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The Meat Eaters
New York Times ^ | September 20, 2010 | JEFF MCMAHAN

Posted on 09/20/2010 11:10:35 AM PDT by oldtimer2

Viewed from a distance, the natural world often presents a vista of sublime, majestic placidity. Yet beneath the foliage and hidden from the distant eye, a vast, unceasing slaughter rages. Wherever there is animal life, predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their prey. Agonized suffering and violent death are ubiquitous and continuous. This hidden carnage provided one ground for the philosophical pessimism of Schopenhauer, who contended that “one simple test of the claim that the pleasure in the world outweighs the pain…is to compare the feelings of an animal that is devouring another with those of the animal being devoured.”

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: extinction; predators
Jeff McMahan is professor of philosophy at Rutgers University and a visiting research collaborator at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.

Read this and you will see why our universities are in such trouble.

1 posted on 09/20/2010 11:10:43 AM PDT by oldtimer2
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To: oldtimer2

2 posted on 09/20/2010 11:12:48 AM PDT by frogjerk (I believe in unicorns, fairies and pro-life Democrats.)
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To: oldtimer2
predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their prey. Agonized suffering and violent death are ubiquitous and continuous. This hidden carnage provided one ground for the philosophical pessimism of Schopenhauer, who contended that “one simple test of the claim that the pleasure in the world outweighs the pain…is to compare the feelings of an animal that is devouring another with those of the animal being devoured.”

Just another thread about the IRS

3 posted on 09/20/2010 11:14:01 AM PDT by Gordon Pym (2+2=4)
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To: oldtimer2

A no. 1: Hey kid you got no class. Hit the bums, kid. Run like the devil. Get a tin can and take up mooching. Knock on back doors for a nickel.

A no. 1: Tell them your story. Make ‘em weep. You could have been a meat-eater, kid. But you didn’t listen to me when I laid it down.

A no. 1: Stay off the tracks. Forget it. Its a bum’s world for a bum. You’ll never be Emperor of the North Pole, kid. You had the juice, kid, but not the heart and they go together. You’re all gas and no feel, and nobody can teach you that, not even A-No.1. So stay off the train, she’ll throw you under for sure. Remember me for that. So long, kid.


4 posted on 09/20/2010 11:15:39 AM PDT by jessduntno ("If anybody believes they can increase taxes today, they're out of their mind." -- Mayor Daley)
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To: oldtimer2
Adolf Hitler was an animal-loving vegetarian who believed in physical fitness and had an interest in yoga (among other things). Just sayin’.
5 posted on 09/20/2010 11:20:38 AM PDT by nolongerademocrat ("Before you ask G-d for something, first thank G-d for what you already have." B'rachot 30b)
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To: oldtimer2

Just another example of way too many people having way too much time on their hands.


6 posted on 09/20/2010 11:24:35 AM PDT by Himyar
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To: oldtimer2
Here, then, is where matters stand thus far. It would be good to prevent the vast suffering and countless violent deaths caused by predation. There is .. reason to think that it would be instrumentally good if predatory animal species were to become extinct and be replaced by new herbivorous species. .. I am therefore inclined to embrace the heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the extinction of all carnivorous species

You, Proffesor Head-up-your-ass-Child-Man, are a prime example of why there are far too many Humanities Acadamics twiddling their thumbs publishing nonsense while sucking off the public teat, in the world today...

As a counterpoint, here's my dream.....

Eradicate Tenure !!

7 posted on 09/20/2010 11:25:23 AM PDT by Nonstatist
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To: oldtimer2

By coincidence, my daughter and son-in-law are just now busy killing the meat birds (chickens, as opposed to the egg layers) that they raised over the summer, over at their house. My wife just brought a picnic over for when they’ve finished, another daughter and a son just home from Chad have joined them, and three grandchildren are running around and playing.

Those chickens have had a good life. They run loose from the chicken house and chase after bugs and worms, as well as the grain they are given every day. They clearly enjoy life, and now they are killed quickly.

