Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Evan Dunne - Animals & Whatnot - Section 8 - Group 3

1. Evan Dunne
Blog Post #1
Section 8
Group 3 (Philthy Philosophers)

Animals & Whatnot

Part 1 - A mildly cluttered collection of thoughts pertaining to the consumption of animals, and the internal struggles that I may or may not endure as a result of said consumption.

"The time will come, when humanity will extend its mantle over every thing which breathes." – Jeremy Bentham 

I recently found myself in the midst of a Facebook quarrel, in which a friend of mine who identifies as vegan argued against his meat-eating peers over the likes of animal rights. I chose to point out his veganism, as a majority of his argument against meat consumption spawns largely from his pro-animal rights mindset. Perhaps a better term to describe my friend would be an activist for the progression of fauna treatment, rather than a “vegan”. Regardless, his opinions on animal treatment prompt his decision not to consume meat. He fueled his opinions with stories of mass animal slaughter, animal abuse, and comparisons between his perspective on the current state of animal treatment and topics such as the civil rights movement and slavery. Quite frankly, I found this last bit of “support” to be somewhat outlandish. The comments on my friend’s post made it clear that most people found the comparison between meat-eaters and slave owners to be inappropriate, as it seemingly devalued the hardships that oppressed slaves underwent. I could not will myself to believe that a human being who eats meat, and thus suppresses the rights of an animal, is just as bad as a racist that wishes to suppress the rights of another due to his or her skin color.

Perhaps unfortunately, I just don’t view animals as my equals. However, could it be that I’m just as narrow-minded as the racist who looks at his brother with different skin than his, and “just doesn’t view him as an equal”? In the grand scheme of things, if such a grand scheme exists, am I truly supposed to regard animals as my equal and abstain from consuming them? These are the questions that consumed my thoughts as I reflected on my friend’s post, as well as the readings about animals in Philosophy: the basics. Do I think that animals should be slaughtered and abused? Absolutely not, but I also don’t feel any remorse when eating cheeseburgers, ham sandwiches, and meatloaf. I certainly don’t support the consumption of animals that have been domesticated as house pets, because these creatures have displayed the ability to adapt to an environment that is foreign to their species. 

These are a few animals that I won’t eat. 

On the other hand, these are also animals that I will gladly eat. 

I feel like chickens only cluck, eat and poop, so I don’t lose too much sleep over eating them. I don’t believe that eating animals is fundamentally wrong, but I must agree with my friend that I am not fond of animal mistreatment. That being said, I must disagree with his implications that animals, or even vegans, are having their rights suppressed in the same way that men and women of various races have had their rights suppressed throughout the course of history. 

I will continue to eat meat until I am thoroughly convinced that doing so is immoral.


2. Evan Dunne
Blog Post #1
Section 8
Group 3 (Philthy Philosophers)

Animals & Whatnot
Part 2 – Another introspective analysis, including ideas pertaining to the correlation between animals and sport. More internal conflicts? Perhaps?

So, let’s get the gasps out of the way.


These images disgust me. I find it appalling that another human being is capable of killing an animal that poses no apparent threat to us, simply for the sake of pride, fun, or even just a photograph. Moreover, I would claim that I find it appalling that humans are capable of forcing animals to fight one another for entertainment. 

Similar to this:

Incredible! You even have the option of paralyzing your opponent’s creature before you pummel it into submission. But do not fret, Pokémon fans. I may or may not locate an old Pokémon game cartridge over every Christmas Break and relish in its nostalgia. I’m not going to play the holier-than-thou card and tell you that the game encourages taking advantage of animals in order to fulfill your own desire for entertainment. But does it?

In reality animals don’t just faint after a battle. We can’t take them to a hospital and heal them in a few seconds. Moreover, I can’t will myself to justify the killing of animals such as giraffes and elephants. 

However, I enjoy fishing. 
Some people throw the fish back into the water, and some people cook the fish. Some fish are thrown back and given the chance to live. Some are utilized for sustenance. However, how would we feel if we suddenly found ourselves with a large hook impaling the roofs of our mouths and protruding through our foreheads? Does the lack of remorse stem from the same root as the issue I discussed in the first part of blog posts? Perhaps we permit the suffering of fish because we eat them. Personally, I feel disgusted at the image of the two chickens fighting, but I eat chicken. Does my sympathy, and perhaps even empathy, for these creatures stem from a different root?

Regardless, I find myself torn on this issue. I’m not certain where I stand. My initial response would be to say, “The use of any animals for sport and entertainment is wrong and should not be tolerated.” This statement would define me as hypocrite. Fishermen, duck hunters, quail hunters, deer hunters and Pokémon trainers, are we at the root of the problem of hurting animals we care about for the sake of fun?


3. Evan Dunne
Blog Post #3
Section 8
Group 3 (Philthy Philosophers)

Animals & Whatnot
Part 3 – More thoughts about our fuzzy friends. Do animals have souls? Do WE have souls? ARE WE ANIMALS? Will I pass Philosophy class? All this and more to be answered… THIS WEEK IN EVAN’S BLOG POST.

How presh?

Do I believe that animals have souls?
Well, before I can answer that question, I must clarify whether I think we human beings have souls. I’m not really certain, but my ever skeptic mind tells me, “No.” I don’t believe we have some essence inside of us that’s like a little ghost that pilots our body around. I often wish I wasn’t so cynical about this topic. However, if any creature had such a quality, we’d be at the top of my list. To me, the soul is the explanation for the part of us that keeps on keeping on after our body shrivels up and dies. Unfortunately, I can’t convince myself that part of us keeps living after our bodies die. The brain shuts off, and thus, we shut off.

Staring into your soul? Not likely.

That being said, my opinion is that statements claiming that animals have souls are acts of desperation on behalf of people who want to see their beloved pets in the afterlife after they die. However, if I don’t believe I’ll see anything after I die, I don’t believe I’ll see my pets. I feel like when I die, I cease to exist. No soul. No life. I feel that the same goes for a dog or elephant or great white shark.

When I say an animal doesn’t have a soul, I’m not refusing to believe that an animal can’t experience some emotion. But do we confuse emotion with simple satisfaction? Just because pain makes us sad, does it do the same for animals?

I call this one "Gosh, I sure do hope my professor is fond
of cute little animals."

So do I believe animals have souls? I tend not to, just like I tend not to believe we have a little ghostly essence inside that is actually “us”. I could be completely wrong, and I almost hope I am. 

Are humans dominant to animals because humans have souls? No. Souls don’t exist to me. I’m a living, thinking being, not a spirit inside a shell. 

Humans are animals. 

Humans just happen to have higher brain function than other animals.

Here’s a nifty movie clip of the Elephant Man saying, “I am NOT an animal!”

But alas, Elephant Man, you are an animal. You and me and every other human being.

With all three posts in mind, I leave you with this: Be nice to animals. Don't treat them like crap. Even if you consume animals, don't abuse them. They're living creatures that can suffer, so don't be a prick. 

1 comment:

  1. Not believing in the "ghost in the machine" does not make you a cynic, either in the modern sense (a sneering naysayer) or in that of Diogenes (a flouter of conventional belief and behavior). But it does put you on all fours, as it were, with our furry friends. This is a good thing, isn't it? Being an animal opens you to ranges of experience that are pleasurable, invigorating, tranquilizing etc., and being an intelligent animal opens you to philosophy. All good!

    One point of style: we need a better term for badly-behaving humans than "prick" - I don't understand why a slang term for a perfectly natural animal attribute should automatically convey reproach. Descartes invidiously thought we have souls and animals are automata. Maybe we should just learn to say: "don't be a Cartesian."