The Instigator
ADreamOfLiberty
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Darkestlight
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Bestiality/Zoophilia should be legal, and is not immoral

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
ADreamOfLiberty
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/27/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,810 times Debate No: 38183
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (48)
Votes (1)

 

ADreamOfLiberty

Pro

Because of the length constraints a completely specified argument is impossible, indeed it would take a small book. I will however assert some premises which I hope are self-evident to my opponent. If they are not those topics must be clarified before meaningful debate on the resolution can be had.

1. Legality and morality are inherently linked, if something is moral it should be legal and if is legal it should be moral. The difference between them is the difference between what people think and what is. Morality is that which is right, the law is that which people (a majority of) think is right (as expressed through a democratic government).

2. To make moral claims one must have moral principles, to have moral principles one must have a moral theory. That is one must be aware of the field of philosophy which is ethics and subscribe to some system of thought in that field.

3. Baring a full derivation and support of a moral theory, the relevant theory in the case of bestiality/zoophilia is mutual consent of interacting parties + reasonable avoidance of foreseeable pain or biological damage. For those interested I hold a more constrained view as a universal principle for human society, i.e. volition is the prerequisite of all moral interaction between humans.
From these premises I would like to preempt possible strategies of my opponent by implication.

#1 means I will not entertain the notion that even if bestiality/zoophilia is moral it is detrimental to society and that constitutes a legal basis for banning it. For those who consider this unfair I ask you to think of all those things demonstrably detrimental to society that the law does allow for on the basis of personal freedom.

#2 means that I will not entertain sentiments which associate the term morality with emotional appeals, religious dogma, or mindless. If it is not wrong and you wish to merely point out how it can sometimes be dangerous or play a negative role in someone"s life then I"ll leave you to it; that is not the resolution I wish to argue.

#2 also means that there is no such thing as "one case at a time" moral judgments, nothing is good or evil in a vacuum but can only be so in the context of a mountain of previously derived facts. Identifying and challenging double standards is a key technique in discovering moral fallacies. If someone can, on whim, use one standard of moral judgment in case A and another in case B then no moral debate is possible. Therefore if you are someone who thinks comparing zoophilia to homosexuality or to the practice of eating animal meat is a red herring then you should not accept the challenge.

#3 means you are willing to debate the matter of consent, I love to debate ethics and no doubt I will on this site but if you do not believe consent is the moral principle involved here you are almost certainly going to turn this into a philosophical debate.

Some notes on terms:

I use the term Bestiality/zoophilia, some other people make distinctions between these terms; I mean the practice of interspecies sex specifically involving humans as one of the species.

Is zoophilia a sexual orientation? I think so, as far as the word has objective meaning. Bottom line is that some people desire sexual relations with animals. I do not believe the causes of this phenomenon are relevant to the debate nor do I believe there is enough scientific ground work to attempt to answer that question. The homosexual movement has been chugging away for decades and nobody really has a clue what causes it.

Consent, and this is important, is defined as "permission for something to happen or agreement to do something" http://oxforddictionaries.com... . I am fully aware that the idea of informed consent in legal circles is different and much stricter. I do not mean legal/informed consent when I say consent. No one who has a pet, no one who has partook in any animal derived products has ever had informed consent from any animals. It is an impossibility even for humans to give perfect informed consent because it presupposes that both parties are perfectly aware of the consequences of an action. Something that requires the ability to predict the future with 100% certainty.
In practice what is meant by informed consent is that one party discloses any information about the interaction which may reasonably be expected to affect their decision. If one party does not have the information it cannot be given. If the other party is incapable of receiving the information it is not considered a requirement.
For instance, you bring an unconscious stranger into a hospital, the doctor will still treat them on the presumption that they want to be healed. There is no consent informed or otherwise.

Under the constraints set out above the question is:
A.)Can an animal give permission or agreement to a member of another species for sexual interaction?

There are two possible reasons why the answer to that could be no in all cases:
1.No species is capable of communicating permission, agreement, or anything really to a member of another species implicitly or explicitly.
2.No species is psychologically capable of granting consent to another species

We can knock out #2 by the mere fact that this is an issue. Humans must be capable of granting consent to another species if they pursue sexual relations with them. Surely you could say humans are an exception but that would require some explanation. Why would humans be the only species capable of accepting interspecies sex? How could you reconcile this with observed instances of interspecies sex between two non-human species?