Certainly it’s a better life than the one lived by those Tyson chickens you might find at the supermarket. And theey are much better and healthier eating.


8 posted on 09/20/2010 11:28:06 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: oldtimer2

It takes a while to understand how truly screwed we are at the University level.

The politicization of “Climate Science” is really the key - even what should he somewhat hard science is being politicized. When you start looking at the soft sciences - it is far beyond scary.

This child minded person is a Professor? And he feels safe - apparently is proud - of such “deep thinking” as this crivel?

This is not uncommon.

If we think about the “Climate Science” - the corrections came from outside the industry. So in the soft sciences - no improvement wil be made by the incumbents. They are proud of work like this.

The best line - in my opinion - was “God must also answer to the animals”. Priceless hubris.


9 posted on 09/20/2010 11:35:15 AM PDT by Eldon Tyrell
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To: oldtimer2

Can you imagine having to sit through a semester of his ponderous classes?


10 posted on 09/20/2010 11:36:03 AM PDT by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: oldtimer2
If I had been in a position to design and create a world, I would have tried to arrange for all conscious individuals to be able to survive without tormenting and killing other conscious individuals. I hope most other people would have done the same.

Fortunately, the wisdom of the Creator immeasurably exceeds that of narcissistic whiners who appear on the op-ed pages of the NYT.

11 posted on 09/20/2010 11:39:47 AM PDT by mojito
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To: oldtimer2

You can tell the professor what you think here..

mcmahan@philosophy.rutgers.edu


12 posted on 09/20/2010 11:40:47 AM PDT by ExtremeUnction
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To: Nonstatist
There is .. reason to think that it would be instrumentally good if predatory animal species were to become extinct and be replaced by new herbivorous species. .. I am therefore inclined to embrace the heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the extinction of all carnivorous species

Great, and then hervivores can slowly starve to death when they get overpopulated without predators to help keep their numbers in check.

What an idiot, he knows nothing about natural systems.

13 posted on 09/20/2010 11:42:28 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: oldtimer2

I don’t know what’s worse. That Rutgers University allows this disturbed person near students, or that the New York Times caused innocent trees to suffer and die a painful death in order to print this idiocy.


14 posted on 09/20/2010 11:49:10 AM PDT by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Time to Clean House.)
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To: CaptainK
If all predators were eliminated, prey animals would increase until all vegetation would disappear and we would have to have a giant Government Agency to cull the excess animals. Of course people could not eat the meat from the culled animals or we would then be classified as predators. Next would be an Agency to dispose of the meat.

Talk about a crazy world

15 posted on 09/20/2010 11:50:36 AM PDT by oldtimer2 (The majority is not silent--The government is deaf)
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To: Gordon Pym

Dr. Jeff McMahan’s argument makes an excellent example for getting rid of tenure in education. Right and Wrong, Good and Evil apply to people. The other animals are doing what God intended them to do; act to balance each other. If, for example, bears were removed from the forests, the rotting corpses of deer would pile up. Scavengers are Nature’s clean-up crew. Predators like wolves and lions act to cull the herbivores. Herbivores are nature’s lawn mowers.


16 posted on 09/20/2010 11:54:32 AM PDT by captain_dave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments)
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To: oldtimer2

Liberals never fail to amaze me. The prof is probably opposed to “imposing our values” on indigenous peoples.

But he’s perfectly willing to impose his own personal preferences not only on his fellow man, but even on the rest of creation!


17 posted on 09/20/2010 11:59:53 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: oldtimer2

Liberals never fail to amaze me. The prof is probably opposed to “imposing our values” on indigenous peoples.

But he’s perfectly willing to impose his own personal preferences not only on his fellow man, but even on the rest of creation!


18 posted on 09/20/2010 12:00:02 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: oldtimer2

It’s just good to know that there’s no suffering in starving to death.


19 posted on 09/20/2010 12:03:19 PM PDT by the_devils_advocate_666
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To: oldtimer2
Oh, dear. A non-biologist propounding on biology, a humanist propounding on theology. What could possibly go wrong?

