Cannibals are People Too (part I)

Sep 13, 2011 by

Relativism is a belief that is gaining ground in our society today.  Moreover, this view is gaining belief in the world of academia.  However, I must ask, is relativism really a legitimate claim?

Relativism is the belief that all opinions are valid; that there are truths in facts, but not in opinions.  This mostly applies to morals.  Abortion is only if you believe that it is wrong, according to Relativism.  The same is true in the case of marijuana, cigarettes, drinking, sex, suicide, and any moral issue.  However, I would like to ask if relativists believe, “Cannibals are people too.”?  I do not mean this in a literal sense; of course cannibals are still human.  But is it possible for a cannibal to be considered morally acceptable?  Is it possible for someone to kill another human, eat them, and still not be seen as immoral in the eyes of the relativist?  A relativist has three options in responding to such a claim:  state cannibalism is acceptable, prove cannibalism to go against facts, or create a line at which opinions are subject to the opinions of others in society.  Now, it seems clear to Reason Cannibalism is wrong.  Even if you accept that people can eat a dead human being as being a cultural quirk, the cannibalism I am proposing involves murder.  If a relativist accepts this Cannibalism as acceptable, it seems to violate Reason substantially.  Thus, if the Relativist accepts this, then they are not abiding by reason, which should be our guiding force.*

This leaves the relativist two options, Cannibalism is either fact or the relativist must draw a line.  It seems to me that Cannibalism is anything but fact.  Reason, though our guiding force, cannot be a measurement of fact.  There are two kinds of facts.  There are facts where you use your senses, skepticism aside, to see the world around you and perform tests.  I see the ground, therefore the ground exists is fact.  Objects fall towards the ground, therefore, gravity is fact.  This is a lose adoption of the word fact, but I am giving Relativism every benefit of the doubt.  The second kind of fact is self-evident fact.  These are facts in which the essence of the now is contained in the predicate of a sentence.  Bachelors are unmarried men.  That is fact because the definition of bachelor is an unmarried man.  One plus one equals two.  The essence of the noun, one plus one, is the value of two.  Thus, equals two is the essence of one plus one.  Therefore, that is a fact.

Now, let us apply this to Cannibalism.  Cannibalism is morally acceptable.  Well, can we see morals?  We can see Cannibalism, though we don’t usually do and don’t like to.  This is not a factual fact.  You cannot use senses to prove Cannibalism in any way.  The most you can prove is that it is possible, not that it is right.  Therefore, if Cannibalism is to be fact, it must be the second type of fact.  Cannibalism is morally acceptable.  Is this a case where the essence of the noun is contained in the predicate?  Well, that would be a hard case to prove without opinion.  The definition of Cannibalism hardly says anything about its moral acceptability.  Thus, this is not a fact.

Critics of me in particular would point out that I say “all men are created equal” is a self-evident fact.  However, the difference is equality is a measurement.  Man, by definition, is an animal with the capability for reason.  All people are born with such a capability.  Thus, all men are born with the same amount of humanity in them.  Therefore, they are born with an essence of equality.  Thus the statement is fact.  Moral acceptability is not a set standard as equality it, there is some conjecture to it.

Thus I have proved the unreasonable nature of relativism on an individual morals level, next article I will prove relativism cannot work when restrictions are applied either.

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  1. First of all, how does cannibalism “violate reason substantially”? A lot of cannibals believe that they are acquiring the power of the person they eat, along with physical sustenance. Even some Christians believe that (I’m talking about Catholics). If it’s not ok to kill people to eat them, is it also not ok to kill cows or chickens for food? Where is that line? At least ritual cannibalism has a interesting meaning behind it.
    Second, are ALL people really born with the capability to reason? And if they are, are people all born with the exact same capability to reason, or do different people have different levels of reasoning capability, in the same way that we have different levels of athletic capability? If they have different levels, then does that create a hierarchy of humanity?

  2. Gerber

    Cannibalism, as I defined it, violates reason substantially through the principle that all men are created equal. However, before I get into that, I would like to state that there are several profound differences between my definition of Cannibalism and Catholicism’s Eucharist. First, NO ONE killed Christ for the purpose of eating him. And, the church does not accept his death as morally acceptable. And two, no one consumes Christ for the purpose of eating his flesh or gaining his fleshly powers. Christ is inseparable, in the Catholic Faith, from his human and divine self. Thus, his soul and divinity, which is present in the Eucharist, come with his body and blood. The purpose of Cannibalism is to consume flesh, the Eucharist to consume God.
    Now that that is taken care of. Cows and chickens are not people. The line is it is unacceptable to kill a human for the purpose of eating a human. Now, if all men are created equal, this only implies that it is wrong to kill humans for the purpose of eating. To say the line is blurry is like stating murder is wrong so self-defense is wrong. While they both involve killing, there is an inherent difference between the two so that one DOES NOT the imply the morality of the other. Now, as for capability. Capability was a poor choice of words, I admit. It is more of a potential. People in comas are still human because of their potential to reason. All have this potential. Now, as for the question of some who are more reasonable then others, there are two problems with this. One, IF that was the case, who is the judge? Reason must be applied to judge. Reason cannot judge people as being more capable for everyone claim’s to be reasonable. There is no scoring chart for reason. However, that aside, Reason is an action like sleeping. There is no “better sleeper”. There are people who are asleep longer or without interruption, but that is merely who is in the state, not their skill in the state. It is an is or isn’t not a more or less. Any fault that seems like unreasonableness, is either not currently reasoning or bad information given to the reasoner.

