In the beginning of things men were animals and animals men. ~ Algonquin saying

"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons." ~ The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Animals Are Moral Creatures, Scientist Argues

As usual, there's the skeptic side of this issue where humans are elevated in all ways; non-humans are incapable of emotions or "morals." That belief allows some to mistreat animals, whether it's outright abuse, or exploitation for "entertainment."
Animals Are Moral Creatures, Scientist Argues - Yahoo! News: In the case of the child-rescuing gorilla Binti Jua, for instance, "what sort of instinct is involved there? Do gorillas have an instinct to help unconscious boys in enclosures?" he said.

And even if instinct is involved, human parents have an instinctive desire to help their children, but that makes the desire no less moral, he said.

Being able to reason about morality isn't required to have a moral compass, he added. A 3-year-old child, for instance, may not consciously articulate a system of right and wrong, but will (hopefully) still feel guilty for stealing his playmate's toy. (Scientists continue to debate whether or not babies have moral compasses.)

If one accepts that animals have moral compasses, Rowlands argues, we have the responsibility to treat them with respect, Rowlands said.

"If the animal is capable of acting morally, I don't think it's problematic to be friends with your pets," he said. "If you have a cat or a dog and you make it do tricks, I am not sure that's respect. If you insist on dressing them up, I'm not sure I'm onboard with that either."

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