The principle problem with playing God in this particular context isn't that we must concede a "limited scientific knowledge" but that we don't do it very well. Placing a premium on minimizing "suffering" for example, works in a philosophical system where every element is negotiable but both God and nature - take your pick - have apparently failed to design it into real-world ecological systems. It is, after all, a somewhat ill-defined parameter - would it justify the extinction of all species of mosquito because they make itchy lumps on people's flesh and cause malaria? Would the starvation of members of species who depend on mosquitoes for food constitute suffering and hence dictate against it? Would mosquitoes themselves suffer? Does suffering depend on sentience? Apparently not, according to the Professor's misreading of Isaiah, but is there a gradient? Do a thousand mosquitoes writhing in their death throes as a result of a good dousing with DDT offset the suffering of a malarial child? Does the life of a cow justify the suffering of plants torn from their roots in their prime? Is it really the case that a rat is a dog is a pig is a boy?

And that's the reason we don't do this sort of thing very well. Controlling an ecological system based on ill-defined ethical parameters would be a great experiment but not one I'd imagine it much fun to live in. Cold that constitute an ethical experiment if it resulted, however inadvertently, in the sine qua non of the Professor's control system, suffering?

We have reached the point of silliness, actually well within the first paragraph. But this one serves to indicate how muddled the Professor really is on the issue:

The second response to the accusation of playing God is simple and decisive. It is that there is no deity whose prerogatives we might usurp.

That, unfortunately for the Professor's case, is an absurdity. One can "play God" in the absence of the existence of God just as one can play Buck Rogers versus the Aliens in the absence of the existence of the latter. And probably just as well. "Playing God" in this sense isn't a theological term but the description of the activity of setting up an alternate ecology based on ethical precepts. One might as well design a sewing machine around ethical precepts, and in fact, it would be much easier - we actually do know how a sewing machine works.

20 posted on 09/20/2010 12:09:54 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Eldon Tyrell

Correct. We answer to God, not the other way around.


21 posted on 09/20/2010 12:24:04 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man.)
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To: Billthedrill
One might as well design a sewing machine around ethical precepts, and in fact, it would be much easier - we actually do know how a sewing machine works.

Most excellent analogy, Bill! The same, BTW, is true of our attempts at tinkering with human society. We don't know how to engineer that either.

The Precautionary Principle, a favorite of liberals, would actually be the ultimate in conservatism if applied consistently.

22 posted on 09/20/2010 1:01:22 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: mojito
I would have tried to arrange for all conscious individuals to be able to survive without tormenting and killing other conscious individuals.

Great idea, genius. That's exactly what God did. He created the world and animals to serve man. Chickens don't have feelings.

Boy, these tenured professors must be getting desperate. Now they're plagiarizing from the bible!
23 posted on 09/20/2010 1:20:17 PM PDT by ConservativeWarrior (In last year's nests, there are no birds this year.)
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To: oldtimer2

If this guy goes messing with Mother Nature he will find she is a bitch, just like we have always been saying.


24 posted on 09/20/2010 4:55:54 PM PDT by oyez (The difference in genius and stupidity is that genius has limits.)
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To: CaptainK
Can you imagine having to sit through a semester of his ponderous classes?

Don't bother. He probably does not teach anyway. That's what grad students and assistants are for.

25 posted on 09/20/2010 6:22:42 PM PDT by thulldud (Is it "alter or abolish" time yet?)
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To: jessduntno

Great Movie!!!!!


26 posted on 09/20/2010 6:27:24 PM PDT by Valin
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To: oldtimer2
To be entitled to regard ourselves as civilized, we must, like Isaiah’s morally reformed lion, eat straw like the ox, or at least the moral equivalent of straw.

Feed your Ox straw and he won't be around long. No nutritional value. You need hay, not straw.

Of course, with this guy's worldview, I'm not surprised he does not know the difference.

The moral equivalent of straw (mostly fiber) might cause an outpouring of..., well, something, but it will be 'full of sound and fury and signifying nothing' as the Bard once said. Matter without substance.

27 posted on 09/20/2010 9:41:47 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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