Re: Animal Consciousness

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sat Mar 08 2008 - 10:31:59 MST

Joseph writes

From: "j.k." <>

> [Lee wrote]
>> Oh? If you do that, fewer cows and other meat bearing animals
>> will be bred and get to live. So long as their lives come suddenly
>> and as painlessly as possible to an end, any true animal advocate
>> should be in favor of humans eating them.
> This implies that just being alive and not how you are alive is all that
> matters.

I didn't mean to imply that. No, lives not worth living shouldn't be lived.

> If it's the case that living a full life in natural circumstances (for
> your species) and partaking of the social activities and milestones of
> life that make for a contented life is what life is all about, and that
> a thousand lives with these is preferable to millions of lives without
> these, then your point does not hold.

But cattle have been bred to be what they are today. It's now
what's "natural" for them, not that I agree that there is much use
to the concept "natural". The cows I've seen in person and on
television do appear contented :-)

> Would you argue that a human advocate should be in favor of aliens
> raising a quadrillion human beings in cages is better than the life our
> mere billions have now?

Probably not, but it would depend. Say we're all going to die in five
years' time in a supernova or GRB, but this isn't known and we really
are all going to die. Then it would be far better for that five years to
be spent in the alien's cages as a quadrillion (instead of an insignificant
six billion), provided that the sum total of the happiness, joy, comfort,
satisfaction, and contentment exceeds what we would have otherwise.

Admittedly, that criterion could mean that many of us, like you and me,
would suffer a dramatic loss of standard of living and so on. But for
the human race, yes, it would be better.


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