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Eating Meat and Animal Rights

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donnywithana
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Other than by lying to myself which logic would not permit, I'm not sure how to rewire my mind. Perhaps I just need to think this through and go over this concept in my head for a bit.

Definitely the latter (lying won't help!) - find the sources of your emotions and then subject them to logical scrutiny. It won't happen instantly, but if you're persistent, you'll get to the bottom of the matter.

Cheers!

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They can check to see if it has been certified by any number of NPOs that can attest to that animal's quality of life.
Alright, show me. I usually shop at Meijer, Giant Eagle and Kroger. So give me the ratings for a random selection of birds and mammals from their meat departments. You can't do it, and that's why the enterprise is useless.
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Animals dislike starving to death, dehydrating to death and being tortured to death.

This is much more likely to occur in nature. Think of how good (in the agrigate) food animals have it: all the food and water they need and no "fear" of "tortuous" wolves.

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I'm surprised the issue of quality has not come up earlier. The assumption that our current methods of factory farming are the best way to feed people nutritious food is erroneous. The things that get introduced to the food in those places would make your head spin. Yes, cruelty is a factor, but another thing to keep in mind is that animals raised in a more natural (for them) setting do taste better and are better for you. If you eat a natural chicken as opposed to one pumped full of hormones and antibiotics (which, by the way, we're still not certain of the long-term effects of these things on us), yes, there is less meat, but what meat is there is much better for you and, guess what, tastes way better. The idea that our current factory farming system is somehow necessary to feed large numbers of people cheaply is not true. Less but better meat will feed you just fine. A healthy human diet does not actually require that much meat. Frankly it doesn't require as much grain as we eat either. Fresh veggies and fruit should be the base, a bit of grain for calories, and then enough meat to get your lean protein. If everyone ate like that, chronic diseases would drop through the floor, especially things like Type-2 diabetes.

Want to know the difference between a steak from a cow raised in a factory farm in a stall on grain and then slaughtered in a meatpacking plant vs. one raised free-range on grass and done up by a butcher? I can take the latter cow, throw the steak on the grill for all of a couple minutes, and if I wanted to eat it then, still bloody, I'd probably be just fine. I'm taking my life into my hands if I do that with the former. Also that bloody steak is going to taste amazing.

Lastly I want to take issue with the idea that animals are mechanical automatons. Something like an ant may be that way, largely responding to chemical cues, but the higher animals are certainly not like that. They are actually conscious, they are just not necessarily self-conscious and they don't have a conceptual faculty. I see both environmentalists and some Objectivists make the same mistake and say that we are somehow apart from nature, with different rules. We should neither be subservient to nor dominant over nature. Like any other animal, we are part of nature and, like any other animal, must live according to our natures. The main difference between us and other animals is that we do have a conceptual faculty which can give us a greater understanding of reality on a deeper level than anything else. But we're still animals and we still live within nature. Even a city is part of nature, just an environment that we happened to create. Lots of animals create their own environments to survive, just not on the tremendous scale we do.

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Alright, show me. I usually shop at Meijer, Giant Eagle and Kroger. So give me the ratings for a random selection of birds and mammals from their meat departments. You can't do it, and that's why the enterprise is useless.

David, I'm not sure we're on the same page. I cannot give you the ratings for a random selection of birds and mammals from their meat departments. Nobody ever made that claim though- myself included. What I did say is that they could check to see if that meat has been certified as being the product of a humanely raised animal. If the product is not certified by any NPO though, it's a safe bet that those animals probably did not have it very good. Either that or the producer doesn't want to exposed as humane which is probably not the case.

However, your expert analysis aside, the enterprise of certifying meat products as humane is not useless. It is to you since you don't don't regard it as valuable service. It isn't to my friend Jason or his sister Sharon who live next to a farmer's market who carries certified meat products. The decision to only buy certified meat is not too costly for them as they live just minutes away from that store. I would have to drive some 15-20 miles to buy certified meat and I view that as too expensive so I just adopt a vegan diet to ensure that I'm not a contributor to a practice I do not want to be a part of.

I don't have any of those stores you mentioned above where I live (CA) but if you give me your zip code I would be happy to tell you or a friend of yours who shares my sentiments where they can go to buy meat products from animals raised in a humane manner. If they decide that the extra cost imposed on them by the extra time and money spent traveling to that particular store to buy certified meat is worth it, I'd be glad to help. If they decide otherwise like I did, that's fine, too.

