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This is a real thing.


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    I know where my food comes from. It’s never pleasant.

    As a farmer, I just try to treat my animals as well as I can, while they’re alive.

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      For the site, that could be the name of the module that delivers the banhammer or deactivates profiles.

      Edit due to @Irene comment: I have no position for or against naming part of the site after the thing. I was just joking around with that remark. I didn’t expect the impact the thread has had on some folks. No harm intended on my part.

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          Appreciate it. Also, being extra clear I wasn’t trying to offend anyone with my joke. I often see our members toying with different words for how they might apply here. I was just following suit. This taught me to avoid that if it was something harmful to an animal.

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            No offense taken! I was just heading that off because it isn’t a topic that’s worth the controversy it might draw. I completely understand that that sort of concern isn’t something you are constantly thinking about, nor should you have to - that’s the mods’ job. :)

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              “No offense taken! I was just heading that off because it isn’t a topic that’s worth the controversy it might draw.”

              Smart move!

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                Thanks :)

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          So you think that there’s no moral difference between “quick and painless”, “slow and horrible”, and “clumsy bludgeoning”? Sounds like a pretty extreme position to me.


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            I think this is a useful attempt to elucidate a somewhat confusing position on dz’s part, but that reducing a choice like this to the apparent fundamental principles rarely advances a conversation. People weigh far more things than they are even aware of, and are often not able to explain their real reasons. That’s especially true with a concern like animal suffering which is difficult to think about without having an urge to dismiss it out-of-hand to avoid having to imagine horrifying implications in detail.

            Personally, I think that both killing animals and causing them to suffer are wrong. Unfortunately, they’re on the list of wrong things that all humans are complicit in to some extent, although certainly we can individually adjust the degree to which we are, through our lifestyle choices. Political slogans are simplistic because they must be, but it’s important to remember the nuance when actually talking through something controversial like this.

            I see the point of a device to kill lobsters faster. But let’s not name anything on the site after it. I expect that this thread has already gotten more political, and with less relevance to the site’s core mission, than many lobste.rs users are comfortable with.

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              Yes I agree not to name anything on this site after it. It would be uncool and uncrustaceanly.

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                Thank you. I very much agree that there’s a lot of subtlety to these kinds of issues, and that they are worth considerate discussion in depth, but that this is probably not the right venue.

                I’m still learning how to write comments that are simultaneously relevant, provocative, and concise without being glib or mean… or encouraging others to. It’s hard! Sometimes it might be impossible. I think it’s still worth practicing.

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                  but that this is probably not the right venue

                  I dunno about everyone else but I find this sentiment common and deeply disappointing.

                  Programmers, like it or not, must learn to tackle ethical questions. We’ve automated jobs away, built software to cheat on emission standards, designed UIs with the intent to deceive users — and any attempt to discuss these issues where programmers dwell is invariably shut down with claims of “improper venue!”

                  How can we expect to advance our profession if we keep proclaiming that our spaces are strictly for tech chat only?

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                    I agree! But let’s spend those limited resources discussing ethical questions that relate to systems we, as programmers, might be asked to build someday. I can promise you that it’s possible to make an entire career simply out of thinking about those questions, and still barely scratch the surface.

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                  If the immoral act isn’t the suffering then you shouldn’t eat plants, either.

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                    While I don’t share @dz’s moral position, I don’t see this as a gotcha! that shows it is inconsistent.

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                    So as long as I don’t kill you I can make you suffer as much as I want and it wouldn’t be immoral. I certainly see the appeal of the philosophy.

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                        What if both things are immoral?

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                          There are certainly a large segment of people who think that killing and causing suffering are immoral, however this is the first time I’d ever seen that killing was immoral but suffering was not. Given that humans probably would go extinct without killing anything (plants included) usually people make the caveat “Killing is okay as long as you’re killing the beings that suffer the least”. Some go the whole fruits and nuts route, causing no harm at all, but I don’t think this is large scale sustainable. Plants only is a decent argument, but you’re still totally killing, so if suffering isn’t a moral criteria you might as well go eat whatever because I mean you’ve gotta kill you might as well kill the thing that reduces your suffering and I would have to kill like 400,000 clovers to equal one cow because biodensity.

                          Something tells me this isn’t the philosophy DZ has and I’m going to take a generous interpretation that they really meant that reducing suffering doesn’t mean there is NO suffering. The animal was still ripped from its habitat, deprived of a normal life, separated from any family it might have had, etc. I’m going to also suspect that DZ also feels that killing is unilaterally wrong, which is I think not a bad moral basis to aspire to. I think there is some wisdom in having that goal.

                          Being said, don’t make perfect the enemy of the good. If someone is going to kill and eat me, I should hope they don’t boil me alive. I would be a lot more upset about being tortured to death than I would about just being killed.

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                  Something tells me if you were in the position of being boiled alive vs a painless death you would have more of an opinion on the matter.

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                  I don’t eat lobster because boiling alive is so WTF I can’t even think about it.

                  I’m glad this exists and is a thing, and I hope it gains wide adoption in industry and for those who cook lobster at home.

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                    If you don’t want your lobsters to suffer, begging the question of wether they can or not, just put them in the freezer. No need for fancy gadgets.

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                      If you haven’t read Consider the Lobster from David Foster Wallace (RIP), you should.