Vegetarian Discussion: Rupie The Fruitcake Telemarketer Can't Support His "third Premises"

Rupie The Fruitcake Telemarketer Can't Support His "third Premises"
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Rudy Canoza
2008-01-14 11:17:25 EST
Rupie begins the statement of his "third premises" [sic]:

Let us now examine the third premises [sic]. Is it
right to say that there are no morally relevant
differences between research involving radically
cognitively impaired humans and research involving
nonhuman animals?

In the next nearly 350 word pile of wheeze, rupie does
nothing - *ZERO* - to support his contention that
species has no moral relevance. What he does, instead,
is belabor what is essentially a straw man argument.
He harps about cognition, but at no point does he
establish that the implied acceptance of species as a
morally relevant distinction by the majority is based
on a comparison of cognitive abilities.

Then, after this 350-word passing of gas, we come to
rupie's - and, of course, the entire "ar" movement's -
sniveling, gutless abdication of their intellectual
obligation to defend their premise:

There is an extensive philosophical literature about
this issue. But I think it is at least reasonably
clear that if anyone maintains that there is a
morally relevant difference between the two cases,
the burden is on that person to explain what the
morally relevant difference is and why it is morally
relevant. Carl Cohen, for example, tries to explain
why species membership is morally relevant. I shall
not look into the issue further here, but I think
it is reasonably clear that there is a puzzle here.

First of all, the vast majority of people who accept
that there is a morally relevant difference based on
species do not do so after having made an explicit
statement to that effect. Rather, they accept it
because it is the prevailing wisdom - the champion -
and they can't see a likely successful challenge to it.
And of course, rupie himself acknowledges that at
least one professional philosopher who has given a
great amount of thought to the issue feels he *can*
successfully show that species is morally relevant, but
rupie very abruptly gets weak in the knees and meekly
whines "I shall not look into the issue further here."

The fact is that *whenever* a challenger wishes to
knock off a prevailing champion, the challenger must
win decisively. rupie and the other "aras" are the
challengers in this, and they must *prove* that species
difference has no moral relevance; it simply does not
work to say that other side hasn't shown that it is
relevant.

Rupert
2008-01-15 01:59:15 EST

First of all, let's give him a clap, shall we? After a mere 50 posts
or thereabouts, we finally managed to beat an actual counter-argument
out of him. Congratulations, Ball, I knew you had it in you.

Now, let's go about setting him straight.

Ball contends two things:

(1) There is a prevailing wisdom, both among the general public and
among the majority of professional philosophers, that species *in
itself* is morally relevant. Not the various differences in cognition
which are correlated with differences in species membership, no, no-
one thinks that's the issue. Everyone, the general public and the
majority of moral philosophers alike, believes that species in itself
is where the action is, and when talking about cognition I was merely
engaging in a "350-word passing of gas" attacking a straw person.
(2) The burden of proof is on those who would deny that species
membership in itself is a morally relevant difference. No-one who
contends that species membership in itself in itself has the slightest
obligation to defend their position until a satisfactory challenge has
been mounted. It's the people who would deny that species membership
is morally relevant who have to make their case. Those who advocate
radical reform in our treatment of nonhuman animals always shirk this
obligation, and Ball knows this as a "master of logic and philosophy",
so he's entitled to have the utmost contempt for anyone who advocates
radical reform in our treatment of nonhuman animals and regard himself
as an intellectually superior person who is "kicking their ass".

He is wrong on both points.

Let's start with (1). Most people haven't given much thought to the
subject of why we generally accord nonhuman animals a much lower moral
status than all humans. It doesn't occur to them to question it. But
hardly anyone, when asked to offer some thoughts about the subject, is
going to say "It's just because we're members of the species Homo
sapiens, no other reason". They're going to say something along the
lines of "Well, obviously there are all sorts of big differences
between humans and nonhumans, the explanation must be something to do
with that". That's what almost all moral philosophers who have written
about the issue think as well. Hardly anyone thinks that defending the
contention that species *in itself* is a promising prospect. Just
about everyone who has written about the issue, regardless of where
they stand on the issue of how nonhuman animals should be treated, is
perfectly happy to concede "Sure, species as such does not matter".
Sure, there are some exceptions, such as Carl Cohen. Carl Cohen says
"No, actually, I think I can make a case that species in itself is a
morally relevant difference". But he acknowledges an obligation to
argue the point, because he's a serious thinker, not some loser who
spends half his life hurling childish insults at people on Internet
discussion boards and cherishing the delusion that he's demonstrating
some sort of intellectual superiority.

The contention that species in itself matters is not a prevailing
orthodoxy among the public or among moral philosophers. It's a
minority view. It might be right. But it's got to be argued, on which
more below.

Time to look at (2).

Let's try this out with a few other examples.

