Intraspecies loyalty

nobody

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Some people use this reductio ad absurdum argument against veganism that goes like this: if animal lives are worth saving from the slaughterhouse blade or hunter's bullet, they are also worth saving from wild predators. Since the idea that we should try to save animals in the wild from being killed by predators is absurd, veganism is absured.

These people say that if a human were about to be eaten by a lion, we would be obligated to save the human from the lion if we were able, but we would not be obligated to save an antelope from the lion, because animals' lives aren't morally significant.

So why are we more morally obligated to other humans over lions or antelope? Is it just intraspecies loyalty, by which I mean loyalty to your own species? If that is the reason, what if it is a bad person, like Hitler? Is it still moral to be loyal to your own species and immoral to be disloyal to your own species in that case? We have a certain moral obligation to lions to not interfere with their hunting, and if their prey happens to be a human, our moral obligation to the lion is outweighed by our moral obligation to the human, and this obligation is apparantly due to intraspecies loyalty. But this seems like a really weak reason to me, if it can be negated by the poor character of a person. And to me, someone having a poor enough character seems like a good reason to be disloyal to my own species and let the lion eat. I don't think it would be moral to shoot a lion to save Hitler, for example.
 

Forest Nymph

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Right now I am reading In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. It's a collection of animal rights essays edited by Peter Singer. For a long time I admired Peter Singer but thought "I am not a utilitarian" because I thought being utilitarian meant being an atheist who wouldn't save a severely mentally ill person from a burning building. He makes a lot of edgy arguments for infanticide and lack of rights for the mentally disabled in Animal Liberation, right along side all of his other arguments. In fact I kept reading Animal Liberation because at first I thought he was playing devil's advocate to make his point, and that's fine with me, but nope he's really ableist, and argues that healthy, adult non-human animals can be more intelligent than babies and severely retarded or demented adult humans. Ok. I am cool-headed enough to appreciate his ideas without fully agreeing with him one hundred percent.

But In Defense of Animals has an essay where Utilitarianism as a moral philosophy is explained by a different author and I was like "oh this is what I am." It explains how someone would lie in order to save a family from Nazis, even if they don't normally lie. Essentially it's the general observance of basic social moral laws or "the ten commandments" yet lacking the rule-specific dogma of organized religion, where morality only becomes useful in true situations where equality for all sentient beings is required, no matter race, gender, sexual preference, or species. It's a theory of equality, of equity, it sounds a lot like democratic socialism with animal rights. I said that is me for sure. I guess it can just be interpreted different ways, like anything else.

I think this idea applies here.
 
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nobody

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Utilitarianism as a moral philosophy
What I don't get about the utilitarian answer to why we should care more about the average human than the average animal, not including insects, is, how do we know humans have a greater capacity for happiness and sorrow compared to animals of similar lifespan? And also as far as relatives of the deceased, we don't know how wild animals grieve for eachother, so how can we have a greater moral obligation to humans compared to animals on the basis of greatest potential happiness when we don't know know how much happiness animals are capable of experiencing?
 
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Lou

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I took a college course on ethics. One of the first chapters was Utilitarian. (If i remember right the first chapter was egoism). Anyway, I remember with each chapter i had that clear understanding that this is the best system. Which was then replaced with whatever the next chapter was. The last chapter was on existentialism. Which has been where I've been stuck since. ( I probably should have stopped reading after the first chapter).

Anyway, a while back I was reading an interview by an author who had written multiple books over about 20 years on Animal Intelligence. Considered by some to be the preeminent expert on the subject. ( I Think it was Frans de Waal. )

And after 20 years his conclusion was: we are not smart enough to understand animal intelligence.
 
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Nekodaiden

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The character of the person makes a critical difference, and I think in decisions where one is in a position to play an active role in protecting a person from a dangerous animal, it makes all the difference.

For example, if I am in the wilderness with another human being who I know is spectacularly wicked – a multiple unrepentant murderer, rapist, child molester, and torturer of both people and animals, I’m absolutely not going to help that person if they were attacked by the wildlife. They have already proven to be a cancer on our own species, a possible/probable threat to me and others around us, and therefore helping them is counterproductive.

Otherwise it is our duty to protect our own kind. Intraspecies loyalty isn’t a marginal thing. The only people that it might not apply to in a broad sense are hermits who live and eat in the wild, have no human companionship whatsoever, use no tools except what they made themselves, wear no clothes but what they craft themselves, and who in no way depend on other humans for anything at all.
 

