View Full Version : Does Peter Singer endorse sex with animals and terminating babies?
Kel Varnsen - Latex Division
01-06-2005, 02:49 AM
The prestigious Princeton "ethicist" Peter Singer, who endorses sex with animals and killing children with birth defects, says "when it comes to foreign aid, America is the most stingy nation on Earth."
I know Dr. Singer has some pretty strong ideas (that are mostly outside the mainstream) about animals and animal rights, but does he really endorse people having sex with animals? Or is Ann Coulter incorrect?
Also, I believe he does support the right of parents (and the state?) to terminate a baby after birth due to defects. Can anybody confirm this?
Kel Varnsen - Latex Division
01-06-2005, 03:15 AM
I found this says he does support terminating babies in some cases:
Suppose, for example, that parents knew in advance of a baby's birth that it would be born without arms and legs. In such cases, Singer supports the parents' right to terminate this life. His view becomes more controversial, however, when he argues that the same principle applies up to 28 days after birth. In the case of lives that would be irredeemably difficult and painful, Singer endorses not simply euthanasia of the unborn, but infanticide. What, asks Singer, is the difference between a seriously impaired fetus and a newborn? The mere fact that the latter is alive outside of the womb is trivial for him, since in either case this being has a painful life ahead of it that is not worth living.
Amid the overheated attacks on Singer, it is important to highlight what he is not saying: he does not advocate that the State begin to abort or kill any and all disabled fetuses or newborns; rather, parents, together with their physicians, should have the right to decide whether the infant's life will be so miserable that it would be inhumane to prolong it. Singer clearly is not offering carte blanch on killing babies: He would establish very strict conditions on permissible instances of infanticide, but these conditions might owe more to the effects of infanticide on others than to any intrinsic wrongness of killing an infant
Nothing about humans and animals having sex though.
01-06-2005, 03:19 AM
It sounds like absolute garbage for two reasons, with the first being because of who has said it, and the second being because what I have read of Peter Singer's does involve discussion of both these topics, but anyone with a shred of intelligence would not draw the same conclusions Coulter has.
The use of the word "endorse" has very different connotations to the points I think Singer was trying to make.
01-06-2005, 04:07 AM
Peter Singer is a very misunderstood philosopher. He merely points out that our standards towards such things as beastiality and infantcide are, at best, grossly inconsistant and illogical and anthropocentric.
His main points is that our ethical practises are more governed by gut feeling that any real concern over the overall welfare of the people involved.
01-06-2005, 04:26 AM
In my experience, almost anything you hear about Peter Singer is going to be hugely exaggerated, though sometimes not without a chewy nougatty center of truth. Like TastesLikeBurning and Shalmanese said.
01-06-2005, 04:42 AM
The quote in the OP contains something of an ad hominem argument (maybe it's something else also). Whatever Peter Singer believes on some hot-button issue makes no difference to the validity of an unrelated statement, regardless of whether it's fact or opinion. In this quote, a claim about an issue of fact is attributed to Singer, so the only thing that matters is whether the statement is true -- whether America's foreign aid contributions are really the world's lowest. (Ideally, it should be specified how the contributions are to be compared -- is it absolute contributions in dollars, or is it relative to population or GDP? Maybe this is mentioned in the original source, though.)
Compare the quote in the OP with these:
"In 1948, Josef Stalin, who was a Communist and a dictator responsible for many deaths, claimed that the Soviet Union was the world's largest country."
And one with irony quotes: "Vincent van Gogh, the mentally ill Dutch "painter" who cut off part of his ear and later committed suicide, was influenced by the impressionists."
Basically, the OP paints Singer as liberal scum, then provides a quote that is unrelated to his stance on animal rights or euthanasia. Readers are expected to assume he is wrong because of the views he supposedly holds, not because of the factual accuracy of the statement. (I read Practical Ethics in a first-year course, but I don't remember much about his standpoint on either of those issues, and I don't think the issue of bestiality was discussed in that book.)
01-06-2005, 05:22 AM
I misread the name in the thread title as Pete Seeger. Boy did that ever conjure up some strange images!
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