Are Animals Superior to Humans? The Stupidity of Misanthropy.

"I hate humans! Humans are evil!"

What is it that leads people, ranging from both the not-too-bright to highly educated, to make shockingly erroneous and near childish statements about humans and animals? Could it be a strong backing from an early age by Disney movies? Why are so many people these days claiming to hate all human beings, going as far as to wish their own extinction?

Many animal rights-minded individuals, as well as those who aren't, have developed the mentality that people are evil, and that the human race is a 'cancer'. They will proudly declare that they care about animals more than humans and that they wouldn’t hesitate to save a non-human over an unspecified Homo sapiens.

This unspecified human, of course, is never their own parents, friends or potential offspring that they almost always have in the future despite hating them. Often, these types of people have more human friends than I could ever imagine having. So therefore, their alleged misanthropy is not even sincere.

Many people also believe that non-human animals, and specifically more complex animals like dolphins, are more moral, smarter, friendlier, or have a considerately more advanced society than humans. And they aren't joking.

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Progressive?

Our society has now adopted the mindset that if you don't believe certain animals to be magnificent, wondrous, and spiritual you should be seen as a brutish, ignorant caveman. In contrast, human hating is a progressive mindset.

You will be applauded if you yell out juvenile sentiment such as: "humans are a virus!". "Humans should learn from animals how to treat one and other" (often said in the presence of a sensationalized, perceived animal friendship, discussed below), and the idea that humans are the only animals that: commit genocide, kill for fun, persecute others in the name of religion, destroy their environment, and judge each other. A prime example are the comments within this silly article (and I can't tell if it's meant to be taken seriously or not). The irony is that these statements are often made by an author believing they are taking an alternative, revolutionary stance while commenters saying anything a tad different will be labeled as a person who hates animals and has no soul.

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"I prefer animals over people"

This is a common stance of dog and cat lovers, not to be confused with animal lovers. True animal lovers are rare because it requires a love for everything within the kingdom Animalia, and this includes spiders, yellow jackets, and mosquitoes. OK, maybe animal lovers do not exist. I love all three but I don't qualify because I dislike dolphins.

Other people may make this statement during a current time when a fellow human has wronged them in some way or if they read a sad story regarding human unpleasantness on the news.

Dogs are often praised for their unconditional love and devotion to their owners. They do not judge you, they're always happy when you return, and they seem to possess endless, positive energy, cheering up their owners on the darkest days.

Yet, how is unconditional love a good thing? Aren't the things that make our human relationships meaningful due to the connection we make based on our individualism and not the fact that we're simply alive? Don't get me wrong, the appreciation shown to us by dogs can be nice, but I do not believe that people actually want a friend or spouse that has these indiscriminate qualities. I also do not like the idea that some dogs may walk up to a home invader with their tails wagging, or could be just as happy with a new owner, getting over me in about a week. Do people really wish that humans had not enough intelligence to judge one and another?

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Do dolphins have superior societies to humans??

The devotion to the belief that dolphins have some form of superiority over humans is practically religious in nature. I have come to refer to it as ‘dolphinism’. While cognitive research with dolphins has revealed some impressive things about them, there is a pressing need for people to be able to determine the differences between an educated and objective interpretation of the data, and one which is emotionally-driven and factually bankrupt.

Sadly, it seems as though even intellectual minds have fallen victim to a mentality that favors projecting high intelligence to animals because it feels emotionally 'correct' (or has been stated by a charismatic speaker) and not because it makes sense.

To illustrate my points, I will list here some rather silly claims stated by Tom White, author of Right and Wrong and Discovering Philosophy, and In Defense of Dolphins and I will answer them with common sense thoughts on humans and animals.

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Zoe (interviewer): "In your book, you ask why, if we humans think we’re so smart, we’re still all killing each other. That’s not very intelligent. Why we’re getting this so screwed up when the dolphins seem to have their act together? "

T.W. (author): Well, whales and dolphins have been around for a much longer time than hum-"

Me: STOP!!!! Yet another educated person who does not understand evolution, which has nothing to do with 'intelligence', 'society' or peacefulness (which dolphins clearly aren't!), nor does he understand the concept of 'intelligence', which has nothing to do with 'getting along with each other'.

Here, the author implies that our failed struggle for peace is due to our own shortcomings with learning ability, while cetaceans have long since conquered this battle because they've had more time to accomplish this. What a fallacy. In reality, dolphins and humans are profoundly different animals that have evolved different forms of intelligence and cognition, with humans clearly being extremely and incontestably the most intelligent. Why? Because we are conscious enough to control our being over instinctually guided and innate behaviors that make dolphin 'societies' what they are. There was no point when cetaceans had societies like ours.

Fish seems to be the motivating factor toward most of dolphins' actions.
Fish seems to be the motivating factor toward most of dolphins' actions. | Source

T.W.: On the other hand, you look at whales and dolphins, and you see big brains, and they don’t overpopulate, they don’t overfish, they seem to have found a way to manage long term survivability of the species, and they don’t go around killing one another. There can be some really rough stuff going on, but it stops before killing and humans don’t do that.

Me: Oh brother. As if a dolphin or any animal could intentionally 'overfish'. They eat their fill as usual (they don't have refrigerators) and it just so happens that there aren't too many of them because nature tends to work that way. Humans on the other hand are overpopulated because they've learned how to domesticate plants and animals, combat disease, and create other innovations. Not only are dolphins physically incapable of doing this, the idea that they can perceive the idea of domestication is substantially suspect. Why do animals always get praised for what they are incapable of doing while it is also touted as a moral action of theirs?

Dolphins also do not often kill their own species (except for occasional infanticide, move along, nothing to see here), but this is a trait that the species has evolved, not some friendly and conscious pact that they've made. No dolphin has ever considered the path of deviancy. Dolphins probably do not think about the moral ramifications of killing small porpoises, while some humans may trip themselves trying not to step on ants (I'm one of them). In my view, morality cannot exist without the ability of the holder to deviate from it.

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Two bonobos admiring a baby, enlarged clitoris visible.
Two bonobos admiring a baby, enlarged clitoris visible. | Source

Conflict Resolution

Animals are a hugely diverse group of organisms that resolve conflict in different ways, or perhaps not at all. In layman terms, evolution basically results in a plan for animals that works, not one which is most emotionally appealing to a single species (humans). Some animals are completely solitary and will not tolerate the presence of a conspecific except strictly under breeding conditions. Famously, a praying mantis female will proceed to consume its mate after copulation.

Other animals are more social, but perhaps still violent. Chimpanzees and bonobos (or pygmy chimpanzee) are our closest relatives, but you tend to hear about the former more often. This may be because bonobos have a more 'peaceful' society in which they resolve conflict through sex, while chimpanzees, who do not, may kill members of their troop. I've heard people romanticize this a few times, thinking that would be an ideal way of life for us (for peace, and other reasons), but how many people want to 'copulate' with their own relatives and younger children to keep peace? Evident in the female bonobo's morphology are enlarged sexual organs that have evolved as a result of the species' matriarchy and social engagement rituals. Bonobos do not 'choose' their behaviors, and people often reveal their lack of understanding toward inherent species traits when they imply that we should (impossibly) alter our fundamental nature.

Uhh...
Uhh... | Source

Animal Friendships: "Why can't we be more like them?"

Oh boy, the comment section for any video or story describing an uncommon animal-animal friendship is painful to read. For each one, it is inevitably written more than once that: why can't humans learn to get along this way? Why do humans lack the compassion that animals clearly possess based on this video that features an uncommon relationship (because if it were a common occurrence it wouldn't be on the news now would it?).


Take for instance, for an extreme example, a video of a captive born chimpanzee, tiger, and wolf playing together. You may observe a hair-rippingingly frustrating comment like this:

"While animals of different species seem to find ways to get along humans are still busy destroying the world...."

To add insult to injury, this 'heart-warming' video is actually a video of unfortunate animals that live under the care of the exotic animal captivity supporter troll Joe Schreibvogel, notorious for over-breeding exotic animals, lying about other animal facilities, lying about being an advocate against live feeding, lying to the public to receive donations, lying, (did I mention lying?), and producing some of the most cringe-inducing photos of himself that one can see. The attention was just some rare publicity for his ethically questionable operation.

Another dumb phrase: "animals are more 'human' than us"

What an absurd statement this is! The only animal that can be the most human is well, a HUMAN! Because we are what the definition is, and if an animal is 'more human' than us, then that animal is a human and we aren't! The word 'human' simply denotes that our DNA is that of a Homo sapien. It has nothing to do with any perceived compassion or kindness.

But anyway, the main point here is that juvenile animals bred in captivity will play together. They are not 'BFFs' (as they are described in this Huffington Post article) or looking past their differences. These highly instinctual and territorial animals would shed major blood if re-introduced with each other upon their sexual maturity. Baby mammals know nothing more other then play and exploration. The particular animals in the video are being thrown together for photo ops.

Other 'animal friendships' occur, and this may be due to a corrupted instinct. It is common and annoying to see dogs on the news that have adopted non-dogs (baby cheetahs, squirrels, ducklings, ect.) because they were nursing and were instinctually inclined to do so. Some female lionesses have also adopted ill-fated baby antelope which were always inevitably consumed by other lions or the new mothers themselves when the babies died of starvation. People still found a way to find this heart-warming.

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Are animals SMARTER?

I've written substantially on the subject of dolphins because even some should-be-credible scientists often claim or insinuate that their intelligence may meet or exceed that of Homo sapiens.

Many people like to say "human's aren't as smart as they think they are!" or "humans are actually the dumbest animals", which I'm inclined to believe because we have an intelligent animal questioning its own intelligence while failing to realize that such self-reflection (and subsequent self-loathing) is a complex cognitive trait, unlikely to be possessed by other animals.

The biggest issue here is that once again, compassion, generosity, and other nice words are equated with intelligence. We know that octopuses are intelligent, but are they compassionate? Intelligence is a diverse word, and it comes in many forms. I think it's safe to say that humans pass all the tests, including possessing empathy. Sure, the levels seem to vary from person to person, but that just shows that we are capable of not being as empathetic (or acting out on it) which shows we have a choice.

Humans are capable of respect for creatures that are much smaller than them.
Humans are capable of respect for creatures that are much smaller than them. | Source

Humans have no compassion!

Ok, let's just get one thing straight. You, the reader, have you never helped an animal before in your life? Not likely. How many members of any other species can say they've helped a species other then their own? Yeah, not a lot. So how about ceasing making such obviously fact-lacking, specious statements just to highlight your current doom-and-gloom mentality right before you go out to eat with all those horrific human friends of yours?

It's true, people never help animals

Animals don't have wars! (Thank you Family Guy)

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Comments 131 comments

John Schloemor 3 years ago

Two great hubs, one day. I honestly find it sad that people say the things mentioned in the article. I mean, really, we are clearly smarter and, generally, more caring than animals. Just like any omnivore we kill to eat sometimes, but we also care for animals and protect them.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks John!


Aarushi Verma profile image

Aarushi Verma 3 years ago from Greater Noida

Its really good hub....


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks


JG11Bravo profile image

JG11Bravo 3 years ago

Good hub. I particularly enjoyed the conclusion, and I give you attitude on the subject a thumbs up.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Haha, thanks JG11Bravo.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Nice hub. I do not love all animals either. Spiders are one animal that I am very un-loving to!

We should treat animals with love and respect, but ultimately as you alluded to throughout your hub, they creatures of instinct.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for commenting Rodric29. Yes, animals have much higher degrees of instinct. The pro-animal superiority crowd may split hairs at this statement, so I have to say that they are not purely instinct, but they do not have much control over their behaviors, even the 'higher' animals.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 3 years ago

LOL I enjoyed this very much as your writing was very engaging. As much as I can appreciate animals (and even love a few I know personally), I just don't see them as 'better' than humans. The idea that their actions are out of some kind of deliberate compassion or understanding of how nice peace on earth would be doesn't work for me. You're funny & make good points.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm so glad to hear that Wiccan Sage, I was hoping this wasn't only amusing to myself, haha. Thanks a lot.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Sharp analysis. Yes, I have heard such remarks. Such people are on an entirely different sphere.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Yup, thanks gm.


will 3 years ago

we are animals so the title is kind of a misnomer...

kind of like saying are "animals superior to animals"...

see what i mean???


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm aware of that Will. If someone says to you "don't go in that building, there are animals running around inside" would you assume they were referring to humans? In this case and context the word 'animals' shall refer to non-human animals. It rolls off the tongue more easily. You will see that I refer to them as 'non-humans' in the actual writing.


skibee11 3 years ago

1) "ranging from both the not-to-bright to highly educated" - Presuming that what you meant to write was "not TOO bright," this isn't the best way to start an article trying to show that humans have supreme intelligence, especially considering that more than likely you, in your opinion, fall into the latter group of those highly educated.

2) "the idea that humans are the only animals that: commit genocide, kill for fun, persecute others in the name of religion, destroy their environment, and judge each other" - The "idea" that humans are the only animals that do all of the aforementioned? Am I to then believe that, say, dogs or chipmunks have fought religious wars? If so, wouldn't the subsequent knowledge that dogs and chipmunks believe in religion disprove your opinion that animals (other than humans) would never be capable of doing something like that b/c they're not intelligent enough?

