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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Evolution by natural selection doesn't know what it's doing. It's a completely blind process. As Dawkins described it, it's the blind watchmaker. Of course, you could say that natural selection increases chances of survival, but we can anticipate this. My claim is simply that, in theory, intervening in nature if it reduces net suffering is a good thing.

    Given that you believe it permissible to intervene in nature to prevent Zika and malaria, this objection doesn't hold in any case.
    As I say, when it's directly effecting humans I take a mildly different viewpoint, although I still think it should always be done in a way which is controlled and reversible.

    Out of curiosity how exactly do you measure "net suffering". To me, net suffering, as opposed to for instance gross suffering, implicates the balance of suffering against pleasure. For every zebra that is killed there is a lion pack, high on endorphins with full bellies. Hell, if my personal experiences are anything to go by the zebras who get chased and survive probably feel pretty damn good as well. I've been in situations that put me a bit uncomfortably close to dying, but once I was back somewhere safe I felt an incredible high.

    Do you agree that this should factor into the equation, or do you think removing all suffering but with it removing many sources of pleasure still results in a better world?

    Also just touching on natural selection. Do you not worry what will happen to a species with no predators to remove the weak? The number of defects that will remain in the gene pool? Sure, you could argue that we could moderate it with humane slaughter of the weak ones, but how humane do you think we can be? Even trained marksmen often fail to get a kill shot, leaving animals limping for hours until they finally succumb to blood loss. The panic and distress through the herd as one is shot within their midsts? And do you really think we could do an acceptable job at it? I mean look at how many problems many pure-bred dogs have, creatures we have purposefully bred to fulfil our desires.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    It's not a moot point. Your objection to my earlier scenario about the flock of chickens dying a slow death was that it wasn't comparable to that which occurs in the wild. It is, though, and you still haven't addressed the sheer number of animals suffering in the wild. If you accept my earlier scenario that the human should save the chickens, then you accept that some amount of animal suffering can outweigh some human suffering. Given the numbers of animals in the wild, it seems to me that this is something we should be prioritizing.
    I see it as incomparable because a) you're comparing mild discomfort of a human to death of humans, b) the chickens would likely be there due to humans and c) there is obvious gain and no long term loss.

    Yes, some animal suffering could theoretically outweigh some human suffering, but, in my opinion, to a degree it's almost not worth mentioning. I'd be curious as to how equal you'd treat them if it actually came down to it. Say you were given a variation of the trolly problem with two pigs who were going to die on one track, and the ability to pull a lever to change the course so it killed one human, would you do it?

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Free trade is one of the best ways to reduce extreme poverty, actually. Buying products from developing countries raises incomes in those countries. It's why China brought hundreds of millions out of poverty. Sweatshops, appalling as they may be, are actually better than the alternatives for many people.

    Even so, there's no reason to think that our not having an effect on a being makes us any less responsible for its suffering. If you saw a dog being tortured by its owner, would you not try and save it or report the owner to the police? If you saw a child drowning in a pond, would you not jump in to save her?
    I'd be curious to see some reasonable studies proving that slave labour increases the quality of life for the slaves vs being free people. Are you aware of any?

    To me us not causing something definitely makes us less responsible for it, obviously we simply differ in this opinion.

    Again, your examples puzzle me. If I saw a dog being tortured then of course I would report it. It's illegal, it is being done for malicious reasons and it is being caused by humans. I would also save the girl. She is human, and there is no conceivable loss to be made.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Lack of understanding is a practical objection, though. If we had more understanding, then you surely would support removing every predator from the planet (whilst using fertility regulation to ensure that herbivores do not become overpopulated).
    If you see lack of understanding as a practical objection then yes, I have a practical objection to it. I interpreted it to mean that it would simply be to hard to implement. Either way I still wouldn't support it. If we ever got to that level of understanding, based on what I can see of the matter now I don't think it would be an overall positive move.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Speciesism is to give less weight to the comparable interests of members of other species simply because they're not members of your own species. Humans and many non-human animals, for instance, both have an interest in not suffering, and the suffering of non-humans can't be said to be less important simply because they're not members of the species Homo sapiens. Choosing a species barrier to justify valuing the interests of some beings over others is just as arbitrary and illogical as choosing skin colour, sex or sexual orientation.

