arguments ad hominem.


recently, i was thinking about a biology debate i had during my junior year. i was such an idiot then. i was on a group with two other girls, and we were arguing with a group of three other girls. in every situation i find myself in, i'm always the only dude. anyway, we were supposed to debate whether or not scientists should experiment on animals. we took the position that scientists should not experiment on animals. because i had been brainwashed the quarter before, i had adopted peter singer's theory of "speciesism," which is basically like racism, but towards animals.

i met with the two younger girls on my team, and they presented some really weak points. i told them about speciesism, and they were both excited about it. the whole thing would've been fine, if only i hadn't cared about the issue to begin with. i was twenty-one, and i thought i knew everything. i thought i had this fool-proof plan, and that people were going to listen. i slept soundly that night, knowing that i was going to charge into that biology classroom and throw down for the showdown.

i gave my speech, and i gave it with gusto. the girls on my team were worthless, and they didn't really know fuck about shit, so i had to carry us. the other team presented their boring points, and then came the debate. i didn't give a fuck then, so i started with something stupid, something along the lines of, "why did you argue those points?" and one of the girls immediately responded, "because that was part of the assignment." and then they all laughed. my face was red and my eyes were bulging, so it was kind of a nervous laugh. it annoyed the shit out of me. i was ready to slap her repeatedly. i wanted to spit on her stupid, fat face. how dare she argue with speciesism?

it was pretty much a debacle after that. thanks to my mute teammates, we lost the debate. the class unanimously voted that the other side won. i was crushed, but convinced myself that my classmates were just a bunch of ignorant privileged white kids anyway. what the hell did they know or care about animal rights? they were what was wrong with america. they were what was destroying this great nation of ours. one guy who i thought was cool even wrote in the comments, "be careful of arguments ad hominem" or something like that. i didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

after that, i had multiple arguments with friends about speciesism. i couldn't understand it. animals were sentient; they felt pain; they had central nervous systems just like we did. raising cattle destroyed the environment. poor folks were killing themselves in slaughterhouses and on fields. humans and dogs probably tasted the same as chicken, so why did the hypocritical populace limit themselves to cows and chickens? why was no one getting it?

eventually, i realized the world stopped caring. so i stopped caring, too.

"you fool," my friend told me, "you believed in something."

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