September 7, 2016

How animal-expert cat owners justify letting their cats out to roam the neighborhood and kill songbirds.

Here's WaPo's "Cats are bird killers/These animal experts let theirs outside anyway." (Via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.) It's not just about cats and birds. It's about the human mind and what I think is the single most pithy thing you can say about it: People believe what they want to believe. It's fascinating to see this process at work in such an elaborate, blatant context.

IN THE COMMENTS: David Begley said:
"People believe what they want to believe."

That insight was stated by Christian Bale in the movie, "American Hustle." Screenplay by David O.Russell.

That's really true in this election.
I'll bet "People believe what they want to believe" is said in a lot of movies. Kind of like "Let's get out of here," which we used to insist was said in every movie. Trying to figure out who first said "People believe what they want to believe" is like trying to find who first said "It takes one to know one" or "To each his own."

But I gave it a bit of a try and ended up on a page of quotes for the proposition "willful ignorance." It lets people "like" the quotes and the most-like one comes from Plato: "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

There's an Ayn Rand one for you Ayn Rand folks: "The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see." I like the Benjamin Franklin: "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid."

Begley connected it to the election (as did I, to myself, writing the post), so let me feature the Isaac Asimov quote:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
And here's Ray Bradbury:
But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.
ADDED: That afraid-of-the-light quote isn't really from Plato. I thought it sounded un-Plato-y. Here's a list of things Plato didn't say.

169 comments:

David Begley said...

" People believe what they want to believe."

That insight was stated by Christian Bale in the movie, "American Hustle." Screenplay by David O.Russell.

That's really true in this election.

traditionalguy said...

Presuasion by Robert Cialdini, that Scott Adams keeps talking about, is out on Audible. Trump must have read the manuscript of this two years ago because it basically describes his ways.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

How animal-expert cat owners justify letting their cats out to roam the neighborhood and kill songbirds.

Song birds are cat food. What more explanation is needed?

Dennis said...

" People believe what they want to believe."

Hence, Scott Adams.

Curious George said...

"...and kill songbirds."

Nature is a bitch.

traditionalguy said...

I loved the reasoning behind the article. Cats are such lazy killers that they really are only killing off the surplus birds. Thomas Malthus redux.

The Neon Madman said...

"People believe what they want to believe."

How about: You see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear. Can you dig it?"

From the Rock Man, in the story "The Point", by Harry Nilsson

rhhardin said...

People believe what they want to believe. It's fascinating to see this process at work in such an elaborate, blatant context.

Confirmation bias.

Remember the universal two forces that every explanation has, from Freud to Adams:

1. Some force introducing new or replacement stuff (persuasion for Adams)

2. Some force preventing the introduction of replacement stuff (confirmation bias for Adams).

What do you know that you didn't know a priori about the matter? Nothing.

rhhardin said...

People smell what they want to smell.

rhhardin said...

People want what they want to want.

Lucien said...

"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" sums it up nicely and comes with a snappy tune. My cats used to love killing voles & shrews, which are in short supply where we live now.

John said...

I don't really care about cats eating birds, though I am always happy to hear about owls and other predators killing cats.

I do have very little patience for people and their fucking pets. Get a life already, folks. If you do have a pet, don't let it go shitting on other people's yards. Don't let it shit anywhere without cleaning it up.

I was in the airport in Miami yesterday and there was a lady sitting across from me with a little fru-fru hairy dog of some kind. Big vest that said "service animal" so she could carry it around without a cage. She did have it on a leash but was letting it roam. I told her to keep it away from me. She said it was just a little dog and would not hurt me. I told her if she let it get within close enough for me to kick it in the snout, I would do so.

She got all huffy and moved to another seat which suited me just fine.

I later saw her on the plane and she had it on her lap. Had I been seated next to her, I would have made a stink.

I know there are useful service animals such as seeing eye dogs. I am OK with them, though I do not want them sitting next to me on the plane. I also know there is a lot of abuse and this lady was one of them. Dogs should fly cargo.


John Henry

rhhardin said...

Birds overpopulate to compensate for cats. They're actually just seed gatherers for the food chain.

A breeding pair has maybe 3 broods of 4 every year, so 36 birds in say a 3 year mating life. Of this, 2 have to survive. So one bird in 18 doesn't die, which is on the average more than the entire year's broods.

John said...

Sheesh! I Think I channeled my inner Laslo in that note.

I wonder if I should get a service animal to keep me company? I am thinking of a service fish. Do you think they would let me through security with a coldfish in a bowl if I had a doctor's note saying it was my service animal?

John Henry

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

"People believe what they want to believe."

Not quite. But that's harmless error. Close enough.

People believe what they are rewarded sufficiently to believe, humans having an internal system that administers rewards and punishments, to varying degrees, depending on the circumstances.

I drink a lot.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

A national debate has simmered since a 2013 study by the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion small mammals annually in the United States.

I don't see that as a problem. Are any of those critters endangered? When they talk about birds and small mammals they mostly mean pigeons and other critters such as mice, rats, voles, chipmunks, and other vermin that spread disease and steal from gardens.

John said...

One of the cat owners justified letting his cats out because they kill rats. Perhaps his cat will one day kill a rat infected with bubonic plaque or some other interesting disease. The cat will get infected and bring the disease into his house.

This will solve several problems.

John Henry

DavidD said...

"You believe what you want to believe. But you don't have to live like a refugee."

David Begley said...

In Althouse's added link I find this,

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

Considering how Tom Wolfe destroyed Darwin in his "The Kingdom of Speech." I find this funny. Darwin was so, so confident in his Theiry of Everything but he had no answer for the most important aspect of human beings: speech.

I cited the movie "American Hustle" because it is about two professional con men who pulled off a giant scam which resulted in big time pols going to jail. This was back when the FBI actually did its job and didn't protect politicians like Hillary.

Fritz said...

Yesterday, we saw an eagle steal a fish from an osprey.

Who are we supposed to feel sorry for, the fish, who's dead either way, the Osprey which was deprived of it's chicks meal, or the eagle, which will have to fish on it's own after October?

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Checked the other comments before posting and Lucian beat me to it!

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" - Paul Simon

rhhardin said...

One problem is that evidence is syllabified wrong. It's ex + videre, to see.

Sebastian said...

People believe what they want to believe: as opposed to? People don't believe what they want to believe? People believe what they don't want to believe?

