The Asteroid Argument

 

An enemy that tortures millions of creatures per year

An enemy that might prevent ending all the torture

The former post was dedicated to activists passively wishing an asteroid would wipe out the earth, while doing nothing active so that their wishes might come true.
Of course we don’t mean it in a literal sense, as in actively directing asteroids towards earth, but metaphorically, as in actively looking for viable ways to stop the suffering. Ideas like these for example.
But there is an active aspect even in the case of asteroids.

As we wrote in the former post, unfortunately the chances for an asteroid hit of the sort to have annihilation potential, are very low according to current data. For this reason we haven’t written about this option in our practical documents. But before we get to the operative angle, some basic background is required.

A methodical sky mapping for possible near earth objects was started in 1998, but since it is not done yet (currently it is estimated that about 90% of over one kilometer in diameter asteroids, which is considered by scientists as the minimum size for a potential global effect, are mapped) there is a chance that out of the unmapped asteroids out there (currently some of the 10% left are not observable because of areas blinded by the sun) some are relevant for annihilation and might at some point collide with earth’s orbit. And although none of the currently mapped over kilometer asteroids seem to be on earth’s course in the visible future, asteroids’ orbits can change, mainly by random collisions or planet gravity, and even heat from the sun that can knock them into a different course.
Still, asteroids’ orbits are relatively stable and easier to monitor, but apart from them there are comets, which are much more unexpected. They origin from farther regions of the solar system, and are harder to detect and predict, since they don’t become bright enough to observe, until they are about six months away from hitting earth. Also, just as in asteroids, factors like collisions, planetary gravity and the sun’s energy play a role (the sun role is even stronger in their case since they contain a lot of ice which is released as steam that can change their orbit), all of these factors make comets even less expected and give less time for humanity to respond.
Comets are also potentially more dangerous than asteroids of the same mass because typically they are twice as fast and the collision effect goes up as the square of the velocity. In other words a comet smaller than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) across holds the potential for a sufficient energy burst to initiate a global climate disaster.

The odds of an asteroid or a comet strike causing the desired effect are very small, but the potential consequences of such an event are so great that it makes sense to take the chance seriously. Like in the case of volcanoes (and even the climatic options we have briefly covered), it is not the initial strike but its potential consequences that interest us. Besides the immediate impact zone, a powerful enough strike, would set off a chain of events such as shockwaves, huge tsunamis, earthquakes and the most significant one – an impact winter caused by the billions of tons of debris that would loft into the sky and would block the entire atmosphere with a thick optic layer.
The combination of the initial impact and its expected global outcomes would make this planet a totally different place after the hit. Hopefully without any sentient life.

And lastly, a short clarification about the low chances, a hit probability estimations can be misleading when presented as “an event happens once per x years”. Some might think that since the last hit was “too recent” there is no hope for another in the near future. The thing is that there is no such thing as “too recent” in statistics.
The fact that the average intervals between major hits are very long doesn’t mean it can’t happen during our lifetime, since it’s only the theoretical statistical average, practically it can happen any day.
Probably the best way to explain it is with the rather banal but effective odds to roll double sixes twice. Since all the rolls are independent, the odds to roll double sixes after double sixes are equal of rolling any other combination. The past rolls are entirely independent of future rolls, so history doesn’t matter.
Don’t get us wrong, the sad fact is that the odds for a major hit are extremely low independently, but it was important to clarify that they are not “getting lower” soon after a major hit.

So where is the active part?
Although it is impossible to aim an asteroid or a comet towards earth, it is possible to prevent it from hitting earth. In the case activists’ wishes come true and an object is set towards earth’s direction, earth defense programs would be launched. And unless caring activists do something about it, they might succeed. This planet of suffering would be saved, and its inhabitants won’t be.
Currently several options are on the table. From nuking it (how typical of humans) which seems to be the least popular option among scientists, since contrary to Hollywood screenwriters’ imagination, dealing with a big rock by blowing it, would cause thousands of small rocks (which might also become radioactive after nuking it) crashing in thousands of places on earth.
Some scientists do support blowing a nuclear bomb in front of it (and not drilling a bomb in it like Bruce Willis did) in order to divert it from its course, but most are in favor of other diverting options like using the sun’s radiation by placing giant solar panels in spaces directed at the asteroid, slowly heating it so that the emitted gasses would divert it from its course, or using laser beams (that would be shot from a spaceship or the moon since the laser interceptor can’t be placed on earth because of the atmosphere) to do more or less the same. Another popular option is called gravity tractor which is basically using the gravity force of every object by sending a small spacecraft that needs to be parked next to the asteroid without touching it and divert it from earth’s orbit slowly and steadily by its gravity force. And others think of a similar idea only using kinetic power instead of gravity.