Even if a creature is incapable of choosing between acting and not acting a certain way it cannot be said that it does not consent. Instead it is more accurate to say that consent is not conceptually applicable to that species.

If a wasp stings you, you might think it was merely the sum of stimuli up to that point that caused it. There is not enough of an independent consciousness in a wasp brain to ever decide not to sting you given the same inputs. It is incorrect to say that the wasp accepts or refuses the interaction. It does neither but if you had to choose, it would be acceptance because if it did have the ability to choose obviously its actions would reflect its choice.

#1 is a little harder but not by much. Consider the following premise
It is impossible for a creature to pursue an action to which it does not consent provided it does not fear retribution for failure to comply.

This can be established easily by looking at its negation which is "It is possible for a creature to pursue a course of action it does not consent to, even if there is no fear of retribution for failure to comply". It"s a contradiction in terms. If it can agree with anything it must agree with itself.

Therefore even in the absence of verbal or body language, if an animal pursues a course of action where no negative consequences have ever been employed as the result of failing to pursue said course of action, then it has implicitly communicated its intention and its acceptance of the action. If that action is in fact an interaction it must also consent to the interaction.

To compound that point most animals which zoophiles are interested in mating with are quite capable of body language and vocal communication of a basic sort. Note that "Yes" and "No" are very basic communications which any higher animal owner can attest to understanding.

Whether that decision is the result of some faculty of self-determination or is pure instinct is actually irrelevant. If it is pure instinct then the creature never had any freedom to violate. If it has self-determination then it is determining things for itself.
In summation if there exists any example of an animal showing through action absent negative conditioning the acceptance of sexual relations with another species the answer to question A is Yes, at least in some cases. If in some cases an animal can consent to interspecies sex, then surely in some cases an animal can consent to sex with a human, thus on the consent principle it is moral to have sex with an animal.. in some cases.

I want to wrap up with an example question: Horseback riding. Do you believe a horse can consent to being ridden? How would you know?
Darkestlight

Con

All right, before I start, I want to bring up that this is my first debate - in the history of ever - and I may make quite a few grammatical errors. Please try to be patient with me as you can in that sense. Also, are we providing sources for this debate? If so, how do I link them? I suppose I'll learn as we go on. Luck to you, good sir.

With that being said:

In regards to zoophilia being viewed as a sexual orientation I have to ask this: what is sexual orientation? As defined by the Merriam-Webster's dictionary, sexual orientation is "the inclination of an individual with respect to heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual behavior". One could go further in saying asexuality is included in such as well as pansexuality or polysexuality, etc. If you examine the definitions of each it boils down to one party being attracted to a specific party. None of these mention being attracted to a different species - necrophilia and pedophilia are left out of the equation altogether - and imply that such only fits when regarding one species to a member of the same species. (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Consent is always debatable. We could create an entire debate off of what could be deemed consent and what would not.
An animal, to our knowledge, have the capacity to consent one way or the other. As mostly everything they do is based on instinct alone. So us, as beings with greater mental capacity, are truly taking advantage of them at that point. To argue that on their side, would be pure speculation. As it is fact that we have greater capacity as a species than they do.

"Humans must be capable of granting consent to another species if they pursue sexual relations with them." This alone just proves my point. We cannot. It is impossible to do so as of yet with technology and we must simply accept that.

Say, for example, one person went a party and ended up entirely intoxicated. Another person decides to take advantage and, while going through with it, still does not consent but is only reacting as their body reacts to sexual stimulation. This is still considered rape no matter if the other party does enjoy it.