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This is much more likely to occur in nature. Think of how good (in the agrigate) food animals have it: all the food and water they need and no "fear" of "tortuous" wolves.

I agree it is much more likely to occur in nature although I'm not sure that can be used as a blanket pardon for man to treat them in the way he does. I also think a strong case could be made that a chicken would much rather be out in the wild then in an industrialized barn. That's an interesting point you make but I don't know if it's an argument.

Does anyone have any comments on the pet idea?

The idea of a pet being a contributing factor to my happiness is so commonplace I don't think it needs explanation. I would imagine few, if any, would be okay carving up their own pet to eat given that the alternative is sauteed vegetables with tofu and a side of kidney beans. I don't think the property argument would hold up and to account for the attachment entirely on emotional grounds seems to put one on a slippery slope. I'm probably missing something here so I look forward to feedback on this point :)

Is it so irrational of someone to hold the view that participating in the mistreatment and torture of other animals is more costly to them than passing up on the slightly better tasting diet?

Just like "sacrificing" for my wife is not a real sacrifice to me, so too is "sacrificing" for the proper treatment of animals is not a real sacrifice to me.

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A healthy human diet does not actually require that much meat. Frankly it doesn't require as much grain as we eat either. Fresh veggies and fruit should be the base, a bit of grain for calories, and then enough meat to get your lean protein. If everyone ate like that, chronic diseases would drop through the floor, especially things like Type-2 diabetes.

I agree and the science that supports this diet as beneficial to man is overwhelming. Anyone who holds rational thinking to be a virtue who is not following the diet described above has just found a little more room for improvement!

Are you an athlete madkat?

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I agree and the science that supports this diet as beneficial to man is overwhelming. Anyone who holds rational thinking to be a virtue who is not following the diet described above has just found a little more room for improvement!

Are you an athlete madkat?

I am an athlete, how did you know? Also, just to clarify, I myself do not follow the above diet. I SHOULD. I would like to, and would find it satisfying. Currently, due to the nature of my night shift and the fact that I can't cook a lick, I don't eat as I should, and frankly, I know that's part of the reason I don't have enough energy and am a little on the chubby side. I currently enjoy recreational exercise on the side, but if I were to ever undertake serious practice of some sport again (which is not out of the question) I would need to seriously improve my diet. I definitely get enough protein as I'm something of a carnivore but I eat too much junk carbs and I need more fresh produce. When I buy a house, which I hope to do by the end of the year, my fiancee and I plan to have a vegetable garden so we can take the matter of good nutrition into our own hands and not have to rely on buying things as much. I have to say some of the best food I eat comes from a farm I visit up the road who holds a fundraising breakfast once a month. It did take me a while to get used to the very small portions of meat they serve in contrast to the much larger servings of veggies and potatoes, but even though they don't give you much meat it's delicious and really all the food is quite good. All the food they serve comes from that actual farm and they cook it up to order right in front of you. It's really delicious.

What I wish more people understood is that giant factory farming operations dominate the market right now not because they are the most profitable, efficient business model but because they have benefited enormously from government intervention and regulations, right down to the estate taxes that force families to sell off their owned-outright land because they can't afford the taxes on it at the generation switch. For example, do you know it can be illegal to just sell some bread you made to your neighbor? How ridiculous is that? Food is one of the most heavily regulated industries out there. Like most pervasive problems we face, I think that freeing up the system and letting people do what they feel is best for them is the only long-term answer.

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Yikes. Needless to say, some of the posts on this thread are unsettling to me. I've never taken the "feelings" of animals into consideration before I consume them.

I'm having trouble with understanding a few positions expressed here. What does it mean to be "humane" towards animals? Also, why should one feel guilt for eating animals? Why do I feel like we're making the distinction between human feelings and animal feelings as well as the use of force a blur?

When combines harvest wheat, lots of animals (bunnies, rats, etc.) are killed in the process from getting caught in the blades. Should one then avoid wheat products too?