All these complex elaborate projects, aimed at securing this planet along with all its suffering, must be infiltrated by activists and sabotaged to de-rail the entire operation. Obviously this is a super ambitious and extremely difficult plan, but it may be the best one for wiping out the earth.

We are not delusional activists, obviously it sounds much more Hollywoodian than realistic. But if you think about it, these defense plans exist in real life, not in film studios, and real humans, not Bruce Willis, are in charge of them. Somebody is filling these positions, and as long as it’s not someone who considers everyone’s interests, in the case of a hit, what is probably the best chance for the torture to end, would be missed.
If the day comes, humans would ruin the chances of an asteroid or a comet to ruin the planet. We must do whatever we can so it won’t happen. Even if it means taking the great chance that we would never get in to these programs or that even if we do, it won’t happen on our shift.

Given the low chances of such scenario to become relevant you’re probably asking yourselves whether you should drop all of your current activity and dedicate your life to this extremely difficult and super complicated studies with little chances of ever getting into these projects anyway.

It is hard to recommend a plan with such improbable chances. Therefore, in case you are tending towards other scientific fields, we agree they have far better potential.
But these concerns about which practical path is more promising, as crucial as they are, come only after the needed conceptual shift.
Morally, it is not a question of should but could. If you can you must.
If you have the basic propensities and capabilities for a serious and demanding science study, you shouldn’t hesitate. If you have that potential, you have the potential of stopping the suffering.
If you weight the asteroid option against the different conventional options, don’t think twice.
Even if you are specifically very talented activists, think how many of those are out there (not in proportions of the importance and urgency of the problem of course) compared with activists who are considering taking such a challenge upon themselves.
Think how many conventional activists were along the movement’s history and how little they achieved? Think how much suffering you can reduce if you continue with conventional activism compared with managing to infiltrate one of these earth defense (earthlings’ offense) programs that might be someday the most critical place on earth.

Don’t focus on the small chance such an event would happen, but about the chance it would, and you won’t be there. Of course it is a painful waste that talented and dedicated activists would devote their lives to a project that won’t be carried out, but the only thing worse than that, is activists who didn’t devote their lives to an option that did come, but passed by because they weren’t there.

Nothing can be compared with even the tiniest option of stopping all the suffering. As tiny as the chances are, in general and specifically by an asteroid or a comet, the movement’s chances of stopping all the suffering are not tiny, they are zero.
It’s very difficult to make someone acknowledge that the movement he is part of, all the effort that was put in, the life work of so many, is failing. It’s painful to admit that activists rely on small achievements missing the bigger picture and fail to recognize the mechanism. Many honestly believe the state of animals improved since the movement was formed. It is frightening to think how much animal suffering increased since Animal Liberation was first published. The global pigs meat production increased 3 times, egg production 4 times and chickens meat production by more than 5 times.
Since 1975 new industries have been formed joining the ones that already existed and constantly expand. New species became subjected to commercial exploitation, that intensify further all the time. The prices got cheaper and cheaper and a greater variety of available products was introduced to the market consecutively.

Animal consumption is growing rapidly and persistently. The meat consumption per capita has increased in all countries in the world with no exceptions. The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. 50 years later in 2011, it was 294.7 million tons and it is expected to reach 376 million tons by 2030 and 455 million tons by 2050. And maybe the scariest thing about these terrifying estimations is that they don’t include fishes, an industry that is always ignored and would more than double the consumption figures.
In the developing world, the meat consumption rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years. The per capita demand in Asia has almost quadrupled since 1975 (with China’s meat per capita consumption quintupling). The “Middle Income” Countries have tripled their meat consumption since 1975 and it’s now standing on about 50kg per year on average. And maybe the most freighting figure is that what is called developing countries are already catching up with the average global consumption and they were standing on third of today’s amount just in 1975. These countries also hold the highest population growth rate.

In Asia the most populated continent in the world (about 60% of all humans), the consumption of grains as a staple food has declined over the past three decades, especially in the rapidly growing economies of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and China, while consumption of meat (including fishes of course), eggs, and dairy products has increased dramatically.