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." And per Hayek on the use of knowledge in society, Americans were right and the Asimovs ignorant.

rhhardin said...

There's not much meat on a songbird. It's mostly sticks and rubber bands covered with feathers.

Peter said...

I prefer the quote attributed to John Galbraith, that "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."

Although it is awesome to watch a cat stalking a bird, as it just seems to have infinite patience and stealth as it slowly, slowly, ever so slowly inches ever closer to its prey. The pounce may be the dramatic moment, but it's the stalking that is awesome.

rhhardin said...

It's called ignorance because it's formed fire.

Knowledge is sedimentary.

dreams said...

"Yesterday, we saw an eagle steal a fish from an osprey.

Who are we supposed to feel sorry for, the fish, who's dead either way, the Osprey which was deprived of it's chicks meal, or the eagle, which will have to fish on it's own after October?"

When in doubt, blame humans. Animals good, humans bad. It doesn't have to make sense.

Roger Sweeny said...

My late father-in-law, who had been (among other things) an English professor and a multi-published novelist, used to say, "People don't want the truth; they want a good story."

Hunter said...

The reason cat owners should want to keep their cats inside is so the cat doesn't get killed by a coyote or bird of prey, or hit by a car, kicked by a neighborhood hoodlum, etc. Cats can climb, run, jump, and even hunt bugs indoors and will live much longer indoors than out.

I wonder that people think keeping a cat inside is cruelly confining, but don't feel the same about keeping a dog always inside, in a fenced yard, or on leash. Animals don't know enough to keep themselves out of danger, especially from humans.

Curious George said...

"Hunter said...
The reason cat owners should want to keep their cats inside is so the cat doesn't get killed by a coyote or bird of prey, or hit by a car, kicked by a neighborhood hoodlum, etc. Cats can climb, run, jump, and even hunt bugs indoors and will live much longer indoors than out."

A cat that has not been declawed has nothing to worry about from a coyote or any bird. Cars are an issue, but you rarely see dead cats on the road. The biggest threat to cats outdoors are the parasites and diseases they can get.

Roger Sweeny said...

Peter, Galbraith admired John Maynard Keynes and had no doubt heard the (possibly apocryphal) story of how Keynes was once criticized for asserting something that was inconsistent with something he had said/written earlier. Keynes supposedly replied, ""When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?"

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Regarding the Asimov quote. I have read a lot of Asimov, fiction and non-fiction. I have his books on the Bible, Shakespeare, and Physics on my bookshelf. I consider myself a fan. However, one thing I have noticed about american intellectuals is that they consider any disagreement with them anti-intellectualism because they often believe that they came to their premises via a reasoned process of cold logic completely uninfluenced by their backgrounds and temperament. Therefore, anyone who disagrees with their premises and the conclusions arising from them is by definition an ignorant boob.

Birkel said...

I prefer Hannibal Lechter's take:

Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.

Clarice Starling: No. We just...

Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day...

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So you get caricatures of people like William Jennings Bryan as an anti-intellectual boob because he opposed teaching evolution. The fact that evolution was used to justify eugenics laws and the oppression of the poor is an inconvenient fact that is ignored. And if you bring it up now the standard answer is that "those people" were wrong to use biological evolution to justify Social Darwinism.

Why, you ask them.

Shut up! You anti-intellectual boob! They answer.

Quaestor said...

David Grimm, a Science magazine editor… likens leaving your cat indoors to keeping “your race car in a garage.”

Good analogy, and a good defense of the Keep Your Cat Inside position. The vast majority of racing cars aren't street legal, analogous to the prohibition of cats roaming at will. The race cars can't "roam at will"l because they're unsafe for everybody concerned. If you want to let your race car out as it were, you must first trailer it to a track where only race cars are permitted — there are no pedestrians or cyclists or traffic racing in the other direction or children playing on the track. One wonders how someone as smart as Grimm failed to follow his own reasoning, however one shouldn't given the increasing prevalence of cognitive dissonance in our society.

Carry the analogy further and one can see there's a solution for cat owners who believe their pets need to be outside. Most people agree livestock needs to be confined — we don't want to be faced with dodging cows on the freeway — and we see dogs confined to fenced yards or at the end of leashes as correct and humane for the protection of our beloved pets if nothing else, so why not outdoor confinement for cats? Anybody with a backyard and a little means can build a fenced enclosure for his cats that can substantially decrease the likelihood of predation on wildlife. Call it as safe space, and give that term a non-fascist meaning. The safe space should be fenced, of course, but it should also be free of anything that encourages visits or habitation by wildlife — no trees or shrubbery for perching or nesting, no water or food bowls (Puss can come inside to eat and drink), i.e. no food source for omnivorous birds like crows and jays, and no standing water to invite bathing. The footing shouldn't be grass because beneath and within the turf are the bugs and invertebrates songbirds eat, nor should it be sand. Birds are strongly attracted by dry sand for dust bathes. Ideally the footing should be concrete, topped perhaps with some outdoor carpeting if the cat owner is slightly insane; the cat won't mind the lack of grass, and it might wear down those furniture-ruining talons a bit.

What about the apartment dweller who must nevertheless have a pet? We already have dog parks in many cities, and many of those cities collect a "dog tax" to pay for their construction and upkeep. So why not a cat tax? Cats are destructive and objectionably prolific. Society already incurs expenses to mitigate that destructiveness and feline fecundity. So hurrah for a cat tax, I say — lower taxes for spayed and neutered kitties, higher fees charged to the morons who think more cats is good cats. The money could be used for public cat parks, for wildlife protection, and to mitigate the feral cat problem.



Ron Winkleheimer said...

Or they just insist that doing so is "bad."

Proving that they have not grasped the logical implications of their philosophical position.

Though sometimes they say "bad" in a rather wordy fashion trying to hide that fact.

Gusty Winds said...

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life

If intellectualism relies solely on reason and the rational to achieve knowledge, then it is itself anti-intellectual denying the many other factors in life that create knowledge or wisdom. We are not Vulcans.

Experience
Emotion
Necessity
Reaction
Self-interest
Bias
Survival

This is why self-proclaimed intellectuals are society's biggest pain in the ass; perhaps the most ignorant. They pretend to use reason, when they mix in all the rest in their decision making processes, just like everyone else who they consider beneath them.

Sydney said...

