Western society is in no position to ban the raping of animals. There. I said it.

Now hear me out on this before allowing any pre-conceived judgments to crystallize on this assertion.

Before I get into my argument, I will say that I personally have no interest in having sex with or forcing myself sexually upon an animal. Nor am I saying that people should do this, or that it is a morally defensible act. What I am saying is that our society would be nothing short of hypocritical to ban animal rape. Notice how I’m saying animal rape, rather than simply sex with animals. I’m saying that our society is in no position to ban the brutal rape of animals. Why, because our society has already deemed unnecessary gruesome treatment of animals to be acceptable. It’s entirely possible that I have overlooked some considerations. Feel free to point any such considerations out. This post is an invitation for discussion, not simply me shouting my opinions.

Exploiting animals for human satisfaction is nothing new. Consider our farming systems. Humans will take the maltreatment of animals up to greater and greater heights just to shave off a bit of the production costs. We will pack animals closer together, limit their movement, and do all sorts of efficiency-improving torturous things to these animals just to improve yields. On what basis do we say that this is acceptable but raping animals is not? It’s not like the animals consented to any of this? It’s not like we can, by any stretch of the imagination, assume that the animal is okay with any of this. On what grounds do we say that this is more acceptable than animal rape? Is the farmer’s desire to make more money for less work more important than the one’s desire to satisfy their sexual desires with an animal that may or may not be interested in such behaviour? A rebuttal may be that by lowering production costs we can make meat products available to people with less money. Well, perhaps if all of us spent a bit less money on I-Pods, cell phones, and other luxuries, we would have more money to buy more expensive but more humanely produced meat products, and to help out others who still have trouble paying for meat. On what basis is the human desire for luxury possessions more important than a person’s desire to have sex with an unconsenting animal? Is it any more moral to prioritize one’s desire for luxury products over the humane treatment of animals than it is to so prioritize one’s sexual gratification over the wellbeing of animals? Moreover, how many of us eat way more meat than is needed for a heathy diet? Presumably a lot of us. On what grounds is fulfilling one’s desire for unnecessarily high proportions of meat more important than the fulfilling one’s desire for sexual gratification with an unwilling animal who presumably would have been no more willing to be born and bred in an oppressive farm to be killed (often brutally) to satisfy some human’s desire for cheap, good tasting and plentiful meat?

Next, what about pure luxury uses of animals, such as in the production of cosmetics and fur coats. How is a person’s desire to look a few years younger or make a huge statement of “LOOK HOW RICH I AM!” more morally defensible than a person’s desire to have sex with an unwilling animal?

I ran these points by University of Toronto biochemist Larry Moran of Sandwalk, University of Calgary theoretical biologist and physicist Stuart Kauffman, a few University of Toronto undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a few of my open-minded and intelligent friends a few weeks ago. Really the best counterargument I heard was that of Larry Moran, who said “well, what kind of sick individual would do this or want to do this?”. I have a few responses to this reasonable query. Firstly, what kind of sick individual would prioritize wealth, production efficiency, cosmetics, and the overt expression of wealth over every moral consideration for animals? Secondly, I don’t think that just because an act is suggestive of psychological ill is grounds to make it illegal. If I saw a person walking down the street talking to himself, or walking down bloor picking his nose, farting, and wearing a shirt covered in mustard stains, I would probably think there is a good chance that they might have certain psychological anomalies, but I wouldn’t think that any of these acts are worthy of arrest.

As I said at the beginning, I am not saying that people should rape animals. Nor am I saying that it is a particularly moral act. I’m simply saying that any society that allows what our society allows in terms of animal treatment would be nothing short of hypocritical for banning the rape of animals.

This issue was brought to my mind in considering an argument made some time ago by Skatje Myers. Myers was basically saying that she doesn’t really see a reason why we should be banning consensual bestiality. If the animal appears to be interested and the human does, too, on what basis to the rest of us say “No”? Because we think it’s icky? I agree with Myers in the assertion that finding something icky is not a basis for banning it. If you think it’s icky, don’t do it yourself.

