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The Immorality of Saving a Dog, or "Why My Pet is Worth More Alive Than You Are!"

Captain Adverse

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There have been several hundred replies to a thread in which a member posed the following "moral dilemma":

Your life long companion dog and a stranger are drowning and you can only save one.....chose.
Several members have decided that saving the dog is the "morally right" thing to do. Some choose to ignore the necessary presumptions that make this a true dilemma (listed below). Such members make excuses about not being able to swim, or their dogs can swim, or they are too old or weak to save a human, or the human will try to drown them while the dog wouldn't. Some members anthropomorphize the animal and say flat out; they love their pet like a member of the family and they don't care about any stranger! Other's put conditions on the stranger, i.e. assuming it is a grown man thus unworthy of effort, or asking "What if he was a murderer or other criminal?", or stating "He got himself in there, it's his own fault." Finally, some members state they have no duty to save the stranger, so they'll save their dog instead.

I consider their positions immoral and here is my analysis why:

The scenario presented above by the member is a variation of a moral dilemma problem. In order to answer the question posed several premises must be assumed, otherwise there is no actual dilemma.

1. Neither party in the water can swim.
2. You can see and assess the danger to both parties from your position on the shore.
3. There is no other help available; YOU are IT.
4. You are a strong swimmer.
5. You are fully capable of saving either party.
6. You can only save one.

The moral dilemma is not really about the parties in the water. The actual dilemma concerns how one justifies a decision about which one to save.

On the one hand we are given a loved pet, an animal we may have raised from a puppy and whose love, loyalty, and support we can depend on for as long as it lives.

On the other hand we are presented with a stranger. Note the stranger is not identified by gender, age, race, or any characteristic other than it is a human being which can be derived from the use of the word “stranger.”

Now, every human being views the world egocentrically and creates a value hierarchy based on that foundation. This means we think of ourselves as the center of the universe with self-survival and self-fulfillment at the highest level of our value hierarchy. We then list all other things around us in direct relationship to our personal needs value for them.

IMO the people who pick the companion dog over a fellow human being do so because they are vested in valuing self above all else. They thus place an extremely high value on the things that personally satisfy their sense of “self.” They generally hold fellow human beings in low regard, valuing each individual in direct relationship to how much the individual serves to satisfy the pet-chooser's self-interests.

IMO the people who pick the stranger over their loved pet are aware of their own egocentric value system and recognize it is selfish and self-serving. They then try to moderate this belief in order to become more cooperative. They strive to value other human beings as equals in the universe, and consciously adjust their hierarchy of values to this methodology. Thus such people will naturally save a beloved human before any stranger, but then place a higher value on the life of a fellow human being above all other non-human things.

Therefore, IMO the person who chooses the “lifelong companion” dog is acting in absolute selfishness; saving what gives them happiness while ignoring the higher value to the world at large the stranger they let drown may have.

In doing so I believe they miss the point of the exercise entirely. IMO the point is that the stranger could very well be them or a loved one of theirs seeking the mercy of a pet lover some day. Imagine watching a person ignore you as they strive to save a pet…letting you drown instead. Consider that the "stranger" could be a child of six who just saw his first seashell; a girl of twelve having recently experienced her first romantic crush; a woman about to get married; a man expecting his first child…each of them a potential solver of world hunger or discoverer of cold fusion!

The moral dilemma I see in this problem is not the understandable love some pet owner's have for their pets. No, the dilemma is that those who argue for the beloved pet over the human being are unable to see the moral difference between saving their lifelong companion animal and saving the life of a fellow human being.

Does anyone believe they have the moral right of it? Does anyone agree they are morally corrupt?
 
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Ari

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There have been several hundred replies to a thread in which a member posed the following "moral dilemma":



Several members have decided that saving the dog is the "morally right" thing to do. Some choose to ignore the necessary presumptions that make this a true dilemma (listed below). Such members make excuses about not being able to swim, or their dogs can swim, or they are too old or weak to save a human, or the human will try to drown them while the dog wouldn't. Some members anthropomorphize the animal and say flat out; they love their pet like a member of the family and they don't care about any stranger! Other's put conditions on the stranger, i.e. assuming it is a grown man thus unworthy of effort, or asking "What if he was a murderer or other criminal?", or stating "He got himself in there, it's his own fault." Finally, some members state they have no duty to save the stranger, so they'll save their dog instead.

I consider their positions immoral and here is my analysis why:

The scenario presented above by the member is a variation of a moral dilemma problem. In order to answer the question posed effectively several premises must be assumed, otherwise there is no actual dilemma.

