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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Opinions on the topic of Vegetarianism - 4

Continuation of the topic. See part 1 for introduction.

Ideoform Msg. 268

Quoting previous poster:
"I KILL MY FOOD and I consume as much meat off the animal as my tools and teeth allow. The blood gets used in soups, the organs get eaten and I boil the bones for extra flavoring. In years past I've eaten the brains and eaten the meat RAW, especially when it's fresh and warm. ...I'm an omnivore and I kill rabbits, chickens and small game with my bare hands. Then the really, really sharp knives come out to properly butcher the carcass. All you styrofoam and saran wrapped hypocrites of meat eating can go suck on the drippings of the meat grinders in the slaughterhouses if you dare."

^^^^^ You do know that these forum postings appear on your profile?

Guilt is a powerful emotion.
I think that it is wrong to make any moral standard that people follow, a method to make others that don't follow it feel guilty.

When you know better, you do better. You can't feel guilty about the entire human condition. Being an aware, conscious being brings with it a natural sense of guilt from knowing the many ways in which we can affect the world and cause pain or suffering or great joy and well-being. This is what religions tend to help with. Religion provides a framework for discussing these awarenesses and measuring our responses to the things we see as we go out into the world and affect things. Christianity provides the concepts of mercy, of redemption, of forgiveness of both self and others.

Just because some people see morality in an aspect of their lives that others give no special thought to, should not make anyone else need to feel guilty.

If you see the same thing, however, then here is a path that others have taken before you should you choose to follow it. Or you can create your own path, develop your own awareness of the world, and find your own place in it among all kinds of sentient beings.

Ideoform Msg. 330

(after many very argumentative posts with repetitive discussion that landed on cannibalism, disability and euthanasia amongst other things...ugh.)

Please everybody, be careful. This thread will be deleted.

There is a set of rules about forum postings you can review:

I like this thread. I like debate. I like everybody's opinions and thoughts on this. It would be a shame for the thread to get deleted.

My opinion on repeating the same points. Don't. It is there in the thread for people to look up. If you have to repeat something more than once, another repetition will not make a difference in the thread.

Also, more than two of any type of punctuation really is superfluous. Try using bold or italics.

Bold: [ b ] text [ /b ]

Italics: [ i ] text [ /i ]

Underline: [ u ] text [ /u ]

Don't use any spaces between the brackets, though.

Ideoform Msg. 343

Quoting previous post: "...there is no real way to determine morality. It is choosing a favorite way. But even then, they are only preferences. I have no problem with you preferring a particular morality, but in the end you can't prefer away natural laws.

As in religious discussions, I don't care what your religious ideas are and you are welcome to them, but when you try to convince me that I should believe what you believe, I will argue why I don't.

I think my specieist religion is more true to natural laws than your vegan religion's beliefs. As long as the world is safe enough for you to practice yours, go for it.

When and if the world becomes unsafe, natural laws will override our preferences. "

When the world is unsafe, morality might have a totally different look to it. People living in a war zone might behave very differently, just like people stranded on an island.

Morality is by definition a choice of how to guide one's personal behavior. Extreme conditions are times when morality might be more in evidence than at other times.

Morality is not essential to survival. This is what makes it as precious as diamonds. It is something that might in the long run help our species to survive because it enhances our communal behavior, sometimes at the risk of the individual.

If everyone acted totally and completely independently, our society would probably break down. Society requires some "biological sacrifices" on the part of individuals.

Christianity has many principles that go counter to basic survival. The early Christians were fed to lions. Christians were told to love their enemies, turn the other cheek, give a thief their coat if he steals their shirt, and to not marry or reproduce. Yet this religion spread throughout the world and is the main religion of the western world. If you look at what the Roman society was like, they were the realists. They valued power, physical strength and practicality. Christianity was almost a rebellion against the brutality that was part of everyday life in that society.

I feel that the Christians were on to something that actually promoted survival and was very practical, but it is rather counter-intuitive. It promotes things that enhance the kind of lifestyle everyone seems to want and is even willing to fight and die for...peace, community, connectedness, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness.

