argument top image

Is cannibalism ethical? Show more Show less
Back to question

Cannibalism - the practice of eating human flesh - is illegal in every country on Earth. Yet, the moral context is far from straightforward: is it always wrong? What about in matters of life and death? Should having the victim's consent impact the way it is viewed?

Cannibalism has only been viewed as unethical in recent times Show more Show less

The practice has a long history spanning cultures, continents and millennia.
< (2 of 3) Next position >

There's archaeological evidence that proves there were cannibal societies

Several human remains excavated from caves around the world showcase signs of early caveman cannibalism. It proves that while this practice is now considered unthinkable, it was definitely part of our ancestry and cannot be ignored.

The Argument

The evolution of the human species is one that is extremely intriguing. To reach the state we are in today required the adoption and elimination of different practices, and cannibalism is one of them. The idea of our ancestors eating each other to survive may seem too disturbing to the 21st-century mind, yet archaeologists have discovered irrefutable proof of caveman cannibalism which no longer allows us to ignore the truth of its significance in human history. The depths of the caves of Goyet, Belgium, revealed to the world the remains of four adults, one child and a newborn, dating back almost 40,000 years.[1] After careful study, researchers have stated that the bones show signs of cuts and fractures inflicted to help extract the marrow within. They believe that these remains were of the time when Neanderthals were reaching their end and were slowly being replaced by homo sapiens. 1992 brought with it additional proof of such practices with the excavation of more bodies from the Gough's Cave in Somerset, England, which bore marks of human teeth, chewing, pulling of flesh and crushing of bone.[2] These remains are said to be about 15,000 years old, showing that cannibalism was considered as normal not all that long ago. During the Mesolithic period in Europe, just before the agricultural revolution, roughly about 10,000 years ago, a major cultural shift was affecting the inhabitants of different settlements. Archaeologists have found evidence of groups of people in Spain indulging in cannibalism, by excavating their remains from a cave near the coast of Alicante.[3] The human bones showed signs of being butchered and burnt, which prompted the researchers to arrive at their conclusion. Human history shows that cannibalism has always been a part of us; and the fact that the debate still rages today despite cannibalism being outlawed in most countries proves that it will never fully leave our genetic and instinctual makeup. How can something so innate and natural be considered unethical?

Counter arguments

This discovery is a fascinating and, to some, surprising revelation about human history and evolution. But that is all it is. Humans have evolved beyond a lot of primal needs, such as body parts like the appendix, certain muscles, and even tails.[4] We no longer need to hunt and gather, be greedy with our food and territories, or seek out simple shelters like caves in order to survive.[5] Cannibalism is another one of these traits which once served humankind's need for survival, but is no longer necessary and is even in some cases detrimental to our health.[6] Cannibalism was an adaptive behavior that humans once needed in order to survive, and later fell back on when they were desperate for food or cures for ailments. But as we have evolved, so have our needs evolved, and we no longer need to resort to cannibalism to full our bellies. We are more educated about how it does NOT, in fact, cure our ailments. And, as a result, it is no longer an ethical practice, but an unethical one for reasons of morality and of human safety (both for the eater and for the consumed).

Proponents

Premises

[P1] - History proves that cannibalism was practised by the early Neanderthals. [P2] - Several human remains have been recovered from deep within caves all over the world. They bear marks of human teeth on them along with other signs of eating of flesh.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://phys.org/news/2016-12-caves-neanderthals-cannibals.html
  2. http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150416-our-ancestors-were-cannibals
  3. https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/the-10000-year-old-case-of-the-spanish-cannibals/
  4. https://www.businessinsider.com/human-useless-body-parts-2019-1
  5. http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/thoc/HumanInstincts.html
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311277#The-health-implications-of-eating-colleagues

Vote

Not sure yet? Read more ↑

Discuss

This page was last edited on Friday, 14 Aug 2020 at 15:38 UTC

Explore related arguments