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Hmm... I'm skeptical as to veganism's health-superiority. I'm not too distressed by growth hormones, but I'd agree that fewer hormones make for better taste. Cutting carcinogens out of your diet makes sense, but so does getting lean meat from wild salmon (fewer heavy metals, more Omega-3 and... Protein!!!). Not to mention that eggs are nutritious and delicious.

Nah, that's just irrational mystical emotionalism. He should only feel good about something that he has accomplished, and caving in to mob mentality is not an accomplishment.
The achievement of a value is an accomplishment, and so is a lifestyle. And for the record, what other people think has no bearing on my compassion or my diet. I have to say, I'm surprised to read what came after the comma. I wouldn't have expected you to lower the discussion like that, David.

Inspector, on the Sadism point: I never equated the pain of humans and non-humans. I understand you see concern for animals in general as an emotional misfire, but I can’t let you get away with saying that it is the same mistake that sadists make. Obviously, I don’t necessarily view compassion for our lessers as a mistake, but I do think some people take it too far. I am no man-hating, hope-we-all-die crunchy tree-hugger. I do not believe I am part of a blight on the earth, thus I do not live in constant self-hating anxiety. I simply get pride out of knowing that I am capable of lowering my impact on pain-feeling creatures when doing so costs me very little. For me, it’s a small value at smaller cost. Other people evaluate differently. So long as they don’t suffer because of what their lifestyles do to their psycho-epistemologies, then they are promoting their lives.

When Spacechimp asked, “can you, in theory, be in a position to tell me what should and should not make me feel good?” a proper reply would have been, “yes, so long as I understand your hierarchy of values.” There is no principle enumerated in Objectivism or psychology that bars compassion-based choices from shaping a diet. If compassion exists in Spacechimp's hierarchy of values, by counseling him away from compassion you are pushing him to mis-wire his psychology. Much like a career and a lover, a choice of diet varies from person to person. Don’t expect other people to think your career is exciting, your wife gorgeous, or your diet superior. You can try to explain to them why you like what you do, but don't think they must be abandoning proper ethics if they disagree.

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I cannot give you the ratings for a random selection of birds and mammals from their meat departments. Nobody ever made that claim though- myself included.
And now you’ve explicitly denied it, and thus you agree with me on one fundamental point of fact. The demand to select certified meat is, in point of fact, an unreasonable one.
What I did say is that they could check to see if that meat has been certified as being the product of a humanely raised animal. If the product is not certified by any NPO though, it's a safe bet that those animals probably did not have it very good.
By the way, let’s spell out “NPO” all the way: it means a “Non-Profit Organization”. This helps to reveal the anticapitalist foundation of the movement. There is a presumption in such checking, namely that the information provided by such an anti-capitalist organization is trustworthy, but I don’t see any reason to think that it is. Who checks up on these people? Are their methods subject to independent vetting by e.g. The Cattleman's Association? When they can actually prove that their claims are meaningful, then we can conclude that they are maybe providing something that you can call “data”. What makes their actions objectively useless is not whether they do something that anyone cares about, but whether they perform an objectively identifiable function, one that corresponds to reality. Anybody can invent “ranking”: I claim there is no proof that such a ranking means anything.

The other half of your statement, “if the product is not certified by any NPO though, it's a safe bet that those animals probably did not have it very good” reveals the subjectivity of this approach. What makes it a “safe bet”? The only argument I can imagine is the rationalistic anti-capitalist one “big agribusiness is always evil”. The problem is that if these NPOs are not regulated by the food industry, it's a safe bet that they are just serving as a propaganda front for anti-capitalist anti-human fronts like PETA and ELF. In fact the correct rational conclusion to draw from lack of evidence is that you have no knowledge on way or the other. Since I've been assured (by the meat industry) that their animals are treated humanely, I am actually operating from a position of knowledge -- I know that the animals are treated humanely.

What you are saying, then, is even worse than I suspected from the POV of ethics and epistemology. You are not saying that given a choice between pork chops from pigs which you know were brutalized and pork chops from pigs that you know were lovingly raised and slaughtered, products at comparable costs, that you should pick the love-chops rather than the brutalized chops. That is a position which I support. I don't know what Jacob's position is, but I am hoping that this is also his position. You are saying that a person should assume that pork chops are the result of brutality, unless you have compelling evidence that this is not so, and that cost should not enter into your calculations. Now, when I speak of an irrational view of the humane treatment of animals, this is an exemplar of that kind of reasoning. This reasoning says that the happiness of the pig should be more important to you than your own life: altruism in its worst form.