3) "I also do not like the idea that some dogs could be just as happy with a new owner, getting over me in about a week." - Is this not applicable to humans? Have humans not shown very similar actions? Have countless humans not been just as happy (or even happier) w/ a new boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse about a week after leaving another, or even while they're in a relationship with another?

4) "There was no point when cetaceans had societies like ours." - Based on what?

5) "Humans on the other hand are overpopulated because they've learned how to domesticate plants and animals, combat disease, and create other innovations. The idea that [dolphins] can perceive the idea of domestication is substantially suspect." - Again, it's "substantially suspect" based on what? How can you possibly know what dolphins think?

6) "No dolphin has ever considered the path of deviancy." - And again, you know this how? Have you studied every dolphin that has ever lived? Just because you haven't witnessed it, or it hasn't been recorded, doesn't mean it hasn't happened. You know what they say about trees falling in the woods, right?

7) "Bonobos do not 'choose' their behaviors." - And one more time, I wonder how you know this.

8) "Self-reflection is a complex cognitive trait, unlikely to be possessed by other animals." - Your beliefs, opinions and suppositions of what you deem likely and unlikely are all well and good, in the context that living in a society where you can voice them is awesome, but the fact that you back up none of them with evidence, facts, statistics, studies or science clearly fail you in putting forth an argument that's worth anything.

9) "How many members of any other species can say they've helped a species other then their own? Yeah, not a lot." - One more time, this statement is based on what?

10) "So how about ceasing making such obviously fact-lacking, specious statements..." - Can you please highlight the facts in your post? I seem to be unable to find many.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

1) So you feel that I am poorly educated (or humans do not have "supreme intelligence") because I made a spelling error? I think you've shown just how narrow-minded you are about the concept of intelligence. I don't think any amount of schooling will stop me from making occasional spelling/grammatical errors, because I am not a robot, and I can guarantee you that there are more errors. I understand the proper conjugation of the word 'too', but sometimes things slip while I write. Sometimes I might actually even misspell a word(!). If you've never done this before, you are unique, perhaps an autistic savant, but people with such extreme focus on one dry, non-thought provoking element of cognition are likely to be short in more important areas. Humans are absolutely not flawless in everything they do, but they are innovative and create their own societies (and grammatical rules). I would like to see another ape do this.

2) You misunderstood, animals absolutely do not do these things. Other people have these ideas (that animals choose not to have religious wars) and they are absurd.

3) I don't understand your comparison. Boy/girl friend relationships are meant to be terminated if it isn't working out. That is not at all like the relationship between a dog and its owner. It's more comparable to getting a 'new mother' vs. your old one. If you don't have permanent emotion over that, I would assume your mother must have been terrible to you.

4) I don't know, lack of fossil evidence? I don't see how this one can be more obvious.

5) I can't, but I write that it is "substantially suspect" based on their other shortcomings. If a dolphin could understand artificial selection (something that is not intuitively known), I don't see why they couldn't basically read and communicate with us.

6) Then perhaps it hasn't happened often enough to be discovered even once while it's extremely easy to find human examples. The burden of proof lies on you.

7) I did point out the evolutionary mechanisms (that have resulted in a change to their morphology) that have led to their behaviors, as well as complete lack of deviation of this behavior (in the wild).

8) Well most of the studies done do suggest this, and it's only challengeable with a small number of species. It is rather hard to test for, I agree. A lot of this is my gut feeling as well, based on knowing animals (and without having faith for their abilities).

9) OK, now this is getting silly. Many humans tirelessly document thousands of animals, and miraculous forms of altruism with other species are rarely, if ever reported. Those that are are suspect (like the lion and antelope example). I place the burden of proof on the rare, isolated cases. This is why I do not believe in things like telekinesis. I cannot say it's never been done, and there are claims it has been done, but based on complete lack of consistency with these claims and no one there to demonstrate even one person who can do it without a bunch of silly conditions, I staunchly believe it is impossible. The issue with people who believe we can't know things about animals is that they have a faith that motivates their beliefs. Why do humans go nuts when they (believe) they've found evidence of human-like benevolence with an animal? Because in their heart (perhaps their subconscious), they didn't think it existed. Otherwise they would say "so? that's obvious". It's obvious they have 'emotions' and it's obvious they can feel physical pain. But meta-cognition to our extent? Not having this is exactly what makes them animals (or makes us human, aside from DNA). I don't see why an ape (an animal that is extremely similar to us, unlike a dolphin) couldn't basically be a member of our society when raised from infancy by a human (it's been attempted many times).

10) Again, burden of proof. If you tell me that bees can teleport, I will immediately say, no they can't. Don't tell me to prove it or ask me how much studies I've done with bees. If you think I've stated no facts, so be it.


skibee11 3 years ago

1) Hahaha. Yes, clearly "I" am the one who is narrow-minded about intelligence, when YOU are the one who disbelieves the intelligence capabilities of animals other than humans. Makes a lot of sense.

2) Right, if other animals "absolutely do not [have religious wars]," then how can you argue w/ the people that say humans are the only animals that have religious wars? You just agreed with it!

3) A dog getting a new owner is "more comparable to getting a new mother versus your old one." (Of course by old I presume you mean biological, or perhaps preferred if you're raised in a string of foster care homes). You then write, "If you don't have permanent emotion over that, I would assume (there's the word again that you like to use so much in debates) your mother must have been terrible to you." What about those people who were adopted at a young age or as a baby and never even knew their biological (or old, as you might say) mother, and therefore harbor no ill will and feelings that she was terrible. How can someone attribute terribleness to another person they've never heard of, interacted with or experienced before?

4) My question was, "based on what?" Your response: "I don't know." Exactly. (And before you come back and accuse me of not understanding sarcasm, I most certainly do, and I understand you were using it. I just find it hilarious that you admitted in a roundabout, albeit "cheeky" way of saying you don't know). Again, a lack of evidence does not mean something never happened. Do I need to bring up the tree falling in the woods again?

5) You are gravely mistaken if you think dolphins can't communicate with humans. Have you NEVER seen a documentary on dolphins, a show at Sea World or Youtube videos showing dolphins' interaction with humans? Just because dolphins don't communicate in the way you do (spoken or written word), does not mean they do not communicate. Hellen Keller didn't read words on a page like we do. Does that mean she couldn't read? Deaf people use sign language rather than their ears to understand what someone is saying. Does that mean they can't hear? Dolphins use their body language and voices to communicate with humans, and they most certainly "read" the signs and signals humans give them when they're training them. If you don't believe that, then how do dolphins know what to do in a Sea World show? Oh...maybe you think it's just their innate biology to jump up and touch balls that are hanging in the air w/ their nose? Right, because they do that all the time in the wild.

6) You say burden of proof, I say you can't prove a negative.

7) Evolution and morphological change do not articulate one way or another if someone or something is able to choose its behaviors.

8) Here we go again with your "gut feelings." Okay, I concede, I will not be able to convey a logical, articulate, reasonable argument to any of your points b/c they are merely your unchangeable assumptions, gut feelings and thoughts.

9) Living in the same society (as you think an ape and human should be able to do) has nothing to do with my question about how you know how animals, other than humans, have or haven't helped animals of different species from themselves.

10) You have stated many gut feelings and assumptions and thoughts.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I think you misunderstood my statement about religious wars (the fact that you're dwelling on it shows you might be one of the people I'm writing about in this article). Humans ARE the only animals that have religious wars, yes, this is a fact. The reason I think this is a silly thing to say is because it's often stated negatively, as though having war or religion is 'stupid'. No, it's not.

As for the adoption thing, I was not talking about humans in early development. In fact, I think it's plausible to compare the cognition of animals and human infants, which I think you will agree, early human infants are far less 'intelligent' (self-aware, possessing meta-cognition) than human adults (or even humans aged 3+). I think it has been found that babies do not even have object permanence (the ability to know an object that you can't see exists).

"You are gravely mistaken if you think dolphins can't communicate with humans."

Ok, I think you need to catch up a little on animal behavior and other concepts. Dolphins know what to do at Seaworld because of something called operant conditioning, which is a form of associative learning. All mammals are capable of this. I'll try to make this simple: teach a dog to 'sit', a dog learns that sitting when the word 'sit' is said, equals a treat. They become conditioned to do this, but they do NOT know what 'sit' actually means. Dolphin training is not the communication I'm referring to.

What humans do is astronomically different from other animals, we express ideas, exchange information about our mental states, we can speak of the future, the past, and communicate about abstract concepts. Can we ask a dolphin "would you prefer to live in the ocean or Seaworld?" No we can't. Trust me, all of this has been experimented with by some crazy dolphin scientists in the past. Please please don't tell me it's just because we aren't smart enough to learn their 'language'. I don't see them trying particularly hard to learn ours. Why is this important? I think an intelligent animal, and certainly one raised with humans, could pick up the fact that our words have important meaning (regarding its treatment), and start to communicate *on its own volition. Some animals have been language trained (by humans of course), like chimps, but chimps cannot understand the concept of a talking language, even if they have the tools to do it (chimps do not have a voice box like ours but trust me, if they wanted to grunt something it would happen). I don't care if they ended up like Curious George, murmuring our words to the best of their ability but clearly knowing what they want to say. That would certainly be good enough for me.

Dolphins actually do better than chimps with things like symbols. Thanks for bringing up Helen Keller, it shows how a human that has extremely important means of communication removed is still able to communicate in a very, obviously profoundly intelligent, human way. I would find it easier to deal with being in a chimp or dolphin body actually.

Animals live in the *present. They solve problems regarding their immediate, basic needs. I'm going to tell you right now that there IS evidence of basic meta-cognition in some animals (such as future planning), but they are all applicable to the NOW, and/or simplistic food-inquiring needs.

I cannot begin to perceive an animal being anywhere near 'intelligent' as us without it being evident in their BEHAVIOR. That defies logic. What is an 'animal'? Why can't they talk to us? Why can no animal on the planet besides humans draw something that depicts an object in the real world (even with encouragement)? There are reasons. This isn't a Disney movie where they are secretly smart and having amusing conversations behind our backs. Animals have limited meta-cognition, or they might not have ANY.

Animals do not **routinely** help other species, that is an absurd proposition. I'm not even saying that there isn't some evidence for some of the concepts I've explained to you in certain animals, but I bet even the most staunch animal rights activist scientist/ethologist agrees with me on this. So I'm putting my foot down there. Even the peaceful bonobos mentioned in the article munch on monkeys instead of embracing (and trying to force down the throats of others) veganism like so many humans do. We've observed animals for thousands of years and they are not 'hiding' their human-like behavior from us. That's r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s.


skibee11 2 years ago

"Why can no animal on the planet besides humans draw something that depicts an object in the real world (even with encouragement)?"

Clearly you're not familiar with elephants that can paint:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He7Ge7Sogrk

Let me guess, you're going to argue the word "draw" with the reality that the elephant "painted" instead. Or wait, maybe the elephant is really a couple of humans inside an elephant costume. Or, I know, maybe the elephant really isn't on the planet. Or I suppose you think the object the elephant painted--another elephant holding flowers in its trunk--is not really an object in the real world. Or maybe it's really just a Disney movie with an incredibly realistic Thai village set.

What are your "thoughts" and "gut feelings" and "assumptions" and "trust me" sentiments about this?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Skibee11- Lol, then why do I have an article about such a thing? http://hubpages.com/education/buy-art-painted-by-a...

These elephants are trained. They do not know what they are doing, aside from gaining a treat or praise.


skibee11 2 years ago

"Why can no animal on the planet besides humans draw something that depicts an object in the real world (even with encouragement)?"

What, then, is your definition of encouragement, if not a treat or praise?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

By that, I meant to address the impending claim that animals don't draw because it is not relevant to their species (i.e, it's unfair to judge them by a human desire!), and therefore I gave them the option of being 'encouraged' to draw on their on volition (teaching them the concept so they could do it on their own) like a chimp being taught to consistently use silverware. Elephants don't paint being aware of the meaning of their painting (i.e, a child draws a stick figure to represent a human). They are taught to replicate shapes (I have no idea how). As you can see, no elephants from other countries do this, because we don't know their training method (I guess), but it is operant conditioning at hand here again (ill guide you to draw this specific line = treat), as SeaWorld dolphins are trained (tap the water with a buoy stick, jump here--put the buoy higher, higher jump--buoy stick plus command for spin equals jump spin). I've even taught my genet to follow a target training buoy. No meaning is necessary to learn this.

http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/elephantpaint...


skibee11 2 years ago

So humans aren't taught anything from other humans? A human who grows up in the woods w/ monkeys and never sees another human, never sees a human drawing or painting, would be able to paint? That's what you're saying, based on that painting and drawing is an innate human ability. I'm arguing that just like elephants, humans are taught these kinds of things by other humans.


skibee11 2 years ago

Again, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN ELEPHANT THINKS? I just don't understand how you can make claims like, "Elephants don't paint being aware of the meaning of their painting, but a child draws a stick figure to represent a human."

