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  1. #51
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    You've suddenly turned 180 from cloudiness to clarity. Is this an improvement? And is someone shifting premises or definitions? If I did, I would certainly be caught red-handed.
    This is poor debate etiquette.

    "Inherent" rights IS a misunderstood, cloudy concept. If they were inherent in the sense of permanence, they couldn't be taken away, but they often are.

    The concept of "rights" was invented to perform a certain function in society. It's an invention, not a discovery. Someone discovered that the human is by nature, inherently rational; but nobody discovered that humans also have rights.
    A right isn't gone when someone abuses your rights. Rights is a meta-ethical issue.

    The argument is over what our moral obligation to animals is. I believe that we are at the point where it is moral to treat them a certain way, which ultimately leads to us bestowing rights on them. Those rights, once defined, would cascade down into laws and so forth... but ultimately all of that is an expression of society's view on the moral obligation towards animals.

    Not everyone agrees yet, so it is in flux (western culture anyway), but society has indirectly bestowed certain rights through animal cruelty laws, etc.

    In my case, I think civilization's ultimate goal is to eliminate suffering(*) and doing so at the expense of any living creature is negative. It's an immoral utilitarian outcome. It wasn't always, since our choices were done at the margin: before we didn't have the ability to survive without less moral choices, eventually turned from survival to utilitarian and is done for increasingly spurious reasons (typically resistance against change).

    So, overall, I support it because I believe it to be moral. Regardless, it is already happening and almost certainly will be increasingly codified. Personhood is actually a poor way of addressing the issue - they don't have the same moral framework as humans.


    (*) Civilization also gives security (risk of suffering) and so forth, so it's naturally a complicated issue. Advancement, security, happiness, freedom... complicated.

  2. #52
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    This is poor debate etiquette.



    A right isn't gone when someone abuses your rights. Rights is a meta-ethical issue.

    The argument is over what our moral obligation to animals is. I believe that we are at the point where it is moral to treat them a certain way, which ultimately leads to us bestowing rights on them. Those rights, once defined, would cascade down into laws and so forth... but ultimately all of that is an expression of society's view on the moral obligation towards animals.

    Not everyone agrees yet, so it is in flux (western culture anyway), but society has indirectly bestowed certain rights through animal cruelty laws, etc.

    In my case, I think civilization's ultimate goal is to eliminate suffering(*) and doing so at the expense of any living creature is negative. It's an immoral utilitarian outcome. It wasn't always, since our choices were done at the margin: before we didn't have the ability to survive without less moral choices, eventually turned from survival to utilitarian and is done for increasingly spurious reasons (typically resistance against change).

    So, overall, I support it because I believe it to be moral. Regardless, it is already happening and almost certainly will be increasingly codified. Personhood is actually a poor way of addressing the issue - they don't have the same moral framework as humans.


    (*) Civilization also gives security (risk of suffering) and so forth, so it's naturally a complicated issue. Advancement, security, happiness, freedom... complicated.
    Society has not indirectly bestowed rights on animals by protecting them with laws, any more than it indirectly bestows rights on my house by protecting it from arsonists.

    We can agree that humanity has a moral obligation toward the rest of the animal kingdom - but no other species bears the same obligation because no other species is capable of conceptualizing such an idea. That's why laws designed to protect animal species are obviously directed at humans. It would not be feasible to make it illegal for elephants to continue devastating trees in Africa. Telling an elephant it has no legal or moral right to tear up the rain forest will get you nowhere. If you showed an elephant a document explaining its rights and responsibilities in elephant society, it may just eat it.
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  3. #53
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qrious View Post
    Corporate Personhood. Same protection under the Constitution in the USA as humans. Boggles my mind, that they got there faster than animals. This whole debate hinges on word: power.
    Corporations represent the coordination, free exchange, and yes, free speech of the people involved (its members and participating associates)-the debate, in regards to animal 'rights', hinges on the word 'humanity', and the general characteristics of the same.

  4. #54
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    Animals shouldn't have any rights. They shouldn't be poked, prodded, or tortured, either.

  5. #55
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    In my case, I think civilization's ultimate goal is to eliminate suffering(*) and doing so at the expense of any living creature is negative.
    Civilization's ultimate goal is advancing the happiness of its members (in the wider sense, humanity in general and theoretically including intelligent alien races capable of reciprocity in participation), which tends to be in direct conflict with diluting their liberty and living standards (and the very salience of the 'human rights' paradigm, the single most important advancement in this area) through the promotion of animal 'rights' for reasons other than human welfare.