    You could argue that humans are more intelligent than non-human animals, but that's not the case for all humans. Severely intellectually disabled humans, and human infants, have similar or lower mental capacities to many non-human animals. So, you could either try to justify treating them in the ways in which we treat non-human animals, or accept that intelligence has nothing to do with how much a being's suffering matters (which is what we recognize with these groups of humans), in which case we should equally consider the comparable interests of all sentient beings.
    So would you see someone who chooses to slaughter and eat pigs but not dogs, comparable to someone who chooses to slaughter white people but not black people?

    You're right, there are clearly differing levels of intelligence among humans, and going back to a variation on the trolly problem, if the choice was ultimately between a senile old person and a youthful, intelligent scientist for instance then there would be little hesitation in which I would choose to save.

    Even in the case of treating unintelligent people similar to animals there is still the question of suffering on other humans. If I had to shoot someones dog, or a wild boar, then I would shoot the wild boar to prevent suffering to a human. Equally I would not kill a human, even if they were completely non-functioning, because of the knock-on effect it would have on other humans, therefore having a negative effect on society.
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    Cultured meat should be the answer, and hopefully the future. There should simply be more money poured into that sort of research. Really, there should be a lot more investing going on on the part of the government in research.
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    Thank you for your reply.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Out of curiosity how exactly do you measure "net suffering". To me, net suffering, as opposed to for instance gross suffering, implicates the balance of suffering against pleasure. For every zebra that is killed there is a lion pack, high on endorphins with full bellies. Hell, if my personal experiences are anything to go by the zebras who get chased and survive probably feel pretty damn good as well. I've been in situations that put me a bit uncomfortably close to dying, but once I was back somewhere safe I felt an incredible high.
    Which situation would we rather be in? The zebra's or the lion pack's? I would rather have my preference to have a nice dinner left frustrated than have my preference not to die a brutal death frustrated. And, there are alternatives for the lion pack: if they were, for instance, genetically engineered to become herbivores, they could gain full bellies on some lovely plants. There aren't any alternatives for the zebra, by contrast.

    So, I would simply say that: a) the suffering of each zebra killed outweighs the pleasure of each lion; and b) there are alternative ways to gain that pleasure.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Also just touching on natural selection. Do you not worry what will happen to a species with no predators to remove the weak? The number of defects that will remain in the gene pool? Sure, you could argue that we could moderate it with humane slaughter of the weak ones, but how humane do you think we can be? Even trained marksmen often fail to get a kill shot, leaving animals limping for hours until they finally succumb to blood loss. The panic and distress through the herd as one is shot within their midsts? And do you really think we could do an acceptable job at it? I mean look at how many problems many pure-bred dogs have, creatures we have purposefully bred to fulfil our desires.
    In the future, reducing populations through fertility regulation via family planning or cross-species immunocontraception would be the preferred option, so that would solve the overpopulation problem. In terms of genetic defects that would make the lives of some animals not worth living, genetic engineering could solve that, just as it could solve the predation problem.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Yes, some animal suffering could theoretically outweigh some human suffering, but, in my opinion, to a degree it's almost not worth mentioning.
    Even if you think it's to such a small degree, there are still trillions of wild animals.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    I'd be curious as to how equal you'd treat them if it actually came down to it. Say you were given a variation of the trolly problem with two pigs who were going to die on one track, and the ability to pull a lever to change the course so it killed one human, would you do it?
    I still give some weight to preference utilitarianism, and humans, in general, have a greater preference to live than most non-human animals, because they are self-aware and have a sense of themselves as existing over time, so I would save the human. Due to moral uncertainty, though, there would be some number of pigs that I would save instead of the human.