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Otherwise it is our duty to protect our own kind. Intraspecies loyalty isn’t a marginal thing. The only people that it might not apply to in a broad sense are hermits who live and eat in the wild, have no human companionship whatsoever, use no tools except what they made themselves, wear no clothes but what they craft themselves, and who in no way depend on other humans for anything at all.
This dependence seems like a compelling reason for why we should have more of an obligation to humans than animals in general. The reason I was wondering about the basis for our loyalty to other humans is that I was trying to figure out how to answer this reductio ad absurdum argument. Plugging this reason into the answer to that argument would get: "we have a greater moral obligation to the human about to be eaten by a lion than to an antelope about to be eaten by a lion, due to our general dependence on other members of the human species, but nevertheless animals should be within our circle of compassion". How would you respond if their answer is, "since our general dependence on animals is insufficient to warrant us saving prey animals in the wild from predators, as we would if humans were in trouble, it is also insufficient to warrant us stopping to eat them."?
 

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My guess is that in our brains there are two things going on. First, there is the "utilitarian" aspect. A human (usually) has more value than an antelope. Then there is the emotional aspect. How would we save the antelope? We would have to kill the lion and there is always going to be less attractive than just to do nothing and let the lion kill the antelope.

Holy mackerel. is this just another version of the Trolley Problem?

I posted a news story a long time ago, about some poachers in Africa who got killed (and eaten) by a pride of lions. I don't think any of us cheered. but it was a close thing.
 
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Forest Nymph

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What I don't get about the utilitarian answer to why we should care more about the average human than the average animal, not including insects, is, how do we know humans have a greater capacity for happiness and sorrow compared to animals of similar lifespan? And also as far as relatives of the deceased, we don't know how wild animals grieve for eachother, so how can we have a greater moral obligation to humans compared to animals on the basis of greatest potential happiness when we don't know know how much happiness animals are capable of experiencing?
But that's just it. In the utilitarian view you wouldn't necessarily prize human wants over an animals needs precisely because we know they do suffer. That's why Utilitarian thought doesn't leave a lot of room for speciesism.

The reason we wouldn't save the antelope from the lion is because we have no right interfering with the natural order of things, it's absurdly arrogant to decide how an ecosystem should work or that carnivores just should not eat. So we would save the human in most cases just because humans aren't a lions natural prey while antelopes are. Humans are the only species to have a moral obligation to veganism or ethical vegetarianism. We can't impose that on obligate carnivores.

When people try to push this on to non human animals I'm always extremely puzzled except cases where the human buys food to feed a companion animal.
 
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nobody

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Holy mackerel. is this just another version of the Trolley Problem?
Sort of...but the reductio ad absurdum argument is something that comes up. At 1:05:30 in this video youtuber Roaming Millennial is using it. This is where I heard it:

 

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Sort of...but the reductio ad absurdum argument is something that comes up. At 1:05:30 in this video youtuber Roaming Millennial is using it. This is where I heard it:

Oh. i just looked it up. Here I thought you had made that up yourself.
 

Forest Nymph

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Sort of...but the reductio ad absurdum argument is something that comes up. At 1:05:30 in this video youtuber Roaming Millennial is using it. This is where I heard it:

Roaming Millennial is a moron. She also thinks it's a good idea to respect and compromise with white nationalists. In fact I think in her newer videos she uses a different name because she had gotten so much negative attention from both vegans and the social justice movement. She interviewed Richard Spencer an absurd number of times. Speaking of absurdity.
 
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nobody

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But that's just it. In the utilitarian view you wouldn't necessarily prize human wants over an animals needs precisely because we know they do suffer. That's why Utilitarian thought doesn't leave a lot of room for speciesism.

The reason we wouldn't save the antelope from the lion is because we have no right interfering with the natural order of things, it's absurdly arrogant to decide how an ecosystem should work or that carnivores just should not eat. So we would save the human in most cases just because humans aren't a lions natural prey while antelopes are. Humans are the only species to have a moral obligation to veganism or ethical vegetarianism. We can't impose that on obligate carnivores.

When people try to push this on to non human animals I'm always extremely puzzled except cases where the human buys food to feed a companion animal.
That is a good answer to the way Roaming Millenial phrases it, talking about "cows in the wild" being eaten but the predators can be taken out of the equation if we change the reductio argument to: "if we are not morally obligated to evacuate wild animals before a flood or hurricane, the way we would with humans, we are not morally obligated to stop eating them".. but that would still be interfering with the natural order of things. They are claiming there is a contradiction in the way vegans regard wild animal lives vs human lives. But actually, vegans don't advocate interfering with completely isolated aboriginal communities, as far as keeping them safe from predators, at least. I'm not sure about hurricanes or tsunamis though. Do you believe an attempt should be made to evacuate a completely isolated aboriginal community for a potentially life threatening weather event?
 