The vegan lifestyle is, of course, completely indefensible from a philosophical perspective, so there’s no point in even mentioning that as an “alternative”. A person might possibly eschew animal products for legitimate dietary reasons such as extreme problems with cholesterol, but such a physical condition is rare. The defense “but I value the vegan lifestyle” simple takes uncaused emotion to be one’s primary guide to existence. Why do you value a vegan lifestyle? It does not objectively enhance your existence one shred, and makes your life worse (though if you live in California, which has lots of similar people it’s not as much worse as it would be for someone in Norway). A rational existence means looking at the objective facts, and not your raw emotions. So veganism fails on a rational analysis.

I would have to drive some 15-20 miles to buy certified meat and I view that as too expensive so I just adopt a vegan diet to ensure that I'm not a contributor to a practice I do not want to be a part of.
A excellent illustration of the idea of putting the lives and rights of animals before a person's rational self interest. A rational hierarchy of values would put your life in first place. That does not mean that you should never consider whether the pig was treated like an animal, it means that consideration is low on the totem pole. Although I maintain that no person should act purposelessly, that does not mean that I will sacrifice my own life to avoid sanctioning in some remote way another man's purposeless actions.
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I am an athlete, how did you know? Also, just to clarify, I myself do not follow the above diet. I SHOULD. I would like to, and would find it satisfying. Currently, due to the nature of my night shift and the fact that I can't cook a lick, I don't eat as I should, and frankly, I know that's part of the reason I don't have enough energy and am a little on the chubby side. I currently enjoy recreational exercise on the side, but if I were to ever undertake serious practice of some sport again (which is not out of the question) I would need to seriously improve my diet. I definitely get enough protein as I'm something of a carnivore but I eat too much junk carbs and I need more fresh produce. When I buy a house, which I hope to do by the end of the year, my fiancee and I plan to have a vegetable garden so we can take the matter of good nutrition into our own hands and not have to rely on buying things as much.

Athletes (should) concern themselves with their diet and it seemed like you did. That coupled with the fact the diet you promoted is exactly what an athlete should be putting into his or her body, I thought I'd ask because I'd be interested in speaking with a serious athlete who is also an Objectivist.

As far as cooking goes, hope your fiancee is on top of his or her game in that department for your sake :D Also, I don't think you should worry about having to rely on buying produce that much. I doubt it's going anywhere and if you find the right market, you can pick it up cheaper and much more consistent than you'll be able to produce it- at least in the beginning. That said, grow a tomato plant. Once you a homemade tomato, you'll never (want to) buy a grocery tomato again!

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I've never taken the "feelings" of animals into consideration before I consume them.

Then I would eat them if I were you as well.

I'm having trouble with understanding a few positions expressed here. What does it mean to be "humane" towards animals? Also, why should one feel guilt for eating animals? Why do I feel like we're making the distinction between human feelings and animal feelings as well as the use of force a blur?

When combines harvest wheat, lots of animals (bunnies, rats, etc.) are killed in the process from getting caught in the blades. Should one then avoid wheat products too?

I think that humane treatment towards animals, much like manners and generosity towards humans, is entirely subjective. I feel guilt because it makes me unhappy to know that an animal was mistreated and tortured so I could enjoy the slightly better tasting hamburger as opposed to a tofu burger. Just like I'd hate to see someone else torture the dog my neighbor has for pleasure (be it taste or humor), I'd hate to participate in that behavior myself. I wouldn't call my feelings empathy. I would say that I know there is a small cost (pleasurable taste of meat) I am going to endure but this loss of utility is more than compensated for by the utility that I derive from knowing I'm not responsible for this practice. When the cost of is too much, for example the benefits of medice testing, I'm behind that 100%.

Well, I don't avoid wheat. I'm well aware that some animals die as a result of the harvesting but this does not bother me as much. The reason is that the intent to kill is not there and the alternative to not consuming wheat, vegetables, fruit is poor health and being in good health very high up on my ladder of utility. If someone wants to avoid wheat though, more power to them and as long as they don't outlaw the consumption of wheat (or meat or vegetables), I have no problem with that. However, I would argue to them that their avoidance of wheat is irrational.

