Saturday, August 17, 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury 'snubs' RSPCA — not


The Times (£) reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury 'has abandoned decades of Church leadership of the RSPCA by rejecting a traditional post at the top of the charity'.

According to intrepid 'Investigations Editor' Dominic Kennedy, this amounts to a 'snub' which will 'rock an organisation facing accusations that it has lost its way'.

Whilst it is undoubtedly true that the RSPCA has occasionally ventured into highly political realms and appeared rather more inclined to persecute those who are made in God's image than protect the beast of the field and fowl of the air, there is no question of Archbishop Justin offering a 'snub' to anyone. Indeed, had he wished to 'rock' the RSPCA, he'd have given them the Wonga treatment and announced the establishment of Lambeth Pet Care to compete with the Royal Society.

But The Times won't let go: 'His snub to the RSPCA will be seen as a deliberate distancing of the Church of England from a welfare organisation with a distinguished history founded by a London vicar in 1824. Dr Welby’s four predecessors — Rowan Williams, George Carey, Robert Runcie and Donald Coggan — accepted honorary positions in the charity’s hierarchy.'

Setting aside the fact that this 'Investigations Editor' really hasn't investigated the Archbishop's correct appellation very well at all, 'deliberate distancing' is not his style. By nature he reaches out and reconciles, and he is as concerned with animal welfare as any Christian who understands the responsibilities bequeathed by the Lord in the stewardship of creation. It is simply that he happens to be one of those who isn't overly concerned to have his name on hundreds of letterheads, preferring instead to patronise only those organisations which time permits.

As Lambeth Palace explained: “Since taking office in March this year, the Archbishop has received many kind invitations to patron a large variety of charities and good causes. Each invitation has been an honour, and in an ideal world he would like to accept them all. However, in light of the sheer volume of requests the Archbishop receives, and the many pressures on his time and resources, he has reluctantly decided to restrict his patronage to a manageable number of organisations, based on where he feels his support could be most beneficial."

It really couldn't be clearer, could it?

The Palace continues: "Nevertheless, the Archbishop has enormous admiration for the RSPCA and hopes to see its work thrive long into the future.”

But this, to cynic Dominic Kennedy, amounts to a humiliating rejection 'couched in gracious terms'.

So the Archbishop is really saying 'sod off' nicely.

The thing is, if we have learned anything about this particular Archbishop since his appointment, it is that he possesses a certain tendency to express himself candidly, and never crudely. He didn't say to the head of Wonga, "You're a splendid chap but don't you think you could adjust your interest rates a little out of compassion for the poor?" He reported that he said to the Wonga boss 'bluntly': "We’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence."

But The Times labours on: '..the decision to abandon the RSPCA will be seen by many as creating a moral vacuum at the top of the welfare charity.'

This is simply laughable. Moral obligation is not fulfilled by having a token bishop on the board: ethical judgments are taken and decisions made in specific situations in accordance with an organisation's foundational principles, and it is for all leaders to reflect on the morality of their undertakings. Whether it be peace and justice or love and compassion, prophetic religion requires the incarnation of a grounded ethical paradigm, and this is a corporate pursuit which is not attained by clerical patronage.

The Times continues: 'Dr Welby is a typical family man who has kept pets. However, the evangelical strain of Christianity which he follows emphasises mankind’s stewardship over the animals rather than believing that other creatures have souls.'

Are we supposed to infer from this absurd sentence that Rowan Williams, George Carey, Robert Runcie and Donald Coggan all believed animals have souls, and that was the reason they became patrons of the RSPCA?

Justin Welby believes the Word of God has invaded the world, and human reason can only bow before it. We will not all agree on the application of the Word, but we can agree that the priority is people’s welfare in respect of a right relationship with God. Archbishop Justin has the capacity to soar above the theological squabbles of the day and take every issue back to first principles – the nature and purpose of the Christian Church. Establishment commits the Church of England to full involvement in civil society and to making a contribution to the public discussion of issues that have moral or spiritual implications.

For the moment, at least, that does not stretch to the RSPCA. There is nothing more to it. And there ought to be no more expectation of the Archbishop's ex-officio patronage than of RSPCA staff commencing every day with prayer and Bible study.

194 Comments:

Blogger Damian said...

Although the RSPCA do stirling work, they do turn a blind eye to the barbaric slaughter of animals that is Halal.
Perhaps this could be the reason why?

17 August 2013 at 07:07  
Blogger The PrangWizard of England said...

Could he please turn his back on the RSPB please. I see they are in favour of windfarms but against fracking. Apparently fracking sites are blots on the landscape and scare off birds. Apparently windfarms are not and don't.
Is being a hypocrite ok in the Church?

17 August 2013 at 07:21  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

"However, the evangelical strain of Christianity which he follows emphasises mankind’s stewardship over the animals rather than believing that other creatures have souls."


The question of animal souls is inextricably intertwined with the evangelical attitude to Darwinism.

Evangelicals believe that only humans have immortal souls, whereas animals are automata whose minds cease at death. Humans and animals were created separately, and hence are totally different types of being. But if there were a gradual transition between animal and man, as the evolutionists claim, then such rigid theological distinctions fall apart.

The evangelicals are then left with three alternative unpalatable viewpoints:

- Both humans and animals are and always have been automata (the materialist's position).
- Both humans and animals are sentient beings whose minds survive death (the Buddhist position)
- At some arbitrary date in the past, the apemen were suddenly equipped with souls.

Darwinism's undermining of the doctrine of the distinction of human from animals is probably an even greater threat to the evangelical theological viewpoint than doubt about the literal truth of Genesis.

17 August 2013 at 08:12  
Blogger Flossie said...

I'm afraid The Times is not what it used to be. I hardly miss it at all since it disappeared behind the paywall.

It must be frustrating for public figures to read articles like the one referred to, and kudos to YG for giving the writer a well-earned slap!




17 August 2013 at 09:06  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I was delighted to hear Welby turned this invitation down. Agree its most likeley no snub only a time management decision but I wish it were a snub. The RSPCA and RSPB are smug self righteous single issue pressure groups who are
only interested in getting their own way. The protection of harmful pests like cormorants and badgers is a disgrace.

17 August 2013 at 09:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Good on the Archbishop. Cruelty to animals is abhorrent. Kindness to animals can be virtuous. However, animals are not equal to human beings and so one should not devote time and resources to them at the expense of human needs or the service of God. Archbishops have enough to do dealing with the latter two. Therefore, his position is a good one. It also shows that he is his own man.

17 August 2013 at 09:36  
Blogger Albert said...

Sean,

Firstly, you shouldn't lump Justin Welby in with the majority of Evangelicals in the US.

Secondly, in your view, at what point did animals receive souls (by which, I assume you mean immortal souls, since all life has some kind of soul)?

Thirdly, your third option is not necessarily unpalatable - certainly not to an Evangelical. God can decree what he likes.

Fourthly, you have missed the real option:

At some reasonable date in the past, our ancestors were suddenly equipped with souls.

So I cannot see any reason at all to think this is a problem for Evangelicals in particular or Christians in general.

Do get back to me on the timing of ensoulment in animal evolution.

17 August 2013 at 09:43  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ Albert

Regarding 'ensoulment'.

The quality that distinguishes an animal with a non-physical mind (or soul) from an automaton (including biological automata) is sentience, which is the qualitative experience of (among other things) pleasure and pain.

The body of such sentient being may indeed be a physical automaton, but the mind is non-physical. A sentient being experiences its inputs (perceptions) and outputs (actions), in contrast to an automaton where no subjective states occur, and all meanings have to be assigned to inputs and outputs from 'outside the system'.

It seems likely that animals above a certain level of development require more than automatic reflexes in order to survive. Advanced organisms need motivation and intention in order to function in complex environments. Motivation and intention are chiefly driven by dukkha - the need to avoid suffering or unsatisfactoriness, and the restless but futile search for lasting happiness. Dukkha and suffering, unpleasant though they may be for the individual, have survival and evolutionary advantages for the species.

To quote Richard Dawkins:

"The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored."

Mental states such as suffering, unsatisfactoriness and pleasure are qualia. These subjective experiences, which carry strong immediate meanings, do not exist in automata - mechanistic systems such as relay networks or computers.

It is for this reason that complex animals have evolved neural structures which attract and capture minds. Fundamentally, it is the suffering and grasping of their minds - the need to avoid pain and seek pleasure - that provides the driving force for survival and reproduction of complex animals. The physical body enters into a symbiotic relationship with a non-physical mind.

The mind of a sentient being is not a product of biological processes, but a non-mechanistic 'mental continuum' which will be drawn into another body once the present one has died. Therefore any animal that appears to have the capacity for qualitative experience should be assumed to be 'ensouled'. More here.

17 August 2013 at 10:24  
Blogger Kneewax said...

Badly researched nonsense intended to malign a public figure with poorly disguised lies intended to deceive what it sees as a gullible and stupid readership. From a Murdoch paper, surely not?

17 August 2013 at 10:25  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

Are we supposed to infer from this absurd sentence that Rowan Williams, George Carey, Robert Runcie and Donald Coggan all believed animals have souls, and that was the reason they became patrons of the RSPCA?

Yes, we are, since the fatheads responsible for producing that sentence do at least write grammatical English. What they lack is an awareness of 'needling', which is what a journalist does when he realises his story lacks substance and dishonestly injects some surrogate pseudo-substance to beef it up.

17 August 2013 at 10:27  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

Consider the words of Jesus 'For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.' (Mat 12:34)

This article tells us more about the heart of Dominic Kennedy and the Times than it does about Justin Welby. And that heart is not very pleasant to look at.

17 August 2013 at 10:29  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Good for Archbishop Welby ! This demonstrates his sincerity. Too many top people allow their titles to adorn letter heads without any personal involvement.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in the country that used to be England, The Times was an excellent newspaper, but those times have gone.

Charities should stick to their prime cause, pure and simple. Too many have been recruited into the left leaning agenda.

17 August 2013 at 10:38  
Blogger Nick said...

Not quite sure whether this post is more about the ABC or the sloppy Times journalism, so I'll go with the ABC angle.

Whatever his reasons for this, it looks like another example of the CoE making itself less relevant in our society by disengaging with it. Welby of course may not have spare time for practical involvement in the RSPCA. He doesn't need to find any. Simply putting his name to it shows that Christians are concerned about the Stewardship of creation.That I believe should include all aspects of the environment.

By decreasing its involvement, and therefore its relevance to society, the CoE risks losing even further influence on matters of human dignity. Adopting a low profile is not a good way to get heard.

I feel that once again, the ABC has disappointed us by failing to impart Christian values in a British institution. If the RSPCA has got "political", then surely a bit of guidance from Welby might be a good thing. Now he has no influence at all.

17 August 2013 at 10:38  
Blogger Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Many thanks for a clear and intelligent analysis that covers the matter entirely.

17 August 2013 at 10:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sean: "The mind of a sentient being is not a product of biological processes [...]

We don't actually know that, of course.

17 August 2013 at 10:54  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

Dear seanrobsville,
Your post gave me a headache trying to work out what you actually said. Please keep it simple in future. It IS all really quite simple. God created as He created according to His will. It doesn't matter if animals have souls or not - God knows to whom He gave souls and He will deal with all souls accordingly.

What matters to me is where my own soul will end up in eternity. With Him or separated from Him and far from any goodness. The only thing that should concern you is where your soul will end up.

It is interesting to note that one of the things that Cain couldn't bare was separation from God.

Genesis 4:13-14
And Cain said unto Jehovah, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid

Be warned unless on the day that your earthly body dies (driven from the face of this earth) God's face will also be hidden from you. Cain couldn't bear the thought of it. Can you?

17 August 2013 at 10:56  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

One not insignificant sign that the RSPCA has departed from its original purpose is that one of its three founding fathers was a picturesque Irish M.P. called Richard Martin who masterminded much anti-cruelty legislation and who was an enthusiastic FOXHUNTER.

17 August 2013 at 11:03  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

"Be comforted, little dog, thou too in Heaven shall have a tail of gold."

Luther.

For those confidently asserting that evangelicals do not believe that animals have souls are you suggesting that Luther was not a rather influential Evangelical? Cough, cough.

