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Re: [APD] Disposing of Unwanted Fish

S. Hieber wrote:
> I"ve not argued that, e.e., ants ahve no consciousness; I've jsut tried to point out the reacting to stimulus is not a sufficient condition for ascribing any mental activity of a sort that could reasonably be called sentience.

I still don't see how sentience is related to the perception of pain or 

> If you wish to say that creatures can have pain without being aware that they ahve have pain, then it's not clear to me what you think pain is or whether or not you know whether you are having any right now.

I wish to say no such thing. I wish to say that, in essence, you cannot 
really have any knowledge of whether other creatures feel pain or not. 
That being the case, it stands to reason that they do unless you believe 
humans to be some biological freak of nature. What would lead you to 
believe that our particular biology is constructed to perceive physical 
pain, but that other living things are not? I see no evidence that we 
are different in that regard.

One could make the argument that higher brain function, as present in 
humans, is required to perceive pain. However, the consequence of that 
argument is that humans with brain injuries or intellectual defects 
cannot feel pain in the same way, and therefor we can with clean 
conscience treat them the same way we might any other animal of the same 
intellect. To argue that humans occupy some special moral position in 
the world is a logically untenable position.

> My real, and I suppose more sypmathetic guess, however, is that you are extending notions about humans to other creatures because of some similarities in behavior -- and easy but rarely accurate path to follow.

Quite the opposite. I am loathe to make generalizations based on my 
human experience ... generalizations such as, "unless some being shares 
some similarity to us (e.g., our sense of pain, or our sense of 
consciousness), then they cannot perceive pain."

My suspicion is that people choose to believe other animals cannot 
experience pain, or do so only in a limited capacity, simply to 
ameliorate their own guilt were that not the case. It's much easier to 
say, "ah heck, fish don't hurt" than it is to say, "I enjoy the sport of 
puncturing another animal's mouth with a rusty steel hook and then 
dragging them about by their cheek ... deriving pleasure from their 
struggle to escape death." Somehow that doesn't sound sportsman-like 

"He who throws dirt is sure to lose ground."

Jerry Baker
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