Instigator / Pro
21
1528
rating
57
debates
54.39%
won
Topic
#4751

There is no trait present in humans and absent in animals which morally justifies killing animals

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
9
6
Better sources
6
4
Better legibility
4
2
Better conduct
2
2

After 4 votes and with 7 points ahead, the winner is...

FishChaser
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Rated
Number of rounds
3
Time for argument
Three days
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Minimal rating
None
Contender / Con
14
1706
rating
560
debates
68.13%
won
Description

No information

Round 1
Pro
#1
Generally speaking, sentient beings don't want to die and feel pain. I would argue that the primary trait that gives human life moral value i.e "you shouldn't kill a person" is that they are sentient, feel pain, and avoid death just like pretty much any other animal. Any other trait is morally superfluous in comparison and in most cases brings into question whether it is ok to genocide the mentally handicapped. It always boils down to humans being more intelligent or able in some way but when it comes to sentience itself humans are no different than a dog in the sense that they are self-aware and feel pain. If the trait is that humans are the same species as you then that makes it morally ok for aliens to torture and genocide the human race. If the trait is that humans have souls then that makes it ok to murder anyone you believe doesn't have a soul. The bottom line is that you are a psychopath to an extent if you don't recognize animals/sentient beings as valuable in general and not just your own species or certain members of your own species.

There are plenty of moral systems and principles which don't actually place sentience and harm at the center of things, so what makes those principles and systems less morally valid? They are less valid because unless you place sentience and the harm VS good that is done to sentient beings at the center of your moral system you are a psychopath (to an extent at least) and morality becomes an arbitrary list of rules rather than an extension of empathy. For you to disregard a being's will to live and ability to feel pain because they aren't the same species as you or don't possess relatively superfluous traits means you lack empathy. 



Con
#2
Generally speaking, sentient beings don't want to die and feel pain.
Suicidal people exist but admittedly even (theoretically) suicidal dogs exist when going through grief (they refuse to eat). I argue that the other creatures just experience grief and lack of hunger due to it, they don't have a clue that it's killing them or understand what death truly is (just that their companion is no longer alive and with them). 

What is interesting is this already is a gaping hole in Pro's case in twofold manner. Humans not only grasp death better than all other animals put together but can actively want to die in ways other animals do not as actively do.

What is even more fascinating is that humans are the only species to be capable of wilful masochism, as in embracing pain whether through spicy food through to severe kinky activity.

masochism

1
the derivation of sexual gratification from being subjected to physical pain or humiliation by oneself or another
2
pleasure in being abused or dominated a taste for suffering

While not all species are trainable through food and reward/pleasure mechanisms, all species other than humans are trainable through fearing agony and pain. Humans are the only species to both be actively capable of suicidal ideation and genuine masochism. This is one of many examples of what separates humans so far from the rest of the animal kingdom and is proof of their complexity and sentience being extremely ahead of the rest.

I would argue that the primary trait that gives human life moral value is that they are sentient, feel pain, and avoid death just like pretty much any other animal.
This could perhaps be a point if it were true, yet I just explored how humans are both more complex in their understanding of death and pain as well as their capacity to crave it in ways no other animal can to the same level.

Any other trait is morally superfluous in comparison
You never explained why not wanting to die is linked to it being wrong to kill. Are you suggesting that we should literally euthanise all suicidal people rather than work against their lack of will to live? Should we maximally torture the masochistic? Is everything linked to will?

If that is the case, how would we ever punish wrongdoers who don't want to go to prison and endure punishments that give them displeasure?

and in most cases brings into question whether it is ok to genocide the mentally handicapped.
Are you going to explain why it's wrong to do so? The reason that I ask this is that there seems to be no basis for it being wrong if their mental handicap is so severe that they don't comprehend death or significantly fear it, let alone pain.

It always boils down to humans being more intelligent or able in some way but when it comes to sentience itself humans are no different than a dog in the sense that they are self-aware and feel pain.
No different? You believe a dog is no different to a human in self-awareness? You seem to be arguing a lot about pain but if Con states to aim for the most painless means of slaughter and rearing of animals, then why is pain relevant?