First Mother: Would you please stop upsetting my baby? I mean, you
wouldn't think it was okay for me to upset your baby, would you?
What's the difference?
Second Mother: Well, my baby has brown hair, you see.
First Mother: Er, excuse me, but I'm afraid I fail to see the moral
relevance of the difference between our babies' hair colour.
Second Mother: Well, I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm afraid it's not
my job to argue the point. You're the claimant, the burden of proof is
on you. You haven't met your intellectual obligation to show that
there's no morally relevant difference between you upsetting my baby
and me upsetting your baby. So I'm afraid you have to concede that as
things stand you haven't given me any good reason not to upset your
baby.

19th century abolitionist: You know, I really don't think it's right
for you to hold black people as slaves. I mean, you wouldn't think it
was all right to hold white people as slaves, would you? What's the
difference?
Slaveholder: Well, they've got black skin, you see. That's the
difference.
19th century abolitionist: Surely you must be joking. I mean, I can
see that there are some differences which are currently thought to be
correlated with differences in skin colour which might by some stretch
of the imagination thought to be morally relevant. We could talk about
that if that was your line. But skin colour all by itself? Surely you
have to be kidding me. Surely you must acknowledge an obligation to
tell me some story about why skin colour is relevant.
Slaveholder: Well, I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm afraid I just
don't have any such obligation. You're the claimant, the burden of
proof is on you. One of the premises of your argument was that skin
colour isn't a morally relevant difference, I reject that premise, now
it's your job to defend the premise. Everyone else thinks it's all
right to hold slaves, you're the challenger of the orthodoxy, the
burden of proof is on you. If you can't defend that premise to my
satisfaction I guess you'll have to leave me be.

Opponent of animal research: You know, I really think this research
you do on mice is ethically questionable. I mean, you wouldn't think
it was all right to do it on cognitively impaired humans, would you?
What's the difference?
Vivisector: Well, you see, cognitively impaired humans have two legs.
Mice have four legs. That's the difference.
Opponent of animal research: Did I hear you correctly? What on earth
does the number of legs have to do with it? You're going to have to do
better than that. Tell me why you think the number of legs is morally
relevant.
Vivisector: Look, I've given you an answer to your argument, I've told
you which premise I reject. You're the claimant, the burden of proof
is on you. Everyone else thinks it's all right to vivisect mice,
you're the challenger of the orthodoxy, the burden of proof is on you.
It's your job to tell me why the number of legs isn't morally
relevant. I've discharged my obligation of answering your argument. If
you've got nothing further to say, I'll get back to cutting up this
mouse.

Well, I'm very sorry, Ball, but I'm afraid it doesn't work like that.

When I'm defending my third premise I don't have to answer every
conceivable objection that might be made to it. That would not be
possible. I only have to answer those objections that have some prima
facie plausibility. If someone wants to raise an objection which most
people agree lacks prima facie plausibility, that's fine, but they've
got an obligation to argue the point. If Carl Cohen or you want to go
out on a limb and argue that species difference all by itself, not the
other things generally associated with it, is morally relevant, that's
fine. But it's your job to argue the point. All serious contributors
to the debate agree with me on this one.

There is a reason why I did not address Cohen's argument in that talk.
I was not addressing a philosophy conference. I had limited time and
was addressing an audience with limited experience of philosophy. It
would not have been feasible or helpful to my cause to go into detail
about every argument in the literature. My task was to tell them
within the space of about 45 minutes why some philosophers think that
the harmful use of nonhuman animals in scientific research is morally
wrong. I'm quite happy with my performance on that task. I have never
suggested that this talk is a comprehensive survey of all the
arguments in the literature. I said it was a good start by way of
defending equal consideration for nonhuman animals that deserved some
sort of reply. It took us a long time to beat a decent reply out of
you.

If you want to talk about Cohen's work, either quoting it or
paraphrasing it in your own words, or you want to make your own
argument, that's great. But you have an obligation to make some kind
of argument. Endlessly babbling "You're begging the question" is not
good enough. Uttering the single word "kind" is not good enough. You
have to tell us a coherent story about *why* species difference, all
by itself, is morally relevant. Then we shall see how well you fare.

*That* is your intellectual obligation, Ball. You're proud of being
someone who doesn't shirk their intellectual obligations. The ball is
in your court. Get busy.

Rudy Canoza
2008-01-15 03:42:08 EST
Rupert wrote:
> First of all,

1. It isn't cognition.

2. Correct: The burden of proof is on those who would
deny that species membership in itself is a morally
relevant difference.

Rupert
2008-01-15 04:23:15 EST
On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
> Rupert wrote:
> > First of all,
>
> 1.  It isn't cognition.
>
> 2.  Correct:  The burden of proof is on those who would
>      deny that species membership in itself is a morally
>      relevant difference.

That's not a response, Ball.