I must check but I think Wesley was also of that opinion. And certainly many others I have known. I don't suppose anyone actually wet so far as actually asking Justin Welby what he thought on the matter before assuming he thought whatever the ill-informed journalist thought he knew evangelicals (rather a wide group, incidentally)thought on the matter!!

17 August 2013 at 11:04  
Blogger Martin said...

According to intrepid 'Investigations Editor' Dominic Kennedy, this amounts to a 'snub' which will 'rock an organisation facing accusations that it has lost its way'.

Seems to me that both organisations have thoroughly lost their way.

Justin Welby should be spending his time preaching the gospel, rather than acting as a patron for this or that charity. Sadly judging from the number of sermons published he doesn't seem to be doing that either.

As for animals, Genesis is quite clear, Man is the only creature into whom God 'breathed' a soul and hence the only creature that is accountable for its actions. Whilst animals will be on the New Earth, I doubt they will be in that interim state of Heaven.

17 August 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ DanJO

Sean: "The mind of a sentient being is not a product of biological processes [...]

We don't actually know that, of course.


If we take the materialist's assumption that all biological processes, including evolution, are reducible to algorithmic mechanistic processes, then we are confronted with an explanatory gap (sometimes known as The Hard Problem ).

Thanks to the work of Alan Turing, we have a rigorous definition of what constitutes a mechanistic process, and that definition excludes two irreducible mental processes - 'aboutness' (intentionality) and qualitative experience (qualia) .

So when Fido thinks about the bone he buried, and then digs it up and enjoys the pleasure of chewing it, his mind is performing two actions that are beyond the capabilities of any mechanistic system.

17 August 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Peter D said...

As I understand it, the Christian principle is that all living things have a soul. Here "soul" is defined as what makes an organic body live. When any living thing dies, its soul is separated from its body. In the case of animals the soul goes out of existence; in the case of man, the soul remains in existence because it is a spiritual or immaterial thing.

Consequently, man's soul differs from the souls of animals in two respects. First, it is the seat of intelligence or reason. For this reason a man is held responsible for his actions in a way that animals are not. Secondly, the soul is immortal.

We have a solidarity with the natural Kingdom because it is God's creation. However, there is a distinction between the soul of an animal and that of man. The animal is destined to perish. It is mortal by definition, unlike man who continues his existence beyond earthly life.

17 August 2013 at 12:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Sean,

If we take the materialist's assumption that all biological processes, including evolution, are reducible to algorithmic mechanistic processes, then we are confronted with an explanatory gap (sometimes known as The Hard Problem ).

Well said. No one would be a materialist on this question who wasn't already committed to materialism. But since there is no reason to believe materialism is true in the first place, and some thoughts at least cannot be explained on a materialistic basis (even in principle), the materialist is left saying "I have no evidence for materialism and I do have evidence against it, but I'm going to believe it anyway." That position is psychologically fascinating, but has left the sunny shores of reason far behind.

Regarding the question I raised, thank you for your response. I ask: when in the evolutionary development did it happen? When - historically I mean - did animals gain souls?

17 August 2013 at 12:17  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Seanrobville

'It is for this reason that complex animals have evolved neural structures that can attract and capture mind.'

But evolution has no goal or purpose. Such neural structures cannot evolve because they would allow mind to begin to exist,nor for sny 'reason', but only if natural selection acting on undirected random mutation would produce them.

That is of course supposing the prior existence of life forms capable of such development.

17 August 2013 at 12:27  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Regarding the question I raised, thank you for your response. I ask: when in the evolutionary development did it happen? When - historically I mean - did animals gain souls?

Probably impossible to put a date on the time when minds and bodies entered into a symbiotic relationship. I don't know enough about the neurology of ancient animals to say exactly when sentience/ qualitative experience became evolutionarily advantageous, but it is probably hundreds of millions of years ago.

If there is evidence for the subjective experience of suffering then (according to Buddhist philosophy) that is also evidence for the existence of mind.

17 August 2013 at 12:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

The Christian promise is not that Earth will end, but Heaven will continue; the promise is of a new Heaven and and a new Earth.

I do not pretend to understand all that that implies; except that it suggests more, not less. Given how animals enrich our lives, I find it hard to envisage their extinction.

The vision of 'Isaiah' 11 seems to suggest changed animals rather than no animals, but that depends, of course, on when/where that vision is set.

17 August 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ Rambling Steve

But evolution has no goal or purpose. Such neural structures cannot evolve because they would allow mind to begin to exist,nor for sny 'reason', but only if natural selection acting on undirected random mutation would produce them.

I'm suggesting that two pre-existing entities - mind and body - formed a symbiotic relationship, not that evolution of the body allowed mind to begin to exist.

The arguments for the evolution of the structures to support such a relationship presumably are similar to the development of structures to support any other form of symbiosis.

17 August 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Sean,

If there is evidence for the subjective experience of suffering then (according to Buddhist philosophy) that is also evidence for the existence of mind.

Thank you. So there comes a point at which there is subjective suffering. We do not necessarily know when or how this happened, only that it happened. You would add that, by definition, at that point, animals received souls.

My interest here, is in your charge:

At some arbitrary date in the past, the apemen were suddenly equipped with souls.

Catholics philosophy would say I think (and Evangelicals would be welcome to borrow it) that immortal souls are necessary for abstract thought, not simply for pain etc. So we would say that, once a creature is capable of abstract thought, he has an immortal soul. When and how this happened, we cannot tell.

But it is no more arbitrary than the position you have with animals. In both cases, souls presumably "appear" when the physical evolution of the creature has developed to the position that the body is capable of having an immortal soul. We simply disagree on what constitutes an animal with an immortal soul.

And thus, I think, your argument against Evangelicalism fails in principle and fails to show Buddhism to be superior.

Darwinism's undermining of the doctrine of the distinction of human from animals is probably an even greater threat to the evangelical theological viewpoint than doubt about the literal truth of Genesis.

I'm not sure that evanglicalism requires a literal account of Genesis. But Christianity does not! Moreover, from the point of view of Catholic philosophy (which seems on this point, entirely hospitable to Evangelicalism, Darwin hasn't undermined the doctrine of the distinction of human from animals.

17 August 2013 at 12:45  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I have found a quotation from John Wesley- too long to quote here, but the gist of the argument is that God's justice is only satisfied if the Redemption of Creation includes a place for animals, as they have suffered from the Fall, and that as some, notably beasts of burden, have undergone completely unjust amounts of suffering, for which they had no culpability, that can only be recompensed in the hereafter.

Why God would not be loving and just to the more sentient animals is an absurd proposition really, so not surprisingly there were originally some large Christian figures in the setting up of the RSPCA though this fact has been historically significantly very muted. Big figures like Wilberforce.

Of course that is not to say that Wilberforce would necessarily choose to focus as his efforts on that social issue these days, though it remains large. Yet there are more unpopular and urgent causes, such as NAYPAC or work against the sex slave trade which may arouse significant opposition and be the largest injustices of the day. Or others folk here might suggest...

17 August 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Rambling Steve,

But evolution has no goal or purpose.

In itself no. But as the creation of God, yes.

17 August 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“Bad RSPCA. Bad Bad Bad. Now go to your basket and curl up and stay there. Lick your {AHEM} whatevers if you must”

So they wanted a piece of Welby, and he was unable to turn down the request because long established (!) church tradition has it that as the last four prelates acquiesced, he was obliged to do the same. So like the mistress scorned, she goes to the press.

Where is this greedy and extremely wealthy organisation's dignity. Yes, dignity, as well as honouring the privacy of the intended victim.

One does believe a humiliating apology is in order, RSPCA, what !

And sign it properly too. No paw prints...

17 August 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

the gist of the argument is that God's justice is only satisfied if the Redemption of Creation includes a place for animals, as they have suffered from the Fall, and that as some, notably beasts of burden, have undergone completely unjust amounts of suffering, for which they had no culpability, that can only be recompensed in the hereafter.

That rests on the assumption that animals have just demands against God. I'm surprised that Wesley thought so - nor does it seem to me to be obvious how that could be so. BTW, isn't the Luther quote:

“Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail”

Assuming Luther thought you could have resurrection without an immortal soul, the passage is not proof that Luther believed in an immortal soul for animals. It is inconceivable to me that Luther would have agreed with Wesley's argument from justice, but I'm happy to be corrected, if wrong.

17 August 2013 at 12:51  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Catholics philosophy would say I think (and Evangelicals would be welcome to borrow it) that immortal souls are necessary for abstract thought, not simply for pain etc.

This is rather dodgy ground, depending upon what is meant by 'abstract thought'. Machines are capable of 'abstract thought' in terms of logical manipulations of symbols, for example proving mathematical theorems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_theorem_proving

In fact, the greater its abstraction away from sentient and intentional experience, the more capable machines become at processing information. (Searle's Chinese Room)

17 August 2013 at 13:07  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

"there were originally some large Christian figures in the setting up of the RSPCA though this fact has been historically significantly very muted. Big figures like Wilberforce." Yes, Wilberforce from the Clapham Sect, a parson and Richard Martin the Fox Hunting M.P..

17 August 2013 at 13:07  
Blogger David B said...

My first thought is that on the whole I am pleased that the Archbishop is not simply rubber-stamping every organisation that seeks his patronage, though I would be better pleased if no organisation that is not somehow CoE based were to ask him for patronage.

Somehow the thread seems to be digressing into the hard problem of consciousness, which attracts a certain amount of generally inconclusive discussion in freethought circles as well as religious ones.

All I will say on that matter for now is that there seems to me no reason to think that human beings have something called sentience 100%, while all other creatures have it at a 0% rate, and that it seems to me silly to grant an equal amount of sentience to a single fertilised egg, a healthy man or woman in their prime, a person in a coma or a person approaching the end of a progressive health problem like Mad Cow Disease or Altzheimers.

David

17 August 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sean, the comments section of a blog is not really the place to sort through the various philosophies of the mind but when I superficially look at your two paragraphs, it seems to me that they set their own boundaries. That is, your first describes cause and effect as a mechanistic process and your second describes a mechanistic process in a computational way, reducing both down to simple steps.

Now, I have no idea how consciousness comes about myself. It has completely different properties to physical things but it does seem by observation to need a physical brain in order to manifest itself. Brains work rather differently to normal computers in that they seem to hold content-addressable information as opposed to location-addressable stuff.

In a computer, there is a central processing unit containing a very small number of cores and a small set of opcodes which executes the program, retrieving information from locations specified by the program and storing results in other locations just like the Turing Machine. I wonder whether it's valid to say that a brain is equivalent to a processor and memory in a computer and that cause and effect are reducible down to algorithmic steps without losing anything?

What bothers me in some of that is that a brain-damaged person behaves in a different way after the damage and so the functions of the physical brain are required to hold the personality. A formally good person can behave in a very evil way after a brain trauma. That suggests to me that if the consciousness has an independent existence then it is likely to be just the central processing unit.

17 August 2013 at 13:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Sean,

This is rather dodgy ground, depending upon what is meant by 'abstract thought'. Machines are capable of 'abstract thought' in terms of logical manipulations of symbols, for example proving mathematical theorems

I mean, in terms of understanding the form of something, without its matter. That's not something physical.

17 August 2013 at 13:11  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Losing the 'patronage' of the ABC is no big deal for the RSPCA but it is a loss for the CoE in the form of opportunity to raise its profile by opposing the practice and proliferation of HALAL slaughter houses.

Gandhi once said the moral status of a society can be judged by the way they treat their animals - and look at us - wobbling like jelly before a minority cult.

A golden opportunity to take a small but important stand for the upholding of our principles of human decency towards the treatment of animals and at the same time placing a marker against the further Islamisation of our country; more likely ++Welby has just used his 'get out of jail free card'

17 August 2013 at 13:19  
Blogger David B said...

I should add that if it were known that something were a special interest of an incumbent Archbishop outside his church interests. and he had a history of supporting it, then I would not object to him patronising or helping out with such an organisation.

I just don't see why non church organisations should seek his patronage purely on the basis of his position as Archbishop.

Neither, it seems, does he, and I respect that.

David

17 August 2013 at 13:23  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert.

You can find more than one version of Luther's exact words. I have assumed that we find this because the original words were in German, and various translations exist.

I don't think that the justice argument suggests demands, just a Heavenly version of "Noblesse oblige". After all, if we who are evil know how to give good things to our children.... Or put it another way, would you create a beast of burden just to suffer and then be extinguished, if you could? The justice argument relies on the assumption that justice is part of the very being and "essence all divine" of the Almighty. He can only act that way because of His nature, not because He has to obey some set of rules.