Now, this could bring up a whole other set of issues pertaining to the right of society to not have to see things that they do not want to see. The rights of society versus the rights of the individual is a very contentious issue. Where do we draw the line? On what basis do we allow one act that many people find to be gross to occur in public but not another? Do we eventually start allowing anal sex to occur in the stands of major sporting arenas during Disney on Ice? The question of where to draw the line, if anywhere, is a tough one. But even given this tough issue, I see no basis for banning the private raping of animals in a society that allows for so many other sorts of animal brutality.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Addendum:

Larry Moran has corrected me on a misrecollection of his comments. Larry corrects me as follows:

“Really the best counterargument I heard was that of Larry Moran, who said “well, what kind of sick individual would do this or want to do this?”.

That’s not exactly what I meant. What I was doing was warning you that this is what most people would be thinking rather than debating the issue you want to debate

Advertisements
Comments
35 Responses to “Western society is in no position to ban the raping of animals. There. I said it.”
  1. Stoobs says:

    Spot on. All in all, though, I’m happier to condemn farmers than allow animal rapists to get off the hook. And I have no sympathy whatsoever for rich people, since becoming wealthy in our society can basically be accomplished in three ways – having wealthy parents, being undeservedly lucky, and being a complete jerk.

    I’ve said the same about consensual sex with animals many times, and invariably the closest thing I encounter to an argument against is the invariable “So you want to have sex with animals?” No, I don’t, but I don’t see why people who do should be marginalized if the animals aren’t mistreated.

  2. thisbusymonster says:

    I think this is an excellent example of a point from an earlier discussion. Religion is simply one form of completely irrational behaviour that our society tolerates. The treatment of animals and the environment are another obvious example, as are all kinds of discrimination based on fictional differences between the perpetrator and the victim.

    There are so many ways to unravel the ball of lies, misconceptions, and prejudices which allow a person to behave the way they do towards animals in particular.

    Genesis 1:26 is oft abused by the religious, as God gives man dominion over the earth. This apparently justifies any maltreatment we can come up with in pursuit of our own desires.

    Heidegger identifies another, related, source of this attitude. In “The Question Concerning Technology” he identifies an underlying shift in attitude away from seeing humans a part of the world towards seeing the world as a resource for meeting our goals through technology.

    This seems to be similar to what Stuart Kaufman made reference to, as well, during his CFI talk. Both religious and scientific traditions have separated humans from the world around them, leading towards the justifiable exploitation of animals, the environment, even each other as the “science” of economics justifies the exploitation of labour in far away places in the cause of cheap t-shirts. His notion of re-inventing the sacred seems like an appeal to reclaim our place in and of the world, with all the implications that come with that.

  3. Colin says:

    I agree with your conclusion, albeit for different reasons.

    We are in no place to ban bestiality simply because we have removed most (I was going to say all, but we are not there yet) moral rules regarding sex. We missed our chance to draw the line a long time ago.

    Without an objective standard, anything can (and likely will) be rationalized.

    Reason without revelation leads too often to barbarism.

    I think that this is a good example of how Christianity (properly understood, articulated and lived) provides a force for good in the world.

  4. thisbusymonster says:

    Christianity hasn’t got much moral authority in the arena of sexuality.<1, 2, 3 The problem with your whole premise is that believers don’t exactly walk the walk they talk. Religious people are full of shit.

    Sadly, Colin, you are only able to speak about the virtues of Christianity in the abstract, because they are simply nowhere evident.

    Even the seeming star of Christian charity has been recognized as cruel and narrow minded. Christian intolerance is the cause of much more suffering than Christian love has ever alleviated.

    Now, I’m sure you will respond with the argument that counter examples don’t disprove the entirely imaginary value that Christianity has in your mind, but the simple fact is you can’t concretely demonstrate the value of Christianity beyond “I think so.”

    By any objective standard of morality (except maybe, “If it’s Christian, it’s good”) Christianity has been a moral disaster.

