RE: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 18:35:31 MST

There are many experts on animal sentience, and it is pretty clear that,
yeah, cows have qualia.... I believe that roughly -- oh -- 43.926% as much
as I believe that other humans do...

IMO, it seems pretty clear that the positive qualia we get by eating steak
etc. don't counterbalance the negative qualia the cows get by being

(FYI, I don't eat beef or pork, but I eat a lot of seafood and some poultry.
FWIW, my guess is that chickens and fish have weak qualia, and crabs have no
more than bugs, which is still a little more than plants, which is still
more than rocks, which is still more than electrons.... But I'm an animist
of sorts, as I've noted on this list before ;-)

-- Ben G

> > So is it immoral to slaughter cows for food? They
> > obviously "feel like
> > something" when they're slaughtered.
> This depends on whether cows experience what we call
> qualia, whatever that is, and I personally have no
> idea. Maybe experts on animal sentience do (if there
> are any).
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