17 August 2013 at 13:28  
Blogger Cam Ma said...

"Ensoulment" is but an example of the worst kind of speculative theology worthy of the Schoolmen. The only place to look for Christian guidance on such a matter is the Bible itself, and there is no mention of it there. But those who put their faith in God, Jesus tells us, are born again. This is the kind of birth which leads to resurrection and heaven - spiritual birth in Christ.

17 August 2013 at 13:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm not a great fan of the RSPCA as I don't trust it not to put down animals simply because it needs the space.

17 August 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger bluedog said...

Albert @ 12.17 asks, 'When - historically I mean - did animals gain souls?'

Possibly at the same time that they acquired personalities, something many species exhibit.

See too DanJO's post @ 13.09 on the subject of personality.

17 August 2013 at 13:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

I'm not sure that "Noblesse oblige" rests on justice, rather than generosity. If it doesn't rest on justice, then I think your suggestion is a better argument than Wesley's. (If it doesn't, then I think it has the same objection.)

He can only act that way because of His nature

I cannot see how God's nature obliges him to act in particular ways to his creatures who are entirely dependent on him.

Or put it another way, would you create a beast of burden just to suffer and then be extinguished, if you could?

Firstly, I always worry about arguments about putting myself in God's shoes. It's not something I can conceive.

Secondly, the question really concerns, I think, whether the creature has within it the capacity for eternal life. Personally, I think eternal life requires both a soul and (ultimately) a body. If the creature does not have a soul, one is doing it no injustice by not giving it eternal life, one is simply giving it its nature and not violating it. That seems reasonable enough to me - if I were to put myself in God's shoes (which I'm not!).

17 August 2013 at 13:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector would like it to be known that if the RSPCA wishes to mount a campaign to prohibit halal slaughter in the UK, he would be right behind them. He suggests the first step would be a prudent taping up of all windows in all their offices, as flying pieces of glass are notorious lacerators of the flesh...

17 August 2013 at 13:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0. I'm not a great fan of the RSPCA as I don't trust it not to put down animals simply because it needs the space.

Just think it a form of abortion. A woman's right to kill, and all that. Well, an organisations right instead then. There you go, you’re feeling better about the RSPCA already. Aren’t you ?


17 August 2013 at 13:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DanJo said

...I don't trust it not to put down animals simply because it needs the space.

They may well do so, but I would hope and expect them to do it in a humane way.

17 August 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "There you go, you’re feeling better about the RSPCA already. Aren’t you ?"

No, for the reasons that have been put forward time and time and time and time and time again. Only this time, there are also other duties arising out of our domestication of animals to consider too. Not that repetition seems to bother you when you're out to find or cause a fight.

17 August 2013 at 13:57  
Blogger David B said...

Do those wishing the Archbishop and the RSPCA to stand up against Halal slaughter of animals extend this wish to wishing him to stand up against Kosher slaughter as well?

I, for the record, would stand with anyone of any creed or none who will argue against both, but I don't really understand a rationale for accepting the one but not the other.

David

17 August 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert.
Whenever we "create" even though we can only do it in a derived way, we mirror in a lesser way the Great Creator. Hence Jesus can appeal to our knowledge of how we don't give a scorpion to a child who asks for a fish. Moral kind human beings whose dogs have puppies seek good homes for them or do not breed from them and care deeply that they should not suffer. Because dogs are capable of suffering and become cowed and cringing and stop looking after themselves if they have a lot of it. If we know how to minimise the chance of and compensate for a past of suffering why would God do less?

As for His nature, isn't the most repeated verse "His steadfast love endures forever". Would it not also extend forever to the donkey who carried him into Jerusalem, no less than St Francis, nor either less than St Columba with his "sensitive" horse that knew the day of his death better than any of his brother monks- a lovely story that!




17 August 2013 at 14:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Rather a shame human foetuses aren’t covered in fur. They might enjoy the same rights our dearly beloved ex-pets enjoy...

17 August 2013 at 14:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

We are slightly at crossed-purposes. I am disagreeing with an argument from justice. It seems to me that if justice demands God to redeem animals, then it is not an act of love. A person who does something because it is their duty is not performing an act of kindness. What makes the salvation of the world so amazing is that God does it, but does not need to do it. He chooses freely and loses nothing if he does not. It costs him his life on the cross if he does it. He does it, as the creed says "for us".

The issue of animals is whether there is anything to do be done. And that, I think, comes down to whether they have souls. If they have souls, then perhaps God might choose to be kind to them and give them eternal life. If not, then not.

It's clear from scripture that there is some kind of cosmic reconciliation in Christ. But it is given to each according to its nature:

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

So unless it is part of the nature of an animal to have an immortal soul, there is no sense of saying it has immortality - even if, the matter that makes it up somehow makes it into the new creation.

17 August 2013 at 14:23  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Actually, Inspector, no fur is required, as goldfish have been accorded rather a lot of rights. Don't ask me....!

17 August 2013 at 14:23  
Blogger Peter D said...

Dreadnaught said ...
"Losing the 'patronage' of the ABC is no big deal for the RSPCA but it is a loss for the CoE in the form of opportunity to raise its profile by opposing the practice and proliferation of HALAL slaughter houses."

So are you opposed to Kosher practices too?

'Shechita' is the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds according to Jewish law. 'Dhabiha' is the method used to slaughter an animal in Islamic tradition.

I think I'm correct is saying that 'Shechita' requires that an animal be conscious and means the modern practice of electrical, gas, or percussive stunning before slaughter is forbidden. Muslim authorities also forbid the use of electrical, gas, or percussive stunning.

"Shechita' and 'Dhabiha' involve cutting across the neck of the animal with a non-serrated blade in one clean attempt in order to sever the main blood vessels. Both require that the spinal cord be avoided during slaughter. Both require draining the blood of the animal.

Inspector
A good point about abortion.

The Orlando Women’s Centre, run by the late-term abortionist James Pendergraft, is offering discounts! He’s looking to attract new customers with a $50 discount for any woman wanting an abortion.

And get this: The coupon is only good on Sundays. God forbid the woman go to church and hear a word of encouragement that causes her to keep her baby! Women who can also take advantage of free deep IV sedation so they can avoid the horror of the procedure.

Strange world where some go all 'touchy-feely', sensitive and squeamish about the humane killing of an unwanted pet and the brutal, painful dismemberment of a living child during the latter stages of pregnancies.

17 August 2013 at 14:31  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@Albert.

I think we are envisioning justice in different places. I am saying Justice is within God's Essence, not that Justice can "demand". God can only act as God, therefore must be just. As animals (the higher ones, anyway) feel, and love, and sorrow, and grieve- Greyfriar's Bobby, and so on, and played no part in any "Fall" being innocents, yet suffered disproportionately from it, then the Justice and Love within the Heart of God will ensure that things are righted.

17 August 2013 at 14:31  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DavidB said
...wishing him to stand up against Kosher slaughter as well?

Yes I do most certainly. No superstition should be allowed to take exemption from the law or the spirit of the law.

The RSPCA view is:

'Scientific research has clearly shown that slaughter of an animal without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering, and so we are opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first making it insensible to pain and distress.

We continue to press for changes in the law that would improve the welfare of all animals at the time of slaughter. Until this occurs, we propose the following.

The Jewish and Muslim communities in the UK should review their slaughter practices.'

17 August 2013 at 14:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Note the attempted flanking manoeuvre now. It never stops.

17 August 2013 at 14:40  
Blogger Peter D said...

Dreadnaugh
A possible reason for Justin Welby's decline of the invitation, one thinks.

Justin Welby has indicated support for a pro-life viewpoint; writing that "it is impossible to view abortion as anything other than the deliberate termination of a human life."

He is a lifetime member of the pro-life group 'Society for the Protection of Unborn Children' which opposes abortion, assisted suicide, some forms of birth control and homosexual *marriage*.

17 August 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

To be fair Dreadnaught, some halal or kosher slaughter of animals is not that troubling in the scheme of things. As I have probably said in the past, I watched a goat being killed in Morocco and it was probably handled better than the transport and killing of animals in abbatoirs in the UK despite the lack of stunning. If animal welfare is a concern then the conditions in which animals are reared is much more important than any of its distress at the end, even if it is not stunned before the killing act. We put up with battery egg farming far too long in the UK and broiler chicken farming is pretty disgusting.

17 August 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Here we go, homosexual marriage again now.

17 August 2013 at 14:49  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

PeterD

Cranmer invariably posts with many varied but specific opinions and insights; it's beyond me why you and others here can't keep to anything remotely resembling the content of the OP. If you don't have any real opinions to contribute why not simply take a back seat until you have something pertenent to offer.

17 August 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

I am saying Justice is within God's Essence, not that Justice can "demand". God can only act as God, therefore must be just.

I would say God's justice is God's essence. Therefore, to know God's justice is to know his essence. But no one, apart from God, can know God's essence. Therefore, we cannot make arguments from God's justice. It is to come up with an abstract, human understanding of justice and impose that on God. But that makes no sense to me. I would rather just see what God does. As you say:

God can only act as God, therefore must be just.

So who am I to complain if God does not act according to my, or your, or Wesley's preconceived notion of justice? It doesn't mean that he is unjust. It means that my concept of justice is inadequate.

not that Justice can "demand"

A notion of justice that does not demand is surely not a notion of justice any more.

Secondly, I cannot see how God can be expected to do something that cannot be done. Therefore, as I say, the question comes down to: can you have eternal life without an immortal soul, and do animals have immortal souls? Unless, the answer to both questions is yes, then it makes no sense even to think of animals having eternal life. Indeed, it seems to me that the answer to both questions is probably no.

17 August 2013 at 15:14  
Blogger David B said...

One way, of course, of addressing this putative difference between animals and people is the fairly obvious one of denying the existence of any immortal souls.

David

17 August 2013 at 15:17  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

One way, of course, of addressing this putative difference between animals and people is the fairly obvious one of denying the existence of any immortal souls.

Which would require an adequate explanation of rational consciousness. Have you got one?

17 August 2013 at 15:19  
Blogger Albert said...

Alternative explanation, I mean.

17 August 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger Peter D said...

Well excuse me Mr Dreadnaught but I am following the themes of the thread.

" ... it's beyond me why you and others here can't keep to anything remotely resembling the content of the OP."

Maybe that's because you're not a terribly creative thinker and can only cope with simple concepts.

Anyway, as I recall, you took us down the route of another possible motive for Welby's reluctance to accept the invitation of the RSPCA - Islam and now Judaism.

Others introduced the question of whether animals have souls and what this might mean. Then another person queried the killing of animals by the RSPCA - which was countered by a comparison with abortion.

All having a degree of relevance, I'd say.

DanJ0
Oh do stop feigning a perceived attack or imagining 'that' issue is about to be raised. Should I have ignored the abortion or 'edited' the stated interests of the SPUC to avoid appearing to offend some?

17 August 2013 at 15:22  
Blogger Peter D said...

"Which would require an adequate explanation of rational consciousness. Have you got one?"

Albert!!!

"Alternative explanation, I mean."

Lol ...

17 August 2013 at 15:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's okay not to know everything and to simply carry on without pulling an explanation out of the air which may have wider consequences attached. That is, any explanation is not necessarily better than no explanation. We can see this when we look back at the ancient Greeks and their creating gods with caprice to (say) explain why the bad sometimes prosper and the good suffer. There may come a time when we can actually explain how consciousness arises out of a biological thing like a brain, or perhaps even create consciousness ourselves using other stuff.

17 August 2013 at 15:32  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

Peter D at 12:14

all living things have a soul. Here "soul" is defined as what makes an organic body live. When any living thing dies, its soul is separated from its body.

All living things, Peter? You will agree, I think, that a carrot is a
"living thing" at least as long as it remains underground with only it green bits showing above the surface. At what point would you say that "its soul is separated from its body"?

17 August 2013 at 15:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

C S Lewis, in exploring the suffering of animals, made the tentative suggestion that since we carry our experiences into the next life, and since animals have been part of our earthly experience, they may achieve a sort of immortality through us.

