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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tiger Lilly</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3217994"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
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<p>I do so love semantics!<br><br>
I think the word "rights" <strong>is</strong> appropriate for what we mean. <br><br>
A 'right' in our modern context, is ethics made solid/into legislation.<br><br>
You're correct, in that we wouldn't give a horse the right to vote or own property. We don't give those rights to children in our society either. Are children without rights?</p>
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No. They just have a different set of rights, that in many ways mirror adult's rights, but they're not the same. I think it's possible to come up with such a set for animals.<br>
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<p>This is an interesting point, allow me to expand on it with my own perspective for a moment.</p>
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In my knowledge there are two camps for rights, natural, inalienable rights (as common among Libertarian philosophy) and rights as a social construct (as typical of a more utilitarian view). First camp requires the source of rights to be an external giver (a deity/creator), while the second camp views ourselves as the source of our own rights, and I think the second camp is a lot closer to reality and is a lot better at explaining how children don't have the same rights as adults and animals don't have the same rights as humans, so I'm going to go with the second camp as a basis for my view.</p>
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If rights (read: codified privileges) are a product of our own society, our own invention, then without our society the rights would not exist. Prior to evolution of man, there were no rights, and they still really they don't exist anywhere outside of being a concept in the human society. So to compare animal rights to human rights seems rather pointless, seeing how neither species have rights. All they have is rules that they decide among themselves and agree upon. You can observe it in a number of social animals. With wolves for instance, the alpha has the "right" to eat first, but it's not really a right, it's just how their social structure evolved, and it may very well evolve out in another million years or so. When for instance a bear kills you and eats you, he's not violating your right to life or being unethical towards you, and if you kill and eat a bear, you're not violating his rights either, because neither of you have rights.</p>
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<p>Of course this does not mean we should not try to reduce unnecessary suffering of animals (including humans), it's great that we have brains that allow us to be aware of these concepts, rather than just following instinct, but the concept that animals (once again, including humans) have rights that need to be respected is a bit too abstract to draw any lines at all. If we agree that we shouldn't do something that causes discomfort because we decided that causing discomfort is a bad thing, then that should be the point to argue for, and rights should play no role in it.</p>
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<p>Hopefully that wasn't confusing or seemed too fringe.<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>EMB Whisper</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221475"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>This is an interesting point, allow me to expand on it with my own perspective for a moment.</p>
<p><br>
In my knowledge there are two camps for rights, natural, inalienable rights (as common among Libertarian philosophy) and rights as a social construct (as typical of a more utilitarian view). First camp requires the source of rights to be an external giver (a deity/creator), while the second camp views ourselves as the source of our own rights, and I think the second camp is a lot closer to reality and is a lot better at explaining how children don't have the same rights as adults and animals don't have the same rights as humans, so I'm going to go with the second camp as a basis for my view.</p>
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If rights (read: codified privileges) are a product of our own society, our own invention, then without our society the rights would not exist. Prior to evolution of man, there were no rights, and they still really they don't exist anywhere outside of being a concept in the human society. So to compare animal rights to human rights seems rather pointless, seeing how neither species have rights. All they have is rules that they decide among themselves and agree upon. You can observe it in a number of social animals. With wolves for instance, the alpha has the "right" to eat first, but it's not really a right, it's just how their social structure evolved, and it may very well evolve out in another million years or so. When for instance a bear kills you and eats you, he's not violating your right to life or being unethical towards you, and if you kill and eat a bear, you're not violating his rights either, because neither of you have rights.</p>
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<p>Of course this does not mean we should not try to reduce unnecessary suffering of animals (including humans), it's great that we have brains that allow us to be aware of these concepts, rather than just following instinct, but the concept that animals (once again, including humans) have rights that need to be respected is a bit too abstract to draw any lines at all. If we agree that we shouldn't do something that causes discomfort because we decided that causing discomfort is a bad thing, then that should be the point to argue for, and rights should play no role in it.</p>
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<p>Hopefully that wasn't confusing or seemed too fringe.<br>