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I thought of another way to explain this problem. If I were an omnivore I may say this as an argument against veganism: a vegan would not operate a motor boat in an area they believed humans may be snorkeling just beneath the surface, but that same vegan may operate a motor boat otherwise, knowing that in doing so a fish or two may be run over and killed, because fish lives don't really matter. If some fish lives don't matter, none do, so there can be no moral obligation to give up fishing, for example. What would be your response to that?
 

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I really don't think boats run over fish and kill them.
Have you ever been on a boat? you Do Not see a bunch of dead fish in the wake.

in Florida, there is an issue with Manatees getting run over and hurt by power boats. but that is because the boats go fast and Manatees are slow. Florida has already enacted and continues to enact laws to protect Manatees.

So. You are on a bridge in Florida. there is a herd of manatees on the North side of the bridge. And a speedboat is speeding North right for them. If you jump of the bridge the driver of the boat will probably stop and pick you up. Then you can tell him to slow down. Do you jump off the bridge?
 
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nobody

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I really don't think boats run over fish and kill them.
Have you ever been on a boat? you Do Not see a bunch of dead fish in the wake.

in Florida, there is an issue with Manatees getting run over and hurt by power boats. but that is because the boats go fast and Manatees are slow. Florida has already enacted and continues to enact laws to protect Manatees.

So. You are on a bridge in Florida. there is a herd of manatees on the North side of the bridge. And a speedboat is speeding North right for them. If you jump of the bridge the driver of the boat will probably stop and pick you up. Then you can tell him to slow down. Do you jump off the bridge?
I grew up around motorboats on a lake and believe I have seen them floating around chewed up by propellers, but they may have been chewed up by birds or whatever. I believe if you are out all day joy riding a motorboat and water skiing, or riding jet skis, there is a possibility of hitting a fish. Given the hypothetical existence of the risk, is it inconsistent with vegan ideals to operate a motorboat?

As far as saving the manatees, I would as long as it wasn't a suicidally long jump into the water.
 

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OK. Fine. Then it comes down to personal choice, if YOU feel its wrong for YOU to motorboat, then you should stop motorboating.
 

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OK. Fine. Then it comes down to personal choice, if YOU feel its wrong for YOU to motorboat, then you should stop motorboating.
The main philosophical question is, if risk of death to animals is of no or little concern to us in some cases, as in predation, boat strikes, culling of Canada Geese near airports, culling of deer in urban areas - and by little concern I mean not enough to go out and protest for most vegans in the case of a Canada Geese cull at the airport to avoid aviation disasters for example - then why would their lives matter in other cases, such as the hunting of Canada Geese? That is what omnivores want to know.
 

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The main philosophical question is, if risk of death to animals is of no or little concern to us in some cases, as in predation, boat strikes, culling of Canada Geese near airports, culling of deer in urban areas - and by little concern I mean not enough to go out and protest for most vegans in the case of a Canada Geese cull at the airport to avoid aviation disasters for example - then why would their lives matter in other cases, such as the hunting of Canada Geese? That is what omnivores want to know.

Human practicing Omnivores are (by and large) looking to disprove arguments that “ethical vegans” present in defense of animals. They argue against the (assumed) position that all life is equal – a position taken by many vegans. Since this argument is frequently used by animal rights activists, it is a relatively easy matter to show where our interests (the animal and the human) conflict and forcing the argument becomes the basis. Ie: Do you choose an animals life or humans? Our species or theirs? If animals, you are speciest against humans. If humans, then you are speciest against animals.

A person who believes we are of equal value cannot, on a moral basis, defend any position where animals take a “second position” to humans, or to human interests.

A person who believes that we are not meant to consume animal products has no such issue. Taking animal life for consumption is (in most contexts) destructive and unnecessary. It is destructive to us, to the animals, and to the environment. This position is not a “pro animals” position per se, it is a “pro reality position” where the most benefit is bestowed on both humans animals and the environment by consumption of a diet that we are designed for.
 
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Lou

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A person who believes that we are not meant to consume animal products has no such issue. Taking animal life for consumption is (in most contexts) destructive and unnecessary. It is destructive to us, to the animals, and to the environment. This position is not a “pro animals” position per se, it is a “pro reality position” where the most benefit is bestowed on both humans animals and the environment by consumption of a diet that we are designed for.
well done.
 
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