  6. #56
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapLawyer View Post
    Animals shouldn't have any rights. They shouldn't be poked, prodded, or tortured, either.
    Depends on the reason; allowing the pointless infliction of extreme suffering on animals can significantly impact human socialization in ways that most would consider extremely detrimental, but incidental suffering in the process of pursuing technological advances and the production of goods tends not to, and has a high utilitarian payoff for humanity in other areas to compensate for any theoretical degradation in that area.

  7. #57
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Civilization's ultimate goal is advancing the happiness of its members (in the wider sense, humanity in general and theoretically including intelligent alien races capable of reciprocity in participation), which tends to be in direct conflict with diluting their liberty and living standards (and the very salience of the 'human rights' paradigm, the single most important advancement in this area) through the promotion of animal 'rights' for reasons other than human welfare.
    I don't take a human-centric view of rights because I do not see it as being different then an ethnocentric (historical standard) view. I believe it always reduces to rights being meaningful because we are alive. There are simply too many flaws in the moral reasoning of only giving rights to a particular subgroup. The arbitrary lines (see this thread) always fall once it becomes practical to advance the moral directive.

    (The next major animal rights line will likely be when we can grow meat without living animals. Probably a decade or so.)

  8. #58
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I believe it always reduces to rights being meaningful because we are alive.
    Are not plants alive? How about a human fetus (in the case of people who are pro-choice but believe in animal rights)?

    Rights are only meaningful for up to two reasons: humanity has inherent special qualities that grant each individual member certain rights and consideration apart from other animals*, and rights are meaningful because they advance the utilitarian interests of the only known species capable of creating, and reciprocating, the very concept of rights.

    *As an example, if I had to choose between rescuing a beloved pet cat from a burning building and rescuing another human I strongly disliked, I would choose the human being and mourn the death, and suffering, of the cat I loved. Such a.....bias may not be entirely rational, but without it, human society, outside of close family and friends, may as well be a society of (mostly non-violent) sociopaths, with all the functional problems that suggests.

  9. #59
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Are not plants alive? How about a human fetus (in the case of people who are pro-choice but believe in animal rights)?
    Complicated questions, but that doesn't make any arbitary line correct. If plants are alive, then they are... and if a fetus is alive, then it is. Taking a comfortable definition to make it neat and tidy doesn't make it correct.

    Rights are only meaningful for up to two reasons: humanity has inherent special qualities that grant each individual member certain rights and consideration apart from other animals*, and rights are meaningful because they advance the utilitarian interests of the only known species capable of creating, and reciprocating, the very concept of rights.
    Rights is a meta-ethical framework and rise from the question of "what is right". Humanity is too large a group to apply this to and most do not abide by the fundamental rights we are talking about. Each society decides what is right; if it is citizens in rome, or muslims, or men only, or high caste... Even in the modern world, the rise of the western concept is dubiously dominant, and it is just one step towards more advanced moral frameworks.

    Most utilitarian calculations disagree with human rights, especially on the value of life. It is normal for society as a whole to benefit by consuming the lower end contributors (eg: net life extension, burden of resources, etc.)

    *As an example, if I had to choose between rescuing a beloved pet cat from a burning building and rescuing another human I strongly disliked, I would choose the human being and mourn the death, and suffering, of the cat I loved. Such a.....bias may not be entirely rational, but without it, human society, outside of close family and friends, may as well be a society of (mostly non-violent) sociopaths, with all the functional problems that suggests.
    [/quote]

    Rights have very little to say to that. Even if we create (false) equivalency between humans and animals, a life is a life. Yet, this is exactly why I believe it is fundamentally flawed: human centric reasoning is identical to any other ethnocentric reasoning (utilitarian choices aside).

  10. #60
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    Do infant humans have rights? They don't have any responsibilities. Should they be treated as chattels?
    This is what is confusing me on the thread. Are we talking the same rights as humans--as in the same law constraints? Or same rights as in our believed rights to life, pursuit of happiness, and liberty and such? Because if it is the latter.. I absolutely agree with the animal rights people.

    Making laws that gave animals rights would be another way to fight deforestation, illegal logging, pollution of water supplies. We DO offer laws and stuff for endangered species, and so in that sense there are already existing laws granting animals rights to life.

    We don't even give children under 18 almost any rights really--their parents hold most of them when it comes to the law. The parents get into far more trouble than the kid usually, absent heinous crimes. And children that are not born yet have this awful gray area that will never be decided upon. But we do offer them all base rights, and protection as a result. Protection I think is something more animals need serious access to that lack it.
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