The Whole World is Immoral

I just read an interesting NPR article called :”Fish Have Feelings, Too”.  And it had many interesting facts about fish the writer made ridiculous conclusions — see if you agree. The author is Jonathan Balcombe, director from the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy — so you could imagine what his agenda is.

Here is the logic of his article:

  • Fish are animals.
  • Fish feel pain.
  • An animal has sentience if it feels pain.
  • If an animal feels pain, it also feels pleasure.
  • If a being feels pain and pleasure, it has “moral traction”
  • If animals can feel pain and pleasure, it can have good days and bad days.
  • “Moral Traction” is the bedrock of ethics.
  • So if we want to be ethical or moral, we must not cause a fish (a sentient being) to have a bad day.
  • Therefore we shouldn’t catch and kill fish.

Animals, plants, bacteria and more hunt and kill each other daily.  I guess Balcombe would rather a world of nothing but vegatation — well, at least vegetation that does not harm other vegatation.  For otherwise, why is he trying to get us to stop eating other animals when they all gladly eat each other and us.

I don’t get his argument — though I do understand his preferences– and disagree with both.  How about you?


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

3 responses to “The Whole World is Immoral

  1. Jerad

    I think the difference is that animals do not have the capacity for ethics whereas we do and therefore should be responsible. And you could argue that it is more natural to eat meat but that doesn’t really answer whether it is ethical. Especially if it is possible to survive without eating meat in our society.

    So it becomes not a question of ethics but a priority based value system.

    I eat meat because I find the pleasure of eating meat more valuable than abstaining from bringing animals harm. Therefore eating meat is my priority.

    I do eat meat regularly but I’m come to accept I may not be able to defend it ethically. I just have to live with my vice. That shit is delicious.

  2. @ Jerad
    Well, that convoluted reasoning just shows that human are not morally different from other animals. Our reason is post-hoc. We do what we want and then make up reasons to defend it. Morality is largely an illusion.

  3. Jerad

    Well, in my situation I’ve admitted that it might be completely wrong but I do it anyway, so no defense on my part. Animals cannot reason, (or in any way that we can understand) but humans can, so I find it admirable if someone can make that kind of diet change for the sake of their principles.

    And yeah, people commonly seem to act 1st, then reason it away 2nd. Now I wouldn’t paint all people that broadly but I know what you mean.

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