The Instigator
famousdebater
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
The_Commander
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: Animal Rights Ought To Be Recognized In Society

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after 1 vote the winner is...
famousdebater
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/7/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,673 times Debate No: 80639
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (32)
Votes (1)

 

famousdebater

Pro

Resolved: Animal Rights Ought To Be Recognised In Society

Rules

Round 1 is acceptance
No trolling
No forfeiture
The Burden Of Proof is shared

Definitions

Animal Rights: the rights of animals to live free from human exploitation and abuse.

Animal: a living organism which feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli. (excluding insects, humans and bacterial life).

Recognised: acknowledged

Society: a community

THIS IS FOR THE BEGINNER'S TOURNAMENT I WISH THECOMMANDER THE BEST OF LUCK IN ADVANCE TO HIS ACCEPTANCE
Debate Round No. 1
famousdebater

Pro

Contention 1 - Morality

Humans have been given the capability to be moral beings. Animal rights teach us that certain things are wrong as a matter of principle, that there are some things that it is morally wrong to do to animals. Human beings must not do those things, no matter what the cost to humanity of not doing them. Human beings must not do those things, even if they do them in a humane way. For example:

"if animals have a right not to be bred and killed for food then animals must not be bred and killed for food."

It makes no difference if the animals are given 5-star treatment throughout their lives and then killed humanely without any fear or pain - it's just plain wrong in principle, and nothing can make it right.

Whilst you may argue that animal are immoral that is not a reason as to why we should behave in the same manner. Firstly, this argument raises a number of issues. The first issue that this raises is that animals are actually moral to some extent. They care for their families in most instances so therefore whilst they may not have the same rationality to the same extent as us, animals do have rationality though and this argument regarding morality is flawed.

A person with certain mental limitations does not have the same rational processing as other people - does this mean that thy do not deserve their basic human rights. The same concept can be used towards babies. Babies are not capable of moral thought - at least not to the same extent that adults can think. There is also another major flaw in suggsting that animals are irrational. Whilst animals may not all be as rational and moral as some human beings. There are many humans who have committed crimes much worse than th crimes that people claim that animals have committed. If you claim that animals are irrational then surely you must say the same about human beings. Human beings have caused things like, the holocaust, 9/11 and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Do you call those acts moral? The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may be a debatable subject however very rarely do you ever see somebody debating whether or not the holocaust was moral as a serious debate.


Contention 2 - Needless Suffering

To be free from needless suffering is perhaps the most fundamental right. If something is capable of needlessly suffering, inherently there exists a right to not be subject to such suffering. This leads us with one simple question. Can Animals suffer? The general consensus is that some animals do in fact feel pain. Many governments around the world recognize this truth and have in response passed regulations that minimize or eliminate such pain.

For example the U.S. Government has such regulations. "The requirement or recommendation to consider the recognition and alleviation of pain in laboratory animals when conducting research in the United States is constituted in federal law, regulations, and guidelines, enforced by the US Public Health Service Policy, and promulgated by various professional organizations"

If we accept, as most do that animals are capable of needlessly suffering, then it follows that a just society would not allow such animals to suffer needlessly.

Contention 3 - Responsibility

We have power and I am not denying that we are intelectually superior to animals, I just believe that they deserve rights. Elephants may be much bigger than us and possess bigger ears, but they don't build luxury sports cars for themselves or play elephant chess.

This power leaves us with two options. We could use this power to benefit animals, or we could use it to harm animals. Human self-interest would be the reason for wielding this power to hurt animals. Whatever we decide here - helping or harming - is what we have a moral responsibility to do. If there are ever any instances where the animal should be helped this should be considered to be a privaledge - if there are many such general instances it is a right. Let me explain - take the right to life, as an example. The animal wants to live. Helping it (the compassionate alternative) means not to kill it. Harming it (the selfish alternative) means to kill it. At the point where you are not harming it, you are giving that animal the privilege of life. When that principle is applied equally and fairly across many different types of animals, it becomes a general ethic for all animals, such that it can be properly called a rights that those animals now possess. What I am saying is that I believe that compassion is a more responsible alternative to selfishness. As the charter for compassion affirms: "Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community". Of course, just because it says that doesn't prove it's true, so what does?

We have recentlly been provided with the information scientifically that love - both towards people and animals - is better for us than being self-centered and careless. For example, we now know that compassion and love is positively correlated with happiness and healthiness. The concept that great power implies great responsibility is a popular one, and it seems, for good reason. Further research suggests that love is an evolved part of what makes us who we are. But these are ultimately the selfish reasons to not be selfish, which isn't a great standard. Even if you don't accept this assessment, the claim that compassion is never the better option towards animals in a given situation seems to me to be a very much mistaken notion.

In Summery:

To accept that animals have rights is to accept that there are certain things that humans shouldn't do to animals. Because there are limitations (moral or otherwise) governing what humans should and should not do to animals, animals have rights that stem from those limitations. Most reasonable humans do not abuse animals for this reason, and because most people disapprove of animal abuse (in the abstract sense) a just society that recognizes the rights and values of its members is required to recognize animal rights in order to be just.

The_Commander

Con

Rebuttal 1-Morality:

The essential problems with Pro’s argument are: A) he assumes that just because something is considered moral that means we (humans) “ought to” follow it and B) that we should grant these rights we’ve determined via our morals to animals. I’ll explain the problem with both.


