compassion and other virtues?
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    05 Jan '09 23:33
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    that isn't something inherent to religion, simply a sense of superiority that all humans have on lesser species. we are the top of the food chain and as such we feel we are entitle to skin animals for their fur, for hamburgers, to test cosmetics on bunnies.
    Right, good point. I am not stating that speciesism is inherent to religion; nor am I claiming that it is specific only to religion. I also understand that we are naturally evolutionarily disposed toward certain tendencies on this issue. See my post above for more clarification.
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    06 Jan '09 03:461 edit
    I am not a vegetarian, though I respect those who are. It does seem to me that human physiology shows that we have developed as omnivores—and I question a dietary morality that would deny that. * However, that does not mean that the suffering of other species is not a moral question—even for humans who remain omnivores.

    I was once a hunter. I did not quit for moral reasons. I was not what some would call a “sport” hunter—I wasn’t into “racks” and “trophies” and such. I did not hunt what I could not/would not eat. The ethic that I was taught, and that I hunted by, had to do with quick kills that minimized suffering.

    I am not sure that there is any death that one can for sure say is absent suffering—whether in the forest or the slaughter-house. It would be, for me, the disregard for the suffering of other species that would mark “specieism”.

    I wonder if there is not too much moral generalization here. There are some non-human animals that—if I were to catch an adult human torturing them, for instance, I would without hesitation kill that human being to stop them. I really don’t know how to address the morality of such situations according to any abstract standard. If one attempts to harm a being that I love—whether human (e.g., my wife) or not—I have already made the decision (just as I practice the skills for such a response).

    I don’t know if any of this helps to sharpen the question here.
    ___________________________________________________

    * How does one take issue with that aspect of our evolutionary development without “spiritualizing” the question?

    EDIT: There are animals that I would refuse to hunt and kill, absent the most urgent survival imperative, based on what I perceive to be their level of consciousness: elephants, dolphins, great apes, etc.

    I also recognize that world marketing has enabled many relatively affluent people to secure sufficient protein without killing animals. The same cannot be said for those who still live according to hunter-gatherer-horticulturalist lifestyles.
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    06 Jan '09 04:311 edit
    This question is helpful in terms of highlighting those areas of my life where I do not live according to a pre-determined moral theory. There is no case, for instance, in which I will not act to prevent harm to my wife—whatever the nature or circumstance or justification for that harm. The same decision extends to beings that I love who are not human. I do not even venture a justification. If you are torturing or attempting to kill my cat friend, say, (and you are an adult) I will crack the shell that holds your life to prevent you from doing so.

    The sole animal that I have killed since returning to a “country” life was a fawn who had been mauled by a coyote (I presume)—and only after determining the irrevocability of the injury. (The fawn’s mother had brought him down to lie under a tree in our yard, where he could eat—undisturbed by our comings and goings!—while she browsed nearby, for three days straight. On the fourth day, the doe was nowhere to be seen. During the night before that day, the fawn’s previously injured leg had been torn away, and he was terribly weakened. How strange that she brought him there! How strange that she left him there on that last day! When I saw that he had now been irrevocably injured—he could no longer even stand to run away!—I put him down. Such is the way of the world where I live.)

    When one lives close to nature, where life eats life to live, what does “speciesism” mean? It surely does not mean to me that only humans “count”. But surely it can’t mean that humans are exempt from the same evolutionary aspects of their development as coyotes, bobcats, hawks, bears and other predators. Is it then less moral for a human hunter to kill a rabbit than it is for a hawk to do so? Does not this question of “speciesism” cut both ways?

    If I had to hunt to live, I surely would. How am I more or less special than a bear in that regard? Does morality somehow transcend nature?

    ______________________________________________


    By the way, LJ, I do not see—based on my own research, how a fruit diet can provide—over the long run—the necessary protein (or even fat) for a nutritious diet. Tofu, eggs, and cheese—yes.

    ______________________________________________


    EDIT: I doubt that I have put any of this very well.
  9. Joined
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    06 Jan '09 05:482 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    It seems to me that many religious systems of thought are speciesist. Is this roughly correct, or am I off base?

    For instance, many Christians I know take it to be the case that God placed animals (read: those species distinct from Homo sapiens) on this earth for our use. I guess the implication here is that while we are to believe that huma ...[text shortened]... ? Are there some reasons to think this is true? Or is this just speciesist teleo-theo blather?
    This leads me to a question someone posed to me the other day.

    "If you were a tasty hot dog would you eat yourself?"