    If the scenario was whether I would choose that two pigs be tortured or one human be tortured, I would choose that the human be tortured.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Again, your examples puzzle me. If I saw a dog being tortured then of course I would report it. It's illegal, it is being done for malicious reasons and it is being caused by humans. I would also save the girl. She is human, and there is no conceivable loss to be made.
    In the case of saving the child drowning in the pond, you would save her despite not being responsible for her drowning. What about a chimpanzee? Would you save a chimpanzee from drowning? If so, and if your justification is that there is no conceivable loss to be made, then your objection to intervening in the wild isn't that we're not responsible for what goes on in the wild, but that there's uncertainty over how to practically do it, because there could be some conceivable loss involved.

    But, at some point, the probability of such a loss could become low enough to justify the abolition of suffering in the wild if we had sufficient knowledge, just as you're judging the probability that you would also drown (which is conceivable, and a loss) as sufficiently low to justify going into the pond to save the child/chimpanzee.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    So would you see someone who chooses to slaughter and eat pigs but not dogs, comparable to someone who chooses to slaughter white people but not black people?
    Their views are identical in their illogicality, yes. If you wouldn't treat dogs in the way in which you treat pigs, then you shouldn't treat pigs in such a manner; if you wouldn't treat black people in the same way in which you treat white people, then you shouldn't treat white people in such a manner.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Even in the case of treating unintelligent people similar to animals there is still the question of suffering on other humans. If I had to shoot someones dog, or a wild boar, then I would shoot the wild boar to prevent suffering to a human. Equally I would not kill a human, even if they were completely non-functioning, because of the knock-on effect it would have on other humans, therefore having a negative effect on society.
    If we just look at the trolley problem in isolation, without any wider society, why would you choose to divert the trolley to a track with a non-human animal on it than to one with a severely intellectually disabled human on it? Or would you? If you would, then you're privileging beings because they are members of the species Homo sapiens, which you have no reason to do. This applies to your whole assumption that human suffering is somehow more important than the suffering of other animals.

    If we had the knowledge to meet all of your practical objections, it would be surprising if you wouldn't advocate for the abolition of all suffering in the wild. Future generations of predators either wouldn't come into existence (which, on some views, would be no loss for those future generations, as they wouldn't know any different) or predator species could simply be genetically engineered to become herbivores, experiencing just as much pleasure as they would have otherwise. You could say it's not an important thing to pursue, but that would rely on a speciesist justification.
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    (Original post by Caius Filimon)
    Cultured meat should be the answer, and hopefully the future. There should simply be more money poured into that sort of research. Really, there should be a lot more investing going on on the part of the government in research.
    I don't think that'll reach market at a low enough price in the next few years, but with reverse-engineering the "meatiness" of meat it's possible to make synthetic meat without basically petri-dishing animal cells

    A key find is the leghemoglobin molecule, as well as previous finds about glutamate molecules, to figuring out how to replicate the mouthfeel and texture and taste and aromas of cooking with meat.

    Seitan, Textured Vegetable Protein, Quorn, etc tend to be shoddy substitutes for meat and anything that involves changing diet composition is a major lifestyle change. To make a vegetable product taste meaty will be an absolute gamechanger.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Which situation would we rather be in? The zebra's or the lion pack's? I would rather have my preference to have a nice dinner left frustrated than have my preference not to die a brutal death frustrated. And, there are alternatives for the lion pack: if they were, for instance, genetically engineered to become herbivores, they could gain full bellies on some lovely plants. There aren't any alternatives for the zebra, by contrast.

    So, I would simply say that: a) the suffering of each zebra killed outweighs the pleasure of each lion; and b) there are alternative ways to gain that pleasure.
    I wouldn't be bothered either way situation wise tbh.

    If you read back I mentioned more than just the feeling of a full belly. Or do you suggest we regularly give wild animals shots of endorphins and adrenaline?

