Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Animal rights

Rate this topic


Ragnar
 Share

Recommended Posts

Noticing a lot of bias and un-objective "stacked decks" here.  Not sure why we use human criteria (example, an animal can not go to court in order to defend itself) to judge the rights of an animal.  Human frailty and irregularities in human nature have led to the development of a court system to help nudge pitiful human actions back in a direction where many of us would hope their actions would have gone in the first place, without courts.  Courts are proof of human inferiority and cheating.  To create a NEED for courts and the then say an animal does not have the intelligence to defend itself in court, is not wrong, it is borderline insanity.

 

 This is not aimed at any one specific commenter but at a composite of comments I have read.

 

How well would an unarmed, unclothed human do in a jungle or in Antarctica?  And if he were to carry weapons those weapons would undoubtedly have been created by a superior human mind or collusive minds, but almost never created by the person using them.  So weak minded humans use the tools created by strong minded humans to cause harm.  The strong minded humans, those that could wipe out countries with their minds (think atomic bomb) are the ones that are the least likely to want to use these weapons.  And many of you think you are clever because someone else did the work and you now stand on their shoulders.  Many if not most of the greatest survival giving gadgets were invented by people that would absolutely respect animals way beyond what I am reading here in this forum, I will not comment on how inventive scientists would feel about animal rights but I routinely read about how LIBERAL scientists are so I’m guessing many would very much lean towards protecting Animals.

 

In addition to debating whether a very intelligent animal (Border collie, Poodle) that can save thousands of lives (cancer detection, finding bodies in rubble, need I go on?) should have more rights or at least equal rights to mass murderers and psychopaths (Humans) I would like to hear positions on intent.  What if the animal is just a damn good citizen by whatever means he/she came to be that way through nature or training or awareness and a human is not?  And how many humans are not?  Professional dog handlers had to place live humans in the rubble at the WTC bombing because the Animals were depressed (that is the term used by the professionals) as they were finding dead bodies and needed to find a live one to perk them up.

 

NEXT, regarding the humans are in charge argument I read earlier; so humans determine survival, isn’t that a physical force argument?   So then what Ayn Rand herself ran from you are saying was justifiable in harming or attempting to kill her because they were more powerful?  Why are you in this forum?    In effect, we can defeat the animals in battle so we win.  How about stating the obvious a few more times?  So if some bright scientist could rally the animals through chemical means or gas the rest of us and hand the country to the animals then they would be right by your standards?  You do not sound like an objectivist to me.

 

Finally, intelligence, IQ, honesty, it is hard to say what we should use to determine a hierarchy of who should be here.  There are other forces in nature that count as well.  I’m guessing some Nome who can’t get a date and sits here writing that only intelligence (by his definition) should count towards survival, will use HIS strengths as the ultimate criteria for human survival and devalue anything in which he is not proficient. But there are other criteria you are neglecting.        

 

EXAMPLE:

 

Do you think you will get the same reaction form a police officer, a marine, a professional boxer (all probable tough guys) if you were to back into his car and dent it as opposed to running over his dog?   In which scenario do you think those guys are more likely to beat your face to a pulp?  And what will you say; that his dog is property, I will pay you the mechanical value for this property and all is well?

 

Animals have huge value because we like them, and you are likely to have force used on you in your life travels if you don’t start realizing this.  It is every bit as valuable as the value of human intelligence.  To the INDIVIDUAL mind who cares about society AND his animals no difference is noticed. If people love their animals then they provide a value to that person and by connection to society at large equal to or greater then intelligence.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the point of this argument? ...

 

To determine proof of the concept, a right to life;  is this fundamental right real or imagined?  My position is that the concept of a right to life points to observationally real behavior necessary to survival, and further that this right isn't delimited to a human social context or abilities.  I posit the following evidence as proof of this concept:

 

1) All animals, including humans, survive according to their own abilities.

1a) "... Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action..." ~ ARL, Individual Rights

 

2) The continuing existence of all animals, including humans, depends on having the freedom of action required for self-preservation.

2a) "The concept of a 'right' pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men." ~ ARL, Individual Rights

2b) Men who assert their right to life over animals are relying on the same "freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men."  Clearly the primary issue is, freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by any other living being.

 

3) "Man is not a lone wolf and he is not a social animal. He is a contractual animal." ~ Ayn Rand

3a) What exacly is the "social context" of man who is not a social animal?  One can argue that animals cannot sign a contract, but is it the signature that determines a successful working relationship, or the consistency of interaction between individuals??