1. Neither party in the water can swim.
2. You can see and assess the danger to both parties from your position on the shore.
3. There is no other help available; YOU are IT.
4. You are a strong swimmer.
5. You are fully capable of saving either party.
6. You can only save one.

The moral dilemma is not really about the parties in the water. The actual dilemma concerns how one justifies a decision about which one to save.

On the one hand we are given a loved pet, an animal we may have raised from a puppy and whose love, loyalty, and support we can depend on for as long as it lives.

On the other hand we are presented with a stranger. Note the stranger is not identified by gender, age, race, or any characteristic other than it is a human being which can be derived from the use of the word “stranger.”

Now, every human being views the world egocentrically and creates a value hierarchy based on that foundation. This means we think of ourselves as the center of the universe with self-survival and self-fulfillment at the highest level of our value hierarchy. We then list all other things around us in direct relationship to our personal needs value for them.

IMO the people who pick the companion dog over a fellow human being do so because they are vested in valuing self above all else. They thus place an extremely high value on the things that personally satisfy their sense of “self.” They generally hold fellow human beings in low regard, valuing each individual in direct relationship to how much the individual serves to satisfy the pet-chooser's self-interests.

IMO the people who pick the stranger over their loved pet are aware of their own egocentric value system and recognize it is selfish and self-serving. They then try to moderate this belief in order to become more cooperative. They strive to value other human beings as equals in the universe, and consciously adjust their hierarchy of values to this methodology. Thus such people will naturally save a beloved human before any stranger, but then place a higher value on the life of a fellow human being above all other non-human things.

Therefore, IMO the person who chooses the “lifelong companion” dog is acting in absolute selfishness; saving what gives them happiness while ignoring the higher value to the world at large the stranger they let drown may have.

In doing so I believe they miss the point of the exercise entirely. IMO the point is that the stranger could very well be them or a loved one of theirs seeking the mercy of a pet lover some day. Imagine watching a person ignore you as they strive to save a pet…letting you drown instead. Consider that the "stranger" could be a child of six who just saw his first seashell; a girl of twelve having recently experienced her first romantic crush; a woman about to get married; a man expecting his first child…each of them a potential solver of world hunger or discover of cold fusion!

The moral dilemma I see in this problem is not the understandable love some pet owner's have for their pets. No, the dilemma is that those who argue for the beloved pet over the human being are unable to see the moral difference between saving their lifelong companion animal and saving the life of a fellow human being.

Can anyone explain this dilemma to them? It seems I am unable to despite best efforts.
If you can't explain I know I can't. lol All I know is I'd save the stranger. Seems like a no brain'er to me.
 

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In other words, what the OP is saying is that the dog has no intrinsic value on it's own.
 

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BTW, I have to laugh at the OP flouncing out of the original thread saying that was his final word on the topic only to start a new thread on exactly the same thing. Lol.
 

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There have been several hundred replies to a thread in which a member posed the following "moral dilemma":

Several members have decided that saving the dog is the "morally right" thing to do. Some choose to ignore the necessary presumptions that make this a true dilemma (listed below). Such members make excuses about not being able to swim, or their dogs can swim, or they are too old or weak to save a human, or the human will try to drown them while the dog wouldn't. Some members anthropomorphize the animal and say flat out; they love their pet like a member of the family and they don't care about any stranger! Other's put conditions on the stranger, i.e. assuming it is a grown man thus unworthy of effort, or asking "What if he was a murderer or other criminal?", or stating "He got himself in there, it's his own fault." Finally, some members state they have no duty to save the stranger, so they'll save their dog instead.

I consider their positions immoral and here is my analysis why:

The scenario presented above by the member is a variation of a moral dilemma problem. In order to answer the question posed several premises must be assumed, otherwise there is no actual dilemma.

1. Neither party in the water can swim.
2. You can see and assess the danger to both parties from your position on the shore.
3. There is no other help available; YOU are IT.
4. You are a strong swimmer.
5. You are fully capable of saving either party.
6. You can only save one.

The moral dilemma is not really about the parties in the water. The actual dilemma concerns how one justifies a decision about which one to save.

On the one hand we are given a loved pet, an animal we may have raised from a puppy and whose love, loyalty, and support we can depend on for as long as it lives.

On the other hand we are presented with a stranger. Note the stranger is not identified by gender, age, race, or any characteristic other than it is a human being which can be derived from the use of the word “stranger.”

