At 03:19 PM 1/11/99 -0800, Robin Hanson wrote:
>> IAN: Is a couple unkind to all the babies they
>> never conceived? Is the condom a cruel preventer of life?
>If a child you created would find their life worth living, you would be
>doing them a favor by creating them. However, I don't think failing to
>do someone a favor is "cruel." But I don't see how you can say you're
>being kind to that possible creature by such a choice.
IAN: One is neither kind nor cruel to
a creature one never creates. I'd say
there's no being that is never born,
thus none are deprived life when
less births than normal occur.
>> No, since a being that never existed is
>> not harmed by nonexistence since they don't exist!
>To me, it seems that if a creature would, if it existed, prefer
>that it existed, then that creature isn't getting what it wants
>if it doesn't exist. Taking things that creatures want away from
>them "harms" them.
IAN: Right, but I think it puts the
cart before the horse to say that a
non-birth is not nice to a being we
imagine might have existed if born.
>> Would raising humans for food acquire any degree
>> of justification because it gives humans lives?
>> If so, then causing people to be born just to
>> kill them is more ethical than not doing it.
>If a certain group of humans were created for food, I suspect
>that the rest of us would fear we or someone we know might
>someday become members of that group. We don't have a similar
>fear about cows.
IAN: I think one of the main measures
for rights is difference: we're less
able to feel for things that are
different. Bugs are really different
than us, and the idea of "bug rights"
isn't too much spoken for. Blacks are
different than whites, and so historically whites have given them less-to-no rights.
This is why I think that those that extend rights to animals perceive a similarity; they perceive that this other entity sees and feels like I do, and a spark of "self" is therefore seen in the other being, and with that perception comes a compassion.