I will agree you do make a point with your closing question but at the same time I have to point out that even humans are subjected to do things they do not want to. Children are required by law in the United States to attend a school of some sorts until the age of eighteen or if they are given permission by both parents as well as the school department of their town. Maybe horses do consent to being ridden, maybe not, but they have to deal with such in the first place. Maybe an animal doesn't want to engage in any sexual actions but deals with it because it could be their owner performing such. A slave or servant would not dare disobey their owner in fear of consequences. For all we know, an animal may fear the same.
Debate Round No. 1
ADreamOfLiberty

Pro

I will be patient, this is only my second debate on this site. You may of course provide any links you wish, I will only be linking to sources when a factual (base observation) is in doubt. I do not believe in debating via proxy, that is linking to something which just reasserts your position with a authoritative spin.

"In regards to zoophilia being viewed as a sexual orientation I have to ask this: what is sexual orientation?"
Actually a question I have asked many people. However you point out that even the dictionary feels the need to limit the definition of the term to two or three enumerated possibilities. Does not seem extraneous to you to invent a term only to ignore the purpose of invention? It was invented to give people something to call deviant sexual attractions (like homosexuality) something polite instead of 'pervert' or the three letter f word. The words themselves do not imply limitation to three variants.

As an analogy consider the term 'orientation', it used to be that man only had to worry about the four cardinal directions, but once we achieved flight (or in some particularly mountainous countries) we had to consider up and down. In terms of space orientation no longer means just four, but six. There are an infinite number of specific vectors in-between these six that could be described as orientations.

That being said, it is not of crucial relevance. It is what it is, what we call it does not really matter since the concept has no moral, legal, or conceptual implications if it is merely a list of three possibilities.

"An animal, to our knowledge, have the capacity to consent one way or the other. As mostly everything they do is based on instinct alone. So us, as beings with greater mental capacity, are truly taking advantage of them at that point. To argue that on their side, would be pure speculation. As it is fact that we have greater capacity as a species than they do."

First I believe you meant "an animal, to our knowledge, does not have the capacity to consent"

Second I agree with you that we have greater mental capacity, that having sex with an animal can be considered taking advantage of them, and that there is an element of speculation in what the underlying reasons for animal behavior are.

I disagree that mostly everything they do is based on instinct alone. Of course the species in question make a whole lot of difference, but for species such as humans, dogs, horses, and essentially all other animals of sufficient size and domestication a great part of their behavior arises from learning as opposed to instinct. Riding is again a prime example, there can be no instinct which allows a horse to know how to ride with a human unless it developed in the past five thousand years. Yet horses learn this remarkably well.

The ability to learn something and then choose behavior based on experience is antithetical to the idea of pure instinct or predetermined reactions. If instincts could be learned in a single life time they wouldn't really be instincts would they? If an animal can act with grace and purpose without relying on any instincts for something like competing in competitions it doesn't follow that they lose this ability for all else. Indeed the only rational interpretation is that like humans their behavior is a composite of volition and instinct, where conscious decision is the final arbiter.

I also want to point out that e are not left to speculation alone as to whether any particular behavior is pure instinct or choice. If it is pure instinct the animal in question cannot have a choice to ignore their instinct. That means no matter what you do they will behave the same given the same stimuli. That is not the case, in zoophile communities it is well known that there is no magic formula to get an animal to cooperate with you. It is well admitted that different animals have different temperaments and react to different humans differently based on how much trust they have in them.

Finally let us consider the possibility that a given animal behaves on pure instinct. Say a crocodile (well known to have little to no social graces what so ever). Humans figure out how to present certain stimuli that are pretty much guaranteed to allow them to have sex with the crocodile or do something else. Indeed many croc shows around the world are based on such stimuli. Crocodiles don't do much when laying on their back. If you touch their jaws the right way they won't bite.

Why is this wrong? If an animal exists in such a state then they were the 'slave' of such instincts long before man showed up. You could speculate that buried behind some deep fold in their brain is a consciousness seething at it's loss of control but examine the objective probability of such a condition. If they behave as computers why not treat them as computers? To be able to have consent implies that it can also be withheld. I submit that if an animal has no choice we have no duty to respect the non-existent choice we project on them. If they do have a choice then we should accept that choice, not just when they say "no" but also when they say "yes"

"This alone just proves my point. We cannot. It is impossible to do so as of yet with technology and we must simply accept that."

We cannot pursue sexual relations with animals? What stops us?

