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Are you opposed to eating oysters? - Page 8  

post #211 of 320
Thread Starter 

This is probably the most rational post so far.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

Veganism is commonly defined as not consuming animals or animal products, but that's a simplistic definition.

 

If tomorrow we found a plant that had a brain and could experience pain, according to the simplistic definition, it would be okay to eat.  But most vegans would have a problem with this.

 

It seems to me that a more accurate definition of veganism would be that vegans seek to minimize suffering by sentient beings.  So plants with a brain would still be wrong to eat.

 

But what of animals without brains?  It seems that most vegans don't have a problem with the countless deaths of non-sentient, single-celled animals that happens all the time in the modern, developed world.  (And quite frankly, I prefer to not have parasitic protozoa in my tap water, thank you very much.)  So there's already a precedent.  And even microscopic multi-celled animals appear to have no sympathy from vegans.

 

Then again, a microscopic organism is obviously not sentient in any way we could possibly be familiar with, even if a few of them (such as hydras) have a rudimentary nervous system called a "nervous net".   Due to how primitive these nervous nets are, and the size of the creatures, it's unlikely they are sentient.  Their nervous systems are strictly reactionary.

 

What about larger animals?

 

For macroscopic animals, sponges seem to be obviously lacking sentience.  They lack a nervous system.  (Hydras have a better nervous system than sponges.)  I'd argue that killing a sponge for personal use is obviously vegan, even though they are technically animals.  They just have no capability of being aware of pain.

 

In an increasing order of complexity, creatures like jellyfish come next.  This is overall biological complexity were talking about - jellyfish lack a digestive system or circulatory system.  But they do have a neural network.  It probably can't do much.  If I had to bet, I'd bet they aren't sentient either, but I'd like to do more research.

 

Bivalves also appear to fall into this group, although they evolved from more complex animals.  Bivalves are, after all, mollusks, which include such very intelligent non-vertebrates as squids.  But while squids were developing in an environment where evolving a large, complex brain mattered, bivalves were adapting to an environment where a brain was redundant.  Oysters, mussels and scallops lack a true brain, instead having clusters of nerve cells (ganglia) in various parts of their body to control various things.  Again, like jellyfish, they seem to lack sentience, but I'd like to do more research.

 

So as a vegan, I'd say sponges are a-ok, while jellyfish, comb jellies, mussels and oysters are more likely than not to be okay.  But considering that we don't need to eat jellyfish, comb jellies, mussels, or oysters, and there doesn't seem to be great research on their nervous systems, I'd avoid them until we know more.  Although I could see a strong argument being made that oysters *are* vegan.

 

While it would be pointless to avoid consuming sponges since they are no more capable of feeling pain than plants are.  (Then again, how often does the average person buy something made from a sea sponge?)

 

Admittedly, regardless of the species we use and consume, how that species is cultivated or harvested needs to come into play.  If how that species is collected greatly damages the environment, I'd argue it would be non-vegan, due to the indirect but predictable suffering that would happen to sentient animals.

 

Anyways, this was a fun post to write.  (I had to look up quite a few things that I haven't studied for probably close to two decades.  :))

 

I'll conclude by saying that we, as vegans, should avoid having our beliefs rigidify into dogma for dogma's sake.  Most of us are veg*n so that we may reduce the suffering of sentient creatures.  Lets remember that.  And lets be always willing to debate.  :)

post #212 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

It seems to me that a more accurate definition of veganism would be that vegans seek to minimize suffering by sentient beings.  

While minimizing suffering is important to me, it's not the only reason I consider myself vegan. I could minimize suffering by instantly killing or killing in a pleasant way. Or perhaps genetically modifying organisms (assuming knowledge reaches a point where this is possible) to experience pleasure instead of pain and then kill them any way that's easy. Perhaps you meant that death is included in suffering, but I just want to point out the avoiding killing aspect. smiley.gif

I think a sentient creature has the right to their own life. So I don't have to the right to kill but I also want to minimize my impact which causes suffering to other sentient creatures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

But what of animals without brains?  It seems that most vegans don't have a problem with the countless deaths of non-sentient, single-celled animals that happens all the time in the modern, developed world.  (And quite frankly, I prefer to not have parasitic protozoa in my tap water, thank you very much.)  So there's already a precedent.  And even microscopic multi-celled animals appear to have no sympathy from vegans.

Are protozoa animals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

So as a vegan, I'd say sponges are a-ok, while jellyfish, comb jellies, mussels and oysters are more likely than not to be okay.  But considering that we don't need to eat jellyfish, comb jellies, mussels, or oysters, and there doesn't seem to be great research on their nervous systems, I'd avoid them until we know more.  


I basically agree with this, in terms of my personal philosophy, but I'm not really willing to say that sponges or sponge use is vegan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

Although I could see a strong argument being made that oysters *are* vegan.


I don't, unless we want to change the definition of vegan. I'm kind of against that, but mostly due to the differences that currently exist with the term 'vegan.' It just makes it more complex.