    I'm not sure if you've ever nearly died, but in my experience it's a high that outweighs anything else I've ever felt. I would say that feeling for an entire heard of zebra outweighs one of them dying on the suffering vs pleasure scale. And that's not including the aforementioned lions.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    In the future, reducing populations through fertility regulation via family planning or cross-species immunocontraception would be the preferred option, so that would solve the overpopulation problem. In terms of genetic defects that would make the lives of some animals not worth living, genetic engineering could solve that, just as it could solve the predation problem.
    How exactly could genetic engineering solve that? You can't edit out the chance of random changes to DNA, so are you genuinely suggesting we capture every single pregnant wild animal, from a amazonian spider laying hundreds of eggs to a polar bear in the north pole, and check every one of their offspring for any possible defect?

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Even if you think it's to such a small degree, there are still trillions of wild animals.
    And there are billions of humans, which IMO outweighs the animals.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    I still give some weight to preference utilitarianism, and humans, in general, have a greater preference to live than most non-human animals, because they are self-aware and have a sense of themselves as existing over time, so I would save the human. Due to moral uncertainty, though, there would be some number of pigs that I would save instead of the human.

    If the scenario was whether I would choose that two pigs be tortured or one human be tortured, I would choose that the human be tortured.
    Do you not see prevention of suffering to humans to be more beneficial on a global scale than that of any other given animal species? I mean suppose for a moment we go along with your idea that working towards ending all suffering in nature is the perfect end goal. The only species able to even conceive doing that would be humans, and the more humans that are living productive, happy lives, instead of living on the brink of starvation in slavery, the faster such a goal could be reached.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    In the case of saving the child drowning in the pond, you would save her despite not being responsible for her drowning. What about a chimpanzee? Would you save a chimpanzee from drowning? If so, and if your justification is that there is no conceivable loss to be made, then your objection to intervening in the wild isn't that we're not responsible for what goes on in the wild, but that there's uncertainty over how to practically do it, because there could be some conceivable loss involved.

    But, at some point, the probability of such a loss could become low enough to justify the abolition of suffering in the wild if we had sufficient knowledge, just as you're judging the probability that you would also drown (which is conceivable, and a loss) as sufficiently low to justify going into the pond to save the child/chimpanzee.
    i would save the chimpanzee if it in no way put my own life at risk because once again there is no loss. I wouldn't feel responsible for it or morally obliged to in any way though.

    I don't believe the probability of a negative impact reaching 0 is ever possible with the idea, for the aforementioned reasons of balancing suffering against pleasure and problems that nature naturally deals with.

    Let me try and get one thing clear. The reason I wouldn't do it is because I don't feel in any way responsible for nature and don't feel it is my place to interfere with it on a widespread scale. The reason I don't think anyone should do it is because I think it would have an overall negative impact on the world and there would always be more important goals to work towards.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Their views are identical in their illogicality, yes. If you wouldn't treat dogs in the way in which you treat pigs, then you shouldn't treat pigs in such a manner; if you wouldn't treat black people in the same way in which you treat white people, then you shouldn't treat white people in such a manner.
    If someone were to actually carry out both those acts though, would you see the morality of the individuals as comparable?

    (Original post by viddy9)
    If we just look at the trolley problem in isolation, without any wider society, why would you choose to divert the trolley to a track with a non-human animal on it than to one with a severely intellectually disabled human on it? Or would you? If you would, then you're privileging beings because they are members of the species Homo sapiens, which you have no reason to do. This applies to your whole assumption that human suffering is somehow more important than the suffering of other animals.

    If we had the knowledge to meet all of your practical objections, it would be surprising if you wouldn't advocate for the abolition of all suffering in the wild. Future generations of predators either wouldn't come into existence (which, on some views, would be no loss for those future generations, as they wouldn't know any different) or predator species could simply be genetically engineered to become herbivores, experiencing just as much pleasure as they would have otherwise. You could say it's not an important thing to pursue, but that would rely on a speciesist justification.
    Looking at the trolly problem in isolation serves no purpose as such a scenario would never exist in isolation.