If the trait is that humans are the same species as you then that makes it morally ok for aliens to torture and genocide the human race.
Where did torture get brought into this debate? I genuinely don't understand and will wait for you to explain it. All Con has to do is unite with Pro in opposing battery/factory farming and embracing ethical farming practise and then the torture point is eradicated from relevance to the debate. So, let me do that right now.

Con agrees with Pro to not torture animals during this debate, to the entirety and extent that Pro wishes to take it. Con will not fight Pro or deny Pro on it being wrong to torture animals especially without a good reason for it being necessary.

The bottom line is that you are a psychopath to an extent if you don't recognize animals/sentient beings as valuable in general and not just your own species or certain members of your own species.
You can fully feel emotions and be a mass murderer, you probably mean sociopath and not psychopath here. That difference is irrelevant to the debate but relevant to the extended points you may be trying to make. Psychopaths do not care whatsoever about morality and the emotions attached, sociopaths care but also have needs and wants. Ironically this is where humans are alike to animals.

There are plenty of moral systems and principles which don't actually place sentience and harm at the center of things, so what makes those principles and systems less morally valid?
None. I wish to uphold them in this debate actually, it is you who has to defend that being the core.


==============

Trait 1: Being the only species capable of true moral reasoning and ethical concerns.

All other species are more sociopathic than us, even 'kind' prey ones. It doesn't matter if you show them impulsively sharing with their own kind or impulsively nurturing the young of another species that a mourning mother who lost her young came across. All other species run in sheer instinct and only accidentally act morally, we are the only species to care about that stuff.

The reason this matters, is that if we are to discuss leaving a being alive, perhaps we'd want to consider if we are leaving alive a being that will reciprocate morally and be caring and helpful back to us or not.

This is not purely about morality, more about logic but it is a trait to consider in moral equations when weighing how worthwhile it is to leave a being alive.

The burden of proof in this is on you, to prove that other species have anything like our philosophical reasoning capacity. I can show examples of other mammals being impulsively moral in small bursts but that's not at all the equivalent to what I am suggesting here.


Trait 2: Being useful, trainable and productive.

If you get rid of even 1 human, you have typically gotten rid of a being that had at least the potential to be as productive, trainable and useful as 3.5 animals of another species, generally speaking. It's anti-utilitarian to get rid of this being for the good of other beings and the overall economy and progress of the world, let alone species.

What 1 human can do in their professional and unprofessional life is far ahead of what any other animal can do. To kill them for food, let's say, is overall maladaptive. Even if they are a mentally ill homeless person, treating them and training them is the arguable way to go whereas the maximum you can do with a pig, chicken, fish, cow or sheep is not really going to compare.



Trait 3: Being dangerous even in death.

The fact people care more when coming across a dead human body, hearing about unsolved murders etc means that by killing a human, you have pretty much secured that you are going to delay and disrupt the progress and productivity of society the moment the body is in any way discovered. You also have put yourself in jeopardy as you may go to prison and become far less useful yourself.

This is not an argument of the 'original morality' instead it's a genuine trait that you need to consider. The very chaos and uproar a human being dead instead of alive causes is far more severe in ripple effect than any other species. It holds police work back (as they have to put resources into solving it), holds those who find it back as they are sad and traumatised so on and so forth.



Trait 4: There is often a sexual rush involved with murdering humans.

Often serial killers of humans are driven by deep sexual sadism. They don't tend to be able to get the same rush from killing non-humans. This almost makes the murder and methods they use a rituralistic rape, if you will.


Trait 5: Toxic meat

Humans often eat meat (but carnivores proportionally eat more meat in their diet) and if you didn't know, read the following:

An international team of researchers led by the University of Granada (UGR) has explained for the first time the scientific basis of the old Spanish saying 'perro no come perro' (dog eats no dog): for a carnivorous animal, eating carrion of another carnivore, especially if it is of the same species, increases the probability of contracting pathogens that could endanger its life.