In order to differentiate between health vegans, dietary vegans, strict vegans, flexi-vegans, almost vegans, Saturday vegans, vegans except X in their life, vegans except X,Y,Z and sometimes a little A on holidays, perhaps we can add, 'ethical vegan.'

Or come up with a new word or be fine with simply describing your lifestyle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

Admittedly, regardless of the species we use and consume, how that species is cultivated or harvested needs to come into play.  If how that species is collected greatly damages the environment, I'd argue it would be non-vegan, due to the indirect but predictable suffering that would happen to sentient animals.


I think this is important for people who really want to minimize the deaths or suffering on sentient creatures, which goes beyond food use, but also to all aspects of what we use in our lives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

I'll conclude by saying that we, as vegans, should avoid having our beliefs rigidify into dogma for dogma's sake.  Most of us are veg*n so that we may reduce the suffering of sentient creatures.  Lets remember that.  And lets be always willing to debate.  smiley.gif


I suppose this is part of the reason why I'm moving away from calling myself 'vegan' and instead refer to items that are or are not vegan. I want to move away from me being defined in a box.

The term vegan is used to refer to simply a diet void (or mostly void) of animal products to a very rigid definition of no animal products what-so-ever (no meds, trace ingredients, etc). Based on these variations, I don't know if my use of 'vegan' is really clear.
I believe everything.
I believe everything.
post #213 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

No I do not have absolute faith on Singer’s assertion. However I believe it is very likely to be based on respectable scientific sources.

While you admit that you don't have absolute faith in Singer's assertion, you seem to continue to labor the point in his assertion being likely based on respectable scientific sources. If you think it's likely, why not research a little more and provide those scientific sources? Say, "Fine, if you don't want to accept Singer's assertion, it's based on this..."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

More importantly, in this case the doubt need only be comparable to that for plants rather than be conclusively settled for it to cause headaches for veganism.

Not really. Veganism, to me, is clearly defined. It specifically refers to animals. You may want it to cause headaches for vegans, because of your interpretation. That's your deal though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

if we wish to embrace extremely high standards for knowledge. If to our best knowledge

I find it interesting that you use these words and yet do not yourself embrace extremely high standards of knowledge. By that I mean your insistence on using Singer as a reference, because "it's likely that it's based on respectable scientific sources." If you want to embrace those high standards of knowledge, I think it would be better to find them, rather than assume while critiquing others for not embrace 'extremely high standards for knowledge.' smiley.gif

--

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Politicians are motivated by many things! Loyalty to their party, self interest, high motivation to hold on to certain ideals at all costs even if it is irrational, desire to please voters... There is much at stake and it is no wonder they are liars and cheaters. Philosophers on the other hand do not have anything of the sort at stake and are part of a subculture that strongly desires to arrive at the truth above all else and that currently have much more respect for science than metaphysics if science is relevant to the question. If science is relevant a philosopher who ignores it would be considered an idiot by her peers and it would not take long for others to stop reading everything she writes.


I'm not sure how familiar you are with academia or popularization of ideas or even the pursuit of science. All these are filled with loyalty (to current ideologies or peers), self interest, monetary gains, holding certain ideals even if irrational, desire to please funding agencies, etc. It's not the idyllic notion of 'desire to arrive at the truth above all else.'
I believe everything.
I believe everything.
post #214 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

Are protozoa animals?

 

I stand corrected.  Either I misremembered, or science marched on.  Protozoa seems to be an umbrella term for a group of creatures that are neither plants, nor animals, nor fungi, nor bacteria.

 

Oh well, hydras work almost as well for the thought experiment.  Multicellular microscopic creatures with a primitive neural net, but very unlikely to have anywhere near the complexity to be sentient.

 

I agree with you on labels though, and I find it interesting that most of the "vegans" I know that are long term probably aren't exactly strict enough to be vegan by some people's definitions.  (I myself will buy used wool sweaters, which is obviously an animal product, but I consider the reduce/reuse/recycling aspect to be less harmful to animals than purchasing a new synthetic sweater.) 


ETA:  Speaking of protists and related creatures, this is pretty cool:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27827279/#.T_KEG5L9Rys


Edited by das_nut - 7/2/12 at 10:37pm
post #215 of 320

I am vegan for more than just "reducing suffering" or "preventing death." Those are important, sure. And I will emphasis the physical suffering aspect when talking to omnis or vegetarians and encouraging them to go vegan. But personally, my veganism is about freedom.

 

It's about freedom from unecessary suffering, confinement, or death caused intentionally by humans.

