Monday, January 17, 2011

The Non-Christian Creed

Can't follow my Christian worldview? Here is a very bright man's attempt to follow a non-christian worldview. Borrowed from a friend:

Here is a satirical poem on modern, humanist/naturalist thinking written by Steve Turner, an English journalist.  This poem called, "Creed" is quoted in it’s entirety in Ravi Zacharais’ book, Can Man Live Without God?  I included the full text of it here.  Enjoy...
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.
We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy is OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.
We believe that everything is getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.
We believe there's something in
horoscopes, UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man
just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher
although we think His good morals were bad.
We believe that all religions are basically the same--
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.
We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.
We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.
We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.
We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.
We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.

"Chance" a post-script
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

For further mental stimulation and spiritual reflection I included three quotes from Ravi Zacharias.  These are listed on the website:
"There can be no reproach to pain unless we assume human dignity, there is no reason for restraints on pleasure unless we assume human worth, there is no legitimacy to monotony unless we assume a greater purpose to life, there is no purpose to life unless we assume design, death has no significance unless we seek what is everlasting."
— Ravi Zacharias
"I thank the Lord that, even though things were so wrong in my life here, I finally was brought to the realization of what all those struggles were about. There are some wonderful things from your painful past, things with a beauty you may not have realized at the time."
— Ravi Zacharias (Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows)
"Capturing the beauty of the conversion of the water into wine, the poet Alexander Pope said, "The conscious water saw its Master and blushed." That sublime description could be reworked to explain each one of these miracles. Was it any different in principle for a broken body to mend at the command of its Maker? Was it far-fetched for the Creator of the universe, who fashioned matter out of nothing, to multiply bread for the crowd? Was it not within the power of the One who called all the molecules into existence to interlock them that they might bear His footsteps?"
— Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods The Absolute Claims Of The Christian Message)

Just some more to think about.

Veganism: the moral thing to do?

People fascinate me. How they think. How they make decisions. It all intrigues me.

So I read blogs, news articles, and books. Just watching what people say and wondering why they say it.

In the world of "Animal Rights, Veganism, etc." these things can get quite interesting.

I have a Facebook "Friend" that recently was defending veganism by saying, "It is an individual's choice, you can choose what you want, but for me, veganism is the only morally and ethically reasonable choice." That statement seems fine until you think about it.

If veganism is a moral choice then isn't there one answer that would be proper for everyone? Isn't morality about doing what is right in the eyes of God? How could eating meat be morally right for one person and wrong for the next in the eyes of God. Does He play favorites? If my killing and eating one of the beautiful animals He created is morally o.k. then why not for you? The great Philosopher and thinker C.S. Lewis described morality like this....

The basic problem is that if we get to chose our morality then we each are our own God. If we are all gods then there is no Singular God. How sad is that?

Ethics then is what we should do based on morality. If we cannot come up with a basic morality why even worry about ethics? If we get to choose our own morality we surely get to do whatever we want.

So, as I see it, veganism is not an individual moral ethical choice. When it is pushed forward by statements that link it to morality it now becomes a religious movement that needs to questioned. What is the god that is being worshiped by veganism?

I recently was told by Wayne Pacelle, head of HSUS (the nation's leading animal rights organization), that animal agriculture is a "noble profession". At the same time he stated that his organization was working to "fundementally change people's relationship to animals" and actively promotes veganism. In my humble opinion there is only one person who can "fundamentally change" man's relationship to animals. That would be the God that created both. The God of Christianity. Until He changes that relationship, man has a stewardship responsibility toward the animals. To claim that we can change that relationship ourselves is to lift ourselves up.

 Now how does this idea of a noble profession work?

 If animal agriculture is a noble profession why does it need to be funementally changed. If fundemental change is needed then someone has been seriously mistaken for a very long time. That doesn't sound like a "noble" situation. That sounds like someone saying you have been wrong and I intend to correct you because my morality trumps yours.

That doesn't sound like veganism being a moral choice we each make. That sounds like a new morality stomping on the old. If you want to promote veganism on the strength of your morals then you need to realise you are saying to everyone else that they are immoral. You are not saying they are "noble".

Here is a link to a blog that explains, "Why I am a vegan". I would ask you to use your high school literature training as you read this article and ask yourself some questions. What is the author's view of non-vegan's? What is the author's view of economics? What is the author's view of people that think differently? What is the author's view of the world? You get the idea.

Just more to think about.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Power of a Simple Thing

It is interesting to me to see the power of a simple thing.

Consider the proposed rules for the care of swine being considered by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Specifically, 901:12-8-02 C2 which says that in outside housing "wallows are allowed for thermo-regulating". I am on the subcommittee that passed this language on to the full board so I have to take some of the credit/blame for this wording.

Let's think about this for a minute. The Care Board is in effect saying, "O.K. Mr. farmer person, if you house your pigs outside you may allow them to dig a hog wallow to cool themselves in the summer or warm themselves in the winter." Like any farmer person could stop a hog from doing that!