Quoting previous post: "I am making a very simple point. That is, if you adhere to any variant of moral reasoning, then all of the traditional 'grounds' used to justify our current treatment of animals fail completely. "

I like this quote because it sums up Singer's argument so well that was the thing that "converted" me to vegetarianism so long ago. I had chosen to be a moral person, and by any moral reasoning at all, Singer's arguments work. The only way out of them is to not have a moral reasoning when it comes to animals.

Morality is counter-intuitive for humans, too. It is non-survivalist on the surface, yet it promoted our survival and even our ability to THRIVE since Christianity. This is the dillema and paradox of morality. It is a "dillema" as in the OP's question, for anyone who chooses to look at this beyond simply unconsciously eating whatever is expident whenever hungry. Once you apply morality to what you eat, the paradox is evident. And then you must choose.
Ideoform Msg. 348

(In response to atheist question about bible references previously mentioned:)

The Jewish people of the old testament had many restrictions about food, what to eat, how to eat, and even how to handle the dishes. There were even compunctions about the humane slaughter of animals which is why a religious person is required to inspect slaughterhouses when giving the Kosher designation.

Here are some examples from the old testament:

Exodus 23:19 (New International Version)

"Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.
"Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.

Leviticus 3:17
" 'This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.' "
Leviticus 7:24
The fat of an animal found dead or torn by wild animals may be used for any other purpose, but you must not eat it.
Leviticus 11:22
Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper.
Leviticus 11:39
" 'If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches the carcass will be unclean till evening.
Leviticus 11:42
You are not to eat any creature that moves about on the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is detestable.
Leviticus 17:14
because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
Leviticus 22:4
" 'If a descendant of Aaron has an infectious skin disease or a bodily discharge, he may not eat the sacred offerings until he is cleansed. He will also be unclean if he touches something defiled by a corpse or by anyone who has an emission of semen,
Leviticus 22:6
The one who touches any such thing will be unclean till evening. He must not eat any of the sacred offerings unless he has bathed himself with water.
Leviticus 22:27
"When a calf, a lamb or a goat is born, it is to remain with its mother for seven days. From the eighth day on, it will be acceptable as an offering made to the LORD by fire.

Deuteronomy 14:4
These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,
Deuteronomy 14:7
However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you.
Deuteronomy 14:8
The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.
Deuteronomy 14:9
Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales.
Deuteronomy 14:10
But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.
Deuteronomy 14:11
You may eat any clean bird.
Deuteronomy 14:12
But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture,
Deuteronomy 14:21
Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. But you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.
Ideoform Msg. 350

I want to discuss sentience for a bit.

The idea of sentience, and the ability to experience pain and suffering (as well as joy and well-being) has routinely been left to certain people who are the dominant in power, by the title they carry and by their profession. It is these people that have decided that only their idea of what matters when it comes to pain and suffering is what "counts." Historically, this applied to slavery, animals, and even our own infants. Only as recently as 1980 have Pediatricians routinely used anesthetic to perform surgery on infants. Even major surgery was performed without anesthetic because infant's brains were not considered "developed enough" to experience pain the same way an adult does.

Here is an exerpt from a paper on this subject.

by David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D.

"During the 20th Century, when medicine rose to dominate childbirth in developed countries, it brought with it a denial of infant pain based on ancient prejudices and 'scientific' dogmas that can no longer be supported. The painful collision of babies with doctors continues today in neonatology, infant surgery without anesthetic, aggressive obstetrics and genital modification of newborn males. This presentation, given in San Francisco on May 2, 1991 includes an historical review of empirical findings on infant pain, some the reasons for physicians' indifference, and speculations about the negative consequences of violence to infants.

Babies have had a difficult time getting us to accept them as real people with real feelings having real experiences. Deep prejudices have shadowed them for centuries: babies were sub-human, prehuman, or as Luis de Granada, a 16th century authority put it, "a lower animal in human form."

In the Age of Science, babies have not necessarily fared better. It may shock you to consider how many ways they have fared worse. In the last hundred years, scientific authorities robbed babies of their cries by calling them "random sound;" robbed them of their smiles by calling them "muscle spasms" or "gas;" robbed them of their memories by calling them "fantasies" and robbed them of their pain by calling it a "reflex."

