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Who Is Peter Singer?

By Daniel G. Jennings

Critique by Punkerslut

Image: Peter Singer Picture from Wikipedia
Image: From Wikipedia Peter Singer Article

Start Date: November 18, 2003
Finish Date: November 18, 2003


     I came across this writing while looking through Francios Tremblay's website on Objective Thought. In the news section, it came with the tag, "If you are interested in Peter Singer, you must read this." Since I hold a decent respect for the man, I figured, sure, why not read it. Of course, that was before I read the article. I looked through only a few lines of it, finding countless errors and just plain false arguments, particularly Ad Hominem, or just personal attacks. At a point like this, I felt as though it were necessary to go back to base one, on the question of, "Defining Intelligence," or "Building an Argument," or "Logical Thinking." For instance, an intellectual statement, contrary to what Jennings (the author) or Tremblay (the promoter) believe, is not "Singer, judging by his writings, is also a complete idiot." Building an argument means deconstructing an idea or a thought, and offering how they principles do not logically fit together, or how they are in opposition to known historical or scientific facts. Making an intelligent statement and using logical thinking means offering an idea that gives insight to some logically constructed thought that is not commonly brought up upon first inspection. Anyway, I could write an entire thesis on constructing arguments, writing, thinking, etc., but then that would leave little left for me to critique in this article. So, on with the critique...

Ad Hominem

     The Ad Hominem argument, perhaps the most common among the uneducated, is the most common throughout this entire piece. Instead of actually tackling the problems and offering analogies to demonstrate a point, the author if this piece just threw insults left and right. The error of using "you idiot!" as an argument is that it does not prove anything, either the illegitimacy or legitimacy of a theory. Furthermore, it burdens down the writing with the same point. "You idiot" for instance, can be transfered to "you moron." Little changes. Finally, an intelligent piece is not full of "Hey, fool," and other insults, as it detrimental to a flowing, intellectual, thoughtful writing process. The following is a list of some of the insults I picked out, just to demonstrate my point...

"Singer, could be the most dangerous man in the world, because he is the stupid and misguided fool leading a vicious and mindless assault on human rights and the idea of freedom itself."

"The vast majority of you, don't know who Singer is and there is no reason you should know."

"Singer, judging by his writings, is also a complete idiot..."

"Singer, could be the most dangerous man in the world, because he is the blindman leading the rest of the blind straight over the edge of a cliff. This wouldn't be so bad, except that these blind people want to take the rest of us along with them on their journey over the cliff."

"Singer's ludicrous ideas include that of Animal Liberation."

"Singer advanced the moronic argument that animals are entitled to the same rights as human beings."

"He ... even coined a stupid term 'specieism.'"

"Even the most ignorant kindergarten student can see Singer's argument is garbage."

"If this wasn't bad enough, Singer has made other idiotic pronouncements."

"Singer also promotes the utterly moronic idea..."

"Singer's argument that people in prosperous nations should donate much of their income to famine and poverty relief for poor nations is stupid."

"Since Singer's beliefs are nonsense and easily dispelled by common sense..."

"Many educated people believe that Singer is a great man even though he has never done anything constructive in his life. Never created anything or made a worthwhile contribution. Singer is an ignorant fool. There is nothing great about him..."

"...this crackpot university professor..."

"I'm not saying that Peter Singer doesn't have a right to hold and promote his idiotic ideas."

"In a sane society, Peter Singer would be manning the cash register at Waldenbooks and spreading his ideas on the Internet in his spare time."

"Singer will go right on spreading his crackpot ideas until he dies or society collapses around him because some morons listened to him and tried to put those ideas into practice."

Peter Singer -- Father of Terrorism?

"These idiots [Animal Rights Activists, respectively] have set off bombs, shot at hunters, set buildings on fire, and mailed razor blades to people who disagree with their sick beliefs."