But wait. A farmer person can stop a hog from digging a wallow.

It is called a cement truck and a fence (concrete lot).

Now a whole chain of events has just started. Along with the concrete lot comes a building for shelter and something to provide water. Then some form of bedding will be needed to keep the animal comfortable. With the bedding comes a manure spreader and lice and mange. Bedding and manure spreaders mean only one thing to a farmer, work. So the building gets fancier and and more expensive with the addition of slotted floors, cooling fans, heaters, misters, etc.. Would you be surprised to learn farmers are always looking for an easier way?

Somewhere along the way the farmer realises that the pigs are healthier in these buildings. All the nasty recurring diseases that live in hog wallows have disappeared and the medicine bill has gone way down. So the farmer person says to himself, "You know what? I don't miss those hog wallows and all the work and sickness."

Here is a short video to illustrate what the farmer figured out:

 Because the buildings are expensive they have to be operated to capacity to generate income to pay for the building. Since the building likely required debt to finance it, the banker wants to know that this income is secure. So the farmer contracts with suppliers and end users to create a stable economic flow. Having created a stable economic flow (reduced risk) the farmer pretty soon figures out that if he wants to make some additional income for the family to have nice things he simply needs to build more barns.

See how this one simple thing, a hog wallow, has the power to turn an industry? If the Care Board were to ban the hog wallow, a fairly straight line exists to where the industry is today. Pigs inside, cared for by farmers, on contract to end users, in ever larger organizational structures.

If you allow hog wallows, will the industry start housing pigs outside again?

Something to think about.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I can't treat a dog like that!

My daughter got a dog this summer. That is nothing terribly important in itself. A farm girl graduates from college, moves into a house with a big fenced-in back yard in the country on a state highway, and gets a dog. No news in this story yet.

The dog is a very friendly, playful, blue tic pointer kind of mix that loves to ride in cars/trucks. The downside has been that the dog can jump out of the fenced in backyard. So Dad (that is me) built a pen with higher fences and the dog jumped out of that. So, to keep the dog and the driving public on the state highway safe we were forced to tie the dog to a chain while my daughter was at work. We didn't like it. The dog didn't like it. And apparently, the dog warden didn't like it.

You see the dog pulled his tie-out stake out of the ground, so we had to tie him to the only thing handy that he couldn't pull, a tree. It all worked pretty well while we searched for an affordable pen solution for the jumpy dog, until it rained. That is when the dog warden leapt into action. Apparently, a tree, even a big tree, isn't proper shelter for a dog in a 1/4" rain shower in the late summer. To be fair to the warden, he just gave my daughter a warning, telling her the dog needed a dog house but the point was made. In the eyes of the State of Ohio a dog can not be left outside in the rain. That would be cruel. So the dog now has a house that it won't go in, sitting next to a large tree that can't be moved. We have since fashioned a pen in the garage that has worked very nicely to keep the dog out of the rain, sun, fresh air, local traffic, and the view of he warden. Everyone is happy, accept maybe the dog.

None of this story has any value until you combine it with this piece of information from the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board recommended standards for swine (901:12-8-02 C) which says that all a pig needs for proper outdoor housing is: a tree, a wallow, and some bedding. You don't see the irony yet?

Animal rights activist argue (and consumer surveys agree) that farm animals should be cared for the same as pets. So why is it wrong to have a dog outside in the fresh air and sunshine and rain, but perfectly fine to turn a pig out with just a tree, a mud hole, and some bedding? Or to say it another way, "If the humane thing to do is bring my dog inside where he can't run and jump and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and rain. Then why shouldn't I be required to bring my pigs inside. Even though bringing them in denies them the ability to do what pigs do, lie in the mud, enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and rain?"

As a pig farmer I have done just what the animal rights activists seem to be saying, " I treat my pigs very much like pets." They are inside where they are safe and cared for and not exposed to the harshness of the outdoors. There are certain tradeoffs made to do this but the net result is a very well cared for pig.

The tradeoff that seems to bother people is that, inside, the pig may be housed in an individual pen that prevents it from turning around. The justification for this goes back to the nature of the pig. Just as dogs will establish a "pack" when first mixed together, pigs will fight to establish a social order. These fights can get quite rough and dangerous to the animals and there caretakers. So the solution that developed was to confine the animals individually and stop the possiblity of a fight. This would be the equivilent of not housing two dogs in the same room if you know they will fight. It actually is common sense.

Likewise, the pig is prevented from turning around for the very practical reason that it prevents the pig from filling its eating area with manure. Isn't it reasonable to expect that an animal have a clean place to eat from? I don't feed my dog in a filthy dish. Do you? So the whole arrangement is arrived at by reasonable people making trade offs for the best interest of the pig and the caretakers. I admit it is offensive to our sense of how things ought to be at first but when understood it becomes a necessary trade off. We are not offended by restricting our pets natural abilities for their own good or our convenience. Should farm animals be treated any worse?

It is something to think about.