Friday, February 05, 2010

The logical conclusion of the animal rights argument?

He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small
And streptococcus is the test
I love him best of all.

Philmore's parody of Coleridge

Should germs have rights?


Bilbo said...

I avoid eating germs as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

bob Prokop writing:
If we ever get close to wiping out smallpox, will the variola virus (which causes it) be put on the endangered species list? (serious question)

Bilbo said...

I thought they were saving the small pox virus, "just in case."

Anonymous said...

In case of what?

Bilbo said...

In case they need to make new vaccines?

I'm sure they wouldn't dream of using it for biological warfare.

Gordon Knight said...

its possible there is a crazy ole terrorist with smallpox hidden away

One of the oddest things about deep ecology is the idea that species, not individuals have value. So a species of bacteria vs. a cow, the cow loses.

Preston said...

Is this meant to be a serious reductio of the animal rights movement?
Germs can't suffer.

Anonymous said...

I think Preston is a
Raving Anti-germite!

Victor Reppert said...

So long as the right is the right not to suffer, then of course germs are a non-issue. If the right is some sort of right to life, then, I suppose, it would be a reductio of that kind of animal rights theory. But I'm not sure anyone seriously holds that.

mpg said...

Please forgive my naivety on this but I think this fails as a reductio. Firstly, who says that germs shouldn't have a right to life? Now this may seem silly, but I would have thought that on a philosophy website someone could give positive reasons why this is the case rather than, "its just absurd" type counters. I, for one, think it possible that all harm is evil. Everything. Including harming germs. But maybe these are unavoidable evils and the real goal of life is not perfect goodness, but balance between good and evil, in a sort of Eastern sense. There would be no absurdity in this instance, or so it seems to me.

Secondly, I don't think the animal rights defender is committed to saying all things that live are entitled to life. Maybe suffering is the qualifier, or some other predicate. Either way, it seems as though this is could be a bit of a straw man.

Lastly, it doesn't follow that because the argument leads to germs having some right to life that therefore the the animal rights argument is wrong. It could simply mean that animal rights cannot be realised by us imperfect beings since we have to defeat harmful micro-organisms in order to live? Wouldn't this then be an ethical paradox rather than a moral one? I welcome thoughts.