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London Futurists Message Board Events/Meetups › New Meetup: Towards the abolition of suffering - with David Pearce

New Meetup: Towards the abolition of suffering - with David Pearce

David W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Announcing a new Meetup for London Futurists!

What: Towards the abolition of suffering - with David Pearce

When: Saturday, October 16, 2010 2:00 PM

Where: Birkbeck College
Torrington Square WC1E 7HX

Reflections on the Abolitionist Project

The Transhumanist Declaration advocates "the well-being of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to which technological and scientific advance may give rise."

...Yet is "the well-being of all sentience" serious science - or just utopian dreaming? What does such a commitment entail? On what kind of realistic timeframe might we command enough computational power to police an entire ecosystem?

In this talk, the speaker wants to review recent progress in understanding the neurobiology of pleasure, pain and our core emotions. Can mastery of our reward circuity ever deliver socially responsible, intelligent bliss rather than crude wireheading? He also wants to examine and respond to criticisms of the abolitionist project that have been levelled over the past decade - and set out the biggest challenges, as he sees them, to the prospect of a totally cruelty-free world.

About the speaker

David Pearce is an independent researcher and vegan animal activist based in Brighton UK.

In 1995, he wrote an online manifesto, The Hedonistic Imperative, advocating the use of biotechnology to abolish suffering throughout the living world. David predicts that our descendants will be animated by gradients of cerebral bliss orders of magnitude richer than anything accessible today.

David has also written on the philosophy of mind and perception; utilitarian ethics; psychopharmacology; life extension; cognitive enhancement technologies; mood enrichment; genetic recalibration of the hedonic treadmill; ecosystem redesign; reprogramming predators; and – more speculatively – on a posthuman future based on "paradise engineering".

In 1998, David and Nick Bostrom set up the World Transhumanist Association (now rebranded as Humanity +). Transhumanists promote the responsible use of advanced technology to overcome our biological limitations.

About the venue:

Room 417 is on the fourth floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in
Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is
about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

About the meeting:

There's no charge to attend, and everyone is welcome. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and to make comments.

Discussion will continue after the event, in a nearby pub, for those who are able to stay.

Why not join some of the UKH+ regulars for a drink and/or light lunch
beforehand, any time after 12.30pm, in The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ. To find us, look out for a table where there's a copy of a book displayed.

RSVP to this Meetup:­
terence f.
user 8611548
London, GB
Post #: 10
You may wish to circulate this event to the Distopian MU group.
Dirk B.
user 9941666
London, GB
Post #: 247
I am going to do my best to be there.
I think David's agenda is one of the most exciting, ambitious and noble projects in Transhumanism.
A former member
Post #: 516
Personally i think this guy is a nutter and again our "new Organiser" is using this website to promote people with rather questionable beliefs - I saw this guy at Humanity+ 2010 and for my money he gave the most stupid presentation about his pet idea Abolitionism which is basically his idea to stop animals and humans killing each other for food. His idea is that we should all be Vegans and his "manifesto" is used by animal rights organisations as a philisophical justification for Activism. He belives that animals need to be given rights just like human beings so they are not harmed in the future. He is of course forgetting that we are descended from hunter-gatherer omnivores who managed to survive by out-thinking much bigger dangerous animals and learnt to domesticate other animals for easy food sources and tools. Its also worth mentioning that without animal testing we would probably not have the medical benefits we all enjoy today.
He (David Pearce) thinks Animals are akin to humans "The non-human animals we factory-farm and kill are functionally akin to human babies and toddlers. Babies and toddlers need looking after, not liberating. As the master species we have a duty of care to lesser beings, just as we have a duty of care to vulnerable and handicapped humans". - from H+ Magazine

This is also the same guy who advocates terrorism to inflict his own personal point of view on other people:

Link:­ (His website)

Selected Quotes

"Let us first adopt a broad definition of activism as the process
of acting in support of a cause, as opposed to privately lamenting
and bemoaning the current state of affairs. Given that, AR activism
spans a broad spectrum, with relatively simple and innocuous actions
at one end, and difficult and politico-legally charged actions at the
other. Each individual must make a personal decision about where
to reside on the spectrum. For some, forceful or unlawful action is
a moral imperative; others may condemn it, or it may be impractical
(for example, a lawyer may serve animals better through the legislative
process than by going on raids and possibly getting disbarred)."