But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time...
The basis of motivational interviewing which is used to counsel people with addictions and other needs for lifestyle modification (smoking cessation, losing weight, etc.)

Gusty Winds said...

How are you supposed to keep a 328 foot bird killing wind turbine inside?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Questor

Why should I care if cats kill "wildlife." I rather like that cats in my neighborhood kill chipmunks. Chipmunks come into my garden and steal the produce. Cats kill mice and rats which are destructive pests. As for birds, I don't see a great deficit of them. As a species they seem to be holding up under the predatory pressure. Its clear you value birds over cats, but why should anyone else do so? By the way, I would not personally keep a cat as a pet, but the fact that some are running around unattended and killing pests is not something that causes me a great deal of heartburn.

This is one of those articles whose premise, "cats killing 'wildlife' bad" is taken as a given, but no reasons is presented for why I should agree with that premise.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How animal-expert cat owners justify letting their cats out to roam the neighborhood and kill songbirds

I let my cat out during the day and he kills birds (mostly quail and eurasian doves), mice, moles, gophers, ground squirrels and big spiders. So far no snakes or lizards but that's ok. I like snakes because they also eat the mice etc.

So what. That is what cats are supposed to do.

He does go inside the workshop at night because I don't want to have him killed by the coyotes, foxes, mountain lions and have to listen to the death screams at 3am. Or worse, he get mangled, not killed, and we have to take him to the vet, yet again.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

When I was in Okinawa I saw rats that were as big as small cats. The feral cats there were tough.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Curiously, the only cats in my neighborhood are indoor cats, and the songbirds flourish.

Quaestor said...

Ron Winkleheimer wrote: So you get caricatures of people like William Jennings Bryan as an anti-intellectual boob because he opposed teaching evolution.

As one who has studied the period in some detail I can't cite an instance of WJB ever using opposition to eugenics as a basis for an attack on evolution. If you can, have at it. Transcripts of his Chautauqua speeches on the subject are available online.

The fact that evolution was used to justify eugenics laws and the oppression of the poor is an inconvenient fact that is ignored.

That's incorrect. The argument for eugenics was based on the fact of heredity, which even Bible-thumping evangelicals of the time didn't deny, else why the concern of a fair-skinned farmer when his fair-skinned wife presented him with her dark-skinned son? The KKK, an organization which demanded Biblical literalism of its members on pain of flogging and expulsion, embraced eugenics as right and necessary. Evolution was banned in the public schools of Nazi Germany from 1936 until the fall of the Reich. However, eugenics was state policy and the subject of hundreds of pamphlets, books, films, public lectures, radio talks, and even puppet shows.

Quaestor said...

This is one of those articles whose premise, "cats killing 'wildlife' bad" is taken as a given, but no reasons is presented for why I should agree with that premise.

Congrats on confirming the most damning caricatures of conservatives. Hillary and all leftists thanks you,

Birkel said...

Quaestor @ 9:47am

What does that response mean?

tim maguire said...

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been.

We don't have a cult of ignorance, we are merely savvy to the stupidities of the intellectuals. Those who complain about a cult of ignorance tend to be intellectuals who are upset that so many are not as in love with them and their absurd notions as they are.

Quaestor said...

Dust Bunny Queen wrote: He does go inside the workshop at night because I don't want to have him killed by the coyotes, foxes, mountain lions and have to listen to the death screams at 3am.

So what. That is what coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions are supposed to do.

Althouse brought up the subject as a proxy for the troubling tendency of people to check their reason when reason don't serve their immediate interest. What's amazing is the dizzying display of that very phenomenon, without self-consciousness or reflection, exhibited in some of the comments here.

Ron Winkleheimer and Dust Bunny Queen evidently don't give a tuppence for wildlife, which some of us value. Fine. So how would you react if an admirer of a songbirds popped your free-roaming kitty in the noggin with a .22? Outraged? Probably. But given your stated positions your outrage would be groundless. What sauce for the goose...

Birkel said...

Quaestor @ 9:44am:

We can agree that Democrats supported eugenics and used every argument at their disposal toward that end. The Democrats used the Bible and then-modern quasi-science to advance their racialist projects.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Quaestor

In his famous Chautauqua lecture, "The Prince of Peace" (1909), Bryan warned that the theory of evolution could undermine the foundations of morality.

One book Bryan read at this time convinced him that Darwinism emphasizing the struggle of races had undermined morality in Germany.[56] Bryan was deeply influenced by Vernon Kellogg's 1917 book, Headquarters Nights: A Record of Conversations and Experiences at the Headquarters of the German Army in Belgium and France, which asserted (on the basis of a conversation with a reserve officer he called "Professor von Flussen") that German intellectuals were totally committed to might-makes-right due to "whole-hearted acceptance of the worst of Neo-Darwinism, the Allmacht of natural selection applied to human life and society and Kultur."[57]

The argument for eugenics was based on the fact of heredity

Eugenics is the believe that some people are genetically superior to others and that the superior have the right to control the breeding of the inferiors. Your statement is beyond silly. And it wasn't the KKK that was pushing it. It was people who are considered progressives.

Despite the fact that social Darwinism bears Charles Darwin's name, it is also linked today with others, notably Herbert Spencer, Thomas Malthus, and Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics. In fact, Spencer was not described as a social Darwinist until the 1930s, long after his death.[16]

Galton was a polymath who made important contributions in many fields of science, including meteorology (the anti-cyclone and the first popular weather maps), statistics (regression and correlation), psychology (synaesthesia), biology (the nature and mechanism of heredity), and criminology (fingerprints). Much of this was influenced by his penchant for counting or measuring. Galton prepared the first weather map published in The Times (1 April 1875, showing the weather from the previous day, 31 March), now a standard feature in newspapers worldwide.[20]

Definitely a KKK member.

Galton invented the term eugenics in 1883 and set down many of his observations and conclusions in a book, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.[24] He believed that a scheme of 'marks' for family merit should be defined, and early marriage between families of high rank be encouraged by provision of monetary incentives. He pointed out some of the tendencies in British society, such as the late marriages of eminent people, and the paucity of their children, which he thought were dysgenic. He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying able couples with incentives to have children. On 29 October 1901, Galton chose to address eugenic issues when he delivered the second Huxley lecture at the Royal Anthropological Institute[21]

But anyway, you haven't told me why eugenics is "bad." You just tried to blame it on the KKK and called me a bible thumper.

