Minnesota Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › After the book club meeting of Why we love dogs, eat pigs....

After the book club meeting of Why we love dogs, eat pigs....

A former member
Post #: 34
First of all, I appreciate all those who were at this meeting for making me feel welcomed. A great facilitator and respectful members!

One thing I would like to ask for others' opinions is a question posed at the meeting.

In atheist thinking, could we accept an idea that humans are superior than animals?

Here is my point of view: Since atheists don't believe in god, when we remove god out of the equation, a human is a unit of biological organism, therefore, not different than other beings. Of course, a human is more advanced in an evolution stand point. But a much more evolved alien might find the difference of a human and other animals as miniscule. In other words, a view that regards animals as inferior than humans is based on perception, not fact.

I would never post this question to others because most people get very defensive to this kind of questions, but as critical thinkers I trust that we are capable of analyze ideas without bias or prejudice.

Thanks in advance for feedback and opinions.



Chuck13
chuck13
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 7
A quote from Peter Singer:

''Equality is a moral idea, not an assertion of fact. If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his or her own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit nonhumans for the same purpose?''

Paraphased from Peter Singer:

Equal consideration of interests is not the same as equal treatment: children have an interest in being educated; pigs, in rooting around in the dirt. But where their interests are the same, the principle of equality demands they receive the same consideration. And the one all-important interest that we share with pigs, as with all sentient creatures, is an interest in avoiding pain.

http://www.nytimes.co...­
A former member
Post #: 6
Interesting concepts. If this were to become a meetup (i.e., an in-person discussion), then I’d probably attend. I can’t help making a few comments before going back to lurking.

Define at least 'superior' and 'equality' and you’ve got a start on a meaningful discussion.

Saying that equality is a moral idea and not a fact is an assertion, not a fact.

In “If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his or her own ends…” one must prove or convince others of the truth of the condition to earn belief in the consequence. [Personal note: I believe the consequence, but do not accept the condition statement as the reason.)

Diets that include meat vs those that don’t is not a “simple” matter of superiority, equality, or any other moral idea. There are the facts of evolution, optimal nutrition and biological functioning, and variations in physiology throughout the human race, and more.
A former member
Post #: 35
Again, I am not trying to criticize non-vegetarians/vegans. I happen to be a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian to contribute to alleviating animal suffering. That is my personal choice and I have no right what so ever to preach others on that. Besides, I truly truly believe that there are many meat eaters who work so much more for animals than many vegetarians/vegans I know.

I throw away reusable things knowing I am doing a wrong thing. But I know that I am doing something not consistent with my belief or thinking. Just for this discussion, I just want to explore the belief or thinking part (the points of views), not what we should or should not do.

If you feel "defensive" about my question, please be kindly abstain yourself from responding because that is not my intention to offend someone or to change points of views.

Respectfully.
A former member
Post #: 36

But where their interests are the same, the principle of equality demands they receive the same consideration. And the one all-important interest that we share with pigs, as with all sentient creatures, is an interest in avoiding pain.
http://www.nytimes.co...­

Chuck. Thanks for your input. If I understand you correctly, equality is not relevant to how we should treat others--even if we define pigs as inferior than us, that does not give us the right to inflict pain on the pigs? Is that your point?
A former member
Post #: 37
Thanks Rebecca for the input.

Define at least 'superior' and 'equality' and you’ve got a start on a meaningful discussion.
I have no idea how more precisely to define the words, superior and equality. Please make suggestions.

Diets that include meat vs those that don’t is not a “simple” matter of superiority, equality, or any other moral idea. There are the facts of evolution, optimal nutrition and biological functioning, and variations in physiology throughout the human race, and more.
As far as what you listed as the matters for choosing a meat diet (evolution, optimal nutrition, biological functioning) there is absolutely no difference between vegetarians/vegans or meat eaters today. Today, vegetarians are not less evolved or biologically less functioning or less healthy. So, I have to assume those cannot be factors by which one can justify eating meat. Those might be factors for Eskimo tribes in the Arctic area for eating whales for example, but not the case for most humans who have access to alternative choices for food.