Now, every human being views the world egocentrically and creates a value hierarchy based on that foundation. This means we think of ourselves as the center of the universe with self-survival and self-fulfillment at the highest level of our value hierarchy. We then list all other things around us in direct relationship to our personal needs value for them.

IMO the people who pick the companion dog over a fellow human being do so because they are vested in valuing self above all else. They thus place an extremely high value on the things that personally satisfy their sense of “self.” They generally hold fellow human beings in low regard, valuing each individual in direct relationship to how much the individual serves to satisfy the pet-chooser's self-interests.

IMO the people who pick the stranger over their loved pet are aware of their own egocentric value system and recognize it is selfish and self-serving. They then try to moderate this belief in order to become more cooperative. They strive to value other human beings as equals in the universe, and consciously adjust their hierarchy of values to this methodology. Thus such people will naturally save a beloved human before any stranger, but then place a higher value on the life of a fellow human being above all other non-human things.

Therefore, IMO the person who chooses the “lifelong companion” dog is acting in absolute selfishness; saving what gives them happiness while ignoring the higher value to the world at large the stranger they let drown may have.

In doing so I believe they miss the point of the exercise entirely. IMO the point is that the stranger could very well be them or a loved one of theirs seeking the mercy of a pet lover some day. Imagine watching a person ignore you as they strive to save a pet…letting you drown instead. Consider that the "stranger" could be a child of six who just saw his first seashell; a girl of twelve having recently experienced her first romantic crush; a woman about to get married; a man expecting his first child…each of them a potential solver of world hunger or discover of cold fusion!

The moral dilemma I see in this problem is not the understandable love some pet owner's have for their pets. No, the dilemma is that those who argue for the beloved pet over the human being are unable to see the moral difference between saving their lifelong companion animal and saving the life of a fellow human being.

Does anyone believe they have the moral right of it? Does anyone agree they are morally corrupt?
As I said in that thread, I would most likely save my dog. I think. After all, one can never know until actually faced with the real deal.

I don't believe the question was, "Who should you save?" or "Which would it be morally right to save?" If I recall correctly? The question was "Who would you save?

These dilemmas are always lose-lose.

There is nothing particularly sacred about human life. It is our own self-righteous belief that we are superior and deserve to live at all costs. And yet we have those who vehemently support ProChoice and/or vehemently support that position for others. *shrug*
 

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IMO the people who pick the companion dog over a fellow human being do so because they are vested in valuing self above all else. They thus place an extremely high value on the things that personally satisfy their sense of “self.” They generally hold fellow human beings in low regard, valuing each individual in direct relationship to how much the individual serves to satisfy the pet-chooser's self-interests.
I didn't know the original topic was one of morality. I thought it was about "instinctive valuation".

I do hold humans in low regard unless or until they prove otherwise. Most humans are jerks. Not that I feel they should die for this but the fact is that by saving my cat, I have picked a winner, someone I know to be worthwhile and whom I cherish.

A more appropriate question to try to evaluate morality, would be that if you saw a stranger drowning and there was an evident risk to yourself of losing your own life in the rescue process, would you take that risk and go to the aid of another person on general principles? Now, I expect most people will say sure but they'll be lying. Everybody likes the thought of being a hero but
actually being one, not so much.

Since we've gone this far, if you could save my cat from drowning, at the risk of losing your wallet and Iphone, would you?
 

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In other words, what the OP is saying is that the dog has no intrinsic value on it's own.
No. That is what YOU are saying my position is. I am stating that a human being has more intrinsic value than a beloved pet. Why? Simply that the pet serves your needs while the human being has the potential to serve ALL needs. Big difference.

BTW, I have to laugh at the OP flouncing out of the original thread saying that was his final word on the topic only to start a new thread on exactly the same thing. Lol.
LOL I was simply tired of dealing with the pack of dog lover/human haters in that thread. I wanted to have the real issue hashed out instead of hidden behind "I can't swim" or "the human would try to drown me" or even "No dog would make it hard to save like a human would." ;)
 
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Note the thread title saying that it's actually immoral to save a dog. I took a dog off the street a couple years back. Took him to the vet, boarded him, and ended up getting him adopted. According to the OP's reasoning, that was morally the wrong thing to do because I did not spend my money or time on a human instead.
 

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No. that is what YOU are saying my position is. I am stating that a human being has more intrinsic value than a beloved pet. Why? Simply that the pet serves your needs while the human being has the potential to serve ALL needs. Big difference.
No, you said the only reason to save a pet is because it makes you happy. That completely disregards any value that the animal life has on it's own. Let's not forget that you said a dog is just the same thing as a car.
 