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Hmm... I'm skeptical as to veganism's health-superiority. I'm not too distressed by growth hormones, but I'd agree that fewer hormones make for better taste. Cutting carcinogens out of your diet makes sense, but so does getting lean meat from wild salmon (fewer heavy metals, more Omega-3 and... Protein!!!). Not to mention that eggs are nutritious and delicious.

I don't think being a vegan is superior or inferior either.

When Spacechimp asked, “can you, in theory, be in a position to tell me what should and should not make me feel good?” a proper reply would have been, “yes, so long as I understand your hierarchy of values.” . . . You can try to explain to them why you like what you do, but don't think they must be abandoning proper ethics if they disagree.

I completely agree. I'm glad you're able to articulate those ideas so well.

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I guess I should also say that I share some of David's concerns regarding "humane treatment certifiers". I understand that a for-profit institution would have to resist some pressures an NPO wouldn't, but I honestly don't know how effective current NPO practice is.

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And now you’ve explicitly denied it, and thus you agree with me on one fundamental point of fact. The demand to select certified meat is, in point of fact, an unreasonable one.By the way, let’s spell out “NPO” all the way: it means a “Non-Profit Organization”. This helps to reveal the anticapitalist foundation of the movement. There is a presumption in such checking, namely that the information provided by such an anti-capitalist organization is trustworthy, but I don’t see any reason to think that it is. Who checks up on these people? Are their methods subject to independent vetting by e.g. The Cattleman's Association? When they can actually prove that their claims are meaningful, then we can conclude that they are maybe providing something that you can call “data”. What makes their actions objectively useless is not whether they do something that anyone cares about, but whether they perform an objectively identifiable function, one that corresponds to reality. Anybody can invent “ranking”: I claim there is no proof that such a ranking means anything.

I want to clear up a few assumptions or accusations:

1. When you use acronyms, it is possible that you have nothing to hide

2. All NPOs are not necessarily anticapitalists. To engage in such an activity does not make you an anticapitalist.

3. These NPOs are held accountable by independent third parties. The employees of the organization themselves will testify to their credibility and a branch of the USDA called the ARC ensure that they are consistent and reliable.

Whether or not abstaining from eating meat is rational or moral, the above are the objective facts of reality. I hope that can add some sufficient proof to my earlier claims. And I don't agree that the demand to select certified meat is unreasonable. It is probably the case it is unreasonable if you confine yourself to your local grocery stores like I do but again, I'd be happy to tell you how it can be done. Whether or not the cost is justified is another manner.

The other half of your statement, “if the product is not certified by any NPO though, it's a safe bet that those animals probably did not have it very good” reveals the subjectivity of this approach. What makes it a “safe bet”? The only argument I can imagine is the rationalistic anti-capitalist one “big agribusiness is always evil”. The problem is that if these NPOs are not regulated by the food industry, it's a safe bet that they are just serving as a propaganda front for anti-capitalist anti-human fronts like PETA and ELF. In fact the correct rational conclusion to draw from lack of evidence is that you have no knowledge on way or the other. Since I've been assured (by the meat industry) that their animals are treated humanely, I am actually operating from a position of knowledge -- I know that the animals are treated humanely.

What makes it a safe bet is that any agribusiness whose motive is profit, would never decline a valuable certification if it didn't cost them something. It'd be like Ford or Toyota turning down a safety certification. The agribusiness is either foolish to deny it or they are not willing to pay the high cost of raising humane animals. Your other claim that NPOs are not regulated by the food industry is a falsehood so I don't think I need to give it any attention. I agree entirely that PETA and ELF, especially ALF (Animal Liberation Front) are anti-capitalist and anti-human. To say you have no conclusive knowledge one way or the other is a little weak. You and I have clues and when the evidence is overwhelming as it is here (see the earlier points of this post), you should take a stand. What's more likely:

The NPO is deceiving all of the employees and volunteers and are fooling the USDA

or

the agribusiness does not treat animal humane to the standards of the NPO because the cost is (rightly) too high

While it's not conclusive, a reasonable man can make a very, very safe assumption.

