Animal Rights?
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22-10-2015, 03:23 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
No one is talking (AFAICT) of right to life or anything similar to the full set of human rights being extended to animals, mainly we're arguing for right to not be treated cruelly, as with factory farming practices etc.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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22-10-2015, 03:25 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 03:18 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Which animals (and from what treatments and under what circumstances) should we protect by law?

Currently all laws passed are not by logic, but by emotionalism.

In some areas it's illegal to kill a cat, but not a rat. Why?

Some people make pets out of rats, and lunch out of cats.

"Cute" seems to be the yardstick by which "animal rights" are measured.

Nobody minds when you kill a cockroach.

I'm sure the cockroach feels differently about it.

Generally it's level of intelligence or the level of effective their sentience ability is.

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22-10-2015, 03:35 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
(22-10-2015 02:02 PM)cjlr Wrote:  And such has been plausibly suggested, but it's a more abstracted concern, and the actual basal empathic reaction (such as, witnessing apparent harm to animals causes directly attributable neurological responses, subject of course to natural variability) is very much in evidence.

Are there any studies on the variability of this empathetic reaction to identical scenarios from individual to individual?

There could hardly not be - any protocol with more than binary evaluation would lend itself to providing just that data. To state it crudely, there's a normal distribution just like any other human trait.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  What about measured reactions of an individual for various scenarios to see which trigger a stronger reaction?

Not that I'm aware of offhand, but I'm sure someone's done it.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Is the degree of emotional response triggered by an act a valid basis upon which to establishing a law against that act? How do we make that leap? And where is the line? Is it illegal to pull a puppy's legs off but not illegal to do the same thing to a grasshopper?

There is literally nothing else to base laws on.

The nature of variable opinions is such that essentially nobody will be happy with any particular codification of behaviour, and yet any society that expects to function needs one regardless.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Empathy drives us to protect our mate, our children and the members of our group. The further away we get socially from our group, whether we are talking about other humans or animals that we associate with being important to us, the less empathy we feel.

In broad strokes, just so - which is just what we'd expect from the evolutionarily derived behaviours of a social animal like us.

Other animals nonetheless do elicit empathic responses from us.
(we've outright bred dogs to do so, but that's hardly the only case)

So... what?

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  My dad once punished me for throwing a grasshopper in a fire one day when we were burning some brush. But he also sent me out to mow the yard once a week where I am sure many grasshoppers were murdered or horrifically maimed just so our grass would look good. Why did he punish me for killing the one grasshopper but instigate the death of many others? I do not think it was out of empathy for the one grasshopper, though if you were observing brain scans at the time his empathy circuits may have lit up like fireworks. The act of harming another creature must be somehow justifiable to avoid triggering our reaction to the perceived value vs. threat of the act, not to the actual harm caused.

Of course. What we consider "allowable" depends on quite a lot of context.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Killing cattle is justifiable because we need them for food.

Rather: we want them for food.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Torturing cattle cannot be justified as it is not necessary and therefore tends to trigger more of an emotional response.

But similar to what you've been saying, what constitutes "torture" is another subjectively variable matter.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  There is rarely an instance where torturing an animal is justified, so that seems reasonable. However, killing an animal for food doesn't trigger the same response as killing an animal for fun, even if we are talking about the same animal and the same mechanism for killing it. It is the intent of the killer that is strongly influencing the degree of empathy response of the observer.

Sure. Although I would point out that there certainly are those who object to some methods of animal slaughtering no matter that they'd like to eat the eventual outputs.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  I think our empathy circuits are getting hijacked in order to express a deeply ingrained heuristic that assesses the justification of harming/killing another living being.

If so, "hijacked" is hardly the right word, is it?
(one might as well say our hands are hijacked fins...)

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  If an an individual's behavior does not align with our assessment our empathy is triggered as a way of notifying us of a disagreement and potentially identifying that individual as a threat to the group or, in my case, as needing correction in order to ensure future adherence to the social norm.

Yes, if you'd say only the motivation and consequences of an act inform our opinion of it. I don't think that's quite a complete picture of how we make our judgements.

(22-10-2015 03:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Which bring me back to the question of whether or not there is a legitimate basis for laws protecting animals from certain treatment. Which animals (and from what treatments and under what circumstances) should we protect by law?