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<p>Actually, this is sort of confusing. In the third paragraph, you suggest that rights, because they are concepts, aren't real, yet ideas (concepts) are as real as anything that is physical. That we have technology, invented by way of concepts, is proof that concepts are real. As you point out in the fourth paragraph, that we can follow concepts- directing our own actions- is farther proof that they exist. Thoughts, ideas, concepts, the concept of rights, and rights themselves may be intangibles, but are no less a part of "reality." That we have evolved to the point that we can exchange ideas, through communication, is not what gives us our rights. I cannot bestow rights on you, any more than you can bestow them on me; we are each capable only of <em>suppressing</em> one another's rights. In the example of the wolves you cited, it is not the alpha's right to eat first, but only its suppression of the rights of the others' that is the social function. If you were alone on earth, and not part of a social construct, would you cease to have rights? I don't think so.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221484"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Actually, this is sort of confusing. In the third paragraph, you suggest that rights, because they are concepts, aren't real, yet ideas (concepts) are as real as anything that is physical. That we have technology, invented by way of concepts, is proof that concepts are real. As you point out in the fourth paragraph, that we can follow concepts- directing our own actions- is farther proof that they exist. Thoughts, ideas, concepts, the concept of rights, and rights themselves may be intangibles, but are no less a part of "reality." That we have evolved to the point that we can exchange ideas, through communication, is not what gives us our rights. I cannot bestow rights on you, any more than you can bestow them on me; we are each capable only of <em>suppressing</em> one another's rights. In the example of the wolves you cited, it is not the alpha's right to eat first, but only its suppression of the rights of the others' that is the social function. If you were alone on earth, and not part of a social construct, would you cease to have rights? I don't think so.</p>
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<p>Let me try to give an example of the difference. Imagine a chair in front of you. Now try to sit on it. You see, the chair is just in your head, so when you're gone, the chair is gone as well, so not only is it intangible, but the object of your idea is not real either unless you can demonstrate its existence to others. Same with rights. Just because you can conceptualise a right, doesn't mean rights exist or can be used. If I'm alone in the world, I don't have rights, I just have abilities.</p>
 

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<p>Far be it from me not to discuss abstractions. I have never formally studied ethics. I think for me rights are something like guidelines for acting towards others that I would like humans to follow. For others it is guidelines they like. Even for me they change with time, they are not stable.</p>
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<p>I don't like talking about the existence of rights. What does that even mean? What does it mean for ideas to exist? There are always contradictory ideas. Do they all exist? Yes we grasp ideas but what could it mean for them to exist? I agree that we have beliefs, for example, but what does it mean for beliefs to exist? </p>
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<p>I say it is a right to not be abused and another says it is a right for everyone to be abused. If both those rights exist then we are no closer to choosing which behaviour is appropriate and have unnecessarily inflated our concept of the Universe. It seems completely arbitrary to say that only one of those rights actually exists and the other doesn't. If they both exist then it is right to abuse others and it is right to not abuse others. If instead I accept rights as guidelines I would like others to follow I can explain the contradiction. I like these guidelines and another person likes those, not much point in talking about their existence. Nor are they objective.</p>
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<p>Can we even talk about the existence of numbers (not numerals) or words? I simply don't know what could be meant by stuff like that so I prefer to be pragmatic about it. I like to see what difference it makes to me and go from there. Considering rights as guidelines I would <span style="line-height:1.231;">like others to follow, I would like for there to be animal rights. I have grown to appreciate down to Earth explanations.</span></p>
<p><span style="line-height:1.231;"> </span></p>
<p><span style="line-height:1.231;">Keep up the good debate!</span></p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>EMB Whisper</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221488"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Let me try to give an example of the difference. Imagine a chair in front of you. Now try to sit on it. You see, the chair is just in your head, so when you're gone, the chair is gone as well, so not only is it intangible, but the object of your idea is not real either unless you can demonstrate its existence to others. Same with rights. Just because you can conceptualise a right, doesn't mean rights exist or can be used. If I'm alone in the world, I don't have rights, I just have abilities.</p>
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<p>If I can imagine the chair, I can also imagine myself sitting in it; therefore, the concept of my sitting there is real. Furthermore, if I leave, and take the concept with me, the concept continues to exist. Tangibility is not a requirement for reality. Proof of existence to others is not required for intelligence to exist. If you were alone on earth, one of your abilities, even though you were alone, would be to conceptualize.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221491"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>If I can imagine the chair, I can also imagine myself sitting in it; therefore, the concept of my sitting there is real. Furthermore, if I leave, and take the concept with me, the concept continues to exist. Tangibility is not a requirement for reality. Proof of existence to others is not required for intelligence to exist. If you were alone on earth, one of your abilities, even though you were alone, would be to conceptualize.</p>