    Well count yourself surprised, because I wouldn't advocate it. I feel I have explained all the logical reasons as to why, including a net loss of pleasure, but I may as well add the personal reason that I think the way nature works is beautiful in it's methods, and beauty should be preserved.
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    No. That would become a nightmare. First taxing meats, then no one would be able to purchase meat with the increasing taxes, and then people would give up on purchasing when they could easily kill their own meat for free instead. Maybe that isn't exactly how chain of events would occur...
    If you don't want to eat dead animals without the fur on, then don't. Problem solved for you.

    Majority of the pop are meat eaters including those in power in your location. So don't really see that happening.
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    (Original post by Dheorl)
    I wouldn't be bothered either way situation wise tbh.

    If you read back I mentioned more than just the feeling of a full belly. Or do you suggest we regularly give wild animals shots of endorphins and adrenaline?

    I'm not sure if you've ever nearly died, but in my experience it's a high that outweighs anything else I've ever felt. I would say that feeling for an entire heard of zebra outweighs one of them dying on the suffering vs pleasure scale. And that's not including the aforementioned lions.
    There is indeed a possibility of genetically engineering animals to be blissful, so the alternatives on the pleasure-side of the equation could theoretically be met. And, I wouldn't be so sure that when adrenaline junkies are actually dying in agony, they would be so sure.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    How exactly could genetic engineering solve that? You can't edit out the chance of random changes to DNA, so are you genuinely suggesting we capture every single pregnant wild animal, from a amazonian spider laying hundreds of eggs to a polar bear in the north pole, and check every one of their offspring for any possible defect?
    Advances in nanotechnology such as the development of nanorobots could make this possible.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    And there are billions of humans, which IMO outweighs the animals.
    That's still a massive discount rate.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Do you not see prevention of suffering to humans to be more beneficial on a global scale than that of any other given animal species? I mean suppose for a moment we go along with your idea that working towards ending all suffering in nature is the perfect end goal. The only species able to even conceive doing that would be humans, and the more humans that are living productive, happy lives, instead of living on the brink of starvation in slavery, the faster such a goal could be reached.
    Potentially, but governments and many, many other people are already concerned about human suffering, so this domain is hardly neglected, thus I can make a larger expected marginal contribution to this problem. Alleviating human suffering, though, would only be instrumentally good in order to achieve the more important goal of phasing out involuntary suffering throughout the biosphere.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Let me try and get one thing clear. The reason I wouldn't do it is because I don't feel in any way responsible for nature and don't feel it is my place to interfere with it on a widespread scale. The reason I don't think anyone should do it is because I think it would have an overall negative impact on the world and there would always be more important goals to work towards.
    As we've seen with both pond scenarios, you would do things that you don't feel responsible for. My position, by contrast, is that if, assuming massive technological capabilities, we could increase net pleasure throughout the biosphere, then we ought to put some effort into finding out whether we can, because of the numbers of beings involved. The only way one can get out of this is if you fail to consider philosophical thought-experiments (as you've failed to with the trolley problem) and if you adopt an illogical, speciesist attitude.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    If someone were to actually carry out both those acts though, would you see the morality of the individuals as comparable?
    Again, because I give some weight to a preference-based view, I would think that killing a normal human being of any skin colour is worse than killing a non-human animal. But, if people were killing severely intellectually disabled whites but not severely intellectually disabled blacks, I would regard it as morally equivalent to killing pigs over dogs.

    Anyway, I'm merely pursuing this argument not because I think society is ready for it yet (moral progress is slow, our gradual expansion of our circle of moral concern to more and more sentient beings has been just that - gradual - and we haven't even solved factory farming yet) but because I enjoy discussing difficult philosophical issues and planting the seeds of these ideas in people's minds.

