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Thread: What gives a life value?

  1. #1
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    What gives a life value?

    im a vegetarian. have been for about 5-6 years, and i was recently confronted by a friend who asked why i was a vegetarian. i told him its because i value life too much to cause harm and death. then it occurred to me that eating a vegetable causes death also - not harm, necessarily, but you cant put value on a life depending on whether it feels harm or not. harm is just a series of nerve reactions and doesnt really have anything to do with the importance of life, other than for danger warnings.

    then i started thinking about it even further, in that there are microorganisms, prokaryotic and eukaryotic all over the place, and we all eat a substantial amount of them every day - to say a vegetarian eats only fruits and vegetables is quite wrong.

    despite all this, i find it interesting how something like a cat or a horse is given a higher life value than a cow or pig. im sure horse meat tastes awesome. maybe because cats and dogs are cute and lovable, so we feel bad about eating them, and things like chickens and pigs and cows are butt-ugly so eating them is fine. or maybe because chickens or pigs dont respond to humans in the same way that domesticated animals do.

    also an interesting thing is when i hear about people who eat rabbit stew and then feel really bad afterwards because theyre sad about the rabbit. why? whats the difference in eating a rabbit or eating a cow?

    anyways, i suppose the question is what gives a life value, or why do we humans give value to certain life over others?

    why is a cat given more value than a cockroach?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennedict View Post

    why is a cat given more value than a cockroach?
    Because when you kill a cat then that's a CAT-astrophy. That's why.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennedict View Post
    Easyrider: ""Love does a neighbor no harm" (like enticing one's neighbor into a sinful, homosexual act)." closet dweller, no longer.
    As for your tag-line conclusion ('closet dweller, no longer'] to my previous quote, the gay sex crowd are the ones who come out of their closets. Unlike your spiritually challenged, pro-gay sex brethren, I'm straight and never needed a closet.

    Got it, dweeb?
    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” - Robert Jastrow

  3. #3
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    any intelligent responses?

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    OK, top of the tree, cannibalism.
    We are genetically programmed to recognise our own species and not consider them a food source. We find the concept of cannibalism instantly repellent, even when it occurs in other species. Look up a Wolf Spider's (Lycosidae) reproductive methods for a demonstration.
    Our programming reaches a peak when confronted by an individual with a large head to body ratio and large eyes, this being the proportions of an infant, though we will respond to the young of other species that have similar proportions, eg. kittens.
    In the west our culture disassociates us from food production so the average person is less likely to equate the animal in the field with the processed unidentifiable lumps shrink wrapped in the super market.

    Indeed culture plays a large part here, Brits would be horrified at the prospect of horse meat whilst French consider it quite normal.
    Why pray when you can Google?

  5. #5
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    Nothing.

    No heterotrophic organism can establish a truly coherent system of belief based on equal value of life without, at the bottom line, saying: because this one matters to me.

    We take dogs as pets, animals meant as companions, and therefore assign them additional importance that makes their lives "valuable". Some other cultures do not draw the line there and treat them as edible.

    Neither position is truly logical. It's a matter of choice.

    P.S. I say the same applies to humans, if we are truly honest with ourselves. We proclaim holyness of life, but that's an empty claim that shatters as soon as it hits our wallets.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennedict View Post
    im a vegetarian. have been for about 5-6 years, and i was recently confronted by a friend who asked why i was a vegetarian. i told him its because i value life too much to cause harm and death. then it occurred to me that eating a vegetable causes death also - not harm, necessarily, but you cant put value on a life depending on whether it feels harm or not. harm is just a series of nerve reactions and doesnt really have anything to do with the importance of life, other than for danger warnings....
    Bennedict, I am an omnivore but if I had to actually kill the beasts I love to devour, I would be obliged to be a vegetarian, thus declaring myself to be a hypocritical and cowardly carnivore and omnivore. I console myself with Buddhism, i.e., I have spent many lives being the devoured beast, now it's my turn.

    I'm not sure that human life is more valuable than other life forms, we merely hold more power than they do.
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripskar View Post
    OK, top of the tree, cannibalism....
    Oh oog! Such contaminated flesh!
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

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    Quote Originally Posted by simone View Post
    Bennedict, I am an omnivore but if I had to actually kill the beasts I love to devour, I would be obliged to be a vegetarian, thus declaring myself to be a hypocritical and cowardly carnivore and omnivore. I console myself with Buddhism, i.e., I have spent many lives being the devoured beast, now it's my turn.

    I'm not sure that human life is more valuable than other life forms, we merely hold more power than they do.
    i dont think it would be hypocritial of you, i assume it would be more of a shock, but think about butchers and... whoever does the killing, farmers or whatever... they mostly eat meat.

    we do hold more power, but do we hold more importance?

  9. #9
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    It depends upon how much importance you place on power.
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by simone View Post
    It depends upon how much importance you place on power.
    its an individual decision? i think everyone thinks theyre more important than a dog - the law even recognizes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennedict View Post
    its an individual decision? i think everyone thinks theyre more important than a dog - the law even recognizes this.
    Purely out of human self-interest. It's why we make laws saying that humans are more important than dogs...because we are human.
    "Guns don't kill people, people kill people, and monkeys do too (if they have a gun)". -Eddie Izzard

    Long is the way
    And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light. -Milton

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    Quote Originally Posted by snakespit View Post
    Purely out of human self-interest. It's why we make laws saying that humans are more important than dogs...because we are human.
    ok fair enough, but what if there were a second intelligent species on earth that could learn and develop laws and such - which would be more important?

  13. #13
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    Humans, of course, out of self interest. But people forget that self interest doesn't mean automatic genocidal warfare. It would be quite within our species' interest to maintain good relations with the second race and it would probably result in giving them the status of a person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iuris View Post
    Humans, of course, out of self interest. But people forget that self interest doesn't mean automatic genocidal warfare. It would be quite within our species' interest to maintain good relations with the second race and it would probably result in giving them the status of a person.
    We don't even give many other human beings the status of a person...what makes you think we would be any different with a second "race"? Self interest goes all the way back to individual humans, and extends through the entire spectrum up to and including the human race. The pecking order usually goes: ME, then US, then THEM.
    "Guns don't kill people, people kill people, and monkeys do too (if they have a gun)". -Eddie Izzard

    Long is the way
    And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light. -Milton

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iuris View Post
    Humans, of course, out of self interest. But people forget that self interest doesn't mean automatic genocidal warfare. It would be quite within our species' interest to maintain good relations with the second race and it would probably result in giving them the status of a person.
    i expected a response more along the lines of snakespit, to be honest.

    i think in that situation, one of two things would happen. either the leaders from the races get together and discuss resources, or a war would break out.

    another query: why is it that some animals get more respect than other animals? even within animals that look pretty similar. a tarantula will get loads of respect (sometimes in the form of screaming and running away) while other spiders get stomped on.

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