Furthermore, we do not eat other weak humans nor farm humans, but we eat other animals. So, how we use certain beings must be a result of how we perceive their equality to us, not of the matters you have listed.

If I'm misunderstanding your point, please explain further. Thank you again.
Eric
user 4434475
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 53
First of all, I appreciate all those who were at this meeting for making me feel welcomed. A great facilitator and respectful members!

One thing I would like to ask for others' opinions is a question posed at the meeting.

In atheist thinking, could we accept an idea that humans are superior than animals?

Hi Sung! Thank you for joining us last Wednesday and thank you for continuing the discussion here on the message board. I hope to see you at future MN Atheists events.

In regards to your question, the critical thinking and investigation that led me to the atheist conclusion would not allow me to accept the notion that humans are superior to other animals. I understand and truly appreciate the reasons for not eating meat (reduce animal suffering and death, and reduce the environmental hazards) but the way I see it, I need to allocate my time and priorities between jobs, family, and other philanthropies, policies, and passions I have. Thankfully, there are a lot of people who care deeply about a plethora of issues so that we can each mitigate the multiple injustices that saturate our world.

Of course, a human is more advanced in an evolution stand point. But a much more evolved alien might find the difference of a human and other animals as miniscule. In other words, a view that regards animals as inferior than humans is based on perception, not fact.

I think it's important to note that humans aren't necessarily "more advanced in evolution". Humans advanced differently and have many deficiencies when compared to other animals. For example, dogs have far superior senses of smell and hearing. Cheetahs are much faster, dolphins are more advanced swimmers, monkeys are more advanced climbers, and so on...
Chuck13
chuck13
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 8
Hi Rebecca

This particular Meetup was the first Atheist book club Meetup I am aware of that focused on the topic of animal rights. However, animal rights is a fairly consistent topic of Minneapolis Vegan Meetup http://www.meetup.com...­, I highly recommend you check out the group.

I am sure Dallas (the group’s organizer) would be happy to schedule a discussion. Please propose a catchy title or perhaps a topic to kick things off with. We can do coffee, dining, happy hour, whatever.

Alternatively, we can schedule a Meetup through MNA, again just provide some preferences.

Chuck
Chuck13
chuck13
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 9
Hi Rebecca

My .02 cents:

'Superior' = ability to assert dominion over other beings and 'equality' = freedom to exist free of dominion of other beings.

Not sure how one can argue that equality is not a moral idea...

A higher degree of intelligence often does allow one human to use another for his or her own ends but only in a free will arrangement (IMHO), but when you introduce dominion/force of the more intelligent/superior over beings who cannot refuse/avoid the dominion many societies look unfavorably on this, especially if the beings are humans. I conclude humans are sociopathic regarding the lives of non-human earth beings

Diets that include meat/eggs/dairy are unnecessary! Millions of vegans have proven this over hundreds of years. There are Olympic and other world-class athletes who are vegan. As for health see the documentary "Forks Over Knives."
A former member
Post #: 38
I believe atheists are more advanced humans. By that I mean atheists reason rather than follow instincts. When a volcano erupted, the stone age people had a tendency to believe something powerful was upset. But an advanced people would not fall for that since they have the ability to reason.

Children who are abused tend to think that they did something wrong therefore they deserved to be punished by the abuser. They have that tendency because such thinking makes them feel less vulnerable. (and their outlook on life is therefore tolerable) Galileo was executed by the people who believed that our planet was the center of the universe. Their tendency was to believe something that made them feel better about themselves. Sadly, the majority of people follow this kind of tendencies. Also, many of us have a tendency to believe what we think others believe.

As atheists, I think we should invest some thoughts and reason our society's majority tendency of thinking that humans are superior to other animals. Are animals capable of love? This question cannot be a qualifier to prove human superiority because some humans are incapable of love.
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