    Also, your considerations about the pleasure that some people - and presumably some animals - get from situations are very relevant, as are your considerations about genetic defects: these will need to be taken into account, and it may seem wishful thinking that, as I suggested above, technology could overcome these obstacles, but to someone a few centuries ago, current technology would seem just as magical. If we become a Type I civilization, there's reason to think that the only obstacles will be political.
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    (Original post by SmileyVibe)
    No. That would become a nightmare. First taxing meats, then no one would be able to purchase meat with the increasing taxes, and then people would give up on purchasing when they could easily kill their own meat for free instead. Maybe that isn't exactly how chain of events would occur...
    If you don't want to eat dead animals without the fur on, then don't. Problem solved for you.

    Majority of the pop are meat eaters including those in power in your location. So don't really see that happening.
    As I have said, I have no inherent problem with the eating of meat itself, if everyone simply cut down, that would be great. It's just that if everyone carries on eating meat at the unprecedented scale that we do, then our planet is going to start looking a lot more like Venus than we want it to, due to all the reasons given time and time again on this thread.

    Should there be no tax on petrol/diesel? Even though petrol and diesel usage precipitates mass global extinction due to global warming and hence more extreme weather? Should cigarettes not be taxed even though they end up costing hospitals billions in treating lung-related problems as a result?

    When it comes to negative externalities, tax should be proportional to the damage done by something, so that the money raised can help fix the problem it caused to society, anyone with half a brain can agree with that, so why should meat be any different? That is the very simple question posed by this thread, I am not trying to confer any deeper meaning than that simple question, it really is very easy, and the answer is unbelievably simple and plain.
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    As I have said, I have no inherent problem with the eating of meat itself, if everyone simply cut down, that would be great. It's just that if everyone carries on eating meat at the unprecedented scale that we do, then our planet is going to start looking a lot more like Venus than we want it to, due to all the reasons given time and time again on this thread.

    Should there be no tax on petrol/diesel? Even though petrol and diesel usage precipitates mass global extinction due to global warming and hence more extreme weather? Should cigarettes not be taxed even though they end up costing hospitals billions in treating lung-related problems as a result?

    When it comes to negative externalities, tax should be proportional to the damage done by something, so that the money raised can help fix the problem it caused to society, anyone with half a brain can agree with that, so why should meat be any different? That is the very simple question posed by this thread, I am not trying to confer any deeper meaning than that simple question, it really is very easy, and the answer is unbelievably simple and plain.
    At no point have you provided tenable alternatives. It's possible that at certain levels of taxation, black markets will emerge for animal products. That's something neither of us wants, so maybe it's better to figure out how to innovate meat analogues into something that resembles and tastes and smells like meat better than what's currently available.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    There is indeed a possibility of genetically engineering animals to be blissful, so the alternatives on the pleasure-side of the equation could theoretically be met. And, I wouldn't be so sure that when adrenaline junkies are actually dying in agony, they would be so sure.
    Pleasure without meaning is empty. Just look at drug addicts as an example. I'm not sure what adrenaline junkies has to do with it but you'd be pretty wrong from the ones I've known/heard, and from my own experiences.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Advances in nanotechnology such as the development of nanorobots could make this possible.
    In what possible way? The only way this could be even remotely possible would be to recreate the entire world, down to the last atom in the last string of DNA, in a giant super-computer (which btw, would make for awesome weather forecasts). At that point why not just kill everything and run the simulation. In fact, based on your premise of removing suffering being the most important end goal at any cost, why not just kill every creature now? Maybe we could leave some bee's for pollination and because who doesn't like honey? But apart from that what purpose do they serve but to eat each other and eat plants we could be eating instead.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    That's still a massive discount rate.
    Yep, and one which I think sways in the favour of humans.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Potentially, but governments and many, many other people are already concerned about human suffering, so this domain is hardly neglected, thus I can make a larger expected marginal contribution to this problem. Alleviating human suffering, though, would only be instrumentally good in order to achieve the more important goal of phasing out involuntary suffering throughout the biosphere.
    I disagree. I feel there are many other goals that should be reached before reducing animal suffering (obviously I don't agree it should ever be done, but lets pretend for a second). I mean for starters extinction level events are far from uncommon in the history of the planet. Surely colonising another planet would be higher up the list in an attempt to reduce the chance of destruction of all the species you deem we should be helping?