Furthermore, are humans not taught to replicate shapes, or not taught how to use silverware? Are humans not trained to do things like say "thank you" if someone gives them something, or sit quietly if they are receiving a lesson, or anything else that I know very well humans are most certainly taught and trained to do? Are humans not given positive feedback for correctly doing things that are taught to them? Or, conversely, negative feedback for doing what they are not trained to do, or trained not to do? What's the point of gold stars in class, or grades, or marks if not to provide a reinforcement for taught behavior? I'm sure you have some thought or gut feeling or assumption on how this is different, b/c you just refuse to see the similarities between animals. And I'm not going to say between animals and humans b/c humans are animals.

Finally, your admittance of not understanding how elephants are taught to replicate shapes shows your lack in understanding their intelligence and their capabilities based on it! What don't you understand about this? You don't know how they know or learn how to do it because, let me emphasize this once again b/c it clearly doesn't seem to be getting through, YOU DON'T KNOW HOW OTHER ANIMALS THINK!!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

OK, your devoted faith to seeing animals as 'intelligent' will not be toppled by logic, so I'll bow out now.


skibee11 2 years ago

Humans = animals. Humans = intelligent. Animals = intelligent.

And again, you have failed to use any research, studies, science, etc. (all of which are LOGIC-based) to exemplify any of your beliefs (which is faith-based). Your hypocrisy is palatable.


cwolf20 2 years ago

Wow, skibee. Just wow.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

cwolf20--Skibee is an example of the mentality I describe.


skibee11 2 years ago

I was trying to put it in as simple of terms as possible for you, Melissa, b/c you seem to be completely incapable of understanding anything I've said. You said "animals" aren't intelligent. I said that humans are animals (as they are). And humans are intelligent (though this is certainly debatable in the case of many humans). Therefore animals are intelligent. At the very least, animals of the human variety. Typically, there is error in making generalized statements as you seem to so often make, and I was pointing out the error of your generalized statement.

And again, you STILL have not backed up your "logic" with any facts, statistics, studies, research, etc. You clearly seem to be much more interested in being condescending.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

It's not debatable at all skibee. Whether or not that was a joke, you obviously have hatred of humans and perceive me as 'insulting' animals, and that is why I wrote this article. Humans (every last one of them) could be the most undisputed a-holes of the universe and still be the most intelligent/self-aware/cognitively sophisticated animal. I think there is no way once can define intelligence rationally without humans coming out on top. This is something that you're going to have to accept, even if you won't do it publicly here.

What kind of studies are you requesting? Are you prepared to tell me that you will drop your position and concur with mine if I find you some that back up what I'm saying? The answer is yes or no, and that will determine my next action.


skibee11 2 years ago

Oh, please. I hardly have hatred for humans. I have hatred (and then not even that, as that's a pretty strong word I seldom use) for ignorance in humans.

I have not once stated that humans are not the most intelligent and cognitively sophisticated animal species, nor have I specifically suggested another animal species to have superior intelligence to that of humans. I have merely pointed out several times that your arguments for humans being the most intelligent species, and also denouncing cognition on any level in any other species, are based only on your thoughts, hunches and gut feelings, which do not a good or convincing argument make. In addition, I have asserted that you have absolutely no idea of how and what other animal species think, as you can no more understand how or know what I, a member of your own species, think. You clearly seem to argue the point that animals other than humans are not capable of knowing anything outside of what is either in their biology or taught to them by humans. To me, this most certainly seems insulting, as once again, you simply have no way of knowing what they think, nor do you back up your assumptions with any kind of facts, studies or science.

I'm not sure if your overall intent with your blog and posts is to a) be as condescending and self-righteous to as many strangers as possible, b) defend to random people in the blogosphere your reason(s) for having exotic pets, c) write posts you know will be controversial b/c you get a joy from it or d) all of the above. What you have succeeded in is being obstinate and close-minded, and someone who makes baseless arguments just to stir up controversy. Congratulations. What a wonderful list of attributes to have.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No response to my question, can't say I'm surprised. I do not denounce animal cognition on 'any level', you've conjured that up yourself. You do not really understand how cognition studies work. It's not that I know 'what' you think, but rather that I know THAT you think, and that you have the cognition to formulate your opinions and write with language, understanding the meaning of these words, as opposed to associative learning. We know that animals do not. Elephants are taught to replicate shapes but do not understand the meaning. Elephants do not have the abstract ability to then apply the process of replicating the elephant shape to creating one of say a monkey on their own, which they have not been trained to do. If they could do that, it would show a deeper understanding of their world (I'm sure a cognitive psychologist could write this more eloquently). Even humans in early childhood can recognize shapes and associate them with real things.

"I have not once stated that humans are not the most intelligent and cognitively sophisticated animal species"

You DID state that it's "debatable". It's not.


skibee11 2 years ago

I request a study that shows animals, let's say orcas or bonobos or orangutans, as you've mentioned them a time or two, that PROVES they don't have cognition in the sense that they understand what they're doing. Show me a study that PROVES elephants don't have the abstract ability to apply the process of replicating the elephant shape to creating one of, say, a monkey on their own.

Furthermore, can you show me an example of a human who has lived in COMPLETE isolation from any single other human and knows how to draw shapes and actually understand what they mean? Humans are taught by other humans. A three-year-old human can be taught how to draw the solar system, but do you have any proof that the three-year-old actually understands that he/she is drawing the solar system, and what it all means? In something akin to your famous words, "I highly doubt that." If you then want to contend that you stand by your previous statement that baby humans are at about the same level of intelligence as other animals (like orcas or orangutans), then can you please enlighten me as to how a three-year-old can take an INTELLIGENCE quotient test and earn a score that will be very close to what it the score will be when he/she is an adult? If a three-year-old registers a certain IQ (one that basically doesn't change throughout his/her life), why doesn't someone w/ such intelligence understand that he/she is drawing the solar system?

Finally, something is most certainly debatable until it is PROVED otherwise. So, PROVE (w/ an example, a study, scientific reasoning, anything besides your mere hunch or opinion or assumption) that it is not debatable.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Before I do this work I must have my answer to the question.


skibee11 2 years ago

If this is the question of which you speak, "What kind of studies are you requesting?" then my answer is the one I already wrote: "I request a study that shows animals, let's say orcas or bonobos or orangutans, as you've mentioned them a time or two, that PROVES they don't have cognition in the sense that they understand what they're doing. Show me a study that PROVES elephants don't have the abstract ability to apply the process of replicating the elephant shape to creating one of, say, a monkey on their own."

In short, show me a study that proves elephants do not have the ability to understand they're painting elephants.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No, it was: "Are you prepared to tell me that you will drop your position and concur with mine if I find you some that back up what I'm saying? The answer is yes or no, and that will determine my next action."


skibee11 2 years ago

Yes, on the premise that you're willing to open your mind up to the idea that animal species other than humans are able to be self-aware and cognitive if/when you aren't able to find any hard evidence to backup your close-minded assumptions.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Fine, I will get back to you later, however, I think this article which I thought you read reveals that I do understand that other animals are 'cognitive'/'self-aware'.


skibee11 2 years ago

This article describes studies that have been conducted that counteract some of your thoughts/assumptions/gut feelings: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/animal-m...

1) YOU: No dolphin has ever considered the path of deviancy. Dolphins probably do not think about the moral ramifications of killing small porpoises, while some humans may trip themselves trying not to step on ants. In my view, morality cannot exist without the ability of the holder to deviate from it.

ARTICLE: Birds, too, can cheat. Laboratory studies show that western scrub jays can know another bird’s intentions and act on that knowledge. A jay that has stolen food itself, for example, knows that if another jay watches it hide a nut, there’s a chance the nut will be stolen. So the first jay will return to move the nut when the other jay is gone.

ME: Sure, the article speaks of a bird being deviant, not a dolphin, but that's not really the point. The point is that animals (aside from humans) do have the ability to be deviant, and therefore moral, or amoral, as the case seems to be, which shows a higher level of intelligence.

2) YOU: Bonobos do not 'choose' their behaviors...

ARTICLE: In the wild, primatologists have seen apes hide food from the alpha male or have sex behind his back.

ME: This demonstrates deviancy and choosing a specific behavior.

3) YOU: ...self-reflection (and subsequent self-loathing) is a complex cognitive trait, unlikely to be possessed by other animals.

ARTICLE: They readily imitated motor behaviors of their instructors too. If a trainer bent backward and lifted a leg, dolphin would turn on its back and lift its tail in the air. Although imitation was once regarded as a simpleminded skill, in recent years cognitive scientists have revealed that it’s extremely difficult, requiring the imitator to form a mental image of the other person’s body and pose, then adjust his own body parts into the same position—actions that imply an awareness of one’s self.

ME: Scientists who study cognition might know a thing or two about cognition.

This is just one of numerous articles that highlight studies, research and science that show the level of intelligence, self-awareness, cognitive abilities, categorizing, problem solving and more exhibited in many animal species.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Woah skibee11, this is getting a little tiresome. You are attempting to refute your invalid interpretations of what I've said.

1.) That statement of mine about dolphins is about morality. The scrub jay example is evidence for their 'theory of mind' (i.e, the ability of an animal to understand that another being has a mind that operates separately from its own), and zero evidence that they possess understanding of a form of morality. Scrub jays do not possess morality.

2.) You've taken my statement out of context. 'Bonobos do not choose their behaviors' was in reference to their society which is built on sex to maintain peace. I said that only to explain how ridiculous it is that people think we should emulate the societies of animals when animals have natural evolution to thank for their societies and we cannot 'force' ourselves into one.

3.) I don't see what mimicry has to do with self-loathing introspection. Why are you having trouble separating 'having a mental picture of a person's body and adjusting it to fit their own' with emotional distress stemming from consideration of a self-imposed moral violation that has impacted other entities and the environment? Don't you see that these are two dramatically different processes?

Yes, there are levels of cognition. Scrub jays have exhibited more evidence for 'theory of mind' over all other animals. One thing you need to understand is that possessing -fragments- of higher cognition do not equal equivalency to humans. It is common for people to tell me this animal does this and this animal does that, without finding a single animal that does it ALL. These attributes are dispersed across the animal kingdom and none of them come close to human abilities unless you are talking to a scientist that is animal eccentric and suffering from the traits I describe in this article.


aRationalist 2 years ago

Wow I'm surprised no one has pointed out that the statement "Humans = animals. Humans = intelligent. Animals = intelligent" is a major logical fallacy. Or maybe refuting it was a fruit so low-hanging as to be left to the reader in which case, apologies for even pointing it out!

Props to this hub for exposing a mental endemic symptomatic of an over-privileged minority who have completely detached from reality, and who feel compelled to collectively exercise their intellectual deficiency (As is often manifested through knee-jerk attacks towards naysayers, by way of unscientific appeals towards emotions and pre-emptive ad-hominem remarks).

It is upsetting in that special kind of way normally hard to describe -- but these pages sum it up perfectly!


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Lol, your comment was a breath of fresh air while living in Beijing. I'll admit that I didn't even think about the nature of that comment because it seemed so silly I was sure I was reading it incorrectly. But now I see that it is the equivalent of concluding: sponges = animals, sponges = sessile, animals = sessile. Haha, that was a nerdy example but it works.


Amber 2 years ago

Hi,

I actually commented on another one of your articles just a while ago about my interest in your posts. I agree that most/if not all non human animals are not cognitively on par with humans. (I hold reservation simply because I'm not omniscient and think reservation is a good rule of thumb generally).

I did read someone make the point that most human behavior is in fact learned behavior. I.e. Using utensils, reading, writing, even what we consider speech. I think you would agree this is true (?) and so I'm curious if you would think that because we are biologically 'animals' we are also being trained for rewards. Our rewards are just different because of our higher/more robust awareness.

I guess I mean to say do you think it's possible that we learn behavior at least in part to gain societal reward (acceptance, money, love, etc) as opposed to base reward (food, treats, etc). And would you consider this evidence of similarity to the non human behavior or evidence of human superiority or both?

Ps. I am not attempting a debate, I think your are thoughtful in your opinions and am simply curious for your thoughts.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Hi Amber, all animals pretty much operate for the same reasons (survival, and enhancing fitness unconsciously), I think the substantial point is that animals cannot simply learn our behavior because of their cognitive deficiencies, despite even being motivated. The reason is because of currently not fully understood qualities to our brains. Yes we did learn everything, that is exactly why we are impressive in the animal kingdom, because to operate to our level requires sophisticated meta cognitive abilities that animals either do not have or have small traces. Humans have the tools to accomplish our type of learning, causing completely novel innovations.

"I hold reservation simply because I'm not omniscient and think reservation is a good rule of thumb generally"

I think this is a good rule to have. I place the burden of proof towards people who insist that animals are 'similar' to us when there's piles of observational evidence that it isn't so.


Amber 2 years ago

That seems like a reasonable assessment.

I agree that human intelligence and cognition is the most advanced on the planet. I think what makes people so adamant about animals being so close to us is some sort of innate need to connect with the world around us. And there are definitely higher functioning animals that share a greater portion of similarities to humans than other species, which makes people yearn to connect with them even more so. For example the cetaceans and elephants, and of course our domesticated house pets. I personally believe that there are species whose intellect we have yet to fully understand, and like you said we haven't fully grasped what happens in our own minds so I can imagine we aren't quite sure about all animal thought processes (when/if they occur).

