Why I don't think it's a contradiction to be pro-choice as well as vegan

This discussion was started in the thread Is the life of the mother or father more important than a BABY??, which itself started as a debate on the comments page of the Vegetarian/Vegan Atheists group. In the former discussion, bringing in veganism to the abortion debate was considered to be broadening the discussion a bit too far and that a new discussion should be added. So, here it is.

I'm not saying anything that I hadn't said before, I don't think - first, while there aren't any tangible benefits to killing animals in terms of diet (see position paper by the ADA, as one example), the environment (see this report by the FAO - again, there's more, but I'm too lay to dig up additional resources right now), or clothing (I'm not supplying a link for this :P), there are many obvious adverse consequences to a woman who carries a child to term, including but not limited to physical pain, emotional complications, and financial losses.

Secondly, while many animals probably don't have the highly-developed sense of self-identity that human beings do, we still have reason to believe that they have some sense of self. For instance, an animal can tell the difference between an action taken by itself and another animal, can recognize friendly from non-friendly individuals, can discern between their own trail markings, songs and the like from those of others, and so on. These various facets of identity are generally recognized, I believe, to not develop in human beings until between two and eighteen months after birth. As a result, it seems reasonable to conclude that the death of a born animal is a greater loss of life than a fetus's, if such a thing can be measured.

As a result, I don't see any inherent contradiction in being pro-choice as well as vegan at the same time.

Tags: abortion, animal_rights, pro-choice, right_to_life, vegan, veganism, vegetarian

Views: 49

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hear, hear. The instinct for self-preservation alone requires elevating one's own worth above that of others on most occasions.
"I get tired of the recourse to arguments based on this or that moral philosopher"

Thank you. I'm glad it's not just me. All moral philosophers need to be stuck on an island full of large predators with only enough food and supplies for one man. Let's see how long their concrete moral values last when they're out of their safe zone.

I second that.

Hear, hear.


Go the Dunning-Kruger Cheer squad!!!

Let's see, one can attempt to use reason

-I assume that is what you think you are doing even if poorly-

and deny one needs to be informed at all about a particular subject or learn the basics

-because you think you know better-

and dismiss lightly

-through an ad hominem attack that they live in an ivory tower-

the reasoning/work by people who make it their vocation to train themselves in philosophy

-to make valid, coherent and consistent arguments-

to know they are talking about.

Which in itself doesn't mean they're automatically correct, but it is likely only the incompetent and ignorant would think they could take that approach and come out on top.

What incredible hubris, I have to give you that.

BTW have a search for the Dunning-Kruger effect you are all prime candidates for it.

At least you have saved me my time, I won't be bothering to reply to anything more you have to say.

It will make a good anicdote though, and sure to raise a few laughs when I go back to talking with those who have a clue.

Toodooloo
Simon, if you had been able to effectively refute even one of our arguments, I'd have some sympathy. Again, your debating opponents are not required to do your work for you. I'm surprised an academic doesn't know that.
BTW, none of us has claimed any sort of superiority. Several of us have demonstrated superior debating skills to yours, but none of us have stated or even appeared to assume that we are smarter than the average moral philosopher, so the Dunning-Kruger effect doesn't apply. (And BTW, it's really not that hard to drop a citation or two into your arguments, as I've just done.) Quite the reverse, in fact. We claimed repeatedly that we might not be understanding your arguments properly. If anything, we simply didn't buy your presentation of the arguments of others, and why should we? How do we know you've understood them correctly or are presenting them accurately? In a debate, it's your job to present your case. Unfortunately, you either hold an unconvincing position, or you presented it unconvincingly. Perhaps one of the people you name-dropped could have done better, but they're not here.

And in any case, it's no claim of superiority that somebody else has missed something. Everybody has blind spots, and if ethicists aren't grounding their theories in empirical science, then they have a pretty damn big blind spot. A proper refutation of that point would show that they do, in fact, take such considerations into account, and state why those points don't trump the conclusions they hold. You never even tried to do that. Don't blame us because you couldn't convince us.
Funny, Simon, this is the first ad hominem attack in the thread. See 3a on the rules and guidelines. An ad hominem and some name calling, nice. Next time, resist the urge to name call, and walk away.
Since when has anyone been enforcing these guidelines? I seem to remember being called a misogynist on these forums and nothing was said.
& technically no it isn't an ad hom.
I need to apologize ahead of time for this post - I'm just anal and some of your statements are the kind that really, really piss me off.


So, technically I'm a vegan, though I don't always identify as such because I don't like being associated with evangelism of any sort.

1. Vegans aren't necessarily evangelical
2. If you're really against evangelism "of any kind", does that mean you're against the rule of law, period? Or do you think we should skip the discussion part and move right ahead to the use of force?

Here, if you're against vegans trying to convince others that veganism is correct, what would you like us to do instead? Either we say, "hey, murder is a-ok with me!", which is both immensely hypocritical as well as immoral, or we say "hey, you shouldn't do that." If we choose the latter, we can either try to reason with people or we can use force (presumably through the government). Or do you have a third option?


I get tired of the recourse to arguments based on this or that moral philosopher, because they all seem to be men positing universal laws based on the experience of moving through life in a one-size-fits-all male body. Female body processes never got written in. I'll tell you what, if pregnancy and childbirth suddenly switched teams and became a male bodily experience, moral philosophy would change pretty darn quickly to preserve the freedoms of men everywhere.