    (Original post by viddy9)
    As we've seen with both pond scenarios, you would do things that you don't feel responsible for. My position, by contrast, is that if, assuming massive technological capabilities, we could increase net pleasure throughout the biosphere, then we ought to put some effort into finding out whether we can, because of the numbers of beings involved. The only way one can get out of this is if you fail to consider philosophical thought-experiments (as you've failed to with the trolley problem) and if you adopt an illogical, speciesist attitude.
    You're right, but the pond scenario is a small scale with no further consequences, as I've repeatably explained. I wouldn't feel the need to put in any more than minimal effort to help the natural suffering of an animal.

    I'm not sure what I've failed to do with the proposed trolly problem, please explain.

    I maintain that no matter the technological advances, an increase of net pleasure is impossible and, even if it weren't for my moral objections, not a end worth working towards.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Again, because I give some weight to a preference-based view, I would think that killing a normal human being of any skin colour is worse than killing a non-human animal. But, if people were killing severely intellectually disabled whites but not severely intellectually disabled blacks, I would regard it as morally equivalent to killing pigs over dogs.

    Anyway, I'm merely pursuing this argument not because I think society is ready for it yet (moral progress is slow, our gradual expansion of our circle of moral concern to more and more sentient beings has been just that - gradual - and we haven't even solved factory farming yet) but because I enjoy discussing difficult philosophical issues and planting the seeds of these ideas in people's minds.

    Also, your considerations about the pleasure that some people - and presumably some animals - get from situations are very relevant, as are your considerations about genetic defects: these will need to be taken into account, and it may seem wishful thinking that, as I suggested above, technology could overcome these obstacles, but to someone a few centuries ago, current technology would seem just as magical. If we become a Type I civilization, there's reason to think that the only obstacles will be political.
    You do realise you're second sentence is bordering on signs of personality disorder right? To show a lack of empathy for those effected by the slaughtering of disabled people vs the slaughtering of pigs is mildly disturbing to say the least. Also as previously mentioned,

    No offence, but you've yet to produce anything to help this seed grow; if anything whilst thinking around the various arguments it's just become even deeper buried, but hey ho, can't say you didn't try I guess. Being a type 1 civilisation has no relevance on whether or not it is feasible.
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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    At no point have you provided tenable alternatives. It's possible that at certain levels of taxation, black markets will emerge for animal products. That's something neither of us wants, so maybe it's better to figure out how to innovate meat analogues into something that resembles and tastes and smells like meat better than what's currently available.
    Eating less meat or being a vegetarian is a perfectly tenable alternative. You're right, but the levels of taxation for that to occur is far higher than what is logical, especially when the price of products is quite low in the first place. Cigarettes are taxed 285% and petrol 154% in total, and there exists no overwhelming black market.

    I'm not trying to do an "18th amendment" here and prohibited meat, that would indeed create a black market, I'm simply talking about a logical amount of tax, say 50%. Large enough for people to think twice and notice the difference, not large enough for it be cheaper to smuggle it via the back of lorries and sold in a pub toilet. This money could be hypothecated in any number of areas to further reduce the problem, maybe even to invest in developing synthetic meat, but more likely in renewable energy as a way to tackle climate change, or even into the NHS for some the problems eating meat causes, or in ensuring the animals that are reared for food aren't under malevolent control or in awful conditions their whole life.