The fact of the matter is that eugenics was pushed by progressives and "conservatives" such as C.K. Chesterton and Bryan opposed it. And eugenics was a part of Social Darwinism. This is an historical fact. There is no getting around it.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Ron Winkleheimer and Dust Bunny Queen evidently don't give a tuppence for wildlife

I won't speak for Dust Bunny Queen, but in my case it depends on the wildlife. I think Gorillas should be protected and am against killing whales. But I will freely admit that is an aesthetic position. You seem to be quite adamant about preserving "wildlife" from the predation of cats. But why is a mouse's life more valuable than the pleasure a cat gets from killing it?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and in the country it is quite common to shoot feral cats if they are threatening the livestock such as chickens. If you don't want you cat shot then you don't let it run loose. If it is shot then you aren't going to be all that upset. People in the country have a much less sentimental view of animals.

Birkel said...

When did cats stop being wildlife?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ron Winkleheimer and Dust Bunny Queen evidently don't give a tuppence for wildlife, which some of us value. Fine. So how would you react if an admirer of a songbirds popped your free-roaming kitty in the noggin with a .22? Outraged? Probably. But given your stated positions your outrage would be groundless. What sauce for the goose...

Actually, I value wildlife quite highly. Much of it is quite tasty. The Eurasian Doves have no limit on them and while a bit small they are also good to eat because their diet consists of mostly grains and wild rice.

As to what sauce for the goose, I usually breast them, pound the breast lightly and use an oriental based sauce or a combination soy/orange/olive oil marinade and either grill or sautee. The rest of the goose, which is really quite tough and stringy can be the base for a nice stock or stew. The deer are also quite tasty too because they are dining on a diet of apples, pears and other fruit as well as alfalfa.

I don't want to have my outdoor cat killed by the wildlife at night when it is just as easy to lock him into the workshop at dark. But mostly I don't want him to be hurt because we are not taking him to the vet anymore and would have to put him down (shoot him) ourselves.

bagoh20 said...

Often for so called anti-intellectuals there is not the arrogance of believing they're right, but refusal to accept the superiority of failed intellectuals who refuse to admit the failures of their certainty. Often it's just the more reasoned approach, but when it is critical of intellectuals, well then it must be the stupidity of the critics.

This is evident when a non-credentialed critic critiques an "expert" and without even addressing the argument the "expert" goes to "who are you, where did you study, are you an expert?" If the critic is is off base, just explain what's wrong with the argument. Going with the credentials thing is a tell that you have never considered the alternative view ,and are therefore not really an expert, but merely a credentialist. It's an non-intellectual approach.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In the years I've lived in my house I have had "wildlife" invade it twice. Once I used a mouse trap to kill the "wildlife" and the other time my dog got it. Also, a my dog got a rabbit that invaded the fenced backyard I keep my dog in. I don't think she has ever caught a chipmunk. However, I have set up traps to kill the chipmunks so that I can enjoy some of the produce of my garden.

Is that OK?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

My dog will also play with lizards if she can catch them until they die. I don't like that because the lizards eat bugs. So I care about the lizards, but I dislike the bugs. Aren't the lizards and bugs both "wildlife?"

I plant butterfly bushes and other flowering plants to attract butterflies and Humming Birds because I like to look at them.

Is that considered caring about "wildlife."

Quaestor said...

Birkel wrote: What does that response mean?

It's obvious. Leftwing propaganda paints conservative as thoughtless despoilers of the Earth, people who are indifferent to the fates of all life that does not directly serve their immediate interests. Facts that reinforce the propaganda are unfortunate. I don't know the ages of Winkleheimer and DBQ, but I must surmise they are among the more elderly of the Althouse commentariat, which may explain their insensitivity to their own rhetoric.

The world has changed, like it not. People are going to hold you responsible for the consequences of your pet ownership, like it or not. There are conservatives in the environment movement, Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, among them, and they are struggling against forces that seek to leverage concern for wildlife into political power, forces that seek to establish in America a kind of eco-fascism. Those forces are well-financed and well-established in academia. Their weapon is anti-conservative propaganda, of which, quite frankly, the admissions of RW and DBQ as stated here are golden examples,

Birkel said...

I have the feeling Quaestor gets the vapors when he watches a lion chase a gazelle.

Poor fellow.

Birkel said...

Quaestor:

It's obvious only that you have bought into the sort of propaganda the Left peddles.

You go ahead and play by the rules established by the Left. And when they change those rules without notice and without regard to the logical implications, you will be well-advised not to ask for sympathy. You concede the ground on which the fight should happen too easily, coward.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In Eugenics and Other Evils Chesterton attacked eugenics as Britain was moving towards passage of the Mental Deficiency Act 1913. Some backing the ideas of eugenics called for the government to sterilise people deemed "mentally defective;" this view did not gain popularity but the idea of segregating them from the rest of society and thereby preventing them from reproducing did gain traction. These ideas disgusted Chesterton who wrote "It is not only openly said, it is eagerly urged that the aim of the measure is to prevent any person whom these propagandists do not happen to think intelligent from having any wife or children."[54] He blasted the proposed wording for such measures as being so vague as to apply to anyone, including "Every tramp who is sulk, every labourer who is shy, every rustic who is eccentric, can quite easily be brought under such conditions as were designed for homicidal maniacs. That is the situation; and that is the point... we are already under the Eugenist State; and nothing remains to us but rebellion."[54]

Some of Wells's early science fiction works reflect his thoughts about the degeneration of humanity.[65] Wells doubted whether human knowledge had advanced sufficiently for eugenics to be successful. In 1904 he discussed a survey paper by Francis Galton, co-founder of eugenics, saying, "I believe that now and always the conscious selection of the best for reproduction will be impossible; that to propose it is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of what individuality implies ... It is in the sterilisation of failure, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Ron

I feed the quail and other birds regularly. It seems that the cat and the birds have actually made a truce since he sleeps in the bottom of what used to be a two story bird feeder near where I throw out grain and they warily eye him while he is snoozing. The birds can fly up into the cedar tree if/when he wakes up or when a Cooper Hawk comes swooping by.

