Re: Moo/Boo! Was: Agricultural Skyscrapers

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 13:36:54 -0500

Charlie Stross wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 28, 1998 at 10:24:22AM -0500, Michael Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > Thus spake under the greatest rhetorical error/intentional fraud the liberal
> > nuts can muster: that animals are sentient. If something cannot come up to me
> > and discuss the weather, its not sentient.
> I hear your challenge and raise you one Hellen Keller. Failing that, try
> looking into the treatment of blind people back before Braile was invented,
> or deaf-blind people for that matter.
> Human beings are sentient and can communicate. The organs of communication
> are not essential for sentient existence. Ergo, here is an existence
> proof for sentience in the absence of communication.

Using exceptions (i.e. disabled/mutated) to prove the rule is another typical
liberal bullshit rhetorical method. If a mutant cow that sudden developed
intelligence came up to me tomorrow and said, "howdy doo", does that mean that all
normal moron cows deserve my protection? I don't think so.

> Of course, using this as an argument against eating cattle is highly
> suspect; it can be taken to ridiculous extremes. ("Here's my pet rock,
> Elmer. Say hello to Elmer. Sorry he can't hear you, but I assure you he's
> pleased to meet you.") However, I'm deeply uneasy about arguments based
> on the idea that anything that can't talk or write isn't worthy of some
> consideration; and I suspect that if she could form grammatically correct
> structures and communicate them my pet cat would agree with me.

That disabled humans can be taught to communicate by other means than speech or
writing english is evidence enough. How many cows have farted a symphony to you?

> (As an aside, however, I _do_ apply your communication/sentience argument
> to the oxymoronic topic of "animal rights". Rights imply a contractual
> arrangement; if I can enter into an agreement with another species, then,
> well, I'll concede it has rights. If it can't enter into an agreement with
> me, though, any concessions I make to it can't, by definition, be contractual
> rights.)
> > ........ Since your typical vegan
> > is also an atheist, or at best, a rational non-dietical buddhist, they cannot
> > claim the protections of the Natural Law doctrine, so they must then agree
> > that rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only applies to
> > individuals who are willing to use force, or employ others to use force, to
> > attain and protect those rights for themselves, i.e. the Force Doctrine.
> Eh?
> You're assuming a rights-based transaction between humans and their prey.

Essentially, but as a contest of rights. A prey that flees is contesting my right to
eat it. If I catch it, I've proven my fitness/right to do so. Classic natural
selection. A cow that contests nothing implies no contestation of right.

> But what's to stop the humans simply voluntarily conceding that they * will
> not eat meat *, no matter what? Like, maybe, because they don't like the
> taste? They need concede no rights whatsoever to the animals in order to
> justify not eating them.

THis is entirely reasonable, and does not imply that animals have rights as a
natural state. That prey normally do not take offense at a predators use of force
outside of an instinctual flight reaction and do not defend others of their kind
(again with a few exceptional species which typically are thought to be in the
intelligence grey area anyways) indicates that concepts like rights do not exist in
the wild. If an animal cannot conceive the concept, then they cannot posess the

> My cat is a carnivore. She 'thinks' anything that moves and is smaller
> than her is food -- simple as that. (I have no _idea_ what she thinks I
> am.) I am an omnivore, but I don't feel any urge to eat my cat, even though
> I'm told cats are edible. Just to add to the picture, my girlfriend is
> a vegan, _but_ when quizzed about it confesses to not knowing how she'd
> react if anyone came up with a way of farming anencephalic cattle (which
> opens another can of worms, as genetically engineered anencephalic frogs
> and mice are yesterday's headlines).
> > If the human race becomes all herbivores, what species will then claim the job
> > of top carnivore???
> The species that have already got it. Remember, we're all food for the
> prokaryotes in the end. (At least until we manage to develop uploading.
> And even then, we might find there's something that eats human minds ...)

parasites? I'm thinking of predators that work for their meals. Perhaps as things
accelerate, we might develop human variants or other predators that will cull out
the weak. You'll notice how penal psychology refers to many criminals as
'predators'. If they are the predators, does this mean that psychology has already
abdicated our role for us and thinks of well adjusted people as 'sheep'???