Please view the video first! These are my observations on the video entitled “Are Humans More Valuable Than Animals?”. I am not a philosopher so my points are based based on common sense. Mr Prager starts by discussing how people with secular values value the worth of human beings compared to people with Judeo-Christian values.
What about raising the value of animals?
Note, he does not discuss how these beliefs affect the worth of animals. The point that I’m making right at the beginning is that Mr Prager could be discussing how secular beliefs might elevate the worth of animals to that of humans so that they are at the same or similar level. He doesn’t do that, I stress, he simply argues that people with secular i.e. non-religious values lower the worth of humans which allows people to abuse other people and he describes how this has happened in human history. His viewpoint is shortsighted, unenlightened and myopic.
He argues that people with secular views don’t believe that humans have souls whereas those with Christian views believe that people do have souls. And therefore people are more valuable. In fact he says that people with Christian views believe that people have infinite value whereas people with secular views regard humans as a bunch of atoms. In other words, they believe that the value of humans is no more than the value of the matter of which they are composed. Comment: I think this is completely incorrect. People with secular views can believe that people have souls and they also can believe that animals have souls. Why does secularism stop people believing in souls? I don’t see the connection between a rejection of religion and a concomitant rejection of the idea of souls in people and animals. Also atoms and matter can be very valuable!
I agree that the rejection of a Judeo-Christian belief results in people regarding humans as no more important than a dog. I’m not saying that people who are non-religious automatically believe that humans are the same value as dogs. They might or they are more likely to believe that but not all will feel that way. Mr Prager is generalising which undermined his argument.
School kids would save a dog over a person
Mr Prager says that the denial that people are made in God’s image results in schoolchildren saying that they would rather save a drowning dog than a drowning person. They are placing the value of a dog over that of a person. It seems to me that the children are sensible. You could value non-human animals and humans by asking how they contribute to the world or how they detract from the world. If you based their value on this criteria you would probably come to the conclusion that humans are less valuable because they do more damage to the world than for example dogs. No living being does more damage to the world than humans. Perhaps students value animals more highly than humans because animals treat them better. Animals are more reliable than humans, they might think. Are these not good reasons to value an animal over a human? They have nothing to do with secularism or religion. They are practical points. Mr Prager seems to be placing the entire weight of his argument upon the issue as to whether a person is religious or non-religious. That appears to be wrong to me.
Decisions made on how you feel
What is wrong in making a decision about how you feel? Our gut feelings are valuable and reliable. If you feel dogs are better than humans the feelings are based upon experiences and those experiences are first hand and very important. The way a person and the dog behaves allows you to gauge the value of that creature. And how they behave towards you generates feelings which then guide you on how you interact with them and decide their value.
Holocaust on your plate
“Holocaust on your plate” is a reference to PETA’s attitude towards animals in which they say that cooking a chicken is the same as the Holocaust. It is an extreme viewpoint and statement. However, I support PETA because they have to make extreme statements and put out these extreme viewpoints in order to catch the attention of people who are deeply entrenched in a way of life which is detrimental to the planet and to animal welfare far too often.
Mr Prager seems to be mocking the woman who shouts out to the firefighters that her three babies are in her burning house. She is referring to her three cats. The firefighter rescues them thinking they are babies. Mr Prager, judging by the tone of his voice, finds this extraordinary. It is not extraordinary. A lot of people treat their domestic cat companions as members of their family. Many single people live with cat companions or dogs. They are their family and there’s no doubt that they have equal rights to the person with whom they live. And this is correct, right and proper.
Animal testing and rights
Like myself, many people and a growing number of people agree with PETA’s viewpoint about animal testing. Mr Prager once again denigrates the viewpoints of people who detest animal testing. This is a complex issue. One major point to make is that the result of animal testing cannot always be translated accurately to human treatments. A second point worth making is that the animals are often treated cruelly. They are often euthanised after they’ve been abused and used. There are alternatives nowadays. I don’t think you have to be religious or non-religious to see the ill treatment of animals in cold, heartless laboratories as being objectionable. There is a need to find alternatives. The reason that animal testing subsists is because it is commercially viable and cheaper than using alternatives. It’s a commercial decision. Abuse of animals for commercial reasons is unethical no matter whether you’re religious or non-