"The last category of action, civil disobedience, is the most
contentious and the remaining questions in this section deal further
with it. Some draw the line here; others do not. It is a personal
decision. Here are some of the methods used to more forcefully assert
the rights of animals:
Sit-ins and occupations.
Obstruction and harassment of people in their animal-exploitation
activities (e.g., foxhunt sabotage). The idea is to make it more
difficult and/or embarrassing for people to continue these
Spying and infiltration of animal-exploitation industries and
organizations. The information and evidence gathered can be
a powerful weapon for AR activists.
Destruction of property related to exploitation and abuse of
animals (laboratory equipment, meat and clothes in stores, etc.).
The idea is to make it more costly and less profitable for these
animal industries.
Sabotage of the animal-exploitation industries (e.g., destruction
of vehicles and buildings). The idea is to make the activities
Raids on premises associated with animal exploitation (to gather
evidence, to sabotage, to liberate animals).

It can be seen from the foregoing material that AR activism spans a
wide range of activities that includes both actions that would be
conventionally regarded as law-abiding and non-threatening, and actions
that are unlawful and threatening to the animal-exploitation industries.
Most AR activism falls into the former category and, indeed, one can
support these actions while condemning the latter category of actions.
People who are thinking, with some trepidation, of going for the first
time to a meeting of an AR group need have no fear of finding themselves
involved with extremists, or of being coerced into extreme activism."

REALLY - I know (of) some animal rights activists from my Free Party Techno days and let me tell you that those guys were pretty extreme to say in the least. They are the ones that stupidly 1000's of minks and let them off into the engish countryside. See here why that was a bad idea:­ The same people also advocated using violent action against scientists and farmers who they felt put thier animals through unnecessary sufferring. They would post up lurid posters in towns and villages around the bristol area with the names and adresses of people who were involved with animal testing. Some people had windows smashed, were threatened in the street and were even victims of violence by misguided locals who thought that these people were hurting animals for nothing more than personal pleasure. The fact is most of the people they named and shamed were people that had invested either money or thier skills into developing medicines to help people.

Don't just take my word for it - Animal Rights activism is Bullshit and my Hero's Penn and Teller also agree heres a fantastic (amusing) video where they explain why: http://vids.myspace.c...­ and look up this guy The British philosopher Roger Scruton who argues that rights imply obligations. Every legal privilege, he writes, imposes a burden on the one who does not possess that privilege: that is, "your right may be my duty." Scruton therefore regards the emergence of the animal rights movement as "the strangest cultural shift within the liberal worldview," because the idea of rights and responsibilities is, he argues, distinctive to the human condition, and it makes no sense to spread them beyond our own species.
He accuses animal rights advocates of "pre-scientific" anthropomorphism, attributing traits to animals that are, he says, Beatrix Potter-like, where "only man is vile." It is within this fiction that the appeal of animal rights lies, he argues. The world of animals is non-judgmental, filled with dogs who return our affection almost no matter what we do to them, and cats who pretend to be affectionate when, in fact, they care only about themselves. It is, he argues, a fantasy, a world of escape.

Its also worth mentioning that I think this David Pearce also has a ASBO! -­

I fXXking love the internet sometimes!

Dirk B.
user 9941666
London, GB
Post #: 249
Richie, you should be made aware that David (IIRC) lives in Brighton and previously (AFAIK) Oxford.
What makes you think that the man in Doncaster is the same?
As for animal rights etc I am 100% behind David (speaking as a former member of Bedford Animal Action)
We all make our moral choices and stand behind them.
There are all kinds of "natural" practices that we now find abhorrent, including slavery and all varieties of cruelty for fun, which have had their defenders spouting just the same words you do.
A former member
Post #: 519
I did say - "i Think" theres no photo and I don't know where he lives - interesting coincidence prehaps?

I just put "animal rights activist" and "David Pearce" in the search box and found that link - :) I thought it was quite funny.

Just because the guy set up the UK transhumanist associaction or whatever doesnt mean that his idea is worth anything. I saw/heard the guy speak at UKH+ 2010 and didn't think much of it then. He claims to be a 3rd generation of vegans and you know what - you can tell he looks all grey and pale like hes not getting enough protien.
This guy thinks that all animals/Humans should be Vegans like he is and that the ones that are 100% carnivore should be "reprogrammed" or fazed out (euthenized?).