I can understand too why people experience some sort of self hatred towards humanity too. As the top of the food chain and intellectual heavies on the planet we do have a responsibility to sustain it not for just for wildlife but for ourselves. Perhaps because as the population overreaches the point of sustainable living we consequently prove detrimental to nature and it makes people curious as to why we would in effect do this to our own habitat. Our behaviors as a whole are in many ways self destructive (excessive mining, overpopulation, air pollutants etc) and because animal populations operate within a system of checks and balances people erroneously assume that a role reversal would be the solution.

(Sorry, I'm really sleepy, I may have rambled a bit...)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

That's OK, thanks


anonymous 2 years ago

Since when is it wrong to be a misanthrope?! FYI, not all misanthropes are downright bad people just as not all of them are stupid.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I know, I'm pretty much one too.


MarcosPensar123 2 years ago

Melissa, where the scientific references in your articles???? Your posts are based on your mere opinion. It is impossible take into account when this happen.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

It's funny how I need a reference to say 'bonobos do not choose their behaviors', but people who exclaim that dolphins are more compassionate and intelligent than humans do not.


MarcosPensar123 2 years ago

Funny? Seriously? If you try to convince me that the orcas are happy in captivity, with NO scientific reference, then your posts do not deserve attention. Everything needs to be proven scientifically.

Funny is believe in some article based on a simple faith.

I can send to you many references about consciousness in animals. And the brain of orcas are more complex in limbic system. More than human brains.This area has everything to do with compassionate - this is science. But, seem that you not be interested in serious research. Or is?


john harbinger 2 years ago

Animals are realitively innocent and humans are fully conscious ruthless barbaric bastards.Fact.So I'll put the correct argument here instead of pretentious humanistic blah blah.Name me one atrocity that animals do in constant basis that humans don't do or have repeatedly done when the law is not scaring them.One.I'm waiting.When you try to answer this impossible task I'll count many atrocities that animals in general have never done as far as we study them but humans do repeatedly.And don't forget that the humans have a lot more conscious choice many times,so they are purely evil,but not that glorious as they wish to be,because first and foremost they are slaves to their societies.I challenge you to debate me in what I write.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

That's a ridiculous question John. Read my article again.


john harbinger 2 years ago

How is it ridiculous?I'm proving that humans are much more calculating and evil than any animal can be and much more atrocious.Isn't the spirit of your article that humans have superior morality to animals?I dare say calculating evil is far from it.Why is my question stupid?You are making the comparisons,not me.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Just...stop.


john harbinger 2 years ago

Excuse me but I thought that arguments are to be put forward and discussed.If my language is offensive I can fix it but my argument is still here.So since I see a humanistic gist in your article and a complaint about the ones dishing humanity I want you to prove it and support it.Isn't this the right way for an argument?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"Animals are realitively innocent and humans are fully conscious ruthless barbaric bastards."

Innocence, ruthlessness, and barbarism are all human concepts. Animals are 'innocent' because they can't do any wrong, they don't HAVE morality. Therefore you have nothing to compare humans to. We are the only beings on the planet that think like we do, and we are individuals. Animals -cannot-, and therefore will not commit the 'atrocities' that you have in mind. This is no choice on their part, it is their nature to do or not do the things they do. Therefore, to have our ability to abide by morality would make us inherently evil because not every member of our species abides by the moral code you have in your mind. Therefore there is no such thing as a 'non-evil' species. You wish us to become something that doesn't exist, and can't exist.


john harbinger 2 years ago

Extreme behaviour differs between individual animals and animals can feel sorrow and death.They can also feel fear and loss.So emotionally mammals can have empathy and morality.Not the morality of a lawbook or a stock market,not even that of propaganda.The true one which is not written in books.Now about humans.I don't know why they are evil,and my theories are not important here.What I do know is that your tollerance to evil as a trait of the race since you fully consciously see its existense together with your humanism makes you inexorably evil.Unless I have misjugded something important this is the logical conclusion.


john harbinger 2 years ago

also the word innocent applies to dummies and pups of all races since it implies ignorance and lack of understanding or control of ones actions.So it can apply to animals any time.For the likes of humans we have other words such as malicious,spiteful,egomeniacal,manipulator,deceiver,coward,vain,fake,hypocrite, and a slew of others that animals are too pure to have.Yes on that we agree.So I am still waiting for a trait that puts us above animals in morality.The innocent animals are surely not immoral.The ones with more awareness have nothing as evil as mankind's deeds.SOOO?I'll give you a hint.The only trait that can put as above in morality is to respect them and protect the planet and their habitats as well as have a deep respect on all life.This is the only thing above animal morality and it has nothing to do with your little rant.Your little rant proves the opposite.How blemished is the human race.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

John, empathy is not morality. Neither is fear or loss. Animals are not immoral or moral. They are like human babies. That's all I have to say to you.


Cassandra Cooper 2 years ago

I myself do dislike the human race for destroying the world we depend on and for the morally-questionable people, but hate is too strong a word. That doesn't not mean I don't like the individual, though. I do not dislike every single person individually just for being a human being. When I meet someone, I automatically assume they're a good person unless they give me a reason to think otherwise. I can't deny or overlook the evil we do, but I'm also not stupid enough to say every human is unfeeling or stupid or doesn't help animals. That's a ridiculous thing to think. I only dislike the human race for destroying ecosystems and causing species to go extinct before their time, for being hateful against each other and for being oppressive. But, I also know people can be the exact opposite and preserve important species or help injured animals/people. People can be caring, too.

You have no idea how mad it makes me when people say their pets love each other. They do not, and when you wrap your little baby ball python around your dog's neck you're putting the python in danger of being killed by your dog if it decides to attack. It doesn't make a pretty picture, and it's not heart-warming. When I point this out to them, they're always quick to accuse me of hating the dog when I'm just trying to be logical. I'm just as angry when the tables are turned. You're just asking for trouble when you let a large constrictor such as a reticulated python loose around a puppy, as a certain couple on Facebook learned but probably didn't care. Not only did their puppy pay with its life, but other, responsible owners are paying with their rights at this moment and their actions are certainly not helping. It doesn't matter whether or not your pets have never harmed each other before, they could at any time - they are instinct-driven. I would never let my boa constrictor near a small animal that wasn't food, and I would never let my ball python or garter snake near a predator animal that could kill them. That goes for all my future animals as well.

The amount of infuriating fallacies (my favorite is the thought that humans have somehow become biologically connected with dogs and cats and as such we instinctively view them as our own - or maybe that animals are sexually pure; a good selection of Youtube videos could prove that one wrong) I could name is baffling. I do not view humans as better than animals, and I do not view animals as better than humans as a whole, in the scheme of things.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for your thoughts Cassandra


messenger 2 years ago

since you, Melissa, took the initiative to make this anti-misanthrope hub, i'd like to warn you about misanthropes in this website:

1. http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message15...

2. http://misanthropyandcupcakes.blogspot.com/

3. http://www.sociopathworld.com/2012/01/misanthropy....

the misanthrope who made the first site's a whiny, mentally blind, and metaphorically little attention whore who blames humanity for the lack of goodness in this world. what a brat he or she (most likely, he) is. if he hates humanity so much, then he's better off dying.

since that jerk's a misanthrope, he fits the definition of stupidity.

the second website's either just as bad as or worse than the first one. if you ask me, its maker seems to have more than one mental issue.

as for the third site, i believe that it's the worst because it was created a sociopath. isn't that horrible?

now that i warned you about those horrific websites, i suggest that you take action against them by trying to get them removed and their makers banned for good. and if you'll do those things, then i wish you luck.


Cindy 2 years ago

Your claim that “no dolphin has ever considered the path of deviancy is completely untrue according to this study.

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/bottle-no...

It discusses their complex social structure. I was also able to find other posts about this type of behavior. If you just do a search, it's not that hard to find.

You also said:

“ OK, now this is getting silly. Many humans tirelessly document thousands of animals, and miraculous forms of altruism with other species are rarely, if ever reported .”

You REALLY didn't do your homework on this one. I won't provide you with hundreds of links, but just go to YouTube and search the topic. If you've spent any time at all on the internet, you must have seen the multitude of examples of animals helping other species. Just a few examples: A dog who was badly burned because he kept returning to a burning building to rescue kittens, dolphins who carried a freezing, drowning dog on their backs for two hours until he was rescued, numerous videos of hippos saving an enu, zebras, wildabeasts, etc., from crocs. There are sooooo many others, plus accounts of animals alerting humans to other humans in distress, or trying to get everyone to pay attention when there was a gas leak, house fire, or medical emergency. Many of the owners couldn't understand the pet's agitation, and would put them outside, but the pet persisted. Often they would not stop barking or meowing and were let back in. They could have stayed out and gotten to safety, but they were more concerned for the family than themselves. By the way, none of these examples, or thousands more, have anything to do with nursing animals who developed a “corrupt instinct.”

I for one, have always said “This is just so obvious, and so have many others.” I can also add that I witnessed altrueism in my German shepherd. She spotted a badly injured squirrel who was immobilized. She ran to it, and ever so gently picked it up and held it very loosely as she carried it to me. She set it down as gently as she picked it up.

You said:

“Animals live in the *present. They solve problems regarding their immediate, basic needs. I'm going to tell you right now that there IS evidence of basic meta-cognition in some animals (such as future planning), but they are all applicable to the NOW, and/or simplistic food-inquiring needs. “

If they live only in the present, why have so many dogs, elephants, lions, etc., been found to stay on the grave of a loved one or their deceased owner for sometimes years at a time. They leave for food, but return, usually daily. They clearly have the memory (from the past of course) of their loved one, and to anyone with an ounce of intelligence, it is clear to see, that even though they aren't asking for a box of tissues, they are grieving in their own way.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Cindy, such behavior with that group of dolphins cannot be considered 'deviant' because it is normal for them. This article is about animals lacking morality; no dolphins look down upon that practice. I often hear of people saying that dolphins 'rape' other dolphins and that is also untrue.

"A dog who was badly burned because he kept returning to a burning building to rescue kittens"

I think you're thinking of a cat (which I saw years ago on an Animal Planet show), since the dog story I found did not involve a bad burn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlett_%28cat%29

Either way, saving offspring is basic instinct. The dog basically stood with the kittens (stupidly) in a fire. I won't claim to know exactly what happened, because it is once again, an anecdote, just like your other examples. Except the hippos, they are territorial and routinely antagonize crocs to express their dominance. The fact that you think they are 'saving' their prey reveals your ignorance. I wouldn't be surprised if you completely made up the story about a dolphin carrying a dog on their back for '2 hours'. I can't find any such story, and how the heck would someone know how long the dolphin was carrying the dog without rescuing it? You must be referring to this story: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/feb/24/dolphin...

The idea that the dolphin carried the dog on its back is a fabrication of your mind. A falsehood. Nonsense. I hope you didn't see that picture from the film 'Zeus and Roxanne' and think that was reality: http://www.infoatinternet.com/2013/02/dolphins-hel...

Because I've seen it floating around Facebook with BS claims attached to it.

"If they live only in the present, why have so many dogs, elephants, lions, etc., been found to stay on the grave of a loved one or their deceased owner for sometimes years at a time."

I've never heard of such behavior with lions, dogs (please no BS anecdotes), or 'ect'. I do not think animals don't 'grieve', although it is likely rare in the animal kingdom. The comment you quoted was about problem-solving.


Cindy 2 years ago

I just have to respond to a few more points. Jane Goodall spent the majority of her adult life living with chimps, so I think she has a pretty good perspective on some of these points. She would wholeheartedly disagree that animals do not have morals. Many aspects of the lives of animals are not seen until the animals are observed for a great length of time in their own habitat, which is very, very rarely done. She has given many examples of morality, but it's too long to post here.

You said about unconditional love:

“but I do not believe that people actually want a friend or spouse that has these indiscriminate qualities. I also do not like the idea that some dogs may walk up to a home invader with their tails wagging, or could be just as happy with a new owner, getting over me in about a week. Do people really wish that humans had not enough intelligence to judge one and another? "

When you talk about unconditional love, it's sad that you don't understand it. I love my mother and my son unconditionally. If either did something horrible, I would hate their actions, hold them accountable, but still love them. On the other hand, not when it comes to a romantic relationship. Every type of relationship is a bit different, and a relationship between a person and their dog can be filled with unconditional love in both directions, all the while realizing that the relationship is different, though no less real, than relationships with other humans. I know enough not to personify animals, and although you blame animal lovers for doing this, it is exactly what you are doing here. When you say “Do people really wish that humans had not enough intelligence to judge one and another?” I say, that is irrelevant. We're talking about a relationship with a dog, not a human, for one thing (and yes, I'm very happy that my dog won't judge me – not so with a person). Secondly, While people may be intelligent enough to judge one another, this does not mean that you can't still love someone unconditionally, even if you do not like their actions. I hope you will be lucky enough to understand this someday.