What you are saying, then, is even worse than I suspected from the POV of ethics and epistemology. You are not saying that given a choice between pork chops from pigs which you know were brutalized and pork chops from pigs that you know were lovingly raised and slaughtered, products at comparable costs, that you should pick the love-chops rather than the brutalized chops. That is a position which I support. I don't know what Jacob's position is, but I am hoping that this is also his position. You are saying that a person should assume that pork chops are the result of brutality, unless you have compelling evidence that this is not so, and that cost should not enter into your calculations. Now, when I speak of an irrational view of the humane treatment of animals, this is an exemplar of that kind of reasoning. This reasoning says that the happiness of the pig should be more important to you than your own life: altruism in its worst form.

I am saying you should assume pork chops are the result of brutality unless otherwise said. I did NOT say that cost should not enter into your calculations. I'm a little offended by that, too. I'll clarify in case you misunderstood or I misrepresented my view. One should ALWAYS measure the cost of EVERYTHING when making ANY decision. Consequently, the happiness of a pig should NEVER be more important to you than your own life. KILL ANIMALS WHEN FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF YOU OR THEM. KILL ANIMALS IF THE HAPPINESS YOU DERIVE FROM KILLING ANIMALS OUTWEIGHTS THE COST, IF ANY, OF KILLING AN ANIMAL. I DO ALL THE TIME! I AM NOT ADVOCATING A POSITION OUTLAWING THE EATING OF POORLY TREATED ANIMALS. I advocate picking the love pork chops over the brutal pork chops when they are comparable costs. I do not advocate picking the love pork chops over the brutal pork chops when they are NOT comparable costs.

I gotta run

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And I don't agree that the demand to select certified meat is unreasonable. It is probably the case it is unreasonable if you confine yourself to your local grocery stores like I do but again, I'd be happy to tell you how it can be done. Whether or not the cost is justified is another manner.
I would like to see a demonstration of the rationality of trading benefits of your life for benefits to a meat animal. When you say "it is probably the case that it is unreasonable", then I don't see how you have any argument, and an appeal to your "hierarchy of values" can't save you, because values are not magical stipulations, they are (or should be, for a rational man) a recognition of objective fact. What are the objective facts that say that you should put some aspect of an feedlot denizen above your own life? Your local grocery store is cheap and easy: that is an objective benefit to you. It sells delicious and nourishing food, which is an objective benefit to you. But you are willing to sacrifice those benefits because of... what? In what way does an unsupported belief (not even a known fact but an unsupported supposition about grocery store meat) regarding animal discomfort outweigh actual benefits to your life? Where exactly does this obligation to your fellow animal come from?

In short, a rational cost-benefit analysis never supports the decision to eschew meat on the grounds of alleged mistreatment of animals. The only valid considerations that I can think of are cost, aesthetic quality, health and personal convenience. Vegan food behavior is never rational, except if a person is allergic to all forms of animal protein.

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Inspector, on the Sadism point: I never equated the pain of humans and non-humans. I understand you see concern for animals in general as an emotional misfire, but I can’t let you get away with saying that it is the same mistake that sadists make.

I think you misunderstand me - I'm saying it's the flip side of the coin - to use a metaphor, it is like predatory subjectivism is to altruism. I'm not saying you're a sadist.

I am no man-hating, hope-we-all-die crunchy tree-hugger.

I didn't say you were, and believe me I'm the type that would say it if I thought it.

For me, it’s a small value at smaller cost.

And as I said, I disagree that it is a small value which can ultimately be contained. I believe it is a matter of principle, and the principle you've accepted is an error which will have the same effect as any other contradiction in one's premises. I do not believe this is a matter of personal taste. I've already described in detail why I think this is so. Obviously we disagree on whether it is a dangerous idea or not. But I object to your characterization of me as someone who doesn't allow others their personal tastes. It's simply that in this case, I do not think this is a matter of tastes.

Much like a career and a lover, a choice of diet varies from person to person. Don’t expect other people to think your career is exciting, your wife gorgeous, or your diet superior. You can try to explain to them why you like what you do, but don't think they must be abandoning proper ethics if they disagree.

See, this is what I am talking about. I don't object to anyone's personal taste of diet per se. I object with the particular reasons that he stated as responsible for his diet. Burgess Laughlin eats a meatless diet because of his unique body chemistry. I don't object to Burgess' diet. If you knew me personally, you'd know I have all kinds of quirky personal tastes. If anyone understands such matters, it's me. So please don't tell me that I don't understand or tolerate personal tastes.