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<p>Yes, the idea is real, but the object of your idea isn't. That's a crucial difference. You can conceive of a dragon, but that doesn't mean dragons are real. Most of the time fantasy and reality do not agree. If I'm alone on earth, what are my rights? Who gives them to me? Because if I'm the one who gives me rights, then I can have unlimited rights and can do whatever I want. However, if I were to die, my "rights" would instantly seize to exist.</p>
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<p>Take the most basic right - the right to life. Where does it come from? Outside of human invention it doesn't exist anywhere else in nature. It cannot be observed or measured. It's an abstract that we agree to accept for utilitarian purposes. In other words, rights are basically permissions.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221489"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><p>Can we even talk about the existence of numbers (not numerals) or words? I simply don't know what could be meant by stuff like that so I prefer to be pragmatic about it. I like to see what difference it makes to me and go from there. Considering rights as guidelines I would <span style="line-height:1.231;">like others to follow, I would like for there to be animal rights. I have grown to appreciate down to Earth explanations.</span></p>
<p><span style="line-height:1.231;"> </span></p>
<p><span style="line-height:1.231;">Keep up the good debate!</span></p>
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<p>Basically this. If you get rid of the idea of rights as something intrinsic, things become incredibly simple and easy to sort out. You basically separate behaviors your brain appreciates from behaviors it doesn't, and if enough of your society agrees on a particular set of behaviors, they become rules, laws, and systems.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>EMB Whisper</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221527"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>Basically this. If you get rid of the idea of rights as something intrinsic, things become incredibly simple and easy to sort out. You basically separate behaviors your brain appreciates from behaviors it doesn't, and if enough of your society agrees on a particular set of behaviors, they become rules, laws, and systems.</p>
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<p>Rules, laws and systems ('systems' being a rather ambiguous term- what does it mean?) are based on the restriction of unacceptable behaviors, not on the definition- or creation- of an artificial set of acceptable behaviors. The right, or ability, to engage in any form of behavior, for good or bad, is not given by one man, group of men or government to anyone, but can only be restricted, or controlled. Rights, abilities and freedom of behavior is intrinsic to the individual. It is society that is artificial.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221533"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Rules, laws and systems ('systems' being a rather ambiguous term- what does it mean?) are based on the restriction of unacceptable behaviors, not on the definition- or creation- of an artificial set of acceptable behaviors. The right, or ability, to engage in any form of behavior, for good or bad, is not given by one man, group of men or government to anyone, but can only be restricted, or taken away. Rights, abilities and freedom of behavior is intrinsic to the individual. It is society that is artificial.</p>
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<p>Well, I don't know about socialism being more contrived than individualism, necessarily, but I definitely agree with rights as inherent and inalienable, endowed by the Creator, or whatever your personal belief system may take "the Creator" to metaphorically represent.  I'm much more in sympathy with the vision of Thoreau's <em>Walden</em> than that of Skinner's <em>Walden Two</em>.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3217993"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>We need resources. If we want wood tables or doors or homes or paper we must cut down trees. Perhaps we should use something else instead of wood. Where is that other thing going to come from? We need metals, so we build mines. More often than not there were sentient beings using the land. We need oil and coal so we take the land and use it for our interests. We need farmland so we take it, or took it before. We need roads so we build on the wilderness. If our population is increasing we could simply increase the density of the buildings instead of building on new land. We can first tolerate two persons sharing a room and then three, ..., and then 8, ..., and then 16, ... Where does it end? At some point it will be so inconvenient that we would not tolerate it.</p>
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<p>We can often reduce the amount of land we take from animals by tolerating greater inconvenience but we can never eliminate it.</p>
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<p>We've overpopulated ourselves and the animals we have enslaved.  Stop artificial livestock breeding; that would be a great first step.  Nature is actually quite good at self balance.  We just happen to be very <strong>bad</strong> at balancing the whole, with our extenuated self-consciousness.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>logic</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3217801"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
As a side note, its amusing that people think they enjoy more freedoms today than "slaves" in the past.</div>
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Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3217806"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>Very philosophical, but I'm of the opinion that nihilism is for the lazy, and is part of the problem.</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABxIJ8ONGeQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABxIJ8ONGeQ</a></p>
<p>Especially good quote at 05:14.</p>