When you say that you don't like the idea of a dog greeting a home invader with tail wagging, you apparently don't realize how many pets have risked their lives for their owners. (Check out “Pit Bull Saves Family During Home Invasion” on YouTube, for instance). When you say a dog won't care about being given to a new owner, maybe yours wouldn't. But other dogs certainly grieve in this situation. There are plenty of videos and accounts of dogs grieving after being separated from their owners through death or by other means. If you don't want to acknowledge what is so plain to see, no one can make you. You apparently have your mind made up.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Did you see that I replied to your other comment?

"She has given many examples of morality, but it's too long to post her"

Nonsense, just list a few here if you know them.

"I would hate their actions, hold them accountable"

"We're talking about a relationship with a dog, not a human, for one thing (and yes, I'm very happy that my dog won't judge me – not so with a person)."

Really!? A dog wouldn't. My dog has never been 'mad' at me. People enjoy that you can pretty much do what you want outside of abuse and a dog will still run to your with their tail wagging. A human doing this would be creepy. You may think you love people 'unconditionally', but that's because they haven't done anything to really challenge that relationship, I presume. Your retort seems to be saying that dogs are different from people, well...duh. I think we agree.

"you apparently don't realize how many pets have risked their lives for their owners."

As if I'm not aware that some dogs are protective. Please. That's what they've been bred or. My dog is a 'watcher'. She'll make noise but she won't fight, like most non-working breeds.


Cindy 2 years ago

Well, I'm going to do two posts to break it up a little, because between the amount of verification you want, combined with refuting a ton of information, I have more information than I can really post. Nobody wants to wade through seven pages, and it would be rude to post that much. If you want everyone with a different viewpoint to go back and find everything they may have read in books or found on the internet years ago, you should be backing up all of you claims such as your information on animal behavior, as well. No one bookmarks or copies this stuff, and it is very time consuming to hunt down, especially information from long ago. I've wasted way too much time on this.

Please show us all of your sources for the information in your post, and please support all of your response information with links. See how ridiculously tiring this can get? A few of my sources are below, and some others from long ago, I could not find.

You said:

“Cindy, such behavior with that group of dolphins cannot be considered 'deviant' because it is normal for them. “

You may have missed this part contained in that link link :http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/bottle-no...

“However, not all biologists agreed that herding females is a successful reproductive tactic—‘or even that it is a common type of behavior. Other research has shown that dolphins seem to have highly complex social orders that vary widely from place to place. For example, captive bottle-nosed dolphins do not form roving gangs. In fact, herding and supergangs have not been documented in any dolphin populations except those in Shark Bay.”

So this information refutes your opinion that the behavior displayed is normal in most dolphins. (Could you show me your source please). Even if it was normal for them, I don't agree with your argument. If a human group of animals, such as an organized crime organization, exists for the purpose of engaging in criminal activity for wealth and power, this is normal behavior for that group. Most would also consider criminal activity to be deviant, even though it is the norm in this example, and many others.

You said:

“Either way, saving offspring is basic instinct. The dog basically stood with the kittens (stupidly) in a fire. I won't claim to know exactly what happened, because it is once again, an anecdote, just like your other examples.”

Sorry I don't have the actual link to that particular example, as it was years ago, but definitely a dog rescuing kittens, which of course, were not his or her offspring. He brought them out, he didn't just stand there. But if you'd like to disregard this because I don't have the link, no problem. There are plenty of links. I find it sad however, that you call the dog stupid. Would you also say that people who try to rescue someone and get burned in the process are stupid? Maybe the more appropriate word in both instances would be “compassionate.”

You said:

“Except the hippos, they are territorial and routinely antagonize crocs to express their dominance. The fact that you think they are 'saving' their prey reveals your ignorance.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJzYhxpKYuM

Please note that the hippo continues to help the wildebeest after the croc has been chased off. This is not just a hippo expressing dominance. His interaction with the wildebeest after the croc is gone has nothing to do with dominance against the croc.

As a quick side note, I am guilty of childish, condescending behavior in my original post, and came on too strongly. There's nothing like calling someone else names, (or in my case, even just implying, in condescending terms, that someone is stupid, or incompetent, or whatever else is implied), to make yourself look stupid. I am guilty, and now I'll put on my big girl pants. I will definitely respond with incredulousness when appropriate, but no more condescendence or name calling. We would both do well to remind ourselves that this sort of discourse does nothing to facilitate meaningful dialogue, but, rather, reduces the discussion to the level of a third grade schoolyard brawl. Moving on...

You said:

“The idea that the dolphin carried the dog on its back is a fabrication of your mind. A falsehood. Nonsense. I hope you didn't see that picture from the film 'Zeus and Roxanne' and think that was reality:”

I apologize for referring to that video from memory, as I did not get the facts completely straight. I should have looked it up again. The dog was estimated to be in the water for fifteen hours, and the dolphins were helping it . Yes the link you provided shows the dog on the dolphin's back, so it is a possible fabrication of a picture, not my mind. I'm not sure why you tried so hard to insist I made it up, if you already knew there was a picture like this, and it was probably the picture I was talking about. If the picture is from a movie, there is no attribution, so I'm not sure how I would have known that. There is so much evidence out there, why would I bother to make anything up? Are you saying that the whole video is made up and the dolphins didn't help rescue this dog or the diver in 2007, also mentioned on the video? Because the picture is not the point. The real point is that animals do altruistic things which this demonstrates, with or without the picture. The video is called “Dolphins save dog from drowning.” Admittedly, it is a strange video, but I don't think that means it is all a lie. The link is below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4_wS-c7ExY

It didn't seem like that much of a stretch, since I'd already watched more than one video of a dolphin carrying her dead, or nearly dead baby, on her back.

http://www.ibtimes.com/dolphin-mourns-dead-baby-ca...

http://www.pawnation.com/2012/07/31/10-heartbreaki...

If these links above aren't enough, or you feel they are somehow fabricated stories, or that I have fabricated stories, here are several more showing the altruism of animals helping other species. None of them involve nursing animals who develop a corrupt instinct -your term, not mine. I don't necessarily find a member of any species who shows compassion towards any other species to have developed a corrupt instinct. Quite the opposite. On rare occasions, though, anything is possible. I'm sure animals can have mental health issues: (Please note that I understand that video and stories can be fabricated, but I highly doubt that even close to everything in these links, and in all of the other accounts you could easily find, is fabricated or staged in some way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN8ChPYPDkw – dog drags woman off train tracks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzs_8oUIE68 – dog and fawn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAGzY9rnaA – crow and kitten

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix0y9j32h70 - leopard and kitten

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihUGT7MdDB4 – gorilla and child

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dechosIhFE – gorilla helping another child

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kyBzVO3RwI – dog protects kids

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tmggl84g62M – dog gets help for injured owner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6Ehpn3ONwY – dog stays between soldier and armed man

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8Mw_vKJ9wg – dog knows to alert mom to child's seizure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGMXbXjeNZ8 – dog busts abusive babysitter

http://www.today.com/id/21689083/ns/today-today_ne... – dolphins keep shark from surfer


Cindy 2 years ago

After seeing the length of my post, I'm not going to post the other 3 pages or so because no one would be able to get through it all. Maybe in a few days, but it's making a mess out of your comments section. My apologies.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Cindy, most people fill up my comment sections with no regard for the clutter. This place isn't designed to be a forum. I'll try to condense my reply as best as possible. I still think those dolphins are not deviants because that is normal for that group in that locale. But bottlenose dolphins still are aggressive maters overall, their mating systems works in a 'forceful' manner(captive studies are not relevant because captivity obviously changes behavior) so we cannot call this behavior 'amoral'. They are designed, biologically, for many sexual encounters: http://www.asmjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1644/1545-15...

The Shark Bay behavior seems to just be another tactic for already aggressive and promiscuous mating, plus competition for reproductive success. This is all I can find at the moment: http://www.ecoanthropologie.cnrs.fr/pdf/interspeci... (some parts are impossible to read). Anyway, the idea that the behavior described is not sexual competition is only one theory. Did you read the part in your link about infanticide? That is not immoral for them either.

I still think the hippo is trying to get the antelope out of 'his' river. It's a very sad video. The animal is so terribly wounded that the hippo has only prolonged his suffering. You can show me a link from a scholarly source that documents this behavior as 'altruistic', because I don't see it. I'm no hippo expert.

"I'm not sure why you tried so hard to insist I made it up"

Because you said the dolphin held the dog on its back for "2 hours" and that number was made up, unless you got it from some BS-y Facebook post. Always be dubious of those, they are fake 70% of the time. Again, that picture was from a children's movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKu52qd8VtM The dolphin the dog is riding on is fake.. The story is real, depending on who's version you here.

I'm not going to analyze each link but I should say that dogs and other captive animals are not what I had in mind when I made that statement. Captivity involves different conditions from the wild and pets are often trained not to harm other animals. Your 'leopard and kitten' link is actually the story (I think I mentioned in this article?) where the dying baby antelope is 'adopted' by a leopard after it kills its mother. Again, bizarre, non-typically documented behavior that can have multiple explanations.


Unknown 2 years ago

Pretty good hub. I do think that most animals have at least some emotion, varying between species. I believe that reptiles, amphibians and fish at least have the basic emotions (fear, aggression, and pleasure ) and can learn some things. And birds and mammals must have a wider range of emotion, but I agree, no animal has the same level of emotion and cognitive function as humans. And most of what they do IS probably centred around instinct. But again, good hub!


2 years ago

Thank you for this, I cannot stand the hypocrisy behind the "animals are so much better than us" concept...I wish people who say this could experience the animal life for real, especially as a female. See how fun it would be.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks D!


Jonathan DiVincen profile image

Jonathan DiVincen 2 years ago from Norristown, PA

Hi Melissa, great hub by the way! I just joined HubPages (about 2 minutes ago) and went to explore some hubs and yours is the first one that caught my eye and I'm glad it did because this hub shares many similar ideas to how I feel and I'll explain:

For awhile now I have always thought that it's absurd how the human race views itself as a superior race. Yes, fine, when it comes to intelligence I will wholeheartedly agree with the support of science that we are a superior being but even so I feel that the intelligence of other animals is highly undermined. Actually, that statement right there brings me to the foundation of my point here. Humans forget that they are as well an "animal" and we tend to view ourselves as two separate entities: "the humans" and "the animals". With that thinking comes an egotistical belief and an attitude of superiority and entitlement.

Now there are those who have a deep compassion for the well being of others but just because it's compassion does not mean it can't be extreme. Some people let their emotions come before logical thinking and I feel this stirs up controversy because they become easily bothered by the actions of others. Let me put this into an example of my practice on this issue and maybe it'll be easier to explain...

I have my home. And like any other animal (because we are animals), it is my instinct to protect my home. Just like any one of us but some people think it's ill-humane if an animal gets killed in the process. Let's look at a real-life situation out in the wild that occurs every day...A snake comes up on a mice nest and it's being occupied by a mother mouse and her litter. What is she going to do if the snake tries to invade or attack her or her babies? Obviously, she is going to fight back. She is going to protect her young and her home. Now let's go back to me. If an animal invades my home I should be able to rid of it, right? Ah, but wait. There's an exception here that animal-activists love to use as a supporting factor in their beliefs. The gift of knowledge. That's right, I have the gift of knowledge so I should know better that those animals are going to suffer and I shouldn't cause any harm to them because I "know better". Of course if I see a spider and I am able to capture it and free it outside, then I do every time. Now if I see wasps nest outside in a tree and it is within a relatively close distance to my home, then yes I am going to follow my instinct to want to protect my home and that may mean kill the colony and I'm ok with that because I know that in life there is suffering and not all suffering can be avoided.

Another factor that drives the concerns focused in your hub is that a large portion of humanity has become so detached from basic instincts and from the need of survival our views of the fundamental ways of life and existence have become clouded. In other words, the way modern man (and woman) live is so far from an instinctual way of life they don't need to even consider the basics of survival. I live in Pennsylvania, USA and I could literally walk myself out to the streets right now and just lay there and wait to die but it wouldn't happen! Someone 's gonna call the police, they're gonna bring me to the hospital or a ward and if I refuse to eat, they're gonna feed me through tubes and do whatever it takes to keep me alive which is all great in a modern world but my point is that the effort that I would have to put into survival would be minimal to nil. Other parts of the world and animals don't get that luxury and anybody who gets placed into this way of life will view themselves and other species very differently because you have a better understanding and appreciation for the balance of life and death.

The funny thing that your hub mentions is that there are people who despise humans but that's just it. They will share their discontent of humans and leave it at that. Anybody can have their opinions about anything. What they should do if they really want to make a difference is they should make people aware of how they impact animals and maybe suggest a different way of life rather than just hating humans. To be honest, I wouldn't put it past most of those people that some how their lives are impacting animals just as badly as the next 'John Doe'.

I think the best way to sum up what I am trying to say, Melissa, is that if humans made it a practice to remember that they themselves are animals just like any other species out there, how we view animals and ourselves in comparison to them would drastically change and even alter the way we treat them and view them.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Jonathan DiVincen. It's hard living with 'the gift of knowledge' because so many people want to control you due to it.


