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Re: [APD] Disposing of Unwanted Fish
Woo! 2 responses in one day! Funny thing, i had almost the same debate
with an acquaintance the other night, which really annoyed me because
this person debated for the sake of debating (he is a very good debater;
perhaps even a mass debater! ;o)). So i gave up on the debate and
referred to my own personal feelings which still got refuted! Anyway,
normally its up to the theorists to prove that a theory is correct
rather than the critic to falsify it (who was that guy who suggested a
giant teapot orbits the sun?), but why not just play on the safe side
and assume that the non-human animals do feel pain and have and
awareness? That way, if it ever does get proved, we can all rest
assured in that knowledge...
Jerry Baker wrote:
> 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
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