Re: Extropians and animal rights

Ian Goddard (
Tue, 12 Jan 1999 13:57:40 -0500

At 09:58 AM 1/12/99 -0800, mark wrote:

>Ian Goddard [] wrote:
>> There's an interesting correlation
>> between serial killers, like Jeffrey Dommer (sp?),
>> and torture of animals, such that a high percentage
>> of the most brutal serial killers first tortured
>> animals, usually when they were kids. They see
>> the similarity between humans and animals, but
>> only in the worst ways imaginable.
>Yeah, some time ago I saw a very interesting documentary about an American
>serial killer from a few decades ago, possibly the same guy; I'm no expert
>on serial killers so I don't know when he was caught. His basic problem
>seemed to be that he didn't see any difference between humans and other
>animals; he hunted them, took them home, and butchered them just like the
>deer he hunted at other times. It was hard to see him as evil, rather just
>someone whose mental programming was fundamentally broken.
>On the animal rights front, personally I have no problem with hunting;
>but I dislike any kind of torture to humans or animals. When people start
>to talk about giving rights to animals it makes me think of the medieval
>courts charging pigs with murder, and other such historical oddities. If
>animals are smart enough to have rights, then they should be smart enough
>to have the responsibilities too... and how are you going to explain to a
>fox that rabbits have a right to life? This seems to be an example of the
>serial killer's problem in reverse; he thought humans were animals, the
>animal rights folks think animals are human.

IAN: That's really mixing things up. By "human" you mean to say "sentient," and as such, animal rights folks think animals are sentient (not human), and indeed, like humans, they are. So sentence is a shared feature of all animals, including the human animal.

The case for non-cruelty to nonhuman animals is the case for noncruelty to sentient beings (the set of all animals including humans).

The evidence indicates that those willing to inflict cruelty on nonhuman animals are more inclined to inflict the same on human beings. So seeing the fact of similarities between animals isn't the problem (as you suggest) but it's the acceptance of cruelty that is.

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" A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with the idea from the beginning."

                 Max Plank - Nobel physicist