  5. Stoobs says:

    Colin, you talk as if there were some good reason to ban bestiality. There isn’t, except in cases where it causes the animal to suffer (a human can not have sex with a chicken without causing serious physical harm to it, for example.) If the animal is willing and physiologically compatible, then what right does anyone have to say it’s wrong? None, in my books.

    Christianity provides a force for intolerant busy-bodying. If someone wants to do something, and doing so causes no harm to others, there is no reason to bar them from the activity.

  6. thisbusymonster says:

    Add this into the mix. Not that the evidence of animal cruelty isn’t overwhelming already.

  7. thisbusymonster says:

    Ron, this comment go caught in the moderation queue, so I cleaned up the links and reposted it.

    Christianity hasn’t got much moral authority in the arena of sexuality.(
    1,
    2,
    3)The problem with your whole premise is that believers don’t exactly walk the walk they talk. Religious people are full of shit.

    Sadly, Colin, you are only able to speak about the virtues of Christianity in the abstract, because they are simply nowhere evident.
    Even the seeming star of Christian charity has been recognized as cruel and narrow minded. Christian intolerance is the cause of much more suffering than Christian love has ever alleviated.
    Now, I’m sure you will respond with the argument that counter examples don’t disprove the entirely imaginary value that Christianity has in your mind, but the simple fact is you can’t concretely demonstrate the value of Christianity beyond “I think so.”
    By any objective standard of morality (except maybe, “If it’s Christian, it’s good”) Christianity has been a moral disaster.

  8. evolution says:

    “Colin, you talk as if there were some good reason to ban bestiality. There isn’t, except in cases where it causes the animal to suffer (a human can not have sex with a chicken without causing serious physical harm to it, for example.) If the animal is willing and physiologically compatible, then what right does anyone have to say it’s wrong? None, in my books.”

    Not going to bring religion into this as it gets us nowhere in this debate. Some people believe in religion, some don’t, we’ve already established that, so let’s move on.

    Sex is a consensual act between 2 equal parties. It is morally reprehensible to perform sexual acts with someone or a living thing that is in a position of vulnerability and has no control over the situation. This is why sexual relations with children are also morally reprehensible.

    Suppose for one second, bestiality was permitted. How would you determine if it was sex with animals, or animal rape? How do you determine if the animal is willing?

    “Appears to be interested” seems a bit vague.

    I don’t really understand this argument either. Western society shouldn’t ban animal rape because to do so would be hypocritical given that they permit so many other acts of animal cruelty.

    There are lots of elements of hypocrisy within our law system. Legislation is an ongoing process that progresses with time. The solution, surely, is not to prevent the animal rape ban, but instead take greater steps to rectifying that sphere of hypocrisy and furthering the cause of animal rights activists.

    Just thought I’d add a different spin on the debate.

    (As a side note to the theists – I am a theist, but I honestly do not understand why some theists here are trying to prove the existence of God, and on top of that using revelation and religion as an argument).

  9. Colin says:

    TBM,

    You are right, counter-examples do nothing to disprove the existence of a moral standard.

    Here is how your argument looks…

    1. People disobey moral laws.
    2. Therefore, moral laws don’t exist.

    Good thinking TBM!! Keep it up.

    Within the Christian worldview, it is a GIVEN that there will be people who do not live according to the standard that they claim to espouse.

    You ignore the role that Christians played in banning the slave trade, in banning slavery (William Wilberforce), also the role that christians continue to play in alleviating the suffering of the poor and destitute in our inner cities, in alleviating the suffering of those who live in atheist regimes like North Korea and China, and for those who live in countries torn apart by war (usually caused by muslims) like Ethiopia, Sudan…

    Christianity is a powerful force for good in this world. To say that it is otherwise is to ignore the plain facts. Remove all the Christian charities from our cities and see how well the homeless do. Remove all the Christian charities from third world countries and see how soon civil war takes over.

    Natural selection and compassion/charity/altruism are mutually exclusive.

  10. Colin says:

    There is also no reason to prevent anyone from creating an ‘Epsilon’ branch of extremely hot, disease resistant people who have been engineered without any ‘moral genes’ so that they are incapable of moral reasoning. With no worries about ‘causing harm’ we could do whatever we wanted with these creatures. They would service the sexual fantasies of anyone with a ‘creative’ sexual desire. They could be disposed of when we got bored. We could even create young ones for the pedophiles.