(quote from Vanity Fair MAgazine)

"VF And do you want all animals to become vegans, too?

D.P. Fanciful as it sounds, yes – though this switch would require massive genetic rewrites and ecosystem redesign. In terms of Nature, I’m not a great one for romanticizing wildlife – which is often pretty brutal. We’re inconsistent. People think cats are beautiful and forgive them for tormenting mice. But to someone who, say, romanticizes blond Aryan supermen in their occasional savagery we would be less forgiving. If I pass a butcher-shop, to be honest, I think of Auschwitz. Yes, the non-human animals that we raise in factory farms and kill are not particularly intelligent; but they suffer horribly, just like human babies and toddlers. We tend to associate intensity of consciousness with intelligence. In fact the most distinctively intelligent human traits like our language capacity or mathematics – their accessibility to introspection is very subtle at best. Whereas the most intense emotions like pain, thirst and hunger tend to be extremely primitive. It’s doubtful whether a pig, for instance, suffers any less than a human infant."

Do me a favour - Animals are food or tools or clothing or in a lot of cases highly dangerous to us - TThats about it they are not "people" and it does no good imagining they are or comparing butcher shops to concentration camps. That if anything demeans the holocaust of the 2nd world war and that my freind is obscene. Sorry if you like him but I think this guy is a whackjob and as I said he also promotes terrorist tactics to animal rights activists via his hedweb website. He says of course that non-violent protest is the best but at the same time advocates destruction of vehicles and buildings ( ever tried destroying a vehicle or building without violence) - They test on animals to find cures for cancer and stuff - does Mr Pearce also advocate the destruction of these buidings?

If he wants to be a Vegan and treat HIS animals like people - thats fine - his choice -
But to want to change the course of evolution by "reprogramming" and "ethnic clensing" of animals that will not conform - is not futuristic its just bloody daft.

Dirk B.
user 9941666
London, GB
Post #: 251
Actually, David is the co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association.
"...or whatever doesnt mean that his idea is worth anything."
The measure of an idea is the number of people it can convince and the changes it can make in the world. He's doing OK IMHO.
As for "animal rights", a better term would be "Human responsibilities". Even so, a measure of our progress can be determined quite easily. Just publish a few pics of yourself stamping on a kitten and see what happens - even if you "own" it entirely.
A former member
Post #: 523
Why is it that animal rights enthusiasts always bring up cute little kittens - dont be silly dirk -
I wouldn;t stamp on a kitten for cruelty - but I would love to hunt a lion with a bow and arrow - especially if i knew it had definitley killed a human. biggrin Also in my youth (in the welsh countryside)I hunted other animals for killing chickens and used to enjoy seafishing and tickling fish in rockpools. I also am proud to say I have killed mice and rats who have tried to come into my workplace -- If it was legal I would have got a cat to do it for me - thats why we domesticated them in the first place. That might be a bit much for people here in london but lets face it those Foxes Mauled a baby only very recently because city ordinances have let the fox population get out of control. To our freind the fox a human baby is just a wriggling peice of protien - how the hell are you supposed to "reprogam" that - you cannot change the nature of a fox it needs fresh protien to survive.
Growing up in the welsh countryside has given me a "respect" for other species - i actaully like animals and I am even "freinds" with some of them - great apes and monkeys Are my favourites and i would even go as far to contradict myself and say I would like to see Primates given some basic human rights to protect them. But thats just because i really like Primates and think they are our cousins, My only experience of these animals is from TV, safari parks and books - but i am sure my tune would change after being beaten half to death by a gorilla just because i tried to cwch up to it.

Leave animals and food alone - tooth and claw is how we evolved to become what we are today I see no sense in being ashamed of what we are or likening our treatment of animals to war crimes. Pearces idea sucks and its only popular because animal rights movement is so popular IMHO! Passing it off as a futuristic way of thinking is bollocks - if anything its backwards thinking and if it was possible and animals were reprogrammed as vegans it would actually slow or stop evolution. I am not accusing him of playing "god" or being "un-natrual" or even having "dangerous ideas". I am accusing him of being a misguided militant vegan who panders to the Animal Rights movement and transhumanists with wacky
ideas about what HE thinks would make the world a better place. Who cares if he is the co-founder of WTA - it doesn;t mean he right - it just means he is prepared to start organisations which think they know how we should be going in the future. He is probably quite genuine and well-meaning - but I think we could do without a world of people who think they have the right to tell other people and animals what they can eat and how they go about getting it. Especially thin grey malnourished vegans who think that they are liberating us from sufferring!

