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Unformatted text preview: 1 Eight Arguments in Favor of Eating Meat and Objections Thereto Written by David J. Yount Most of the following eight arguments came from a Contemporary Moral Issues class that I taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Fall of 1995. I asked the students to give me their best arguments in favor of eating meat, and these are the results. I have also shown this list to others, and they have been unable either to support the arguments any better or to come up with another, better argument. If anything, they have criticized these arguments for being invalid (i.e., the conclusion does not follow from the premises, even if one assumes the premises to be true) or unsound (i.e., invalid, or at least one premise is not true). I wanted to object to all of the arguments that people presented just in case people might think they are good arguments. I would like to thank the UW students in general, Sylvia Rodee, and Kerry Leibowitz for their input and comments. 1. The Bible Argument : “The Bible says we shall have dominion over the animals and I take that to mean that we can eat meat and use animals however we want. Therefore, we can eat meat.” Objection 1 : If one wants to take what the Bible says to support one’s position, one will have to believe that a wife must submit to her husband, homosexuals are immoral, one must not eat cloven-hoofed animals, rebellious sons must be taken to the center of town and stoned to death, etc. One cannot pick and choose between points in the Bible without being unfair and arbitrary. If there are any points or even one point in the Bible with which one does not agree, one has to be able to justify why that one point should not be accepted but that every other point should. What that justification will amount to is to be some other argument for eating meat that is not in the Bible (see the other arguments below, e.g.). Because people do tend to pick and choose what parts of the Bible they like and dislike, it may show that people have their own ideas of right and wrong regardless of what the Bible says. It also might show that most people think that the Bible is fallible. Objection 2 : What is intended by “Man shall have dominion over the animals” (paraphrased from Genesis 1:26) is subject to interpretation. Maybe what is intended is not, “Do whatever you want to the animals, like torturing, eating, bestiality, etc.”, but, “Since I made humans with more reason than the rest of the animals on earth, it will be up to you to see that they are well cared for – do not harm (or kill) them unless it is necessary.” So someone who likes this argument needs to tell me why we should interpret the argument in the former way rather than the latter. (See Objection 4 below.) It would seem that parents would have dominion over their children; but this does not imply that we can torture and kill them in order to eat them, right? them, right?...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 61 at San Jose State University .