Morals were made by humans, there is no objective morality to follow. For example, murder is seen as an immoral act by most. For example, most people would never want to kill a child; however, if one could see into the future and know that the child was going to end up killing 5 people, it would make sense to kill said child (assuming each human life is equal). This already represents an example of why morals should not be followed absolutely. Overall, seeing as morals are made up there is no real reason we “ought to” follow them. Why should we force ourselves into such restrictions? Why should we even accept these morals as the “right” thing to do? Pro never addresses this and assumes we must accept these principles.


Also, seeing as morality is completely made up by humans and was originally designed for humans, why should it now be applied to animals? A “society” or “community” does not have any particular reason to be interested in granting animals rights. Especially since societies typically benefit from exploiting or killing animals, why should they stop to fulfill morals that were originally designed for humans? If a human wants to protect his dog because the dog brings him happiness, protection, or whatever it would make sense. The person enjoys or otherwise benefits from having the dog, so he wants to protect the dog. However, why should the same person care about protecting a cow, especially if he enjoys having steak dinners? Seeing as the majority of the people in the world eat meat (while plenty of which, if not most) also enjoy eating it, why should they not kill cows for meat? Keep this idea in mind, as I’ll expand upon it in my arguments.


Pro also prepares for an argument I won’t even make (about animals being irrational and therefore not deserving rights) and also shows time humans have done immoral actions. Again, this is irrelevant seeing as I’m not arguing based on morality.


Rebuttal 2-Needless Suffering:

Pro never defines needless suffering. However, Pro once again fails to address the fact that the moral to protect against suffering was made for humans. There’s no particular reason humans should feel obligated to expand that to animals.


Pro also mentions a “just society” would protect animals against human suffering. The common definition for justified, according to Google is, “having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.” (1) If humans are doing something, there is going to be a reason, even if it seems absurd or stupid. Doing something because you have nothing better to do, is a legit reason for doing something. However, Pro will probably respond about being morally justifed. Again, why should humans follow said “morals” or why should they apply them to animals?


Rebuttal 3-Responsibility:

Pro actually does explain his argument here (compassion>selfishness), by saying that love towards humans and animals is better than selfishness, based on scientific findings. He presents a correlation that, “compassion and love is positively correlated with happiness and healthiness”. Just because a correlation exists doesn’t mean that the cause is due to that. Plus, none of his sources even mention compassion towards animals. For all we know, this only applies to humans.


Argument 1-Dead and Exploited Animals are Useful:

This is hard to deny, humans benefit from dead and exploited animals. The most obvious is via animal testing. Humans have greatly benefited in the past from testing on animals, curing diseases (such as polio), and are continuing to. (2) Plus, meat is a major food source, feeding billions of people. In fact, there are some people who depend on gaining access to meat via hunting (more on them later). (3) Finally, animal exploitation/death can offer humans enjoyment. Whether it be through the thrill of hunting, the entertainment some get from bullfighting, the happiness brought by clothing or furniture coming from dead animals, happiness of money made from profits in industries involving killing animals, etc.


So why should society continue to exploit and kill animals? It is useful or can provide positive emotions to humans. A society consisting of humans should do what can be useful or provide positive emotions to its members. It is preferable because it allows a society to have more of members enjoy what is occurring and looks out for the interest of said society.


Think of the hunters I mentioned previously. They’d all die if they couldn’t kill animals. This is an extreme example sure, but it is not in the best interest of that society to obey animal rights.


Argument 2-Impossible Without Going Extinct or Killing Most of the World:

There are certain nutrients that can only be gained via meat (vitamin B12, saturated fats, etc.) It is unrealistic to expect a population of 7 billion to supplement via yeast and other non-meat source.


Also, soil requires nutrients. Fertilizers are typically made from bone meal, blood, and ash. (4) Synthetic fertilizers are made from fossil fuels and therefore are unsuitable and potentially dangerous to the environment (which could kill every animal and human). Plus, with more farmland not only do animals lose their habitats (almost defeating the purpose) they are also killed in clearing the land. (5) This definitely defeats the purpose. So in this case, humans will have to starve out most of the species and go back to the wild where they cannot hunt and have to eat completely vegetarian. This destroys society and is in no way worthwhile for humans.


Sources:

1-https://www.google.ca...

2-http://www.ca-biomed.org...

3-http://www.huntercourse.com...

4-http://www.foodrenegade.com...

5-http://theconversation.com...
Debate Round No. 2
famousdebater

Pro

Morality

I will provide you with an argument that will convince an amoralist or egoist that she should be moral. Alas, no such argument has yet been found, although great philosophers have tried, and I will sketch some attempts.

By moral I take it that you mean acting for the sake of others rather than purely selfishly. And I take it that you accept it is best for an amoralist to live in a society where others are moral, all the better to exploit them, rather than in a society of each against all in which life is ‘solitary, violent, nasty, brutish and short’ as Hobbes puts it.

In short, you ask why shouldn’t I be a ‘sensible knave’ as Hume puts it, acting morally when it suits me, even gaining a reputation as a moral person, but acting immorally if it’s to my advantage and I think I can get away with it.

