Stuck in a debate

I was in a debate a while ago but it just seemed like it was going nowhere.

Here is what my opponent was saying:

“That doesn’t follow. If the universe is indifferent, then we are free to construct our own moral systems; if there is nothing objectively wrong with exploiting animals for our own ends, then any kindness we extend to them will be solely for our own peace of mind. In which case, myself and many others are perfectly happy to continue exploiting animals if it means increasing the totality of human happiness, comfort and safety.”

“animals cannot be oppressed. They can have death and cruelty needlessly inflicted on them, but they do not and cannot understand why you are doing so, unlike humans.”

“Animals don’t “deserve” anything. You are still treating them like persons, which they are not.”

“I think it’s quite obvious why humans are more important than other animals.”

“Because “intelligence” is more than just book smarts - our social qualities are not stored in our kidneys, they are a result of our comparatively enormous brain. Social qualities include compassion and a sense of ethics, which we have developed to a level literally unimaginable by any other animal.”

“There are genuine differences between humans and non-human animals. Don’t believe me? Where are the animal liberation groups… staffed by animals? You’d think that if non-human animals truly were our equals, it would show somewhere, but it doesn’t.”

“I think it would be more accurate to say that exploitation is OK as long as what is exploited cannot realise its exploitation - minerals and crops have no comprehension at all, and non-human animals don’t have the concept. It doesn’t make sense for exploitation to be wrong otherwise, unless it’s merely an egotistical exercise in salving our own consciences.”

Basically he was saying that if animals can’t contribute and participate in society they are worthless.

I was not sure how to respond to his points so hopefully you can help me know what I should’ve said.


Try to compare speciesism with racism or other kind of discrimination. For example, when someone says to me that animal exploitation is nothing bad because it’s legal, I compare it with slavery. It was legal in the past and what speciesists say about animals is the same what slaveholders used to say about black people 150 years ago.

I agree with cyrstal… I was shocked by what your opponent was saying… really, I can’t imagine anyone could throw those words esp. this:

What doesn’t follow? These arguments taken from the contexts can have different meanings.
What does it mean: “Universe is indifferent” ?
Anyway here is what I would answer: :slight_smile:
Humans are animals too, considering that the universe is indifferent is there anything objectively wrong with me exploiting you for my personal gains? I could sell your liver for big bucks or you could be a really nice sex slave… :slight_smile: You see, theoretically, there is “nothing wrong” with pain and suffering unless it’s you who are suffering and feeling the pain. But considering that everyone wants to be happy including many non human animals causing suffering to others is a stupid thing to do in a long term perspective.

But it doesn’t increase any happiness or safety. Beside the threat of global warming and the development of various diseases resistant to treatment with antibiotics. The simple fact that while exploiting animals we follow the principle of using our power to exploit those that don’t have power is detrimental to our society on a large scale. Most human suffering in the world is caused by people following this principle. Racism, Slavery, Sex abuse, Tyranny, wars are all based on this principle. Unless we as human species learn to respect all forms of life with all their differences, including our species, there will be no real peace among us and eventually there is a probability that we will terminate ourselves in a nuclear or biologic war.

Do you really think that humans can understand the cause of all the needless cruelty inflicted on them? So you really could understand a maniac and the cruelty needlessly inflicted by him on some of your relatives? Or being in a nazzi camp would you really understand why so much cruelty is inflicted on you? And it is a very bold statement to say what animals can and what they cannot understand? What it is based on? Beside the fact that it is convenient to you? (Well out of context I don’t even know what is this argument about :slight_smile: ) The fact that someone doesn’t understand why you are treating him badly doesn’t allow you to do it.

In the old time, slave owners would say: Slaves don’t “deserve” anything. You are still treating them like persons, which they are not.
Just imagine that someone would treat you really badly because he wouldn’t consider you an “educated person.”
Something like: “Animals like him that eat with their bare hands don’t “deserve” anything. You are treating them like educated persons, which they are not.” I hope you understand the irony. :smiley:
What does it even mean for you to be a person?

Why? And important for whom?
For a cat mother her kittens are more important than humans. :slight_smile:
Actually for Hitler it was quite obvious that German people were more important than other races. (I am sorry if anyone from Germany is reading this. But it is the freshest example I know of that can ring a bell)
As a rule, importance if taken too seriously is a psychological disorder. When something becomes extremely important all the rest becomes unimportant. Thus Fanaticism is born.
And the extreme case of this disorder is the extreme self importance when you are willing to sacrifice everyone around you for your well being.

Yes. Humans are important but not that important. :slight_smile:

watch this: :wink:

Here is an example of an animal liberation group that consists of… animals: :slight_smile:

I’d have been tongue-tied with frustration in a discussion like that. Inflicting cruelty and suffering on other species really does take something important away from humans and I’ definitely agree that until we are more respectful of other species we haven’t a chance of being more respectful to each other.

AndyBa…what a brilliant response. I’ll have to try and memorise some of those arguments.

Sergio…what an extraordinary piece of footage of those buffalo. I was rooting for the baby the whole way! How many of us can say our family would fight for us like that, I wonder, given the aount of child abuse in the world? Maybe we should be learning from animals instead of bragging about our giant brains!

Usually, when in a debate with someone, first I’ll try to determine if the person I’m talking to is even open to my arguments. If they aren’t they aren’t listening to what you are saying and considering it’s validity, in which case you are just going to get frustrated, and they will get satisfied. If they are open minded and are hearing me out, I generally will simply suggest that they educate themselves before arguing points that they know little about (in a polite way, it’s very easy to make that sound very condisending and arrogent) because there is definately no lack in scientific research and evidence on everything vegetarian/vegan related including environmental damage, damage to our bodies from meat and dairy, the expense of the industry, and animals ability to suffer both physically and emotionally. The person who you are arguing with is simply uneducated on the subject. If he were, he wouldn’t be arguing, he would be agreeing with you. No human being, no matter how messed up they are, can argue the facts.