Killing insects

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Re: Killing insects

#101  Postby NineBerry » Mar 23, 2010 5:25 pm



Right. Like those are reliable and unbiased sources...
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Re: Killing insects

#102  Postby LIFE » Mar 23, 2010 5:38 pm

NineBerry wrote:


Right. Like those are reliable and unbiased sources...


More reliable than your claims so far. Besides, they link to sources, incl. the parts addressing Daniel Dennett.
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Re: Killing insects

#103  Postby NineBerry » Mar 23, 2010 5:42 pm

paceetrate wrote:
Really? I don't see a difference. Pain is pain. Just because you can't think about it afterwards doesn't stop you from feeling it now.


With an insect, there is no "you". Without consciousness there is no one to consciously perceive pain. So there is also no suffering. I only don't torture higher animals because I don't want them to suffer. Ants don't suffer. So no problem in torturing them (if it didn't get boring so soon).

CdeLosada wrote:
OK, I understand now the difference you have in mind with respect to how conscious beings experience pain versus non-conscious beings. However, such distinction seems to me too subtle to be of consequence within the context of this discussion.


Well, what would be the reason not to inflict pain on other beings? Because you don't want them to suffer, right? But if they are not able to suffer, there is no worry there.

Because otherwise, if you define pain very loosely and want to avoid it nevertheless, you will have to avoid a lot of things that you in daily life.

Some examples: When I had a car, the car had a mechanism that would sound an alarm when a door was opened while the engine was on, so to warn you to close the door while the car was driving. Is it immoral to park your car with running engine and open door for some minutes because your car feels pain?

Have you played the game Black&White? In it, you have a creature that is capable of learning and feeling a set of emotions. You can slap it around and it will behave hurt and whine become fearful of you. Do you think, it is immoral to do so, because the creature feels pain?
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Re: Killing insects

#104  Postby paceetrate » Mar 23, 2010 5:44 pm

NineBerry wrote:
paceetrate wrote:
Really? I don't see a difference. Pain is pain. Just because you can't think about it afterwards doesn't stop you from feeling it now.


With an insect, there is no "you". Without consciousness there is no one to consciously perceive pain. So there is also no suffering. I only don't torture higher animals because I don't want them to suffer. Ants don't suffer. So no problem in torturing them (if it didn't get boring so soon).


Lol. Thanks for ignoring the rest of my post. You still haven't answered how you know ants don't perceive pain, just empty assertions that they don't. Put up or shut up.
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Re: Killing insects

#105  Postby NineBerry » Mar 23, 2010 5:47 pm

paceetrate wrote:
Lol. Thanks for ignoring the rest of my post. You still haven't answered how you know ants don't perceive pain, just empty assertions that they don't. Put up or shut up.


How do you know, my car didn't perceive pain?
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Re: Killing insects

#106  Postby LIFE » Mar 23, 2010 5:47 pm

NineBerry, I wonder why you dismissed those links, even if you'd think they are unreliable and biased, they basically agree with what you have said (well mainly) :scratch: Did you bother reading them?
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Re: Killing insects

#107  Postby paceetrate » Mar 23, 2010 5:52 pm

NineBerry wrote:
paceetrate wrote:
Lol. Thanks for ignoring the rest of my post. You still haven't answered how you know ants don't perceive pain, just empty assertions that they don't. Put up or shut up.


How do you know, my car didn't perceive pain?


Cars don't have nervous systems, insects do. Cars do not react as if they feel pain, insects do.

Also, answer the rest of my questions, they weren't rhetorical.
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Re: Killing insects

#108  Postby NineBerry » Mar 23, 2010 5:53 pm

LIFE wrote:
More reliable than your claims so far. Besides, they link to sources, incl. the parts addressing Daniel Dennett.


I don't see any direct references. Also, their conclusion doesn't fit the facts they mention. Also, Dennett and Singer are no scientists, they are philosophers.

You have to follow a clear line of reasoning: Why do you not want to torture an animal?
I don't because I don't want it to suffer.
Suffering requires consciousness. Insects don't have consciousness, so they can't suffer.

I don't need to prove that insects don't have consciousness. That is the default position. Mobile phones don't have consciousness, either. You'd have to show that some insects have consciousness, first.

Important aspect:

Insects have a ganglionic nervous system, in contrast to the central nervous system of vertebrates. Such a system is characterized by local aggregates of neurons, called ganglia, that are associated with, and specialized for, the body segment with which they are co-located. There are interconnections between ganglia but these connections function not so much as a global integrating pathway, but rather for local segmental coordination. For example, the waves of leg motion that propagate along the body of a centipede are mediated by the intersegmental connections.


And this is what we are talking about. Insects. I am not talking about octopuses or lobsters, but your garden variety ant, wasp and bug.
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Re: Killing insects

#109  Postby NineBerry » Mar 23, 2010 6:04 pm

paceetrate wrote:Cars don't have nervous systems, insects do.


Modern cars do have a nervous system. In your average car, there are several kilometers of cables that transmit electric signals. And there is lots of micro processors that control different aspects of what the car does.

it is quite irrational to value a system only based on the material it is made of.

paceetrate wrote:Cars do not react as if they feel pain, insects do.


