i just like saying "untergunther"
Language is a bit more than communication. Animals can call for help, maybe even describe where food is, or other specialized things that evolution dictates they need to communicate. But even a chimp can't say something like "last night, some large berries were growing on this tree, but now they're gone."

And there are many different kinds of thinking. I'll have to read the article to see if it touches on any of them.
--Nick B Tue Nov 27 12:03:53 2007
Right, but is that a qualitative difference or merely one of degree?
--Kirk Tue Nov 27 12:48:53 2007
I've been reading a book called "The Cultural Animal" by Roy Baumeister, which basically makes the argument that natural selection "designed" (convenient, casual misnomer, if you ask me) humans to live and need culture, whereas other animals have only reached the "social" level. The explanation would get much longer, and i'm only halfway through the book.

I bring that up, though, because he states that humans are the only animals that try to teach other creatures and humans different skills and information about their social and physical environment. Chimps may learn sign language to communicate with humans, but they won't try to teach other chimps how to sign.

Also, this past weekend, someone brought up The Omnivore Dilemma. Personally, I think that's the worst name for the book, from what I know about it. Anyone who eats and gets food by buying it from someone else has the same "dilemma."

During that conversation, someone else brought up this guy who brought up their own turkey, let it live for a good amount of time then slaughtered it themselves for a meal. Supposedly, that person was fine with it and felt very accomplished, since they put so much work into making that meal.

I just listened to the conversation and didn't really say anything, even though, as a near-vegan, I felt some indignancy, along with thinking to myself how "humanocentric" all this omnivore discussion can be, especially the whole guy bringing up a turkey, giving a name then saying he was fine with the whole thing because he was enjoying the fruits of his labors. . .when he was testing to see how he would feel about eating an animal that he brought up himself.

I don't have any kind of clear cut moral compass nor have a great argument for being near vegan. Nonetheless, I can get very irritated by people making their moral decisions about eating or not eating meat based on simple feelings rather than trying to even come up with some level of rationality. I'm much more tolerant of people who can say, "I'm fine with eating animals because they're not human" or "I don't believe animals have a soul" or "animals don't have the level of consciousness of humans, so I'm fine with eating them." I can tolerate bald-faced humanocentric dominance over people trying to validate eating meat based on their feelings, based on how they feel good about tasting the fruits of their labors. . .that argument would validate me capturing that person, putting an electric collar on them, feeding them well, providing them with good care, etc. etc. then eating them. After all, I worked to keep that human healthy for my benefit.

Feelings should be the starting point for this issue, not an end argument to it. That's one reason I'm semi-dissatisfied with my rationalizing for being near-vegan, except that I argue to myself, "They may not be totally conscious now, but we came from chimps. . .those animals may rise to become a very intelligent animal, too. . .and maybe, they'll accuse us of genocide on the level of Hitler. . .or worse, since we eat them!"

But that's all for now. Sorry, I had to get all that off my chest.
--The_Lex Wed Nov 28 12:19:15 2007
After a moments reflection, I realized that I'm more annoyed with the turkey guy's conclusion that feels in a totally different direction from the intent of the hypothesis. . .or that the hypothesis doesn't feel narrow enough. . .in that he's allowing one feeling to trump the feeling that he was trying to explore through the experience. Kind of like, "Hmmmm, I feel a small pang of guilt that I killed my friend, the turkey, but DAMN! he certainly tastes good, and he tastes so good because I put so much work into making him taste good. That totally makes it OK that I killed another living creature." Can you say jump of logic to justify an action?
--The_Lex Wed Nov 28 12:33:53 2007

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