People in developing countries currently consume on average one-third the meat and one-quarter of the milk products per capita compared to the richer North, but this is changing rapidly. More people everywhere are eating more animal products as soon as their incomes rise above poverty level. The animal rights movement can’t deal with the current enormous amounts of exploited animals around the world, and it will only get worse. In the future many more animals will suffer much more.

The total animal products consumption has almost tripled since Animal Liberation was written. It’s the human population, urbanization, increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), global trade agreements, industries interests, the price of commodities and diseases like Avian Influenza and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) that determine the number of exploited animals, not the animal rights movement. No point in dreaming of a vegan world when the global course is the exact opposite.

The world is changing first and foremost because of economic reasons and political interests, not because of moral ideals. Exploitive industries such as Fur, Bears’ Bile and Foie Gras, Cockfights, and Dogfights all still exist and are very popular in spite of the campaigns that the animal rights organizations run against them for decades, and even though most of the public is against them.
And if this is not enough for little and publicly unaccepted industries such as these, when will the chicken industry, which is about 55 billion suffering animals per year industry, ever stop?
When will the last fish be suffocated in the extremely dense fish farms or pulled out of the water? Currently even among the animal liberation movement, fishes are often not referred to as individuals and you can often hear from activists about the ocean depletion “problem”.

Activists and organizations are trying to change the world and are failing. Every year tens of millions more are born into a life of suffering. Every day is worse than the one before. Our website is full of facts and figures about suffering in the world, but the worst ones are the mentioned acute per capita increase, and that every second 5 more human babies are born. This world is so horrible that one of the greatest suffering factors is the human birth rate.

global_consumption_of_land_animals
It’s time to open your eyes and admit that human society is irrevocably speciesist. So far there is every reason to believe that even within the human race, selfishness and discrimination will never be overcome. Anthropology has never discovered a human society free of violence, and social psychology findings indicate that elements such as group patriotism, selfishness, obedience, conformism, tendency to discriminate, and most importantly biases, irrational and irrelevant factors when it comes to moral thinking, are all innate to a great extent

Conventional advocacy, or, asking the torturers if they are willing to stop torturing, is basically and principally speciesist in itself.
Despite that theoretically activists absolutely oppose humans’ dominance, they practically accept it by asking humans to change their violent ways. They all know what happens every time they fail to convince them.
The partisans didn’t organize an advocacy information stand in the forests to stop the massacre (you always argue that the animal holocaust is much worse than any human holocaust in history, so how come the norm in the movement is to do so much less than they did, and never adopt their tactics).
The fact that the animal rights activists’ natural tendency and the first and last plan of action, is to explain to humans that their daily torturing of the weaker for their own minor benefits, habits and pleasures is wrong, only shows how deep speciesism runs. The natural tendency should be to stop the suffering in the most deep rooted and fastest way.
And the most efficient way is definitely not by asking the oppressors to consider stopping or even gradually slightly reducing their torture.

And even if many would consider going vegan, even if all would go vegan, the absolutely delusional option of a vegan world is still a very violent one. The chances that the animal liberation movement would stop all the suffering are zero, not only because of the current consumption trends and the extremely depressing forecasts of the future, but because there are so many suffering factors that the movement doesn’t address, and so many suffering factors that the movement can’t even theoretically address. One of the main blind spots is the problems inherent to the solution.

The solution the AR movement is offering, veganism, the one that even in the most progressive parts of the world many believe it’s strategically unwise to ask for, is actually a systematic global oppression operation, abusing countless numbers of animals.
The main reason activists hardly ever address this massive black hole is because everything pales next to factory farming, and also because most automatically go on the defensive when meat eaters cynically make this point.
But we are not meat eaters, we are vegans too. We are vegans because it is the least horrible option. But much before we are vegans, we are activists, and as such we are not looking for what we think we know is a realistic solution but what we think is a moral one. Veganism isn’t.