No, insects don't. Not more than any artificial system could. Please name some kind of reaction you can observer with an insect and I will name a similar reaction of a non-organic system.

paceetrate wrote:Also, answer the rest of my questions, they weren't rhetorical.


How about a person with severe brain damage? Would you be ok with killing a human in any cruel fashion you can imagine, because they were mentally incapable of what you call consciousness and suffering, even if they showed all signs of still feeling the pain you were inflicting?


Yes, if they are not conscious and there is no chance of them regaining consciousness, I wouldn't think it to be unethical to inflict pain on them. E.g. a body whose cerebellum and cerebrum are beyond repair could still show reactions to pain and other stimulations, but there is not more consciousness. So, I wouldn't see anything unethical in doing with the body whatever you want.
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Re: Killing insects

#110  Postby CdeLosada » Mar 23, 2010 6:47 pm

NineBerry wrote:
paceetrate wrote:How about a person with severe brain damage? Would you be ok with killing a human in any cruel fashion you can imagine, because they were mentally incapable of what you call consciousness and suffering, even if they showed all signs of still feeling the pain you were inflicting?


Yes, if they are not conscious and there is no chance of them regaining consciousness, I wouldn't think it to be unethical to inflict pain on them. E.g. a body whose cerebellum and cerebrum are beyond repair could still show reactions to pain and other stimulations, but there is not more consciousness. So, I wouldn't see anything unethical in doing with the body whatever you want.

What about a newborn baby?
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Re: Killing insects

#111  Postby paceetrate » Mar 23, 2010 7:10 pm

So even though they show all the signs of experiencing pain, if a person was brain damaged enough that you thought they weren't really experiencing pain, you wouldn't mind inflicting harm on them.

I hope to hell you never become a doctor or a nurse.
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Re: Killing insects

#112  Postby Warren Dew » Mar 23, 2010 7:48 pm

HughMcB wrote:I never kill insects, they're always relocated to a more suitable environment i.e. fucked out the door or window.

That particular method of expelling them is treating insects as uncomfortably close to human, in my opinion.
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Re: Killing insects

#113  Postby Warren Dew » Mar 23, 2010 7:55 pm

NineBerry wrote:Some examples: When I had a car, the car had a mechanism that would sound an alarm when a door was opened while the engine was on, so to warn you to close the door while the car was driving. Is it immoral to park your car with running engine and open door for some minutes because your car feels pain?

I'm not convinced that sounding an alarm indicates pain. Some birds sound alarms in the presence of predators without seeming to feel pain, for example.

I do try to avoid lugging or killing the engine while driving, as the car's symptoms there do seem to be indicative of discomfort.
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Re: Killing insects

#114  Postby br0k3nglass » Mar 23, 2010 8:00 pm

It used to be that whenever I found insects in my apartment, I would catch and release them outside. Now that I have a pet gecko, I catch 'em and throw them in her tank :)
Isn't life a hundred times too short to live it - in a state of boredom?
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Re: Killing insects

#115  Postby Gallstones » Mar 23, 2010 8:04 pm

NineBerry wrote:
CdeLosada wrote:
I was following your line of reasoning OK up to this point. Are you sure about this? The way I see it is that pain is simply a very effective mechanism for animals to preserve their health and life. Consciousness may have indeed arisen as a consequence of the likely advantage gained by our being able to accurately read and anticipate the intentions, moods, etc. of the fellow members of our highly social species (what better way to be precise in our reading than being able ourselves to experience everything we want to read in others—thus we become fully aware of our own intentions, fears, motivations, desires, etc.; hence consciousness. Or some such thing..., if I remember the theory correctly—I think that's what you were referring to before, anyway), so why would it be at all necessary for the pain mechanism to work? I don't quite see the connection you make. There is no reason to believe that we alone avoid danger by experiencing pain. Let's consider a newborn baby, for instance: It can hardly be thought to be conscious, but it most assuredly feels pain, doesn't it?


There's a difference between "feeling pain" and "suffering pain".


Wait a minute, pain, by definition would be those sensations that are unpleasant and that induce an organism to move away from or avoid the source or cause of the pain. So if an organism has the capacity to be aware of the different qualities of sensations such that there are some that are desirable and some that are to be avoided, then splitting hairs about whether "feeling" equates to "suffering" is moot. A perception of pain is a perception of pain and if pain can be perceived then the organism can be made to experience unpleasantness. I don't think trying to quantify unpleasantness gives the infliction of pain a pass.
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Re: Killing insects

#116  Postby Gallstones » Mar 23, 2010 8:06 pm

br0k3nglass wrote:It used to be that whenever I found insects in my apartment, I would catch and release them outside. Now that I have a pet gecko, I catch 'em and throw them in her tank :)


You have to be careful that there is no pesticide load in these wild caught morsels.
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Re: Killing insects

#117  Postby NineBerry » Mar 23, 2010 8:31 pm

CdeLosada wrote:What about a newborn baby?