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<p>When Carlin was honored posthumously with the Mark Twain award for American humor, Bill Maher said "<span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;">In fact you could divide Twain and Carlin's work into the same three stages. The early stage: 'some people suck'; to the middle stage: 'most people suck'; to the later stage: 'You suck.</span><strong><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;">'"</span></strong></p>
<p>But even if he did slip partly into being "part of the problem," I think he was really correct in making similar claims.  <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKQs-jDI7j8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKQs-jDI7j8</a></p>
<p>And this is off-topic only until you realize that the illusion the super-rich have no special control over common people directly relates to the illusion that the same people have no special control over how "we" treat animals.</p>
 

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<p>I agree. </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>EMB Whisper</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221527"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>Basically this. If you get rid of the idea of rights as something intrinsic, things become incredibly simple and easy to sort out. You basically separate behaviors your brain appreciates from behaviors it doesn't, and if enough of your society agrees on a particular set of behaviors, they become rules, laws, and systems.</p>
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<p>What is the good then? What are rights and how do we know how to recognize them? Suppose I say we have the right to kill others. What makes that incorrect? I can easily come up with a strange set of “rights” and claim they are objective and independent of humans. What makes me wrong in claiming the existence of those strange “rights” and you correct in claiming the independent existence of your “rights”? To me, claiming objective rights would be a very strange and disharmonious addition to our current understanding of the Universe and ourselves. </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221533"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Rules, laws and systems ('systems' being a rather ambiguous term- what does it mean?) are based on the restriction of unacceptable behaviors, not on the definition- or creation- of an artificial set of acceptable behaviors. The right, or ability, to engage in any form of behavior, for good or bad, is not given by one man, group of men or government to anyone, but can only be restricted, or controlled. Rights, abilities and freedom of behavior is intrinsic to the individual. It is society that is artificial.</p>
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<p>We can reduce the harm caused but I don’t think we could eliminate it. We still need wood and metals and other raw materials.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Mike4891</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221545"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>We've overpopulated ourselves and the animals we have enslaved.  Stop artificial livestock breeding; that would be a great first step.  Nature is actually quite good at self balance.  We just happen to be very <strong>bad</strong> at balancing the whole, with our extenuated self-consciousness.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights#post_3221557"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>What is the good then? What are rights and how do we know how to recognize them? Suppose I say we have the right to kill others. What makes that incorrect? I can easily come up with a strange set of “rights” and claim they are objective and independent of humans. What makes me wrong in claiming the existence of those strange “rights” and you correct in claiming the independent existence of your “rights”? To me, claiming objective rights would be a very strange and disharmonious addition to our current understanding of the Universe and ourselves. </p>
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<p>The good is that we are free do as we please, and only when what we do harms others, does society step in to restrict our actions. Even then, our rights are not taken from us, because they cannot be; only our activities are controlled. The rights remain. You are free to comprehend and follow (or not) whatever rights you have the ability to understand, and to accept them (or not) as being from yourself, from nature or from God. My 'understanding of the Universe and ourselves' is, we, as part of the universe, are unrestricted, except by the laws of physics and the occasional social injunction. What's so strange about that?</p>
 

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<p>I agree with the practical aspect of your good but not with the theory of where it comes from if I understand it correctly. Thinking of rights as independent “entities” (or things) won’t do for me. But a good question is what if people disagree on rights or what is good? How do you decide who is correct?</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221564"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>The good is that we are free do as we please, and only when what we do harms others, does society step in to restrict our actions. Even then, our rights are not taken from us, because they cannot be; only our activities are controlled. The rights remain. You are free to comprehend and follow (or not) whatever rights you have the ability to understand, and to accept them (or not) as being from yourself, from nature or from God. My 'understanding of the Universe and ourselves' is, we, as part of the universe, are unrestricted, except by the laws of physics and the occasional social injunction. What's so strange about that?</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221569"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>I agree with the practical aspect of your good but not with the theory of where it comes from if I understand it correctly. Thinking of rights as independent “entities” (or things) won’t do for me.</p>