It seems to me that that's kind of a deepity of a question.

I could try to rattle off as comprehensive an outline of my particular personal thoughts as I could, but unless I become our next reptiloid-appointed God Emperor of Mankind, that isn't particularly relevant.

A social grouping needs a consensus to function, so we'd better come up with one. It is impossible to divorce laws and law-making from the variability inherent to each of us, but on the other hand, societies operate in aggregate.

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22-10-2015, 03:36 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 03:16 PM)morondog Wrote:  What is this talk of "a legitimate basis" Rolleyes We have no "legitimate basis" for freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of religion or any other rights that we assert as fundamental. We establish them by convention only. Some rights such as the right to democratically elect leaders, seem downright detrimental.

Well, quite. The "basis" for the laws of a society is the aggregate opinion of the political class.

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22-10-2015, 03:43 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 01:24 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Is empathy a uniquely human trait? Are there any studies that document non-human animals exhibiting intra- and/or inter-species empathy?

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22-10-2015, 03:51 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 03:16 PM)morondog Wrote:  What is this talk of "a legitimate basis" Rolleyes We have no "legitimate basis" for freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of religion or any other rights that we assert as fundamental. We establish them by convention only. Some rights such as the right to democratically elect leaders, seem downright detrimental.

Exactly. There is no such thing as a fundamental right except by social convention. But we do use some basis for judging the value of which social norms and conventions are made into laws and which are not.

Let me rephrase... Does there exist any intrinsic value in formalizing a social convention into law merely for the avoidance of an emotional response? And, is the origin and extent of the social convention itself understood well-enough to judge its relative value to the human species versus the value of allowing individuals with emotional responses falling outside the social convention to also thrive? Is it a good idea to artificially influence the natural selection of human traits in the direction of higher levels of empathy for other species? (That is making the stretch assumption that laws against certain behaviors could apply evolutionary pressure.)

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22-10-2015, 03:56 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
It's not a question as to what is a pet or not. No animal should live a life of misery. If someone takes control of another animal's life, the animal should be treated with respect and be given a reasonably comfortable life. When the animal is processed the goal should be that it's death quick, painless and without fear.
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22-10-2015, 04:03 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 03:51 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Does there exist any intrinsic value in formalizing a social convention into law merely for the avoidance of an emotional response? And, is the origin and extent of the social convention itself understood well-enough to judge its relative value to the human species versus the value of allowing individuals with emotional responses falling outside the social convention to also thrive? Is it a good idea to artificially influence the natural selection of human traits in the direction of higher levels of empathy for other species? (That is making the stretch assumption that laws against certain behaviors could apply evolutionary pressure.)

Fucked if I know. What I do know, is that public opinion can be easily swayed. I or those like me, can enforce social outcast status against those with "emotional responses falling outside the social convention". And personally I have no qualms doing so. Maybe my emotional response towards such people... falls outside the norm.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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22-10-2015, 04:05 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 03:35 PM)cjlr Wrote:  codification

Clearly there is a large differential in measurable intelligence between the two of us. But, I can't have a discussion with you if you are going to curse at me.

Quote:A social grouping needs a consensus to function, so we'd better come up with one. It is impossible to divorce laws and law-making from the variability inherent to each of us, but on the other hand, societies operate in aggregate.

Agreed. Should treatment of animals be discussed in the context of "rights", the evolutionary value to the human species, or simply in the context that we shouldn't do it in order to limit a negative emotional response of our fellow humans?

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22-10-2015, 06:06 PM
RE: Animal Rights?
(22-10-2015 04:05 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
(22-10-2015 03:35 PM)cjlr Wrote:  codification

Clearly there is a large differential in measurable intelligence between the two of us. But, I can't have a discussion with you if you are going to curse at me.

Surely the real question is what fish have to do with setting our laws?

(22-10-2015 04:05 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
Quote:A social grouping needs a consensus to function, so we'd better come up with one. It is impossible to divorce laws and law-making from the variability inherent to each of us, but on the other hand, societies operate in aggregate.

Agreed. Should treatment of animals be discussed in the context of "rights", the evolutionary value to the human species, or simply in the context that we shouldn't do it in order to limit a negative emotional response of our fellow humans?

I don't think there's a meaningful semantic difference. What, after all, is a human right, but a protected behavioural norm?

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