We also have hummingbird feeders and bushes to attract those little pr*cks. The hummingbird wars are also quite entertaining and we sit on our deck and watch the antics as well as watch, with our binoculars, the Bald Eagles, Blue Herons,Egrets, buzzards, hundreds of ducks and geese as well as many other birds, too numerous to detail, out on the fields and river below our property. Occasionally we will also see some deer swimming across to get to the greener pastures on the other side where they graze near the cattle and horses.

I think you hit on it. It is the difference between people who live in the city and have a Disneyland view of wildlife and those who live in the country and have practical experience. A fantasy versus reality.

Birkel said...

When did cats stop being wildlife?

eric said...

The con men who fancy themselves hypnotists of the dating world live off the maxim that a woman believes what she wants to believe.

This is how they are able to have sexual relationships with so many women unconnected to any sort of promise or obligation. And it's so much easier for these nice young ladies to later call these men assholes, than it is to look in the mirror and realize they are idiots.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

People are going to hold you responsible for the consequences of your pet ownership, like it or not. There are conservatives in the environment movement, Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, among them, and they are struggling against forces that seek to leverage concern for wildlife into political power, forces that seek to establish in America a kind of eco-fascism. Those forces are well-financed and well-established in academia. Their weapon is anti-conservative propaganda, of which, quite frankly, the admissions of RW and DBQ as stated here are golden examples,


Bwhaahahahahahhh! Snort. Hahahahah. LOL. etc

eric said...

I don't know the ages of Winkleheimer and DBQ, but I must surmise they are among the more elderly of the Althouse commentariat, which may explain their insensitivity to their own rhetoric.

This sounds like a clever parody. Has Also taken over your account?

eric said...

Bwhaahahahahahhh! Snort. Hahahahah. LOL. etc

This was my reaction as well. I'm suspicious. I think we are being punked.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Leftwing propaganda paints conservative as thoughtless despoilers of the Earth, people who are indifferent to the fates of all life that does not directly serve their immediate interests.

So what? I'm supposed to pretend that the emperor does have clothes? I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut when I disagree with someone to the left of me? Doesn't that kind of mean they win the argument by default?

Cats killing "wildlife" that is not endangered and in many cases are considered pests is not a concern to any person who does not have an irrational sentimental attachment to "wildlife" as some sort of Gaia like worship. I can not care about cats killing pests and still be concerned about the environment in general.

So let me see if I can summarize your arguments.

Call me a Bible thumper.
Call me a right wing caricature.
Obviously incorrect statements concerning eugenics and Social Darwinism.
Warning that if I want to win an argument then I should either shut up or go along with the people I disagree with.
Vague threat that "people" are going to make me do something and I must be old. And old people are "wrong" because their believes are out of fashion.

OK

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@DBQ

Yeah, its amazing when hummingbirds get into fights and fly into each other. The sound of the thump is really loud.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

By the way. I think eric is probably correct.

Birkel said...

I doubt it is Laslo.
Laslo is more subtle.

AGAIN:
When did cats stop being wildlife?

Quaestor said...

Ron Winkleheimer wrote: Is that considered caring about "wildlife."

Your comments reflect a concern for yourself, your aesthetic pleasures specifically. As I wrote earlier, the caricature is the conservative who cares not for anything that doesn't serve his immediate interests.

I am not an environmentalist, or at least I don't count myself within their ranks. Environmentalism is just another religion, a kind of neo-Calvinism, and therefore not my cup of tea. I'm an Adam Smith conservative, which means I hold enlightened self-interest to be an intrinsic good. The keyword is enlightened, short-sighted self-interest is more often than not inimical to the good. I seek the welfare of wildlife because I'm not smart enough to know whether the persecution or extermination of wildlife serves my enlightened self-interest. In my own defense I choose their protection in lieu of reasonable arguments to the contrary. There are those in South Florida today who violently oppose the measures that are being taken against mosquitoes which carry the Zika virus because those measures may hazard wildlife. I don't agree with those arguments because I value human life and the human cultural achievement above all else. If some songbirds must die to save some babies from a brainless life, so be it. On the other hand the despoliation caused by free-roaming cats is the result of thoughtless and selfish behavior of their human owners, which I hold to the sine qua non of short-sighted self-interest, and thus decidedly non-conservative.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I saw an article a few months ago about some professor of philosophy at some Ivy League college who was arguing that in the future we will have the technology to genetically re-engineer all life on earth to be non-carnivorous and we have a moral duty to do so in-order to eliminate suffering.

There's crazy and then there's Ivy League crazy.

Birkel said...

When did cats cease to be wildlife?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

On the other hand the despoliation caused by free-roaming cats

OK you are a troll. Well played sir, well played.

Birkel said...

Can I get a quick list of which animals now stand without nature?

I am sure humans are on that list.
And now, I must presume, cats.

Are there others?
What is used to make the distinction?

Birkel said...

As a quick guide, perhaps animals that get to heaven -- according to ancient Egyptians -- are no longer a part of nature.

This is confusing and I need direction from my betters.

Quaestor?

Quaestor said...

When did cats cease to be wildlife?

When humans removed them from their natural environment, the African savannah and domesticated them. Domestic cats are genetically very similar to the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). If people want to let let their cats free-roam the domain of hyenas, jackals, and lions... that's cool. The over-population of cats won't be a problem in that case.

Birkel said...

So those damned humans are the problem?

Quaestor said...

Birkel, if your education skipped the part about the distinction between wildlife and domesticated animals, I'm not going to invest the years that it will need to address that shortcoming.

Quaestor said...

So those damned humans are the problem?

When they fail to act as responsible moral agents, yes. You have a problem with that obviously.

Birkel said...

You would do well to review your understanding of wildlife as opposed to wild animals.

Those terms mean the same thing?

Whither songbirds in the Quaestor Taxonomy of All Living Things?

Birkel said...

By the way, what is this "natural environment" of which you casually speak? Does that include the many billions of trees humans have planted? The rivers redirected?

Does it matter if birds have planted the trees? Does it matter if beavers have
redirected the rivers?

Have they no moral agency? What sets humans apart from nature?

Quaestor said...

RE: In Eugenics and Other Evils Chesterton attacked eugenics as Britain was moving towards passage of the Mental Deficiency Act 1913...

Irrelevant. Not one word you quote supports your conflation the policy of eugenics with the fact of evolution.

Freeman Hunt said...

The cat across the street eats worms. The next door neighbor's cat prefers moles, which is nice. Our cat isn't allowed outside and doesn't seem to mind. Whoever had him before took good care of him. What happened to those people? The mystery of secondhand animals.