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I didn't know the original topic was one of morality. I thought it was about "instinctive valuation".

I do hold humans in low regard unless or until they prove otherwise. Most humans are jerks. Not that I feel they should die for this but the fact is that by saving my cat, I have picked a winner, someone I know to be worthwhile and whom I cherish.

A more appropriate question to try to evaluate morality, would be that if you saw a stranger drowning and there was an evident risk to yourself of losing your own life in the rescue process, would you take that risk and go to the aid of another person on general principles? Now, I expect most people will say sure but they'll be lying. Everybody likes the thought of being a hero but
actually being one, not so much.

Since we've gone this far, if you could save my cat from drowning, at the risk of losing your wallet and Iphone, would you?
It's actually extremely risky to try to save a drowning person. A dog? Not so much. They don't have the in-born instinct to stand on your head when you're trying to pull them to shore.

As to your cat, damn the IPhone and wallet. Though I have to admit I'd be sneakin' up from behind and pullin' him in by his tail. ;)
 

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As I said in that thread, I would most likely save my dog. I think. After all, one can never know until actually faced with the real deal.

I don't believe the question was, "Who should you save?" or "Which would it be morally right to save?" If I recall correctly? The question was "Who would you save?

These dilemmas are always lose-lose.

There is nothing particularly sacred about human life. It is our own self-righteous belief that we are superior and deserve to live at all costs. And yet we have those who vehemently support ProChoice and/or vehemently support that position for others. *shrug*
No, the questions was posted above. Your companion dog and a stranger are drowning... chose.

So you are saying that your dog is more important than any stranger? You do see that stranger could be any gender, race, sex, age, etc...but regardless YOUR dog has more value. Interesting.

Your response is that there is nothing sacred about human life. I'm curious, do you have any children or if not, any close family (aside form your dog that is)?
 
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It's actually extremely risky to try to save a drowning person. A dog? Not so much. They don't have the in-born instinct to stand on your head when you're trying to pull them to shore.

As to your cat, damn the IPhone and wallet. Though I have to admit I'd be sneakin' up from behind and pullin' him in by his tail. ;)
imgres.jpeg

...and the battery survived as well.
 

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I didn't know the original topic was one of morality. I thought it was about "instinctive valuation".

I do hold humans in low regard unless or until they prove otherwise. Most humans are jerks. Not that I feel they should die for this but the fact is that by saving my cat, I have picked a winner, someone I know to be worthwhile and whom I cherish.

A more appropriate question to try to evaluate morality, would be that if you saw a stranger drowning and there was an evident risk to yourself of losing your own life in the rescue process, would you take that risk and go to the aid of another person on general principles? Now, I expect most people will say sure but they'll be lying. Everybody likes the thought of being a hero but
actually being one, not so much.

Since we've gone this far, if you could save my cat from drowning, at the risk of losing your wallet and Iphone, would you?
Hmmm an even tougher question. Your neighbor's drowning and you've dropped your iPhone in the water. Which do you save?
 

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I didn't know the original topic was one of morality. I thought it was about "instinctive valuation".

I do hold humans in low regard unless or until they prove otherwise. Most humans are jerks. Not that I feel they should die for this but the fact is that by saving my cat, I have picked a winner, someone I know to be worthwhile and whom I cherish.

A more appropriate question to try to evaluate morality, would be that if you saw a stranger drowning and there was an evident risk to yourself of losing your own life in the rescue process, would you take that risk and go to the aid of another person on general principles? Now, I expect most people will say sure but they'll be lying. Everybody likes the thought of being a hero but
actually being one, not so much.

Since we've gone this far, if you could save my cat from drowning, at the risk of losing your wallet and Iphone, would you?
Nice try. ;)

I find your sense of humor entertaining, now that I know it for what it is. "Don't take things so seriously" was how you explained it to me once I believe. :)

Hmmm...I'd save your cat, because I saw the pictures in another thread and love the choice of name. Beautiful animal. Besides I can get another wallet and Iphone easily. ;)
 

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No, the questions was posted above. Your companion dog and a stranger are drowning... chose.

So you ar saying that your dog is more important than an stranger? You do see that stranger could be any gender, race, sex, age, etc...but regardless YOUR dog has more value. Interesting.

Your response is that there is nothing sacred about human life. I'm curious, do you have any children or if not, any close family (aside form your dog that is)?
There is nothing sacred about human life. We are just another life form. We have instincts to save ourselves and our species...not from any empirical data but from our genetic programming. (In my opinion, of course.) I have no children.

If it were a loved one or my dog, I would pick my loved one. But that's a different question.