This work, which also includes the participation of the University of Berkeley (USA), the University of Murcia (Spain) and the Miguel Hernández University (Spain), has been published in the Journal of Animal Ecology. This study provides new information about an idea whose origin goes back at least to the times of ancient Rome. The saying in Latin is "Canis caninam non est," which says, in a social context, that members of a certain guild tend to avoid conflicts among themselves.
The expression 'dog eats no dog' seems to have originated from empirical observations about the aversion of  to eat the carcasses of other carnivores. And, as Marcos Moleón Paiz, researcher at the Department of Zoology of the UGR and main author of this work, explains, "humans love to eat, but not anything, or at any price."
Among the countless species of  and plants that inhabit the planet, only a handful provide the bulk of the carbohydrates and proteins demanded by mankind. Examples are wheat, rice, chicken and pork.
"Moreover, tastes change from one culture to another and from one person to another. Should the rest of the animals behave differently? Could a scavenger animal, the paradigm of opportunism, be selective in deciding what type of carrion is advisable to eat and which is not? These were the questions that gave rise to our study," explains Moleón.

We eat a lot of processed food. We are quite toxic ourselves.
Round 2
Pro
#3

humans are both more complex in their understanding of death and pain as well as their capacity to crave it in ways no other animal can to the same level.
So it's ok to kill someone if they don't understand they are going to die? Like with the dog starving themselves and not understanding that it is killing them example, all this proves is that animals are less intelligent and have less understanding of consequences. So what is the cut-off point where a human's IQ or whatever other metric is low enough to kill them and how does that justify killing them or an animal if they fundamentally want to live? The vast majority of sentient beings have a survival instinct to the extent that it is safe to assume that if a being is sentient, it wants to live. To kill a being that wants to live is a violation of that being akin to rape regardless of whether it is human or not.


All Con has to do is unite with Pro in opposing battery/factory farming and embracing ethical farming practise and then the torture point is eradicated from relevance to the debate.
All Con has to do is not be a murderer and rapist actually. If it is ok to kill animals for farming than that inherently means they have less rights than a human. This inherently makes it easier to torture them and get away with it and even if there are rules and systems in place to prevent pain and torture you are still raping away the life of a being that wants to live. Ethically killing a being that wants to live is an oxymoron. 





All other species are more sociopathic than us, even 'kind' prey ones. It doesn't matter if you show them impulsively sharing with their own kind or impulsively nurturing the young of another species that a mourning mother who lost her young came across. All other species run in sheer instinct and only accidentally act morally, we are the only species to care about that stuff.
Humans exist on a spectrum from most to least sociopathic and are not inherently the least sociopathic at all. 

You are trying to pull a bullshit tactic by making it seem like being moral matters but having empathy doesn't when it is actually the other way around. Animals have empathy and humans are capable of having morals about stupid shit that doesn't matter or even ones that lead to harm rather than good. It is only when morality is motivated by empathy that it becomes "good".


As voters and readers of this debate in general, I want you to pay attention to the fact that the traits Con points to, if anything, add reasons not to kill a human but don't subtract reasons not to kill anything else. Humans are capable of moral reasoning but are not the only species capable of empathy. Humans are (often) more "useful" but are not the only species that is useful and again, this calls into question which humans are ok to kill according to Con. 

All of the traits he points to are relative in some way, they can be true to a lesser or greater degree of both humans and animals. He has yet to establish a consistent framework under which humans inherently have a trait animals lack which makes it ok to kill animals and wrong to kill humans which requires him to produce a fundamental axiom which is more valid than simply stating that sentient beings generally have a survival instinct and feel pain.


Con
#4
Pro has not proven what he says he has proven, not even an iota.

Trait 1: Being the only species capable of true moral reasoning and ethical concerns.
This point seems completely misunderstood by Pro to mean that animals are capable of experiencing emotions. I didn't deny that. What they are incapable of is moral and ethical concerns beyond their young dying or something as instinctive as that.

We are the only species capable of wilful suicide beyond the baseline idea of protecting our young or our alpha. We are also the only species capable of many other things along those lines including using protection, abortion, wilful abstinence despite wanting sex so on and so forth to control our population. All other species if they have the sex drive for it, will overpopulate without efficient predators around to get rid of them (or environmental threats to their ability to protect the offspring and/or longevity as in average lifespan).

We are also the only species capable of properly, I am talking long-term big-scale caring for other species. While we are a very potent and harmful species in some ways we are even more so disproportionately capable of protecting other species.

If you had the choice to kill anything other than a very elderly and/or terminally ill human being or an animal of another species than human, the odds are you removed a being that was far more good for their own species and other species ethically speaking. If you believe even slightly that consequentialism is in place and that you should aim to avoid killing what can give the most good to other species, you'd follow my logic here.