A newborn baby is conscious, on a lot lower level than an adult but it is. I wouldn't want to hurt any other mammal, either. I don't mind abortion on the other hand, as long as the brain of the foetus hasn't evolved so far that there is potential for consciousness.

paceetrate wrote:So even though they show all the signs of experiencing pain, if a person was brain damaged enough that you thought they weren't really experiencing pain, you wouldn't mind inflicting harm on them.

I hope to hell you never become a doctor or a nurse.


I'd have to pretty sure. But please explain what your problem with that is. Imagine: The small brain and the larger brain are without function. What exactly is the harm caused then?

Gallstones wrote:Wait a minute, pain, by definition would be those sensations that are unpleasant and that induce an organism to move away from or avoid the source or cause of the pain.


If you want to define it that way. Your definition is not so good though, because it already contains the idea of "unpleasantness" whereas that is the real question we are discussing: Can insects really feel "unpleasant" or "discomfort"?

What I say is that an organism can have mechanism that trigger a reaction to certain stimuli without actually feeling anything about it. Insects simply don't have the capacity to be "aware" of much anything.

Gallstones wrote:So if an organism has the capacity to be aware of the different qualities of sensations such that there are some that are desirable and some that are to be avoided, then splitting hairs about whether "feeling" equates to "suffering" is moot.


So, a robot with a heat sensor that is programmed to move away when there is too much heat is suffering when you apply heat to him? And it would be unethical to do so?

Have you ever watched insects deal with dangerous situations? They certainly don't seem to avoid them. A fly surrounding a hit light bulb will constantly hit it. It won't stop it because touching the hot bulb "hurts".

Gallstones wrote:A perception of pain is a perception of pain and if pain can be perceived then the organism can be made to experience unpleasantness. I don't think trying to quantify unpleasantness gives the infliction of pain a pass.


So playing video games is unethical?
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Re: Killing insects

#118  Postby LIFE » Mar 23, 2010 11:28 pm

NineBerry wrote:Also, Dennett and Singer are no scientists, they are philosophers.


Yes, and both base their reasoning on scientific facts.

What they basically is this (at least that's my interpretation, feel free to correct me):

Case 1)
There's evidence in favour of insects having (low level) consciousness, of insects suffering pain.
Suggestion: Don't kill insects because of that fact.

Case 2)
There's evidence in favour of insects not having any kind of consciousness or of them being able to suffer pain.
Suggestion: There's no ethical objection to kill them.

As far as I can see it there's evidence for Case 1) and Case 2) and I'd rather stay safe with Case 1) as long as this "issue" is cleared.

NineBerry wrote:I don't need to prove that insects don't have consciousness. That is the default position. Mobile phones don't have consciousness, either. You'd have to show that some insects have consciousness, first.


Why would you compare a living organism to technology? I'd understand the plant analogy but tech?

You asserted that consciousness is inevitably linked to suffering pain. If I'd find a reliable scientific paper/source that states either that there's evidence insects can suffer pain or there's evidence insects have consciousness, would you accept it? I'll gladly invest some time researching and post the results here if it's not in vain (e.g. you dismissing it). ;)
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Re: Killing insects

#119  Postby NineBerry » Mar 24, 2010 12:07 am

LIFE wrote:
As far as I can see it there's evidence for Case 1) and Case 2) and I'd rather stay safe with Case 1) as long as this "issue" is cleared.


I don't see any evidence for case 1). Where do you see such?

LIFE wrote:Why would you compare a living organism to technology? I'd understand the plant analogy but tech?


But it is technology. There is no inherent qualitative difference between living systems and non-living system, just because the first are based on organic chemistry while the second are based on non-organic chemistry. I very much hope that in a few decades we will have artificial intelligence and then any computer software process with artificial intelligence should in my opinion have much more rights than an insect.


LIFE wrote:
If I'd find a reliable scientific paper/source that states either that there's evidence insects can suffer pain or there's evidence insects have consciousness, would you accept it?


Sure. As long as I agree with the definitions of "suffer", "pain" and "consciousness" used. :grin:
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Re: Killing insects

#120  Postby CdeLosada » Mar 24, 2010 12:24 am

NineBerry wrote:
CdeLosada wrote:What about a newborn baby?


A newborn baby is conscious, on a lot lower level than an adult but it is. I wouldn't want to hurt any other mammal, either. I don't mind abortion on the other hand, as long as the brain of the foetus hasn't evolved so far that there is potential for consciousness.

I don't think a newborn baby can reasonably be said to be conscious, unless you define consciousness so broadly that it ceases to be a meaningful term. Quite frankly, I just don't see what consciousness has to do with feeling pain. If you feel pain you suffer, whether you have consciousness or not; whether you are conscious of being conscious of the pain or not.
I understand your idea that an entity could very well be programmed to effectively respond to different stimuli as though it were feeling pain (or pleasure) without actually feeling any, but what does consciousness have to do with it? In principle you could have a conscious being programmed to automatically and reflexively react to potentially harmful stimuli without experiencing any pain, just as you could have a non-conscious being programmed to react in a similar fashion by means of feeling pain.

I don't know whether insects feel pain, but if they don't it's not because they are not conscious beings but because the mechanism that makes them react to dangerous stimuli does not rely on pain to be triggered.
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