When Spacechimp asked, “can you, in theory, be in a position to tell me what should and should not make me feel good?” a proper reply would have been, “yes, so long as I understand your hierarchy of values.”

What do you think I said that is different from that? My personal council about what constitutes reality aside, I told him to base his emotions on reality. I didn't even mention my position in the post where I replied to him about emotions, so I don't know what you're on about.

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I would like to see a demonstration of the rationality of trading benefits of your life for benefits to a meat animal. When you say "it is probably the case that it is unreasonable", then I don't see how you have any argument, and an appeal to your "hierarchy of values" can't save you, because values are not magical stipulations, they are (or should be, for a rational man) a recognition of objective fact.

The rationality goes like this: I value a meat diet over a vegan diet by a very small amount. It is a cause of discomfort knowing that I eat meat that was the product of a tortured animal. Meat diet minus discomfort is of less value to me than a vegan diet according to my values. My values may be wrong as I've changed my mind on things before but as it stands now, according to my values, I am acting rationally. Thats the best demonstration I can give. Values are objective facts but they differ from man to man. I'm a climber. My wife plays the piano. I try and tell her that rock climbing and alpinism is better while she tries to explain to me that playing the piano is better. The reality of the situation is that each of is correct because our values are different from one another. I would say this is okay because each of us holds different values that are consistent with objective reality.

Unless you have the ultimate hierarchy of values regarding every possible action for every different individual and could in theory dicate to them how to be rational in everything they do, I don't see how you can argue any differently. I'd be interested to hear how it could be different. It might be. . . .

What are the objective facts that say that you should put some aspect of an feedlot denizen above your own life? Your local grocery store is cheap and easy: that is an objective benefit to you. It sells delicious and nourishing food, which is an objective benefit to you. But you are willing to sacrifice those benefits because of... what? In what way does an unsupported belief (not even a known fact but an unsupported supposition about grocery store meat) regarding animal discomfort outweigh actual benefits to your life? Where exactly does this obligation to your fellow animal come from?

In short, a rational cost-benefit analysis never supports the decision to eschew meat on the grounds of alleged mistreatment of animals. The only valid considerations that I can think of are cost, aesthetic quality, health and personal convenience. Vegan food behavior is never rational, except if a person is allergic to all forms of animal protein.

The objective fact is that I feel sad to see an animal suffer, all else being equal. Now I grant that my taste buds differ depending on my diet but it's such a small amount that the animal suffering more than compensates for the dissatisfaction of my taste buds.

What objective fact leads a man to prefer rock climbing over playing a piano?

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My values may be wrong as I've changed my mind on things before but as it stands now, according to my values, I am acting rationally. Thats the best demonstration I can give.

Well, a slight clarification. Acting according to one's values is not what makes the act rational. Acting in accordance with that which is in reality in one's self interest is what determines the actions rationality. I'm not making a judgement here as to whether your values are in accordance to reality.

I may value taking copious amounts of LSD, but it would likely be far from acting rationally if I acted on that value.

Edited by RationalBiker
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Sorry for the confusion, Inspector.

I think you misunderstand me - I'm saying it's the flip side of the coin - to use a metaphor, it is like predatory subjectivism is to altruism. I'm not saying you're a sadist.
I didn't think you were calling me a sadist. I'd agree with the coin analogy, I just don't think that any form of compassion-derived dietary change is necessarily on the level with altruism. I'd concede that most people today who engage in vegetarian diets for moral reasons probably fall into that trap.

I didn't say you were, and believe me I'm the type that would say it if I thought it.
My post was meant to be an absurd hyperbole, just so I could dispel the idea that I see myself as being connected to man-hating guilt-trippin' Gorebots. I didn't think that was your opinion of me.

But I object to your characterization of me as someone who doesn't allow others their personal tastes. It's simply that in this case, I do not think this is a matter of tastes.
I was asserting that compassion-based dietary choices are on the level of taste-based choices, and trying to relate them to other taste-based choices. I didn't mean to insinuate that you were the Nazi Tastefuhrer.

I don't object to anyone's personal taste of diet per se. I object with the particular reasons that he stated as responsible for his diet.
Your point is valid, but application disputed.

I'm out.

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