    No harm, no foul…right?

    Atheism could not disallow this.

  11. evolution says:

    Colin,

    Your arguments alienate everyone apart from Christians – both atheists and theists, because the fundamental basis is an arrogant assertion that Christianity is morally superior to every other ideology on the planet.

    Please don’t use the word facts to describe beliefs that are not facts.

  12. thisbusymonster says:

    Colin:

    You have the burden of proof that moral laws exist, and so far you simply claim that they are evident. Then show the evidence. Counter examples serve as evidence that your laws are apparently not evident to lots and lots of people in the world, especially Christians, god (he perpetrates lots of cruelty and genocide in the old testament), and may other people throughout history and around the world today.

    What is evident is that even you know how completely full of shit you are, so you don’t even try to make a rational argument. You stick with “I think so” hoping that will subtly imply that you actually think.

    There are a few completely rational foundations for morality, if you are so completely bereft of common sense that you need your morality written down for you by someone else. For all of human history morality has been and will continue to be the community standard by which we all live. As we get to know more and more (through science especially) we become more sensitive to our impact on the environment, other species, and we see how local actions have global implications. This is how morality evolves and where the hope for the future is found.

  13. Stoobs says:

    ““Appears to be interested” seems a bit vague.”

    Animals large enough that they would ever be possible sexual partners for a human are generally large enough that if they were unwilling, they would have to be restrained. Hell, a few years back a guy was kicked to death in Seatle, while trying to have sex with a horse. So, if you can have sex with an unrestrained horse without getting kicked, presumably it doesn’t object too strenuously. If you’re tying it up before having sex with it, that’s rape.

    “There is also no reason to prevent anyone from creating an ‘Epsilon’ branch of extremely hot, disease resistant people who have been engineered without any ‘moral genes’ so that they are incapable of moral reasoning.”

    Firstly, that they are incapable of moral reasoning says nothing about my capability for moral reasoning. But in any case, why would you not simply design them to have overpowering sexual desires, such that they are always ready and willing?

    There are only three situations in which I believe someones desire for sex should be legislated on. First is when the partner is unwilling or unable to give consent – rape or child molestation. Second is when the sex directly affects other people – sex in the middle of a crowded theater, for example. Third is when the person has a sexually transmitted disease, and knowingly spreads it. Unless one of these criteria are met, it’s nobody else’s business what goes on between two adults.

    Now breeding, that’s all together different. We need laws to control breeding soon, or we’re going to destroy the whole damned planet. But I notice that you christians with your ‘superior morality’ are all for breeding ourselves extinct, and absolutely opposed not just to the government restricting breeding, but even to individuals taking steps to control their own reproduction.

  14. ronbrown says:

    All:

    Since I was at a wedding with an open bar last night I’m only semi-able to engage in advanced information processing right now, so I’ll just address a few things.

    Firstly, when I say animal rape, I mean RAPE. I’m not talking about quibbling over what counts as consent. I’m saying that this animal could be kicking and screaming to get the hell away from the rapist and the rapist should not be banned—given our current societal precedents on animal treatment—from continuing to attempt to rape it. It should smash it with a brick to subdue it if need be.

    Next, Ev, I forgot to mention in my original post that if I had the power to re-write the rules of society, I would not recreate a world exactly as it is with respect to animal cruelty laws. Instead of keeping farming legislation the way it is and then allowing brutal animal rape in the interest of legal consistency, I would probably write legislation against both of them. However, until we have introduced legislation against animal cruelty in farming and the like, it would be nothing short of hypocritical to ban brutal animal rape. It’s not like the farm animal or the animal that is killed to help make a coat is any more consenting than the animal that was raped. And the existence of other areas of hypocrisy in the law doesn’t excuse more of it. Rather, I would hope that it is a signal that some laws need to be reconsidered.

