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ANIMAL RIGHTS AND THEORIES OF ORIGINS: A PLEA FOR UNITY

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

A useful philosophical case against vivisection influential with the general public rests on the following three premises: (1) animals have interests as conscious beings; (2) it is unethical to cause pain and suffering to conscious beings for trivial reasons; and (3) animal models cannot be extrapolated to human beings, so vivisection is a trivial reason.

Darwinian arguments have been used to back up each of the three premises above, and, furthermore it has been asserted by animal liberationists that those who do not hold to the evolutionary paradigm are more likely to support vivisection. Here, we present arguments that show why a belief in Darwinism (or in evolution generally) neither strengthens nor weakens the three anti-vivisectionist premises above. We also argue that there is no evidence to suggest that Darwinists are any less (or more) likely to support vivisection than those who hold views on biological origin that are further from the scientific mainstream.

By leaving out arguments on origins, we hope that Darwinists, non-Darwinist evolutionists and creationists of all types can work together to make the world a better place for non-human animals.

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