Posted: Jun 14, 2018 10:14 am
by Animavore
I'm not sure how we in the West came to believe there is nothing going on in the heads of animals, some other cultures, and perhaps our earlier pagan cultures, have long viewed animals as sentient.

Descartes and others believed that animals had no souls and were meaty automatons*. The justification for this view was in the Bible, that Jesus came to save the souls of men, no mention of animals so therefore no souls. He thought that what looked like pain in animals was just a reaction to stimuli with no real, metaphysical pain exhibited. Going off this view scientists had no problem vivisecting critters.

It would be too easy to blame Christianity for the cruel treatment of animals over the centuries, I think the justifications come after the fact. It probably happened after animals became a commodity and is no coincidence some of the same arguments of soul-less creatures were used against black slaves.

*Descartes was right that animals were soul-less, meaty automatons. The whole mess of experiment cruelty could've been avoided if he'd realised what Darwin did. That we, too, are animals.