Of course morality is the norm. Rather like language, it comes naturally to us with exposure to instances in childhood reinforced by teaching. But to give an account in terms of evolved human nature is to explain it. What concerns us here is to justify it, to find good reasons for being moral.

Three main arguments have been put forward to justify morality.

1. God commands it
2. Happiness requires it
3. Acting immorally is irrational

1. God commands it.

But we have no good reason to believe in God, or that God must have moral rules, or that we can know about these. Even if they existed, why should we obey them? God’s being our creator, or loving us, don’t seem good reasons. Hope of heaven or fear of hell appeal to expediency or self-interest, not to morality. We might follow the rules because they are good rules. But then appeal to divine command is redundant — God (if good) commands the rules because they are good, rather than the rules being good because God commands them, as Socrates famously argues in Euthyphro. Even for monotheists, divine command is an unsatisfactory basis for morality. Thus Aquinas held that the moral law, albeit God’s law, stands up on rational grounds alone. Despite its philosophical shortcomings, divine command is given as a reason for being moral by many monotheistic religious persons, some citing fear of God as the incentive. But it cuts no ice for everybody else, including the amoralist.

2. Happiness requires it.

This is the answer of Aristotle and of modern virtue ethics. Having regard to human nature (as rational, social, child-rearing mammals) we identify the chief good for humans as ‘eudaimonia’ (flourishing, living and doing well), achieved in a community, and characterized as ‘rational activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’ (Aristotle). A virtuous life is the most fulfilled one — most of the virtues are centred on others’ welfare, and the fulfilled life is not one of (only) self-interest. Whether virtue is necessary for eudaimonia is arguable. Socrates thought so. In Plato’s Republic, in response to the challenge of Glaucon/ Adeimantus, he argues for the extreme position that the just (moral) man, even if considered unjust, reviled and rejected by society, is nevertheless happier than the unjust man with a reputation for justness who is respected and lives comfortably. Here, Socrates goes too far, but there is much in the view that the villain who appears to flourish as the green bay tree is not really happy. A view forcefully put by the late Phillipa Foot and with which I have much sympathy. Here we hold, with Plato, that the ruthless, wealthy mobster, surrounded by minders, forever alert for attempts to deceive, ruin or kill him, is ignorant of what constitutes real happiness. Eudaimonic considerations can provide justification of the moral life to some people. To me, for one.

3. Acting immorally is irrational.

This is one strand in the above eudaimonic argument, but is a view particularly held by Kant: the moral law is what we legislate for ourselves as rational autonomous beings, so that, as rational agents, we follow it, and to do otherwise is irrational. The argument essentially is as follows:

P1: my interests matter
P2: others are relevantly similar to me
Conclusion: others’ interests matter as much as mine

But the amoralist can simply interpret P1 as ‘my interests matter to me’, and P2 as ‘others’ interests matter to them’ which does not entail that others’ interests matter to me. But now, if the amoralist holds that her pain is really bad (as opposed to bad for her) or resents others for not helping her, she would show practical irrationality.

In conclusion, there is no knockdown logical argument that can convince a determined egoistic, amoral, ‘sensible knave’ to be moral. But, here, we are no worse off than trying to convince the determined sceptic that the external world exists. As Hare said, ‘Ask not ‘how do I convince the amoralist to be virtuous?’, but rather ‘how do we mostly bring up our children?”. Most of us accept that we have reason to be moral (as we accept the existence of the external world), otherwise why would we teach our children to be so. It is the best way to a fulfilled life, though bad luck can ruin things, and avoids practical irrationality that intellectually honest persons would wish to avoid.

Needless Suffering

Definition:
Unnecessary pain or distress.

We have been given the ability to care and feel emotions. It is highly illogical (as I have explained) to say that we should ignore our responsibility to remove needless and pointless suffering. Why shouldn't we help animals. If you were in their situation and you were suffering does that mean that it is not okay to help you. Whilst it is commonly believed that animals cannot feel emotion however one emotion that animals most definitely can feel is pain!

Pain can be considered to have two components: (1) physical hurt or discomfort caused by injury or disease; and (2) emotional suffering. Most people would agree that animals are capable of feeling pain according to the first definition. But it is less clear whether they also feel emotional pain. Since we are not debating about emotion pain this point is irrelevant however cause 1 is important since there is scientific evidence suggesting that this is true.

Responsibility

This does only apply to humans. My opponent claim that none of my sources refer to love and compassion however I'm interested in his response to this since my 2nd source provided is called "Charter for Compassion".

Here is the link again in case that you missed it: http://charterforcompassion.org...

Here are some further links to this in case it is still unclear:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu...

Since my opponent has failed to properly respond to this due to their misunderstanding regarding sources I will allow them to use the next round to refute this argument.


Rebuttal 1 - Dead and Exploited Animals are Useful:

Under egoism animals are essential for human survival. Whilst animal testing has been beneficial and meat is a major food source. We could still survive (as a species) without animal testing and meat. Without animals we will die. Animals are necessary for human survival and I will back this claim up with a few examples:

Termites are detritivores and decomposers, meaning they consume decomposing plant matter and play vital roles in recycling ecosystem energy, as well as in balancing biogeochemical cycles. Unlike other detritivores, the termite gut is unique in that it contains microorganisms that break down cellulose (building blocks for plants), which is indigestible without this symbiotic relationship. Think about it … what would we do without termites to clean up all the decomposing material? We might drown is cellulose-based litter, like autumn leaves and tree branches!