He stressed that this was:

1. Speculative.

2. Did not cover wild animals (Unless, presumably we have had an encounter with a lion).

3. Did not cover mistreated domestic animals.


That third point is why it doesn't work for me as an idea. Unless there is annhilation of the wicked, then the wicked would also be taking their experience of mistreated animals into the next life with them...

17 August 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Danjo,

There may come a time when we can actually explain how consciousness arises out of a biological thing like a brain, or perhaps even create consciousness ourselves using other stuff.

It's not that we don't have a physical explanation of consciousness, but perhaps we will in the future. It's that we don't even have the philosophical basis to suggest it is possible even in principle to have a physical explanation.

Here's the problem that you face, I think. You think (presumably) that something should be explained materially unless it can be proved that material cannot explain it. But of course, that position can never arise, since at any time, you will always say "But in the future we might be able to explain it." So your position though nicely insulated from any awkward evidence, is therefore not one that seems terribly scientific.

Now when we are dealing with physical effects it is reasonable to hold out for a physical explanation, rather than (i.e. I'm with Darwin and against Paley, if you like) importing God to explain things. But here the problem is more complex, it does not seem that the effect (rational consciousness) is physical, thus the same principle does not apply.

The only reason then to hold out for a material explanation is because we believe all that exists is material. But that claim entails another: everything can be explained through material causes. How on earth could anyone know that? There are a myriad of assumptions and hidden claims in there for which we can provide no evidence whatsoever. Thus it cannot claim to be as reasonable as believing in a rational soul, and it cannot claim to be equivalent to Darwin vs Paley.

17 August 2013 at 15:51  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Peter.
Who says Wesley had a "preconceived notion of justice". First, I suspect that a "notion of justice" is derived in creation from the Creator, thereby originating in itself from God, like the conscience. Thus, whilst it can be distorted, like the image of God, it can also be redeemed back to a renewed wholeness, from intimate encounter with God, when we "know" him, and his essence, however imperfectly flows through us and renews us like sap through a vine.

As Jesus taught.

Wesley was "strangely warmed" and hence his awareness of God's justice would have been renewed through that, so I am not thinking he was in the troublesome position of rationalising and projecting very imperfect understandings of justice back to God.

As for animals, the OT and the NT both give examples of animals being a treasured part of creation, there in the Garden of Eden, then we have Balaam's Ass, Noah, Jonah and the Whale, the passage from Isaiah, the birth narratives, 3 more donkeys, and Revelations mentioning animals round the throne of God, and a heap of animal imagery.

I imagine Jesus saying, "If you who are less than warm-hearted know to give jumbones, schmackos and walkies to your dog, do you really think I would not go several steps better?"

17 August 2013 at 15:54  
Blogger David B said...

Albert, who said -

"Which would require an adequate explanation of rational consciousness. Have you got one?"

I don't think the consciousness has to be rational to be the problem. In fact, the rationality is the lesser problem, I'd have thought, since I see a certain rationality about Turing machines, which require no consciousness.

But actually the no immortal soul hypothesis no more requires an adequate explanation of consciousness, than the concept of God requires an adequate explanation of God.

Have you got one?

My working hypothesis, of course, is that consciousness is an emergent quality of the physical, chemical and biological world, bearing in mind Orgel's Second Rule, and, as DanJO has mentioned earlier, there is much to suggest that consciousness is subject to the physical and chemical, as it appears to change according to such factors as sickness, ingesting psychotropic drugs, and to bangs on the head.

Which seems to me rather more supporting evidence for naturalistic hypotheses than for supernatural ones.

David

17 August 2013 at 15:59  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

than the concept of God requires an adequate explanation of God.

The concept of God is of a necessary being. It therefore has a necessarily adequate explanation of God. (Or did you mean something else?)

consciousness is an emergent quality of the physical, chemical and biological world

I love the word "emergent" in this context. It sounds so terribly mystical. What does it mean?

as DanJO has mentioned earlier, there is much to suggest that consciousness is subject to the physical and chemical, as it appears to change according to such factors as sickness, ingesting psychotropic drugs, and to bangs on the head.

I think most philosophers have noticed that alcohol makes you drunk. Your point would only count against us if we were saying the mind is entirely and functionally independent of he brain. I don't think anyone is saying that, and so, those points count in favour of both materialistic and spiritual accounts.

17 August 2013 at 16:06  
Blogger Albert said...

I'd have thought, since I see a certain rationality about Turing machines, which require no consciousness.

But they have no understanding.

17 August 2013 at 16:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

That emergent quality is what some of the philosophies of the mind cover. Consciousness doesn't lend itself well to descriptions involving physical dimensions, colours, etc, which are all public space things, qualia notwithstanding. It seems to exist as a private thing and requires other ways of describing it. That's not necessarily to say that consciousness must therefore exist in some 'supernatural' space, perhaps where god and angels and demons hang out.

17 August 2013 at 16:08  
Blogger Peter D said...

Brain G
An interesting question about carrots that I shall mediate upon next time I'm cajoled into peeling and chopping them up.

Yet, there is a serious point about creation behind it.

In 'Evangelium Vitae' Pope JP II wrote:
"The Creator's omnipotence is shown both in calling creatures into existence from nothingness and also in maintaining them in existence.

As quoted in the Book of Wisdom 11:24-26, His omnipotence shows His love who, in creation gives existence to beings different from himself, and at the same time different among themselves. The reality of His gift permeates the whole being and existence of creation. To create means to give, and especially to give existence. And he who gives, loves. God loves all things that exist, and loathes none of the things which he has made, and He spares all things, for they belong to him, the Lord who loves all the living."


The quote from the Book of Wisdom referred to is:

"For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things; because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!"



I take this to mean animals have souls - and so do plants. However, I'm not saying animals and plants have souls like ours.

The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational because they're spiritual, not material.

Animals and plants can't do anything which transcends the limitations of matter. Although some animals seem clever, they don't actually possess conceptional intelligence. They can't, for instance, conceive of the abstract notion of Justice.

Animals and plants also lack a moral sense. They don't do "wrong" in the sense of assigning guilt of sin to them, since they can't sin.

Animal and vegetable souls are dependent entirely on matter for their operation and being. They cease to exist at death.

Human souls, by contrast, aren't material. They're spiritual - made in the image and likeness of God. Only a spirit can know and love, a spirit's two chief faculties being the intellect (which knows) and the will (which loves). We know human souls are spiritual since humans can know and love.

Human souls are immortal too because spirits can't decompose. They have no parts: Only a thing with parts can fall apart. A spirit is a unit. It has no top or bottom, no left or right, no inside or outside.

Every bit of matter, even the smallest, has parts. The human body can decompose - it's made of matter but the human soul can't. That's why it's immortal.

Now, time to mow the lawn and do some weeding. In the process, I shall be reluctantly consigning living matter to non-existence.

17 August 2013 at 16:11  
Blogger Peter D said...

Brian - do please forgive me for misspelling your name (again).

17 August 2013 at 16:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Of course, as some people periodically point out to a hypothetical atheist, gods and angels and demons don't depend on time and space so we will never be able to explain them in terms of emergent qualities of things in time and space. However, consciousness and minds may well be of time and space such that if a physical brains die then consciousness and minds consequently stop functioning.

17 August 2013 at 16:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Lucy Mullen at 14:23

You are of course correct dear lady. One does recall you are no longer able to take a goldfish home from a fair in a plastic bag. That puts the goldfish slightly above the foetus when it comes to rights then...

17 August 2013 at 16:21  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ inspector
The RSPCA has prosecuted people over cruelty to goldfish, believe it or not. One case cost £2000, but was thrown out by the magistrate after the supposed bleach in the fish tank had not gone for lab testing!

Don't know who paid the £2000. Probably the taxpayer. You couldn't make it up. "Cow with a thousand teats" stuff..

17 August 2013 at 16:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0 kicking off, passim

It’s been 72 hours since the Inspector last viewed PN, and the wrath has left him. Being in a state detoxification doesn’t really cover it. (Note to one’s self. What are you on about you idiot, of course it does...).

One must announce to how impressed he is with the atheists on this site who show great concern for unwanted dumb animals. Very commendable...

17 August 2013 at 16:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

To confirm. That was indeed “dumb animals” not “dumb foetuses”. Apparently, the progressive atheist still has a bit of a way to go before the plight of the latter bothers him. Still, goldfishes rights to exist, and presumably grow to raise a family, have been addressed, so we mustn’t give up hope just yet...


17 August 2013 at 16:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Good Lord ! One thought he read about someone putting bleach into MPs drinking water.

Blasted effects of PN damage no doubt...

17 August 2013 at 16:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Explorer.
Interesting to cf. Wesley and C.S. Lewis on this, as Wesley would say it is precisely because the domestic animal had suffered unjustly that Justice at the heart of God requires that things be put right in the next life, for what the animal has suffered without culpability which grieves the loving heart of God, and which blocked his perfect loving purpose for that creature, so that the pit pony will run free, and the dog chained to a post use its wasted muscles. But for C.S. Lewis the Dives of animals, the pampered and loved will be fine, but the suffering, the Lazaruses if you like, be excluded, almost for bringing darkness in.

I have to prefer Wesley on this, as the suffering have a special place in God's heart. I am not going to stake a position on Balaam's Ass(!!) except to note that he is portrayed as noticing the Angel of the Lord and obeying him way before Balaam,(thereby possessing spiritual awareness) and that the Angel states that he/she might have slain Balaam but spared the donkey, and that God's disapproval of treating the animal unkindly is strongly underlined, and his unjust suffering seen as giving him spiritual status.

17 August 2013 at 17:34  
Blogger non mouse said...

(Whilst) it is undoubtedly true that the RSPCA has occasionally ventured into highly political realms and appeared rather more inclined to persecute those who are made in God's image than protect the beast of the field and fowl of the air,

Indeed, Your Grace. The Times, the RSPCA, and many of your non-communicants - lead me to sympathise with Wordsworth,** for:
... much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
[. . .]
If I these thoughts many not prevent,
If such be of [their] creed the plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

("Lines Written in Early Spring" 7/8; 21-24. [pace] )

The humanist among present-day men prides himself on controlling and conquering "Nature," (not to mention God), but he also commits himself to the pagan "Fama." That ancient deity can be be viewed as a function of the word (as opposed to the Christian Word) in the sky. Aka "Rumour," she also exercises an arbitrary power to attack and destroy individual men and their causes.

Under her aegis, interminable discussions in the mould of 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin' may then ensue. This communicant is consequently glad of your reassurance: Justin Welby believes the Word of God has invaded the world, and human reason can only bow before it. We will not all agree on the application of the Word, but we can agree that the priority is people’s welfare in respect of a right relationship with God. Clearly, that is exactly the approach we need if our world is to benefit from verbal communication.

Once we ameliorate the relationship - we will be more logical about our stewardship of nature and the animals. That will, of course, involve deposing tptb from the place in the sky whence they use our money to fund the likes of climate change 'scientists' - their frackers, wind-farmers etc.

Meanwhile, as ever: nothing will convince me that domestic pets aren't messengers from God: angels sent to teach us. Perhaps that is true of all Nature - like the 'lilies of the field,' for example :)
____________
**Here, let me exclude myself from 'Deism' ....

17 August 2013 at 17:43  
Blogger LEN said...

There seem to be some confusion about 'souls' and 'spirits 'here.
Of course animals have 'souls' but the question is do they have spirits?, no one seems to know that? .

The soul is the mind, will and emotions.Do animals have minds.. yes!, do animals have wills ..certainly !, do animals have emotions of course!.

The separation of 'soul' and 'spirit' is one of vital importance and is clearly not widely understood.



17 August 2013 at 17:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Clarification on goldfish, protection thereof

In late 2005 Rome banned the use of goldfish and other animals as carnival prizes. Rome has also banned the use of "goldfish bowls", on animal cruelty grounds.[
In the United Kingdom, the government proposed banning this practice as part of its Animal Welfare Bill,[32][33] though this has since been amended to only prevent foetuses being given as prizes to unaccompanied minors.[34]

Wiki

17 August 2013 at 17:55  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector, keep up the good work. Your contributions are certainly improving now you are free from the nausea generated by PN.

My goldfish, named 'Goldfish', died recently, aged 9.5 years. He or she (never did say) was a wise and knowledgeable creature and we spent many a long hours in communication.