  15. evolution says:

    Stoobs:
    😀 I love it when people who are constantly criticising theists for being rational suddenly think it’s ok to use a completely illogical and irrational argument.

    “Animals large enough that they would ever be possible sexual partners for a human are generally large enough that if they were unwilling, they would have to be restrained. ”

    So you’re saying the basis for consent should be size? Think you missed the point of “vulnerable.” And so, what, if it doesn’t kick you away, that’s the sign for consent? Do you think we should apply that same rule for human beings too?

    Ron, I know you clarified rape, but I would assert all bestiality is wrong based on my previous argument – see above.

    In terms of hypocrisy, i’m thinking of the converse. Banning cruel farming methods is a step forward, but surely, NOT banning animal rape is a step backwards. Not all areas of the law are fair, but I’m not saying that’s ok, I’m just saying, that’s the reality of the situation. We can’t do anything about that now, we can only change the law and reshape it going forwards.

  16. ronbrown says:

    Ev:

    I’ll respond to part of your reply now. Whether or not it would ultimately be better for society to ban certain acts of animal cruelty versus none, I just don’t see where any of us could get off telling would-be animal rapists that they are not allowed to do this. If we’re going to be reasonable and moral, lets be reasonable and moral. Lets not just pick and choose where to be moral based on what is most convenient to the most people. On what basis are the farmer’s desire to make more money for less work, or the rich person’s desire to impress people on the street with their multi-thousand dollar mink coat, or the desire to look a bit younger by using animal-based cosmetics, more morally important that the prospective animal-rapist’s desire to satisfy their unconventional sexual interests?

    If you were a person who had murdered people and had gotten away with it, on what grounds would you say that another person who killed someone should be punished for it?

    If people want to make a moral and reasonable society, then they should be willing to make sacrifices themselves. Not simply point the finger at other people who do things that are no worse than what they do but that they find icky.

  17. evolution says:

    Ron,

    I want to take the ick factor out of this and I have tried to do far, because that’s no reasonable basis for a debate.

    I guess I’m not looking at it from what’s better or worse. Both examples are wrong. The equivalent for example, could be because the West has raped parts of the Third World by making ok to pay people an unfair wage, therefore they are hypocritical for punishing people for other crimes.

    Fair trade means that this is changing – in the same way, animal cruelty is a problem that needs to be rectified.

    “If you were a person who had murdered people and had gotten away with it, on what grounds would you say that another person who killed someone should be punished for it?”

    I believe that they already do this in the States 😉
    I just don’t think it’s as simple as some arrogant people on a moral high ground pointing the finger.

  18. Larry Moran says:

    Really the best counterargument I heard was that of Larry Moran, who said “well, what kind of sick individual would do this or want to do this?”.

    That’s not exactly what I meant. What I was doing was warning you that this is what most people would be thinking rather than debating the issue you want to debate.

  19. Colin says:

    TBM,

    First you say “Counter-examples are not evidence against a view.” Then I agree. Then you say “Counter examples are evidence against a view.” Not really sure what you think.

    For the purposes of clarification…

    Would you agree with the following statement:

    “There are no objective moral principles, but rather all valid moral principles are justified by virtue of their cultural acceptance. Morality is relative to the culture, determined by popular consensus and expressed through laws, customs and mores.”

    ??

    Do I have concrete evidence for an objective morality? No, I don’t. How could I have concrete evidence for an immaterial thing? Nor do you have concrete evidence that 2+2=4. Math and morals are both based on intuitive knowledge.

    As Aristotle put it…
    “Some, indeed, demand to have the law proved, but this is because they lack education; for it shows a lack of education no to know of what we should require proof, and of what we should not. For it is quite impossible that everything should have a proof; the process would go on to infinity, so there would be no proof…”

    Certain moral principles are not conclusions that we reach, they are premises that we start with. All moral reasoning starts with foundational concepts that can only be known intuitively which is why I do not carry the burden of proof.

    Those who deny obvious moral rules (those who say that rape is morally benign) do not have a different moral view, they have something wrong with them. They are morally handicapped.