    In any case I can't see a logic objection to taxing meat, a vegetarian diet is much cheaper anyway, if "an increase in living cost" is the only objection. I shall certainly be writing a letter to my local MP about this to hear what the governments reasons are in not already doing so.
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    As I have said, I have no inherent problem with the eating of meat itself, if everyone simply cut down, that would be great. It's just that if everyone carries on eating meat at the unprecedented scale that we do, then our planet is going to start looking a lot more like Venus than we want it to, due to all the reasons given time and time again on this thread.

    Should there be no tax on petrol/diesel? Even though petrol and diesel usage precipitates mass global extinction due to global warming and hence more extreme weather? Should cigarettes not be taxed even though they end up costing hospitals billions in treating lung-related problems as a result?

    When it comes to negative externalities, tax should be proportional to the damage done by something, so that the money raised can help fix the problem it caused to society, anyone with half a brain can agree with that, so why should meat be any different? That is the very simple question posed by this thread, I am not trying to confer any deeper meaning than that simple question, it really is very easy, and the answer is unbelievably simple and plain.
    Yeah, I get you don't want to ban the consummation of meat all together. I'm sorry if I give the impression that I did. Meat is food that anyone can gain access to nor does it affect the person eating it in a negative manner unlike cigarettes that can potentially cause lung cancer over time? There are multiple factors that contribute to global warming, and global extinction?

    I don't know exactly how a meat tax law can be enforced or made. There are multiple answers to the question you're asking. Your answer is simple and plain to you. I'm not sure how you exact that to work in reality.
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    Should taxes be placed on meat with the long term gradual goal of a society that does not eat meat from animals?

    I'm not going to argue this from pathos or ethos, but from logos. Substitutes for meat are now readily available which do not precipitate the destruction of the environment on a scale as unprecedented as cars do. Eating meat on the scale we currently do is simply unnecessary and destructive, and in times when societal change is too slow, should the government step in?

    Fundamental changes to society are sometimes labelled as impractical or contrary to human nature, as if there were only one human nature, but fundamental changes can clearly be made, we're surrounded by them. In the last two centuries, abject slavery which was with us for thousands of years has almost entirely been eliminated in a stirring world-wide revolution. Women systematically mistreated for millennia are gradually gaining the political and economic power traditionally denied to them. And some wars of aggression have recently been stopped or curtailed because of a revulsion felt by the people in the aggressor nations. The old appeals to racial, sexual and religious chauvinisms, and to rabid nationalist fervour are beginning not to work, a new consciousness is developing that sees the Earth as a single organism, and recognises that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet, and on this planet at this moment we find ourselves at a critical branch-point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and will powerfully effect the destiny of our descendants.

    The scale at which we consume meat today is as unprecedented as its destruction to the environment, it demonstrates the worst excesses of human behaviour and our Jungian archetypes. Through personal experience, the proportion of vegetarians and vegans at top universities is much higher than the general population, but this is still a tiny minority of the entire demographics. In times when societal change is too slow, governments must step in as a catalyst, particularly when the issue at hand is as damaging to the world as this. This has been well demonstrated with the abolishment of abject slavery, racial segregation and the full introduction of LGBT rights in the US, when the government stepped in to settle the matter decisively. Despite the inevitable outcry from much of society and its damage to many industries, such action is essential to stop its more devastating and pernicious effects to the world at large. You do not have to be a master prognosticator to see that this will happen eventually, if history has taught us anything it is that the moral high-ground always wins eventually, even if initially support for it is minimal. Take slavery, sexism, homophobia and racism: all accepted as the norm 300 years ago, now deeply frowned upon by the bulk of society, you'd have to be obdurate to not see eating meat from animals going the same way. So my question is: Why wait?
    Everyone knows great social change is possible, but what you are glossing over is that where the social rights movements argued for more freedom you are arguing for mass violation of such freedoms. In addition it would be better to make the meat industry more Eco friendly rather than violate the agency of 7 billion people. But forgetting that you have not proved the premise that animal life is worth more than human agency.
 
 
 
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