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On fire for Christ
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Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  09:59:50  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Firstly I am not going to make any PETA style argument about animal rights. This is more about environmental issues.

Can we justify keeping animals purely for our own comfort?
Every pet consumes the planets resources as we do, fills the planet with waste products as we do, but they only provide comfort to their owners. Working animals such as seeing eye dogs, horses, sheep dogs etc I have no problem with. But consider the carbon-footprint of a family dog. As human beings we need to start taking stock of the things we need and the luxuries which are accelerating the oncoming global catastrophe.
I consider this even worse than irresponsible family planning. At least overpopulating the planet with humans, capable of good works, ideas and compassion may pay result in some greater good. Pets merely provide some companionship to lonely, or socially inept people.

If we are to save this planet, the first thing that needs to go is first world extravagance. IMHO.

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  11:39:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Firstly I am not going to make any PETA style argument about animal rights. This is more about environmental issues.

Can we justify keeping animals purely for our own comfort?
Every pet consumes the planets resources as we do, fills the planet with waste products as we do, but they only provide comfort to their owners. Working animals such as seeing eye dogs, horses, sheep dogs etc I have no problem with. But consider the carbon-footprint of a family dog. As human beings we need to start taking stock of the things we need and the luxuries which are accelerating the oncoming global catastrophe.
I question why humans should be categorically considered supreme to animals (excepting those that serve us).

Also, I question that only humans can be "compassionate." (This indeed is a character I have observed in dogs.) If you are concerned about carbon footprints, OffC, first, it's great you worry about AGW. But second, how do you quantify these footprints for Fido and for Tabby? How much gas do their commutes use? How much of what they eat would otherwise be discarded? These are not trivial questions, but they need to be quantifiably answered to make your point.
I consider this even worse than irresponsible family planning. At least overpopulating the planet with humans, capable of good works, ideas and compassion may pay result in some greater good. Pets merely provide some companionship to lonely, or socially inept people.
That last, which I highlighted, was really lame, just a cheap shot. Prove it.
If we are to save this planet, the first thing that needs to go is first world extravagance. IMHO.
So start with getting rid of people's companion animals is the first thing to save the planet? Not switching to non-fossil energy, or drastically reducing the population's expansion?

You need to research this, provide some convincing numbers.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  11:42:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This made the news a few years back.

Edited to add link: http://phys.org/news176582720.html
In "Time to Eat the Dog, the Real Guide to Sustainable Living," Robert and Brenda Vale charge that a medium-size dog has a footprint of 2.1 acres compared with slightly more than one acre for a standard sport utility vehicle.

The New Scientist Web site relayed other carbon footprint comparisons from the Vales' book. Cats are roughly equal to small Volkswagens while two hamsters have the same footprint as a plasma television. Goldfish are comparable to a pair of cell phones.

"There is no question but that pets do exert a claim on resources," Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., told ABCNews.com.

Of course, there's more to it than that. The animal on this planet that consumes most resources is homo sapien. If one animal needs to go, or its population seriously reduced to conserve resources, it's us. Or at least we need to adjust our consumption to a more sustainable way, or we can kiss our descendants goodnight-and-goodby.


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Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 08/05/2012 11:47:15
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
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Posted - 08/05/2012 :  11:45:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Personally, I'd rather have an SUV than a dog. They require less maintenance.

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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1461 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  17:02:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Can we justify spawning new humans too?
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  19:33:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

I question why humans should be categorically considered supreme to animals (excepting those that serve us).


If you are questioning this then when you go out today be careful not to breathe in any bugs or eat any animal products or accidentally roll over on any bed bugs, since you are not supreme to them. You think about that and I'll continue the discussion with your pet dog.

How much gas do their commutes use? How much of what they eat would otherwise be discarded? These are not trivial questions, but they need to be quantifiably answered to make your point.


They exist, they consume, they have a carbon footprint. Even the worst denialist cannot disagree with this. Are we really going to need to discuss whether the cessation of the manufacturing of all pet products would leave more resources available for other things? It's axiomatic.

That last, which I highlighted, was really lame, just a cheap shot. Prove it.