    How do I know you believe in an objective moral standard? Because if your wife or girlfriend or boyfriend or whoever was raped and murdered, you would immediately know that you had been wronged, thereby cutting off the limb of “I don’t condemn anything” that you think you are standing on.

    Your attempts to stay consistent in your view would be funny if they didn’t allow for barbarism.

  20. Colin says:

    Evolution:

    You say…”the fundamental basis is an arrogant assertion that Christianity is morally superior to every other ideology on the planet.”

    Ron posted a few days ago dealing with the fact that it is not arrogant to simply make a claim to the truth. If my attitude was arrogant, that is my bad. If you think I am arrogant because I make a truth claim, that is your bad.

    Moral claims are one of two things; they are either facts or they are preferences.

    Here is a moral fact…”It is wrong to torture babies for fun.”

    Here is a preference…”I don’t like torturing babies because it makes me feel icky, but if you like it, then go ahead.”

    I make moral judgments about rape and murder. I have preferences about ice cream flavours.

    I think you maybe have a little too much McLaren on the brain.

  21. If your only argument for an objective moral standard is that without it barbarism would be allowed, I’ll take barbarism.

    Experience dictates that we get over barbarism pretty quickly and get one with reasonable behaviour. Interesting that the USA leads the world in Christianity and barbarism at the same time.

    Aside from, “I think so” you fail to offer anything. Interesting that you compare morality to math. Math is a set up made up rules, loosely based on experience that is useful, except when it isn’t useful, then we ignore it. Objective moral standards are very similar to that, they exist only in our imagination and are useful, except when they aren’t.

    2+2=4 only when we agree on the use of 2 and 4 in advance, like moral standards only work when we agree as a community on the idea of morality. Other than that, you are trapped in some nonsensical debate with someone who’s only argument is “I think so”.

  22. Colin says:

    TBM,

    You choose barbarism over rationality!? The only way we get over barbarism is when someone stands up to the barbarian and says “What you are doing is wrong.”

    America is hardly a Christian nation. Barbaric I would agree with but certainly not to of the list.

    For a nation with a lot of real christians you need to look somewhere in the east…South Korea maybe, China, India, parts of Africa.

    For barbarism, take a look at the atheist regimes in China and North Korea, the Muslim governments anywhere (Sudan, Saudi Arabia (although technically secular), Indonesia.

    What is really interesting is that Christianity is growing the fastest in countries where Christians are persecuted the most. It is shrinking quickly in the US, it has disappeared from Eurabia and Canada is somewhere in between.

    I am not offering “I think so”. I am offering “Everybody knows so, even though they don’t live accordingly and even though some deny it.”

    Interesting that in order to hold onto your impotent ideas, you have to call math imaginary. Math is the only real ‘hard’ science where we can know with apodictic certainty that our conclusions are true and will hold true in the future. And math is based on the same kind of self-evident truths that morality is based on.

    We know for certain that baby torture is wrong and that 2+2=4 but can prove neither.

    Apparently naturalism is false.

  23. ronbrown says:

    My participation in this discussion has been limited. One thing just caught me eye, though:

    Colin says:
    “I am not offering “I think so”. I am offering “Everybody knows so, even though they don’t live accordingly and even though some deny it.””

    Translation: “I am not offering “I think so”. I am offering “Everybody *thinks* so, even though they don’t live accordingly and even though some deny it.””

    How do people know something when there is no objective evidence for it? Wouldn’t the best that one would be able to do is confidently believe or think it, rather than know it? Your best evidence for objective morality thus far, as far as I’ve seen, is simply pointing out the power of people’s convictions that certain things are wrong, and the statistical popularity of these beliefs. The popularity of and conviction with which certain beliefs are held is not in and of itself evidence for the beliefs. It’s a good heuristic, I’ll give you that, as generally speaking, when a lot of people believe something confidently, there’s a good chance that they’re onto something. But when you ask individuals in the group to justify their beliefs and the best they can do is point to the belief’s popularity, the truth statement loses much of its strength.