ZookeeperByNature profile image

ZookeeperByNature 2 years ago

The URL of this particular hub made me laugh. I like this article. Bookmarked for future reference in my own series of debates!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Haha, this article was originally going to focus on dolphins, but I wanted to address the influx of people making misanthropic statements and comments like 'Why can't WE learn to be like this?" every time a puppy plays with a non-canine.


Katja 2 years ago

Well, where do you live? And where was your last encounter with real wild life... Just asking ?!?!

I live in Namibia, and experience wild life every day when I walk with my dogs in the African Bush... You are so far away from reality - you have now idea what you are talking about - So please just stop it - Or go and just shoot something...


Katja 2 years ago

Forgot to ask if you have ever killed an animal to feed yourself, or do you just go to the supermarket/butcher and leave the odd job to someone else ?!?!


KATJA 2 years ago

Are Animals Superior to Humans? Yes, they are. Because they do not kill for fun but for survival... Only humans kill for fun, dump their offspring and going mental over being Superior Over Animals... You are on the wrong path my dear...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

KATJA, one, you sound mentally unstable. Two, your link doesn't work. Three, one does not need to live in Africa to 'experience wildlife'. They exist on all continents, and if you are an exotic pet owner like I am, they exist next to your bed as well. Four, animals do NOT kill only for survival. It is an ingrained instinct and many will kill 'for fun' if they are satiated. Take a look at simple domesticated cats, or zoo animals when an unfortunate duck lands in the wrong enclosure. Take a look at some populations of bottlenose dolphins beating the crap out of innocent porpoises. You are completely and utterly WRONG and seem to have an unhealthy obsession with wanting me to shoot something.


KATJA 2 years ago

Thank you for your psychological analysis. Exotic pet owner you are ?! Well I wonder what analysis should be given to you, as so called exotic pets belong in the wild and not to some New York fall out who pretends to have an importance in this world of blogs.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

If you don't like me that's fine, but you've demonstrated that you don't know much about animals.


he shall remain nameless 2 years ago

Melissa, with all due respect... thank god all you've said is only your opinion, and you know what they say, you are entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts.

Just because you are not aware of or can observe the vast hidden nature all over the world where humans have never even explored, what occurs in nature, does not mean it does not exist or occur on a regular basis. Only humans are capable of rightly or wrongly assuming something simply because they have the ability to speak their opinion on a matter and converse with their own species to determine if the assumption is true or false. Animals essentially do the same thing, they form communities, they live together and raise their young together, they protect each other and they fight for their communities and their young. Likewise, there are solitary animals the same as there are solitary humans, it doesn't mean the human or animal is sociopathic because they are solitary. You are only superior to the next human beside you because no other animal is going to tell you your superiority surpasses their own. More often than not, it is human nature and behavior that dictates how often humans in fact, are wrong. It has taken evolution as a natural process to show us weak humans our faults, our limitations, our stupidity and our omnipresent tendencies. Animals are superior to humans in more ways than one, but you should be arguing the fact that no one species is superior to another, each species is simply DIFFERENT from another. Many species have remarkable traits, behaviors, skills, etc that humans are completely incapable of matching, so how dare you think you are entitled to chastise others who have experienced, observed, trained with, studied, or lived their entire lives with another species and are actually qualified to actually say as fact that indeed, animals are superior to humans in many ways. I'm not saying one or the other is more superior, I'm saying take the many different ways we are as much equal in superiority, and perhaps one species has more superiority over another in DIFFERENT WAYS. You might also do well to not backtrack and stammer trying to defend your original statements when someone else challenges you, it makes you look somewhat a fool for not being able to recognize your own limitations or mistakes.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"Animals are superior to humans in more ways than one"

Says the person who wants cats to destroy wildlife. Face it, you don't love animals, you love cats, like so many others. At least I don't -pretend- to love all animals. It's funny because even though I logically do not believe in the insane notion that animals are superior to humans, I still respect animals more than you.


he shall remain nameless 2 years ago

Excuse me? Please point out to me where I ever said I want cats to destroy wildlife. If you are referring to one other of your articles, you should really read again because you can't seem to interpret any thing anyone might say that doesn't agree with you.

You might also learn what it means to "love all animals". Because it certainly does not mean what you perceive it to mean.

As for the superiority issues, you definitely have one. I don't truly mean to be disrespectful but not bothering to read what others wish to convey, and turning them off right away because you just can't bother to understand another point of view, is really oh so superior of you.

You wouldn't have a clue how I respect animals. Your last remark sounds rather as if a 5-year-old said it. Surely, you can do better.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"Excuse me? Please point out to me where I ever said I want cats to destroy wildlife."

You didn't have to say it. I've argued with your kind literally hundreds of times. All I have to hear is an asinine excuse to keep feral cats out in the environment and then the truth becomes clear. I bet the next thing you're wanting to tell me is that cats only kill 'vermin' like mice and snakes. By the way you should know that if I don't reply on other articles, I've blocked your comment. I'm not dealing with a waterfall of abuse from a single person.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Comments by 'nameless' have been removed on this thread for inquiring minds.


ZookeeperByNature profile image

ZookeeperByNature 2 years ago

So this nonsensical show has taken off on a youtube channel that originally, and sometimes still does, demote animal rights activism and what-have-you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeA-8cVyyi0&list=U...

On one hand, I agree with the narrator that conservation is important, and that abusing wildlife, such as sharks, (as well as snakes to an extant) out callousness and irrational fears is completely wrong. I think we could all agree with that.

But then he goes on with the damn cetaceans and into pseudoscience-land... going on with claims such as "cetacean-superiority," broad misanthropy, (sort of a theme with this webshow) and then bashing marine parks and captive environments with these animals. The comments are also just as silly. Now, as much as I disagree with all those points, I'm not exactly an expert on all this topic, so was hoping if you could chime in, and also just wanted to bring this web-series to your attention.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

There see? And some of my commenters make me feel like I'm not sane when they tell me they don't know what I'm talking about, or that they don't think people actually believe animals are more intelligent than humans. The people talking are ditzes. What the humpback whales have to do with captivity? They seem to not know the difference between dolphins and baleen whales. What's even more ridiculous is that they whine about humans scoring animals based on their own abilities, then they go and get excited about things the whales are doing that appear human, such as 'nudging'. They are basically explaining WHY humans like to exploit cetaceans. They have this mythological fascination with them. It's ditzes like them that make it hard for me to enjoy nature or animals the way I used to.


Wereokh07 2 years ago

I find myself kind of torn both with the blog and responses. While I agree that no other animal is completely superior to humans, I refuse to claim the opposite is true either. There are lots of things humans have going for us because of how we adapted (our ability to make tools and mimic abilities outside of our own/crazy adaptability) and lots of things that are kind of faulty (back problems anyone? Scurvy?). Every animal on earth is that way. However, we do have an insane ego/god complex that pushes us to undermine the rest of the animal kingdom as dumb and simple. Worst still, useless. Now that DOES bother me.

The problem with this notion is just it takes a LOT of effort to truly study and understand them. Like decades of research. For example, here are some interesting recent studies into animal cognitive abilities:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed9A4HPdXgQ

http://conslobodchikoff.com/

Unfortunately, I can't find any scientific journals that won't charge you for looking at them. Anyway, my point is animals can have surprisingly advanced communication like us. We just don't hear or understand it by ear. Which makes sense since we didn't evolve to understand chirps and barks and they didn't evolve to understand our noises. Nothing wrong with that. Though through interaction we know of exceptions. Koko the gorilla and einstein the parrot.

When it comes to animals functioning only on instinct that isn't entirely true. Learned knowledge and skills is very important for many social animals. Learning migration routes, mating procedures (like special dances, songs, or prostitution), how to find food and get at it (tool use), how to build shelters, learning to swim, giving presents, using items to pretty up yourself or you home, yadayadayada. Social behavior falls under this too. Many behaviors we find amoral or unacceptable a lot of social animals feel the same way. Don't murder (unless you can hide it), don't steal, don't cheat (for monogamous species though some still attempt it), don't lie. Same stuff. Humans are not wired to act this way. Feral children studies help prove that. You must be taught.

Also, when it comes to instinct, it is strong driver for all species. Even our own. Social approval, finding mates, altruism (many times for personal benefit), all emotional responses, focus on basic needs, reproductive behavior, competition in all forms. A lot of that has an instinctual base.

Many of us think short term survival. Gotta pay the bills next week, how to budget for food, short term pleasures. Which was perfect for most of our existence but is now biting us in the ass. There are people who think very long term and have amazing self control, but they're still an exception.

Ramble, ramble. My point is, humans aren't better or worse. We just kinda are. If we all disappeared all our behaviors and vices would return.

It would take a while, but the building blocks are all there.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Wereokh07-- How can I simplify this? You are very wrong. Language is extremely different from any extant form of animal communication. No animal has language ability, period. Especially prairie dogs. That system of theirs is probably mostly instinctual, nothing like the artificial language of French, Japanese, ect.

Language does not only need be spoken, we can use morse code, hand signals, ect. We don't understand animal communication because it is not a language. Prairie dogs are born with that understanding stitched in their brains. If an animal were speaking we should be able to learn it, what would stop us? We have mastered and manipulated other aspects of our environment.

We know much more about them than they do us. We can determine animal behavior through science and there certainly is NO language. Do not let them fool you when they use certain words. For some reason no one is willing to stand up to these BS claims because they all love animals and think the truth is degrading to them. My own mother, who is certainly no animal rights activist (a staunch conservative), believes animals have language despite me explaining this to her. Our understanding of animals as a society has gone haywire and no one cares.

" Learned knowledge and skills is very important for many social animals. Learning migration routes, mating procedures (like special dances, songs, or prostitution), how to find food and get at it (tool use), how to build shelters, learning to swim, giving presents, using items to pretty up yourself or you home..."

Migration routes are instinctual. Mating procedures are DEFINITELY instinctual. Take an animal away from its conspecifics, raise it, and see if it never goes through these sexual performances. I've never taught my genet to express certain sexual behaviors towards me and yet it is there.

Humans on the other hand have highly original cultures because they formulate their own consciousness on the PILLARS of instinct. Please see my article '10 ways humans are different from animals'. Or, here's a challenge, describe to me the human mating ritual. You'll probably realize that's not possible because we have thousands of cultures.


Desiree Phelps 2 years ago

I enjoyed reading this! Thank you. I would just like to note that Jane Goodall not only observed altruism in chimpanzees, she also witnessed "The Four Year War" between two troops in disagreement. Other than that side note, I found your article very engaging. Once again, thanks.


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

Hi, Melissa,

Great Hub! Even though I think it's silly to think that humans are inferior animals, I also disagree with the opposite that humans are superior to non-human animals as well. I have been studying parrots like conures and parakeets, I have been a bird owner for 8 years and I have enjoyed reading some of you articles. On some points, I disagree with you. I actually think that some animals could be as smart as humans, they just don't have the capability to show or display it. Maybe animals know something that humans don't know, or maybe some animals possess the same knowledge as humans, such as....yes, dolphins. Maybe dolphins are, but can't build spaceships or computers because they live underwater and don't have opposable thumbs but have the knowledge to do what we can.

Another heated subject I see that is being debated in the comments is whether animals have language or not. Personally, I feel like this subject is set in stone. The reason why humans can't decipher language of other animals is probably because we don't have the ability to make that sound or our brains and senses function very differently from theirs. Take Morse code for example, it may seem like a simple way of communication, but a pattern of flashes represents a word, letter, or punctuation. Well, maybe the chirps of birds may be the same. We just don't have the capability to understand it due to our weak senses. Saying something in human language may sound like...well...a sound, cause animals might hear our language differently because humans made their language to suit themselves and only themselves for the sake of communication.

This is just a personal opinion and theory.

Just curious, do you think that humans are superior to animals?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

Thank you Kenai for reading. You are asking a very complex question with 'which is smarter'. Technically there can be no answer, but with human-like intelligence as the measure, I definitely think humans are superior. Human language is the key to what we have accomplished. Animal communication has been studies extensively, particularly dolphin communication by the Navy. You've brought up the exact point I would have with Morse code. Humans are not incapable of deciphering or even creating language that isn't in a spoken format, I have little doubt that these linguistic researchers that are much smarter than I are unable to detect a real language. I think the reason animals are challenging to study is because they don't have language, so figuring out their motivations and behavior requires a lot of talent in psychology. Our closest relatives, the chimps, can be taught some aspects of our language but are still not using full blown language despite experiments where their babies have been raised exactly like human infants. If chimps and bonobos can't have full blown language, despite our similar senses, I'm doubting it exists in dolphins or birds.

"Maybe dolphins are, but can't build spaceships or computers because they live underwater and don't have opposable thumbs but have the knowledge to do what we can."

The 'prodigies' at dolphin research institutes have been taught about 40 human words. It would be hard to build space ships with such a limited repertoire. They can learn, say, 'put ball through hoop' (remember, these are the 'prodigies'), but can they say:

"Astrodynamics – the study of orbital mechanics including prediction of orbital elements when given a select few variables."

C'mon now.


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

"Technically there can be no answer, but with human-like intelligence as the measure, I definitely think humans are superior."