Rudy Canoza
2008-01-15 10:59:56 EST
Rupert wrote:
> On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
>> Rupert wrote:
>>> First of all,
>> 1. It isn't cognition.
>>
>> 2. Correct: The burden of proof is on those who would
>> deny that species membership in itself is a morally
>> relevant difference.
>
> That's not a response,

It is a response. It's a response that adequately
points out the bullshit quality of your thesis.

Rupert
2008-01-15 16:54:52 EST
On Jan 15, 11:59 pm, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
> Rupert wrote:
> > On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
> >> Rupert wrote:
> >>> First of all,
> >> 1. It isn't cognition.
>
> >> 2. Correct: The burden of proof is on those who would
> >> deny that species membership in itself is a morally
> >> relevant difference.
>
> > That's not a response,
>
> It is a response. It's a response that adequately
> points out the bullshit quality of your thesis.

It's no response. All you've done is say "Yes, you have correctly
paraphrased my beliefs." You've done absolutely nothing by way of
engaging with my excellent and thorough demonstration that they are
false.

Rudy Canoza
2008-01-15 16:58:49 EST
Rupert wrote:
> On Jan 15, 11:59 pm, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
>> Rupert wrote:
>>> On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
>>>> Rupert wrote:
>>>>> First of all,
>>>> 1. It isn't cognition.
>>>> 2. Correct: The burden of proof is on those who would
>>>> deny that species membership in itself is a morally
>>>> relevant difference.
>>> That's not a response,
>> It is a response. It's a response that adequately
>> points out the bullshit quality of your thesis.
>
> It's no response.

It's a response, rupie. I point out two things:

1. You stupidly belabor cognition, but that's a strawman
on your part - it isn't about cognition.

2. You wrote that I said, "The burden of proof is on
those who would deny that species membership in
itself is a morally relevant difference." And that
is correct: I did write it, and I was correct in
my statement of where the burden of proof lies.

You will disagree, particularly with the second of
those, and that is the *PROOF*, rupie, that you are
shirking your duty, *AND* that, as I have said, you
have failed to support your "third premises" [sic].

Rupert
2008-01-15 17:44:15 EST
On Jan 16, 5:58 am, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
> Rupert wrote:
> > On Jan 15, 11:59 pm, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
> >> Rupert wrote:
> >>> On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
> >>>> Rupert wrote:
> >>>>> First of all,
> >>>> 1. It isn't cognition.
> >>>> 2. Correct: The burden of proof is on those who would
> >>>> deny that species membership in itself is a morally
> >>>> relevant difference.
> >>> That's not a response,
> >> It is a response. It's a response that adequately
> >> points out the bullshit quality of your thesis.
>
> > It's no response.
>
> It's a response, rupie. I point out two things:
>
> 1. You stupidly belabor cognition, but that's a strawman
> on your part - it isn't about cognition.
>

It's not a straw person. You think it's not about cognition, but most
people think that's the only plausible answer to premise (3). Most
people don't think that species in itself is a plausible candidate for
a morally relevant difference. If it is, then why isn't race? I made
that point in the talk. I didn't think it necessary to spend too much
time on that point. Yes, I acknowledged that Cohen thinks he has an
argument for why species difference is morally relevant. I didn't
address that owing to the nature of my audience and time constraints.
We can talk about Cohen's argument if you want. But Cohen acknowledges
he has a burden of proof, just as the burden of proof would have been
on a 19th-century slaveholder who maintained that skin colour is a
morally relevant difference. That's a point I've made many times now.
You have made no adequate response.

> 2. You wrote that I said, "The burden of proof is on
> those who would deny that species membership in
> itself is a morally relevant difference." And that
> is correct: I did write it, and I was correct in
> my statement of where the burden of proof lies.
>
> You will disagree, particularly with the second of
> those, and that is the *PROOF*, rupie, that you are
> shirking your duty, *AND* that, as I have said, you
> have failed to support your "third premises" [sic].

No. Obviously it's no proof at all of that. If your view of where the
burden of proof lies is correct, then, sure, you're right. But you
haven't supported this view and I've given an excellent and thorough
demonstration of why it's balderdash which you haven't engaged with at
all.

Rudy Canoza
2008-01-15 19:07:39 EST
Rupert wrote:
> On Jan 16, 5:58 am, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
>> Rupert wrote:
>>> On Jan 15, 11:59 pm, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
>>>> Rupert wrote:
>>>>> On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
>>>>>> Rupert wrote:
>>>>>>> First of all,
>>>>>> 1. It isn't cognition.
>>>>>> 2. Correct: The burden of proof is on those who would
>>>>>> deny that species membership in itself is a morally
>>>>>> relevant difference.
>>>>> That's not a response,
>>>> It is a response. It's a response that adequately
>>>> points out the bullshit quality of your thesis.
>>> It's no response.
>> It's a response, rupie. I point out two things:
>>
>> 1. You stupidly belabor cognition, but that's a strawman
>> on your part - it isn't about cognition.
>>
>
> It's not a straw person.