 

If veganism is merely about generalized suffering or death, then we'd have a duty to prevent the suffering and death that occurs naturally between nonhuman animal species. We don't have that duty. Likewise, if it's purely about suffering as defined by the experience of physical pain, then there's no accounting for the emotional suffering that occurs from separation from family or from confinement that allows free movement but not access to sunshine, grass, or wind. Humans could simply give the animals painkillers or put the animals into comas and then kill them - admittedly better than the current state, this would not be vegan. Veganism is about allowing animals to pursue their own interests and live as natural a life as possible.

post #216 of 320
post #217 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Politicians are motivated by many things! Loyalty to their party, self interest, high motivation to hold on to certain ideals at all costs even if it is irrational, desire to please voters... There is much at stake and it is no wonder they are liars and cheaters. Philosophers on the other hand do not have anything of the sort at stake and are part of a subculture that strongly desires to arrive at the truth above all else and that currently have much more respect for science than metaphysics if science is relevant to the question. If science is relevant a philosopher who ignores it would be considered an idiot by her peers and it would not take long for others to stop reading everything she writes.

 

How do you know what motivates philosophers or what their subculture is like? You make these statements with such confidence and yet they don't ring true at all. People of all groups are motivated by many things, not just politicians. Philosophers are motivated by need for publications, attachment to pet theories, personal vendettas, desire to sell books, desire to be right, love of argument, desire for popularity, loyalty to their "school" of philosophy if applicable, etc. Your idea about how accountability works for philosophers also seems to be speculation on your part rather than fact.

 

More importantly, it ignores the points I raised about areas of science where it is not all that clear cut (especially to the non-scientist) whether one's interpretation is right or wrong and ignores the possibility of mistakes being made rather than the science merely being "ignored".

 

Quote:
You are a very unusual and gifted person for going to do such extensive research. I commend you behaviour. Very few people actually read any scientific sources to check whether their premises are justified. Most people have never even seen a research paper and will not even recognize the format in which papers are written. For most people the premises come from a variety of sources almost none as good as the assertions of a bioethicist on bioethics. Such sources could include their mom, their friend, an article by reporter with minimal knowledge, a teacher, an activist, if they are lucky a bioethicist...
 

I believe you well know that as a matter of fact the vast majority of people would not look for original scientific research to justify their premises. Most would not have the ability or knowledge, and even if they did it would take a huge amount of their time to check different sources and different sides. So according to your view the vast majority of people would be quite irrational to base their premises on sources far less reputable than a highly competent, highly respected, highly experienced and knowledgeable bioethicist.

 

But still I am impressed with your aptitude. It is not easy to read original scientific research in all the disciplines and subdisciplines of science. I mean I finished my physics major and if I read a paper from a field of physics I have never seen before I would be completely lost. There is a great amount of knowledge that comes with each field and it would take years to be competent in any one of them even within one discipline. Even if someone is a talented scientist and she wishes to read a paper outside her discipline she would be delusional to hope for anything more than a very superficial understanding if that! If there are moral implications with the discipline outside her expertise she would normally look at the writings of people who concern themselves with such moral considerations. Quite often they are philosophers and they are generally much better than the alternatives. Again I am highly impressed with your ability to do what no other human seems to be able to do!

 

(bolding added)

 

You're laying on the sarcasm a bit thick aren't you? It seems you think "checking the science" means mastering the field in every case. rolleyes.gif BTW, nowhere did I say I "read original scientific research in all the disciplines and subdisciplines of science". If someone makes a claim and sources a research study or studies it's often times easy to discern from the papers whether they actually support the claim without reading/understand the majority of the papers. If one themself makes a claim and is asked for a source, it's often times easy to find sources supporting the claim just by searching the relevant terms and looking at the abstracts.

 

Also, this statement:

 

Quote:
Even if someone is a talented scientist and she wishes to read a paper outside her discipline she would be delusional to hope for anything more than a very superficial understanding if that.

 

is false. It may be true in some specific instances, but as a general rule it's just completely and utterly false. A little understanding of statistics and research methods will go a long way for one wishing to read and understand a lot of the research in psychology and health/nutrition (mentioning those two, because I'm more familiar with them than other fields). I've said nothing about physics.

 

I'm not sure how "what most people do" is relevant. I would criticize most people for making poor appeal to authority arguments in a debate. As for the difficulty of looking at research papers and gaining some knowledge, it's really not high nor super time consuming. I had to do it in biology 101... If you wish to go deep into it it will take more effort, but that's not even what I've been primarily talking about.

 

Quote:
Given the sources where people generally base their premises I would say a philosopher speaking on the subject is one of the strongest after a scientist (and it is rare that people get the knowledge directly from the scientist). How many people have become veg*n and involved in AR due to Singer’s books? How many of those actually went and looked for original scientific research to assure his premises are justified? Not many! According to your view all those people are irrational!

 

(bolding added)

 

Incorrect. Please quote me where I've said that or said anything that would logically necessitate that. I've explicitly said the near opposite, in fact:

 

Quote:
If you personally want to trust Peter Singer's knowledge of the science that's fine
Quote:
never did I say I think you should research the science behind everything relevant to your ethics
Quote:
To the respect that it's a basis for convincing yourself, that's different and I have no interest in convincing you of anything.

 

I said I don't take issue with you believing/trusting Peter Singer personally, but that in the context of a debate where you are trying to convince others and you've been challenged for a source, your argument is poor.

