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Old 01-22-2011, 05:37 PM
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Default Human life vs Animal life

It seems to be one of the biggest philosophical problems on these boards as evdienced by many of the arguments going on in various threads. Most of the arguments have been over single issues but we should perhaps address the overall question -- At what point does animal life take precedence over human life?

Just to highlight the scope of the issue, look at these questions:

If a pack of wolves is attacking a human, can I kill all of the wolves?
If wolves often attack humans, can I eradicate the several thousand wolves living in the area?
i.e. What is the cut-off point between saving human life and saving animal life?

If a bear is breaking into my car can I shoot it?
i.e. Can I kill animals to protect my property?

If blackbirds are eating my crops can I poison them?
i.e. Can I kill animals to protect my livelihood?

If a deer is crippled, can I shoot it to put it out of its misery?
i.e. Euthanasia on animals?

If a fly is buzzing around my house, can I take a flyswatter and smack it?
i.e. Can I kill animals so I can be more comfortable?

The questions are endless but it shows the scope of the dilemna. What are everyone's thoughts?
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:55 PM
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Maybe in the case of self defense (just as any animal would try to kill YOU to protect itself), but whenever possible, humane solutions should be sought. (A bug vaccuum for the fly, sonic repellent/scarecrows for the birds, relocation programs for wolves, etc).

Humanity likes to use death as the quick fix for a lot of it's problems, we should realize there's more solutions out there.

I might expand on this post later.
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Last edited by Tsyal Makto; 01-22-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:22 PM
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An animal life only takes precedence over a human life when the destruction of said animal life threatens the existence of yet more human life.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:02 PM
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Hmm, ok here is my take on this.

Humans are animals, we are not plants or minerals and thus by process of elimination we are animals, if we aren't animals then we don't exist.

Now, are humans more important than other species? No I don't believe so. We can create technology, forge weapons etc - we have intelligence as an asset and that makes us strong. However other creatures have superior sight, hearing, sense of smell etc. Some can blend into their surroundings, some can hunt effectively with just their bodies as weapons/tools. My point is, every creature has something special that makes it unique in nature and make it strong enough to survive.

I believe it is quite alright to slay another creature for food or if it poses a serious threat to you or your loved ones (for example a cub can't defend itself so it's mother must protect it) Killing something for fun or because it MIGHT attack you is wrong in my opinion.

I don't think it's ok to kill another animal to protect your property, material goods can be replaced, lives can not.

All creatures have to deal with competition for food, if there's not enough food to go round then something is going to have to suffer. If birds are eating your crops then you haven't protected them and thus you deserve to lose them.

If you stumble across a creature that is badly hurt and you know there and then you cannot do anything to save it, I would say it's ok to kill it as long as you make it as quick and painless as you can and try and limit the amount of time it spends fearing for it's life when you take your gun/knife out.

The last one, I'm not sure about. The idea of a nuisance animal means that it doesn't pose a threat to you but inconveniences you in someway. I'd say it's wrong to kill it but do whatever you can to get rid of it while not causing it any harm.

Last edited by Marvellous Chester; 01-22-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:31 PM
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Where'd you learn humans were animals? I mean, sure. We're mammals. That's a scientific analysis. But animals? No.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:34 PM
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Read a science book.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:38 PM
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Read a history book.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:43 PM
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Humans are mammals. Mammals are a class of animals. Humans are animals. You can't be a mammal and not be an animal - that is a ridiculous assertion.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:46 PM
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Clouds are 100% water. Water is in snow cones. Snow cones are also 100% water. That means clouds are snow cones.

Roses are flowers. So are daisies. That means daisies are roses.

Examples of good reasoning, but bad conclusions. I could go on..


Last edited by Woodsprite; 01-22-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:00 PM
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Interesting.

I don't think of it as "yes" or "no", or even "yes" in some cases and "no" in others. Its more about having a genuine level of respect, appreciation, and understanding. It becomes a paradigm.

Think about the Native Americans. I don't know much about them, but I imagine they had a lot of decisions like these. But I don't think the specific decisions they made in this case or that were that important. What was important was their paradigm - their whole way of seeing the natural world and where they fit in it.

I'll have to revisit this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsprite View Post
Where'd you learn humans were animals? I mean, sure. We're mammals. That's a scientific analysis. But animals? No.
If we aren't animals, what are we?
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Last edited by Sacred Tsahaylu; 01-23-2011 at 02:12 AM. Reason: Merged
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:16 PM
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(I believe) we're sentient, biological beings with souls. Or in Japanese terms, I think we're "rei".

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Old 01-22-2011, 08:23 PM
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As opposed to all those other non sentient creatures that arent biological and don't have souls?
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsprite View Post
Clouds are 100% water. Water is in snow cones. Snow cones are also 100% water. That means clouds are snow cones.

Roses are flowers. So are daisies. That means daisies are roses.

Examples of good reasoning, but bad conclusions. I could go on..

The fact that a comparison can be made doesn't have any bearing on its relevance. All of the examples you provided are quite obviously false. However, we are debating whether or not humans are animals. Something so fundamental should hardly be up to debate.

Humans are animals.

Meanwhile, in On-topic Land:

I believe, as an animal myself, that one animal killing another for sustenance is justified. Whether it's a wolf hunting a human or a human hunting a wolf (not that I imagine wolf meat is particularly delicious). I also believe each animal has an equal right to defend itself in said situation and kill its attacker. It's just the natural way of things, really...

However, if a kill can be avoided, it probably should be.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:35 PM
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Woah woah, I think this subject of whether or not humans are animals is very relevant to this discussion, and very on-topic.

The reason I gave such examples is because you cannot just assume humans are animals because we're both mammals. I've heard some pretty good arguments in favor of the assertion, and the one you gave was not one of them. This is not some sort of "truth" that you automatically suppose is reality because you heard some teacher say so, or read a couple of articles that assumed the point. No. We're going to talk about this...

The first point that should be brought up in a debate like "Human Life vs. Animal Life" is the establishment of the view of whether or not humans are animals. Are they? Because we possess a biological semblence, does that make us part of the classification?

Or being more unambiguous, what is the "fundamental" significance of the phrase "humans are animals"? I've been around hundreds of people who believe otherwise, and for good reason. Are these people all crazy? Or is there a legitimate point being made, here?

This is not an "A = B, and B = C, thus A = C" discussion. It is FAR more complicated than that. That's why I gave the initial argument: Clouds = Water, and Water = Snow Cones, thus Clouds = Snow Cones". You're doing the same thing.

Last edited by Woodsprite; 01-22-2011 at 08:44 PM. Reason: Added last paragraph.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsprite View Post
(I believe) we're sentient, biological beings with souls. Or in Japanese terms, I think we're "rei".

Ok, well I won't argue with you're beliefs. However, I found your posts on another thread interesting - when talking about dead blackbirds you said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsprite View Post
I just could care less about it. In other words, does it really matter at all? If they aren't in danger of extinction, it isn't a problem.
Does life have to be "sentient" in order to have value? Or can you appreciate that birds are beautiful creatures, even though they might not have souls?

I don't mean for this to be offensive. I want to know more. One of the most troubling things I see is - just because people think humans differ from animals, that means the death of life around us is meaningless or "not a problem". Life is a beautiful thing and (I think) we should cherish it.
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