Profile
Search
Register
Log in
31 Year Old Vegan Man on FBI Most Wanted Terrorists' List
View previous topic | View next topic >

Post new topic Reply to topic
Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

Author Message
Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 6166
Location: privileged homeless
 Reply with quote  

Jared Paul wrote:
Jesse wrote:
I agree with you. Internet smart dudes hug.
kind of makes me want to vomit.

No disrespect Jess! I'm just sayin' (sticks internet smart finger down throat and makes smart internet gagging motion).
C'mon dude, I'm just being friendly.


Quote:

A veal calf has one life. Once it's dead, it's over and done with- the creature, that Nature intended to be wild and uncaged,
Up front, I'm against veal. I'm far from vegan, but I won't support that. I'm sure that's not super impressive to someone who is vegan; I'm just saying: I'm not about to defend veal.

But talking about nature's intent for a calf is kind of weird, since that animal doesn't exist in nature. Can't exist in nature. Has absolutely no faculties for living wild. Cows as we know them were created by agriculture. There is no viable existence for them that isn't domesticated and wholly laid at their feet by humans.

Does that mean it's impossible to be cruel to them? Absolutely not. If anything, it imparts a greater responsibility for stewardship.

The only thing I'm saying is that nature did not intend (leaving aside that nature cannot intend; that intention is the opposite of nature) for that creature to live wild, for nature did not intend for that creature to live, period.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 9:50 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
neveragainlikesheep



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2536
Location: TKO from Tokyo
 Reply with quote  

Jared Paul wrote:
I just got back from a very inspiring May 1st/Immigration Reform action at the RI ICE headquarters downtown and I'm trying to keep positive, but this:

Jesse wrote:
I agree with you. Internet smart dudes hug.


kind of makes me want to vomit.

No disrespect Jess! I'm just sayin' (sticks internet smart finger down throat and makes smart internet gagging motion).

That being said, I read every post in this thread and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to witness such a thorough discussion.

As someone who's been vegan for 12 years, a multi-time direct action arrestee, and the friend of a person who has done prison time for illegal direct action for animal rights, I wanted to underscore a few things- especially in regards to the time Icarus and TurnpikeGates have taken to explain the motivation/ideology behind certain types of direct action.

I can assure you, that for many people these acts are not about a movement or causing a nationwide change in philosophy, but rather acting directly to immediately deliver living, sentient creatures from the most indescribable of suffering/torture/captivity.

Destruction of animal testing labs and forceful animal liberation are abstract/fanatical- when you have no direct connection to the animals/beings in question.

A veal calf has one life. Once it's dead, it's over and done with- the creature, that Nature intended to be wild and uncaged, will spend it's whole self aware existence in a 2x3 inch box slowly being starved to death, fed only liquid nutrition, denied nearly all movement... as it's muscles go gimp and it cant support it's weight, as it's stomach sags to the floor and it's atrophied legs splay, as it goes blind and the flies swarm.

This is utterly inexcusable. Nothing deserves to die that way. And one can work to get the laws changed but thousands/millions will surely suffer that fate before success is achieved via legal means- if it is in fact, ever achieved by legal means.

At some point, for many people, it doesn't matter whether their actions may hurt the 'face' of the overall movement... it becomes about preventing a sentient creature from suffering, slavery, and torture.

I choose not to participate in property destruction or illegal direct action because I've had many small tastes of jail- which have given me a healthy respect for what a long sentence would mean, and currently, i don't believe it's worth the risk of losing huge amounts of my life/emotional-spiritual damage that might come with such an incarceration, nor do i believe it would be responsible of me to yield the time I currently spend working for change, but I recognize anyone's right to physically free an enslaved/tortured person or animal- as I recognize every enslaved/tortured person or animal's right to be freed.


