The Instigator
McBraas
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
yuiru
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

There is no moral difference between killing a non-human mammal and an insect.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
yuiru
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/18/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,688 times Debate No: 25170
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

McBraas

Pro

I find it hard to see any moral differences between killing a cow and a fly. It doesn't really matter whether it is good or bad; either way we get the same result.

Both are non-sentient animals that have been produced naturally via evolution and yet many who condemn the various killers of cows world over, saying the infamous phrase "meat is murder" would, under assumption, have no problem swapping a fly as it hover over their ears when they attempt to sleep, or sits on their food.

The reason for this - again on assumption - is that the fly seems so small and insignificant compared to the bovine milk-producing grass-eater. Now, what I put forth is as such: As they both are non-sentient animals produced through the same natural process of evolution, how can there ever be different moral results from killing one of them?

Alright, hit me.
yuiru

Con

Hello McBrass, I would first like to ask you some questions:

When you say "moral difference/moral result" do you mean the consequencial outcomes from killing or the emotional/sociatal response from the killing? Or what do you really mean by that?

How does whether both classes experience the same process of evolution affect the morale of killing them?

Intro


" As they both are non-sentient animals produced through the same natural process of evolution, how can there ever be different moral results from killing one of them?"

I think morally for human beings, there are many differences to killing mammals and other tetrapods and insects.

First, I would point out humans have a tendency to avert most arthropods. Since we naturally fear that which is different from us, and insects are probably the farthest from us than any other terrestrial fauna.
Second, there is little emotional connection from humans to insects, versus mammals. I think this is because, humans only see insects as mechanical meager creatures, and see mammals as more emotionally reachable and to our likeness.

Also, insects are generally easy to kill with less effort and less mess. Making us feel like gods compared to them, yet at the same time they disgust us and frighten us, so we kill them with little empathy.
They are also seen as useless pest which invade our territory, whilst mammals are usually welcome or serve a purpose for us (eating, travel, companion, etc) so they are less expendable.
Debate Round No. 1
McBraas

Pro

Our feelings and our empathy is irrelevant. The moral difference I speak of is one that ultimately says "killing mammals is morally wrong and killing other animal classes is not." If our level of empathy should decide whether killing something is wrong or not, then a man lacking empathy overall would have done no wrong in killing even a homo sapiens, as well as a cow.

The same principle accounts for "fearing" something. As long as one fears something or someone enough, would it be morally acceptable to kill it? And again I use that argument for disgust and amount of effort it takes to kill something.

Whilst we may view the various insects we kill as useless pests that invade our territory, fact is that they all support a large ecological system and adhere to the principles of the food chain, each proving necessary and possibly maintaining a useful and or necessary function in one way or another. A function most flies possess, for example, is the distribution of pollen to flowers with nectar. Also, they are highly valued in a scientific matter when it comes to researching genetics and evolution.

Ergo, flies have functions useful to humans, much like a Cow (milk, meat, leather) would. Also, in both cases the resources aren't a necessity, but something we choose that we want. As a matter of fact, even if they both were essential, it would be the principle that counts.

Here one might be tempted to invoke the argument of the sheer number of flies, but I wish to render that useless. How can the quantity of something decide whether it is morally wrong or right to kill it?

Finally, as I've already mentioned, they are both non-sentient and whilst it may be difficult for humans to comprehend, no non-sentient creatures can perceive the world as we do.

I maintain that, in both cases, these non-sentient animals maintain functions that are naturally provided and both play into the food chain. Should right and wrong be decided on how much we like, disgust, look down on, fear, feel for or how easy it would be to kill them? That is just madness.

Alright, I'm done. Hit me!
yuiru

Con

"I maintain that, in both cases, these non-sentient animals maintain functions that are naturally provided and both play into the food chain. Should right and wrong be decided on how much we like, disgust, look down on, fear, feel for or how easy it would be to kill them? That is just madness."

Right or wrong, I was saying that is how we think.

"If our level of empathy should decide whether killing something is wrong or not, then a man lacking empathy overall would have done no wrong in killing even a homo sapiens, as well as a cow."

But it is not for one to decide, its for society. Society chooses what it thinks is acceptable and unacceptable and tries to imposes that on everyone, from what you should wear to how you should think. So to that one man he really sees no problem. I'm not saying it's necessarily right/wrong. That is just how society works.

"Our feelings and our empathy is irrelevant. The moral difference I speak of is one that ultimately says "killing mammals is morally wrong and killing other animal classes is not."

I am still unclear on what you specifically mean, there are many "moral" differences that say exactly that.

I explained a few reason for how societal morals say that, and our feelings are completely relevant. Much of human morality is based on how much we care, or should care*. Unless you are a psychopath you have emotional restraints, humans are not comfortable with the emotional impact of doing something we perceive as immoral. And these emotional restraints much of the time are what influence our behavior. People don't have the emotional restraints in killing a insect as much as they do when killing a mammal. That is Human Exceptionalism

Without supplying a definition for 'moral difference' you leave it up to me to decide/assume the definition.

And there are many definitions to pull from, since morality is so subjective and has such a deep history.
But in regard to the rules of conduct that is considered right or wrong in society, there are many differences between mammals and insects as I said.

Also, you never really answered my questions for clarification. I was asking so I could get a clear understanding on what you mean. It would pointless for me to debate with you if I didn't even know what you meant; it would only lead to strawmans.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
http://dictionary.reference.com...;
https://www.google.com...;
http://www.emotionalcompetency.com...
http://brainblogger.com...
* http://science.discovery.com...
* http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...
Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by yuiru 4 years ago
yuiru
@Double_R

You seem to be getting something I'm not, what is the one "actual moral difference"?
There are so many things that could be considered "actual moral differences". What even constitutes a moral difference for whatever this "actual" morality is?

Thank you.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
I don't agree with Double_R's RFD. It's obvious Con was unclear on the use of the term "morality" as used in this debate because he asked for clarification. It's not as though he accepted the debate and then immediately defined morality to set up an easy win -- which he would be justified in doing anyway. He actually gave Pro a chance to get the easy win.
Posted by Viperx00 4 years ago
Viperx00
Unfortunately I can't seem to vote because I can't confirm my identity through mobile phone in my country... but if I could I would have voted in favor of Pro based on the arguments

I don't think Con argued very convincingly in justifying the relevance of feelings "Unless you are a psychopath you have emotional restraints" sounds like a psychopath would indeed be able to kill freely.

For society deciding it would suggest that the maltreatment or honor killings of women in the middle east would be justified by their society which I don't think I can agree with.

If we are not debating right and wrong but just how things work then it makes no difference because a society that condones killing of mammals, like say China, would have no reason to treat them any different than insects which supports the Pro side.
Posted by yuiru 4 years ago
yuiru
Lol, this debate is short...
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Interesting. This is the way I feel about the situation as well.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 4 years ago
Double_R
McBraasyuiruTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed how there were many similarities between killing mammals and insects, Con failed to show any differences relevant to the resolution. As Pro pointed out, this debate was about the actual moral differences between the two scenarios, not the perceived differences by those responsible for the killings. Con claims that Pro did not define the resolution, however its meaning and intent was clear. If Con didn’t understand the context of the resolution he shouldn’t have accepted the debate.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
McBraasyuiruTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: The way I see it, Pro had some strong arguments, but by not defining morality in round 1 he left an enormous hole for Con to exploit. Con even gave him a chance to define morality in round two which would have been an instant victory for Pro had he taken advantage of the opportunity. He did not, so Con was free to define morality as such that it suited his argument. Sources to Con for using sources.