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<p>Where do thoughts come from? Plato suggested that we don't learn anything, but merely <strong>remember</strong> what we've always known. Do we create our own ideas, or just tap into concepts that exist as a natural part of an intelligent universe. That the physical, tangible universe is able to organize itself to the point it can foster life and growth makes the concept of an intelligent nature not so far-fetched. Is man necessarily the original author of thinking, or are we merely doing what others, in other places, have done before us, even to the point of having the same ideas?</p>
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<div>But a good question is what if people disagree on rights or what is good?</div>
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<p>Again, I think you have it backward. It isn't for people (society) to decide what is good, but only what is bad. In other words, everything is good, until it proves itself to be detrimental. Of course, society hasn't always been right, and may make more mistakes in future.</p>
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<div>How do you decide who is correct?</div>
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<p>Thus far, it's fairly universally accepted that murder is bad. Theft is frowned on. Lying too. Historically, I think religion has played a critical part in unifying these social values.</p>
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<p>Ultimately, it's up to each individual to decide for himself what's right or wrong, according to his own wisdom. As time goes by, I think authority entities, like governments and religions, will play less and less role in making these value-judgements. We'll become, essentially, more truly democratic.</p>
 

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<p>This is pure speculation. We cannot accept anything a philosopher says without scrutiny. We make observations of the Universe and learn how it behaves. The concepts of Quantum Mechanics, for example, are so strange that they go against the intuition of even the best scientist. The micro world is very different from the macro world. That is not very specific I guess. Another example is the fact that space in our Universe is Non-Euclidian. No one had even conceived of it until a couple of hundred years ago probably 1800s (was proven by General Relativity). Without observation there is no way we would ever have found out. So it seems that without observation we would not know any of this. Where does memory come in then? It seems to be a superfluous addition to understanding how we function. That is, I don't need remembering to explain any of this. I have no reason to believe there is any intelligence in the Universe. I will be sceptical until I have justification to believe one way or the other.</p>
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<p>What are mistakes? Who decides what is detrimental? According to one person something is detrimental and according to another it isn’t. If it isn’t for people to decide what is mistaken then it (morality) is independent of people. You say there have been mistakes. How do you have access to this knowledge of mistakes and righteousness which is independent of you?</p>
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<p>Were the Crusades murder? Medieval Europe would disagree. Islam was spread by the sword. Was that murder? The entire Islamic world would disagree. Were the countless conquests throughout history wrong? The conquerors would disagree. There has never been agreement on morality and there never will be. In fact it is highly divergent. Go talk to the Taliban if you don’t believe me. Or the meat eater next door. Claiming there is universal agreement on morality is very poor defence. In addition it is still detached from the idea of objectivity. Even if there was agreement there need not be objective morality. How do you connect the objective morals to human knowledge of them? There are electrons out there independent of me and I can run a series of experiments to learn about their nature. You say that there are these morals (or rights) out there independent of us. And how do we learn about their nature?</p>
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<p>Individuals disagree on morality; that is a clear fact. If there is no enforcement people will be free to do as they wish and that would be truly scary. </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221573"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Where do thoughts come from? Plato suggested that we don't learn anything, but merely <strong>remember</strong> what we've always known. Do we create our own ideas, or just tap into concepts that exist as a natural part of an intelligent universe. That the physical, tangible universe is able to organize itself to the point it can foster life and growth makes the concept of an intelligent nature not so far-fetched. Is man necessarily the original author of thinking, or are we merely doing what others, in other places, have done before us, even to the point of having the same ideas?</p>
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<p>Again, I think you have it backward. It isn't for people (society) to decide what is good, but only what is bad. In other words, everything is good, until it proves itself to be detrimental. Of course, society hasn't always been right, and may make more mistakes in future.</p>
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<p>Thus far, it's fairly universally accepted that murder is bad. Theft is frowned on. Lying too. Historically, I think religion has played a critical part in unifying these social values.</p>
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<p>Ultimately, it's up to each individual to decide for himself what's right or wrong, according to his own wisdom. As time goes by, I think authority entities, like governments and religions, will play less and less role in making these value-judgements. We'll become, essentially, more truly democratic.</p>
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Impeach the gangster