Just to clarify since my initial comments were pretty reactionary: I understand and respect the argument of those who are compassionate towards the lives of animals. I also agree that veal and other sorts of luxury food atrocities are disgusting, bourgeois and unnecessary. In that spirit I agree with the intent of those who take violent direct action, but I wish there was a better way than to blow up something. I feel your reasons for not participating in that sort of direct action also vindicates what Embryo and others against violent forms of direct action were saying. Your views are the most sensible and productive ones I've read thus far in the thread. Thanks Jared.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 10:24 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
The Count



Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 1558
Location: Chapel Hill
 Reply with quote  


Quote:



Oh and, Turnpike is right about (some) morality being intuitive. This isn't even a philosophical issue, it's a biological one. This is something we know, to the same or an even greater degree than we know about more broadly accepted things like epigenetics, or even, say, gravity (anybody, raise your hand if you know the transmission mechanism of gravity, and if you say "graviton" I'm going to laugh, and raise you a "stellar ether"). Why this is ever debated or taken to question at the behest of inquiry by any philosophical school or principle, is beyond me. You may as well debate evolutionary drift on the basis that, say, the self is dependent on others, ergo the isolated Galapagos could not possibly have experienced a transformation of self. That analogy is a stretch but I need to get home and you get the general picture.

So, intuitive morality, certainly. Absolute morality, though? Never.


I'd like to pop my head in here and take issue with this. Your examples were a bit over my head since I am an expert in neither quantum mechanics (theoretical or otherwise) nor evolutionary biology, but I think I get the basic Idea of what you're trying to convey.

My issue with the "intuitive morality" argument is that while humans may have natural reactions to certain scenarios, an adverse mental reaction does not inherently denote morality. Morality, the idea that an action could be "good" or "bad", is an abstract concept which exists outside the physical world. Human kind has created this notion for various reasons.

Also, this has been an interesting peek into a world that I don't every get to observe. The debate has danced around a few issues that I wished it would have addressed more directly; but on the whole it is good that the internet exists so I could be exposed to this sort of dialog.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 10:28 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
 Reply with quote  

The Count wrote:

Quote:



Oh and, Turnpike is right about (some) morality being intuitive. This isn't even a philosophical issue, it's a biological one. This is something we know, to the same or an even greater degree than we know about more broadly accepted things like epigenetics, or even, say, gravity (anybody, raise your hand if you know the transmission mechanism of gravity, and if you say "graviton" I'm going to laugh, and raise you a "stellar ether"). Why this is ever debated or taken to question at the behest of inquiry by any philosophical school or principle, is beyond me. You may as well debate evolutionary drift on the basis that, say, the self is dependent on others, ergo the isolated Galapagos could not possibly have experienced a transformation of self. That analogy is a stretch but I need to get home and you get the general picture.

So, intuitive morality, certainly. Absolute morality, though? Never.


I'd like to pop my head in here and take issue with this. Your examples were a bit over my head since I am an expert in neither quantum mechanics (theoretical or otherwise) nor evolutionary biology, but I think I get the basic Idea of what you're trying to convey.

My issue with the "intuitive morality" argument is that while humans may have natural reactions to certain scenarios, an adverse mental reaction does not inherently denote morality. Morality, the idea that an action could be "good" or "bad", is an abstract concept which exists outside the physical world. Human kind has created this notion for various reasons.

Also, this has been an interesting peek into a world that I don't every get to observe. The debate has danced around a few issues that I wished it would have addressed more directly; but on the whole it is good that the internet exists so I could be exposed to this sort of dialog.


First off, I want to flip those internet hugs out to all the internet smart people who have contributed to this thread. I know it's self-congratulatory (as a group), but I'm kinda floored by how many issues this thing has gotten into, and it brings to light how complex this thing is. Some have been tangents, but it all has bearing on the question, and makes obvious that "Is property destruction right or wrong? Does it work?" is far from a clear-cut question.

But I wanted to jump in on the more abstract question of morality. (First off, are we using morality and ethics interchangably? I tend to, but I bet some would take issue with that. Well, I'll continue...)