     Though it may be true that Peter Singer defended the idea that animals have rights, he is hardly responsible for those who act on these beliefs. If someone were to write a book on the technique of dentistry, they wouldn't be held responsible for someone who bombed libraries that refused to hold books on dentistry. Furthermore, Singer has demonstrated some beliefs in the idea of Democracy, where the individual members of society are allowed the freedom to change society peacefully.

Human Superiority?

Human beings are superior to animals, they do think and do many things that animals can't. They write constitutions, create literature, invent machines, come up with scientific theories, tell jokes, create art, create music, write societies, organize societies and do much more.

     Sure, humans are superior. It doesn't mean anything though. A human baby is inferior to me. Does that grant me the right to hack it up and throw it on the barbecue? I don't think so. So, if a human is "superior," or "has culture," compared to a cow, does that mean that the human has the right to hack up the cow and throw it in on the grill? I would doubt it. Of course, in all of this work, asside from all the insult, this is possibly the only argument that Jennings actually offered. What does superiority mean, honestly? If one man is superior to another, he can enslave him? Are all people of 100 IQ slaves to those of 110 IQ? It's an absurd idea of "freedom" or "liberty," and talking on it further is a waste of valuable seconds.

Colonial Exploitation

Singer claims that the people of America, Europe, Japan and other developed nations are responsible for poverty and starvation in the so called Third World. This is not true the poverty in those nations was caused by .... the colonial exploitation of those nations by other nations.

     Just one statement needs to be said to this... If a third world nation's economy is entirely in ruins, and it's because of colonial exploitation from another nation, then is it not the exploiter who is responsible?

Foreign Aid? Not likely!

"There is no evidence whatsoever that any of these [humanitarian] organizations have bettered the condition of any poor person in any less developed nation."

     Actually, there's plenty. Photographs of villages before and after, photographs of children being fed, among other things. We also have, "Many, if not most, of the people in charge of the relief organizations are con artists ripping off the poor and elderly." I mean, I could be interested in this, sure, maybe if there was an ounce or shred of evidence brought with this claim.

Just who listens to Peter Singer Anyway?

Because people are listening to him, the worst kind of people. Arrogant, overfed and stupid intellectuals. People who have no experience of the real world, people who have never worked for a living or had to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from. People who have never known want or oppression.

     I wouldn't think this is true at all. I belong to one of the classes that experiences the most want and oppression: the homeless squatters. A thousand laws have made it illegal to be homeless (Transience, etc.), as I have demonstrated in other works. And, to the contrary, many of us are interested in Vegetarianism, Animal Rights, and Peter Singer's philosophy.

Adolf Hitler -- Just another anti-Semitic crank, in my opinion...

...an anti-Semitic crank, Adolph Hitler, was absolute leader of Germany and having Jews murdered because of those crackpot ideas.

     It is true, if you will, that Adolf Hitler would come to oppress the Jewish people. However, those who oppose Nazism and Racism, don't defeat their opponents in a debate, by repeating, "You idiot!" or "That's so stupid, man!" Adolf Hitler was not wrong, because "those crackpot ideas." He was wrong because he violated the rights of men and women, because a man's character is not developed wholly (or even mostly, in most cases) by their religion or ethnicity. A criminal could be from any background, but it is poverty (neither race nor religion) which instigates criminal behavior.


     In all honesty, with the constant insults and rather derogatory remarks, I would think that this wasn't an article at all, but probably a journal entry from an eight year old girl's diary. Also, Jennings tries to make it look like everyone accepts Peter Singer's philosophy. This couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is that Singer is so popular and discussed today because his ideas are so controversial and divergent from tradition. Even those who do not agree with him consider his ideas to be interesting and opening a new page in the history of the study of ethics. But to say that everyone agrees with him would be a most absurd statement -- and, as an interesting note, no evidence was provided to prove it to be true. Finally, I think that what Jennings wrote was in fact garbage, based on prejudice, ignorance, and plain lack of thoughtfulness. Take this for what you will.


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