3b) The history of animal domestication demonstrates the fact that a successful partnership between a human and a animal depends on the willingness of the animal to cooperate.  Animals, like humans, resist captivity, and will only begin to work cooperatively once a relationship based on trust and mutual benefit has been established, i.e., once the terms of the contract have become known to both parties and are proven to be reliable.

 

The bottom line is, the truth of a concept depends on being grounded in reality.  The concept of a flying pig isn't borne out in reality so the adynaton, "when pigs fly" refers to something impossible, or highly unlikely according to what is known.  On the other hand, the concept of a pig's right to life is borne out by observation of a pig's actual behavior to avoid self-destruction; the same being true for any human claim on a right to life.  Therefore the right to live according to the actions necessary to the preservation of life, and validated by observation of reality, trumps assertions of bias for any particular ability other than the will to survive put into action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A descriptive law of the right to life underscores the observations in the animal kingdom.

Enshrining this descriptive law into a prescriptive principle, is something that only man, as a contractual being, is capable of doing.

It is only conceptual beings, at this point, that are capable of respecting prescriptive law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A descriptive law of the right to life underscores the observations in the animal kingdom.

Enshrining this descriptive law into a prescriptive principle, is something that only man, as a contractual being, is capable of doing.

It is only conceptual beings, at this point, that are capable of respecting prescriptive law.

 

Law is validated by ethical observation, is it not?

 

My argument remains focused on the ethical rather than the political; primarily questioning the ethical foundation of contemporary legal jurisdiction.  Human law doesn't prevent human criminality, it simply enacts additional security over that which is objectively recognized as correct and proper interactive behavior.  Raising the legal bar to preclude an animal's ethical claim to live is neither relavent nor persuasive according to what is readily observable in natural behavior necessary to survive.

 

That which demonstrates an ability to live by self-reliance ought to be entitled to continue doing so, else what is the meaning of securing a right to life?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

dream_weaver, on 26 Jan 2014 - 1:27 PM, said:snapback.png

A descriptive law of the right to life underscores the observations in the animal kingdom.

Enshrining this descriptive law into a prescriptive principle, is something that only man, as a contractual being, is capable of doing.

It is only conceptual beings, at this point, that are capable of respecting prescriptive law.

Again, animals have different ways of making "contracts".  If humans were MORE advanced they would have no need for descriptive law or prescriptive principle.  These traits or inventions of man do not prove or disprove anything other then MAN'S need for these tools.

 

Dream Weaver, you are stating facts that are TRUE and that I agree with but that have absolutely nothing to do with the aim of this thread.  Pointing out mans weaknesses and crutches for survival have no bearing on any other living thing.

 

It is like inventing chemo therapy as proof of man's abilities and laughing at someone who does not need chemotherapy because they do not have cancer.  

Edited by jdieqZX
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, Lions have clearly made contracts with deer herds to kill only when they're hungry. 

 

I'm curious as to why you consider contracts to be the only serious context for a right to life.  Is it because you consider a right to life to be man-made as opposed to metaphysically given?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Law is validated by ethical observation, is it not?

 

My argument remains focused on the ethical rather than the political; primarily questioning the ethical foundation of contemporary legal jurisdiction.  Human law doesn't prevent human criminality, it simply enacts additional security over that which is objectively recognized as correct and proper interactive behavior.  Raising the legal bar to preclude an animal's ethical claim to live is neither relavent nor persuasive according to what is readily observable in natural behavior necessary to survive.

 

That which demonstrates an ability to live by self-reliance ought to be entitled to continue doing so, else what is the meaning of securing a right to life?

Human law is not intended to prevent human criminality. It provides the guidelines for identifying and dealing with criminals when they are encountered. The basis of that guideline objectively should be the protection of individual rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Human law is not intended to prevent human criminality. It provides the guidelines for identifying and dealing with criminals when they are encountered. The basis of that guideline objectively should be the protection of individual rights.

 

I don't disagree with this.  Again my argument is focused on the ethical foundation of political enactment.  What I question is the validity of a human political solution to the ethical evaluation of an animal's right to life.  Is anything other than a dubious human bias served by requiring animals to represent themselves in a human court of law?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't disagree with this.  Again my argument is focused on the ethical foundation of political enactment.  What I question is the validity of a human political solution to the ethical evaluation of an animal's right to life.  Is anything other than a dubious human bias served by requiring animals to represent themselves in a human court of law?

Cows, chickens and pigs have had ample time to observe the example set for them by human beings and establish their respective courts of law. I read a somewhat cynical version of how that worked out in a short novel entitled "Animal Farm".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cows, chickens and pigs have had ample time to observe the example set for them by human beings and establish their respective courts of law. I read a somewhat cynical version of how that worked out in a short novel entitled "Animal Farm".