 

 

Quote:
As a matter of fact when people read what Singer has written they would find it highly likely to be true. You are saying that may not be irrational (unless everyone is irrational) but the fact that I pointed them to such sources rather than them finding it by themselves somehow makes the claim less likely to be true!

 

Where did I say that?

 

 Quote:

If someone thinks a bioethical assertion good enough for Singer should not be taken seriously he has probably deluded himself somewhere along the line!

 

Where did I say that? And what do you mean "a bioethical assertion good enough for Singer"? I thought we were discussing a bioethical assertion made by Singer.

 

I think if you read my posts more carefully you'll save yourself some text.


Edited by cornsail - 7/3/12 at 12:20pm

We are all copies of the same machine. 

We are all copies of the same machine. 

post #218 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

LOL good point grin.gif

Ooh more brainless animals. Yum! Damn it that just feels wrong!

 

if we can eat more "brainless animals" does that mean Congress becomes a buffet? :P

post #219 of 320

This thread is being promoted by VB on FB! Bit of  an odd choice, but there ya go. Probably has more to do with the activity level in the thread than anything else.

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Dave in MPLS / DISCLAIMER: I am not an actual rooster.
my blog - Vintage Veg
"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"

Dave's cookbooks
(43 items)
  
post #220 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

I am vegan for more than just "reducing suffering" or "preventing death." Those are important, sure. And I will emphasis the physical suffering aspect when talking to omnis or vegetarians and encouraging them to go vegan. But personally, my veganism is about freedom.

It's about freedom from unecessary suffering, confinement, or death caused intentionally by humans.

If veganism is merely about generalized suffering or death, then we'd have a duty to prevent the suffering and death that occurs naturally between nonhuman animal species. We don't have that duty. Likewise, if it's purely about suffering as defined by the experience of physical pain, then there's no accounting for the emotional suffering that occurs from separation from family or from confinement that allows free movement but not access to sunshine, grass, or wind. Humans could simply give the animals painkillers or put the animals into comas and then kill them - admittedly better than the current state, this would not be vegan. Veganism is about allowing animals to pursue their own interests and live as natural a life as possible.

I agree. I didn't mean to imply or overly emphasize that I am vegan to avoid death.

As I stated in my other post, I am vegan because I think sentient creatures have a right to their own life (you phrased it as 'freedom'). What I mean/meant by that and have argued in the past for was they have the right to live how they want without interference (or as little as possible) from moral agents. Like you stated, suffering and death are a part of that, but not the only part.

smiley.gif
I believe everything.
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post #221 of 320

Again, I've been led to this thread by a post in Facebook. After reading some of the comments here, I feel the need to say something.

 

Oyster moves. So, it has life. Simple as that. We shouldn't see the world just through the level of our science knowledge. How can we be so sure that pain is only interpreted through the brain?? There could be many other ways that existence and matter are manifested this world. We're tiny living thing in this universe. Nothing is absolute in this world. So we can't be so sure about something.

 

Every life has a purpose. Let them live, grow and change by themselves. We shouldn't disturb their life and the course of nature.

 

I can't accept eating oysters and consider it vegetarian/vegan

post #222 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by leong_cf View Post

Oyster moves. So, it has life. Simple as that. We shouldn't see the world just through the level of our science knowledge. How can we be so sure that pain is only interpreted through the brain?? There could be many other ways that existence and matter are manifested this world. We're tiny living thing in this universe. Nothing is absolute in this world. So we can't be so sure about something.

But plants also move. Have you ever had house plants that lean towards the light? Also, there are single celled organisms that are motile, yet no one weeps for them. Movement is no more indicative of a capacity for thought or feeling than the capacity for growth or reproduction, which are also indications of life but not necessarily of sentience.
post #223 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunnerVeggie View Post

But plants also move. Have you ever had house plants that lean towards the light? Also, there are single celled organisms that are motile, yet no one weeps for them. Movement is no more indicative of a capacity for thought or feeling than the capacity for growth or reproduction, which are also indications of life but not necessarily of sentience.

I don't think that the plants leaning towards the light is a good example of plants moving. It's growth, not movement. That would be like saying human children slowly move up until adulthood.
post #224 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazyeeqen View Post

I don't think that the plants leaning towards the light is a good example of plants moving. It's growth, not movement. That would be like saying human children slowly move up until adulthood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_plant_movement - if you're looking for a more rapid examples that don't involve growth. I would still say the growth is a sort of "movement" as it results in progress toward a physical target. As an additional example, many plants also have flowers and leaves that open and close in response to light, over the course of a day, which certainly isn't accomplished by growth.

I would argue that movement has more to do with response to a stimulus than whether or not a living thing qualifies as sentient.
post #225 of 320

I'm opposed to eating oysters. Just sayin' 'case they make this section "post or get booted out".

post #226 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunnerVeggie View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_plant_movement - if you're looking for a more rapid examples that don't involve growth. I would still say the growth is a sort of "movement" as it results in progress toward a physical target. As an additional example, many plants also have flowers and leaves that open and close in response to light, over the course of a day, which certainly isn't accomplished by growth.
I would argue that movement has more to do with response to a stimulus than whether or not a living thing qualifies as sentient.