I spared 'Goldfish' the burden of knowing s/he had more rights than a baby in a human's womb. S/he could not have coped with this information and, I fear, would have abandoned this earth far sooner.

17 August 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy @ 17:34

I hope I haven't misrepresnted Lewis.

He devoted a chapter to animals in 'The Problem of Pain'.

C.E.M. Joad commended him as the only religious writer to squarely tackle the issue, and a dialogue between them ensued.

It was those most mistreated with which Lewis was most concerned.

Lewis was something of an eccentric in regard to animals. He would raise his hat to his elderly cat, on the grounds that the cat was a distinguished pensioner.

17 August 2013 at 18:11  
Blogger Peter D said...

Len

You should take up this profound distinction with Albert and enlighten us all. Clearly there is a difference between the material soul, the cause of life in all created beings, and the immaterial and spiritual soul, made in the image and likeness of God, which he may not have quite grasped.

(I outlined this above at 16:11)

17 August 2013 at 18:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Explorer, regarding CS Lewis and his cat protocol. The locals round here were renowned for saying “Good morning Mr Magpie” many decades ago. Apparently, to ward off bad luck. It didn’t work that well, as their descendants are now in the middle of a tattoo epidemic and are barely literate...


17 August 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "But The Times labours on: '..the decision to abandon the RSPCA will be seen by many as creating a moral vacuum at the top of the welfare charity.'"

... as though it requires a religious person to provide some sort of moral or ethical direction, which is obviously not true.

The thrust of the Times article is actually that the RSPCA has become too political, losing its animal welfare focus. Well, that's a charge that's certainly been around a while.

It looks to me like the Times is directing itself to the field sports people and farmers who contribute to stuff like fox-hunting. I'd bet there's some fox-hunting with dogs repeal debate coming up or something.

17 August 2013 at 18:27  
Blogger David B said...

Albert "The concept of God is of a necessary being. It therefore has a necessarily adequate explanation of God. (Or did you mean something else?)"

In what way is a creator necessary?

Defining God as necessary is no more an answer than defining a Godless universe as necessary for our existence.

"I love the word "emergent" in this context. It sounds so terribly mystical. What does it mean?"

I view consciousness as some sort of dynamic structure within the brain, so basically in this context it means that some sort of dynamic structure spontaneously emerges from simple physical/chemical/biologocal algorithms.

The emergence of the complex dynamic structure that is a termite mound or a beehive from the simple behaviour of pretty much mindless creatures following simple algorithmic behaviours I think serves as some kind of analogy, as are the patterns formed by the flight of many individual starlings following simple algorithms to adjust their flight, or the movement of shoals of fish.

On a simpler scale still there are the dynamic patterns formed by some very simple chemical reactions, and even the emergence of persistent patterns within John Conway's Game of Life.

For a very simple pictorial demonstration of what it means you might try feeding 'john conway's game of life Stephen Hawking' into the Youtube search engine.

David

17 August 2013 at 18:44  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Explorer. Thanks, I'll have read that but can't recall it now, so will check it.

Interesting mix of scripture, reason & tradition here today. I guess the Lewis hat doffing doesn't quite make it to the 3rd!! Sounds like TS Eliot really, but folk got the two together to discover they were sadly incompatible- strangely.

@ Len. How would you ascertain the spirituality of an animal from observation? How about animals who won't stay in the same room as s.o. who has been into dodgy occult stuff? Or Columba's horse? Or the animal that risks its own life to save another? Or Balaam's ass? Or just the dog or cat that snuggles up if it feels its owner is in pain? Or animals that like prayed in places? Or the animals that flocked towards St Francis? Or in apocryphal tales towards Jesus?

What would they have to do?

17 August 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ David B

Regarding the game of life, is this really an emergent phenomenon? If the gliders were to emerge out of the screen and glide around the top of our desk (as distinct from being pixel patterns gliding around our PC desktop), then we should have to concede that something had emerged. But all we can say is that an appearance has emerged.

So, from where has the appearance emerged?
If we search carefully, we come to the conclusion that we cannot find the complex behavior within the object. The movements of the pixel-structures are algorithmically compressible, with no remainder, back into the rules that generated them. There is no mysterious addition of procedural complexity.

The two-dimensional pixel array remains an array of pixels in two dimensions - it hasn't suddenly changed its nature and become a cube or magically sprouted chess-pieces.

Yet we can't deny that we have observed a phenomenon which has properties which 'look different' and 'feel different' from its constituents.

But if the phenomenon hasn't emerged from the object, then the only other place from which it could have emerged is the mind of the observer. We are therefore left with the conclusion that emergence is a psychological, not a physical phenomenon. The pixel array is 'nothing but' sequentially illuminated squares on the computer screen. All else is projected by mind.

This suggests an important observation: Emergence is a psychological property. It is not a metaphysical absolute. Properties are classed as "emergent" based at least in part on (1) the interestingness to a given observer of the high-level property at hand; and (2) the difficulty of an observer's deducing the high-level property from low-level properties"

Take a look at the cherries.

17 August 2013 at 18:57  
Blogger David B said...

Interesting comment seanrobsville.

One I have considered at some length, when considering, as I have, what I think are related topics like reductionism and free will, Game of Life, Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, and - I wonder if you are old enough to remember the computer generated pictures of Marilyn Monroe built up by early printers using only letters, numerals, and perhaps some other ASCII symbols.

On one level, a bunch of symbols, on another - a picture of a recognisable person. On one level - individual molecules reacting, on another, patterns forming in a dish, on one level lights flashing on and off following a simple algorithm, on another Gliders and Eaters etc moving across a screen.

Yes, to see the different levels of reduction needs a mind.

But that does not imply that mind is more than dynamic structure within a dynamic structure within a dynamic structure like Russian Dolls, so to speak.

We don't require any sort of universal mind, or supernatural, super-temporal, super-spacial mind. Not to my mind, anyway:)

Over the decades of my life I spent a lot of time exploring Eastern mysticism, and practising meditation - something I rather feel, sorry if I sound condescending, is something I've rather gone beyond.

I wonder if you have read Hofstadter's 'GEB' and 'I am a Strange Loop'. Not everybody likes them, but I have found them to be invaluable intuition pumps myself.

David



17 August 2013 at 19:35  
Blogger David B said...

A little PS to Seanrobsville, which I hope he won't find as crypic as I guess many will.

Mountains are mountains!

David

17 August 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Humble African said...

David,
The problem associated with explaining the soul or mind simply as an emergent property of physical processes is that it renders the mind as being subject to physical properties. The reality, however, is that the mind possesses non-physical capabilities that causes physical states to become subject to the mind.
This ultimately raises the question of mind over matter or matter over mind. The answer in my view is complicated. Both states are true at different dimensions of reality. Physical states or bodies possess physical dimensions; length, breadth, depth, decibels etc. while qualia have no such properties.
Concepts and non-mathematical abstracts (since maths deals with physical aspects of logic and dimensions) become the key to understanding the nature of the mind or soul.
Truth, fear, love, good and evil in my view have no physical dimensions to them at all. They are perceived by virtue of the time an event happens. What is good may be bad depending on what time or place the event happens or the manner e.g. sex, eating etc. However, the concept of good itself is eternal and therefore not time dependent. Evil is also the same (though its concept of eternity is one that is damned) but not privileged.
But the point is; qualities attributed to the soul that govern human behaviour are based not on time or any physical properties in themselves.
We cannot conclude that souls or minds don't independently exist from thence nor can we say it's fully subject to physical conditions (mere emergent) because the "Truth" that a brain damaged person has an altered personality implies that there is:
1. A personality alteration by a subjective condition (physical damage) for the patient
2. For the observer, a truth perceived not by virtue of physical properties (i.e. there is no physical connection except by sight, or in this instance, by imagination, between the patient and the observer) but by the insertion of time between a former and a latter experience or a “then” and a “now”.
Thus, if brain matter physically works to produce what we know as “mind” and that mind is subject only to such physical conditions or processes, then we cannot know anything external except there is another brain physically connected to every other event we experience.
Materialists can’t claim mind to be physical because they have to interpret mind in terms of physical dimensions yet they don’t accept an immaterial soul because they are first and foremost materialists by some other belief that convinces them more than beginning with souls or minds. But I’d rather abandon my materialistic delusions than technically refuse to accept the mind as non-physical entity.

17 August 2013 at 19:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Building on what I said earlier about brain damage and its effect on behaviour and personality and morals, I wonder what would happen if god, presuming that it is that which creates a union between a body and consciousness, swapped the body for another one? All the cause and effect that laid down the synapses in the replacement body would presumably result in a very different personality and behaviours.

17 August 2013 at 19:53  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ David B

Yes I've read Gödel, Escher, Bach a few years ago

"Gödel's proof suggests that there are high-level way of viewing the mind/brain, involving concepts which do not appear on lower levels, and that this level might have explanatory power that does not exist – not even in principle – on lower levels. It would mean that some facts could be explained on the high level quite easily, but not on lower levels at all. It has been proposed for eons, by various holistically or "soulistically" inclined scientists and humanists that consciousness is a phenomenon that escapes explanation in terms of brain components..."

PS Mountains are hills higher than an arbitrary altitude.

17 August 2013 at 20:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I expect there are departments in the Roman Catholic Church which have been dreaming up scenarios for centuries but when one starts thinking from scratch what this sort of dualist stuff might mean in religious terms it's fascinating.

I mean, if god creates a consciousness and attaches it to a zygote which grows until there's enough brain for it to experience stuff and manifest behaviour then I suppose it's the consciousness that's initially flawed because of 'original sin' since the body is just stuff.

Without consciousness, the universe would presumably tick along in a cause and effect way from its initial push. With consciousness, assuming free will, some causes presumably come from this supernatural environment and create causes which have effects elsewhere, and hence to other people.

I suppose there must be some sort of feedback to this consciousness beyond what's stored in the body if free will has any sort of meaning in religious thinking. That starts me wondering about the bizarre setup this world if the consciousness and associated free will is not aware of its creator but must someone glean its existence from the sensory stuff it comes into contact with in the world.

17 August 2013 at 20:14  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Albert

Just to say, apologies that I fell out of the other thread, as you may have guessed, camp preparation overtook everything else until camp so I just didn't have the time. I'm sure there will be another thread which opens a point of debate between Protestantism and Catholicism along at some point when we can take up the discussion or a similar one.

I thank you for the discussion at any rate.

17 August 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0
"That starts me wondering about the bizarre setup this world if the consciousness and associated free will is not aware of its creator but must someone glean its existence from the sensory stuff it comes into contact with in the world."

An interesting observation to which a Christian would give two answers.

First, although damaged and wounded by original sin, God gives each of us reason to observe His existence and a conscience to discern His will. Both being impaired to varying degrees.

Second, He is a Creator who wants to communicate and reveal Himself to us. He did this initially through His 'Chosen People', the Jews, and then through becoming Incarnate as the Son of God.

17 August 2013 at 20:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Conscience seems to be a function of the brain since by observation its function is muted by alcohol, other drugs, and probably some brain trauma.

17 August 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Defining God as necessary is no more an answer than defining a Godless universe as necessary for our existence.

But you asked for a concept. So I don't think I can be faulted for giving you a definition - what else does one do when asked for a concept? If you ask why I think God is necessary, I can give you a range of reasons, but that wasn't your question (unless I am misunderstanding you - see my question in brackets).

For a very simple pictorial demonstration of what it means you might try feeding 'john conway's game of life Stephen Hawking' into the Youtube search engine.

Well I did so. I cannot for the life of me see how you think this deals with the problem. Unless you can show in principle how abstract consciousness can be caused by what is physical, it is obviously not going to move me if you produce a video which shows nothing more than that, with a few basic rules (where do they come from BTW?) applied to something physical you can get something which is very physically complicated.

17 August 2013 at 20:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's curious that a god would continue creating flawed pockets of consciousness which are inherently unaware of their creator whilst being stuff outside space and time and capable somehow of interacting with an associated brain in space and time.

17 August 2013 at 20:55  
Blogger Humble African said...

DanJ0,

"I mean, if god creates a consciousness and attaches it to a zygote which grows until there's enough brain for it to experience stuff and manifest behaviour then I suppose it's the consciousness that's initially flawed because of 'original sin' since the body is just stuff."

In the first place you have not began from scratch as "scratch" is presumably based on your accepted concept of reality.