 

I suppose it's a matter of perspective...

 

Animals certainly have had ample time to observe the example set for them by humans.  Those that haven't generally hang around long enough to check out the new neighbors, and then run like hell once they see what humans are up to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's amusing that the serious consideration of an animal's right to life depends on Mr. Ed taking Wilbur to court.  On the up side, I'm somewhat gratified to learn that Objectivists can believe in something like the uniqueness of a human right to life, where the actual evidence suggests otherwise.  Perhaps pointing to Genesis 1:26 would make a better argument for an assertion of this kind of faith?

For those who require a more credible source, reconsider the following:
--
"You who prattle that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island—it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today—and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it." ~ ARL, Morality
--
Yes, it is true that man takes his moral right to life with him to locations where the final arbiter isn't the Supreme Court.  In such venues where life isn't secured by the bias of a genetic ally, the final arbiter isn't likely to be swayed by assertions that are only "true" because man said so.

Rather than trying to prove a negative stevetherawman, et al., your efforts might be better spent trying to prove the right to life is real, and follow that with something that backs a human claim to exclude every other creature that survives by their own abilities and resists coercion... or at least modify the title to, "How to prove rights specific to humans don't apply to animals."  At least then you could weed out arguments for animals without opposing thumbs to have a right to bear arms... maybe... well, we'd certainly want to avoid arming chimps who might be reluctant to having their brains dissected by humans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This last post doesn't address any of the intellectual arguments against animal rights. How could an animal which doesn't understand nor respect the concept of rights, have "rights?" Running away from a predator isn't the same thing as understanding and respecting the right to live. When a human doesn't respect that right, we treat him in a similar way that we treat animals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ softwareNerd,

 

LOL, I finally got your reference and appreciate having another useful phrase to use.  My question to you in post #63 was forwarded on the limited content of your prior posts (#31, #45 & #62) where it seemed to me that contracts, specifically ones that are enforcable in courts of law, provide the only serious context for the discussion of a right to life.  If I have misrepresented your position, mea culpa :blush:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This last post doesn't address any of the intellectual arguments against animal rights. How could an animal which doesn't understand nor respect the concept of rights, have "rights?" Running away from a predator isn't the same thing as understanding and respecting the right to live. When a human doesn't respect that right, we treat him in a similar way that we treat animals.

 

Here I can only suggest that an "intellectual" argument against animal rights, forwarded on the presumption that animals aren't "intellectual", appears more biased than factual.  How do we know animals don't understand a right to life depends on correct and proper behavior, when their actual behavior suggests otherwise?  It seems to argue an understanding of vocabulary over observable practice.

 

Edit: Please refer back to my post #20, for what I consider to be an adequate rebuttal of the, "animals aren't smart enough" argument.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DA

 

The objectivist position with regard to morality, ethics, rights, etc. all come down to consequences and reality.  It is based on a non-mystical view of the universe.  No person, "HAS" to do anything, "HAS" to be moral, "HAS" to respect rights, etc.  IF that person WANTS to live successfully and selfishly the best way to success is through rationality and with reality and consequences in mind.  Morality and ethics are the identification of the principles which selfishly lead to flourishing of the individual.

 

I get the feeling that to your mind "animals having rights" is a metaphysical statement of reality, that somewhere, in the mind of a God or the consciousness of the cosmos are edicts of right and wrong and they are independent of the consequences to any human's recognition or adoption of them. 

 

The mere fact that Life is all an animal has, or that an animal needs X to flourish are irrelevant in and of themselves.  An individual's morality, his ethics, his acceptable society are based on the effects/consequences to HIM.  It is that choice, which is correct or incorrect, which is right or wrong... it is selfish.

 

Objectivism rejects the approach of right and wrong independent of the consequences to the individual who is correctly self sovereign and selfish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ StrictlyLogical,

 

The "mere" fact?!  Life is all ANY animal has, including humans.  There is no value more highly prized or jealously guarded.  What your position neglects is proof that the lives of all animals, except for humans, is deterministic.  On this point there's no actual proof.

Outside of that, I'm copacetic with "the objectivist position with regard to morality, ethics, rights, etc. all come down to consequences and reality."  This, on my part, isn't an assertion of faith.