Obviously yes, using the template of human-like intelligence, humans will always appear to be the most superior in terms of HUMAN-like intelligence because nothing is better at being human than a human.

"Humans are not incapable of deciphering or even creating language that isn't in a spoken format, I have little doubt that these linguistic researchers that are much smarter than I are unable to detect a real language."

This is just my personal opinion, but I disagree. Take Latin, for example. Latin is considered a 'dead' language, but modern humans were able to decipher it. I think that's because English might've been originated from Latin (Words, letters, writing). But if you take a totally 'dead' language, we wouldn't have a basis or template to rely on. I'm curious why you think this, what are your reasons?

"They can learn, say, 'put ball through hoop' (remember, these are the 'prodigies'), but can they say:

'Astrodynamics – the study of orbital mechanics including prediction of orbital elements when given a select few variables."

Maybe they can, through their own knowledge, but we can't read their minds, I feel like it's technically impossible for me to answer.

Do you think that humans are the superior species in general?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

I do view human-thinking as the pinnacle because of the degree of difference from our starting point (basic needs). Chimps, dolphins, and elephants have not gotten even close to the dramatic cultural shifts as humans. They do not possess that type of innovation. They cannot use their intelligence to innovate even when it threatens their survival. I'm really lost as to why you think it is possible they can say the sentence I quoted with their communication system.

"But if you take a totally 'dead' language, we wouldn't have a basis or template to rely on. I'm curious why you think this, what are your reasons?"

Ok, I'm not an expert on this but I'm pretty sure we can decipher dead languages even if they are not related to our current language. Even more impressive is that the speakers of these languages are not alive, whilst the 'animal speakers' are very much alive to observe and interact with. I don't think there is a language we can't figure out unless it's something crazy like telepathy, but that still doesn't explain why animals do not begin to compare to our innovation and I would still argue they are less intelligent.

Humans are pretty much a blank slate. If I asked you to describe or generalize human behavior, mating systems, gender roles, or culture you would be at a loss because our societies are hardly the same. Yet you can do this for dolphins and chimps. Animals don 't need to build space ships to show evidence of a sophisticated mind to our level.

"Do you think that humans are the superior species in general?"

Superior how? Not at flying without the use of a machine, or echolocating, but at innovation we are obviously superior. We are superior at exchanging ideas and superior at overcoming our physical limitations with technology. We are superior with technology in general, and superior at complex forms of unique (non-inherent) expression. In fact we are superior at developing anything that is not inherent (ex. spider web building and echolocation is inherent, knitting a sweater is novel and learned, more complex than dipping a grass blade in a termite mound). So, while a dolphin might learn to herd its prey on land for more efficient hunting, we learned to domesticate animals, and herd the dolphins themselves for meat and entrainment. This is because we can take one idea and take that idea further and further because we can build from past ideas through spoken and written language.


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

When I said 'dead' language I meant a language that is no longer spoken or has no absolute basis for us to understand anymore. I feel like this question whether animals have language or not is a complex question.

"They do not possess that type of innovation. They cannot use their intelligence to innovate even when it threatens their survival."

Chimps use tools to get food, dolphins use sponges to protect their noses when diving. Whenever talking about intelligence, it always includes the use of tools. Like I said in my post before my previous one, maybe this is useless to them and humans are the only ones who need advanced technology. Take a look around, and you can see that we're the only creatures that take in a great amount of intelligence for survival.

"Humans are pretty much a blank slate. If I asked you to describe or generalize human behavior, mating systems, gender roles, or culture you would be at a loss because our societies are hardly the same. Yet you can do this for dolphins and chimps."

Let's flip things around. Now lets ask a polytelis anthopeplus or a regent parrot. He might wonder why we have buildings made with the same material with nearly the same height on opposite sides of the world. He might even ask how humans discovered fire all of a sudden. Very little is known about animal life. Japanese macaques wash potatoes in salt water because it tastes better, cockatoos in Australia sometimes have gatherings and make rhythms or music by banging sticks on trees, wild chimps can actually 'paint' by making shapes with handprints with fruit juice on rocks. Maybe birds think that they are better because they don't have culture, I don't really get how have simply culture makes us more intelligent.


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

I noticed a typo in my last post, I meant: How does simply having culture make us more intelligent.


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

"In fact we are superior at developing anything that is not inherent (ex. spider web building and echolocation is inherent, knitting a sweater is novel and learned, more complex than dipping a grass blade in a termite mound)."

I'm confused on what you mean by inherent means. By inherent, do you mean the capability to do something without the help of other resources or instinctively.

As a biologist on birds, I don't think that birds react mostly on instinct. I'm sure that bowerbirds actually teach their young how to make nests, so is flying, flying is taught for some birds, or in altricial bird species. If you limit an altricial bird from flying, then release it, you can see that he/she will not be so skilled. Migration isn't instinctive in most cases, if the weather begins to grow cold, then birds will fly south, no matter September or December, I feel like birds don't migrate on instinct, but rather rationalize. Whooping cranes and other large birds teach or guide their young through migration. Small birds are said to now them by instinct, but most small birds don't even migrate!

"Animals don 't need to build space ships to show evidence of a sophisticated mind to our level."

Indeed, animals don't need to build in order to display their intelligence, but culture cannot prove level of intelligence as well. Culture is only one brush on intelligence. Intelligence is generally described how much one has a capacity of knowledge in the brain, the ratio of brain size to body size, as a way of how well one can rationalize or reason or have the capacity for logic. And as I said before, animals may know something we may not, this knowledge is just not useful to them. Bees can solve complex math problems multiple times faster than the world's fastest supercomputer, now does this make the bee smarter than a human? Building rockets do not describe an animal's intelligence, but culture cannot describe the entirety of intelligence either. This is where innovation comes in. Nevertheless, humans are better at innovation, but that's only because our intelligence comes in handy for our survival due to our weak physical abilities. We need to cook because we have weak immune systems, we're weak without shoes, and we're weak without tools. I feel like that our innovation isn't something better than others. Our innovation is only big to us, because it only matters to us. I don't think that golden beetles actually care if new computer technology is being made, I don't really think that koi fish care that a new space shuttle was sent into space. In reality, most people only think that we're superior because of our innovation because it's more 'fancy'. Plus, our innovation is causing a disaster on this planet. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate humans, and I do love the tablet I'm typing from, but it's the truth, humans are the most destructive species. I do appreciate our technology, but I think it should be used in a better way.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

Kenai, you misinterpret what I say. I never said birds react mostly on instinct. You asked me who is superior. I said when it comes to innovation, humans are superior. Dolphins pick up sponges, humans can create sponges, and classify them phylogenetically. Normally it would be hard to measure which is more complex with some sort of scale, but I think when it comes to comparing picking up sponges and inventing cladistics, the choice is clear. Washing potatoes vs. cooking, cooking is more complex because fire is harder to work with. Cooking could benefit all animals because it makes nutrients more available, which would enhance their fitness. Animals do not cook because they don't know how, not because they prefer raw. This includes primates that possess the hands to accomplish it. Why don't pilot whales, a type of dolphin, innovate a way to stop getting slaughtered at the Faroe Islands?

"wild chimps can actually 'paint' by making shapes with handprints with fruit juice on rocks."

Here you are using human accomplishment as a measure of intelligence to argue your point. Just like I describe in my article, people deny that animals have to be like humans to be just as complex, then when an animal does something human-like they flip their lid and tout it as an example of intelligence. Isn't that hypocritical?

"We need to cook because we have weak immune systems, we're weak without shoes, and we're weak without tools."

No, it's the other way around. When humans started cooking our immune systems got less 'tough'. When we started wearing shoes our feet got more tender (there are still human societies that do not wear shoes). Humans have always used tools because our early ancestors have also. Our ancestors were probably very similar to extant chimps. Chimps are not choosing to not advance their technology, they -can't-. They already do what they can with their limitations.

"Bees can solve complex math problems multiple times faster than the world's fastest supercomputer"

This is inherent, as I've said, like web building. All bees can do this. One bee did not figure out math and present it to its peers. Knitting a sweater is still widely more complex. Things like human art and technology have undergone an evolution. They require formidable insight and understanding.

" I don't think that golden beetles actually care if new computer technology is being made"

No they do not, they don't have the capacity to care. Humans on the other hand study this beetle. We care about it. Is not caring a measure of intelligence to you? I call that ignorance. Not to say that all humans collectively care as much, we all have different interests. Again, I think that's complex.


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

Ah, okay, I was confused by what you meant be inherent. Indeed, humans are superior at innovation, and you are right, but I don't see why innovation makes us better than others. Humans are the best at innovation only because we need innovation to survive, we can't use our inherent and natural abilities to survive because we can't use them. From the dawn of time, humans always used tools because we needed them the most, and this is why we are so good at innovation.

"No, it's the other way around. When humans started cooking our immune systems got less 'tough'. When we started wearing shoes our feet got more tender (there are still human societies that do not wear shoes). Humans have always used tools because our early ancestors have also."

Exactly. I'm talking about modern humans. Modern humans now need to cook because we have weak immune systems. Shoes made our feet tender, so now, most people are weak without shoes, and because humans have weak physical abilities, we need tools to survive. It's just our way of survival. Humans were born without strong physical abilities, so we must rely on other resources to help us.

Our creations are based off things in nature, and we have creations that are far from original. Again, I'm not disagreeing with you, but innovation is only big to us, because it matters to us. Innovation is not the key to success to every species. The tardigrade, which is the master of survival, never had to innovate technology to survive. The ability to innovate might seem completely useless to penguins.

“I believe intelligence is probably overrated. It’s not necessarily a good thing for a species’ survival.” -Stephen Hawking

Humans are considered 'higher' or 'special' or in other words 'speshul' because of our intelligence, while a dog might place higher value on it's sense of smell and hearing. Non-human animals might see humans as weak and absurd creatures with no natural ability to defend themselves that always must rely on dead matter to complete their tasks, like how some of us see animals as 'lesser beings'. Mentally and physically disabled people may not have the same mental capacity and the same abilities as the average human, but does that mean these individuals are inferior? No. Humans are able to do things that animals will never be able to do, while animals are able to do things that humans will never be able to do. Diversity is what makes up the world. We're all individual beings that are living for ourselves and for the good of others. Our abilities don't define our worth of living. Humans aren't the greatest achievement of evolution, we aren't the worst either. Everybody is great at something, but we all make mistakes sometimes. The world is perfect, but at the same time, it's imperfect.

"Life is life - whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage."

-Sri Aurobindo


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

"Cooking could benefit all animals because it makes nutrients more available, which would enhance their fitness."

According to many studies, this is false. Cooking actually destroys 45%-48% of nutrititious fluids in many foods that many animals depend on. Cooking also emits many fats and oils that could be harmful or poisonious to animals. We only consider cooking good, because cooking is beneficial to humans. Humans only cook food because our immune systems can't handle parasites and the bacteria that can invade our bodies. Now don't get me wrong, I love cooked food, and I won't suggest each raw meat to any human, but just because cooking is beneficial to us does not mean it is for other animals.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

"but I don't see why innovation makes us better than others."

In that case, I don't see why being alive make us better than a rock. A sea sponge is just as intelligent as a dog. Is this what you're arguing now? You asked me who I think the most intelligent is. I even at first told you the question is essentially meaningless, but I defined some criteria that could make it answerable. I view intelligence as complexity and non-inherent innovation and thinking. You didn't at first intend to argue with my definition.

And now you are seeming to define intelligence by how well it equips one for survival. What is survival to you? Staying alive for the longest period or biological fitness? Humans still win with BOTH of these concepts, have gigantic population sizes for a k-selected species and living twice as long as we did originally.

"“I believe intelligence is probably overrated. It’s not necessarily a good thing for a species’ survival.” -Stephen Hawking"

This is a surprisingly dumb statement that springs from the 'anti-human' mindset I'm talking about. I can't confirm if SH actually said this but a quick Google search shows that vegan propaganda sites are pedaling it. Not surprising.

Human intelligence has led to their extreme expansive growth, not to mention elimination of other species, apparently not able to innovate their way into surviving human encroachment. The passenger pigeon never figured out that it should stop flocking in large groups where humans could easily gather giant quantities of them for meat. I guess that instinct failed them with humans as a selective pressure. Other animals were wiped out by diseases that humans could overcome because why? We figured out vaccines, quarantines, ect.

Regardless, surviving is not a measure of intelligence, or I guess, rocks remain supreme, like the tardigrade. Is intelligence overrated? Who cares (what does that even mean?)? You asked me what species I think is the most intelligent, not whether or not it is a 'good' thing. Yet currently, it does seem to be making humans the top apex predator on Earth. The only animal to push many selective pressures to the curb and create their own environment. Again, who cares?

"Humans are able to do things that animals will never be able to do, while animals are able to do things that humans will never be able to do. Diversity is what makes up the world. We're all individual beings that are living for ourselves and for the good of others. Our abilities don't define our worth of living. Humans aren't the greatest achievement of evolution, we aren't the worst either. Everybody is great at something, but we all make mistakes sometimes."