I wasn't talking at all about plant movement, and we all know that some very special plants do exhibit movement in reaction to stimuli. My only point was that growth does not equal movement, and flowers 'moving' towards light is growth, not actually movement. Flowers closing at night is also growth. Flowers closing when something brushes into them may not be. I really don't know about that.

I don't necessarily think that things that move have sentience, I do think there is a distinction between growth and movement.
post #227 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty_Shell View Post

I'm opposed to eating oysters. Just sayin' 'case they make this section "post or get booted out".

Let it go, man.
post #228 of 320

It really just depends on the reason why you decided to become veg. I didn't like the idea of causing anything pain. And I hate the thought of cutting an animals life short. I can eat them because they don't feel pain but I hate the idea something being dead because of me.

post #229 of 320
Thread Starter 

I may do that actually. However, if it was to be done to any serious level it would probably be very time consuming. I have very little knowledge in biology and would not be a good candidate to do research on such a specific field. I have no confidence in my competence in biology!

 

Yes it does cause me headaches because of my motivations for being vegan. I would not consider it knowledge that oyster are not sentient. I consider it very likely. If it was knowledge I would be willing to act on it. I have tried finding other commentary on the issue but it seems scarce and have not found much.

 

In philosophy anyone who tries anything other than to arrive at the truth is considered a bad philosopher. It was actually suggested by a prof of mine that his prof started supporting an odd idea just to get a debate started and possibly irritate every other philosopher (even though he himself may not believe it) but that is usually very rare. It is often intuitions that give rise to disagreements but those tend to be on issues like metaphysics and ethics and so (where science does not reign).

 

I have not spent much time in a research environment in science but I was not aware that corruption was so prevalent among scientists. I highly doubt that is the case for philosophers. Being uncritical is a pretty big insult in philosophy.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post


While you admit that you don't have absolute faith in Singer's assertion, you seem to continue to labor the point in his assertion being likely based on respectable scientific sources. If you think it's likely, why not research a little more and provide those scientific sources? Say, "Fine, if you don't want to accept Singer's assertion, it's based on this..."
Not really. Veganism, to me, is clearly defined. It specifically refers to animals. You may want it to cause headaches for vegans, because of your interpretation. That's your deal though.
I find it interesting that you use these words and yet do not yourself embrace extremely high standards of knowledge. By that I mean your insistence on using Singer as a reference, because "it's likely that it's based on respectable scientific sources." If you want to embrace those high standards of knowledge, I think it would be better to find them, rather than assume while critiquing others for not embrace 'extremely high standards for knowledge.' smiley.gif
--
I'm not sure how familiar you are with academia or popularization of ideas or even the pursuit of science. All these are filled with loyalty (to current ideologies or peers), self interest, monetary gains, holding certain ideals even if irrational, desire to please funding agencies, etc. It's not the idyllic notion of 'desire to arrive at the truth above all else.'

Edited by Cato - 7/4/12 at 12:58am
post #230 of 320
Thread Starter 

I have taken 14 philosophy courses (mostly senior courses) and took it more seriously than other disciplines I studied. I have spent time among philosophers and I am sorry to say they are much more fun and open minded people than scientists or engineers or mathematicians (mathematicians and engineers are the worst) tongue3.gif If science is directly relevant to an issue then philosophers who would make statements inconsistent with science are not esteemed by their peers. If they are made aware of such an error and still do not admit being wrong they are seen as fools. Modern philosophers have very high regard for science. If something can be scientifically settled conclusively then that is pretty much it for philosophy, the debate stops.

 

Yes science can be wrong! If science could give completely accurate knowledge on the matter this would not be as much of an issue.But it might similarly be wrong for plants. If indeed the doubt is similar how do we discriminate?

 

You are right the sarcasm was a but over the limit grin.gif

We cannot read original research papers and hope to understand them most of the time (unless we are experts). That is not to mention the very high volume of papers written on a subject. The best we can get is a commentary on a subject from someone who has spent a significant amount of time studying it or has consulted the experts. It is also important that they be unbiased. Some subjects are not popular and such commentary is not widely available. I have searched for such commentary regarding oysters online but have not found any besides what is already posted. That is unfortunate. Probably no one wants to write on the issue besides bioethicists (I can't see where else it would be popular). However I believe the commentary from Singer should be taken seriously. It is not enough for me to base action solely on it but I believe it is very likely to be based on scientific evidence. As such I view it as quite acceptable to have a debate on it. If like me you do not wish to base action only on it then suppose hypothetically what the implications for veganism would be if it is true. And given that this issue is in the air how do I answer the omnivore when she asks: why are you cruel to plants? How would all of you answer the question given this new information? I am not sure how personally?

