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Ted Kirkpatrick and Animal Cruelty

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  • Ted Kirkpatrick and Animal Cruelty

    I've been listening to a lot of Ted Kirkpatrick recently, Christian drummer for Tourniquet and avowed animal rights advocate. He seems like a sweet Christian and a cool person to hang with. He's like a non-annoying Morrissey. But is it irrational to get choked up over animal suffering and loss?

    http://imgur.com/gallery/UERWdIN

    Teleologically, do we know why animal suffering--whether natural (like the above) or human caused (like factory meat production)--makes human beings sad? Maybe it's just a cultural construct or an anthropomorphic projection.
    Last edited by whag; 12-09-2014, 11:28 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by whag View Post
    I've been listening to a lot of Ted Kirkpatrick recently, Christian drummer for Tourniquet and avowed animal rights advocate. He seems like a sweet Christian and a cool person to hang with. He's like a non-annoying Morrissey. But is it irrational to get the choked up over animal suffering and loss?

    http://imgur.com/gallery/UERWdIN

    Teleologically, do we know why animal suffering--whether natural (like the above) or human caused (like factory meat production)--makes human beings sad? Maybe it's just a cultural construct or an anthropomorphic projection.
    Hmm. I don't think it is. I think it's part of broader, inclusive principe of reciprocity and defensible from that perspective. The closer an animal is to a a state of consciousness similar to mine, the more I abhor its suffering.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
      Hmm. I don't think it is. I think it's part of broader, inclusive principe of reciprocity and defensible from that perspective. The closer an animal is to a a state of consciousness similar to mine, the more I abhor its suffering.
      How do we compare that lion cub's level of consciousness to a chimp's? Seeing both species suffer like that makes me equally sad, but maybe I should be sadder for the chimp.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by whag View Post
        How do we compare that lion cub's level of consciousness to a chimp's? Seeing both species suffer like that makes me equally sad, but maybe I should be sadder for the chimp.
        I'm not sure sadness at suffering can be that finely graded. Certainly I am more offended by elephant suffering than I am by snail suffering.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
          I'm not sure sadness at suffering can be that finely graded. Certainly I am more offended by elephant suffering than I am by snail suffering.
          Hard to get much more coarse-grained than that. =) I used to know a bully who burned slugs with a magnifying glass. I still have the horrible image of the squirming creature in my brain.

          Still hungry?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by whag View Post
            Teleologically, do we know why animal suffering--whether natural (like the above) or human caused (like factory meat production)--makes human beings sad? Maybe it's just a cultural construct or an anthropomorphic projection.
            Evolution programmed us to be capable of empathy. That was necessary for us to exist as a social species. Our empathy is triggered by certain sensory data, mostly visual. Evolution had no occasion to fine-tune our brains to the point where our empathy could not be triggered by similar data from creatures not of our own species.
            Last edited by Doug Shaver; 12-09-2014, 11:16 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
              Evolution programmed us to be capable of empathy. That was necessary for us to exist as a social species. Our empathy is triggered by certain sensory data, mostly visual. Evolution had no occasion to fine-tune our brains to the point where our empathy could not be triggered by similar data from creatures not of our own species.
              That's the explanation that makes the most sense to me.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                I'm not sure sadness at suffering can be that finely graded. Certainly I am more offended by elephant suffering than I am by snail suffering.
                I think we naturally identify with creatures that are closer to us in intelligence. Thus we can empathise with other self-aware mammals, such as chimps, elephants and dolphins but much less so with slugs or insects which are alien to us.
                Last edited by Tassman; 12-10-2014, 04:33 AM.
                “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                  Evolution programmed us to be capable of empathy. That was necessary for us to exist as a social species. Our empathy is triggered by certain sensory data, mostly visual. Evolution had no occasion to fine-tune our brains to the point where our empathy could not be triggered by similar data from creatures not of our own species.
                  I don't get this. Then why is it so easy to turn off our empathy when it serves our more selfish needs? Like killing cute little baby seals?
                  Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by seer View Post
                    I don't get this. Then why is it so easy to turn off our empathy when it serves our more selfish needs? Like killing cute little baby seals?
                    We also often hear about the mistreatment of work elephants in Asian countries, and of course the extermination of elephants in Africa for ivory. I think its more a nurture thing than it is a nature one. People before the industrial age were likely generally far less squeamish about seeing animals killed and suffering than they are today.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      We also often hear about the mistreatment of work elephants in Asian countries, and of course the extermination of elephants in Africa for ivory. I think its more a nurture thing than it is a nature one. People before the industrial age were likely generally far less squeamish about seeing animals killed and suffering than they are today.
                      Then that kind of undermines the idea that we were "programmed" by the evolutionary process for specific behaviors.
                      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seer View Post
                        Then that kind of undermines the idea that we were "programmed" by the evolutionary process for specific behaviors.
                        It doesn't have to be either/or. King David was outraged at Samuel's story of the pet lamb that was killed. Jesus tells the story of a trapped lamb to affect our emotions. We empathized with the plight of our animal kin well before the industrial age, but as Adrift said, enculturation plays a part.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by whag View Post
                          It doesn't have to be either/or. King David was outraged at Samuel's story of the pet lamb that was killed. Jesus tells the story of a trapped lamb to affect our emotions. We empathized with the plight of our animal kin well before the industrial age, but as Adrift said, enculturation plays a part.
                          Well it seems that we can turn off our our empathy at will. And that is the point, it is not a "programmed" behavior.
                          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whag View Post
                            It doesn't have to be either/or. King David was outraged at Samuel's story of the pet lamb that was killed.
                            Because of the injustice done to the man who owned it, not due to the slaughtering of the lamb.

                            Jesus tells the story of a trapped lamb to affect our emotions. We empathized with the plight of our animal kin well before the industrial age, but as Adrift said, enculturation plays a part.
                            That's a parable about people who are lost. So, it wasn't about the "plight of our animal kin", but the way God treats those who are lost.

                            Bad examples for the intended point.

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                            • #15
                              The more a person is divorced from the source of their food, the more they tend to idealize and be saddened by how we get it. Someone who has only ever bought a steak at a grocery store, will be more "traumatized" by seeing a cow shot and butchered than someone who was raised having to hunt for meat and do their own butchering. Especially if they were raised watching things like Disney cartoons that anthropomorphize animals (e.g. Lion King, or Ice Age)

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