    Colin, from what I’ve observed, you seem very committed to just repeating over and over again that objective morality is self-evident. You appear to have no interest or ability in providing any good evidence for it. Pointing repeatedly to the popularity and conviction with which certain moral ideas are held does not even come close to providing a case for objective morality. Objective morality is supposed to transcend humanity. You can’t simply point to human beliefs and say that they are some sort of strong evidence for a transcendent objectivity. Further, you’ve never managed to put forth any case for a source of these objective morals (a God) that wasn’t deconstructed. And you’ve done nothing to show that a transcendent objective morality is anywhere near as evidentially-grounded a scenario as is the evolution of moral cognition within a morally indifferent universe.

    You can keep on asserting that objective morality is just patently obvious, but until you make a case for it it’s pretty obvious that not I, nor TBM, Stoobs, or other readers are are going to bite. Unless you plan on adjusting your position or providing new argumentation, we might as well just stop talking because you’re not going to convince us of an objective morality simply by pointing to the human statistics, and apparently nothing we can do is going to budge you.

  24. evolution says:

    Colin,

    “You ignore the role that Christians played in banning the slave trade, in banning slavery (William Wilberforce), also the role that christians continue to play in alleviating the suffering of the poor and destitute in our inner cities, in alleviating the suffering of those who live in atheist regimes like North Korea and China, and for those who live in countries torn apart by war (usually caused by muslims) like Ethiopia, Sudan…”

    It is a fallacy to ignore that every ideology has good and bad peeople within it.

    The KKK. The Crusades. Witch hunting.

    Next.

  25. Colin:

    I chose barbarism over the irrationality of a belief in an imaginary transcendent. I could reason with barbarians, but zealots are a lost cause.

    You claim that everybody knows so. Universal claims can be shown to be false with a single counterexample. I don’t know so. Thanks for coming out.

    I don’t know for sure that baby torture is wrong. I see stories of god ordering the slaughter of babies in the Bible. He seemed ok with the idea. Where does he contradict himself?

  26. Colin says:

    So we reach another impasse…is anyone surprised?:)

    From what I can gather, you folks are unwilling to accept as evidence anything that can not be empirically measured and tested through the scientific method.

    While Science definitely gives us knowledge about the universe, it is always tentative, it can always be disproven. We agree on that. Is it likely that our current understanding of matter will change significantly, I doubt it, but we must remain open to the possibility.

    However, we can know some things for certain. We can know them with apodictic certainty that we are right. And we can not learn anything about these things through the scientific method. They cannot be objectively proven.

    We know for certain that there are no square circles anywhere in the universe. We know it immediately and directly. We know that 2+2=4…but we cannot ‘prove ‘ it. We know that the universe is intelligible, but didn’t come to that conclusion through a scientific experiment. I know that my finger hurts because I burnt it a few days ago (if you were to disbelieve me, I would not be able to offer anything objective as proof). We know that torturing babies is wrong, but can offer no proof. (We also have the faculty of reason at our disposal and can come to the conclusion that God can do whatever the hell he wants to do, because he is GOD…I can’t wait for your reaction to that one…)

    Some moral principles are self-evident, unprovable premises that we start with, rather than conclusions that we come to.

    The nature of our disagreement is philosophical, not scientific, so we need to use the tools of philosophy to solve the impasse. Science is mute, so asking for scientific evidence is like asking me to weigh the colour red, or tell you the colour of the musical note ‘C’. It is a category error.

    TBM, you say you don’t know…but your actions betray your words. The minute you are wronged, you appeal to an objective standard. You ask for justice, fairness, tolerance…these things require an objective standard.

  27. ronbrown says:

    Colin:

    How can we be certain that we are right?

    The circle-squares things is just a consequence of how we define words. It’s meaningless. If something is what we call a circle, then it can’t be what we call a square, and vice versa. I don’t see the value of your point here.

    And again, we do not know that torturing babies is wrong in some sort of transcendental way. How can we know that it is wrong in an above-human sort of way? That it is wrong at the level of the universe? Similarly, how can we know anything is wrong or right in an objective way?