Again I have not been able to find other commentary on the issue from reputable sources. There is Bekoff's skepticism which as already mentioned I will not ignore.

 

People without even elementary university courses on the subject are not well suited to looking up research papers. They would not be competent at the task. That is why people do undergrad before doing research in graduate studies! Someone without even high school biology cannot hope to get much out of research papers in biology. Not to mention the heavy volume of research on each subject. If I were to consider eating oysters seriously I would keep looking for further commentary and would go to the biology department and if I found any experts on the subject would ask them about it and ask that they may point me to relevant sources that are not too technical.

 

Just about all vegans (myself included) spread the good news yet I am not aware that any of them have done scientific research before they speak to others. They will probably point you to Singer if you ask for a source! As you and many others apparently require research on the relevant scientific topics I suppose all of them are irrational people. No one does research on everything even if they claim they do! Just about always they rely on commentary if they are rational.

 

I believe the commentary by Singer should be sufficient to have a debate (even a hypothetical one if you are not completely convinced like me)! In the absence of many other commentaries it is what we have to go on.

 

So with this commentary by Singer and the general view in biology that animals without a brain are not sentient how do we answer the question: why do you kill plants if you are against killing oysters?

If it turned out oysters are not sentient, what would be the implications for veganism?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornsail View Post

 

How do you know what motivates philosophers or what their subculture is like? You make these statements with such confidence and yet they don't ring true at all. People of all groups are motivated by many things, not just politicians. Philosophers are motivated by need for publications, attachment to pet theories, personal vendettas, desire to sell books, desire to be right, love of argument, desire for popularity, loyalty to their "school" of philosophy if applicable, etc. Your idea about how accountability works for philosophers also seems to be speculation on your part rather than fact.

 

More importantly, it ignores the points I raised about areas of science where it is not all that clear cut (especially to the non-scientist) whether one's interpretation is right or wrong and ignores the possibility of mistakes being made rather than the science merely being "ignored".

 

 

(bolding added)

 

You're laying on the sarcasm a bit thick aren't you? It seems you think "checking the science" means mastering the field in every case. rolleyes.gifBTW, nowhere did I say I "read original scientific research in all the disciplines and subdisciplines of science". If someone makes a claim and sources a research study or studies it's often times easy to discern from the papers whether they actually support the claim without reading/understand the majority of the papers. If one themself makes a claim and is asked for a source, it's often times easy to find sources supporting the claim just by searching the relevant terms and looking at the abstracts.

 

Also, this statement:

 

 

is false. It may be true in some specific instances, but as a general rule it's just completely and utterly false. A little understanding of statistics and research methods will go a long way for one wishing to read and understand a lot of the research in psychology and health/nutrition (mentioning those two, because I'm more familiar with them than other fields). I've said nothing about physics.

 

I'm not sure how "what most people do" is relevant. I would criticize most people for making poor appeal to authority arguments in a debate. As for the difficulty of looking at research papers and gaining some knowledge, it's really not high nor super time consuming. I had to do it in biology 101... If you wish to go deep into it it will take more effort, but that's not even what I've been primarily talking about.

 

 

(bolding added)

 

Incorrect. Please quote me where I've said that or said anything that would logically necessitate that. I've explicitly said the near opposite, in fact:

 

 

I said I don't take issue with you believing/trusting Peter Singer personally, but that in the context of a debate where you are trying to convince others and you've been challenged for a source, your argument is poor.

 

 

 

Where did I say that?

 

 Quote:

 

Where did I say that? And what do you mean "a bioethical assertion good enough for Singer"? I thought we were discussing a bioethical assertion made by Singer.

 

I think if you read my posts more carefully you'll save yourself some text.

post #231 of 320
Thread Starter 

WTF how can they do that? Why would this be promoted on narcissist-book? I though FB was only for people to go online and present themselves deceitfully as more interesting and attractive to people who probably know very well they are lying and fooling themselves tongue3.gif Somehow your reputation in it is more important than in real life. Humans...

Anyhow, I do not wish to mislead anyone. I believe it is very likely that Singer has very good justification for his statement but personally I would not base action solely on it!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in MPLS View Post

This thread is being promoted by VB on FB! Bit of  an odd choice, but there ya go. Probably has more to do with the activity level in the thread than anything else.

post #232 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I have taken 14 philosophy courses (mostly senior courses) and took it more seriously than other disciplines I studied. I have spent time among philosophers and I am sorry to say they are much more fun and open minded people than scientists or engineers or mathematicians (mathematicians and engineers are the worst) tongue3.gif If science is directly relevant to an issue then philosophers who would make statements inconsistent with science are not esteemed by their peers. If they are made aware of such an error and still do not admit being wrong they are seen as fools. Modern philosophers have very high regard for science. If something can be scientifically settled conclusively then that is pretty much it for philosophy, the debate stops.

 

Yes science can be wrong! If science could give completely accurate knowledge on the matter this would not be as much of an issue.But it might similarly be wrong for plants. If indeed the doubt is similar how do we discriminate?

