Dr. Neuter, DVM

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Remember when Catholics used to be mocked for having so many holy days? That erstwhile tradition has become thoroughly secularized, as evidenced by today, which is National Feral Cat Day. The SF Chronicle has a story on so-called Dr. Neuter, a vet who has "personally neutered no fewer than 100,000 cats and dogs, and will no doubt be among the first humans charged with crimes against mammality when our housepets finally take over the planet.

Reading this story put me in mind of Science Correspondent Ron Bailey's great interview with animal rights activist and esteemed philosopher Peter Singer. That's online here.

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  1. How do you promote both Darwinism and egalitarianism at the same time? They are mutually exclusive. If I make a six-figure income, it’s because I am capable of doing it, and therefore am entitled to do it. I will only do so so that I may live better than someone making $30,000; otherwise, why kill yourself? Conversely, someone making $20,000 does not have the skills to make that extra $10k, so why should I give him that from my “excess” income? That only encourages survival of the weakest and endangers the production of excellence from the strongest.

    Singer is clearly a very confused man to promote two diametrically opposed paradigms.

  2. Is it racist if you only eat white meat?

  3. “A lot of people give to the blood bank, but they don’t go out wearing the little badges that say, “I gave to the blood bank today.” Some people do, but a lot of them don’t. So it’s not clear who’s going to know about altruistic behavior or how they’re going to get rewarded for”

    I’m surprised Bailey let this go by: the reward is clearly the pleasure they derive from the act itself. The selective pressures acting on a group may be very different from intra-group selective pressures, and there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that altruistic behavior is selected for in large organized populations. Ergo, we’re biologically programmed to receive emotional rewards for self-sacrifice.

    That we always act to maximize our own internal states is tautologically true.

  4. I think Singer is a loon, but I am kinda glad he is out there asking questions.

    He is … provoking, I guess is a good word.

  5. Whenever I see the word “feral” it reminds me of Emil Minty, who plays the kid with the metal boomerang in “The Road Warrior”…the character is credited as “The Feral Kid”

  6. How nice. Feral cats get pro bono neutering and spaying from vets, who bankroll their altruism via their paying customers. Kinda like human health care.

    Sorry, I’m just pissed about my latest vet visit. Deballing and a battery of vaccines for our new tomcat ran about $200. All this from a vet who, right before he points me to the front to pay my bill, is regaling me with his weekend gambling stories – how the casino bled him dry in the morning, how he took out a marker, how he won enough in the next hour to pay the marker off, how he walked out the door in the afternoon with five large he didn’t have when he walked in.

  7. um, Tom, um…

    nevermind…

    🙂

    drf

  8. 51 seconds per castration? It doesn’t take me that long to pump up my pellet gun eight strokes.

    Peter Singer is a master magician. Others do it with slight of hand, he does it with slight of words. After reading his “Writings on an Ethical Life” I became convinced I’m both a racist and a creationist. That or give up meat.

  9. Well, if the price of eating meat is being a racist and a creationist in Singer’s eyes, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

  10. If, as N asserts, maximizing our internal states (pleasure, happiness, perceived or believed well-being) is tautologically true, then it tells us absolutely nothing about how people behave.

    I enjoyed Bailey’s interview with Singer, but I regret he didn’t try to pin Singer down on the one point he’s managed so far to avoid answering; namely, whether or not he is an ethical noncognativist, as I believe he is.

    This may seem like so much philosophical hair splitting to many Reason readers, but if Singer believes that ethical claims are not, in principal, the sorts of things that can be true or false but are merely expressions of the speaker’s emotional feelings about how we do or should behave, then many of Singer’s philosophically naive disciples in the animal rights movement are being influenced by what amounts to a sort of intellectual fraud. *They* certainly believe that concepts such as right and wrong, or good and bad are more substantive than the purely subjective expressions of persons’ feelings and desires. If they didn’t, they’d recognize that a completely adequate refutation to their beliefs would be “Ummmmmm, juicy steak!”

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