Pets and cognitive dissonance


#1

Again with the cognitive dissonance. Why are dog and cat cared for and treated better than many humans, and chicken, pig, cow have not even trivial, even lip service to, humane concern.

Edit: Full disclosure - Coming from someone who owns a few cat sweaters.

Add. edit: Not sweaters made of cats (god knows mine shed enough to make one though), but for cats to wear.


New York bans pet piercing
#2

Pretty simple, human empathy is plastic, and many of us are conditioned to extend our nurturing instinct to our pets. But we are also tribal carnivores, so our empathy has limits - out group violence is “ok”.

I know people who have very broad empathy, even to insects. And that kind of empathy can be painful and debilitating given how much pain and suffering there is in just the natural world of animals, let alone the way humans treat animals.


#3


#4

While I agree that empathy is not a fixed quantity, I suspect that most of the cognitive dissonance has it’s origin in unfamiliarity. Most people, shown undercover slaughterhouse and feedlot videos, turn away in horror after only a few moments. I know several very smart people that went vegan and never looked back after one film. After talking at length with them, the one thing they all said was ‘I guess I never really thought about it’. (The film was Earthlings).


#5

I don’t think that is cognitive dissonance you are describing, but rather disgust. If cognitive dissonance was involved they wouldn’t change their mind - their mind would resist evidence not be changed by it.


#6

The cognitive dissonance I was referring to was the incongruity of a morality driven urge to protect one type of animal while being completely unconcerned with the institutional exploitation of others because reasons. It’s a dead horse I kick a lot on BoingBoing.


#7

I’d say that is inconsistency more than cognitive dissonance. The obligatory wiki:

Why protect any animals at all? Much of our drive to protect animals is essentially emotional. Emotions are often not consistent.

If you want cognitive dissonance, look to climate change deniers.

(BTW, I do think protecting the environment is vital to our long term self interest and survival, I just recognize that people’s motivations to save animals (generally fuzzy ones with round bodies and big eyes or ones that look like they are smiling) are often emotional rather than based on deep understanding of statistical environmental models.)


#8

(BTW, I do think protecting the environment is vital to our long term self interest and survival, I just recognize that people’s motivations to save animals (generally fuzzy ones with round bodies and big eyes or ones that look like they are smiling) are often emotional rather than based on deep understanding of statistical environmental models.)

Jesus you have a low opinion of humanity. Do you love your children because you hope only to insure that your DNA survives? Do you choose a mate based solely on the robustness of her hips so that she can pass many children to carry on that DNA? Do you choose your profession based solely on the basis of whether it will provide suitable access to many large and milk-bearing titted mates? And don’t give me the ‘yes, subconsciously’ argument, I don’t buy it. If you don’t believe in free will then I’m not interested in having any discussion with you. I believe in logic and science, in fact spiritually I identify as a Socratic, but I do not believe that all human behavior can be reduced to sophisticated pantomimes of base biological imperatives. I try to minimize the violence I participate in, simply because I can, I haven’t heard a solid argument not to, and it’s easy.

And I’m still not sure why you don’t understand how a person trying to reconcile “this animal=soulmate that animal=vegetable” causes cognitive dissonance. Am I using the term incorrectly? If so, please set me straight.

I’ve addressed the argument that the lines we draw between life-forms we consider food and those we care for are arbitrary (or based on self-serving biological imperatives), and why it is irrelevant anyways to the discussion of compassion, quite effectively and in a pretty bulletproof manner. I would be happy to present it to you if you are interested in taking a crack at it.


#9

This topic was automatically closed after 793 days. New replies are no longer allowed.