Secondly, free will is exactly what it is "free". Its interaction with the body and other external objects, and the decisions that result thereof have to be based on a persons subjective experience.

True; if there is free will then sin is actually a real choice. There is no flaw anywhere as far as I can see.

17 August 2013 at 20:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Good to see you back Thomas. I hope the camp was a success (was it a Christian camp?).

I would suggest picking up the thread where it is, but I'm afraid, I won't be blogging this week. Thank you too for the discussion.

17 August 2013 at 20:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Danjo,

this sort of dualist stuff

Catholic teaching on this is not dualist, at least not in the sense that this is intelligible:

I wonder what would happen if god, presuming that it is that which creates a union between a body and consciousness, swapped the body for another one?

17 August 2013 at 21:02  
Blogger Humble African said...

DanJ0,

"flawed pockets of consciousness which are inherently unaware of their creator"?

I mean seriously?

17 August 2013 at 21:03  
Blogger Albert said...

Danjo,

It's curious that a god would continue creating

Yes, it's very curious what God does.

17 August 2013 at 21:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0 on sticky ground. Must hang around for this !

17 August 2013 at 21:08  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ Danjo
It's curious that a god would continue creating flawed pockets of consciousness which are inherently unaware of their creator whilst being stuff outside space and time and capable somehow of interacting with an associated brain in space and time.

The brain has not evolved to present a true picture of the world to the mind. Natural selection cannot select directly for true beliefs, but only for advantageous behaviors.

So is the brain giving us a picture of the world that is merely fit for purpose, rather than one that represents some true underlying reality?

Charles Darwin himself was one of the first to ponder these implications of evolution:

"But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"
- Letter to William Graham, 1881

17 August 2013 at 21:15  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

The RSPCA is a vile mixture of intolerance and political correctness.

They persecute old ladies and hunts whilst staying silent about MILLIONS of animals slaughtered in Halal abattoirs.

The CEO doesn't even know anything about country life - his speech at the CLA fair was a joke - got all his facts wrong.

Add that to the FACT that the RSPCA slaughters thousands of healthy animals every year and you just have to wonder.....

17 August 2013 at 21:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "DanJ0 on sticky ground. Must hang around for this !"

Note the confrontational attack thing here, very much at odds with what is simply a cordial exchange of ideas elsewhere so far.

17 August 2013 at 21:33  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

That is what they taught us as fact at medical school, but how could they know?

I am reminded of the Blood Sweat and Tears song 'And when I die' which included the couplet

'Swear there aint no heaven and pray there aint no hell
But I won't find out by living, only my dying will tell.'

17 August 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sean: "So is the brain giving us a picture of the world that is merely fit for purpose, rather than one that represents some true underlying reality?"

I'm sure we're both familiar with Descartes and the issues there with what one actually knows.

17 August 2013 at 21:37  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0 said ...
"Conscience seems to be a function of the brain since by observation its function is muted by alcohol, other drugs, and probably some brain trauma."

Well yes, obviously, and by our appetites and desires too.

The body and soul are not distinct and separate entities. They were created as a unity - the soul made in the image and likeness of God with rationality and a will.

In addition to impairment of the mental faculties, for whatever extraneous reasons, undue attachment to anything from the material world, 'the flesh' and bodily appetites, ordered or disordered in themselves, will also impair the conscience.

"It's curious that a god would continue creating flawed pockets of consciousness which are inherently unaware of their creator whilst being stuff outside space and time and capable somehow of interacting with an associated brain in space and time."

Well the Christian doesn't believe the soul is "inherently unaware" of God. And, having been given a soul, made in the image and likeness of God, who is transcendent as well as in time and space, there is no such disassociation or contradiction.

17 August 2013 at 21:39  
Blogger non mouse said...

Len @ 17:52 - The separation of 'soul' and 'spirit' is one of vital importance and is clearly not widely understood. Then I am among those who are in the dark - might you enlighten as to what you mean?

Meanwhile... I should explain that my confusion stems from etymological roots!
The Latin spiritus, -us m. = breath. spiro -are = to breathe.

The Old English gastm. = breath and also soul, spirit. Thence our understanding of The Holy Ghost, or our use of words like "aghast."

Anglo-Saxons combined the breath/spirit concept with others, such as:
gastgedal n. = death (where dal n.=separation, division, giving out, sharing [As in 'giving up the ghost' then]).
Or gastgehygd n. and gastgemynd n. =thought, where:
hygd fn = thought, reflection, forethought;
mynd fn = memory, remembrance, or consciousness, mind, intellect).

Both KJV and Douay-Rheims (D-R) translators therefore followed linguistic tradition when they associated breath and soul: And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Gen 2:7). D-R offers a further interpretation, too, concerning Gen 1:26 -- "The image of God in man is not in the body, but in the soul; which is a spiritual substance endued with understanding and free will."

It is probably also relevant to note that the warrior race of Anglo-Saxons would have seen its share of near-death experiences (which can be described as an 'early' stage of body-soul separation).

However, our ancestors had no experience of modern psycho-babblers who, for example: observe modern people under the influence of modern drugs; provide modern interpretations of near-death experience; and often induce hallucination. The babblers nevertheless draw inferences from only those mechanical phenomena which activate their (man-made) instruments. The data available are still limited, and interpretation thereof remains subjective.

17 August 2013 at 21:41  
Blogger Humble African said...

Sean,
"So is the brain giving us a picture of the world that is merely fit for purpose, rather than one that represents some true underlying reality?"

The brain can give no picture of a "world" since such a world is absolutely external (if mind arises solely from brain matter) to the brain.

Humans become no different from computers if what you say is true. This is the problem Darwin expressed as per your quote.

The world has a way of "shocking" us into reality such that we experience our literal "wake up call" that sometimes causes us to completely abandon what we sense in our minds to seek what is "out there" in reality.

17 August 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Hardly confrontational DanJ0. It has been pointed out to this man that committed atheists do as much searching for the truth as anyone else, and are prepared to consider anything as everyone else would except in respect of there being a creator. So he was advised to sit back and watch them avoid the obvious as if they were stepping on hot coals...

Such sport to enjoy, what !



17 August 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger Humble African said...

non mouse,

"However, our ancestors had no experience of modern psycho-babblers who, for example: observe modern people under the influence of modern drugs; provide modern interpretations of near-death experience; and often induce hallucination. The babblers nevertheless draw inferences from only those mechanical phenomena which activate their (man-made) instruments. The data available are still limited, and interpretation thereof remains subjective"

Your comment suggests that humans were somewhat unaware of external influence that alters human behviour. In genesis the serpent changed the conscious state of Adam and Eve. Whether myth or fact is irrelevant we are well aware that such external influences exists.

The sad part of it is that these so called experiments are supposed to test for the existence of consciousness or free will with nothing but devices that are themselves not capable of free thought or conscious.

17 August 2013 at 22:04  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 August 2013 at 01:18  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 August 2013 at 01:26  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I agree with Lucy that God condemns the suffering of animals caused by humans. We can learn so much from our domestic pets.Domestic pets are created by God to teach man how to love as mankind in general has distorted his own image to such an extent that God's image in him is unrecognisable. Animals have been know to sacrifice their own lives to protect their owners.Science has not yet determined the brain functioning of an animal They are capable of making decisions. Not every dog or cat chooses to save his masters life.They have souls
and if one believes in a God of goodness then animals will not be just be relegated to the compost heap along with the wilted carrots!

18 August 2013 at 01:30  
Blogger non mouse said...

Quite, Humble African @ 22:04. I suppose I'm moving towards the thought that the further we distance ourselves from God's natural world, the more insight we stand to lose about our mind-souls.

'Human' inventions extend our limited sensors and abilities, but the machines cannot impart, or understand, life and soul. And interpretation of experiment results always depends on the limited knowledge and experience of experimenters.

In the case of today's subject - the editor at a post-modern media arm of tptb ... well. That knowledge and experience is further, er, 'limited' by hedonistic or survival impulses which have adapted to a specific socio-political environment.

I think His Grace reveals the subject's limitations today when he says, for example: "Setting aside the fact that this 'Investigations Editor' really hasn't investigated the Archbishop's correct appellation very well at all, 'deliberate distancing' is not his style." Neither should we expect, at the end of these observations, that "the style"* of overseers at The Times will include "every day prayer and Bible study" - any more than it will at the RSPCA.

_____________________
*literary and wordwise, or otherwise...

18 August 2013 at 01:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Cressida:

Great comments re animals!

But plants are beautiful, too. Would we like to see roses, or oak trees, consigned to the compost heap when this phase of world history ends?

'Revelation' 22 talks about the continuing "tree of life" with its leaves for "the healing of the nations." The need for ongoing healing in the New Order, and the idea that'nations' will somehow continue, also give me food for thought.

18 August 2013 at 08:48  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 August 2013 at 10:16  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Re the food laws bit. I think people will find that Kosher slaughter is legal in this country. I am not therefore sure why god's atheist representative on earth (judge dredgenaught) wants to proclaim as holy writ a 'minority cult' going against the law of this country (or its spirit)... Besides which at least Jews know the food they eat isn't secretly horse, dog or cat....

But anyway, let's all go veggie and eat melons all day. Sure cows, sheep, pigs (not bothered about pigs), chickens will quickly die out as a spieces, but cares as they will be 100% protected from cruelty. They'd be 100% dead, but that's a small price to pay for utopia.

schmaltz herring anyone?

18 August 2013 at 10:17  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Revelations 19.11
"And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True".

So there you are, Heaven, and there is Jesus on a white horse (or a grey stallion if you prefer!!) so it seems a bit perverse and unscriptural to suggest animals have no soul or don't go to the next life!

18 August 2013 at 12:00  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Idjuts. You all know who you are. The actual facts about slaughter methods have been well studied. Look up Temple Grandin, the foremost authority on industrial slaughter. There is little, if any difference, in the amount of empirically measured suffering during a properly conducted slaughter, whether it be through sh'hita (kosher) and dhabiha or imagined "humane" modern methods. The problem with animal suffering is in how their raised and in industrial procedures prior to the slaughter itself, specifically transport, pre-slaughter handling, shackling and hoisting and such.

But no, that doesn't matter, does it? Because it's really about sticking it to the Yids and the Muzzies with that and of course...o horror of child abusing horrors...infant circumcision as well. Dear old Yurrup again, it can't help itself. Having no issues with chopping up millions of unborn untermeschen in their mommies' wombs, working hard culling its surplus sick, old and disabled under noble "quality of life" principles, it calms its withering conscience by reviving Herr Schicklgruber Jr's laws against kosher slaughter and circumcision. Perhaps the modern Yurrupean method of humane slaughter should be conducted with uniquely Yurrupean scientifically developed and well-tested methods. Such as the one of herding beasts into gas chambers with fake showerheads to the uplifting chorals of Ode an die Freude, hmmm ja?

18 August 2013 at 12:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

So there you are, Heaven, and there is Jesus on a white horse (or a grey stallion if you prefer!!) so it seems a bit perverse and unscriptural to suggest animals have no soul or don't go to the next life!

Isn't it an image? After all, does Revelation also say

Now war arose in heaven

18 August 2013 at 13:19  
Blogger Peter D said...

The Boys are Back in Town

Come now, according to Dreadlocks, the RSPCA position is:

"Scientific research has clearly shown that slaughter of an animal without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering, and so we are opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first making it insensible to pain and distress.

We continue to press for changes in the law that would improve the welfare of all animals at the time of slaughter. Until this occurs, we propose the following.

The Jewish and Muslim communities in the UK should review their slaughter practices."


Wonder if the new British Rabbi and a representative from the Muslim Brotherhood might consider joining them to assist their noble cause now the Archbishop of Canterbury has politely declined.

Meantime they are doing a fine job protecting goldfish.

18 August 2013 at 13:26  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Yes- in a sense it is an image. But it is also a vision. What you can- at LCD- say is that to St. John, and post-Resurrection at that, for the Resurrection changed all the disciples, the idea of a white(grey) horse in Heaven was appropriate. I would go a bit further, for I think the passage probably does contain a charged vision he had, as apart from some of the less highly charged visionary and allegorical stuff in other parts of Revelation that surround it. I don't know, but it feels like the tempo of the various scenes, many repeated and showing different facets, goes up a beat, and ch 22 is a well known high point indeed.