In this paper, I reflect on the painful impact of medicine on infants over the last century. This is not an easy story to tell. It has been a century of discovery and denial, of promise and disillusionment, and the story still has a very uncertain ending.

In the 20th Century, infants have had a head-on collision with physicians, typically male physicians. Before this time, they always found themselves in the hands of women: mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and midwives. In the collision, infant senses, emotions, and cognitions were generally ignored. Over the years, doctors paid increasing attention to the pain of mothers but not to the pain of infants. Actually birth become more painful for infants. We must try to understand why."
Here's another reference to this "discovery" that infants can feel pain:

The important and disturbing article on the new medical discovery that infants can feel pain (Science Times, Nov. 24), reports that doctors routinely operated on newborns without using anesthetics, ''from the 1940's until at least the late 1970's.''

The practice is a century older, and goes back to the very discovery of anesthesia. Dr. Henry J. Bigelow of Boston, who published the first medical article on the use of anesthesia, reported to the American Medical Association in 1848 that anesthestics were unnecessary for infants because they lacked the ''remembrance of suffering.''

Bigelow's colleague Dr. Samuel Cabot Jr. noted in the case records of one 1854 operation that the child patient had been ''rolled firmly in a sheet as a substitute for ether.'' But others, including the noted surgeon Dr. Samuel Gross, and Dr. Eliza L. S. Thomas of the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, favored anesthetizing infant patients by the 1850's.

The early history of this debate is presented in the book, ''A Calculus of Suffering; Pain, Professionalism and Anesthesia in Nineteenth-Century America.'' MARTIN S. PERNICK Associate Professor of History University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov. 26, 1987 "
The way trained professionals "saw" pain as a "reflex" in human infants resembles the same ways of "seeing" that professionals have towards non-human sentient beings.

Perhaps because of "it could never happen to me" people tend to not even try to have empathy for non-human pain, suffering, joy or well-being. In cultures that have a belief in reincarnation, there is some reason to identify with a non-human existence, and so certain animals are given preferential treatment. But is it necessary to have the "threat" of reincarnation for us to expand our sense of empathy and compassion to anything other than an adult of our own species?
Ideoform Msg. 373

(Note: For transparency's sake, I should tell you that my father was an anesthesiologist, and I witnessed many surgeries using anesthesia, and also some with only ether. Having witnessed and experienced great pain, and anesthesia, and also witnessed the results of having no pain from paralysis, I have to say pain is necessary to life itself. Yet, unnecessary or arbitrary pain is a crucial part of suffering.)

by David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D.

You can read the entire article here:

I think it is interesting to note that we have to calculate suffering in order to deal with it. If we have the means to reduce or minimise suffering (as in anesthesia), and can choose to reduce it or not to reduce it, then what calculation do you use to decide who gets the reduction in suffering and who doesn't?

Its off track to discuss religion, but I think the discussion of suffering applies.

To me, it is relevant WHO gets to decide what suffering is, and who suffers and who doesn't.

In this discussion, most meat eaters are arguing that it is only a matter of who is the most powerful, and not who has the most empathy.

Morality has been brought into the discussion of survival vs. values.
Many posters who are meat eaters have argued that any morality that includes animals is moot because the powerful get to decide what morality is, and any morality that is imposed on them is a threat to their survival as powerful creatures.

I think that morality cannot be imposed on others by power. It is not morality then, merely obedience--whether to other more powerful beings or to the immutable laws of nature.

Morality and religion have become confused because religions have stated spiritual values that are not power based, yet many religions have abused their own values by using power (and guilt, shaming, threats, fear) to impose these values on others.

From the perspective of the least powerful, weakest of creatures, unnecessary suffering makes a great difference to quality of life.

From the perspective of the most powerful, strongest of creatures, suffering is irrelevant to survival, in fact, being swayed by the appearance of suffering in prey, food, or the weak that are being controlled is a sign of weakness, and loss of power, and a threat to survival. And therefore no distinction needs to be made between necessary suffering and unnecessary suffering.

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