Friday, September 18, 2015

Should Philosophers  Shoot  More  Lions , Or  Fewer Dentists?


Red in tooth and claw, but completely green on the inside, vegan NYU philosophes William and Amanda MacAskill have driven mild-mannered humanist P. Z. Myers of  Pharyngula  to remark:
I’m usually sympathetic to the importance of philosophy, but when they threaten my biological world, there is only one rational response, and it’s inspired by the MacAskill’s essay.
We need to kill all the philosophers.
Or, at least, humanely pen them up with their own kind, throwing them occasional lumps of tofu and bales of sprouts, behind soundproof glass walls, so we can occasionally bring our children to the exhibit to watch. 
“See, kids, this is what will happen to you if you don’t do your biology homework.”
The anti-Spencerian couple triggered Myer's inner dentist by opining:
As long-term vegetarians who abstain from meat for ethical reasons, we are both supporters of animal activists who seek to improve the lives of animals. So you might expect us to agree with activists like Ingrid Newkirk that the killing of Cecil is a terrible thing. But we don’t. In fact, we think it may be the case that animal rights activists should support the killing of predatory animals like Cecil. ...
most animal activists agree that we should try to protect animals from unnecessary suffering and death, and that it is wrong for humans to cause such unnecessary suffering.
 ... But we’re not the only ones who hunt and kill. It is true (and terrible) that an estimated 20 billion chickens were born into captivity in 2013 alone, many of whom live in terrible conditions in factory farms. But there are estimated 60 billion land birds and over 100 billion land mammals living in the wild. Who is working to alleviate their suffering? 
As the philosopher Jeff McMahan writes: “Wherever there is animal life, predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their prey. Agonized suffering and violent death are ubiquitous and continuous.”
Will lion tacos become the American Philosophical Society's signature dish?  Will the Modern Language Association embrace the Second Amendment in self-defense? 

As physicists don't shoot other  physicists, and I have traded my trusty republican elephant gun ( Colt-Sauer 458 magnum ) in for a well-balanced Fox of Philidelphia 12-bore to deal with ducks and deer, I no longer have a dog in this fight.  But stay tuned for recipes.