LOL - Peta to buy (a) Sea World?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:07 PM

janfrederick said:
Not necessarily. By raising the standards by which we treat fellow animals, we raise the expectations for treatment of our own species. Seems like a big jump, but I don't think so.

It does seem like a big jump. A little too big for me, but even if I buy it, I'm still not sure how helping indirectly is better than helping directly.

Seems like nothing would raise the expectations of treatment of humans more than actual concern for the treatment of humans.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:16 PM
Well, we can't all be the big cog in the machine. Some of us have to be little cogs. ;)
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:37 PM
Heh. I see. :)
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:35 PM
And everyone missed the South Park episode about PETA the other night!
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Thursday, August 28, 2008 9:18 AM

matt. said:


Yeah, but see, that's the problem, animal rights activists are going to tell you that this is specifically why they do what they do. Those folks who volunteer for hours upon hours for these causes will tell you they advocate for defenseless animals specifically because they're such a low priority for much of the rest of society.


I agree with everything you've said Matt, but this I feel is the most important of all. I am by no means an animal acitivist- I don't support the PETA freaks, and I'm pretty far away from being a vegetarian. But volunteering at a local animal shelter is pretty much the only thing I do to give back to society. It has nothing to do with me considering the life of an animal more valuable than the life of a human being, it's just my belief that animals get the short end of the stick way too often.... something that's very well supported in the next quote:


janfrederick said:
Not necessarily. By raising the standards by which we treat fellow animals, we raise the expectations for treatment of our own species. Seems like a big jump, but I don't think so.

Elephants getting whipped in circus cages. Feral cats running around and procreating in numbers that are damaging to the enviroment. Killing animals for the sole purpose of harvesting their fur for expensive clothing. What does that say about society as a whole? Whatever it is, it's not saying all that much.

Not to come across as overly green and preachy (that's not me), but if we're going to respect each other, we also have to respect the animals with which we share this planet. If not, we're just a bunch of monsters.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 12:02 PM
That's an interesting concept...protecting the animals as a symbol for how we should be protecting each other. But still, why not just protect each other as a symbol for how we should be protecting the animals?

As I reflect more about this issue of prioritizing our own interests in giving to causes we deem worthy... something I still stand by as subjective and personal and therefore not right or wrong... I was thinking about my own priority and the actions I've taken accordingly.

I would tell you that my first priority in helping resides with people. But currently, my only steady resource allocation is going to the ASPCA. That resource happens to be financial as I joined as a memeber.

Why would that be if I said that my priority is with helping people? That's easy to answer. The ASPCA made it extremely easy and convenient to donate to their organization.

Does that say anything about society as a whole or am I alone?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 6:03 PM
Of course if you want to get really philosphical (and perhaps cynical), you have to ask why we donate to causes anyway. Is it because we really have a stake in preserving animal populations/helping the homeless/etc. or is it because helping out makes us feel good?

^^We are just a bunch of monsters...and if people would accept that and move on, things would be a whole lot better ;) *** Edited 8/28/2008 10:03:50 PM UTC by Alan T.***

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Friday, August 29, 2008 4:13 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

It's the very most basic of all instincts. Protect yourself and your kind.


Preacher man has to jump in here. Why does everything have to be rooted in self-interest?

In reality, everything is and I'll be the first to admit that the vast majority of my actions are, but isn't the ideal "Love your neighbor as yourself"? If we cooperated instead of competed wouldn't we all be better off?

Sorry to take the conversation on a tangent, but I always get a little irked by the "Look out for number 1 at all costs" philosophy.

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Friday, August 29, 2008 4:21 PM
Because it's a base instinct. There's something 'defective' (for lack of a better term that's escaping me right now) in a being that doesn't preserve or protect itself.

I get what you're saying, but the idea that a greater good makes things better for all of us is a thought process, not an instinct.

Without that base instinct to ensure my own survival, I couldn't in turn have the thought that helping others might just be helping myself in the long run.

I guess my belief is that we couldn't look at things your way without having the embedded instinct to look out for number one in the first place.

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Friday, August 29, 2008 4:30 PM
I'll agree with that, but I will also point out that there are A LOT of instincts that we have which are harmful to the community/species/society in the long run (like the desire to kill someone who has wronged us). In order to not descend into anarachy, we have to willingly suppress many of our instincts in the interest of the greater good.

Obviously self preservation is an important instinct, but there are also a whole lot of situations where everyone looking out of the greater good will have a better result than everyone looking out for themselves.

Recycling and nuclear arms anti-proliferation come immediately to mind.

It's the classic prisoner's dilemma.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma

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Friday, August 29, 2008 4:40 PM

I'll agree with that, but I will also point out that there are A LOT of instincts that we have which are harmful to the community/species/society in the long run (like the desire to kill someone who has wronged us).

Depends.

If the one who wronged us is jeopardizing our survival, then isn't the greater good to eliminate that threat?


In order to not descend into anarachy, we have to willingly suppress many of our instincts in the interest of the greater good.

Maybe I'm pushing this too far, but perhaps that anarchy is in the best interest of our survival...I have to think those instincts exist for a reason. Seems to me quite often like man has only begun to really create harm for himself since we started to believe we can 'out think' our instincts.


Obviously self preservation is an important instinct, but there are also a whole lot of situations where everyone looking out of the greater good will have a better result than everyone looking out for themselves.

Recycling and nuclear arms anti-proliferation come immediately to mind.


On the surface, at least. Perhaps our initial and current thoughts a incorrect and down the road we'll see the folly of our ways. (It's happened countless times before)

It goes back to the idea that a thought is quite possibly less reliable than an instinct.


It's the classic prisoner's dilemma.

Wasn't there a short-lived game show based on that concept a few years back?

EDIT - the game show was Friend or Foe?

*** Edited 8/29/2008 8:44:32 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Friday, August 29, 2008 5:49 PM
Interesting. I had never heard of friend or foe and it's slightly different from the prisoner's dilemma in that it's 0 sum while the prisoner's dilemma is not. In a one shot deal, it's not too important but if you play the game over and over alternating between betraying each other is just as good as cooperating all the time (which is not true of the prisoner's dilemma).

In our society, especially recently, (aka - the world is headed down the tubes) I think we allow self-interest to dominate and don't even bring up the common good as a consideration anymore (see thread on parental ettiquette.)

Just as a contemporary example, I kept getting frustrated listening to the news coverage of the Olympics regarding the shut-down of Chinese factories to reduce pollution in Beijing. In particular, it seemed that most of the Western reporters that I heard interviewing factory owners were trying to bait an answer of "I can't make a living and the Chinese govt. sucks" and when they didn't get that answer they chalked it up to "Chinese people are afraid to criticize their govt." Being a second generation Chinese American, I chalked it up to Chinese culture valuing taking one for the team and these factory owners responding to the call to give up personal livelihood for the sake of the greater good. Either the reporter were just trying to get a controversial story and/or they had trouble understanding how someone could take that large a sacrifice for the team...

And to get super off topic, I guess my world view includes a level that is above evolution, instinct, social order, game theory, species preservation, survival or self interest. I guess I believe that we can be more than any combination of those things will ever yield but it takes a conscious decision to transcend. I know my instincts have led me woefully astray in the past.

Comic relief time.
I always count on Haiku
To lighten the mood *** Edited 8/29/2008 9:58:52 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***

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