Trait 2: Being useful, trainable and productive.
The IQ, creativity, potential to be trained to do complex tasks and capcity for  teamwork synergy in humans are the entire reason we dominated the planet. Take us and then take the second-best species in what you categorise as productivity, usefulness or trainability. Don't intentionally take the least cooperative and capable human to make your point by contrasting it to the most capable of the other species. Take the average.

The difference is so disproportionate overall. Perhaps only the bottom 4% of humans in that sense are equal to the top 1% of chimpanzees, dolphins, dogs, donkeys etc.


Trait 3: Being dangerous even in death.
This is not a 'joke' point. To kill a human has serious consequences, it drains police resources, causes trauma, panic and generally negative ripple effects all-round. The death of any other species doesn't even compare.


Trait 4: There is often a sexual rush involved with murdering humans.


Trait 5: Toxic meat

The meat of all carnivores or omnivores is worse to eat nutritionally especially but also health-wise than that of herbivores because herbivores only ate plants.
Round 3
Pro
#5
This point seems completely misunderstood by Pro to mean that animals are capable of experiencing emotions. 
It's not that I misunderstand your point, it's that your point is stupid because emotions are more of a basis for moral consideration than the capacity for moral reasoning. What you are saying is the equivalent of saying that a robot that can be programmed based on X reasoning to think masturbation is wrong even though it isn't sentient is more worthy of moral consideration than a dog. 

If humans weren't sentient and capable of feeling would they be worthy of moral consideration? Would they have even come up with a concept like morality at all? Does a human that has empathy and feeling but lacks the intelligence for moral reasoning have no right to life you filthy eugenics murderer?


All other species if they have the sex drive for it, will overpopulate without efficient predators around to get rid of them
Humans are overpopulating worse than any other species on the planet.


If you had the choice to kill anything other than a very elderly and/or terminally ill human being or an animal of another species than human, the odds are you removed a being that was far more good for their own species and other species ethically speaking. If you believe even slightly that consequentialism is in place and that you should aim to avoid killing what can give the most good to other species, you'd follow my logic here.

Humans are highest in both the capacity to do good and the capacity to do harm. It is precisely the average human which is destroying the ecosystem more than anything else on earth. If what you're suggesting was really a basis for moral consideration than you would be calling for the mass extermination of almost the entire human race. You shouldn't have to meet an ideal just to live where you are doing X amount of good for both your species and others because humanity is failing to meet that standard on average. 

Trait 2: Being useful, trainable and productive.
 If this was really a basis for moral consideration than AI that isn't even conscious could theoretically have more moral value than humans. 


Don't intentionally take the least cooperative and capable human to make your point by contrasting it to the most capable of the other species. Take the average.
Why should anyone ignore the insinuation that disabled people have no right to life? It's pretty fucked up of you to suggest.


The other traits aren't even worthy of a response. We wouldn't even be having this conversation if humans weren't sentient and that is the true basis of human value.
Con
#6
During this debate, it has become apparent to me and hopefully to you too as readers that Pro is not clear on what he is opposing with the 'no'.

This is linked to the fact that even I am unsure which 'morality' we are using to say 'morally justifies'. I could actually operate under sheer nihilism and say it's both okay to kill humans and animals and win this debate and at this point I have not understood where Pro explains why the genocide he alluded to in Round 1 is immoral in the first place.

We must see that during this debate, I am the only one who gave explanations of traits that humans either have and animals lack or have far beyond anything that others animals have. I am furthermore unclear on the following:

If I justify killing an ant but the trait ants lack was present in the smartest or most productive ape is that successful or unsuccessful in the resolving of this debate in my favour? I argue it is successful and therefore I stand by all 5 traits. Some of the traits are not going to be as clear-cut to all animals vs humans such as the final one about eating meat of beings that are carnivorous and/or eat processed food, rendering their meat more toxic and unnatural to be killing them for.

I am quite confused at this point what I am really 'defending' because Pro seems to be trying to confuse us as to what 'morally justifies'. You can use any of the traits I mentioned to morally justify killing an animal. I wonder at this point if Pro believes I had to then justify not killing the animal and prove that justification wrong in order to win this debate.

I argue that I don't.

I argue that morally justifying just means a justification that can make one feel a killing is morally justified. I deny objective morality in this debate and instead ascribe to moral relativism.