 

You are right the sarcasm was a but over the limit grin.gif

We cannot read original research papers and hope to understand them most of the time (unless we are experts). That is not to mention the very high volume of papers written on a subject. The best we can get is a commentary on a subject from someone who has spent a significant amount of time studying it or has consulted the experts. It is also important that they be unbiased. Some subjects are not popular and such commentary is not widely available. I have searched for such commentary regarding oysters online but have not found any besides what is already posted. That is unfortunate. Probably no one wants to write on the issue besides bioethicists (I can't see where else it would be popular). However I believe the commentary from Singer should be taken seriously. It is not enough for me to base action solely on it but I believe it is very likely to be based on scientific evidence. As such I view it as quite acceptable to have a debate on it. If like me you do not wish to base action only on it then suppose hypothetically what the implications for veganism would be if it is true. And given that this issue is in the air how do I answer the omnivore when she asks: why are you cruel to plants? How would all of you answer the question given this new information? I am not sure how personally?

Again I have not been able to find other commentary on the issue from reputable sources. There is Bekoff's skepticism which as already mentioned I will not ignore.

 

People without even elementary university courses on the subject are not well suited to looking up research papers. They would not be competent at the task. That is why people do undergrad before doing research in graduate studies! Someone without even high school biology cannot hope to get much out of research papers in biology. Not to mention the heavy volume of research on each subject. If I were to consider eating oysters seriously I would keep looking for further commentary and would go to the biology department and if I found any experts on the subject would ask them about it and ask that they may point me to relevant sources that are not too technical.

 

Just about all vegans (myself included) spread the good news yet I am not aware that any of them have done scientific research before they speak to others. They will probably point you to Singer if you ask for a source! As you and many others apparently require research on the relevant scientific topics I suppose all of them are irrational people. No one does research on everything even if they claim they do! Just about always they rely on commentary if they are rational.

 

I believe the commentary by Singer should be sufficient to have a debate (even a hypothetical one if you are not completely convinced like me)! In the absence of many other commentaries it is what we have to go on.

 

So with this commentary by Singer and the general view in biology that animals without a brain are not sentient how do we answer the question: why do you kill plants if you are against killing oysters?

If it turned out oysters are not sentient, what would be the implications for veganism?

 

 


I think you are still not understanding/addressing the main points of my post. But I'm not sure how to re-phrase things, so I'll leave it at that. It seems we are talking past one another.

We are all copies of the same machine. 

We are all copies of the same machine. 

post #233 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I may do that actually.

Great, I think that would be a very good idea. smiley.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

However, if it was to be done to any serious level it would probably be very time consuming.

Yes, it can be, especially when you embrace extremely high standards for knowledge. But if you don't want to, I can understand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I have tried finding other commentary on the issue but it seems scarce and have not found much.

Perhaps it's scarce, in part, because it's simply not clear. There is no litmus test to go out and test a creature and say "Yes, we have a 95% +/- 2.3% confidence level that this creature is not sentient."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

In philosophy anyone who tries anything other than to arrive at the truth is considered a bad philosopher. It was actually suggested by a prof of mine that his prof started supporting an odd idea just to get a debate started and possibly irritate every other philosopher (even though he himself may not believe it) but that is usually very rare. It is often intuitions that give rise to disagreements but those tend to be on issues like metaphysics and ethics and so (where science does not reign).

I have not spent much time in a research environment in science but I was not aware that corruption was so prevalent among scientists. I highly doubt that is the case for philosophers. Being uncritical is a pretty big insult in philosophy.

I think you have a distorted view of academia (including philosophy). I don't know if it's because of a limited view (perhaps your social/academic group) or if it's because you have some kind of romantic notion.

None of this is unique to science. The same hold true for philosophy.
I believe everything.
I believe everything.
post #234 of 320


I have no idea why my quote function doesn't work in this post.... But this is what Cato posted:

 

In philosophy anyone who tries anything other than to arrive at the truth is considered a bad philosopher.

 

 

One reason this statement can't be true is that within philosophy itself there are many criticisms of the idea of being able to obtain 'truth' to begin with, at least when it comes to evaluative/normative claims such as in, especially, applied ethics (which is what Peter Singer is doing). So maybe what you could say is that, more modestly, in philosophy it would be considered bad to not try to arrive at a well-argued position. But of course, even then, how do you determine that someone's intention is not to arrive at a well-argued position (or "the truth"), unless they explicitly say that this is their intention? You could say that people who end up asserting positions that are not argued well are considered bad philosophers, but it's difficult to produce clear criteria for a well-argued position.

 

 

All that being said, I personally think Peter Singer argues well and is interested in examining things fairly and critically, even if this might lead to conclusions against common moral intuitions. But that doesn't mean I need to agree with him.


Edited by Sevenseas - 7/4/12 at 11:56am

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

post #235 of 320
Thread Starter 

Ok.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by cornsail View Post


I think you are still not understanding/addressing the main points of my post. But I'm not sure how to re-phrase things, so I'll leave it at that. It seems we are talking past one another.