Clayton Hennesey said...

When did cats cease to be wildlife?

Felis catus and Felis silvestris catus are not wildlife because they've been domesticated since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Felis catus is generally regarded as chattel property.

Lynx rufus is wildlife.

In my neighborhood, Felis catus and Felis silvestris catus do not persist outside the home, possibly because of Lynx rufus (who is celebrated and protected there for being both rare and cool), possibly for other reasons not immediately clear.

Birkel said...

Define domesticated.

Quaestor said...

Wildlife includes all forms of plant and animal life that are not domesticated. Wild animals is your term, Birkel, not mine, and is baby talk, frankly. A songbird is just a silly word of a paraphyletic group of small, mostly passerine birds. Are you taking notes? Probably not since you must have slept through the discussion about the genetics of domestication in highs school. Birds are naturally cosmopolitan since they fly, and they migrated long distances in the Northern Hemisphere. Cats are not. Their owe their cosmopolitanism to the intervention of humans. If not for humans they'd be confined to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where they'd prey and be prey upon.

Comanche Voter said...

That eminent Texas philosopher and student of humanity (who is also not a bad song writer or novelist for that matter) Richard 'Kinky" Friedman stated it well in his song "Wildman of Borneo". People are staring at an orangutang (the Wildman of Borneo) in the zoo.

But, as Kinky aptly notes, "They come to see what they want to see, but they never come to know."

Of course, secure in our individual knowledge that we are the ones who have got it
right, we look at our neighbors and murmur, "None so blind as those who will not see."

Or if you are a good lefty you just call the other fellow an ignorant boob. Maybe throw in racist, homophobe and moron for good measure.

Quaestor said...

Look it up yourself, Birkel, a task you've evidently shirked for decades. (I assume you can use a dictionary. But I could be wrong.)

Birkel said...

Try as one might, one cannot get those who simply know to reconsider why they believe they know what they don't know.

Birkel said...

Cats would "...prey and be prey upon."

Well I'll be.

Quaestor said...

What sets humans apart from nature?

Intentionality, among other things.

Quaestor said...

Well I'll be.

And as usual you fail to understand the implications.

Birkel said...

Now Quaestor has the ability to know what animals intend, or don't.

You are a skilled individual.

Birkel said...

Did homo erectus exist outside of nature?

When did Neanderthal exist inside nature and when was it outside?

Was there ever a time when homo sapiens existed inside nature?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Not one word you quote supports your conflation the policy of eugenics with the fact of evolution.

Of, Quaestor, you left out the of.

Also, I'm not trying to conflate anything. Darwinism begat Social Darwinism begat Eugenics.

That doesn't mean that evolution is not a correct theory. But given that evolution is correct, then why is is eugenics a bad idea? And why should we favor "wildlife" over cats. Aren't cats preying on "wildlife" an example of natural selection? Aren't the cats improving the various wildlife species?

A correct idea can spawn uncomfortable ideas. But why, asks both Nietzsche and St. Paul do we find certain ideas uncomfortable.

Quaestor said...

DBQ flatly states she allows her cat to roam and kill prey, but she protects the cat from being exploited by other predators. That's domestication, and it's is an abuse of rights of others.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Intentionality, among other things.

No, no, no.

Humans are no different from animals. Consciousness and free will are illusions.

Neuroscience has proven these things. We are all meat robots.

Doesn't everyone know these things?

Birkel said...

Birds have "rights" according to Quaestor.

Otherwise "it's is an abuse of rights of others" cannot make sense.

Birkel said...

If Quaestor takes antibiotics, I accuse Quaestor of "abus(ing) the rights of others."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=bloom+county+vegan&view=detailv2&&id=89AAFC8850569F9993D04EDE5195AE734787B107&selectedIndex=0&ccid=LN%2bV%2f3xE&simid=608015594709124475&thid=OIP.M2cdf95ff7c447929acab75fb076770d2o0&ajaxhist=0

Just_Mike_S said...

People (blank) what they want to (blank). When I had outdoor cats they would bring their prey to the door for approval. Vast majority of mice & rats. Very few birds.

Birkel said...

Has anybody ever tried to train a cat so that it would not hunt and kill?

Did the cat deny its nature upon such "domestication" or did it continue to act as cats do?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

No. Quaestor. I flatly state that I let my cat out during the day to be a cat and do what a cat naturally does. Mostly he sleeps and wants to follow me around in the garden and get in my way when I'm weeding. Sometimes he hunts. Sometimes he doesn't. He is helping the bird population. The smart and alert birds survive and the dumb ones don't. Not sure if I like that theory for the mice and ground squirrels though. I don't want smart rodents.

He isn't feral. He was a stray that had been obviously owned and domesticated by someone before. A mystery as to where he came from. But ah well. Life is a mystery.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel exploited when he gets his morning snack and evening half can of cat food while being shut into the workshop which has an office upstairs and a futon upon which he can relax and sleep in safety at night. He is pretty miffed, though, at not being allowed in the house.

SO... now you object to domesticated animals, pets? Can we have chickens and cows for food? or are they also sacrosanct? Perhaps you think we should live on twigs and berries but that might be exploiting the plants. Air? We should survive on air, sunshine and rainbows.

Quaestor needs to get a clue. I don't care what he thinks about me, about my cat, about my hunting, about my cars, about my carbon footprint or anything else that he might think about.

Birkel said...

Did homo erectus exist outside of nature?

When did Neanderthal exist inside nature and when was it outside?

Was there ever a time when homo sapiens existed inside nature?

Surely, dearest Quaestor, you are able to answer these queries with certainty and precise reasoning. Or at least certainty.

Quaestor said...

Aren't the cats improving the various wildlife species?

Aren't the chipmunks improving you garden? If you think cats preying on songbirds amounts to improvement, they you should encourage the chipmunks, not kill them.

Your question reveals a profound misunderstanding of evolution. Besides, before asking me whether cats are "improving" songbirds, you should ask a Hawaiian whether he thinks the native geese of his islands were improved by extinction, caused by the deliberate importation of predators, domestic cats and mongooses particularly.

But given that evolution is correct, then why is is eugenics a bad idea?

These are not related in the way you imagine, else you wouldn't imply cats preying on songbirds improves them. Evolution is change, not improvement. Only humans are make that kind of distinction, and it leads to misunderstanding of observed nature.