First off, Breakreep, could you go into detail about how morality has been determined to be intuitive by biology? Are you talking about innate human aversion/propensity for certain acts? I guess it depends how much you buy into evolutionary psychology, but I'm talking about levels of morality that extend beyond what can be explained by plain survival instincts. To me, the ethics of animal consumption are unlikely to be explained by natural selection, sexual selection, or anything relying on a genome as the source of variation. I don't quite think that's what you're saying, but if it is, I'd like to hear the full explanation.

I don't have any philosophy education, but I think of the basic questions of ethics to be: is there an absolute right and wrong? (which most non-religious folks probably answer in the negative, outright) and how should right and wrong be determined? if ethics are totally explainable empirically as evolutionary fallout, then there's nothing absolute about it, because they're arbitrary relative to any standard other than "well, natural selection made us this way." so I have no reason, other than my innate propensity, to follow any particular moral code. The "intuitive ethics" I'm talking about is probably closer to mystical or at least relying on a mind/body duality that would be scoffed at by proponents of a neural theory of mind, or some other scientifically grounded concept of consciousness.
A large part of my ethical system, which feels VERY visceral and non-intellectual, has no bearing on my chances at survival or reproduction, including any sort of macro-selection (like group survival, etc.). Like, what's environmentally or reproductively advantageous about my not wanting to kill animals?

What I'm getting at is, why is biology the discipline that has anything to tell us about intuitive morality? I think that some basic morality can be explained biologically as a product of natural selection: aversion to incest, protectiveness toward family--I might even buy some of the EP thesis about male and female behavior, but didn't I come up with a lot of morality out of my own dome (with heavy social influence)?

And then I wanted to piggyback on The Count and agree that morality has to do with a labeling of actions and behaviors as "good" or "bad" and "right" or "wrong", and just determining that, without any social conditioning, human beings still negative or positive toward a given action does not mean you've found the source of morality. But please explain.

Sorry, that's really not cohesive at all. But hopefully that's bait for you to drop some science.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 11:37 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
neveragainlikesheep



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2536
Location: TKO from Tokyo
 Reply with quote  

TurnpikeGates wrote:
A large part of my ethical system, which feels VERY visceral and non-intellectual, has no bearing on my chances at survival or reproduction, including any sort of macro-selection (like group survival, etc.). Like, what's environmentally or reproductively advantageous about my not wanting to kill animals?


I'm not a vegetarian or vegan at all. I tried and failed. I'm a quitter. Sorry. With that having been said modern patterns of meat consumption are extremely destructive to our bodies and as well all know, result in a host of health issues; high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, etc. I am not saying that the choice to stop eating meat is a part of any evolutionary processes (though I'm sure an argument could be made for it at some point here), but it seems to me that choice is both environmentally (think rainforest cut down for McDonald's beef) and reproductively (high body fat harms men's potential for reproduction) beneficial for the world and modern city dwellers' health.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 11:50 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
 Reply with quote  

neveragainlikesheep wrote:


I'm not a vegetarian or vegan at all. I tried and failed. I'm a quitter. Sorry. With that having been said modern patterns of meat consumption are extremely destructive to our bodies and as well all know, result in a host of health issues; high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, etc. I am not saying that the choice to stop eating meat is a part of any evolutionary processes (though I'm sure an argument could be made for it at some point here), but it seems to me that choice is both environmentally (think rainforest cut down for McDonald's beef) and reproductively (high body fat harms men's potential for reproduction) beneficial for the world and modern city dwellers' health.

Yeah, I definitely hear that. I didn't mean that vegetarianism is not advantageous for individuals or the planet, I definitely think it can be and is, respectively. I meant moreso that the problems with meat consumption are REALLY recent in evolutionary time. Not enough generations (I'd imagine) to select for vegetarianism... and I just find it hard to imagine that I'm genetically vegetarian, while both my parents eat meat (do they both have the recessive vegetarian gene?). Haha, that's obviously a SUPER-reductive view of genetics and natural selection. Vegetarianism in 2009 probably IS highly adaptive for human civilization (in agriculturally developed regions, and where other sources of protein, et al. are abundant). But I don't think that could have made it's way into survival and reproductive rates yet.
Post Sat May 02, 2009 12:02 am
 View user's profile Send private message
Charlie Foxtrot



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 1379
Location: Rochester, NY
 Reply with quote  

TurnpikeGates:

There might not be an advantage to your vegetarianism, from an evolutionary standpoint. However, that doesn't mean evolution didn't help cause it.

