Animal suffering and the AFE

-As far as I can tell, we’re the first generation to try to base an Argument from Evil on animal pain. We’re also the first to have achieved a so high level of material comfort while losing touch with the domain in which animals actually live, which opens the possibility that our AFE from animal suffering is a cri de cœur of “why couldn’t God make animals more cosmopolitan?” Tribal life is lost by making tribesman more bourgeois and scientific, and in fact all primitive forms of life are lost when they become more advanced. The advance comes with a (probably) net-net advance in comfort and freedom from pain, but no one assumes that nothing valuable gets lost in the advance.

-Animal suffering does have some value as a Christian theological argument since it rules out some accounts of the fall. We certainly can’t say that the fall was the cause of all death and pain, but we’re also not the first generation to give this argument since all the theologians in the Aristotelian tradition gave it. The fall is an account of human suffering and it’s not clear whether or how we could parlay it into an account of animal suffering.

-Relieving animal suffering seems like a properly human accident, like risibility. Only humans laugh because, say, only they can be surprised by the absurd (animals can’t see it and the gods can’t be surprised). In the same way, only we can eliminate animal suffering since we’re the only rational creatures with some moral debt to all (higher) sentient beings (animals can’t reason out relief from their sufferings, and the gods have no obligations to them).

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