This is what I call romantic or specious wording, and it shows you are clinging to an ideology. Basically you agree with the people I address in this article except for the 'superior' part. Your bringing up the disabled people argument is reminiscent of animal liberation philosophies and I'm not sure if you play for that team (if you do, you must think I am a slave owner). I don't think you're prepared to take in an objective outlook on this subject.

"According to many studies, this is false. Cooking actually destroys 45%-48% of nutrititious fluids in many foods that many animals depend on."

What is your source? http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2011/11/cooking-increases...


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

"In that case, I don't see why being alive make us better than a rock. A sea sponge is just as intelligent as a dog."

Well, I can't say that living things are superior to non-living things. I'd like to be a living and couscience being rather than a rock, but I can't rationally claim that one is superior over another.

"Staying alive for the longest period or biological fitness?"

Many other species have been around longer than we have. What I was trying to point out was that innovation does not make us better or innovation is only good to us. If a penguin were to trade it's ability to swim and it's ability to stay warm for our innovation, it would have nothing to create from and freeze or starve to death, every creature is adapted to their environment with their own unique and desirable traits, and because innovation is not the answer to every creature's survival, we cannot rationally claim that innovation or another favorable trait makes us superior. I merely said that I agreed that humans are superior at innovation, but we aren't a superior species. I'm sorry, but I'm confused. What are you trying to point out?

"Human intelligence has led to their extreme expansive growth, not to mention elimination of other species, apparently not able to innovate their way into surviving human encroachment."

I could've asked the same to criminals and why they couldn't escape the cops they were captured by.

I DO NOT support animal rights, but I'm all for animal welfare. When I mentioned people with disabilities, I was merely trying to point out that being incapable of something doesn't make you more or less. We should respect all others. That doesn't mean that pets are slaves.

"What is your source? http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2011/11/cooking-increases..."

My source is what I learned in high school.

I was just pointing out that we aren't a superior species. Please, I don't want anbody to flame at me. This is just a friendly discussion, if I was rude anytime, then I apologize.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

No, you weren't rude, but your argument isn't really about anything substantive. You are just arguing against the notion of superiority in general. What's the point?


Kenai profile image

Kenai 21 months ago from Seattle, WA

Well, I was very interested in this topic, I felt like it was somehow related to the topic you wrote about. Anyway, happy we had a great discussion and debate.


Troll 21 months ago

I want to thank you SO MUCH!!!! I could literally kiss you right now (i am a guy). I am so sick and tired of these "edgy and different" kids (or worse, middle aged women) who seem to have an irrational hate for their own species, while obsessing over animals who do couldn't give a shit about them. I have heard people say they would rather save their pet than their mother. Their mother! This is not just a stranger, but the one and only person in the world who will unconditionally love you for who you are, yet you trade some stupid shitty cat who bites and scratches you every day for your mother... I am so glad to see that there are still rational human beings out there who don't base their opinion on animals and humans on Disney and cat videos and Fox news respectively.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

Well thank you, it's about time someone sees this the way I do. Most people are too animal-obsessed to object to nonsense.


HeyJay22 14 months ago

I know this may sound overexaggerated but it's true. I signed up to the site just to reply to your post. And just how Troll said, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm really glad I've finally found another individual that shares the same logical and rational views as mine and hasn't lost all contact with reality. You thoroughly expressed my opinions on your post and I'm so grateful to you for doing that. I especially like your referrence to the "progressive" ideas. That's what I've been referring to these people, as well. Pseudo-progressive, pseudo-educated...... sufferers of a mental disorder.

I guess we have the old-fashioned view on the subject in 2015, for being a bit more reasonable.

And I'm hoping we'll both stay that way.

Again, thank you. You're awesome :))


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 14 months ago from New York Author

Thanks HeyJay, it's rare to hear people agree.


breakherlegs 12 months ago

Wait, don't dolphins have language? I thought they even had names for each other and all. And don't orcas, crows and cows (I think) have regional accents?

Oh, and you said they don't have morality. Morality is when a society comes up with a right/wrong system and you're moral if you obey that code, yeah?

But I remember seeing a documentary about monogamy in animals. And there was a species of vultures, black I think. And they're supposed to be monogamous, but occasionally one cheats on his partner.

But wait! The other vultures frown on that and beat him/her up for being unfaithful.

Deviating from the path right there, as you insist animals do NOT do.

If it was all just instinct, all vultures would cheat or NOT cheat, yes? And if monogamy was instinct and not a moral code of some sort, no one would be punished for breaking the rules, yeah?

I saw a similar thing in a meerkat documentary.

I couuuuuld find references for these, but I don't think it matters. Because like most of what we know of animals (for and against their intellect), it's speculation, our own biases. Like, I will always make myself see an animal helping out another (even when it isn't there), and you will always find a way to make it that what you saw was instinct and not real empathy or whatever even when it totally WAS just an animal being a caring guy). So arguments like these are a little bit useless since we'll just continue seeing whatever we're gonna see. :3

(But I think I saw the vulture thing in 'Wild Sex' and the meerkat thing in 'Meerkat Manor', 'cause I don't wanna be the guy who fails to reference and just rambles on instead. ;D)

Hey, I'm not debating we're more intelligent (at least by our standards), or more 'complex', as I prefer to say, but I think you're ignoring some evidence that should at least be CONSIDERED, yeah?

I think we find more and more out about how animals work each and every day and this new information might rock your adamant beliefs that they aren't moral or self-aware or whatever else you believe. Just be aware of that.

Oh, and how about everyone just operates as if humans AREN'T all evil and animals AREN'T all stupid, just in case we're wrong? That way, we'll treat everyone better, and it is better to treat a stupid animal like a genius than to treat a thinking, feeling being as if it doesn't matter so much, right? Safer that way. ^.^


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 12 months ago from New York Author

"Wait, don't dolphins have language?"

No. I'm not ignoring any evidence, I just came to a different conclusion.

"But wait! The other vultures frown on that and beat him/her up for being unfaithful."

Are there any groups of vultures of the ~same~ species that practice a different alleged morality? Just as us humans have different moral outlooks when it comes to mate selection and gender roles? That is how I separate a pre-wired instinct from a culturally developed attitude.


Spurwing Plover 9 months ago

PETA are a whole bunch of totaly annoying idiots and their hypotcrites as well they blabber a lot about Compassion they have their rmembers running around either naked or wearing funny costumes and they harass school kids and annoy their prents then they go and kill over 90% of the animals they have adopted and have taken a dog from its owners yard and euthinised it they have even filed idiotic lawsuits and lost them and have tried to get communities to change their names becuase it sound bad for animals and can always count on the usial hollywood idiots to support them and do stupid ads for them I want thing to do with PETA period


anonymous 8 months ago

Melissa, how can you be a misanthrope when you sound like all misanthrope sin this blog are stupid? And why on Earth would you call misanthropy childish when you're being that way yourself? Aren't you be hypocritical?


RadaxLognog 8 weeks ago

Hello Melissa.

I am an alien from planet Kepler 22B. I must say, I am a little frightened by you Earthling humans. I would like to know why you view yourselves as being superior to fellow earthling animals, when you are all just evolved animals on a planet within this unimaginably vast universe. You earthling humans have high intelligence but also flaws, like how the animals have intelligence and flaws. You put yourselves so high up, but forgetting you're just mutant monkeys who are placing worth and value upon themselves.

You do seem like a very nice lady though and I would hate to be rude to a fellow alien being, but please tell me - do you consider yourself superior to the grey alien race? Our brains are vastly different from that of humans and are capable of things you earthlings are not. Please do not be shy to state your opinion, I am light years away and cannot meet up face to face.


Jemima S 8 weeks ago

Melissa, I love your post. Finally - someone with common sense! Animals aren't intelligent at all and we are nothing like them!! we humans rule the cosmos in my eyes. Don't you agree?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 8 weeks ago from New York Author

RadaxLognog-- I find it a bit strange that you refer to yourself as an alien. If I went to Mars I wouldn't call myself an alien. Humans aren't mutants, we're a species just like any other. But we're the only species on Earth that can communicate the way we're doing now. Writing does not come so naturally to humans, we've created this system of communication. Therefore such a stunning ability to create is another level of cognition different from animals that are born with their instinctual abilities. I used to think grammatical language concepts were an inherited ability of humans, but then I stumbled across this https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/evidenc...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 8 weeks ago from New York Author

Jemima S: Not the cosmos, maybe the Earth?


Jemima S 8 weeks ago

Yeah, maybe I'm just too enthusiastic about the human race, hehe.


RadaxLognog 7 weeks ago

Hi Melissa,

(Sorry for my last comment, I have a silly sense of humor..)

How come you don't view animals as having intelligence? If they weren't intelligent, they'd be bumping into walls, getting themselves in stupidly dangerous situations all the time, but they don't. They wouldn't have survived without intelligence. I don't believe you have done much research on the intelligence of animals. You claim to have the "gift of knowledge" and be good with logic but yet you are (no disrespect) biased with your view of animal intelligence.

Humans have flaws, and there are some things animals can do better than us. Just because an animal can't speak the way we do or make technology, doesn't mean we are gods in comparison to them. Have you ever researched bees and how they communicate ? It is very complex and we can't speak their language or any other animal language. they can't speak ours either - and in fact, that's why we judge them so harshly (partly) because they can't turn around and tell us exactly what they're thinking, so we arrogantly assume they're lacking overall intelligence and we're the smart ones. Also remember that there are many forms of intelligence, so you can't judge the overall intelligence of an animal based on one specific kind.

We don't have wings, we can't run at 60 miles/per/hour, we can't change colour to camouflage ourselves. We don't have gills, but that of course doesn't mean we are inferior to other creatures just because they can do things we can't...and it shouldn't be the way for animals being compared to us; they shouldn't be deemed as inferior and dumb just because they don't do the things we do.

Yes, no doubt we are the most advanced but that's just where evolution has got us. Please don't underestimate what animals can do based on what you love about humans being able to do. Oh, and by mutant monkeys, I meant that as a way of saying we are an advanced breed of apes. I didn't mean we are literally mutants because that's something from a sci-fi film, haha!

I hope you can respect where I'm coming from with what I've said and be open-minded. I really don't want to argue with you or be rude to you in anyway, I just want to discuss the topic.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 7 weeks ago from New York Author

Sorry buddy, I've heard these arguments before. I never said animals don't have 'intelligence', that would be a stupid thing to say so by that I can determine you don't understand my position at all. I consider the bee dancing communication to be elementary knowledge. I've already addressed that, bees are born with the ability. From what I understand researchers have deciphered bee communication. Re-read what I said about human writing. Animals do NOT have a language. Please read about what language is on Wikipedia. Bee communication is a closed system. So are the communication systems of prairie dogs, dolphins, magpies, and non-human great apes. What does that mean?

You can't write the above paragraph with their communication. ^


RadaxLognog 7 weeks ago

Yeah I know a bee couldn't write a paragraph, because their language isn't human, I get that. I was simply stating that they do have a complex form of communication at least. Maybe I did misinterpret what you said and I'm sorry about that.

"Sorry buddy, I've heard these arguments before" and what's wrong with my argument, exactly? Do you think you know better? I'm trying to be reasonable.


RadaxLognog 7 weeks ago

Sorry, that last part sounded harsh. I don't mean "Do you think you know better?" in a rude way, I'm just asking if you have anything to speak up about that you think is wrong with my argument. I'm open to constructive criticism. Just saying because I think I've made myself sound rude and I don't mean it.


Jemima S 7 weeks ago

Radax....Animals don't have language and I don't think you're listening to Melissa. You even said "We can't speak their language" again you've clearly stated they have language. They do not have a language. I certainly don't wanna argue that's for sure but I think you need to just read a bit more of the article and understand what's being said. I actually think there's an amazing amount of science and logic in this article that you don't see and it's sad.


RadaxLognog 6 weeks ago

Um...I don't mean they have language like us, I meant that they have their own line of communication which I called "language" but maybe I'm mistaken for using that word. I will admit that I may have misinterpreted some of what she was saying but I stand strong in my beliefs.

I don't think I'm right about everything but I try to see life through scientific and open eyes. I'm not one to be biased about things and although I may make myself unclear and take things the wrong way, I always mean well.


anonymous 3 weeks ago

You, RadaxLong, are a liar because you're not an alien from another planet. To claim so is delusional of you.


The Heartless Cardiologist 2 weeks ago

Great article. It's nice to know someone else shares the same views. I've always wondered how someone can say they hate humans, because how can you hate your very own specie? It just doesn't make sense to me.


another misanthrope 9 days ago

listen to you suckin' up to the author of this hub, you hypocritical cardiologist. don't like misanthropes? tough. they'll be always on earth no matter what.


The Heartless Cardiologist 2 days ago

Well the author has a point, so HA! Maybe go live with the wolves if you are a misanthrope. I bet they'll love you.....


The Heartless Cardiologist 2 days ago

And also, how exactly am I a hypocrite? Have I displayed any kind of misanthropy in my words? I don't think so. I am a devoted cardiologist who works on treating people who have heart problems, and I value human life greatly, so the claim that I am a hypocrite is baseless and deluded. I'm sorry my appreciation of this article is incomprehensible to your brain. Have a nice day!!...

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