Saturday, November 15, 2008

Naturalistic worldview and the ethics of eating meat

Oh boy - here is an excellent Point of Inquiry interview, Vegetarianism and Secular Ethics, with philosopher, Peter Singer - and he is quite convincing about the case for adopting vegetarianism The best thing about the interview is his discussion of religion regarding some of these ethical questions. At one point he also talks about the early Christian ideas of "personhood" and how it related to the doctrine of Trinity. Good stuff!

Now, I will be in Pakistan next month during Eid ul Adha - the Muslim festival of animal sacrifice (I think its around Dec 8th). The last time I was there for Eid al Adha was at least 15 years ago. I do vividly remember some of the goat sacrifices while growing up, but I think it will be hard to stomach it this time. But I'm not a vegetarian - so yes, my position regarding this is definitely inconsistent.

If you have 25 minutes, do check out this interview - its totally worth it. Also - you can check out the first part, Ethics in the age of Darwin.

4 comments:

apashiol said...

I heard the first interview and look forward to catching the next.
From the moment I learned I didn't need to eat meat to live I became a vegetarian. Looked at from this point of view it is killing for pleasure; in this case the pleasure of tasting the flesh of another creature.
It is interesting the nonsense excuses people will make for doing it, like 'My blood-type says I should eat meat to be healthy.
The sooner we develop meat grown in vats the better. Then those who want can satisfy their taste for meat without the needless suffering and environmental damage.

Salman Hameed said...

yup - I don't have a good excuse...
But the vat idea is a good one.

Marina said...

"...because not every human is a rational, self-aware being."

Ah, so true.

But at the same time, I'm not a vegetarian and I don't expect I ever will be. For one thing, I experiment with an animal model. Are those rats worth less than a cow? Is this not also inconsistent? Do I not have the same moral responsibility? Yet I believe that there is a justification for animal research, as well as moral and ethical code which governs this work. Additionally, I am an omnivore. My self-awareness does not make me something other than what evolution did.

I would have liked a better discussion of how science and animal ethics intertwine than "I think Darwin would have been a vegetarian," and "some people are more committed to acting ethically than others."

-Marina

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