You're lame.

So start with getting rid of people's companion animals is the first thing to save the planet? Not switching to non-fossil energy, or drastically reducing the population's expansion?


How can you quote me, then actually in the same breath misquote me? I said the first thing that needs to go is first world extravagance.

You mention overpopulation. If we cut out all pets the world could sustain more people. This is simple logic, seriously I challenge anyone to argue this point. The only justification for pets is if you consider them more important than people. If that's your point then this debate is over for you, our opening assertions do not correspond. I personally value human life over that of any (other)animal.



You need to research this, provide some convincing numbers.


Ok that's idiotic. I need numbers to prove that animals consume resources? The fact is that they do. Resources are limited, this is also a fact. Ipso facto....

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Dave W.
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USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  20:41:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Pets merely provide some companionship to lonely, or socially inept people.
So because pets are of little social utility, you think it's unethical to keep them when faced with a problem like global warming (which the useless pets contribute to). When do we apply that to people? Which people should we just kill off because they're nothing but consumers?
If we are to save this planet, the first thing that needs to go is first world extravagance. IMHO.
Saving the planet isn't the goal. The planet will go on just fine without human beings on it, just like it did for the 4.5 billion years before the Industrial Revolution.

So the real question is, if the goal is to save as many human beings as possible, should we ban "mere" pets? How large is their carbon footprint compared to other useless activities, like auto racing or sky diving? Or to commuting in general? Why not compare the worthless to the worthwhile? And then, once we start banning socially useless activities that create a carbon footprint at least as large as something we deem worthy of doing, why not eliminate socially useless human beings who meet that criteria, as well? Just like it's better to cut off a few fingers to save the rest of the person, wouldn't it be better to cull a few worthless individuals to help save the rest of the species?

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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  20:51:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

So because pets are of little social utility, you think it's unethical to keep them when faced with a problem like global warming (which the useless pets contribute to). When do we apply that to people? Which people should we just kill off because they're nothing but consumers?


We don't apply it to people. Because people aren't pets. Do you see the small distinction?


Saving the planet isn't the goal. The planet will go on just fine without human beings on it, just like it did for the 4.5 billion years before the Industrial Revolution.


Pedantic.

So the real question is, if the goal is to save as many human beings as possible, should we ban "mere" pets? How large is their carbon footprint compared to other useless activities, like auto racing or sky diving? Or to commuting in general? Why not compare the worthless to the worthwhile? And then, once we start banning socially useless activities that create a carbon footprint at least as large as something we deem worthy of doing, why not eliminate socially useless human beings who meet that criteria, as well? Just like it's better to cut off a few fingers to save the rest of the person, wouldn't it be better to cull a few worthless individuals to help save the rest of the species?


Yes there are many wasteful and therefore unethical behaviours. In this topic I'm talking about PETS.

EDIT: If you and halfmooner are really bent on discussing why human life is worth saving and why I value human life over any other animal life then we can have that discussion, since that assertion is kind of essential to my argument. Maybe I was deluded in thinking it might be something we have in common.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 08/05/2012 20:55:03
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Dave W.
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USA
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Posted - 08/05/2012 :  21:16:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

We don't apply it to people. Because people aren't pets. Do you see the small distinction?
Yes, but when considering the effects that both have on global climate change, why aren't they held to the same standard?
Saving the planet isn't the goal. The planet will go on just fine without human beings on it, just like it did for the 4.5 billion years before the Industrial Revolution.
Pedantic.
No, it's an important distinction.
Yes there are many wasteful and therefore unethical behaviours. In this topic I'm talking about PETS.
Yes, and we need to compare PETS to something else. Do you think we can talk about the effect that PETS have on the planet in a total vacuum of other data?
EDIT: If you and halfmooner are really bent on discussing why human life is worth saving and why I value human life over any other animal life then we can have that discussion, since that assertion is kind of essential to my argument. Maybe I was deluded in thinking it might be something we have in common.
You're the one who insisted on making a utilitarian argument in favor of banning of pets and other "extravagances." Such an argument necessarily opens the door to discussing the utility (or lack thereof) of people, too, because if it's impossible to save every single human from GCC-related problems (and some have already died from them), then we need to make choices about how many humans will die and which ones. If you're going to make a utilitarian argument, then these are the sorts of questions you need to tackle, and not just insist that certain things are "off limits."