    As for myself, I just gave up eating altogether. I would like to say it was for moral reasons but the truth of the matter is I just got fed up with paying so much for food. 😛
  10. Standard memberknightmeister
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    06 Jan '09 09:02
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    [b]Unless you are vegetarian then you might better hold your tongue on this subject.

    I've been vegetarian for a long time (fruitarian for a portion of that time) because I think the deliverances of compassion and practical reason are pretty clear on this issue (for those who are lucky enough, like myself, to have the availability and means to pick ...[text shortened]... particularly since this is a natural topic as it regards compassion and other virtues?[/b]
    I think it's merely a question of recognising that animals are different from mankind. There's nothing in the Bible that I know of that justifies the ill treatment of animals (battery chickens etc ). I think we are supposed to be custodians rather than butchers and rapers of the landscape. The native americans just about got it right. They ate the buffalo but showed profound spiritual respect for them also. It was only when Europeans arrived that the Buffalo got nearly wiped out. It's probably technology and industrialisation that's mainly to blame. We seem to have lost touch with nature. Bush peoples seem to eat animals but also revere and look after them. We traul for cod and destroy their eggs with it , no aborigine would dream of such madness.
  11. Illinois
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    06 Jan '09 09:184 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    It seems to me that many religious systems of thought are speciesist. Is this roughly correct, or am I off base?

    For instance, many Christians I know take it to be the case that God placed animals (read: those species distinct from Homo sapiens) on this earth for our use. I guess the implication here is that while we are to believe that huma ...[text shortened]... ? Are there some reasons to think this is true? Or is this just speciesist teleo-theo blather?
    I don't think the value given animals is exclusively based on their usefulness to humans, at least not in the Christian tradition. Yes, God orders the world so that humans are in a position to rule over the animals, but, after God creates everything, He surveys all that He has done (including the creation of the various animal species) and declares that it is all "very good" (Genesis 1:31). Thus, a particular value is given all things created by God regardless of whether they are useful or not to humans. It is my opinion that an individual ought to seek to understand that value recognized by God in every created thing.
  12. Standard memberPalynka
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    06 Jan '09 14:35
    What's wrong with Speciesism?
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    06 Jan '09 16:23
    Despite my rambling posts above, I don’t think the question is whether or not one should be a vegetarian, or whether some species may or may not be given some moral preference (e.g., animals who may have a certain level of consciousness that permits more intensive—even psychological—suffering), but the more basic question of whether non-human animals warrant any moral consideration at all beyond simply instrumental considerations of human use.

    I grant nonhuman animals moral consideration—if I understand that phrase correctly. On the one hand, I eat animal flesh; on the other hand, I do not think that such animals should be kept and killed in a manner that disregards pain and suffering.

    At the same time, it seems likely that some degree of species bias is natural, from an evolutionary standpoint—just as a bias in favor of one’s family, loved ones, identified tribe, etc. is natural, but does not preclude moral consideration toward others outside those groups. (I cannot weigh the life of someone I love in the scales with a stranger pretend the scales balance. That would seem somewhat Kafkaesque to me, submitting some basic human qualities to some overarching moral rules?)

    At the same time, there are nonhuman animals that I give bias to over a human that tries to harm them; I am likely to act violently to prevent an animal from being tortured, for example, even if that means injury or death to the human torturer. Again, I have no abstract moral rule to draw upon.

    Perhaps I am just confused, and should just read what others offer at this point…
  14. Standard memberPalynka
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    06 Jan '09 17:01
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Despite my rambling posts above, I don’t think the question is whether or not one should be a vegetarian, or whether some species may or may not be given some moral preference (e.g., animals who may have a certain level of consciousness that permits more intensive—even psychological—suffering), but the more basic question of whether non-human animals warrant ...[text shortened]... raw upon.

    Perhaps I am just confused, and should just read what others offer at this point…
    Hi vistesd.

    I agree with most with what you said so far, but I think that, for the purpose of this thread, one should abstain from considerations of affections that are grown through personal experience. Be it your cat or your wife, your affection for them makes you value them much more than you do other members of the same species. In that sense, I believe that when thinking about speciesism one must think about how one values the life of unknown members of different species.

    In that sense, I don't see how one can not be a speciesist (note that a misanthrope may also be considered speciesist, albeit in a reverse way).
  15. Standard memberblack beetle
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    06 Jan '09 17:37
    Originally posted by Palynka
    What's wrong with Speciesism?
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