Frogs act as bio-indicators, which means they indicate the health of their ecosystems. How? Frog skin is very porous and permeable, allowing substances present in the environment to be absorbed within their fatty tissues. Since these amphibians have the ability to live terrestrially and aquatically, they can indicate contamination dilemmas for both habitats. Since frogs will most often be the first animals to react to biological hazards, they are helpful for warning humans to take action.

Though not as effective as bats, frogs do help in insect control. They are also a food source to many carnivorous species and are needed for maintaining balanced ecosystems.


Rebuttal 2 - Impossible Without Going Extinct or Killing Most of the World:

Whilst I agree that the current system of gaining meat is wrong and I would prefer it, if those capable would choose not to eat meat it is evident that it is unrealistic to stop everybody from not eating meat. I never proposed that eating meat is wrong and in extreme circumstances I agree that it is acceptable just like I'm sure that you also believe that if you saw a dying animal in the street and you knew that the person in the house nextdoor could treat animals you would go to him. I am sure that you do not have the intention of wanting to harm all animals. Just as I do not have the intention of protecting all animals so much as to put a large amount of human lives at risk.

I agree that meat does have unique nutrients however all of these nutrients can be achieved through tablets if you really need or want them, however, these are not esseential nutrients since otherwise vegetarians and vegans would not exist.

Sources

http://www.onegreenplanet.org...

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

http://darwin200.christs.cam.ac.uk...
The_Commander

Con


Rebuttal 1-Morality:


Pro split this up into 3 arguments as to why one should be moral. I’ll address each of them and then explain why egoism is better.


A-God Commands It


This argument’s useless. A society accounts for a whole population and not everyone believes that God exists, that if God exists he has morals (or in morals at all), or that the morals are even worth following.




B-Happiness Requires It


Pro’s argument here essentially boils down to the fact that moral actors are happier and those who act immoral are less happier. However, Pro offers no scientific support for this in his argument and a moral nihilist or even an egoist would have no reason to feel this way. If I (as a nihilist) don’t believe morals exist, then it’d be impossible for me to feel bad for not following someone’s made up moral law. As an egoist, I would never purposefully commit an act that would cause me to be unhappy in the first place, it wouldn’t be in my interest to do something to make me feel bad.




Also, let’s link back to the topic at hand, animal rights. One can easily live a happy life and even moral one (by their own standards or understandings) by living a life that violates animal rights. The way Pro’s arguing would have it that anyone who has ever killed or led to the death knowingly of an animal, for any reason, cannot be truly or fully happy. The idea of this is virtually impossible. Essentially, not everyone believes in animal rights, so not everyone can feel less happy by violating them. Since a society accounts for a whole group of people, not everyone can feel unhappy by violating animal rights.




C-Acting Immorally is Irrational


I reject P1 and P2 (as Pro assumed) and agree to the adapted:


P1-My interests matter to me.


P2-Other's’ interests matter to them.




Obviously Pro prepared for this by saying that “if the amoralist holds that her pain is really bad (as opposed to bad for her) or resents others for not helping her, she would show practical irrationality.” This argument’s generally useless as well. A) not everyone can be expected to act rationally and B) many realize this and don’t feel that way. They know that something is bad for them and don’t expect other’s assistance.





Overall, egoism is preferable because that way a society is able to act in its interest. A society may have several reasons to want to do something, but if something they deem as bringing a positive impact comes as a result of a certain action it would make sense to want to do that. Having the ability to do anything intentionally, opens a wide array of possibilities that otherwise would have been locked if being held back by a restricted moral code. This can even mean acting morally if they choose because they think it will bring them more respect, love, happiness, or whatever else they feel with bring the greatest benefit to them.




To link this back to animal rights, remember what I said last round about the dog and the cow? If one loves a dog, they will want the dog to survive, but if they feel indifferent to the cow’s life but enjoy what a dead cow could provide, they would not want that cow having rights. However, they are still willing to and want the dog to have its rights protected, meaning that an egoist could find a selfish reason to protect an animal, but should not necessarily be bound by it.




Also, not all moral codes account for the protection of animal rights so a society as a whole should not be bound by protecting animal rights, if we accept that all should act according to their morals (assuming they have a moral code they follow).




Rebuttal 2-Needless Suffering:


The definition of unnecessary is “not needed or wanted”. (1)


The whole idea of needless suffering is impossible. If someone is willingly committing an act, it cannot be needless, since they feel it is needed or wanted. If someone is not willingly doing something, there is something else causing it (either someone or something forcefully causing it), which means either the person forcing them to wants or needs them to do something or there is a law of the universe that means something needs to happen (a brick falling from a high height onto an animal killing it needs to happen because there is attraction between the brick and the Earth causing the brick to accelerate towards the surface of the Earth).




I won’t deny that animals can feel physical pain. However, my whole egoist argument goes against the idea that a human should feel the need to care. Pro didn’t respond to what I said last round about this (except lack of a definition), so this issue may be resolved in Pro’s first contention.




Rebuttal 3-Responsibility:


My response last round to this was short, so I’ll repost it since Pro never responds to it.