 

1) How did you reach this conclusion?

2) What led you to believe this and assert it?

3) Can you offer scientific evidence for them?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornsail View Post

I pretty much agree with there not being ethical issues with killing brainless animals, aside from the environmental damage. After all, when omnis ask "so why is killing plants ok?" I usually bring up the fact that they don't have brains and therefore cannot perceive pain/suffering.

 

BTW, these arguments also apply to scallops, clams, mussels and starfish as well.

post #236 of 320
Thread Starter 

How extensive is your philosophy education? How much of it have you studied at the university level?

 

In any case, if anyone believes that Singer had hidden motives for making the assertion rather than he made it because he believes it to be the case they are very likely being paranoid. And I highly doubt they truly embrace such skepticism.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I think you have a distorted view of academia (including philosophy). I don't know if it's because of a limited view (perhaps your social/academic group) or if it's because you have some kind of romantic notion.
None of this is unique to science. The same hold true for philosophy.
post #237 of 320
Quote:
I have taken 14 philosophy courses

 

Did all of them ignore anything post-1979 or so, or just the ones that covered animal ethics?

 

I ask because the Singer obsession is very 1970s. Singer is important in a historical context, but as far as current importance ... eh, not so much. Nowadays within the animal advocacy community much more is written about where Singer is incorrect than where he is correct. Here's a sample: What Happened to Peter Singer?

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Dave in MPLS / DISCLAIMER: I am not an actual rooster.
my blog - Vintage Veg
"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"

Dave's cookbooks
(43 items)
  
post #238 of 320
Thread Starter 

You have a point. Not all would agree they are trying to arrive at the truth because at times they believe there is no truth to arrive at. I personally am inclined to reject the idea of there being truth to moral judgments. I do not think there is truth to a judgment like 'it is immoral to intentionally hurt "innocent" beings' unless by it I mean something like 'I don't like it.' I digress.

However, this is not the case where the existence of a truth value is not disputed as in scientifically verifiable propositions. If it is obvious that a truth value exists there should be no dispute that philosophers should attempt to arrive at the truth rather than falsehood even though there may be disagreements on how to do so.

 

The in the following:

Quote:
"Perhaps there is a scintilla more doubt about whether oysters can feel pain than there is about plants, but I'd see it as extremely improbable. So while you could give them the benefit of the doubt, you could also say that unless some new evidence of a capacity for pain emerges, the doubt is so slight that there is no good reason for avoiding eating sustainably produced oysters." (Peter Singer)

the important proposition is not a moral judgment or an assertion which any reasonable person would claim has no objective truth value. Therefore your objection is irrelevant. Let's try to avoid irrelevant technicalities.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post


I have no idea why my quote function doesn't work in this post.... But this is what Cato posted:

 

In philosophy anyone who tries anything other than to arrive at the truth is considered a bad philosopher.

 

 

One reason this statement can't be true is that within philosophy itself there are many criticisms of the idea of being able to obtain 'truth' to begin with, at least when it comes to evaluative/normative claims such as in, especially, applied ethics (which is what Peter Singer is doing). So maybe what you could say is that, more modestly, in philosophy it would be considered bad to not try to arrive at a well-argued position. But of course, even then, how do you determine that someone's intention is not to arrive at a well-argued position (or "the truth"), unless they explicitly say that this is their intention? You could say that people who end up asserting positions that are not argued well are considered bad philosophers, but it's difficult to produce clear criteria for a well-argued position.

 

 

All that being said, I personally think Peter Singer argues well and is interested in examining things fairly and critically, even if this might lead to conclusions against common moral intuitions. But that doesn't mean I need to agree with him.

post #239 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

The in the following:

the important proposition is not a moral judgment or an assertion which any reasonable person would claim has no objective truth value. Therefore your objection is irrelevant. Let's try to avoid irrelevant technicalities.

 

 

That quote contains Singer's claims about the likelihood of oyster sentience, but also normative ideas such as "no good reason for avoiding" and "sustainably produced". I wouldn't say the quote as a whole necessarily has a "truth value".

 

In any case, this branch of the discussion, about philosophers' motivations and honesty, seems weird and random to me. I haven't read earlier posts in the thread so I dunno what sparked this branch, but I don't think it really has **** to do with whether people should be eating oysters or not.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

post #240 of 320
Thread Starter 

Only a teeny tiny portion of his assertions is in question which is scientific rather than metaphysical/philosophical in nature smiley.gif

 

Let's try to stay focused.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in MPLS View Post

 

Did all of them ignore anything post-1979 or so, or just the ones that covered animal ethics?

 

I ask because the Singer obsession is very 1970s. Singer is important in a historical context, but as far as current importance ... eh, not so much. Nowadays within the animal advocacy community much more is written about where Singer is incorrect than where he is correct. Here's a sample: What Happened to Peter Singer?

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