There are so many things that this could be, I'm having trouble choosing. Is it misandrist? Anti-moral philosophy in general? Simply ignorant? I don't think that you can equate moral philosophy in general with a pro-life stance; I don't see how moral philosophers are basing their philosophies off of male bodies instead of women's; and I frankly don't even see what women's bodies have to do with whether or not a fetus is properly sentient. Siamese twins can share bodies and both be sentient; hypothetically, so could parasites, symbionts and so on.

I also love the speculative, ad hominem charge of hypocrisy. Not only is it completely unprovable, it would do nothing to disprove the theories posited, and it even manages to tar all men with the same, negative brush! High five!
Sorry you're pissed off. It was nice to have a thread to share my thoughts. I appreciate it.
I had a long response to the past few posts here, but the fact is we're getting amazingly off-topic. The question at hand isn't whether it's men or women who have more bias in their reasoning on abortion, the question is whether, in the abstract, veganism and a pro-choice stance on abortion are contradictory to each other. If you'd like to discuss this separate issue (wherein I will happily debunk your arguments, lol) you should make a fresh thread on it.
So Aaron what grounds a persons or an non person animals 'right' or justification not to b harmed as you understand it?
Are we required to provide care for sentient beings?
Is it ok to be speciest?
The way that I usually try to think of it is with the vegan's wager: when there's reasonable doubt as to an organism's sentience or right-to-life, you should try to extend moral consideration as far as possible. I say as far as possible, since there are plenty of situations where it's impossible in practice to be perfectly humane. Abortion I consider to be one of those issues: assuming that a fetus has at least some neural activity, the choice is between an organism with at least some sensation of what's happening to it and between a grown, fully-sentient person's right to choose the circumstances of their own life. Personally, I find the balance to be far in the adult woman's favor.

To give another example, let's say someone's gotten in a car accident and has lost all higher brain function. Their lower functions still operate, however, so they'd still feel their oxygen being cut off, or the pain of starvation by not being fed. In this situation, for me the question is not whether or not these negative experiences are being felt, since they provably do, but what exactly is feeling them. This person's memories and personality are gone forever, to say nothing about their ability to operate in society. It seems like the passive experience of pain isn't enough; you need some sort of being to feel that pain, that would be able to recognize it as bad, and so on.

Then, there's the issue of how much is good enough - I wouldn't argue that someone sacrificing their life to save a thousand others is wrong, but to say that everyone has to do that or they're "bad" is another issue. In the abortion debate, one might argue that a pro-life position is more moral, but to say that abortion ought to be illegal is a completely different ballgame.

When you ask if we have to provide care for sentient beings, my basic position would be yes - though it would have to be kept in mind that we don't live in a perfect world and the simple fact is that we're not going to be able to take care of everyone all the time. Our first goal should be to protect the most organisms that are the most sentient, and as we get better at it, or have better technology, or whatever, we can add more beings to the list, until ideally everyone would be covered.

Speciesism is a really tough issue to handle since theoretically everything that we value as humans is a product of our evolution. My general rule of thumb is that you use the (better version of) the golden rule: you do for them what they would want for themselves.

Of course, there's a more crass form of speciesism, which simply holds that if something doesn't have human DNA, then it doesn't deserve moral consideration, which is a nonsensical position if for no other reason than because there's no way to define human from non-human - we're all evolving even now, and depending on how narrowly you define 'human', speciesism could even lead to racism. Speciesism in this form is simply a less extreme form of racism.
First back up a sec unless I’ve missed it, why does sentience grant a right to life in the first place?


“The way that I usually try to think of it is with the vegan's wager: when there's reasonable doubt as to an organism's sentience or right-to-life, you should try to extend moral consideration as far as possible.”


Seems pretty vague, I’d like to try to see how and where it is applied. Maybe you spell out how you would use it.

”When you ask if we have to provide care for sentient beings, my basic position would be yes - though it would have to be kept in mind that we don't live in a perfect world and the simple fact is that we're not going to be able to take care of everyone all the time. Our first goal should be to protect the most organisms that are the most sentient, and as we get better at it, or have better technology, or whatever, we can add more beings to the list, until ideally everyone would be covered.”

Could an imperfect world mean one may happen to exclude some human babies so other species could survive?

Overall, again seems pretty vague and it could seem quite arbitrary about when and where one applies it.

Let’s restrict it just to babies, kittens, and ape babies to try and make sense of it.

If we cannot kill or let die our babies -even if there aren’t enough willing couples the state can step in- if we are to be consistent shouldn’t we also be required to have the state step in a care for all unwanted kittens and orphan ape babies?

If you with limited resources are putting our babies first I would want to know on what grounds do we put them first. Singer may say that makes people happy but I would imagine that one could make a lot of vegans happy if it were required for other animals as well.


”Speciesism is a really tough issue to handle since theoretically everything that we value as humans is a product of our evolution. My general rule of thumb is that you use the (better version of) the golden rule: you do for them what they would want for themselves.”

We could but then we are using a sophisticated abstraction, they don’t after all have a sophisticated desire for life. & if you wish to base it on an abstract biological goal to keep living a foetus has this as well. BTW once we have worked this out I’ll move to the bodily autonomy thing.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service