Is it okay to continue launching satellites knowing that the carbon added to the atmosphere will kill some number of people in the coming years? How about satellites to monitor climate change? Is it morally reprehensible to maintain athletic fields, golf courses and parks instead of planting them all over with trees to trap carbon? Should we force useless people into more useful careers or just kill them outright? Maya Angelou probably has just as large a carbon footprint as Michael Mann. Since executing at least one of them will reduce the global carbon load, which one should we keep (if either)?

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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2012 :  22:43:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Your whole argument is a complete sidestep. You're essentially saying, if we do A, then what about B and C for that matter. Ignoring completely the question of the validity of A (which is a poor enough debating tactic) and also assuming A inevitably leads to B and C. The question remains, "is it unethical to keep pets?". Not "but if we answer this question, what about people?".

The consequences of a question should not frighten you into not answering it.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 08/05/2012 22:43:59
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Dave W.
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USA
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Posted - 08/05/2012 :  23:31:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Your whole argument is a complete sidestep. You're essentially saying, if we do A, then what about B and C for that matter. Ignoring completely the question of the validity of A (which is a poor enough debating tactic) and also assuming A inevitably leads to B and C. The question remains, "is it unethical to keep pets?". Not "but if we answer this question, what about people?".

The consequences of a question should not frighten you into not answering it.
You made an argument from utility. A, B and C all have varying degrees of utility. You're the one who's avoiding answering the question of whether or not the utility of one thing is enhanced or diminished by other factors and why, by insisting upon us discussing the morality of your particular utility argument in ignorance of all others, so that it's impossible to compare which has more utility in reaching the goal.

Do you not understand that it's simply impossible to declare an entire human activity worthless? Of course you do, because you exempted guide animals from consideration, and you'd probably exempt some other working animals (sheep dogs) as well, if pressed. So you already know that some pets have more utility than others, you just don't want to discuss which ones and how much. Should we keep seeing-eye dogs for working professionals but deny them to blind retirees? When making a utilitarian argument, everything is relative. There is no absolute standard of usefulness.

And frankly, the consequences of banning baseball and football (in order to plant trees where stadiums and community fields now stand) scares me more than the idea of banning pets. But I think the former would do a lot more to mitigate climate change than the latter. However, I'm more than willing to discuss the different possibilities (given a common metric to define their relative utility in reaching a goal that we can agree on), while you're just shutting down a whole subject for no stated reason whatsoever.

I am not making an argument from consequences, nor am I making a slippery-slope argument. I am saying that if you're going to make an argument from utility, then you're going to have to consider the utility of all possible activities that will have an effect on climate change, or else provide good, rational reasons why some of those effects should be exempted from the discussion.

We can't examine the morality of keeping pets in isolation from all other activities. Is the good done by "merely" providing "some companionship to lonely, or socially inept people" (not that I agree with that assessment) unjustifiable in light of other carbon-cuts we might be able to make? Is being capable of "good works, ideas and compassion" justification enough to allow certain people to live and therefore pets to die when those people provide none of the things (and some of them also keep pets)?

And I suspect that you refuse to even entertain the broader idea because you are afraid that if humans were to settle on some standard for human utility versus carbon footprint, you would be one of the ones being eliminated, and you can't think of a rational argument to justify your own continued existence as being of more use than that of a family dog that helps bring joy and stability to the life of an abnormally emotionally developed little girl.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2012 :  02:14:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Originally posted by HalfMooner

I question why humans should be categorically considered supreme to animals (excepting those that serve us).