It's advantageous for humans not to kill each other. Therefore it's also advantageous that we have compassion and empathy, because it's harder to hurt or kill someone if you put yourself in their shoes, and care for them. So maybe some people have more empathy and compassion, and this extends to creatures beyond humans, and they become vegetarians because of this.

On the other hand, I know a lot of vegetarians who are assholes and don't seem to care about anybody but themselves, so who knows why they do it? To fit in with/impress a certain group of people?--that certainly has an evolutionary advantage. Or maybe for other reasons, which aren't so easy to elucidate.

As for the extent to which our morality is formed by society, it's important to remember that society is just a big group of people. So whatever society decides to do is based in part in our genetic code, as a product of an individual person, and how that person interacts in group situations.

And I don't think morality can be the sole product of evolution, because rape has evolutionary advantages (it allows the rapist to pass on it's genes) but most would agree that its very very wrong.
Post Sat May 02, 2009 5:59 am
 View user's profile Send private message
Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 6166
Location: privileged homeless
 Reply with quote  

TurnpikeGates wrote:
First off, are we using morality and ethics interchangably? I tend to, but I bet some would take issue with that.
I think there's a useful distinction to be made. It seems to me that ethics are a product of morals, with morals being one's internal code of right/wrong behaviour, and ethics being how one undertakes or allows oneself to impact the world.

So in most cases, ethics are morals in practise; however, in cases where a decision only affects the person making it and no-one else, it's a moral choice rather than an ethical position.

Ethics are contextual and morals are independent of situation. This is not to say that morals can't be fluid and influenced by larger contexts or experiences, but at a given moment one's morals are what they are whereas ethics can shift depending on what's going on.

To make kind of a stupid example, the decision to not kill an animal to eat it is an ethical decision (if it's based on concern for the animal). The decision not to eat an animal that has already died (leaving aside the question of creating demand if someone else has killed it) is a moral decision.

To be vegetarian because you think it's healthy may or may not be moral but it isn't ethical. To be vegetarian because you care about animals is ethical. To be vegan is moral.
Post Sat May 02, 2009 8:03 am
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
breakreep
homophobic yet curious


Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 6627
Location: Fifth Jerusalem
 Reply with quote  

First, I agree with this:


Quote:

this has been an interesting peek into a world that I don't every get to observe. The debate has danced around a few issues that I wished it would have addressed more directly; but on the whole it is good that the internet exists so I could be exposed to this sort of dialog.


Re: morality, I'll respond to Count first, because his post is shorter, but I'll integrate my reply to Turnpike here as well. This post will ramble quite a bit, and I may revert equally heavily to my mostly discarded line-by-line style of address. Also, I've never taken a philosophy class, either, Turnpike--my understanding derives entirely from auto-didactic means, a small part of which has included reading literature which has been (often implicitly) recommended by this forum. This is an attempt to optimally clarify my stance, not to pretend at an educated background, so if I use unfamiliar or even nonsensical terms, that's only because, lacking the proper ones, I have to invent my own, by mashing together individual conceptual components into something logically descriptive. Bear with.

The Count wrote:
My issue with the "intuitive morality" argument is that while humans may have natural reactions to certain scenarios, an adverse mental reaction does not inherently denote morality.


True. Likewise, morality does not inherently denote a distinctly positive or negative mental reaction. Neither of these are fully relevant to my point, part of which Charlie summarized quite well already:

Charlie Foxtrot wrote:
There might not be an advantage to your vegetarianism, from an evolutionary standpoint. However, that doesn't mean evolution didn't help cause it.


I am not a determinist (I've been over this with Dan before). I am, however, cognizant of the effects that neurological evolution has on every person's behavior.

