The animal rights activist and the Islamist have something in common which the former probably isn’t willing to admit even to them-self. I realized today for the first time that I am actually quite able to understand how an Islamist thinks, every time that i walk into a restaurant and sorely wish that they were only allowed to sell vegan products. Just like the Islamist who genuinely rejoices to imagine the world being forced to resign itself to Islamic rule, so too do I rejoice in the idea of the world being forced to become vegan.
One could say that the difference is that a so-called ‘animal rights activist’ such as myself(formerly) bases their world view on premises derived from objective evidence which can be either proven or disproven, while the Islamist or any other religious fundamentalist bases their world view on the premise that cannot be either proven or disproven.
The animal rights ideologogue generally bases their world view on the premises that the right to not be killed for needless purposes ought to be granted based on having a high level of sentience, or having a number of interests in continuing to live, rather than species alone and certain animals possess a high level of sentience and have a number of interest and so it follows that they ought to have the right to not be killed for needless purposes. The notion that certain animals are sentient and have interests can more or less be proven or disproven through experimentation, neurology and by a number of other ways.
The islamist or any other religious fundamentalist bases their worldview on the premises that a supernatural entity created the universe, is still alive, has a living will, desires praise by means of religious observance and in fact prefers a specific religious observance over others. This is a premise which could never be proven or disproven.
The fact is that while the religious do not require evidence for their most basic premises, the animal rights activist more or less does require some manner of evidence for their most basic premises. One ideologue requires some sort of evidence to corroborate their beliefs while the other ideologue starts with an absolute premise which they are unwilling to even question.
Strongly held beliefs based on evidence or not, translate into intolerance of opposing ideas. For example, the belief that biological evolution occurred and is occurring translates into extreme intolerance in the scientific community, of beliefs which stipulate that life was created by an intelligent creator. The former belief is of course based on a huge amount of evidence.
Indeed belief should be proportional to the evidence, but that is often not entirely the case with ideologies. When emotions, traditions, pride in as well as loyalty to the ideological community come into play, strength of belief is often not held proportional to the evidence, and counter-evidence is disregarded or explained away. This is surely even the case when it comes to the animal rights ideology. I sincerely doubt that if evidence came to light that animals were in fact as Descartes described, nothing more than animated machines, individuals in the animal rights community would abandon their ideology. Much of this hypothetical rigidity of belief has to do with their personal emotional reaction to animal suffering, as well as the sense of community they most likey find with other like-minded individuals and the sense of self-worth they derive from adhering to their ideology. Still, more or less, animal rights activists will surely insist that they vastly differ from religious fundamentalists in their supposed adherence to and reliance on evidence to corroborate their beliefs. For the most part they the animal rights ideologues would seem to rely more so than the religious ideologues on scientific and physiological evidence, but the two ideologies do in fact bare similarities in the strength of their convictions, and their insatiable desire to impose their worldview on others. The true believer in animal rights ideology wants to force the world to be vegan just as badly as the Islamist wants to force the world to subject to Islamic rule. The fact that the animal rights activist may have more evidence to base their belief in animal rights on is beside the point.