Your begats are anachronistic. Eugenics is much older than Charles Darwin's theorizing on natural selection. It dates back at least to Plato.

I'm not sure eugenics is intrinsically bad, just as I don't consider firearms to be intrinsically bad because sometimes they are used for evil purposes. The goal of the elimination from the genome of genetic characters we deem undesirable is laudable, if and only if the characters are universally held to be undesirable, and the means are humane, and respectful of inalienable human rights. In the past eugenicists sought to "improve" humanity by sterilization of those they held inferior, who were generally people they disliked for non-eugentic reasons. Today we are on the cusp of practical genetic engineering, which could eliminate characters that cause diseases like hemophilia and cystic fibrosis. That will be eugenics you'll welcome, I'll wager.

Birkel said...

I simply must learn about homo erectus and its place in The Quaestor Taxonomy of all Living Things.

Quaestor said...

Birkel wrote: Birds have "rights" according to Quaestor.

You are either being deliberate obtuse, or genuinely and unfixably stupid. I leave it you to clarify.

The others I spoke of are humans. The rights I cited include my right to enjoy wildlife without the interference of thoughtless pet owners. If they think they have a right to allow their cats — animals they keep as pets because they enjoy them — to wander to harass ands destroy things I enjoy, then I may a right to take action to protect what I enjoy.

I grant that blasting DBQ's cat to smithereens with a .223 is an abuse of her rights. It's only fair that cat owners should grant me and others who enjoy wildlife equal consideration.

Quaestor said...

I simply must learn about homo erectus and its place in The Quaestor Taxonomy of all Living Things.

First learn to use a dictionary.

Quaestor said...

And before you start blathering about property rights... remember that property rights are not absolute, and that you have no ownership of wildlife in any case. You may harvest a deer when duly licensed, at the appropriate time, and with the appropriate weapon, but this is a far cry from chattel property.

mockturtle said...

There's also a thread of 'If you don't think as I do, you are an ignorant fool'. This is commonly found among liberal pseudo-intellectuals.

Birkel said...

That alleged right, Quaestor, does not exist.

Birkel said...

Did homo erectus exist outside of nature?

When did Neanderthal exist inside nature and when was it outside?

Was there ever a time when homo sapiens existed inside nature?

Birkel said...

"(M)y right to enjoy wildlife without the interference of thoughtless pet owners" (which I just invented out of whole cloth without basis, without history, without any justification whatsoever beyond my own selfish desire to have the world match my belief system)...

You were saying, dear Quaestor?

Quaestor said...

Did homo erectus exist outside of nature?

I suppose from your question that you'd claim that whatever humans do is natural to humanity, and therefore no different from the behaviors of animals like cats and elephant seals.

We have the ability to do many things, including exterminating ourselves. I demand moral agency as the sine qua non of membership in the genus Homo for that reason.

Quaestor said...

...which I just invented out of whole cloth.

No it is the logical corollary of the claims of cat owners who claim a right to allow their pets to wander.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

eugenics:

the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.


eugenics
[yoo-jen-iks]
Spell Syllables
Examples Word Origin
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, ( used with a singular verb)
1.
the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)
Origin of eugenics Expand
1880-1885


Although philosophers have contemplated the meaning and value of eugenics at least since Plato recommended a state-run program of mating intended to strengthen the guardian class in his Republic, the modern version of eugenics had its start with the 19th century cousin of Charles Darwin, British scientist Francis Galton (1883). Galton was interested in “improving human stock” through scientific management of mating; his explicit goal was to create better humans. His ideas were taken up widely in the early part of the 20th century by seemingly well-intended scientists and policy makers, particularly in the United States, Britain, and the Scandinavian countries. Notable eugenicists included Alexander Graham Bell and Margaret Sanger. (For an excellent history of eugenics, see Kevles 1985.)

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/eugenics/#ShoHisEug

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Each cat owner needs to make a considered decision...

Sure. Just as your make a considered decision about the size of your Carbon Footprint.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I demand moral agency as the sine qua non of membership in the genus Homo

What is this moral agency? From whence does it appear? Why should anyone respect it?

Birkel said...

You are confused about rights.

You asserted that intention separated humans from nature. If you think homo erectus had no perceivable intention, then just say so. And if you think homo erectus was not part of nature, say that.

Make either of the risible claims your argument naturally produces, but which you have persisted in trying to conceal, coward.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Each cat owner needs to make a considered decision...

Yes. I have considered it, and decided that my cat gets to go outside and be a cat during the day. I have also considered that birds can fly and he can't at 18 pounds so the birds have a big advantage. I have also considered that there are hundreds of birds on our property and have decided that one or two less is not going to make the world stop spinning.

I grant that blasting DBQ's cat to smithereens with a .223 is an abuse of her rights.

LOL. Actually, that would be considered an act of war and would be subject to escalated retaliation. You must live in a very sheltered world.


cubanbob said...

I'm old school. If you can't afford to feet your pet then you shouldn't have one.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Evolution is change, not improvement.

This is actually correct.

Nonetheless, you seem to have an attachment to "wildlife" as it exists now. Why is the present form of nature superior to another. Why is it better for Hawaii to have native geese rather than cats and mongooses.

Quaestor said...

Moral agency is many things, but it is in essence the inevitable consequence of the human ability to foresee. I have learned that castor beans contain a fatal toxin. I can foresee that feeding a baby a diet of castor beans will endanger its life. Therefore if I feed a baby castor beans I act as a moral agent, and the baby's death is my responsibility and not a random occurrence.

From whence does it appear? Not from a imaginary being in the clouds, that's for certain. Proof of the existence of such a being must come before attributing any such authorship to it. I believe it comes from our nature as social primates who benefit more from cooperation and altruism than Hobbesian war, and from our ability to foresee. Our ability to foresee has increased over the span of our evolution from creatures best described as bipedal apes to ourselves, creatures whose every action is conditioned by foresight. Is this an improvement? I don't know. Time will tell. All I do know is that it is change. If we manage to extinct ourselves through our faculty of foresight, one must conclude it was not an improvement.