The simplest part of my thesis, as it applies to the morality of environmentalism or animal rights, is that empathy is a human-universal biological limiter. Given a neutral emotional basis (no prior emotional connection whatsoever with a given subject), empathy must be suppressed through chemical imbalance, physical neurological damage, or artificially imposed training (which can be conscious or unconscious, by one's self or an outside party).

A reasonably mentally healthy person will feel empathy for any emotionally neutral subject recognized as sentient (the recognition can be unconscious and does not necessarily imply that said mentally healthy person even knows what "sentient" means).

This translates into the basics: Don't kill or inflict pain (which includes rape, illustrating one of the ways in which a purely deterministic stance gets it wrong) without proportionate cause.

What I just described is the basis for morality (and it is an evolutionarily determined one), which (in the only form I accept the word) is neither a theologically derived set of descriptives, nor a binary concept ("right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad"), nor a zero-sum one ("right" cancels out "wrong", and vice versa). Those are classified differently--specifically, religious ethics, logical ethics, and political ethics, respectively.

Morality, itself, is a system whereby emotional stimuli are identified ("this gives me an emotion"), classified ("the emotion is good") and quantified ("the emotion is really good") according to their emotional results, then contrasted with contextually relevant potential emotional outcomes, until a point of cohesive intellectual conception sufficient to influence or override simpler impulses (i.e. striking an aggressor) is achieved, concurrent with the ability (barring exigent impediment) to act on that conception, generally with intent to influence the outcome toward the ideal (hence the inhibition of simpler, potentially ultimately harmful impulses--another way in which I openly differ from the pure deterministic view, as in my version the possessor of morality seeks to surpass more obviously primal instincts).

The term can be used more loosely to refer to the capacity to possess such a system, rather than to the system itself--or, alternatively again, it can refer to the manner in which the system is implemented. However, these are somewhat inaccurate uses. I prefer "sentience" and "ethics", respectively, for these.

In any case, morality (in the colloquial sense as I've tried to define it here) is heavily dependent on empathy, an evolutionary development which was allowed to propagate initially because of its benefit to the group. Initially, this was restricted to immediate family. As human logical capacity developed, something strange happened to an already-present empathetical moral system: it evolved non-randomly, becoming capable of application outside of the purposes for which it was evolved (namely, familial protection, and more generalized inhibition of internecine cross-family social practices) as socially logical thought allowed the extension of beneficial practices (and subsequent beneficial returns) to non-family groupings, allowing for the formation of multi-family groupings (tribes, clans, nations)--groupings of non-relations sharing interests, proximities, professions, diets, etc.

Each progressive expansion of empathetic behavior required a logical progression to reinforce the moral framework as empathy occurred on a scale not provided for by the empathetic sentient brain in its randomly evolved biological origins, as it was extended beyond those origins into a composite of intuitive and logical impulse and thought, a composite which was nonetheless influenced and reinforced by the same framework which allowed for the initial familial groupings from which it grew. The process worked because empathy is not an inherently self-limiting trait, it can be trained like any other sentient capacity. The logical chain in its purest form is something of a dual thread, and it looks like this:

John's family has been passing empathetic capacity down for some time now. They've also been getting better with toolwork and other sapient thoughts which, through epigenetic influence, is resulting in better, more complex brains in each subsequent generation of babies. John embodies the epitome of both capacities so far. On some level of consciousness he realizes, extrapolating from his own intra-family experiences, the potential benefits of being nice to a neighboring tribe, who he already doesn't really dislike, even though he knows that sometimes some of the other tribes try to kill him. He tries out his idea, like x number of other empathetic Johns before him. However, unlike x number of other empathetic Johns before him, he gets lucky: someone in the other tribe has theorized, isomorphically, the same action-benefit logical chain, feels equivalently empathetic, and convinces everyone else not to kill John when he arrives. Thus trade is born and eventually capitalism, yada. The point is that logica catalyzes empathetic development in sentient beings, which biochemically reinforces the logical behavior, both of which consolidate in the basically present but highly trainable moral system which sentient creatures possess--a system which can be trained to extend that same empathy (often already naturally present to some degree) toward other species, hence, the morality of the ALF as explained via biologically evolved traits.