( I am aware of what a right wing pro-hunting mofo this statement makes me sound - but thats my opinion on the matter and it also suprises me that I really think this way - hope my mom dosent read this shes was/is a keen animal rights enthusiast i wonder if my feelings are simply be being contrary to my upbringing!)


Dirk B.
user 9941666
London, GB
Post #: 254
Irrespective of all that, we shall see if David's vision can be made to happen.
A former member
Post #: 524
hmmm a quick look at history shows that pearce's Idea isnt even that new its pretty similar to this - as alchvitz is being liberally used to descibe butchers shops i feel free to use nazi ideology to compare bioethics with tierschutzgesetz:

"1933: Tierschutzgesetz
Further information: Animal protection in Nazi Germany, Animal rights and the Holocaust, Ecofascism, Nazi human experimentation, The Holocaust#Medical experiments, and Vegetarianism of Adolf Hitler
This cartoon appeared in Kladderadatsch, a German satirical magazine, on September 3, 1933, showing lab animals giving the Nazi salute to Hermann Göring, after restrictions on animal testing were announced.

On coming to power in January 1933, the Nazi Party passed the most comprehensive set of animal protection laws in Europe.[56] Kathleen Kete of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut writes that it was the first known attempt by a government to break the species barrier, the traditional binary of humans and animals. Humans as a species lost their sacrosanct status, with Aryans at the top of the hierarchy, followed by wolves, eagles, and pigs, and Jews languishing with rats at the bottom. Kete writes that it was the worst possible answer to the question of what our relationship with other species ought to be.[57]

On November 24, 1933, the Tierschutzgesetz, or animal protection law, was introduced, with Adolf Hitler announcing an end to animal cruelty: "Im neuen Reich darf es keine Tierquälerei mehr geben." ("In the new Reich, no more animal cruelty will be allowed.") It was followed on July 3, 1934 by the Reichsjagdgesetz, prohibiting hunting; on July 1, 1935 by the Naturschutzgesetz, a comprehensive piece of environmental legislation; on November 13, 1937 by a law regulating animal transport by car; and on September 8, 1938 by a similar one dealing with animals on trains.[58] The least painful way to shoe a horse was prescribed, as was the correct way to cook a lobster to prevent them from being boiled alive.[57] Several senior Nazis, including Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, adopted some form of vegetarianism, though by most accounts not strictly, with Hitler allowing himself the occasional dish of meat. Himmler also mandated vegetarianism for senior SS officers, although this was due mainly to health concerns rather than for animal welfare.[59]

Shortly before the Tierschutzgesetz was introduced, vivisection was first banned, then restricted. Animal research was viewed as part of "Jewish science," and "internationalist" medicine, indicating a mechanistic mind that saw nature as something to be dominated, rather than respected. Hermann Göring first announced a ban on August 16, 1933, following Hitler's wishes, but Hitler's personal physician, Dr. Morrel, reportedly persuaded him that this was not in the interests of German research, and in particular defence research.[60] The ban was therefore revised three weeks later, on September 5, 1933, when eight conditions were announced under which animal tests could be conducted, with a view to reducing pain and unnecessary experiments.[61] Primates, horses, dogs, and cats were given special protection, and licenses to conduct vivisection were to be given to institutions, not to individuals.[62] The removal of the ban was justified with the announcement: "It is a law of every community that, when necessary, single individuals are sacrificed in the interests of the entire body."[63]

Medical experiments were later conducted on Jews and Romani children in camps, particularly in Auschwitz by Dr. Josef Mengele, and on others regarded as inferior, including prisoners-of-war. Because the human subjects were often in such poor health, researchers feared that the results of the experiments were unreliable, and so human experiments were repeated on animals. Dr Hans Nachtheim, for example, induced epilepsy on human adults and children without their consent by injecting them with cardiazol, then repeated the experiments on rabbits to check the results.[64"

(from wikipedia)

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