“Pro actually does explain his argument here (compassion>selfishness), by saying that love towards humans and animals is better than selfishness, based on scientific findings. He presents a correlation that, “compassion and love is positively correlated with happiness and healthiness”. Just because a correlation exists doesn’t mean that the cause is due to that. Plus, none of his sources even mention compassion towards animals. For all we know, this only applies to humans.”




Now again, what I’ll say is that none of his studies show that compassion towards animals is sure or even likely to create a correlation of greater happiness and healthiness, nor that is it guaranteed that not being compassionate towards animals will lower happiness and healthiness.




The rest of his argument is based on a Charter of Compassion, which essentially makes some stuff up with no scientific backing. The science came later, but as I just mentioned it, in it of itself, is useless to the resolution of the debate.




Argument 1-Dead and Exploited Animals are Useful:


Pro sidesteps my arguments and essentially concedes, “Whilst animal testing has been beneficial and meat is a major food source”. He admits that animal’s may be useful and drops other arguments how dead or exploited animals can be useful and bring happiness to humans. If my egoism argument is accepted, this wins the debate. Also, since Pro never strictly defines his moral code, one who ignores animal rights, but greatly believes in doing what is necessary to protect humans would be willing to sacrifice some animals if it leads to more humans being saved.




As for his response, it’s entirely a false dichotomy. He assumes that if we don’t accept animal rights then all of a sudden we’ll kill enough animals to threaten our survival. Of course, an egoistic society wouldn’t do this, since it’s not in their best interest do something that would kill their society.




Argument 2-Impossible Without Going Extinct or Killing Most of the World:


Pro claims he never said eating meat is wrong. Regardless of whether he did or not is irrelevant, the agreed upon definition for animal rights is, “the rights of animals to live free from human exploitation and abuse.” Killing an animal for meat directly goes against that definition. He has to argue against using animals for meat, or else he loses. It’s that simple.




Pro also posts blatant anti-science by saying that, “however, these are not essential nutrients since otherwise vegetarians and vegans would not exist.” This isn’t true, certain nutrients only found naturally in animals (such as vitamin B-12) are essential. (2) Most vegetarians and vegans supplement this, but it is unrealistic to expect everyone in the world to do this.




As for my other argument in this argument (which was dropped). I’ll repost the main part of it, “Plus, with more farmland not only do animals lose their habitats (almost defeating the purpose) they are also killed in clearing the land.” (5, last round) To meet food demands in a post-meat world a lot more farmland would need to be cleared for it to realistically occur. However, that would kill animals and take their habitats, so that’s definitely violating animal rights. This means that for humans to meet food demands, they’d need to go to the wild to find them. However, they cannot kill animals so they are at risk of being killed by them and are less able to gather food (seeing as you’re eliminating a major food source).




Sources:


1-http://dictionary.reference.com...


2-http://authoritynutrition.com...
Debate Round No. 3
famousdebater

Pro

Defense 1 - Morality

A - God Commands it

How can my opponent completely dismiss this argument? I find it absurd that my opponent thinks that this argument is useless since less than 2/7 of the world don’t believe in God. It is clear that the majority of people in the world believe in God. Whilst it is true that this argument does not apply to everybody but it cannot be completely dismissed since a large proportion of the human worldwide population believes in God.

B - Happiness Requires it

I am glad that my opponent has brought up egoism since this will allow me to introduce a late framework to this debate.

Framework

Under egoism animals have rights.

Animal rights is beneficial for human beings. Without proper treatment and care that animal rights promotes animals will ultimately become extinct. The extinction of any species is ultimately damaging to the human race. It would have devastating effects if multiple animals didn't receive animal rights and ended up extinct. Here are some examples to back up this theory. I have used this example in the previous round however I feel like it requires reiteration.

Termites are detritivores and decomposers, meaning they consume decomposing plant matter and play vital roles in recycling ecosystem energy, as well as in balancing biogeochemical cycles. Unlike other detritivores, the termite gut is unique in that it contains microorganisms that break down cellulose (building blocks for plants), which is indigestible without this symbiotic relationship. Think about it … what would we do without termites to clean up all the decomposing material? We might drown is cellulose-based litter, like autumn leaves and tree branches!

C - Acting immorally is irrational

I must quote my opponent because he raises some serious issues.

“Obviously Pro prepared for this by saying that “if the amoralist holds that her pain is really bad (as opposed to bad for her) or resents others for not helping her, she would show practical irrationality.” This argument’s generally useless as well. A) not everyone can be expected to act rationally and B) many realize this and don’t feel that way. They know that something is bad for them and don’t expect other’s assistance.”

My opponent seems to be forgetting that I specifically said: a moralist. I stated, clearly, that if a moralist holds that her pain is really bad or resents other for not helping her she would show practical irrationality. My opponent’s argument A is refuted by the fact that she was a moralist. Argument B is also refuted by this. Therefore, this is another unsuccessful rebuttal to my argument.

Arguments regarding egoism have been refuted in my framework.

Defense 2 - Needless suffering

My opponent chooses to make a statement that will not have much relevance to the debate without a source to back this up. Nevertheless, I will quote and refute that statement now in case my opponent and readers of this debate have any doubt.

“it cannot be needless, since they feel it is needed or wanted.”