"Say, for example, one person went a party and ended up entirely intoxicated. Another person decides to take advantage and, while going through with it, still does not consent but is only reacting as their body reacts to sexual stimulation. This is still considered rape no matter if the other party does enjoy it."
What if they are both drunk? Did they rape each other?

This is a perfect example to re-illustrate the difference between legal informed consent and consent. The most accurate description of the drunk human is a human mind with impaired judgement. One that would not otherwise take the action, but in it's current state consented. A human is supposed to recognize that the other might regret what they did while drunk and thus not accept their consent in that state. The same applies for children, they might agree to something that they will regret as adults. For an animal though, when will they 'wake up'? Why proceed in the fallacious premise that an animal is not of their right mind? They have the best mind they will ever have.

You might escalate this to a human being knocked out cold, maybe their parts would still work? Well the problem is animals aren't knocked out cold when they cooperate with humans on sex. They know is going on, and they choose to react badly, neutrally, or positively.

"I will agree you do make a point with your closing question but at the same time I have to point out that even humans are subjected to do things they do not want to. Children are required by law in the United States to attend a school of some sorts until the age of eighteen or if they are given permission by both parents as well as the school department of their town. Maybe horses do consent to being ridden, maybe not, but they have to deal with such in the first place. Maybe an animal doesn't want to engage in any sexual actions but deals with it because it could be their owner performing such. A slave or servant would not dare disobey their owner in fear of consequences. For all we know, an animal may fear the same."
So you're saying that horses should be forced to carry humans regardless their consent but this should be banned in the case of sex..... because?

Also an animal can't possibly fear what it has never known to happen, nor do they typically associate negative consequences between separate actions.

That is if an owner never whips his/her horse, doesn't even yell at them from time to time they can't possibly fear that if they don't respond favorably to sex. You yourself pointed out their inferior mental capacity. Do not then place your argument in the position where animals need to understand and predict possible retributions without experience of such to draw on.

On a side note, I understand why people sometimes use children as an analog to animals, they both have intelligence below an adult human (but that changes pretty fast is children). However you should be cautious not to stretch such analogies beyond reason. Adult animals are not children. They are sexual creatures who have reached a stage of natural sexual interest. Just because we treat human children a certain way does not necessarily mean we should treat animals the same way.
Darkestlight

Con

Darkestlight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
ADreamOfLiberty

Pro

ADreamOfLiberty forfeited this round.
Darkestlight

Con

Darkestlight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Darkestlight

Con

Darkestlight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
48 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by neptune1bond 3 years ago
neptune1bond
Lol
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
and I will keep arguing for what is right.
Posted by neptune1bond 3 years ago
neptune1bond
Lol, oh well, this doesn't have any point any more. I disagree and you still haven't convinced me to do otherwise. Good luck in life and I will keep voting for what is right.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
"And we do have a rational and peaceful way of determining which things require defending, and it's called making and passing laws."

If the law was rational you could defend it with reason. The law is made by majority not logic.

"I do not go into anyone's house or personally get into anyone else's life, I simply take part in the passing of laws and election of officials"
And therefore are partially responsible for the effect of those laws. Any man who would do things through the government they wouldn't be willing to do themselves are hypocrites.

"This is my right and responsibility."
Your responsibility is towards justice and rights. You have no right to violate rights. You proceed on the premise of the perfect crime, pass a law that commits evil and yet no one who made that possible is guilty. You are guilty no matter how many times you bleat that you are standing up for those who can't defend themselves. You create imaginary victims so that you may persecute real people and animals and you expect me to agree to disagree while you keep on voting away my rights?

