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.
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.
"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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Why Do Some People Think Dolphins are Smarter than Humans?
Analyzing the lack of skepticism and common sense regarding the intelligence of dolphins and humans.
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?