The long list of vegan options you gladly offer those you’re trying to convince to consider stopping their personal part of the torture, is substituting extremely horrible things with extremely less horrible things. But they are not at all cruelty free options. Plant based diet is cruel. The fact that there are diets that are much crueler doesn’t make it moral.
Apart from the agricultural stage, the manufacture of products that are considered basic vegan food such as soy milk, flour, tofu, bread, oil, tea and etc can include dozens of harmful sub-processes like: Cleaning and removing unwanted parts such as the outer layers, for example separating the beans from the pod, extracting the interior such as seeds, mixing and macerating as in preserved fruits and vegetables, liquefaction and pressing as in fruit juices and soy milk production, fermentation like in soy sauces and tempeh, baking, boiling, broiling, frying, steaming, shipping of a number of ingredients from different distances, wrapping, labeling, packing, transportation of waste and of course the transportation to the stores. All are comfortably invisible as the finished product lies on the shelf.

And don’t get this criticism wrong, it is not about activists’ diets, it is about activists’ activism. We are not criticizing activists for being hypocrite because they cause suffering. We know it is inevitable and that’s the whole point. Even the most caring and compassionate, non-speciesist humans on this planet are bound to participate in a violent system, systematically hurting creatures they wholeheartedly believe they mustn’t. There is no nonviolent option in this world.

Naturally some might raise the gatherer primitivism life, but we are not interested in personal solutions but global ones, and it is theoretically impossible even for a much smaller human population.
And even if it was, remember that for it to be a solution, everyone else must do it as well.
Everyone, as in people who eat whatever they want whenever they want, people who don’t consider any ethical issues in their consumption choices, people who drive their SUVs on the way to the gourmet restaurant must adopt this lifestyle as well. Do you see foie gras consumers do it? Or even compromise on only local, seasonal, non-wrapped, naturally pollinated fruits? Can you see them even forsake their steaks?

Currently we can’t even make humans give up just meat for just one day of the week while telling them it is for their health and own children’s future!

Even the lowest point is too high for humans

Most humans haven’t even made much more basic ethical decisions. There is no magic formula to educate most humans to solve conflicts without violence, to not objectifying each other, to not discriminate each other on the basis of race, gender, ethnical orientation, class, weight, height, prettiness and etc, it’s even hard to get them to recycle, so what are the odds of convincing them all to become vegans?

Humans prove again and again that their profits, taste preference, convenience, entertainment etc, are much more important to them than morality. Most of them are not even willing to hear the facts and listen to the arguments, not to mention stop financing animal abuse.

The animal rights arguments are so simple and right. They are based on solid facts and evidences. Nobody can confront them rationally. The fact that the arguments are so strong and so well-based but still fail again and again, is the exact thing that should wake you all. Animal rights activists shouldn’t draw strength from their strong arguments but the other way around. When arguments that are so strong and so obvious don’t work there is something wrong with the addressees.

The tragic irony is that even when the animal rights movement gives up on the idea of developing caring towards nonhuman animals and turns to caring for the children’s future, using the “the environment argument” or caring for their own kind using the “the hunger argument” or caring for themselves – the hopelessness summit, using the “health argument”, it doesn’t help.
Nothing helps. Not even when the animal rights movement reaches the lowest point.

Not only that a vegan world is not possible, even if it was, as dreamy and wonderful as it would be, it is far from a sufferingless world.
Vegan diet is not cruelty free, and it is not because of a specific way a specific product is being produced. It is all the ways that all of the products are produced which is harmful. The list of harms in the plant based diet is endless. Harming is inevitable. For a more complete picture please read Vegan Suffering.

An even bigger blind spot is all the suffering that occurs in what most humans call “nature”, and surprisingly for most activists it represents perfection, an ideal we should aspire to, or something spiritual that we should worship, something that ought to be preserved and never criticized.
But the truth is that nature is where trillions of sentient beings suffer from hunger, thirst, diseases, parasites, injuries, extreme weathers, rape, infanticide, violent dominancy fights, the constant fear of being attacked, actually being attacked, and only rarely from caducity.

Every single second somewhere in the world, defenseless and frightened babies are left alone because their mother has to leave them alone searching for food, a turtle is burned alive as she can’t out run the flames of a fire, a bird’s feet are frozen to a branch since he couldn’t find shelter from the harsh weather, a baboon monkey is in ongoing stress as an higher ranking female takes food out of her mouth and eats it herself, a nestling is thrown off the nest by the other siblings so they can get more food, a coyote is experiencing severe hunger as the rabbit he chased managed to escape instead of being torn apart, a female dolphin is being raped after she couldn’t outswim a male or even a few of them who gang rape her, a badger drags his rotten legs with infectious wounds resulting from constant fights, a zebra is dehydrated but can’t approach the ponds as the lionesses might be on the prowl, a lizard is being slowly devoured by a fungus that spread through the organs, a weak robin chick starves to death because his parents don’t feed him, as it makes more sense energetically to invest in his stronger siblings.

