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Atheistic moral condemnation of bestiality?

As an atheist, do you believe bestiality (sex with non-human animals) is morally wrong? Please explain why or why not.

Posted: August 6th 2011

flagellant www

Most civilizations have laws governing sexual relations between humans and some make bestiality either a crime or a mental health issue. This is as it should be – it’s all a matter of informed consent: parties to an act have to consent, be of sound mind, and be eligible by virtue of their age to give consent. Having wondered how one could be certain of getting this right with respect to sex with animals, I propose that we restrict the activity to groups where it is certain that the animal is in a position to give unfettered and informed consent.

I would therefore exclude domestic animals from blanket approval and limit the practice to a very restricted group of creatures, including fully grown bears, lions, tigers, crocodiles and alligators because I believe that these animals would have a very well-developed ability to express their lack of consent should they wish to express it.

Posted: August 14th 2011

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Eric_PK

Yes, I do think it is wrong.

Sex is permissible only when the other participant can give informed consent.

Posted: August 7th 2011

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Dave Hitt www

We can debate reasons back and forth, getting into an intellectual debate and discussion it in detail, but there is a much simpler way to explain it.

It’s just gross. Ewwwww. (Not Ewe, Ewwwww) It’s disgusting. No more explanation is necessary.

Posted: August 7th 2011

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Tauriq Moosa www

I’m going to be lazy and post a reply from an article I wrote:

Consider… incest cases again: It is a strange thing. Where do we draw the line? It seems the less closely genetically-related we get, the more we accept sexual interactions. That is, many people are horrified by brother-sister incest or father-daughter* incest, but are less troubled by third-cousins, twice-removed relationships.

But even this is not true! We genetically leap away, since this appears to combat incest, but if we don’t stop leaping, we land up ‘heavily petting’ a completely different species. Then we are barred because of bestiality.

What is so repugnant about engaging sexually with another animal? Many find it “unnatural” or “just wrong”, much like incest. Yet such reasons are unsound when unpacked. We know that natural does not mean “good”, since cancers and earthquakes would have to become, by definition, good things.

According to Peter Singer in a now famous essay, “Heavy Petting”, the major hurdle to overcome is not that they are animals but the anthropocentric idea that we are not. The main reason to oppose certain acts of bestiality, and not bestiality as a whole, is the same reasons to oppose sex with a young child or a cognitively-impaired individual: We are uncertain about the damage, whether they themselves want it, and so on. The reasons apply across the species-range, not because the goat or dog is just another species. I cannot think of reasons to oppose cases of bestiality where, as far as someone judges, the non-human does enjoy it (as Singer highlights, dogs appear to willingly engage in sexual interactions by grinding against people’s legs, for example).

Posted: August 7th 2011

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SmartLX www

I do think that, for roughly the same reasons as I think sex with young children is wrong. It’s physically harmful and dangerous, and the animal is unable to give informed consent. It’s an entirely selfish act on the part of the adult human participant, and it requires victims who will suffer one way or another.

Posted: August 7th 2011

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