    Here are points that I have repeated to you over and over again:

    1. Neither you nor anyone else that I have ever encountered as given a sturdy case for God or an objective moral standard. I have yet to be given the evidence, though I have asked repeatedly.

    2. There does not need to be an objective moral standard in order for us to feel like certain things are good or bad. As I have stated soooo many times now, there is a very plausible set of cognitive evolutionary accounts of morality. We have mirror neurons which fire when we see others experiencing something, which set off the emotional centres in our brain which can make us feel their pain, suffering, and well-being—though in a muted form. Moreover, we live in a culture of cooperators. Citizens come together to form societies. We form institutions that we hope will protect our interests. This includes institutionalizing certain individual moral principles such as “murder is not to be allowed; it is wrong”. Such sweeping cultural endorsements is a powerful source of information for developing humans. It is no secret that children trust authorities. What earthly authority is greater than the voice of the entire society and those of the child’s parents? There doesn’t need to be an objective morality that transcends humans for us to feel like certain things are objectively good or objectively disgusting. There is evidence from evolutionary biology and cognitive development and neuroscience for an evolved moral cognitive system that does not require an objective morality.

  28. From what I can gather, you folks are unwilling to accept as evidence anything that can not be empirically measured and tested through the scientific method.

    We know for certain that there are no square circles anywhere in the universe.

    The nature of our disagreement is philosophical, not scientific, so we need to use the tools of philosophy to solve the impasse.

    Either you are engaged in complete buffoonery for your own entertainment, or you are a complete fool. You haven’t presented a single argument, a single shred of evidence, or even a single intelligent point. All you have to offer is that without objective morality and a god, you don’t like the world. So what?

    We know that there are no square circles because before you came along there was a secret meeting and we all agreed on what “circle” means. There isn’t some platonic form of a circle out there. It’s just an agreed upon meaning. You can use it to mean something with corners, but we’ll all look at you like you are nuts, because that’s not playing by the rules we all agree on.

    This disagreement is only philosophical in the juvenile sense of “philosophical differences”, where a person in complete denial of good sense and all the evidence won’t discard a nonsensical belief. You keep repeating “I think so” and offering nothing.

    There is no category mistake, you claim something is evident when it is not to the majority of people. Your response it “It is so”. The only category mistake is for you to categorize “I think so” and “It is so” as any kind of argument.

    The world is not the place you would like it to be. Get over yourself.

  29. Justice, fairness, and tolerance are just more words we decided the meaning of at the secret meanings you weren’t invited to. There is nothing metaphysical in a word.

  30. ronbrown says:

    “We know that there are no square circles because before you came along there was a secret meeting and we all agreed on what “circle” means.”. I literally bursted into laughter when I read this.

  31. The more serious philosophical point can be found here.

    “Meaning just is use” — that is, words are not defined by reference to the objects or things which they designate in the external world nor by the thoughts, ideas, or mental representations that one might associate with them, but rather by how they are used in effective, ordinary communication. For example, this means there is no need to postulate that there is something called good which exists independently of any particular “good deed”.

  32. Xander Legere says:

    Ok my two cents on what must be the oddest of discussion topics 😉

    Consent aside.

    If animal loving – yeah I used the term – is acceptable, I don’t think Western Society could condone the selling of animals. Basically you would be selling sex slaves.

    You know what, I’m going to submit this anyway, and go have a long think about this, because I’ve confused myself.

    Morality, Ethics, Compatibility Aside, inter species mating is a silly idea.

  33. Xander Legere says:

    Alright Ron,

    As crazy as it is, you are technically right on this one.

    If Western Society does not require consent to commit wholesale slaughter – such as chickens and cows – then why should Western Society require consent for sexual activity?

  34. Mating yes, but what’s wrong with a little mutual sexual gratification?

    Would you rather be a sex slave, or dinner?

  35. ronbrown says:

    Xander: Yes, why is the farmer’s desire to increase efficiency and profits, the wealthy person’s desire to give off an air of status, or the grocery shopper’s desire to eat more meat than is necessary and have extra succulent veal more morally important than another person’s desire to have sex with an animal, whether or not the animal wants it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: