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Many things to respond to. I'll start with this.

I just thought of another really sad aspect of all of this dog fighting mess. Around 1900, the pit bull was the most popular dog breed in America. It was known as a hard-working farm dog and beloved family pet, especially good with children. Now, thanks to these psychos who prefer to inbreed and fight the dogs, we have children and adults being eaten alive by them and whole cities and counties banning them. Thanks to dog fighters we now have legislation that keeps us from owning what was once America's most beloved family pet.

First of all, many pure breed dogs are inbred. Some prominent examples are dogs like dalmatians, which are not fighting dogs.

Second of all, the goal of breeding fighting dogs is specifically to breed dogs that will attack animals while being docile to humans.

The fact is there are way too many myths and urban legends regarding pit bulls, and that is why they are banned in many cities. It has little to do with dog fighters, a extremely small and marginalized group whose dogs consist of a small percentage of the overall pit bull population. Most pit bull attacks, and indeed most canine attacks in general, are caused by mistreatment of the animal in the hands of humans -- oftentimes the owner. Other times it is because the owner lack the specific knowledges required to train a pit bull.

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No more reasoning than what I have provided is required. Since you have not provided any values that can be gained from dogfighting, your argument seems to amount to "Who are we to judge?" This is a terrible argument.

The burden of proof is on you, because you made a statement of fact regarding dog fighting and mental illness. I am not arguing with you on that point. I am asking you to back up what you said.

But just to humor you, I can try and think of some values. There is the money that you can derive by running dog fights -- since dogs are merely property, you are doing nothing more theoretically other than providing a form of entertainment. The whys regarding your audience's interest is really irrelevant, since you are not doing anything immoral. Or how about the value of pride, gained from a dog breeder knowing that he has bred a superior dog than another? It may be the case that what is more important to him in this case is the breed itself, not the specific canines.

Although an individual's life is his standard of value, this does not imply that he has no reason to gain value from any non-human form of life. To enjoy watching dogs, who are often rationally cherished as pets, rip eachother to shreds for no purpose other than for the pure, nihilistic pleasure of watching the battle is abhorrent.

Yes, you find dog fighting abhorrent. We've already established that. By the way, it's true that you can derive value from non-human life forms, but you don't have to keep it as a pet to derive value from it.

I suspected that you would compare this atrocious "sport" to a noble and dignified contest such as boxing. There is an enormous difference between the two. In boxing, the loser often congratulates the winner for a well fought bout. Both competitors are respected as human beings. Both participants can celebrate the culmination of human determination and training that it took to professionally compete as prize fighters. Extensive precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the participants while preserving the spirit of the competition.

First of all, if you actually follow boxing, you will notice the enormous amounts of animosity often displayed between fighters prior, during, and oftentimes after the fight. Second of all, I am not sure what you mean by extensive precautions taken to ensure the boxer's safety, but people do die in the ring, and boxers have an extremely high probability of having permenant brain damage, especially later in life.

But yes, you are quite astute in observing that dogs do not congratulate each other, and are not respected as human beings. What the analogy was in reference to, however, was the fact that people who enjoy watching boxing are entertained by acts of violence. Unless of course, you think that most people enjoy watching boxing for the sportsmanship, or the congratulations a fighter may or may not give to the other after the fight.

On the other hand, in dogfighting the losing animal is often put to death in a brutal manner. The victorious animal, if it also does not receive a swift and brutal execution, is probably just thrown back in its cage until the next bloody ordeal.

Honestly, I don't personally feel one way or another about the fact that the dogs may be killed if sufficiently wounded. They have no rights, and this is not execution without a purpose -- they are now a burden to its owner.

Look, I own a dog, and I love my dog. But that's just it -- I love MY dog. Other dogs don't really mean much to me. Sure, I find some of them adorable. I also find some of them annoying or ugly to the extreme. Either way though, it doesn't really bother me much if a random dog is killed. If I feel anything, it is only borne out of empathy for my own dog.

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To say it were immoral, would be to say it was an action with no rational backing (i.e. It doesn't further any value in your life). So let's look at this...

Wrong. You are immoral when you knowingly do something that is against your rational self-interest. You know the definition of morality. Everything in between is simply amoral.

Now, why do you think that participating in a dog fight is against my rational self-interest?

Human lives matter when trading with other humans - in the direct, monetary way and in the idea, value for value way. We're talking about a man's personal enjoyment here however. What is the value that is being sustained by watching animals kill each other? A value is something you act to gain or keep - what value could possibly arise from senseless death?

Or perhaps you think it isn't senseless? Perhaps there is an art to it? What art would that be exactly, since as you say...

Entertainment is a value in and of itself. It just isn't an essential value. I could entertain myself by skipping stones across a pond. How people choose to entertain themselves is really morally irrelevant unless it is violating someone else's rights. And as we all know, dogs have no rights.

But sure, I will entertain the fact that how a person chooses to entertain himself may or may not say something him as a person. Maybe it's a warning sign that you can use to judge a person's character. But again, that does not make the act itself immoral.

And are the people who just want to see a fight happen moral? You (not you personally) go to see a game, which is about beating the opponent by a gentleman's agreement to the rules, and hope that someone will violate the principle of sportsmanship - that's rational; that's moral?

See above. It may or may not be rational, but it is definitely amoral, and not immoral.

Fishing is a skill that takes patience. It requires one knows what they are doing to get the fish. There is even elements of competition in it, towards catching the biggest fish. Some people fish and just throw the fish back again afterwards - it's not about the catch itself (although if they want to eat the fish, they'll keep it, which is alright) but the skill it took.

Someone who wants to do it just to see the fish squirm is indicating something psychologically wrong, because to them, death and pain are a spectacle to be admire. It doesn't matter that it isn't a human life -- it's a life none the less, and the fact that you (again, not you personally) would want to see it ended just for the sake of it, would say a lot about your personal character.

See above.

I have stated my position. And I have yet to see an argument regarding 1) why dog fighting is immoral and, 2) proof that enjoy dog fights unequivocally indicate mental illness.

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1.) A horse may not naturally bear a rider in the wild, but it is capable of it just like an ox is capable of pulling a plow. And I have no problem with selective breeding to encourage these traits; however, breeding an animal with the sole intent of making it insane, and therefore, crazy enough to fight to the death which it otherwise would not do, is a totally different subject. If you can't see that, there is nothing more I can say to you.

A fight dog is not insane. It is however trained from birth to attack other dogs. Selective breeding simply makes them large, thickly muscled, and have a high tolerance for pain.

2.) Dogs can be utilized in many ways, hunting companions, herding, guard dogs, etc. (If you care to research the matter further, I refer you to the AKC website which has full descriptions of all the recognized, and many unrecognized, breeds and their functions in society.) Personally, I could do without the useless toy breeds, such as the one you mentioned in the hand bag, and I would not carry my dog in such a manner even if she would fit into a hand bag. I find no use for them at all and they are annoying little barkers who frequently keep me up at night or interrupt an otherwise relaxing walk around my block.

Yes, I am aware of all the uses for a dog.

3.) Dogs can be entertaining and used to make money without abusing them mentally and physically and without killing them.

Yes it can, a fact however that is irrelevant.

I think anyone who enjoys watching another living creature suffer, particularly to the death, has a serious mental problem. And if that's the only constructive way you can find to enjoy life and/or make money, I think you have a horrible life. (In fact, enjoying watching animals suffer, dissecting them and/or killing them are one of the traits of serial killers.)

You know, I think it's a shitty life too. But the bottom line is I don't think it is immoral unless the living creature he's killing is someone else's property.

Personally I would be alarmed by someone if I saw him personally torturing an animal. But if some told him he liked going to dog fights, the most I would say about him is that he has bad tastes.

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Moebius,

How can you say that what your customer's reasons for their interest in your product is irrelevant to you and your values? Think of what you're doing to yourself by becoming financially dependent upon depravity (a claim I adequately backed up in my last post). First of all you're exposing yourself to depravity by delving into the arcane details of dog fighting culture just to remain competitive in the enterprise. This can't be good for you psychologically, and even if you're able to withstand it, it's not worth the effort. Secondly, you're counting on people who, by and large, are not professional football players as your customer base. Generally, these people have terrible money managment skills, have few seizable assets should it come to that, and are not going to be regular customers due to their lack of financial stability - the addictive nature of such behavior notwithstanding. Even more importantly, legal or not, people that regularly attend dog fights are more apt to quickly resort to intimidation and violence as a means to resoliving disputes. Money is worthless if you're dead. As far as your conjecture about the pride derived from successful breeding, that's great, but then why would you want to destroy the object of that pride by having it fight to the death?

Secondly, I agree that you don't have to keep an animal as a pet to derive value from it. You can have it pull your wagon or plow your field or guard your junk yard. But for all of these things to occur, you do have to keep it alive. If it's not alive, it's not an animal, it's fertilizer or dinner. To equate the value that is derived from an animal performing a task that benefits not only it's owner, but in turn itself, with a task that achieves only the psychological destruction of it's owner and the physical destruction of itself is sheer insanity.

Now let me address your equivocations regarding boxing. It's simply incorrect to assert that extensive precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of boxers. They wear gloves inside padded, well-lit rings. There are referees and doctors on hand to ensure the sportsmanship and safety of the athletes. Even the structure of the match is such that it considers the reasonable limitations of the human body and doesn't require a knockout for a victory. Sure, like virtually every human activity, boxing involves risk and sure, like every human activity, it has individuals who don't respect the rules and the spirit of the sport, but that's not it's point. It's point is, as has been said, to demonstrate a mastery of a particular skill, and all of the training and conditioning that it requires.

Finally, to address your last paragraph: What do you feel when you hear of someone inheriting a fortune and wasting it all? I think that, even just described hypothetically, you would feel a slight sense of outrage at the thought. Being human, there is a certain orientation towards values that is assaulted, if even on just an emotional level, by such senseless waste. Dogs are the same way. All dogs, even the ugly ones, if properly cared for, possess the temprament to be rewarding companions to their owners. It's part of their psychology qua dog. They are not like lizards or cockroaches who, being of lower intelligence, are incapable of forming emotional attachments. In fact, that it comes so easily and automatically to dogs is precisely what makes them so charming. I'm not saying that you have to go out of your way to love all dogs, or to look for cases of dog abuse to be outraged about, but when you come across them, there is an appropriate and an inappropriate way to respond.

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Wrong. You are immoral when you knowingly do something that is against your rational self-interest. You know the definition of morality. Everything in between is simply amoral.

What you gain inspiration from is important. It tells you who you are; it reveals your soul. If, of all the things to do in life, what you gain inspiration from is killing and inflicting pain on animals, then that indicates a strong nihilistic view of life. If pain, suffering, and death give you joy, then that's a very inhumane source of joy. If your need is to kill and maim, then from whence comes that need, except the desire to destroy for destructions sake. Nihilism is immoral, and anyone who holds it to such a degree is someone who is not to be trusted.

As an aside, I’m glad I stopped listening to sports talk shows, because I’m sure this is all they’re talking about now. Rarely do they discuss actual sports any more.

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Well unfortunately I think a lot of people in Atlanta will not mind having him play here again.

I've been here for 5 years now and he IS atlanta really. He's the whole face of Atlanta here.

Everyone talks about Micheal Vick in a good way all the time, even though he's really only

a mediocre quarterback.

Even once the indictment started I heard so many people here say "Oh they are just picking

on him because he's black".

Many sadly don't even care what he's done, WE NEED TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!!! lol

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How can you say that what your customer's reasons for their interest in your product is irrelevant to you and your values?

What I said was it is irrelevant as long as they are not using it to violate other people's rights (as far as I am able to reasonably discern). If I ran a general store, I am not morally responsible if a customer bought a length of rope, unless I know before hand that he was using it to hang himself or tie up a kidnapped victim or whatever.

Think of what you're doing to yourself by becoming financially dependent upon depravity (a claim I adequately backed up in my last post). First of all you're exposing yourself to depravity by delving into the arcane details of dog fighting culture just to remain competitive in the enterprise...[etc]

I am not particularly sure how to respond to these hypothetical scenarios. You are claiming these as if they are statements of fact, when it seems like it is actually based on your own assumptions of what the dog fighting scene is like. Arcane details of dog fighting? People that watch dog fights have poor money management skills? Lack financial stability? Are more violence prone? What? Where are you even getting all this? If you are stating these as facts, show me a source before I continue this conversation with you. If these are hypotheticals, I really couldn't tell you -- I don't have any first hand experience. I have only seen one guy that is involved in dog fighting in the US, and the dude is a millionaire pro athlete. I do know however that gambling is generally a lucrative business that is virtually impossible for the house to lose in regardless of whether the players win or lose, and that most underground gambling businesses operate with cash.

Secondly, I agree that you don't have to keep an animal as a pet to derive value from it. You can have it pull your wagon or plow your field or guard your junk yard. But for all of these things to occur, you do have to keep it alive. If it's not alive, it's not an animal, it's fertilizer or dinner. To equate the value that is derived from an animal performing a task that benefits not only it's owner, but in turn itself, with a task that achieves only the psychological destruction of it's owner and the physical destruction of itself is sheer insanity.

How does it achieve the psychological destruction of it's owner? Explain it to me in scientific or logical terms, not emotional ones (like oh gosh these acts are sooo depraved). Is a dog fight any worse than say, big game hunting on a African safari then carting the carcass back and mounting it on your wall? More importantly, is either acts immoral?

Now let me address your equivocations regarding boxing. It's simply incorrect to assert that extensive precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of boxers. They wear gloves inside padded, well-lit rings. There are referees and doctors on hand to ensure the sportsmanship and safety of the athletes. Even the structure of the match is such that it considers the reasonable limitations of the human body and doesn't require a knockout for a victory. Sure, like virtually every human activity, boxing involves risk and sure, like every human activity, it has individuals who don't respect the rules and the spirit of the sport, but that's not it's point. It's point is, as has been said, to demonstrate a mastery of a particular skill, and all of the training and conditioning that it requires.

Yes, some forms of precautions do exist in boxing. So does that mean you would be okay with dog fights if there were vets standing by? Why is it necessary to treat a dog by the same or similar standards as humans? Dogs, by the way, do demonstrate a difference in skill regarding fighting. This is something I found on Wikipedia regarding Japanese dog fighting. It addresses some of the values the Japanese found in dog fighting, and how the fight is conducted. Tell me if you find it more or less acceptable and why:

Dog fighting began in Japan before the end of the Kamakura period. According to historical documents, Hōjō Takatoki, the 14th shikken (shogun's regent) of the Kamakura shogunate was known to be obsessed with dog fighting, to the point where he allowed his samurai to pay taxes with dogs. At this time, dog fighting was called inuawase.

Dog fighting was considered a way for the Samurai to retain their aggressive edge during peaceful times. Several daimyo, such as Chosokabe Motochika and Yamauchi Yodo, both from Tosa Province (present-day Kochi Prefecture), were known to encourage dog fighting. Dog fighting was also popular in Akita Prefecture, which is the origin of the Akita breed.

Dog fighting evolved in Kochi to a form that is called Tōken (闘犬). Under modern rules, dogs fight in a fenced ring until one of the dogs barks, yelps, or loses the will to fight. Owners are allowed to throw in the towel, and matches are stopped if a doctor judges it is too dangerous. Draws usually occur when both dogs won't fight or both dogs fight until the time limit. There are various other rules, including one that specifies that a dog will lose if it attempts to copulate. Champion dogs are called yokozuna, as in sumo. With generic animal protection laws in place, dog fighting is not specifically banned in Japan, except in Tokyo, and can be seen in Kochi. Currently, most fighting dogs in Japan are Tosa, which is a breed that was developed in Kochi.[3] Dog fighting does not have strong links to gambling in Japan.

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The burden of proof is on you, because you made a statement of fact regarding dog fighting and mental illness. I am not arguing with you on that point. I am asking you to back up what you said.

I already provided an argument above. The burden of proof is on you if you want to refute my argument.

There is the money that you can derive by running dog fights. ::: SNIP ::: [H]ow about the value of pride, gained from a dog breeder knowing that he has bred a superior dog than another?

This is about as much of a value as it is that from inventing a new narcotic that is incredibly addictive and very dangerous to the user. The "values" are from making money off the nihilistic tendencies of the irrational and being "proud" for doing so. There is no honor here.

How people choose to entertain themselves is really morally irrelevant unless it is violating someone else's rights.

The crux of our disagreement is much deeper than dogfights; it is embodied in your quote above. According to the above quote, you are against passing judgment against individuals who are not violating anybody else's right while they entertain themselves.

How does this idea apply in practice? Let's see:

  • We cannot make a moral judgment on an individual who chooses to smoke himself stupid with an excess amount of marijuana.
  • We cannot make a moral judgment on an individual who refuses to learn any political issues, but nevertheless always makes sure that he votes based on the bigoted he hears from a talk radio program.
  • We cannot make a moral judgment on an individual who likes to catch animals in the wild and slowly blowtorch them to death in the privacy of his own basement.
  • We cannot make a moral judgment on a promiscuous mother who repeatedly gets herself pregnant without planning for how she will care for her children.
  • We cannot make a moral judgment on intellectuals such as Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Jean-Jacques Rousseau or John Maynard Keynes for the content of their widely disseminated works.
  • We cannot make a moral judgment on those idiots who gleefully filmed a burning copy of Atlas Shrugged and posted it on Youtube.
  • We cannot make a moral judgment on a historian who spends his intellectual career downplaying the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin or those who were responsible for the rape of Nanking.

It is immoral not to pass judgment when we have good reason for doing so. I seriously recommend viewing Tara Smith's lecture Passing Judgment: Ayn Rand's View of Justice on the registered users page on the Ayn Rand Institute's website. Registration is free.

Edited by DarkWaters
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What you gain inspiration from is important. It tells you who you are; it reveals your soul. If, of all the things to do in life, what you gain inspiration from is killing and inflicting pain on animals, then that indicates a strong nihilistic view of life. If pain, suffering, and death give you joy, then that's a very inhumane source of joy. If your need is to kill and maim, then from whence comes that need, except the desire to destroy for destructions sake. Nihilism is immoral, and anyone who holds it to such a degree is someone who is not to be trusted.

Entertain and inspiration are two different things -- sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't. But I agree that both may reveal a bit about the kind of person you are.

Here's the rob though -- two people viewing the same event can see very different things. Maybe when you see a dog fight, you see death, pain, and suffering (which by the way, probably says something about you as a person too). But maybe someone else sees power, skill, and exultation displayed by the winning dog and his trainer. Maybe watching two dogs fight to the death reminds you of your own mortality, and made you glad that you are alive. I'm not saying that that's what the people who watch dog fights generally feel, I'm just saying that while your choices may reveal the kind of person you are, it is really dependent on how you view the event. The best a third person can do is guess (rightly or wrongly) about its meanings.

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I already provided an argument above. The burden of proof is on you if you want to refute my argument.

Mind quoting it or paraphrasing it? I reread your posts and they mostly goes something like "dog fights are obviously depraved and obviously indicate psychological problems".

This is about as much of a value as it is that from inventing a new narcotic that is incredibly addictive and very dangerous to the user. The "values" are from making money off the nihilistic tendencies of the irrational and being "proud" for doing so. There is no honor here.

You are not morally responsible for other people's choices, rational or otherwise (provided that no deception on your part is involved). Let's say you invented morphine --a powerful new narcotic at its inception-- which can be used as a pain killer or abused by nihilists. Are you responsible for shipping the orders? What has honor to do with it? Are you morally responsible if you invented rat poison, and it so happens that it's a favorite choice among suicidal people?

The crux of our disagreement is much deeper than dogfights; it is embodied in your quote above. According to the above quote, you are against passing judgment against individuals who are not violating anybody else's right while they entertain themselves.

You are misunderstanding me because you made ungrounded assumptions about what I actually said. You can damn well pass judgment however you please, and you should. Not only should you pass judgment, but it is absolutely essentially to any reasoning being. But if the subject of the person whom you passed judgment have not violated anybody's rights (or for that matter, violated his own rational self-interest), then the issue has nothing to do with morals.

If my neighbor likes torturing little animals in his basement for instance, I'd do my best to avoid the hell out of him. I'd probably warn everyone else in the neighborhood about it too. The man hasn't done anything wrong per Objectivist standards (except arguably to himself per "psychological damage" -- which is what Stephen was saying), but certainly his actions would warrant my judgment and attention.

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Moebius,

Two Issues.

First, regarding my "unsubstantiated" generalizations about gamblers in general and sadistic gamblers in particular, I have my own experience to support them. My father is an adamant horse race gambler. He is nearly 60 years old and has no assets whatsoever, lives in a studio apartment in a bad neighborhood, and has debts in the tens of thousands of dollars. I have spent many, many hours in betting parlors and have visited a number of horse racing tracks as well as Las Vegas. I have observed the predominant type of person to be found in these places: poor, uneducated, and generally lacking in virtue. I know that my father certainly lacks virtue. He has lied and stolen repeatedly to support his gambling habit. Even if I didn't have any of this first-hand experience, the ill-repute of places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City should suffice as evidence of the type of person you will generally encounter in an environment where gambling is the focus. But despite all the general lack of virtue I have been exposed to when I was involved in gambling, I have yet to encounter a scumbag who is not only a liar, a pipedreamer, a pauper, and a moocher, but also a sadist. I can only imagine.

The other issue is this quote of yours in response to Thales:

Here's the rob though -- two people viewing the same event can see very different things. Maybe when you see a dog fight, you see death, pain, and suffering (which by the way, probably says something about you as a person too). But maybe someone else sees power, skill, and exultation displayed by the winning dog and his trainer. Maybe watching two dogs fight to the death reminds you of your own mortality, and made you glad that you are alive. I'm not saying that that's what the people who watch dog fights generally feel, I'm just saying that while your choices may reveal the kind of person you are, it is really dependent on how you view the event. The best a third person can do is guess (rightly or wrongly) about its meanings.

When someone sees what is actually going on at a dog fight - death, pain, and suffering - and they feel a exultation towards power and skill, I don't know what else you need to conclude that mental illness is present. If the mind exists to further an organism's life, something is seriously wrong with it when sensations of pleasure are associated with perceptions of it's antithesis. To a psychologically healthy organism, even the destruction of it's enemies only ilicits a feeling of relief.

Also, I know from personal relationships that people who cut themselves do so as a way of feeling alive. As children, they were neglected by their parents and so as a way to assuage their confusion about their very existence they hurt themselves to get the attention they deserve. Would you support this as a form of therapy the same way you would be open to watching a dog fight to feel alive?

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Moebius,

You said:

You are not morally responsible for other people's choices, rational or otherwise (provided that no deception on your part is involved). Let's say you invented morphine --a powerful new narcotic at its inception-- which can be used as a pain killer or abused by nihilists. Are you responsible for shipping the orders? What has honor to do with it? Are you morally responsible if you invented rat poison, and it so happens that it's a favorite choice among suicidal people?

Of course the inventors of these things are not morally responsible for their abuse. And in many cases, you are not immoral in continuing to sell them. However, if someone walked into my heroine/rat poison store and said "I want to overdose on something, what do you recommend?" I would reply "counseling." People are of immense value to you personally because of the enormous potential they possess. There are very few contexts where it is ever appropriate to ignore the fact that someone is acting self-destructive because of a mental illness and to encourage them to continue. These situations are when his behavior poses a direct threat to your well-being.

Not to get too far off topic, but most threats to one's well-being come not from the mentally ill, but from the philosophically flawed. I am generally less forgiving and less compassionate towards these people because, unlike the seriously mentally ill, they are usually responsible for it. Granted, consistent followers of flawed philosophies ultimately end up mentally ill - Hitler and Stalin come to mind - but usually before that happens they see the errors of their ways and make the best ammends they can. My taking advantage of their irrational policies can be a great impetus towards that - a much more valuable lesson than whatever it may have

cost them.

I have to edit this to interject a great rebuttal to an earlier point that I just thought of: I certainly hope the "self-interested capitalist" who was Michael Vick's bookie or breeder or whatever didn't get too deep in this operation because after all of this is over, his star client is going to have a pretty tough time paying his bills.

Edited by stephenmallory
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Entertain and inspiration are two different things -- sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't. But I agree that both may reveal a bit about the kind of person you are.

I think what you are entertained by, you are inspired by, and if you are dedicated to it as a hobby, then you are really inspired by it.

Here's the rob though -- two people viewing the same event can see very different things. Maybe when you see a dog fight, you see death, pain, and suffering (which by the way, probably says something about you as a person too). But maybe someone else sees power, skill, and exultation displayed by the winning dog and his trainer. Maybe watching two dogs fight to the death reminds you of your own mortality, and made you glad that you are alive. I'm not saying that that's what the people who watch dog fights generally feel, I'm just saying that while your choices may reveal the kind of person you are, it is really dependent on how you view the event. The best a third person can do is guess (rightly or wrongly) about its meanings.

I can see that, but it's pretty odd to not be aware of the viciousness and cruelty involved, and given the fact that these dogs have been ordered killed in cruel ways after a fight indicates that inflicting pain was their goal.

Btw, dogs don't exult. :)

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First, regarding my "unsubstantiated" generalizations about gamblers in general and sadistic gamblers in particular, I have my own experience to support them. My father is an adamant horse race gambler. He is nearly 60 years old and has no assets whatsoever, lives in a studio apartment in a bad neighborhood, and has debts in the tens of thousands of dollars. I have spent many, many hours in betting parlors and have visited a number of horse racing tracks as well as Las Vegas. I have observed the predominant type of person to be found in these places: poor, uneducated, and generally lacking in virtue. I know that my father certainly lacks virtue. He has lied and stolen repeatedly to support his gambling habit. Even if I didn't have any of this first-hand experience, the ill-repute of places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City should suffice as evidence of the type of person you will generally encounter in an environment where gambling is the focus. But despite all the general lack of virtue I have been exposed to when I was involved in gambling, I have yet to encounter a scumbag who is not only a liar, a pipedreamer, a pauper, and a moocher, but also a sadist. I can only imagine.
I'm sorry about your father. But a degenerate gambler is not the same as a gambler, in the same way that someone who drinks occasionally is not the same as an alcoholic. My father gambles regularly -- yet he has owned several profitable businesses and is a knowledgeable investor. I gamble as well, playing poker online for over two years. I turned $200 into roughly $35,000 over that time. None of these individual cases mean anything. Heck, when I last visited Vegas, virtually every casino I went to was filled predominantly with college kids and 20 something yuppies, families, and retirees. Hardly the same sorts of personalities you described (although, yes it's true I did not ask each and everyone about their financial status). As I've said, two people could very well stand in the same city looking at the same people doing the same things and see completely different things. I am sure that says something about each of us as people too.
When someone sees what is actually going on at a dog fight - death, pain, and suffering - and they feel a exultation towards power and skill, I don't know what else you need to conclude that mental illness is present. If the mind exists to further an organism's life, something is seriously wrong with it when sensations of pleasure are associated with perceptions of it's antithesis. To a psychologically healthy organism, even the destruction of it's enemies only ilicits a feeling of relief.
Let me put it this way. I was watching some early tapes of Ultimate Fighting Championship the other day (before the rules were refined into what they are right now). UFC, in case you don't know, is a mixed marshal arts tourney where you are allowed to use punches, kicks, elbows, and whatever else at your disposal (except for eye gouging, testicle attacks, biting, and small joint manipulation). One fighter was performing some ground manuevers, locked his opponent down, and proceeded to hit him in the face with his elbows repeatedly. There was a large quantity of blood, and the fight was stopped. My girlfriend walks in and saw the end, and she thinks that all this is is one man beating another senseless, that it's pointlessly violent and disgusting. She's right, it is violent. But it's not pointless. I enjoyed the fight, even though there were pain and suffering involved -- not because there was pain and suffering. Like I said, the point is in the fight, not in the bloodied mess that was left lying on the mat. I would have enjoyed it just as much if the fighter had simply put his opponent into an inescapable joint lock. The blood and the pain was just incidental.
To a psychologically healthy organism, even the destruction of it's enemies only ilicits a feeling of relief.
I don't know if you have ever been in a physical fight. When I was 15, I had gotten into a serious fight with a bully who repeated picked on the immigrant children in my high school, sometimes in very cruel and humiliating ways. Many of those kids were my friends, and I challenged him. The guy was two years older and nearly thirty pounds heavier, and when the fight began he was hitting me hard and tossing me around. But I kept going at him and going at him until finally he was the one on the ground. The fight felt like it had lasted an eternity. He never picked on another kid again. When you have won a tough fight, yes, there is relief. But there is so much more -- a definite feeling of exultation, a feeling of being alive and victorious. It was one of the most intense feelings of heady joy I have ever felt. And frankly, I am hardly a violent person. I don't see why feeling exulted after destroying an enemy makes one psychologically ill.
Btw, dogs don't exult. :)
Yeah, I was talking about the spectators...And yeah, maybe they don't exult like we do. But despite perhaps the same reasoning ability as humans, I do think dogs have emotions. At least mine does anyway :D
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Moebius,

Two Issues.

First, regarding my "unsubstantiated" generalizations about gamblers in general and sadistic gamblers in particular, I have my own experience to support them.

I have my own experience (most of my life) to support a view of gamblers in general too. The majority of them play weekend poker games at someone's house, maybe bet on office football pools or golf games, make 1 or 2 trips to Atlantic City or Las Vegas in their whole life, and don't steal or lie to support their habit. The range from rich to poor, honest to cheats. I think the gambler's you see go to AC or LV and end up living destitute on the boardwalk chasing that "never gonna happen horse race win" are in the minority of "gamblers" in this country. That you and your father may have had a problem, and that you saw many other people in that microcosm have a problem, is not necessarily indicative of your "typical" gambler.

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Of course the inventors of these things are not morally responsible for their abuse. And in many cases, you are not immoral in continuing to sell them. However, if someone walked into my heroine/rat poison store and said "I want to overdose on something, what do you recommend?" I would reply "counseling." People are of immense value to you personally because of the enormous potential they possess. There are very few contexts where it is ever appropriate to ignore the fact that someone is acting self-destructive because of a mental illness and to encourage them to continue. These situations are when his behavior poses a direct threat to your well-being.

I agree that you should not sell the drugs to them if it is obvious to you that they intend to harm themselves. In fact, that is exactly what I said, if you re-read my comment. But the reason I will not sell it to them is not because I think all people possess immense potential. Maybe some of them, but generally I could really care less about their potentials. I simply will not knowingly help someone's quest for self-destruction (unless of course I knew the full context and agreed with their decision).

I have to edit this to interject a great rebuttal to an earlier point that I just thought of: I certainly hope the "self-interested capitalist" who was Michael Vick's bookie or breeder or whatever didn't get too deep in this operation because after all of this is over, his star client is going to have a pretty tough time paying his bills.

Well that is the whole point though. Michael Vick should not have to go into jail over this. Animal cruelty is a bullshit charge. If you disagree with dog fighting, feel free. Don't watch his games, don't buy his jerseys. But I think the government really has no right to take away his freedom over violating the "rights" of an animal.

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Not only should you pass judgment, but it is absolutely essentially to any reasoning being. But if the subject of the person whom you passed judgment have not violated anybody's rights (or for that matter, violated his own rational self-interest), then the issue has nothing to do with morals.

How can you possibly pass judgment for actions have nothing to do with morality?

I also assume that you agreed on that list of circumstances in my previous post where moral statements are not possible? For those skimming this post, I think that making a moral assessment is imperative in those circumstances.

If my neighbor likes torturing little animals in his basement for instance, I'd do my best to avoid the hell out of him. I'd probably warn everyone else in the neighborhood about it too. The man hasn't done anything wrong per Objectivist standards (except arguably to himself per "psychological damage" -- which is what Stephen was saying), but certainly his actions would warrant my judgment and attention.

Morality is the science of deciding what people should do to advance their life. You indicate that you would want to avoid such a person who relishes torturing animals but why? According to you, the person has done nothing immoral. Why should you eschew an individual who has done no wrong in your mind? Generally speaking, only a person who is not moral would pose harm to you.

Edited by DarkWaters
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Many things to respond to. I'll start with this.

First of all, many pure breed dogs are inbred. Some prominent examples are dogs like dalmatians, which are not fighting dogs.

Second of all, the goal of breeding fighting dogs is specifically to breed dogs that will attack animals while being docile to humans.

The fact is there are way too many myths and urban legends regarding pit bulls, and that is why they are banned in many cities. It has little to do with dog fighters, a extremely small and marginalized group whose dogs consist of a small percentage of the overall pit bull population. Most pit bull attacks, and indeed most canine attacks in general, are caused by mistreatment of the animal in the hands of humans -- oftentimes the owner. Other times it is because the owner lack the specific knowledges required to train a pit bull.

I'm not sure where your experience comes from, but I am from Houston, Texas where dog fighting among illegal immigrants and the city's poor is quite a big problem. I don't need for you to tell me that the dogs are bred to attack each other and not people...I've seen otherwise. Why do you think the dogs must be euthanized once confiscated? They are abused and psychotic animals and are not trusting of any other living creature; therefore, they are not stable or trustworthy around any other living creatures. And the ones that are, are usually killed by their owners for poor fight performance.

As far as your information on the inbreeding of dogs, I again refer you to the AKC website where you can learn more about selective breeding. Yes, some dogs are inbred and have been inbred in the past (that's why pure bred dogs tend to have more health issues than muts.) But educated, reputable breeders do not inbreed dogs any longer. Dog fighters specifically inbreed dogs to make them crazy, mean and strong. They are unscrupulous and irresponsible. (I can't believe I'm having to clarify this for you??) Dog fighters could care less if the dogs are docile to humans are not. They just want to breed a killing machine so they can get their thrills and win some money.

While I agree with you that there are many myths about pit bills, the simple fact is, as long as the blood line is being corrupted with this inbreeding for fighting purposes, the psycho dogs are out there. I've seen responsible, normal dog owners crying on TV because their normally docile pit bull lashed out suddenly and killed a neighbor's kid. Where do you think that corruption comes from? That's not normal, natural dog behavior.

I'd also like to point out that small dogs are responsible for the vast majority of dog bite cases; however, they usually cause small hand, foot or facial injuries as opposed to pit bulls which can easily maul an entire human body thus causing death.

Bottom line is, these dog fighters are ruining a perfectly good breed and that's a simple fact.

Edited by K-Mac
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A fight dog is not insane. It is however trained from birth to attack other dogs. Selective breeding simply makes them large, thickly muscled, and have a high tolerance for pain.

Yes, I am aware of all the uses for a dog.

Yes it can, a fact however that is irrelevant.

You know, I think it's a shitty life too. But the bottom line is I don't think it is immoral unless the living creature he's killing is someone else's property.

Personally I would be alarmed by someone if I saw him personally torturing an animal. But if some told him he liked going to dog fights, the most I would say about him is that he has bad tastes.

1.) Yes, many fighting dogs do have mental/behavioral issues as a result of being inbred. It's one of the reasons they're inbred.

2.) YOU asked, "What would you consider a maximized potential for a dog in regards to assisting mankind?" I was answering YOUR question.

3.) It makes no, good common sense to take a perfectly good, working, companion animal and turn it into a killer to satisfy some psycho idiot's need for gore and easy money. You can't make me agree with you. Period.

