I find it extraordinary that anyone would have an intellectual conversion to Roman Catholicism.
When I was a child, my father used to take me for walks, often along a river or by the sea. We would pass people fishing, perhaps reeling in their lines with struggling fish hooked at the end of them. Once I saw a man take a small fish out of a bucket and impale it, still wriggling, on an empty hook to use as bait.
I would like us to think about it more explicitly, and not take our intuitions as the given of ethics, but rather to reflect on it, and be more open about the fact that something is an ethical issues and think what we ought to do about it.
There’s a difference between early and late abortions. If you have a late abortion, where the fetus might feel pain, then I think you should have a good reason. Because then you’re inflicting pain. As you go through the third trimester, you need to have more serious reasons to end a pregnancy.
When you look at food as an ethical issue in the Christian tradition, you don’t find very much about it. You don’t find, as you do in the Jewish or Islamic or Hindu traditions, a lot of restrictions saying you can eat this but you can’t eat that.
In the real world, 90% of the money spent on medical research is focused on conditions that are responsible for just 10% of the deaths and disability caused by diseases globally.
What you could say, and what I do argue in the book, is that he doesn’t have as much concern for the lives of Iraqis as he does for the lives of Americans, or even frozen American embryos.
To be a utilitarian means that you judge actions as right or wrong in accordance with whether they have good consequences. So you try to do what will have the best consequences for all of those affected.
In most of the world, it is accepted that if animals are to be killed for food, they should be killed without suffering.
When fish experience something that would cause other animals physical pain, they behave in ways suggestive of pain, and the change in behaviour may last several hours.