 

Edit: Please refer to the following link for what I consider to be an adequate rebuttal of the, "animals don't value life argument":

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/04/11/176620943/when-animals-mourn-seeing-that-grief-is-not-uniquely-human

 

... one of many readily observable behaviors that humans fail to distuinguish themselves from animals on, I might add...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DA:

 

The point is Objectivists, would form a society with rights because it is in each individual's selfish interests, given the facts of reality to form such a society with rights.  The choice to form such a society is NOT altruism, it is not granting of rights in the form of generosity or recognition of Life's necessities merely to arbitrarily define rights.  Forming a society is a SELFISH trade with others struck in the context of those necessities, the terms are required by the parties and the eventual success of the arrangement -> this context necessitates rights.

 

To say "animals should have rights" must be proven with evidence that those individual Objectivists would selfishly benefit from creating a society with animals and extending rights to them.

 

This is precisely what is missing from your argument and it is central to the "morality" (based in reality) of Objectivists.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then a lion does too, and by the same source.  Bear in mind we aren't talking about government securing rights.  Positing a right to life is nothing more than the recognition of actions that are behaviorally correct and proper according to ones nature in order to claim ownership of ones life. That is the source of this fundamental right; ones nature, not ones legislature.  Does a lion claim ownership of it's life?  Try to wrestle it away from him and observe what happens.

Man can recognize a right to life, but doesn't create it by recognition or cognition.  Like reality, this fundamentally right behavior is the action necessary to live shared by all living creatures; it is reality in motion.  And it exists independently of man's recognition or denial of it.  You might argue that man has a more advanced recognition of a right to life than a lion, but you cannot dismiss the lion's right to life without undermining your own.  The right to life is inherent and inalienable by observation of reality, or it's simply a nice idea without foundation.

 

Ones life, as property, begins at birth and cannot be transferred or stolen.  Murders and theives cannot collect lives by taking them.  That is the meaning of inalienable; alienating one from ones life means death.  This is an observational fact of reality, and not at all unique to the human animal.  Jumping over this fact by equating conceptual recognition of life as a property, with the enactment of some right to it, will not persuade any member of the animal kingdom to relinquish their right to life.  They will defend their right to life with tooth and claw, and slime you if necessary.

 

If rights are social permissions, then man needs to learn to play nice with those animals he interacts with.

 

Edit: One final thought... Were it possible to behave with a unique right to live, would that entitle one to inflict pain, suffering and death on "rightless" others?  It would be a curious kind of right to life to promote that kind of anguish, would it not??

The concept of rights and ownership on life presupposes an existence of self-awareness and Free Will. Lion doesn't possess that. Moreover, lion doesn't act on conceptual level at all. Therefore to apply these concepts like rights or ownership on life to lion is to turn them into stolen concepts. Using this argument one also could object to the treatment of malaria, since malaria parasite also has " right" to live. But of course you can try to explain to hunger lion who attacks you that you also have right to live and he has to respect it,

Edited by Leonid
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DA:

 

The point is Objectivists, would form a society with rights because it is in each individual's selfish interests, given the facts of reality to form such a society with rights.  The choice to form such a society is NOT altruism, it is not granting of rights in the form of generosity or recognition of Life's necessities merely to arbitrarily define rights.  Forming a society is a SELFISH trade with others struck in the context of those necessities, the terms are required by the parties and the eventual success of the arrangement -> this context necessitates rights.

 

To say "animals should have rights" must be proven with evidence that those individual Objectivists would selfishly benefit from creating a society with animals and extending rights to them.

 

This is precisely what is missing from your argument and it is central to the "morality" (based in reality) of Objectivists.

 

The practice of domestication already provides many object lessons in swapping goods for services, where having a mutual respect for animal life actually enhances the benefit to both parties.  And I've already included this in a prior comment to you... post #26

 

The concept of rights and ownership on life presupposes an existence of self-awareness and Free Will. Lion doesn't possess that. Moreover, lion doesn't act on conceptual level at all. Therefore to apply these concepts like rights or ownership on life to lion is to turn them into stolen concepts. Using this argument one also could object to the treatment of malaria, since malaria parasite also has " right" to live. But of course you can try to explain to hunger lion who attacks you that you also have right to live and he has to respect it,

 

Having a right to life doesn't entitle a murder to murder... we already agree to this.  Your comments have to do with how to deal with transgressions against a right to life; which we can't even begin to approach until some common frame of reference is established.

--

Edit:  I'll return later to respond to any serious discussion of why animals don't have a similar right to life, according to their particular abilities and behavior, that humans entitle themselves to.  For now I'm going to bypass the bench and head straight to the showers...  I feel a need to get clean...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The practice of domestication already provides many object lessons in swapping goods for services, where having a mutual respect for animal life actually enhances the benefit to both parties.  And I've already included this in a prior comment to you... post #26

Exactly how a caw benefits from the slaughter? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...