18 August 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy:

Platonism for all its virtues, saw the body as prison of the soul. Gnosticism, more malign, saw matter as evil and our purpose to escape it.

Both infiltrated Christian thought; so that many believers - and non-believers - think of Heaven as a disembodied state: for ever.

The Biblical account is very different. Resurrection bodies, a new Heaven and a new Earth.

A "new Earth" is why I entertain the possibility of animals in the new order (even allowing for symbolic language, and the difficulty of the new-Earth concept in itself). Think of C S Lewis' 'The Last Battle', which owes much to Platonism in its best sense, and in which even Tashbaan, the Calormene capital, is there in a redeeemed form at the end.

18 August 2013 at 14:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm afraid the thread must now be closed under Godwin's Law.

18 August 2013 at 15:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Don't be such a killjoy!

Avi invoked Godwin's Law @ 12:59, but the thread has moved on from there, and I'm enjoying my discussion with Lucy.

18 August 2013 at 16:18  
Blogger Peter D said...

Avi, a good post @ 12.59.

There is a certain irony that the secular, atheist, 'luvvies' in Europe shy away from the rituals of Islam and Judaism concerning ritual slaughter and circumcision. They are, of course, terrified of a violent reaction from Islamists. Without this, one wonders whether they would be so understanding and accommodating towards Jewish religious practices.

18 August 2013 at 16:34  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Let's not forget the book of revelations and the four horses of the apocalypse . I wonder if they had been looked after according to RSPCA standards as their riders went around carrying war, death, famine, plague ?

18 August 2013 at 17:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

True, Peter D. In this case I turn to examples history. In previous conflicts with militant Islam, Europeans began with the relatively defenseless Jews; impotence breeds transference of hatreds. But what fascinates and depresses me in this case is that the Third Reich agenda of a Jew-free Europe is being revisited under similar terms, minus the more politically incorrect racial ones. The ban on kashrut and circumcision, the imposition of SSM which will interfere with traditionalist religions and the attempt to force secularization on children will soon render an observant and authentic Jewish existence in Europe impossible. Couple that with the attempt to make the Jewish state defenseless by feeding its worst enemies with billions of dollars and providing unprecedented international political coverage and assistance to terrorists in an attempt to force it into suicidal territorial concessions and one is left few hopes and illusions. Jews need to get out of Europe while getting out is possible and stand back as both Islam and the Fourth Reich implode in an orgy of cultural self annihilation and violence.

18 August 2013 at 17:39  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Explorer another way of looking at this is that Godwin's Law and similar pseudo-laws are glib, brainless pop-culture attempts to shut down serious comparisons and discussions. To assume that under no circumstances can one refer to events and forces in the not too distant past because it's uncool and violates some kind of a rhetorical nitwittery is, in my humble opinion of course, sheer idiocy.

18 August 2013 at 17:46  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

'Establishment commits the Church of England to full involvement in civil society and to making a contribution to the public discussion of issues that have moral or spiritual implications'
This seems to account for the CofE's commitment to the ways of society rather than standing for Biblical truth,

18 August 2013 at 17:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Or, references to the Nazis are used to try to shutdown debate or criticism of anything Jewish. It works both ways.

18 August 2013 at 17:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 17:46

Quite. I didn't raise the subject in the first place: DanJ0 did.

18 August 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger Peter D said...

Avi
"But what fascinates and depresses me in this case is that the Third Reich agenda of a Jew-free Europe is being revisited under similar terms, minus the more politically incorrect racial ones. The ban on kashrut and circumcision, the imposition of SSM which will interfere with traditionalist religions and the attempt to force secularization on children will soon render an observant and authentic Jewish existence in Europe impossible."

Christianity too .... and 'we' standby and query: "Who am I too Judge?".

Pope Benedict was correct on Islam (an irrational and contradictory theology, fuelled by violence) and on homosexuality. The authority of Catholicism has been damaged by scandal, modernism and liberalism, and one fears this will continue. Though it pains me to say so, there is still a residual anti-Semitism in Christianity that could be whipped up.

"Jews need to get out of Europe while getting out is possible and stand back as both Islam and the Fourth Reich implode in an orgy of cultural self annihilation and violence."

The 'luvvies' will disappear once the going gets tough and there is a real potential for some form of dictatorship in the future if chaos results. Will this be anti-Semitic or anti-Christian? This is the great unknown if such a judgement comes upon Europe.

18 August 2013 at 18:33  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Explorer.
Thanks. I've enjoyed this thread too, and it's been much more interesting than I knew it could be when it set off!!

I agree with you about Platonism and gnosticism. Besides which the biblical narrative is so much more full of colour and humanity and fun!!

I would never have thought I would end up looking to see if there were any decent paintings of Jesus on a white horse (have yet to find any) or finding myself on a vegetarian website (not somewhere this omnivore is totally at home at) which claimed some apocryphal literature which had been hidden in a cave had stories about Jesus and a kitten, Jesus and a camel, and a horse, and some dogs. I had heard of some about birds before. No idea yet of the provenance of such extra canonical tales, but my awareness and questions about a range of things have broadened so thanks to His Grace for hosting us at his table, squabbles and all !!

18 August 2013 at 18:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Quite. I didn't raise the subject in the first place: DanJ0 did."

I could have just rolled my eyes and said "Not again" I suppose.

18 August 2013 at 18:52  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Quite, indeed. Apologies,with a redirection of the substance of my comment at Danjo who is welcome to roll his eyes 'til the cows come home for all that's worth.

18 August 2013 at 19:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Peter D, of course there is nothing to prevent persecution of Christianity in Europe. Ample precedent there too,and just to give Danjo a break with eye-rolling. 20th century communism shows us how well that can be done, something I even witnessed a child in Eastern Europe. This is the part where anyone can come up with a new insipid "law" in lieu of a counterargument.

18 August 2013 at 19:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Except, despite my being European, I made much the same points as you about animal rearing etc. It's just that I'm self-assured enough not to fall for all that victimhood and guilt-by-association stuff.

18 August 2013 at 19:19  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Victimhood? Guilt by association? Is there a "law" about dragging a discussion about demonstrable facts of historical continuities into supposed Jewish paranoia and whining? Get Mr Godwin to work on that one.

18 August 2013 at 19:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's an adage, not a law, so you carry on regardless with your untermenschen and gas chamber stuff. The purpose of an adage is to succintly highlight a truth and so it and I have done my job.

18 August 2013 at 19:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And the 'Yurrupean' thing.

18 August 2013 at 19:47  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

O,dear me, I've offended your sensitivities. So then,call it an adage and since when do all adages highlight truth? And I stand corrected on the untermenschen bit; apparently foetuses aren't even menschen, according to some. Not even low order animals such as goldfish, who are protected by law as the Inspector tells us. The history of the gas chamber is quite interesting as it may be revolting, but it exhibits key hallmarks of modernity: speed, efficiency and attempts at a "humane" method of dispatching a life with minimum of blood and trouble.

18 August 2013 at 20:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

No, you haven't offended my sensibilities at all. The point I'm making is that some of us simply aren't intimidated by that sort of manipulation.

18 August 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Danjo,this really wasn't about you. A hard notion to swallow, but arguing historical continuity in beliefs, trends and legislation is a position, not manipulation. And I'm supposed to be the paranoiac?

18 August 2013 at 20:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I've just read 12:59 again. Nope, I'm fine so far.

18 August 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

That comment of yours at 13:34: "simply because it needs the space." IS it simple?

Too many animals for space available. So,

1. Acquire more space. That will also entail more staff. Both mean spending money. What if the money isn't there?

Then,

2. Put down some of the animals. Which ones? Old? Sick?


Could these sorts of questions one day become an issue for the NHS?

18 August 2013 at 20:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "1. Acquire more space. That will also entail more staff. Both mean spending money. What if the money isn't there?"

It is there. The RSPCA are spending it on prosecutions. Political ones at times, by the look of it. Perhaps a policy of free neutering might help instead?

"2. Put down some of the animals. Which ones? Old? Sick?"

They're putting down both healthy and unhealthy animals, I believe.

"Could these sorts of questions one day become an issue for the NHS?"

But of course, you're not interested in the RSPCA at all here. The NHS has a finite amount of money now and it's not enough for all that could be done. I'd point you to countries, most countries, where there isn't an NHS but I think you're not interested in that either. It's #2 in particular you're interested in I expect and you want to imagine that applying to humans, only with Avi's 'Yurrupeans' making the decisions perhaps because we're inclined to that sort of stuff. Right?

18 August 2013 at 21:29  
Blogger Ros V said...

Sounds like a non-event. Just means the Archbishop is busy.

18 August 2013 at 21:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

"...I don't trust it not to put down animals simply because it needs the space."

That suggests too many animals for the space available. What else can it mean?

Now you seem to be saying it could buy more space if it had its priorities right and didn't waste its money on prosecutions.

So the primary reason not to trust it is that it can't manage its resources properly?

18 August 2013 at 22:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I've just read 12:59 again. Nope, I'm fine so far. Of course you are, Danjo, you need to be fine. In all my time on this board I've never seen you doubt a single conclusion of yours. I do envy you at times.

18 August 2013 at 22:21  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Albert

It was indeed a Christian camp, and it seems like it was a success, as far as these things can be seen with human eyes. Thank you for asking.

19 August 2013 at 00:29  
Blogger LEN said...

Non mouse.
Soul and spirit.
'For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart'(Hebrews 4;12)

The 'soul' consists of the mind will and emotions and this is what directs the lives of most people.

However when God created man He intended the' Spirit' to be the guiding force in man the human spirit filled with the Holy Spirit.

However when man rejected God`s Spirit man learned to live by his soul(mind will and emotions) guiding him) instead of his spirit .Man was unable to communicate with God because he didn`t have the spiritual ability to do so.
We now have men with dead spirits denying the reality of God because they can neither hear nor understand Him.It was when Greek influence came into Christianity that things became even more confused.The Greeks worshiped the 'intellect' and this elevated the 'soul' even more at the expense of the Spirit.
God used the 'foolishness' of the Cross to discredit 'the wise '(or those puffed up with their own 'cleverness')to bring their 'wisdom' to nothing.

It was man`s search for wisdom apart from God which led to the fall and placed man under the direct control of Satan.

Man has a choice the tree of knowledge of good and evil.(God knows evil by evil being everything outside of Himself everything which opposes God .Man would know evil by direct contact and by aligning himself with the forces which opposes God.)




Or the tree of life. Which is sharing One Spirit with Christ everything He has is ours everything we have is His.It is a union of Spirits.

The Cross of Christ reverses the fall.



19 August 2013 at 01:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer:"So the primary reason not to trust it is that it can't manage its resources properly?"

I expect it thinks it does manage its resources properly. That is, an animal which is taken in has a limited time to be rehomed before they kill it to make room for the next. Hence, anyone who delivers a healthy animal into their care is potentially giving it a death sentence if space is currently an issue. Animal welfare is just about immediate suffering in their approach. That doesn't suit me so they will have none of my money.

19 August 2013 at 06:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

... and I won't put an animal in its care.

19 August 2013 at 06:21  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

True, but where does the animal go instead?

Lots of of thoughts behind my original question to you eg:

1. A dog sanctuary near our home in France. More dogs than space.

2. A donkey sanctuary near us. Lots of space, but money issues.

3. Sarkozy's wish to raise French prescription charges.

4. NHS survey re charges for GP visits.

5. Avi's issues.

6. Peter Singer.

7. The Darwinian severing of the animal/human distinction.

I wasn't trying a trick questtion. RSPCA issues and NHS issues are for me always related.

19 August 2013 at 07:29  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

...Avi's issues.

Avi has no issues. Avi makes issues. He fears no man or beast as he plies the highways of North America, sowing terror in gaggles of little cars as he rumbles on, a diesel-hungry monster of a Volvo 780 in their shaky rear view mirrors. Hear my Jake brake, little people, and tremble.

19 August 2013 at 13:15  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi:

a figure of expression on my part, in the interests of brevity. Not your personal issues, but the issues - points - raised by you that seemed to me to be important, and worthy of support.

Once one says people are animals, it cuts two ways,

1. You must give animals rights, and treat them like humans.

2. You can take awayn the rights of humans, and treat them like animals.

Both have occurred.

19 August 2013 at 14:22  
Blogger Peter D said...

Avi
Tell me, do you have to see a psychologist as part of your license renewal process?