First, before I respond to this statement I would like to mention that I reject my opponent’s definition of unnecessary. I do not doubt the credibility of this definition and I understand that it is from a reliable source however it specifically states - not needed or wanted. The fact that it says: or, is an indication that it cannot be both needed and wanted in one situation. In this particular situation I do not think it is about want, since if this debate was to be about want then the debate would be solely based on personal opinion. Therefore the debate must be based upon what is needed.

My opponent may be right when they say that they must feel like it is needed or wanted however there is no source or evidence to justify this claim. Secondly, this is not what defense of this argument is going to be based upon. It is not about personal opinion. You cannot feel that it is needed. If it is needed then it is not up to personal opinion. To need something is to suggest that something is necessary. This allows us to come to the conclusion that needless is the opposite and means something that is unnecessary.

The egoistic argument has (again) been answered by my framework and my opponent’s argument regarding needless suffering is irrelevant to the resolution and doesn’t make sense (as explained above). My opponent has failed to refute my argument and has chosen to use his rebuttal to show why my argument is impossible - which it isn’t. Therefore, I believe that at this point in time I am winning on this argument.

Defense 3 - Responsibility

I will keep this brief since it doesn’t really require much to be said regarding this. My opponent claims that I didn’t respond to this, despite the fact that I did. I responded by providing sources about that my opponent claimed that I didn’t provide. Due to the character limit I cannot post these sources again however you can see them in my previous round if you look back on this. Scientific findings suggest that the positive correlation is due to this which you can read about in further detail on the website (in the sources). Another interesting fact to note is the fact that recent studies confirm that love is the number one cause of suicides. Surely, the website and this recent finding is enough to convince my opponent that they are incorrect.

Rebuttal 1 - Dead and exploited animals are useful

I will define exploited since it is included in my dictionary definition of animal rights

“the action or fact of treating someone unfairly””

Eating meat for survival is not treating someone [or something] unfairly. It is fair (and logical) to eat animal meat if you are dying and in desperate need of food. We generally do not accuse sharks of violating us our human rights. Despite the fact that it is common knowledge that a shark attack resulting in a fatality is extremely unlikely. As a result of this rebuttal, it is clear that my argument falls in line with my definitions provided and my argument is in fact valid.

My opponent makes the assumption that all societies are egoistic. His response to my argument suggesting that we would kill animals threatening our survival is poor. It is simply that an egoistic society would not do that. Is my opponent aware that there are other societies aside from egoistic ones? If he is then I am sure that this argument has been an error because this is a highly illogical and simple answer. You must remember that there are other societies besides your own.

Rebuttal 2 - Impossible Without Going Extinct or Killing Most of the World

Right, again this is covered by my previous round. My definition of animal rights clearly wasn’t defined enough so I defined the key terminology within that definition and it is clear now that it is perfectly okay to eat animals in the most desperate of situations.

My opponent states that it is unrealistic to expect everybody in the world to manage surviving as a vegetarian however again this is covered by the newly defined definition of animal rights. If the cannot survive like this since they will be unable to survive without eating meat then it is perfectly acceptable to eat meat.

The average American eats about 50 pounds of chicken per year, according to PBS. That adds up to about $250 a year just for chicken. Or, if you're a vegetarian, that'd be about $50 a year for black beans. In this case, you'd save $200 per year by going vegetarian.

Let's play the same comparison game with steak versus tofu. A sirloin steak costs about $5.99 per pound, and contains 23 grams of protein per 4 ounces. Tofu is about $2.50 a pound, and gives you about 28 grams of protein in 4 ounces, according to one online grocery store. The average American eats about 65 pounds of steak per year. That means your yearly spending on steak could amount to about $400 or more, depending on the cuts of beef you like to buy. Compare that with about $163 a year for tofu. By going vegetarian, you'd save $237 or more per year.

My opponent suggests that it is unrealistic for people to switch to vegetarianism since the vitamins provided by meat are much healthier and are in much greater quantity to vegetables.

Meat's greatest strength is that it's a big source of protein. If you go without it, you'll need to obtain that protein from some other vegetarian source. Today's chicken breasts sell for around $5 a pound, and one chicken breast fillet gives you about 24 grams of protein per serving. Compare that with black beans, another source of protein; you can buy a can (approximately 1 pound) of black beans for about a buck, which will provide you with about 24 grams of protein per serving, as well.

Of course, as I have said previously it is perfectly acceptable under my definition of animal rights to allow animals to be killed in extreme circumstances (ie. self defense and preventing starvation). Annually, $550 million are spent on meat in the USA alone! At the moment research is being done to find out how much money is spent on meat in the whole of Europe and North + South America. These statistics are expected to be relased in the next 10 years so I cannot use these. It is evident, however, that a lot of money is spent on meat since we can infer this from the money spent in the USA alone. With the saved money vegetarianism will be a much easier alternavtive than it is now and animal rights will be recognised!

Sources

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com...


http://charterforcompassion.org...


http://wnyyradio.com...

https://www.google.co.uk...

http://meatonomics.com...
The_Commander

Con

Rebuttal 1-Morality

A-God Commands It:

Why should a society (remember the resolution) accounting for everyone account for God? Not everyone believes in God (about 2 billion by Pro’s count), and that’s not even counting those who do, but don’t believe he has a moral code.

