I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity."  Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."

A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of  "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?

Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.

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@Keith

You haven't explained whyy you think causing unnecessary pain and suffering is wrong. You haven't explained why it is necessary to eat meat. WHY IS IT NECESSARY? It's me that's banging his head against a brick wall. In the end, you'll say anything, ignore argument just to carry on eating dead cow flesh.

John, again the final childish exclamation.  How un-original, and spite filled.  They can not show that the suffering they cause is necessary. So, instead they trot out the old, easily refuted arguments

the cavemen did it

bears do it

there is no such thing as ethics

there is no such thing as free will

tradition

everyone does it

animal overpopulation

it doesn't hurt

they can't feel as we can

what about compassion for plants

because animals are not ethical, they do not deserve to be treated ethically

confinement, abuse, denial of natural conditions, the theft of 15 or more years of normal lifespan, cruel transport, and  painful death do not comprise "harm"

and lastly, you make me uncomfortable so I will show you!  I'll now go kill and eat an animal just to spite you!

@Dogly - Yes, we get it.  You are as pathetic and self-righteous as John is.  You talk about childish?  How about reading your own post?  You hit on NONE of the points I have made, which goes to show that you don't bother to listen to anyone else, either.  The pair of you certainly make a lovely couple.

@Keith

You are so wide of the mark. I recognize moral responsibilities because I reject dominionist Christian dogma and recognise my kinship with other animals because I believe in evolution. My reasoning leads me to an ethical position to which I aspire, I don't always behave as I should. But I see animal exploitation as being just as ethically unsupported as slavery for instance. Is it any surprise that I express my views and challenge those opposing them to be consistent?

You have not been consistent. You know you don't need to eat meat to live, you recognise causing innecessary suffering is unethical and yet you eat meat, You haven't explained how you consider this to be consistent.

You pulled me up on pointing out the mistake of Arcus a while ago even though done in jest and yet you would make a remark about eating cow flesh that is designed to cause offense and hurt the feelings of others. That was spiteful. I apologised to Arcus (even for a comment made in jest), why don't you do the decent thing and apologise.

Dogly, that about sums it up! Any argument will do until it gets challenged to the point where the inconsistency smacks them in the face and then they turn, get aggressive and accuse you of being a zealot!

It's funny how the views of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are so respected in the atheist community, but when you point out neither sees the exploitation of animals for meat as ethically defensible, suddenly they are not quite so revered.

It's a little disingenuous to be trying to reel in wavering, inquisitive Christians with stories of alternative morality when as soon as they are questioned, they are not quite presented. Yeah, I believe in the Golden Rule but that's for humans only (dominionist) and doesn't relate to humans starving abroad (distancist??). 

As has been made clear in these exchanges, morals are well and good but add a little social conditioning, conformity, mix in a lot of self-interest and you can argue black is white.

@John - "the point where the inconsistency smacks them in the face and then they turn, get aggressive and accuse you of being a zealot!"

I've never been inconsistent and I'm not the one trying to force my opinion down other peoples' throats.  You are the one preaching and proselytizing here, not me.  Exactly when did I or anyone else here try to talk you OUT of being a vegetarian?

YOU are the one with the burden of proof and it has been shown several times that the basis of your argument is invalid and nothing but speculation, yet you insist on using it as if it were written in granite, even as you admit that it is assumed.

No one needs to accuse you of being a zealot.  Your words and actions expose you as such every time you post (especially when you whine about how no one will accept your BS accusations, assertions and assumptions).  I have been nothing but civil to you, yet you are the one constantly being aggressive and attacking me.  Sounds to me like you are doing a bit of projecting.

@Keith -I've pointed out your inconsistency several times.

I have responded to every criticism with a well-reasoned response, drawing on evidence on many occasions. In your case, you have on may occasions failed to reconcile causing unnecessary suffering with eating meat.

The argument I made was not shown to be invalid. I admit, it is based on an assumption that causing unnecessary suffering is wrong. I made it clear that the argument did nto apply to anyone who disagreed with that premise. In other words, and to my way of thinking, those who lack empathy need not enter the debate. Empathy is a quality necessary for the argument to work. That is why some in these forums would eat an animal while it it is alive or fail condemn a cat being boiled alive and then skinned alive, respectful of a difference of (moral) opinion.

May I humbly suggest that you focus on whatever it is that you find repugnant about veal production and see if the farming practices around chicken, cow pig etc production is really materially any better. Then ask yourself, is it right to keep quiet about your views when such suffering is taking place on such a massive scale and with such disastrous consequences.

I cannot prove you should have empathy towards non human animals. This is not some high school debating class where to the likes of Arcus, for example, winning the debate is everything. All I can do is make a good argument on the basis of what we misleadingly call humanity, what Richard Dawkins describes as being anti-Darwinist and shaking self-interest.

You would condemn slavery just like everyone on these forums. Watch some videos of slaughterhouses (better still, visit one as I have for a truly sickening experience) and then come back and tell me I need to prove my argument, or it's all assertion and accusation.

Now, I know you think little of me but as a last post on the subject I just wanted to say thanks for entering into the conversation, for being mainly civil and for giving some consideration to the interests of non human animals.

I've learned long ago to not get involved in subjective banal discussions that revolve around opinion.

Facts supported by evidence = good

Supposition supported by desire= suspect at best

Assertion based upon faith= evil

@G - I definitely agree.  I don't mind having a conversation that is based around opinion as long as everyone understands that.  When you get one side who thinks their opinion is actually fact, it makes for a very frustrating and unproductive conversation.  That's why I've been backing out of this one (the morality of being an omnivore).

Finally someone steering this back on topic...it def went 90 degrees haywire from my original question. Gracias.

What evidence is there that helps you determine your morals?

You should read nonzero it explains morality. Or start reading about game theory.

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