Jeez, I feel like I'm arguing w/ my soon-to-be-ex-husband. He likes to run me in circles like this.

Edited by K-Mac
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I don't know if you have ever been in a physical fight. When I was 15, I had gotten into a serious fight with a bully who repeated picked on the immigrant children in my high school, sometimes in very cruel and humiliating ways. Many of those kids were my friends, and I challenged him. The guy was two years older and nearly thirty pounds heavier, and when the fight began he was hitting me hard and tossing me around. But I kept going at him and going at him until finally he was the one on the ground. The fight felt like it had lasted an eternity. He never picked on another kid again. When you have won a tough fight, yes, there is relief. But there is so much more -- a definite feeling of exultation, a feeling of being alive and victorious. It was one of the most intense feelings of heady joy I have ever felt. And frankly, I am hardly a violent person. I don't see why feeling exulted after destroying an enemy makes one psychologically ill.

I agree with you. Being exulted for defeating a foe is not a bad thing at all. If we defeat the islamo-fascists, I'll be exulted.

Yeah, I was talking about the spectators...And yeah, maybe they don't exult like we do. But despite perhaps the same reasoning ability as humans, I do think dogs have emotions. At least mine does anyway :)

Yeah, dogs have emotions, but I just don't see them throwing their paws in the air in victory. :D

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The one thing I caution here is to go too far with this, because animal research often requires cruelty, which is well within the rights of the researcher, and certainly not immoral.

Because in research, as you note, there's a higher value to be obtained. I'm not opposed to necessary research on animals, even dogs. I also do not oppose shooting wild animals that are a danger or a nuisance (such as wolves or mountain lions).

That would be reprehensible. You don't go out and try to deliberately harm another player, and you can't take the law into your own hands.

Indeed it would be. And whoever does it will buy himself a lifetime ban, too. But it couldn't happen to a more deserving man.

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I have my own experience (most of my life) to support a view of gamblers in general too. The majority of them play weekend poker games at someone's house, maybe bet on office football pools or golf games, make 1 or 2 trips to Atlantic City or Las Vegas in their whole life, and don't steal or lie to support their habit. The range from rich to poor, honest to cheats. I think the gambler's you see go to AC or LV and end up living destitute on the boardwalk chasing that "never gonna happen horse race win" are in the minority of "gamblers" in this country. That you and your father may have had a problem, and that you saw many other people in that microcosm have a problem, is not necessarily indicative of your "typical" gambler.

Yes, the majority of people who have ever gambled in their lives don't have gambling problems. But the majority of gamling that occurs on a daily basis is done by people that do - if you define "gambling problem" as doing so when you can't really afford to or in spite of other ways to finance your goals. I'll speak about horse racing first because that's what I know most intimately. Even though Churchhill Downs is invaded by tens of thousands of people once a year for the Kentucky Derby, it doesn't change the fact that every other day of the year they run ten other horse races. There's usually 1,000 to 2,000 people at a race track on any given day. Multiply that by the 100 or so race tracks there are in this county and you have a pretty substantial number. Not to mention all of the electronic, off-track betting parlors.

But that's just horse racing. There's also bingo, sports betting, and the biggest fish of them all: The Lotto. Walk into any convenience store and you'll see that the Lotto is more than just a once-in-a-while thing. It's as ubiqutous and regularly consumed as soda and coffee. You can't honestly say that the majority of people who frequently patronize these insitutions are working professionals with healthy 401(k)s and $0 credit card balances. No, they're not homeless psychopaths sitting on NJs boardwalk waiting for their ship to come in - I don't know why you thought that that was who I mean - but they're certainly not playing these games just for kicks. The vast majority of them have jobs that they subsist on and they play these games with the serious intention of using them to supplement their income, not just to enjoy themselves. Furthermore, even if they really do gamble just to enjoy themselves, like most forms of entertainment in this country, many people do so when they can't really afford it. There's a reason why in the height of the Great Depression the movie industry still turned a profit.

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Well that is the whole point though. Michael Vick should not have to go into jail over this. Animal cruelty is a bullshit charge. If you disagree with dog fighting, feel free. Don't watch his games, don't buy his jerseys. But I think the government really has no right to take away his freedom over violating the "rights" of an animal.

I agree completely. I am completely opposed to any type of state intervention in this case. I made the comment I made because it supports my earlier claim that being involved in gambling, in the long term, is inviting distaster - to say nothing of being involved with dog fighting. Michael Vick will, and properly should, end up poor. He isn't educated so without football, expect to see him picking up your trash. And even if he happens to have millions in the back at the moment, given his tendency to spend it on ostentatiously wasteful things and to alienate those around him, I wouldn't be surprised if he lost it all. Mike Tyson comes to mind.

Would you want this type of person as your customer base?

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I agree completely. I am completely opposed to any type of state intervention in this case. I made the comment I made because it supports my earlier claim that being involved in gambling, in the long term, is inviting distaster - to say nothing of being involved with dog fighting.

Gambling destructively is certainly foolish, you're right, but there are gamblers who are really good at it. They are truly skilled at the game and make good money doing it.

And then there are those who get a high from the risk, which is not a very good place to be psychologically, because losing it all is part of the equation all the time.

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