It is.


> You think it's not about cognition, but most
> people think that's the only plausible answer to premise (3).

No, most people *necessarily* do not think that's the
answer, you fatuous fuck - how else would they manage
to preserve rights for cognitively disabled humans?

Holy jumping fuck, rupie - how can you make such a
sophomoric mistake?



>> 2. You wrote that I said, "The burden of proof is on
>> those who would deny that species membership in
>> itself is a morally relevant difference." And that
>> is correct: I did write it, and I was correct in
>> my statement of where the burden of proof lies.
>>
>> You will disagree, particularly with the second of
>> those, and that is the *PROOF*, rupie, that you are
>> shirking your duty, *AND* that, as I have said, you
>> have failed to support your "third premises" [sic].
>
> No. Obviously it's no proof at all of that.

It's proof, rupie. Your insistence that your opponents
have the burden of disproving your fatuous claim is
*PROOF* positive that you are shirking your
intellectual burden, because they have no such
obligation; *YOU* have the burden of defending your
claim, and you can't meet it.

Rupert
2008-01-15 21:36:37 EST
On Jan 15, 4:07 pm, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
> Rupert wrote:
> > On Jan 16, 5:58 am, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
> >> Rupert wrote:
> >>> On Jan 15, 11:59 pm, Rudy Canoza <pi...@thedismalscience.net> wrote:
> >>>> Rupert wrote:
> >>>>> On Jan 15, 12:42 am, Rudy Canoza <rudy-can...@excite.com> wrote:
> >>>>>> Rupert wrote:
> >>>>>>> First of all,
> >>>>>> 1.  It isn't cognition.
> >>>>>> 2.  Correct:  The burden of proof is on those who would
> >>>>>>      deny that species membership in itself is a morally
> >>>>>>      relevant difference.
> >>>>> That's not a response,
> >>>> It is a response.  It's a response that adequately
> >>>> points out the bullshit quality of your thesis.
> >>> It's no response.
> >> It's a response, rupie.  I point out two things:
>
> >> 1.  You stupidly belabor cognition, but that's a strawman
> >>      on your part - it isn't about cognition.
>
> > It's not a straw person.
>
> It is.
>

Okay, well let's look at this for a start:

http://praxeology.net/unblog01-03.htm#13

Roderick Long's an anarchist philosopher.

Roderick Long contends that the crucial difference is moral agency,
past or present. I have answered that because in my hypothetical case
the cognitively impaired humans do not have moral agency, past or
present. So Roderick Long is defending a straw person, is he?

We could find lots of other examples in the literature. It's not a
straw person. It's the standard response.

> > You think it's not about cognition, but most
> > people think that's the only plausible answer to premise (3).
>
> No, most people *necessarily* do not think that's the
> answer, you fatuous fuck - how else would they manage
> to preserve rights for cognitively disabled humans?
>

For most people, that problem has not occurred to them. When you point
it out to them, they start scratching their heads and saying "Well,
gee, I don't know." Usually they just forget about the issue.
Philosophers make a living out of scratching their heads about it. But
hardly anyone thinks it's reasonable to say that simple membership in
the species Homo sapiens is a sufficient basis for drawing the
distinction. Most people recognize that that's no more defensible than
saying that being a Caucasian rather than a Negro is a sufficient
basis for drawing the distinction. Some people think it can be
defended. But a defence is required. It's not good enough to say "It's
what we all believe, the burden of proof is on the challenger." I've
made that very clear.

> Holy jumping fuck, rupie - how can you make such a
> sophomoric mistake?
>
> >> 2.  You wrote that I said, "The burden of proof is on
> >>     those who would deny that species membership in
> >>     itself is a morally relevant difference."  And that
> >>     is correct:  I did write it, and I was correct in
> >>     my statement of where the burden of proof lies.
>
> >> You will disagree, particularly with the second of
> >> those, and that is the *PROOF*, rupie, that you are
> >> shirking your duty, *AND* that, as I have said, you
> >> have failed to support your "third premises" [sic].
>
> > No. Obviously it's no proof at all of that.
>
> It's proof, rupie.  Your insistence that your opponents
> have the burden of disproving your fatuous claim is
> *PROOF* positive that you are shirking your
> intellectual burden,

No, it's not. You must establish that I am wrong about where the
burden of proof lies. You have made no effort to do that, you have
simply asserted it. And I have provided a very convincing and thorough
demonstration that you are wrong.

> because they have no such
> obligation; *YOU* have the burden of defending your
> claim, and you can't meet it.

I disagree with you about where the burden of proof lies, and have
provided excellent reasons for my position. You must now answer them.
So far you have made no attempt. The ball is in your court.
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