19 August 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Peter, thank heavens, no! Big trouble if that were the case. Whyever would you ask me that?

But seriously,I'm a law abiding, safety-conscious and courteous driver with a perfect, violations and accident free 30 year long driving abstract.

19 August 2013 at 14:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Explorer, thought so,but couldn't avoid a bit of tomfoolery. Agreed on the animal rights madness. As the Inspector suggested,if foetuses had fur, they'd be protected. Ditto for the homeless, the invalids and the old one might add. One day I might design a fuzzy fur costume with big weepy eyes glasses and attachable whiskers to improve the lot of the unfortunates. No, peter,I will not see a psychiatrist over that.

19 August 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger Peter D said...

"Avi has no issues - Avi makes issues."

"Our hero fears no man or beast. He sows terror as creation trembles before him."

Coming soon to a motorway near you.

Be afraid; be very afraid.

19 August 2013 at 17:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "7. The Darwinian severing of the animal/human distinction."

There isn't a severing. We're all animals but humans live in societies for one thing and so there's a clear distinction there arising from a social contract.

And,

"Once one says people are animals, it cuts two ways,
1. You must give animals rights, and treat them like humans.
2. You can take awayn the rights of humans, and treat them like animals.
Both have occurred."

(1) is not necessarily true; that would follow from the nature of rights and the arguments for certain rights. (2) also occurred even when the UK was a deeply Christian country so it doesn't follow from recognising that humans are also animals.

19 August 2013 at 19:14  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0:

In the event of doubt, 'awayn' was a typo on my part.

There WAS a severing: in perception if not reality. Humans had been special: possession of souls was what distinguished them. Now there was a diminution. 'The Descent of Man' has always seemed to me to have an intentional double meaning.

Re 1. Lots of American law degrees now have an animal-rights component. Can't remember the exact source now - it may be 'Heavy Petting' (and I really don't want to revisit it) - but Peter Singer raises somewhere whether in bestiality the animal can be deemed to have consented.

Re 2. I imagine the Herero massacre and Holocaust were easier if the victims were seen as subhuman and soulless.

Curiously, burnings at the stake were precisely BECAUSE of concern for the soul. (Not a practice I'd seek to defend, by the way).

I'd be interested in which examples from Christian Britain you had in mind. (Did you follow any of the long debate on an earlier thread -ardenjm and Martin - about the massacres in Ireland? The Puritans were an odd lot. They didn't kill people because their opponents had no souls. Quite the contrary).

Excuse such a long response this late in a thread.

Regards.

19 August 2013 at 21:21  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJD

When you can demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form, then I'll accept Evolution is science.

Until then, it is religion, the creation myth of the Atheist.

19 August 2013 at 21:47  
Blogger Martin said...

Len

Thanks for your comments on soul & spirit. Those who dispute that view have to explain why soul & spirit should be the same while joints & marrow quite clearly are not.

19 August 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Peter D said...

Martin and Len

Are you saying man has a soul and a spirit? If so, which is immortal - one or both? Use what language you care to but are you suggesting (as Len has in the past) the "soul" and "spirit" can have different eternal destinations?

I Thessalonians 5.23 seems to distinguish 3 parts of the complete person: spirit (pneuma), soul (psyche) and body (soma).

Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people "wholly", with "spirit and soul and body" kept sound and blameless at the Lord's coming. This distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul.

There is a composite whole of human nature: "BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT" (2Th 5:23): "The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body, that is, it is because of its spiritual soul that the body, made of matter, becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter. In man, there are not two natures united, but rather the union of spirit, soul, and body forms a single nature"

When speaking of the integration and completeness of human nature, the Catholic Church returns always to the Creator-Spirit, God: "The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents - and, also, that the spiritual soul is immortal. The spiritual soul does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection"

"Sometimes, the soul is distinguished from the spirit. Saint Paul, for instance, prays that God may sanctify his people "wholly," with "body, soul, and spirit," kept sound and blameless at the Lord's coming. This distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. "Spirit" signifies that, from Creation, man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God"

19 August 2013 at 23:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin:"When you can demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form, then I'll accept Evolution is science."

I don't care whether you believe in faeries at the bottom of the garden, or in the money-attracting properties of crystals, or that Zeus is heads of a bunch of gods, or that Eve was seduced by a serpent in the Garden of Eden. I'm a liberal.

20 August 2013 at 07:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer, arguments for animal rights are a good way of teaching practical ethics and the nature of rights. Also Peter Singer is hardly representative of modern philosophers. He's of interest precisely because he has an unusual approach based on a form of Utilitarianism. As for treating people like animals, I presume you mean in some sort of theoretical sense so I'll point at the use of slaves by the West. I don't know whether people really believed that the victims in your examples really were sub-human, I doubt it very much myself. But anyway, I was just pointing out the large gaps in your arguments between what can happen and what necessarily follows.

20 August 2013 at 07:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

I said "Both have occurred." Not both MUST occur. Big difference. Ditto Peter Singer. A changed mindset makes the likes of Singer possible, not inevitable.

I don't have a problem with teaching animal rights; I siimply cite them as a fairly new phenomenon.

Slavery is interesting. Deistic Jefferson owned over two hundred slaves. Locke bought shares in a slaving company. Opposition was driven by evangelicals like Wilberforce. (Not exclusively, I know.)

20 August 2013 at 08:20  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Not sure my argument was big enough to have large gaps. At most: small argument, small gaps.

To recap:

Animal shelters I have encountered in France have space/money issues.

Health care systems in France and Britain have funding issues, and are looking at solutions. (Obamacare has its Care Planning Act to provide end-of-life counselling provision. Sceptics say it's to encourage old people to die and save the system money.)

Avi (if I understood him right) likened conveyor-belt-style killing of animals to conveyor-belt-type killing of humans in one particular historical context.

The formerly-perceived wide gap between humans and animals (and hence the unique sanctity of human life) has gone.

Funding issues about animal care might spill over into human care. Possible, not inevitable.

That's about it, really.

20 August 2013 at 09:26  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Danjo,

A European and a liberal. I'm British and a Jew. So don't go too hard on Avi. He's Canadian and a Jew. You see by your standards we are stoopid, stoopid unsuphisticated. That's why we can't even spell eurrupean and still slaughtering our anomals in such 'barbaric' ways. But we do eat with knives, forks and spoons...(just not bio-degradable/eco-friendly, anti-fracking ones).

20 August 2013 at 09:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0::

One other thing I meant to include. Peter Singer has been called the world's most influential bioethicist.

In 'The Good Life', Charles Colson has a poignant chapter about his autistic grandson, Max, in relation to Singer. Colson argues that if Singer is correct in his premises, then his conclusions about the likes of Max are inevitable: termination at birth, or do not allow to exist in the first place.

20 August 2013 at 10:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David K: "You see by your standards we are stoopid, stoopid unsuphisticated."

Oh grow up, you hysterical berk.

20 August 2013 at 18:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "One other thing I meant to include. Peter Singer has been called the world's most influential bioethicist."

Who does he really influence, other than animals rights proponents? For sure, he's interesting but the outcomes of his ethical system are counter-intuitive to almost everyone as far as I can tell. He's a modern Utilitarian so he's used in undergrad philosophy courses as an example of that style of thinking.

20 August 2013 at 18:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Funding issues about animal care might spill over into human care. Possible, not inevitable."

Identifying some people as Other and advocating different treatment is a human trait, it seems. Throughout history, I'd say. However, we all grow old so surely we all have an interest in the elderly continuing to be treated as ends-in-themselves?

20 August 2013 at 19:04  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

With some people on this Blog, ask them a question and they don't get back to you. The great thing with you is that you always do: and invariably with something worth reading.

Two good questions.

I'd say animal rights stuff is just Singer having fun. The serious bit is his call for infanticide for defective babies. His logic: allow abortion, allow infanticide in some cases. His intentions are humane: prevent suffering for the child, and those who have to look after it. Better if it isn't born at all: possible given the modern ability to detect pre-natal problems. And better if the State decides, rather than the parents. Sentiment might get in the way.

The age issue. The first draft of the Obamacare proposal (I have American friends who are doctors) was described as a "death panel". It's been repackaged.

In Holland, I believe, there are death squads that will visit your home and terminate your life. Your choice. (And still just an experiment).

I sometimes seem to me - and must seem to you - like someone who enjoys crying wolf. The problem is, in the story the wolf one day really did come.

I do cry wolf, but usually in the hope that I'm wrong.

20 August 2013 at 19:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer, if you're interested in animal rights as a possible consequence of accepting that humans are at the top of an animal hierarchy then you probably ought to be looking more at Tom Regan rather than Peter Singer.

Singer is a Utilitarian of sorts and the notion of individual rights is undermined by that type of theory, albeit less so in preference-Utilitarianism than than the classical version. Yet as with any ethical theory, it has to be tied to the real world so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Medical advances have given us options in end-of-life medical ethics, but also widened the grey areas. People are ends-in-themselves and those who are subjects-of-a-life ought not to be caught up in any of those grey areas. If they are then something has gone horribly wrong.

I'm loathe to get into yet another debate about abortion so I'll just say that I think a foetus which is a subject-of-a-life ought to have special protection amounting to a right to life as far as I am concerned. The reasons for that might give a nod to Utilitarianism but it's certainly not beholden to it.

20 August 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Don't know Regan at all. Animal rights are not a big issue for me (as opposed to animals themselves: which are), but I'll add him to my list.

I don't want an abortion debate either. Thanks for the exchange of views. Let's meet again on another thread.

20 August 2013 at 21:02  
Blogger Peter D said...

Explorer
Animal rights"?

Rather, I'd say, our duty as custodians of the natural world - animals included - is to treat the created world as it should be treated. As a gift from our Creator to be looked after. We are its stewards.

Animals should be treated with respect as creatures made by God and, as such, deserving of care. We have a responsibility towards them. They don't have "rights". Instead, we have duties placed upon us by God.

An animal is an animal; a man is a man; a child a child. Confuse these and we are in deep water.

21 August 2013 at 01:18  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter:

I'll look up Regan on animal rights to see what he has to say. Not the same of acceptance.

Besides, the issue came up in relation to Singer: his main focus being not animal rights,but a call for infanticide.

My original point anyway - without wanting to revive the debate - is that once you start treating animals as humans you might start treating humans as animals.

21 August 2013 at 07:24  
Blogger Peter D said...

Exactly .... they are distinct and different according to Christian thinking. One with an immortal soul, made in the image and likeness of God; the other with a 'soul', not generally considered immortal yet giving life, but without the facility of moral reasoning.

I can see no moral objections to hunting, fishing, culling animals, or killing them to end pain. We are their stewards. This is not the case with human life - from the moment of conception until death. The "right to life" is based on the proposition our lives are in the Hands of God, His to do with as He pleases, and not our own.

21 August 2013 at 19:39  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Danjo,

My apologises for being an hysterical berk. I shall aim to be more intelligent in future conversations.

Explorer, nifty quote there.

I'd say in respect of animal rights, we as humans also have animal responsibilities (as with everything else there is a right and a responsibility). There are livestock, pets and wild animals.. I think in each case there is a responsibility to look after these animals well. In respect of livestock, because meat actually tastes better if you treat the animals like kings and have them well fed and watered; pets it goes without saying that to mistreat a pet goes against the purpose of having a pet (pleasure, company, etc) and as for wild animals and I think we can bask in the glory of G-d's glorious creatures- whales, tigers, lions, bees, sharks etc.

And I can say all this without being a fully signed up green brigade leftie. That is because of the Jewish concept of 'Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim' or Cruelty to Animals, which is strictly forbidden in Judaism and Rabbinical discourse.

For example a pet must be fed before anyone else in the household nor can the pet be castrated or spayed(Lev. 22:24); in respect of livestock we may not purchase any unless we have the means to feed it and again they must be fed before ourselves(Deut. 11:15).. and although The Torah says we have dominion over the earth and animals in it, Gen 1:26, that does not mean that one can simply go around causing pain and destruction.

There are numerous laws about treatment of animals, but I think there is a good story in the Talmud about a Rabbi who was indifferent to the angst of a calf about to go to slaughter and was therefore punished with various aliments, but later acted kindly towards animals and was relieved of these pains.

(Talmud Baba Metzia 85a).

23 August 2013 at 09:50  

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