B-Happiness Requires It:

My rebuttal stands completely, I’ll repost it:
Pro’s argument here essentially boils down to the fact that moral actors are happier and those who act immoral are less happier. However, Pro offers no scientific support for this in his argument and a moral nihilist or even an egoist would have no reason to feel this way. If I (as a nihilist) don’t believe morals exist, then it’d be impossible for me to feel bad for not following someone’s made up moral law. As an egoist, I would never purposefully commit an act that would cause me to be unhappy in the first place, it wouldn’t be in my interest to do something to make me feel bad.

Also, let’s link back to the topic at hand, animal rights. One can easily live a happy life and even moral one (by their own standards or understandings) by living a life that violates animal rights. The way Pro’s arguing would have it that anyone who has ever killed or led to the death knowingly of an animal, for any reason, cannot be truly or fully happy. The idea of this is virtually impossible. Essentially, not everyone believes in animal rights, so not everyone can feel less happy by violating them. Since a society accounts for a whole group of people, not everyone can feel unhappy by violating animal rights.”

As for Pro’s framework, it is utterly ridiculous. It starts off with a false dichotomy, stating that if animal rights is not honoured, animals will go extinct. No egoist would kill animals absolutely essential to human survival, seeing as it would kill him/her off. Not to mention, even though egoists may try to protect some animals, they’re not giving them rights. If circumstances change or they find a reason important enough to kill one, they still will. Also, termites don’t have any rights now (in fact, humans often try to kill them), but they’re not close to extinction (and reproduce very quickly), so that also disproves Pro’s false dichotomy. (1, 2)

C-Acting Immorally is Irrational:

Pro lies here and should be stripped of his conduct point.. His only real response to my rebuttal was that he “specifically said: a moralist.” This is completely untrue. He said “amoralist”, which is completely different. Amorality is disregarding morality. (3) Due to this my argument stands.

Egoism:

This response is why Pro lost the debate. He says his framework address anything regarding egoism, essentially conceding to the viewpoint. I explained the benefits of egoism, which Pro had no real response to, thereby dropping the argument. Seeing as I rebutted his arguments for morality, and my argument for egoism stood, regardless of what else happens, I’ve won the debate. However, I’ll respond to the rest anyways.

Rebuttal 2- Needless Suffering:

Pro starts off criticizing me for not using a source. However, what I stated was common sense. “It cannot be needless, since they feel it is needed or wanted”. This statement is impossible to deny. If someone does something by their own free will, they chose to do so, therefore they felt what they were doing is needed or wanted. Even if someone holds a gun to their head and tells them to shoot someone, and they do it, they still wanted to (since the alternative was dying).

Pro rejects my definition, but it doesn’t really matter, since he never brought in his own definition.

This whole argument will come down to who the voters thought won the moral framework.

Rebuttal 3-Responsibility:

Pro never seemed to bother reading what I had to say. I’ll post it for the 3rd time and break it down:

“Pro actually does explain his argument here (compassion>selfishness), by saying that love towards humans and animals is better than selfishness, based on scientific findings. He presents a correlation that, “compassion and love is positively correlated with happiness and healthiness”. Just because a correlation exists doesn’t mean that the cause is due to that. Plus, none of his sources even mention compassion towards animals. For all we know, this only applies to humans.”

I start off saying a correlation, is not evidence in of itself. Pro offered no rebuttal.

I then say that his sources refer to compassion towards animals. Since he never showed anything to suggest it applies to animals, it cannot factor into the debate.

Argument 1-Dead and Exploited Animals Are Useful:

Pro introduces a definition for exploited. The fact is, killing anything is unfair to the thing being killed. A deer being killed because a human is starving could care less that the human is starving. The deer is living its own life, but has it suddenly ended. This isn’t fair at all. Also, it still violates the definition of animal rights, seeing as it puts them through abuse (pain associated with dying). In the same way, a mouse who dies to help cure a disease killing a lot of humans could care less that its death would help a bunch of humans survive.

Also, Pro seemed to completely forget what the debate was about. My argument depend on egoism and I’m arguing a society should be egoistic (regarding animal rights). Obviously I’m going to argue what an egoistic society would do.

Argument 2-Impossible Without Going Extinct

I’ll just repost part of what I put last round, since Pro made no effort to rebut it:
“Pro also posts blatant anti-science by saying that, “however, these are not essential nutrients since otherwise vegetarians and vegans would not exist.” This isn’t true, certain nutrients only found naturally in animals (such as vitamin B-12) are essential. (2, last round) Most vegetarians and vegans supplement this, but it is unrealistic to expect everyone in the world to do this.

As for my other argument in this argument (which was dropped). I’ll repost the main part of it, “Plus, with more farmland not only do animals lose their habitats (almost defeating the purpose) they are also killed in clearing the land.” (5, last round) To meet food demands in a post-meat world a lot more farmland would need to be cleared for it to realistically occur. However, that would kill animals and take their habitats, so that’s definitely violating animal rights. This means that for humans to meet food demands, they’d need to go to the wild to find them. However, they cannot kill animals so they are at risk of being killed by them and are less able to gather food (seeing as you’re eliminating a major food source).”


1-http://www.wikihow.com...

2-https://en.wikipedia.org...

3-https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
Thanks for the RFD balacafa and it is great to know that you would have voted for me too. :)
Posted by Balacafa 1 year ago
Balacafa
Unfortunately there was a problem with my vote and I was unable to add it although I agreed with donald keller.

