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Old 10-09-2006, 11:40 AM posted to alt.animals.ethics.vegetarian,misc.rural,alt.food.vegan,talk.politics.animals
Dutch Dutch is offline
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Default "collateral included deaths in organic rice production [faq]"

"Rupert" wrote

Dutch wrote:


[..]
The morally relevant difference lies in the essential difference between
humans and the animal species we use as food, or kill in crop fields, or
what-have-you.


You can identify some differences which hold between most humans and
most nonhumans and claim that they are morally relevant, but there will
always be some humans who don't have these differences from nonhuman
animals.


I have explained this before. Human rights are designed to protect humans
because of what we are by nature, and those rights cover all humans,
including those whose nature is not yet developed or diminished by age or
injury. We always hold by default to the hope that our human potential will
be realized.

I really had a tough
time getting an answer out of you on this one, but at one point you
seemed to say it would be permissible to do the same thing to humans.


There's no reason to say that because we accept the killing and/or use of
animals in agriculture that we must implicitly approve of the killing of
humans. There are relevant differences between animal species, in their
intelligence and level of awareness. The argument that a few humans have
little intelligence (like ****wit) can be dismissed,


It can't be dismissed. It has to be come to terms with.


That is coming to terms with it, it is the rational conclusion.

If we hold that
it is permissible to do these things to nonhuman animals because they
lack certain characteristics, then we must also hold that it would be
permissible to do the same things to humans who lack the
characteristics.


No, because it is the essential ability to hold these characteristics that
is the deciding factor, not actual possession of the characteristics. All
humans have the essential ability to hold the characteristics of humanness,
even if they are impaired due to misfortune. No animals of any other species
have the potential to have such abilities, ZERO.

Most people would find this counter-intuitive. The
position may be right, but someone who wants to advocate it should be
upfront about it, and say "I hold that it is permissible to do these
things to nonhuman animals because they lack these characteristics -
and I also hold that it would be permissible to do these things to
humans who lack the characteristics."


You're approaching the problem backwards in order to artificially reach the
conclusion you wish to reach. In order to raise other animal species to the
level of humans, which is what you are trying to do, you must find at least
one example of a member of a non-human species with capabilities equal or
similar to humans. Instead you are attempting to drag all humans down to the
level of other animals by pointing to rare humans who's human abilities are
impaired. That is not a logical approach, because impairment of abilities is
ad hoc, arbitrary and meaningless, it can occur by injury, accident, disease
or fluke of genetics, it does not exist by nature. The question is asked,
"What if a race of beings came to the earth with powers equal to or greater
than humans?" They would be accorded rights, just as any animal species
would who demonstrated capacities equivalent to humans.

Very few defenders of animal
agriculture are actually prepared to come out and say that. If they
want to say it, fine, then the matter can be debated. But if they hold
that it's permissible to do it to the nonhumans, but not the relevantly
similar humans,


There are no animals relevantly similar to humans.

then the characteristics we identified aren't what
count after all, but rather species membership.


Species membership identifies all beings who either have, have the potential
to have, or have in their essence human abilities, or humaness.

Someone can advocate
that species membership is the crucial characteristic too, but then
they have to confront the arguments against speciesism in the
literature.


There are no valid arguments against speciesism. The human species possesses
special powers or the potential or inherent ability to have those powers,
even if impaired, which humans by default value above all else, it is a fact
of human culture, and of other species.

as I have said to you
before, the issue is that no animals we use as food or kill in
agriculture
have anything remotely like human characteristics.