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221575"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>This is pure speculation. We cannot accept anything a philosopher says without scrutiny. We make observations of the Universe and learn how it behaves. The concepts of Quantum Mechanics, for example, are so strange that they go against the intuition of even the best scientist. The micro world is very different from the macro world. That is not very specific I guess. Another example is the fact that space in our Universe is Non-Euclidian. No one had even conceived of it until a couple of hundred years ago probably 1800s (was proven by General Relativity). Without observation there is no way we would ever have found out. So it seems that without observation we would not know any of this. Where does memory come in then? It seems to be a superfluous addition to understanding how we function. That is, I don't need remembering to explain any of this. I have no reason to believe there is any intelligence in the Universe. I will be sceptical until I have justification to believe one way or the other.</p>
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<p>What are mistakes? Who decides what is detrimental? According to one person something is detrimental and according to another it isn’t. If it isn’t for people to decide what is mistaken then it (morality) is independent of people. You say there have been mistakes. How do you have access to this knowledge of mistakes and righteousness which is independent of you?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Were the Crusades murder? Medieval Europe would disagree. Islam was spread by the sword. Was that murder? The entire Islamic world would disagree. Were the countless conquests throughout history wrong? The conquerors would disagree. There has never been agreement on morality and there never will be. In fact it is highly divergent. Go talk to the Taliban if you don’t believe me. Or the meat eater next door. Claiming there is universal agreement on morality is very poor defence. In addition it is still detached from the idea of objectivity. Even if there was agreement there need not be objective morality. How do you connect the objective morals to human knowledge of them? There are electrons out there independent of me and I can run a series of experiments to learn about their nature. You say that there are these morals (or rights) out there independent of us. And how do we learn about their nature?</p>
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<p>Individuals disagree on morality; that is a clear fact. If there is no enforcement people will be free to do as they wish and that would be truly scary. </p>
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<p><br>
 I'm only suggesting that consciousness originates with the individual, and finds its way upward, through the various social levels (family, village, school, nation, etc.) It does not start in a social hierarchy, whether it be political, academic, religious, or what have you, to trickle down to its individual members. You asked who decides what's best. You decide. And I decide. End of story.</p>
 

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<p>And if we disagree? Who's correct and who's incorrect? </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Capstan</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221576"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p><span style="line-height:1.231;">You asked who decides what's best. You decide. And I decide. End of story.</span></p>
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Impeach the gangster
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<p>Depends on the issue. There is no blanket formula.</p>
 

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<p>But what does it mean to be correct on moral issues? For example being right on scientific issues means to have theories which better reflect observations.</p>
 

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Impeach the gangster
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221582"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>But what does it mean to be correct on moral issues? For example being right on scientific issues means to have theories which better reflect observations.</p>
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<p>Perhaps this is where faith enters the picture. Some seem to think that reality only consists of what is physically, or tangibly measurable. I disagree. Morality, beauty- even politics- are things that defy scientific scrutiny; nevertheless, they are very real parts of the life experience. Sometimes we just have to have faith in our own ability to make the right calls. Sometimes we just have to trust our own hearts and guts to do the right thing.</p>
 

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Beginner's Mind
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645 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cato</strong> <a href="/t/139872/human-rights-vs-animal-rights/30#post_3221575"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>There are electrons out there independent of me and I can run a series of experiments to learn about their nature.</p>
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<p>Really?  You bring up Quantum Physics yourself, yet still do not consider the observer part of the system being observed?  The question is not whether forms exist independent of man, but whether man exists independent of forms.  It's certainly a difficult problem, but I personally favor a phenomenological approach in ethics.  My biggest issue with with postmodern pragmatism like you described is that it is equally scary when there IS enforcement so people are NOT free to do as they wish.  If anyone's beliefs are equal to those of anyone else, how can that belief itself be more correct than the belief of anyone that beliefs are unequal?  And again, if all morals are subjective, then what is "wrong" with enforcing particular morals just as though they <span style="text-decoration:underline;">were</span> objective?  You see, you haven't really escaped the paradox which you objected to at the outset, only distanced it by one remove.  The closest equivalent in empirical tests of moral constructs to theories of physical sciences is history, and history so far has left us with deep uncertainty and led us only to uneasy moderation between liberty and order.  But perhaps more evolved minds will indeed depend less and less on institutions for authority.</p>
 
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