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Old 12-31-2019, 01:35 PM   #1
Undertoad
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Animal suffering

When we look at the lives of animals in the wild, there is a huge amount of suffering going on.

If you're an animal in the wild, most likely you'll be eaten alive by a predator, in your infancy or childhood. If, by some miracle, you reach adulthood, your life will still be very short; and it'll be full of pain, hunger, and confusion. The smallest injury will take you down; any disease or sickness is likely fatal. There's also a very good chance you'll have parasites, who will also eat you from inside, until you painfully die.

When we talk about animal rights, our first concern is for animal cruelty, not animal suffering. We're thinking about the types of animal suffering specifically inflicted by humans. But that's an incredibly tiny fraction of all the suffering that happens. We have spent no time discussing that; we're not really interested in it.

We're not interested in it because we have the simple explanation: it's natural, and we have the value that natural=correct in some sense. We value the chaos, even though we try very hard to minimize the chaos for ourselves.

But at the same time, we tend to try to save any hurt wild animal we find. In the Philadelphia area, we have a wildlife center that nurses the squrls and birbs that people come across who are injured and "need rescuing".

Consider this weird proposition: the only way to reduce net animal suffering around the world is to reduce their habitats. It's kinda both true and rather unthinkable! Or this: we care very much about animal extinction, but not that all the individual beasts of that species are suffering. We are in favor of keeping a species alive at its own peril, something like that.

The subject is full of interesting contradictions.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
When we talk about animal rights, our first concern is for animal cruelty, not animal suffering. We're thinking about the types of animal suffering specifically inflicted by humans. But that's an incredibly tiny fraction of all the suffering that happens. We have spent no time discussing that; we're not really interested in it.

We're not interested in it because we have the simple explanation: it's natural, and we have the value that natural=correct in some sense. We value the chaos, even though we try very hard to minimize the chaos for ourselves. ...
[BOLD MINE]

Animal cruelty is a mixed bag of concerns which includes that it might be a psychological gateway to human cruelty.

That distinguishes it from not only from suffering; but, cruelty among other animals.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:12 PM   #3
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I am unsure how this works.


"We had to destroy the species to prevent their suffering."
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:29 PM   #4
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It works quite well actually.

I've never heard an extinct species complain about anything.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:36 PM   #5
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Animal cruelty is a mixed bag of concerns which includes that it might be a psychological gateway to human cruelty.
No question. We have an empathy for unprotected, innocent creatures (if they resemble us). This is built in, partly because we need to have crazy amounts of empathy for a newborn, who will be needy for years to come. So, we reject humans who don't have this empathy.

But predator species will eat baby animals first, because they are easier prey!
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:40 PM   #6
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I am unsure how this works.
That's why I brought it up,

Quote:
"We had to destroy the species to prevent their suffering."
It's a paradox; our current way is, "We had to ignore their unthinkable level of suffering in order to save them." That is almost, but not exactly, equally ridiculous.
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Old 12-31-2019, 03:55 PM   #7
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Animals will fight to stay alive, even if they are suffering. They would rather suffer than die. That's enough for me to not be too worried about their suffering in the wild.

Picture a deer trying to climb out of a lake after breaking through the ice. You know it's gonna try the best it can.
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Old 12-31-2019, 04:13 PM   #8
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It's the same sentence for all of us. Dying: utterly ridiculous. Staying alive in this existence: slightly less ridiculous than that. 1/2
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Old 12-31-2019, 04:28 PM   #9
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And we have removed all suffering from our lives in a physical sense.

So what do we do?

We invent depression and mental anguish.

Animals must need to suffer.

We are animals too.
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:47 PM   #10
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I take some issue with the word "invent," but there is definitive proof (via fMRI scans) that activity in the physical pain centers of the brain reduces activity in the emotional pain centers of the brain.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:58 PM   #11
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That's why I brought it up,



It's a paradox; our current way is, "We had to ignore their unthinkable level of suffering in order to save them." That is almost, but not exactly, equally ridiculous.
It's been working for something like 9000 years.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:58 PM   #12
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I take some issue with the word "invent," but there is definitive proof (via fMRI scans) that activity in the physical pain centers of the brain reduces activity in the emotional pain centers of the brain.
Yeah, being on fire, for example, tends to put things in focus.
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