Instigator / Pro

Animals have moral weight.

Debating

Waiting for contender's argument

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Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
Description
If there are any parameters on the debate you'd like to change before accepting this debate (character count, number of rounds, etc.) just tell me.
Round 1
Published:
Moral weight is commonly assigned by most people to human lives, but millions of people would also attach moral weight to their pets and other animals.

I think first we need to discuss the reason that we assign moral weight to humans.

A1: Society as a source of morality.

You're probably familiar with the Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated. This is literally the basis of morality, according to some scholars. They believe that hunter-gatherers likely espoused the Golden Rule. If Henry the Hunter-gatherer wanted a stone axe, and Bob the Hunter-gatherer had one, he would take it, because he's stronger than Bob. In fact, Henry is stronger than any other individual of the tribe. However, Bob, Gary, Thomas, Katrina, and Eliza are all tired of Henry taking things, so they all attack Henry at once and take everything back, and take his spear. 
Results: No one wants Henry to take their stuff.
Henry doesn't want everyone to take his stuff.

At some point, a system of rules (I'm not going to call it law yet, because it's not exactly a government) is created and enforced by the society. Everyone wants to do whatever they want. But everyone doesn't want everyone else to do whatever they want to themselves. The society makes rules restricting you from doing whatever you want, banning murder, theft, etc. Even though everyone has a restriction to their actions, there's a net positive because no one is getting murdered or robbed. Because everyone wants the same thing, the society will punish people who break the rules. Morality emerges. Anyone who breaks the rules is wrong, morally wrong. The rule-abiding society embodies the moral right. Any breaking of the rules is a moral atrocity towards anyone affected. If you murdered someone, you have committed a moral wrong. So that person being alive has moral weight in that destroying it is negative and saving it and improving it are positive. 

If you want to argue that morality comes from somewhere else, feel free. 


To summarize, morality came about because everyone wanted protection from others' actions. They will punish you for robbing their neighbor because they want their neighbor to punish you for robbing them, which would act as an excellent (though obviously not perfect) deterrent for theft. 

Animal intelligence

Scientists have increasingly found that animals exist on a spectrum of intelligence with humans. Many people say that because animals have any degree of intelligence, they have a moral weight of the same degree as long as they are able desire things in the same way that Bob desires to not be robbed. 

This is where the Golden Rule applies for me. If some aliens showed up on Earth that were orders of magnitude more intelligent than I am, I would still want them to consider my life to have moral weight so they wouldn't kill me without thought, like a human kills a bug or a tree, but by extension, I must consider that animals would desire to have moral weight as a protection against the kind of action that would be censured by society if it was taken against a human. 
Published:
Animals have had moral value in almost every culture and religion throughout human history. This resolution is a fact or proposition of generalized knowledge so universally well known that it cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute. In other words, this debate is a truism, or very close to it, where Con literally has no grounds on which to make a case. Pro has, in effect, created a debate with rules dictating an automatic win for Pro. It would be unfair to vote for Pro in such a situation, and Pro's conduct should not be rewarded. I urge all to vote as follows:

  1. Award no points for arguments
  2. Award conduct points to Con on account of Pro creating a truism debate, perhaps in an attempt to win farm.

Round 2
Published:
Whether or not my argument is a truism, you accepted it. Your responsibility as the Con to this debate is to attempt to prove me wrong. Since you outright accepted my position as true, you concede the debate. 

You have accepted this debate, not in good faith, but to TRY TO GAIN VOTES ON THE BASIS OF HAVING "no grounds on which to make a case.", WHICH IS THE ANTITHESIS OF ACTUAL DEBATE. That is literally like a defense attorney saying that the defendant should be found innocent on the grounds that there is no way to disprove his guilt.
The difference is that a defense attorney is not discredited for having to defend an indefensible position, especially considering that the law requires that any criminal is guaranteed a lawyer in the court of law.[1] You, who took up this debate of your own free will, are liable to any consequences of defending an indefensible argument, in this case being getting no points for arguments.

I urge all to vote as follows:

  1. Award points for arguments to those who made legitimate arguments toward the topic at hand.
  2. Award conduct points to Pro on account of Con accepting the debate in bad faith, perhaps in an attempt to win farm.
perhaps in an attempt to win farm.
What does winning farm mean?

Not published yet
Round 3
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Round 4
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Added:
I forgot my source, but here it is.
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_counsel
Instigator
#15
Added:
If you view morality through Jesus does then yes, for God destroys those who destroy the earth. And the scriptures say we are worth many sparrows (thats to get the point across to not worry about food, etc because God feeds even the sparrows)
#14
Added:
--> @K_Michael
This seems too uncontroversial to be debated properly. The question "do animals have moral weight?" is one of (almost) complete agreement. If you were to refine the question to say: "can X amount of animals outweigh 1 human life?" then maybe you'd get some takers.
#13
Added:
--> @Bohemian_Fallacy
I'm only saying that animals should have a level of moral consideration just like humans do (though not the same level).
Instigator
#12
Added:
--> @K_Michael
I am unclear as to what you are asserting here, are you asserting that it is morally wrong to Kill animals? if so, to what degree? is this a debate about veganism/vegetarianism/ eating meat? i'd accept but i'm not sure where you're taking this.
#11
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
How was your vacation?
Instigator
#10
Added:
--> @K_Michael
Even if Con properly does semantic kritiks on you, you can invert the kritiks by saying that they have a moral weight of 0 (arbitrary unit).
Therefore, you automatically win this debate if both sides play correctly.
Clarification for mods: I said this before the debate had a contender, not after.
#9
Added:
--> @Alec
I haven't thought about this so fully that you can't poke all sorts of holes in it. For now, I err on the side of giving them the same moral considerations as anyone else. I'm not convinced that I'm right, but the easiest way to find the truth is to challenge someone else to convince you that you're wrong.
Instigator
#8
Added:
--> @K_Michael
If the baby was growing to be someone who was very stupid, like an IQ of 55, would they be justifiable to eat? About 2 million such people exist worldwide according to my calculations.
#7
Added:
--> @Alec
I agree. I do believe, however, in taking a more timeless perspective. That baby may not be very smart now (Though a two-year-old passes many of the same intelligence tests as chimpanzees.) but a newborn grows up into an intelligent person eventually. I value that future intelligence as well.
Instigator
#6
Added:
--> @K_Michael
If intelligence is your justification, newborns are pretty dumb. Is it okay to eat newborns? I'd say no.
#5
Added:
--> @Alec
No, actually. While I place moral weight on the life of animals, I also place moral weight on convenience for humans. Maybe that's an rationalization, though. I would be a lot less comfortable if I ate more intelligent animals like dolphins, apes, or crows. I avoid pork because pigs are fairly intelligent.
Instigator
#4
Added:
--> @K_Michael
Out of curiosity, are you vegan/vegetarian?
#3
Added:
--> @Alec
Moral weight is kinda hard to define.
Ok, so a human has moral weight. We consider it wrong to kill humans without very good reasons, like saving other lives. My stance is that the same kind of value should be placed on animal lives (though not necessarily to the same degree).
Instigator
#2
Added:
--> @K_Michael
What does this mean?
#1
No votes yet