You can view my RFD here: http://www.debate.org...
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
Thanks again.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
I feel a lot of potential between the both of you. You two should keep at it :)
Posted by The_Commander 1 year ago
The_Commander
Thanks for the vote.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
Thank you for detailed RFD.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
RFD: As a vote on behalf of the Voter's Union, I shall post no Conduct or S&G.

Establishing BOP: BOP is shared. The resolution is straightforward, I like that.

Round 2:

Pro starts with Morality. This claim is a little weak, not because it wasn't well defended... Because it was. Using the existence of humans who are less moral or less morally responsible than animals was great... It was a little weak because Pro assumed, without proving, that morality is the end-all of human responsibility. Claiming that if A is morally wrong, we shouldn't do it regardless of the impact on humanity, might sound nice, but Pro needs to show why. Why is morality more important than human progress? Something I would like to see Con bring up is that morality is complicated, and if the cost to humanity is more immoral than killing animals, Pro's case fails.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
Pro's second contention about Needless Suffering seemed strong, but it's not a solid case to rely on. If Con can show that the ending of suffering for animals is outweighed by the suffering caused to humans, Con wins. Pro's third contention seems like an extension of Contention 1, and faces the same issues. It's based in a simplified version of morals and responsibility, where if A is morally right, it's therefore right, without realizing that the effects of A may be more immoral than not doing A. Pro needs to show more than that it's moral. He needs to show that it is the most moral option, side-effects included. Although, while his argument is weak because he hasn't proven that it's the most moral option, the side-effects issue is only relevant in that Con can easily win that case if Pro doesn't establish that the side-effects aren't that bad.

Con's rebuttal to contention 1 wasn't particularly strong. It didn't focus on the relatively of morality, but instead on how morals are made up and therefore don't need to be followed. The problem is that, like with Pro, Con didn't show why his view of morality is better... He said that we don't have to follow morals, but not that we shouldn't, or that following morals would be worse than not following morals. Both Pro and Con can't just make claims. They must make arguments as to why I should prefer their claim.

The importance of morality in society is too strong of a rebuttal for this argument to last long. I suspect to see that rebuttal from Pro next round. Until then, I can't hold it against Con. Pro's argument so far is stronger, as I buy that morals are a good system to follow.

Con's next rebuttal is a little stronger. That we have no reason to extend morals to animals. I feel this would have been a better rebuttal to contention 1. His next rebuttal, not so much. Pro DOES have a study that says love = happiness... Con needs to present a counter source. Just saying "well that doesn't mean love leads to happines
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
Con's first argument is a strong one, albeit easy to attack. The utility of animal exploitation is a strong case to make, although as I've come to learn (from, I think, Lee's debates), testing on animals is expansive and gives bad results. I'd like to see Pro use this argument, and support it with evidence. The idea that animals are good for meat (for the utilitarian point-of-view, which is where Con is coming from) is easy to negate using the numbers of how many meal's worth of food is wasted to make one meal worth of meat. Again, I would like to see this get used by Pro. Con's argument was, for now, the first strong case made.

Con's second argument is strong, as well. I said that Pro didn't prove that morality is the end all, and that side-effects of animal rights may outweigh the morality of animal rights. I didn't see the first problem mentioned, but Con did hit on the second. While I don't buy that it'd wipe out civilization and force us back into the forest. This is a strong claim, and Con doesn't do enough to prove it's true.

So to sum up this round... Pro's side wasn't very compelling, as it was built on the idea that one thing being moral is all that matters. Con's rebuttals weren't very compelling either, but he did establish that it being moral for humans doesn't mean we should do it for animals. Con's arguments were good, all in all, and his second argument essentially rebutted all of Pro's base (odd that it's his argument that does this, and not his rebuttals.)
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
Round III:

Pro attempts to prove that we should follow morals for a number of reasons. While the appeal to God seemed specific only to people who believe in God, the other two hold as reasonable. This is a strong start, as it counters that principle on which all of Con's rebuttals stood. Pro's second argument didn't seem appealing. He mentioned 'Whilst it is commonly believed that animals cannot feel emotion..." This isn't true, and Pro would have done well to explain that many animals do feel emotions. None-the-less, the reason this argument wasn't strong was that it didn't really tactic Con's argument that our morals are for us, and that we need not extend them to animals. Saying "if we can, we should" doesn't prove we should, especially if the outcome is worse than not doing so. Pro has to overcome that error to win this debate.

Pro's third argument starts weak. This is because he misread Con's case. Con never said the sources don't refer to love and compassion. He said they didn't imply it works when done towards animals, a case I can buy into. I'll give Pro a break on dropping the "correlation =/= causation" argument Con gave, as he did believe he had answered it. That, and I didn't find the argument to have impact anyways.

Pro's rebuttal wasn't compelling, as he didn't prove we could live without exploiting animals. He only claimed we'd die if we didn't have animals, but did nothing to prove such a scenario would ever happen. I held Con to this issue (extreme scenario's with no evidence), and I must hold Pro to it as well. This leaves Con's argument completely relevant still. I'd hoped to see the cases I made here, but I did not.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
famousdebaterThe_CommanderTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. (A note... This debate was one-sided the whole time, until the very last Argument, which shocked me greatly.)