"If I am one day convinced that beastiality is in the best interest of the animals, then I will consider changing, but I have read your arguments here and in the other debate you are currently having and I am still not convinced."
I am not convinced you have a rational standard of judgement. On that day do not expect me to say "oh good job you finally figured it out", choosing ignorance is as great a sin as choosing evil and far more common.
Posted by neptune1bond 3 years ago
neptune1bond
"Yea you said that already, that's the issue isn't it. Can't stand up for those who can't defend themselves and stay out of other people's lives at the same time can you?"
Nope, I can't. I also refuse to stay out of the lives of rapists, murderers, pedophiles, thieves, etc. I'm not saying that beastiality is the same as those things, but my point is that in order to stand against immorality you have to butt into someone's life and they probably won't like it. And we do have a rational and peaceful way of determining which things require defending, and it's called making and passing laws. I do not go into anyone's house or personally get into anyone else's life, I simply take part in the passing of laws and election of officials (as is not only everyone's right, but also their obligation, even if you don't like the outcome). The only time that I un-peacefully butt into someone's life is if that person is attempting to hurt me, my family and loved ones (including my pets), or an innocent person or animal on the street where there is no law enforcement to intervene. I also will take part in reporting someone if they are breaking the law, as is my responsibility. If a law is passed that allows beastiality, I will accept that it is the law, although I will rationally and peacefully try to work towards making sure that the law is not passed and then possibly reversed if it is passed. This is my right and responsibility.

Animals cannot defend themselves and so I will always stand up for them whether anyone else likes it or not. This is the reason that I have been vegan for many years and do not use products made from animals or tested on animals. I will not allow animals to be hurt or abused if I can help it. If I am one day convinced that beastiality is in the best interest of the animals, then I will consider changing, but I have read your arguments here and in the other debate you are currently having and I am still not convinced.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
"Well, I can't speak for funwiththoughts, but I and people like me will always stand up for what we think is best and that includes defending those who can't defend themselves. That may upset you, but you have not convinced me to do otherwise and so I must still make my own decisions."

Yea you said that already, that's the issue isn't it. Can't stand up for those who can't defend themselves and stay out of other people's lives at the same time can you?

It almost makes one think that maybe there should be some kind of rational peaceful way to decide who needs defending and who deserves to be left alone... just a thought.
Posted by neptune1bond 3 years ago
neptune1bond
Well, I can't speak for funwiththoughts, but I and people like me will always stand up for what we think is best and that includes defending those who can't defend themselves. That may upset you, but you have not convinced me to do otherwise and so I must still make my own decisions.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
"I guess you will just have to conduct yourself one way and I another, just like how we will have to continue disagreeing on beastiality and will have to continue to live our lives according to what we each think is best."
See there is that attitude which made me angry the first time. If people like you (there I used it again) left people like me (another personal pronoun) to live our lives the way we think is best I wouldn't be here bothering you and funwiththoughts with my stubbornness (which I call persistence).
Posted by neptune1bond 3 years ago
neptune1bond
I honestly don't believe that any of our conversations will bear any fruit for either of us. I guess I'll just have to say that I disagree with you on many things. I don't think that we are on the same page on hardly anything and it makes me believe that we probably won't agree on much and that neither of us has much to gain from continuing. I almost feel like we are from different solar systems. We don't hold the same values, we don't agree on the treatment of others, we don't even seem to think the same. I don't seem to be able to relate to you on any level even if I try and you seem unable to relate to me and therefor we can find no point of agreement to depart from. I guess you will just have to conduct yourself one way and I another, just like how we will have to continue disagreeing on beastiality and will have to continue to live our lives according to what we each think is best.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
" 'people like you' (the key word there is "you") is still directed at the person that you are speaking to, the fact that it *also* includes others is irrelevant."

All my statements are directed at the person or people I am speaking to.

"I don't believe that any good comes from attacking others"
Am I someone who attacks others? Not saying?

"some others might consider it bad conduct to be arguing with the "audience" in the comments rather than just your partner who agreed to debate you"
Not I, you could have stopped responding at any point. After my comment saying "I can't force you to debate but.." would have been an ideal time. That you continued indicated that you wanted to talk about whether it was proper for your personal morality to affect the lives of others and that was the subject from that point on in the exchange. I referred to your person in a closing comment, but it was you who decided that we should discuss your person further.

"if you don't consider personal attacks bad conduct, then what is bad conduct?"
Fallacy and blatant irrelevancy, which 'personal attack' often is.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
ADreamOfLibertyDarkestlightTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Pro, in comments, referred to those who disagreed with him as being "the cause of war and oppression", conduct doesn't get much worse than that. Arguments: Both sides kinda failed to show up after R2, meaning Con never got a chance to respond to Pro's arguments.