  3. Heather Malone

    Catholics believe that Jesus had to die in order to save people from their sins. If Jesus hadn’t died, then they wouldn’t be saved, so the Church does have to condone Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for humanity. In fact, the Church would have to see it as perfectly morally acceptable, since that is the way things have to be. They also believe that although Jesus is God, they also believe that he is 100% human. And the Catholics are very specific that they are in fact eating flesh and drinking blood for the purpose of gaining his saving grace. If they don’t eat his flesh and drink his blood, then they can’t be saved. It’s a primitive belief: the idea of human sacrifice, but it is indeed alive and well in the form of Christianity. But why is it so bad to eat human flesh? What does being equal have to do with anything?

    I think sleeping is a terrible thing to compare to reasoning. Sleeping is a passive state of rest that is purely instinctual, and if I am correct you have already said in another article that reason and instinct are different things. The act of reasoning is more like an active activity like dancing. Most people can dance, but it requires some amount of practice to do it decently, and although many people become good dancers, only a few become great. With enough practice both dancing and reasoning can become habit.

  4. Gerber

    First, while it may be true that Christ’s death was NECESSARY, that does not make it MORAL. To say so would undermine your argument of relativism (through not allowing people their opinions, thus making this part of the argument null and void) and, furthermore, it is extremely Utilitarian a belief. To say that killing one being necessary to save and number of people is not universally accepted as true. An innocent man is dead because of you if you do. Also, unless you can correlate this argument to cannibalism, as I DEFINED IT, a human murdering for and then continuing to eat another human, than it is null and void. If this is not true, the whole reference to Catholicism is null and void.
    The Catholic Church does not so much believe that we are eating his PHYSICAL FLESH IN A WAY THAT WE KNOW IT. It is not the flesh of the Jesus on earth as we know it. As Thomas Aquinas says in his book, Summa Theologica, “Hence we read in the profession of faith at Ephesus: ‘We are made partakers of the body and blood of Christ, not as taking common flesh, nor as of a holy man united to the Word in dignity, but the truly life-giving flesh of the word himself.’ His [Jesus's] soul was truly separated from His body. And therefore had this sacrament [communion] been celebrated during those three days when He was dead, the soul if Christ would not have been there.” Here, it is clear that the body of Christ is nothing without the soul and divinity. Moreover, if communion was talking about Christ’s physical, as we know it, flesh, how is it the church can accept the last supper as the first communion? It is not of this world human flesh, but a flesh that we do not know. Moreover, I will not address any more superfluous and unfounded attacks on this, for they would be only rants that have no basis, until you can make a claim that this has to do with MY DEFINITION of cannibalism. I realize it is not the standard definition. I am creating a sample moral and naming(possibly poorly)cannibalism, not picking a title and poorly defining what the title means.
    When all men are created equal, this means that no man rules over another. If no man is born higher then another, why should they have power to do harm to another. To do harm to another human violates this equality. The equality last throughout life, for all have equal potential for reason throughout their life. Unless you are claiming strength or some other attribute to be the measure of humanity, then it seems that the murder part of MY DEFINITION OF CANNIBALISM would not be legitimately morally acceptable.
    Do not mistake my sleep example for outlining all reason. Sleep is nothing like reason in regards to active and passive. However, the totality of sleep is comparable to the totality of reason. Both states you are either in or not in. Reason is active in the sense that you do it, not in the sense that it is a skill. The art of practice comes not in enhancing Reason, but coming into such a state that Reason is used. As you stated “Reasoning can become habit.” Being in a state of reason, not reasoning well. There is no well, there is only reasoning or not reasoning. The main question is, is it that a person seems to reason poorly due to BAD REASONING, or FAULTY INFORMATION and THE INFLUENCE OF PASSIONS AND UNREASONED INSTINCTS?
    You seem to be overlooking my definition of Cannibalism. I am not making an argument against primitive cannibalism. I do not need to. If there is a moral principle which the relativist must accept but goes against reason, then Relativism is wrong. If you can bring the Catholic Argument to an argument that it goes with THIS DEFINITION, I would be glad to hear and debate it, however, otherwise, it has nothing to do with the Article, and this site is not hear to debate the legitimacy of a faith.

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