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AIDS and Your Son
no excuse to kill


Today on the radio a man was talking about giving chimps and bonovos legal rights. He said that they have a level of "autonomy" greater than other animals and therefore are deserving of certain legal rights. This is a very specific type of animal rights consideration, and would not protect many other species.

Later in the show a Philosophy Professor called. She disagreed stating that, in a case that involved a threat to the human race, such as AIDS, the aforementioned animals should be used if their use might lead to a cure. She seemed to think that a human life was always worth more than an animal, although she claimed to be a vegetarian and definitely not an advocate of animal cruelty. She posed an example scenario in which a boat was sinking and "you" have the choice to throw the family dog overboard or your daughter/son/wife. In general, most people would sacrifice the dog. She was also talking about morality. She stated that we as conscious beings that make choices and are aware of those choices and their impact, have a moral obligation to make the right choices. To her saving a “human” was the right choice.

To choose to protect only one animal is a short sight, but it is a start. Some animals gaining rights is always closer to the goal of all animals gaining them than no animals gaining rights is. Of course many animals do have rights; the SPCA protects domestic animals. Many others suffer from cruel research related torture, poor living conditions in breeding circumstances and the destruction of their natural environments.

As far as AIDS research and "your son" are concerned, the Philosophy teacher is still basing her morality on selfishness. Not that such is uncommon or unacceptable; evolution instilled such instincts upon us humans. As far as morality is concerned, she is drawing an arbitrary line. Using certain animals to do research that may cure AIDS may save human lives, but it will also take them from innocent animals. Why are Human lives more important than animal lives. To the contrary, humans are the one and only cause of instability on this planet and for that reason could be considered less important than other animals. Furthermore, once AIDS is cured there will still be an over population problem; the curing of AIDS might just increase that problem.

Now consider that you are in a sinking boat with your dog and you son (or daughter, wife, ect). The boat will sink under the weight of the three of you, so only by the expulsion of one will the other two live. You have a choice to make; all three can die, or one can die and two can live. Your son is not going to jump, and you wouldn't let him anyway. The dog isn't going to move, it's instinct for self preservation would prohibit it. Your only viable options are to jump your self or throw the dog. If you throw the dog, it would be murder.

There are many variables to argue over in this model, but an unbiased moral agent who is considering all possibilities in this situation would only be able to take his own life (because it is his to give). Anything else would be selfish, which is not a crime, it is mere human nature. It seems this human nature is at the heart of the animal rights issue and every other pressing matter that threatens the stability of all life on the planet Earth.who is considering all possibilities in this situation would only be able to take his own life. Anything else would be selfish, which is not a crime, it is mere human nature. It seems this human nature is at the heart of the animal rights issue and every other pressing matter that threatens the stability of all life on the planet Earth..
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