We mustn’t accept suffering just because it happens in what we call nature, and to nonhuman animals by other nonhuman animals. For the sufferers, the suffering is bad when it is considered natural just as much as when it is considered artificial. Our moral obligation to prevent suffering is driven from the fact that suffering is intrinsically bad for those who experience it.
Activists should be obligated to preventing suffering no matter to whom, by whom and where it happens.

When watching suffering of wild animals on the screen, most humans and certainly every animal activist, are dramatically emotionally moved by these horrific scenes. Some rationalize their way out of it by calling it natural and others by claiming it is inventible, failing to infer the moral conclusion out of the situation – when something that horrible is such a natural and inventible part of life, life is horrible. Activists mustn’t rationalize their ways out of horrible situations but act to change them.

Please take the time and read our article about suffering in nature called Non-Speciesist Suffering and the post The Violence Even Activists Are Disregarding.
Even and especially if you disagree with this argument.

If you would act to change the world the maximum you can theoretically achieve is some more vegans in this world. But if you act to destroy it the maximum you can achieve is a sufferingless world. Isn’t that goal worth devoting your lives for? Can you think of anything better to do with the one life that you have than trying to do everything you can so that if you succeed no one will ever suffer again?

We are well aware of how little the chances to stop all the suffering are. All the more so by an asteroid or comet hit. Again, we are not delusional activists. However morally that’s what we aspire for and what we think every activist should aspire for. As long as there is a theoretical chance to stop all the suffering we mustn’t compromise. We must search for ways to do it as hard and complicated as it is and as long as it takes. Especially since, as broadly explained, the conventional movement’s chances are not even theoretically optional.
Exactly because we are aware of the complexities and difficulties, the first thing we realized we must do is establishing a movement with that aspiration in mind, so there would be as many activists as possible who wiping out the planet is not only their wish but their mission.

This post is more an illustration of the significance of the moral concept of the End All Suffering movement and not necessarily a practical recommended option. It is more ideological than practical. It is definitely not an Ad Absurdum argument since it is not at all an absurd option, but since the chances for an asteroid or a comet hit are indeed very low, our arguments here are more of an illustration of the theoretical conceptual significance of the E.A.S movement than a real practical option.
Given the data, the chances are low, but given what’s on stake, no matter how low the chances are for the right time coming in your lifetime, it is so much more important than anything else that it’s still worth all the trouble getting into the right places.

We wrote that many activists would press the button that would wipe out the planet without a second of thought, but don’t spend a second thinking they should create one.
However maybe the solution won’t be pressing a button but preventing someone else from pressing one. Maybe the solution is not creating a technological, chemical or biological “button” but being in the right place in the right time, doing the right thing.

Apart from heading into research there is another critical path of actively supporting and advancing the E.A.S– advocacy. We are promoting an immensely ambitious idea but we are not pretentious people, so our first decision as a group was to create more of us. You can do that too. If you are absolutely sure you can’t make buttons you can sure make button makers.

Spread the vision of a world which is truly cruelty free. Shake up the AR movement from its misconceptions.
Gradually influencing the views within the movement would be setting the foundations necessary for E.A.S cells to rise. The more the idea circulates and drifts in the air- the more it becomes a legitimate notion and the number of activists seriously considering it will multiply.
Make sure more and more activists are in the radical mindset that will not compromise on any oppression system, and committedly act against it by spreading the word or heading to research themselves.

Imagine that in a matter of years 5% of the committed activists of the animal rights movement, that up until now have dedicated themselves to organize demonstrations and conventional campaigns, are taking their devotion, talent and motivation and focusing only on finding a way to stop the suffering.

It’s no fantasy. It’s simple math. The more the E.A.S message is passed, the greater are the chances of success. The more research cells formed worldwide, the better are the chances of bringing the day that no one suffers.

Our power lies in our numbers and diversity. Each single cell may stand a small chance of success, but this is not the case for dozens of cells with hundreds of different varied points of view, approaches, ideas, abilities, resources and methods. The cell with the right lead and the right resources and resourcefulness is bound to come along. All it takes is for one group to succeed, and the suffering will be stopped forever.

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