You cannot ask the question, expect an answer, and then tell the answerer they're wrong. ;)
 

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Nice try. ;)

I find your sense of humor entertaining, now that I know it for what it is. "Don't take things so seriously" was how you explained it to me once I believe. :)

Hmmm...I'd save your cat, because I saw the pictures in another thread and love the choice of name. Beautiful animal. Besides I can get another wallet and Iphone easily. ;)
This is an interesting answer. According to you in that other thread, the cat is exactly the same thing as the iPhone and the wallet.
 

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Hmmm an even tougher question. Your neighbor's drowning and you've dropped your iPhone in the water. Which do you save?
Even more frightening is when your neighbor asks you to save their Iphone from drowning.

Nice try. ;)

I find your sense of humor entertaining, now that I know it for what it is. "Don't take things so seriously" was how you explained it to me once I believe. :)

Hmmm...I'd save your cat, because I saw the pictures in another thread and love the choice of name. Beautiful animal. Besides I can get another wallet and Iphone easily. ;)
Yes, thank you. I'm glad you recognize these as purely philosophical discussions which pretty much leave reality intact. In the meantime, I've told the cats that swimming is out and they'll just have to settle for catnip and dangly toys for their exercise program.
 

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As I said in that thread, I would most likely save my dog. I think. After all, one can never know until actually faced with the real deal.

I don't believe the question was, "Who should you save?" or "Which would it be morally right to save?" If I recall correctly? The question was "Who would you save?

These dilemmas are always lose-lose.

There is nothing particularly sacred about human life. It is our own self-righteous belief that we are superior and deserve to live at all costs. And yet we have those who vehemently support ProChoice and/or vehemently support that position for others. *shrug*
You changed my mind. I think I would save the stranger, but you never know until it really happens.
 

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There is nothing sacred about human life. We are just another life form. We have instincts to save ourselves and our species...not from any empirical data but from our genetic programming. (In my opinion, of course.) I have no children.

If it were a loved one or my dog, I would pick my loved one. But that's a different question.

You cannot ask the question, expect an answer, and then tell the answerer they're wrong. ;)
LOL, I did not ask you about non-animal loved ones in order to ask if YOU would chose them over a pet. Would you want ME to pick your loved one over my pet if they were both drowning? Your brother, your sister, your mother or father, niece, nephew, uncle, best freind...I know NONE of these people...

Would you honestly prefer I saved my pet...or YOUR loved one?
 

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LOL, I did not ask you about non-animal loved ones in order to ask if YOU would chose them over a pet. Would you want ME to pick your loved one over my pet if they were both drowning? Your brother, your sister, your mother or father, niece, nephew, uncle, best freind...I know NONE of these people...

Would you honestly prefer I saved my pet...or YOUR loved one?
Now you've changed the question. These are two absolutely COMPLETELY different questions.
 

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This is an interesting answer. According to you in that other thread, the cat is exactly the same thing as the iPhone and the wallet.
Again, that was YOUR interpretation. What I was saying was that many people anthropomorphize property and used the example of cars, motorbikes and boats...This is a fact. I dare say a biker who has invested large sums of money on a classic Harley he has possessed since he was 16 years old might well try saving it over a drowning dog or person. Do you doubt that?

I am aware that a dog, or cat, or other pet is a living creature capable of giving and receiving love. I would always save it before "inanimate objects" as well. But comparing it in value to a human being? Sorry, no contest.
 
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There is nothing sacred about human life.
I agree that there is nothing intrinsically better about human life. But I do believe that society functions better when we value human life more than animal life in general, and that if we want a better society a random person's life should be given more value than a dog.
 

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I agree that there is nothing intrinsically better about human life. But I do believe that society functions better when we value human life more than animal life in general, and that if we want a better society a random person's life should be given more value than a dog.
It would be that way for me -- if it were a random dog, too.

Who would YOU save? A random person or your drug-addicted sister whom you loved very much?
 

Captain Adverse

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Yes, thank you. I'm glad you recognize these as purely philosophical discussions which pretty much leave reality intact. In the meantime, I've told the cats that swimming is out and they'll just have to settle for catnip and dangly toys for their exercise program.
Good plan, since they clearly run the risk of NOT being saved by some people who prefer wallets and Iphones. ;)
 

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It would be that way for me -- if it were a random dog, too.

Who would YOU save? A random person or your drug-addicted sister whom you loved very much?
Probably my sister. But it would be wrong, or at the very least less moral than saving the random person, in terms of what's better for society overall.
 
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