Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dawkins on Speciesm

So for the upteenth time: It's wrong to eat meat just because humans dominate animals. Why? Because whites used Africans for slave labor because they "could". And then we realized that it was wrong.

So when I bring this up to the typical HBD crowd they freeze up. To them, most vegetarians that they criticize are tree hugging Obama groupies who eat organic and want the welfare state.

Not me. I'm a cold hearted atheist utilitarian who simply thinks it's barbaric to kill sentient beings just for nutrients that we can get more efficiently from other sources.

What's the defense of the HBD community? Humanity matters. Blacks are human beings so we don't enslave them.

But here's a simple question: So what?

A species is just a species. It's just a bunch of living beings who can mate with each other. Membership is not automatically a guarantor of rights. I fight hobbes in that respect, though I still like democracy (it's the worst system, aside from all the others).

So, I have a likely ally in the fight. Richard Dawkins. In response to the edge question of the year: What will change everything? Here is his answer:

Our ethics and our politics assume, largely without question or serious discussion, that the division between human and 'animal' is absolute. 'Pro-life', to take just one example, is a potent political badge, associated with a gamut of ethical issues such as opposition to abortion and euthanasia.

What it really means is pro-human-life. Abortion clinic bombers are not known for their veganism, nor do Roman Catholics show any particular reluctance to have their suffering pets 'put to sleep'. In the minds of many confused people, a single-celled human zygote, which has no nerves and cannot suffer, is infinitely sacred, simply because it is 'human'. No other cells enjoy this exalted status.

But such 'essentialism' is deeply un-evolutionary. If there were a heaven in which all the animals who ever lived could frolic, we would find an interbreeding continuum between every species and every other. For example I could interbreed with a female who could interbreed with a male who could ... fill in a few gaps, probably not very many in this case ... who could interbreed with a chimpanzee.

We could construct longer, but still unbroken chains of interbreeding individuals to connect a human with a warthog, a kangaroo, a catfish. This is not a matter of speculative conjecture; it necessarily follows from the fact of evolution.


One of the greatest biologists of the century just declared that human being doesn't matter.

I recommend morningstar farms for beginners. :)

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