If you are questioning this then when you go out today be careful not to breathe in any bugs or eat any animal products or accidentally roll over on any bed bugs, since you are not supreme to them. You think about that and I'll continue the discussion with your pet dog.
You have assumed without cause that I somehow rate humans and pets as absolute equals. Please let me state my own case, and please do not misstate, exaggerate or twist what I write. I am no devout Hindu who carefully steps over insects on the ground. Instead, as I actually wrote, I "question" assumptions that put people on top of "creation". That's a Judeo-Christian ideology of an arrogant "stewardship" of nature, with humanity "playing God" to all other creatures, but solely to the benefit of humans.
How much gas do their commutes use? How much of what they eat would otherwise be discarded? These are not trivial questions, but they need to be quantifiably answered to make your point.
They exist, they consume, they have a carbon footprint. Even the worst denialist cannot disagree with this. Are we really going to need to discuss whether the cessation of the manufacturing of all pet products would leave more resources available for other things? It's axiomatic.
Since humans outnumber their pets and individually burn far more carbon per person, I think humans should look to our own footprints first. Or do you think that first we should get rid of pets before even starting to reduce our own footprints? So starting with getting rid of people's companion animals is the first thing to save the planet? Not switching to non-fossil energy, or drastically reducing the population's expansion?
That last, which I highlighted, was really lame, just a cheap shot. Prove it.
You're lame.
"You're lame" is your proof? Such elegant evidence! How did that not occur to me?
How can you quote me, then actually in the same breath misquote me? I said the first thing that needs to go is first world extravagance.
What "misquote"?

I don't think most companion animals are in any manner "extravagances." Many such pets serve (consciously or unconsciously on the part of the humans) as substitute children for reproductive aged adults. Anything that deflects human reproductive instincts toward animal care is usually a great thing.
You mention overpopulation. If we cut out all pets the world could sustain more people. This is simple logic, seriously I challenge anyone to argue this point. The only justification for pets is if you consider them more important than people. If that's your point then this debate is over for you, our opening assertions do not correspond. I personally value human life over that of any (other)animal.
Why in Hell would we want more people? Overpopulation is central to our problems!
You need to research this, provide some convincing numbers.
Ok that's idiotic. I need numbers to prove that animals consume resources? The fact is that they do. Resources are limited, this is also a fact. Ipso facto....
I could hoist you on your own childish petard and say, "No, you're idiotic." But I will restrain myself.

More to the point: Never have I seen you do the least bit of research. No matter how brazenly you have laid questionable statements before us, it is never you who digs up evidence. Perhaps if you did so in this case, you would either 1) Have a stronger argument, or 2) Know better than to make that sweeping statement of personal opinion. In this case, you have stated that we should get rid of most pets, because that would help stave off AGW. But you produced not an iota of evidence that the "because" part of that statement is true, or of how true it is. Instead, you seem to be quite happy with overpopulation and seem to be advocating making room for more humans by getting rid of pets. (If this seeming is a false impression, please correct me!)

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 08/06/2012 02:16:26
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2012 :  03:33:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The value we place on a human life is obviously dependant on the proximity/distance emotionally to that human life. The farther away, the less value it has to me.

There are millions of human beings starving in Somalia. Giving $100US to an organization which helps getting food down there will save the lives of several people. My neighbour's dog is acutely sick and needs a shot of medicine that will save its life, but my neighbour is $100US short and can't pay.
I have $100US to spare. If I give away that money, where to? Probably my neighbour.
Not because a dog has a higher intrinsic value than a human being, but because the value is relative to me. My neighbour has only one dog, I like my neighbour, there are millions of Somalians, their situation isn't likely to change presently so they will always be starving etc. money-holes to fill.


Where would you place your $100US? Why?




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Machi4velli
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USA
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Posted - 08/07/2012 :  03:00:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Originally posted by HalfMooner
You need to research this, provide some convincing numbers.


Ok that's idiotic. I need numbers to prove that animals consume resources? The fact is that they do. Resources are limited, this is also a fact. Ipso facto....


It might be a negligible amount. There may be benefits outweighing what they use. For example:

(1) If it does actually deflect some adults from having children as someone suggested, that would be a huge net increase in resources for people.

(2) If it makes pet owners more likely to exercise by walking their pets and playing with them, that'll reduce health problems, which reduces unnecessary healthcare spending, resulting in more for useful human purposes. (There are all sorts of correlations between pet ownership and improved health, though they may very well not be causal)

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
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