(Brief tangent: I stress "sentient" repeatedly because this behavioral chain has been theorized and observed in many sentient species. Humans are not inherently unique in these capacities, we've just progressed further than they have.)

The environment requires a further level of abstraction, but that's the beauty of logical morality (which I wrote this big post about a few years back, in response to Count actually, I've undoubtedly refined my thoughts since then but the basics, I believe, I elucidated there if you can find it). We are capable of understanding that killing the earth kills us, ergo, following from our evolutionary logical and empathetic pathways, we can decide that killing the earth, regardless of its gains, has more more "really bad"s than it does "kind of good"s, ipso facto, we've just made a moral judgment which was a direct product of human neurological evolution, both logical and empathetic.

To reiterate and clarify what I said earlier, the moral system is neither binary nor zero-sum. Much as with any realistic spectrum, emotional stimuli can provoke a response in any direction--good, bad, both, neither, etc. It can also provoke to varying, non-canceling degrees. Two "really goods" doesn't cancel out the "kind of bad", even if it carries more weigh for the user. Likewise, three "kind of goods" can be good for completely different reasons, some of them practical, some of them moral, much like the mishmash that Mr. Sheep discussed. None of this is to say that you can't end up at (or indistinguishably near to) zero, or overwhelmingly good or bad, just that none of those things are likely. We make moral judgments all day, every day, along with our practical ones, and while both are logical influenced, they are both enabled by our neural biology, and the moral ones remain fairly "animalistic" (pertinent to the colloquial sense of evolutionary determinism I think some of you are looking for in my argument, even though it isn't there) contrary to the practical choices which are a more "enlightened" sort of evolution which people like to delude themselves into thinking puts them (and the process) outside of evolution's scope.

It makes sense to comment on Jesse's post, here, since I touched on it earlier. I agree with his assessment that ethics are dependent on morality, but there the agreement diverges. Ethics are not morality in practice, any more than the ten commandments are. Rather, they are a sort of conscientious condensation of the user's moral system--a UI that must be accessed consciously, one level removed from morality, which in turn is an unconsciously running OS that can be edited and reprogrammed, even destroyed (via brain damage, etc), but not swapped. I can change my ethics from day to day, but my morality can only undergo slow, steady modifications, which themselves tend to be additions or refinements, rather than subtractions. In this way, ethics are not quite the acting out of the user's morality, they are a distilled morality which can be recited, defined and digested with much greater ease than--and can even be wielded, if so chosen, in direct opposition to--the actual moral system.


Quote:

Morality, the idea that an action could be "good" or "bad", is an abstract concept which exists outside the physical world.


This is false and, even were it true, it would be a red herring. Every sentient concept you can think of (including "sentience" and "conceptualization") are abstractions which, though they do not exist outside of the "physical world" (a term I dislike)--or, reality--per se (they are expressive data which necessarily exist through physical means, whether we are talking about their means of storage or transfer [brains, synapses, neurons, dendrites, ad infinitum], or their actual physical constitution at the quantum scale of constructive existence [or even below that, at any more tenuously theoretical scale i.e. Planck, etc]), do not even need to be reified to be recognized, classified, and considered, or (more importantly) relevant, or (most importantly) acted upon by--or in existence because of--biological evolutionary processes.

Okay at this point I'm seriously fucking fried so I probably forgot whole tangents I intended to include. But I hope I got across at least the basics of why this is grounded in biology, why any relevant philosophy is directly tied to that science, why applicable concepts of "good" and "bad" are scientific rather than mystical, etc.
Post Sat May 02, 2009 7:26 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Post new topic Reply to topic
Jump to:  
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
All times are GMT - 6 Hours.
The time now is Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:47 pm
  Display posts from previous:      


Powered by phpBB: © 2001 phpBB Group
Template created by The Fathom
Based on template of Nick Mahon