Why should anyone respect it? Self interest, if nothing else.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I mean, the big Island itself has only been around for 400,000 years. In geological and evolutionary time scales that's an eye blink. You can try to dress it up all you want, but its totally irrational to care if species go extinct. Eventually, all species will go extinct.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

Indeed, a case can be made that it is better for a species to go extinct. Extinct species do not produce offspring and if your goal is to reduce suffering in the universe then reducing the number of individuals in the universe is going to give you the most bang for the buck.

RigelDog said...

Mme. Althouse, it seems to me that you may have made an error ab initio and are actually "believing what you want to believe." You are taking it as a rock-solid given that owners who allow their domesticated cats to go outdoors are responsible for them killing "billions" of "song birds." That's a suspicious conclusion that I do not accept at face value, irregardless of what I might want to believe. I am a life-long cat owner and my experience is the same as numerous commenters on the WaPo article: my one and only outdoor cat (Maine Coon)stayed close to home and caught lots of voles and the occasional chipmunk or small rabbit. Over the course of his life he only caught a handful of birds, and those were sparrows and robins. It may well be that feral cats, whose 24/7 job is to catch and kill to survive, spend a lot of time in trees and learn to successfully kill large numbers of birds. That's such a different scenario than the owner who provides food and shelter for a cat that spends some time outdoors.

Quaestor said...

Why is it better for Hawaii to have native geese rather than cats and mongooses.

Ask a Hawaiian, not me. Best be prepped for a punch in the mouth and howls of divisive laughter at your expense.

Quaestor said...

You can try to dress it up all you want, but its totally irrational to care if species go extinct. Eventually, all species will go extinct.

Death is the ultimate end of everyone and everything. Including your children. Would you be totally irrational if you resented their deaths at the hands of jihadist? If you don'y give a fuck about the extinction of a whole species, why should you care if one or two of species of 7 billion members gets it in the neck?

Quaestor said...

And Ron Winkleheimer is dead sooner or later. Why do you care? Why do you bother to work, or for that matter eat? It's all for naught by your reasoning.

Quaestor said...

Wriggled wrote: That's a suspicious conclusion that I do not accept at face value...

Since it runs counter to your perceived self-interest this is not surprising.

rhhardin said...

Define domesticated.

An animal that makes sense of human activities.

You may love your wolf, but you can't trust him around friends.

Quaestor said...

RigelDog wrote: That's a suspicious conclusion that I do not accept at face value...

Since it runs counter to your perceived self-interest this is not surprising.

(I'm allowing the first comment to remain to show how Safari nasty and treacherous auto-correct can be.)

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I believe it comes from our nature as social primates who benefit more from cooperation and altruism than Hobbesian war, and from our ability to foresee.

Moral agency is an individual's ability to make moral judgments based on some notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions. A moral agent is "a being who is capable of acting with reference to right and wrong."

Where does right and wrong come from? If they're just a construct of biological and social conditioning and I'm just a product of evolution and social conditioning, then where is my agency? I am just doing what I am programmed do to.

You are way behind in your atheistic thinking. As I mentioned up thread. Free will and consciousness is dead. Science has proved them to be nonsense. You can no longer hold anyone responsible for their actions. Its still OK to incarcerate people though.

http://time.com/3529770/neuroscience-free-will/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/free-will-the-neuroscience-of-free-will/

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psych-unseen/201411/the-neuroscience-free-will-and-the-illusion-you

Oh and there are several good logical arguments for the existence of God.

This sight leaves out the moral argument for God. Which is what we have been having.

http://www.saintaquinas.com/philosophy.html

I'm sure you already know them. You just reject one or more premises. Which is fine. But if you are going to reject the notion of God, you gotta abandon those silly believes about right and wrong. There is only that which brings you pleasure and that which causes you pain. But most people can't do that. Because they are meat robots.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And Ron Winkleheimer is dead sooner or later. Why do you care? Why do you bother to work, or for that matter eat? It's all for naught by your reasoning.

Exactly, now you are beginning to understand the hopelessness and utter pointlessness of a universe without God. I eat and continue to work so that I can exist for a few more years, a good portion of it spent in suffering, if I'm lucky, because of my evolutionary and sociological conditioning. You really should read Ecclesiastes if you haven't done so already.

The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.

RigelDog said...

RigelDog wrote: That's a suspicious conclusion that I do not accept at face value...

Questor replied: Since it runs counter to your perceived self-interest this is not surprising.

I reject it because it runs counter to logic and experience. I am open to being persuaded. Also, you have insufficient data to accurately identify my "self-interest."

Quaestor said...

This argument has taken on familiar dimensions. It reminds me strongly of the second-hand smoke controversy. Those who sought a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars often resorted to health claims about second-hand smoke, which smokers, defending their self-interest, denied as specious and unproven. The research went back and forth, to and fro, and eventually settled largely in favor of the smoking ban partisans.

I always thought the health claim argument was wrongheaded. To me it was a rights issue. You have a right to smoke, but only if you suck it in — and keep it. You have no right to impede my freedom for your pleasure. I have a right to enjoy my prime rib without the involuntary addition of that delicious cigar favor some of you love. Since my enjoyment of my beef cannot impair your enjoyment of your cigar to the degree that your cigar impedes my enjoyment of my dinner, then I think it reasonable that the onus is on the smoker to make adjustments, either to how he uses tobacco or where he uses tobacco.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If you don'y give a fuck about the extinction of a whole species, why should you care if one or two of species of 7 billion members gets it in the neck?

And again, you are getting it.

What difference does it make if anybody dies? Can you tell me the name of all of your great grandparents? Your attachment to nature and other human beings is very real (and I share it) but it is either the result of God creating the universe with a moral order or its totally irrational. Simply an accident set in motion when the universe was formed in the Big Bang. So either adopt the God hypothesis or simply admit you don't have to rationalize your believes. They just are and if you gotta use force to impose them on others then that's their look out.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You don't have any rights. Show me the molecule that rights are made of. Its a human construct used to allow the powerful to take from the weak without feeling bad about it.

Quaestor said...

Also, you have insufficient data to accurately identify my "self-interest."

It was a surmise based on the reasonable assumption that you are a cat owner by choice and not by compulsion. Anyone but an sociopath works on the assumption that his habits are either morally neutral or moral defensible. All of us think our self-interest is compatible with the common good, unless we're Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Perhaps you think your outdoor cat is harmless to wildlife. I think it's up to you to demonstrate that to an impartial party. You say your cat kills mostly ground-dwelling animals such as voles, chipmunks, and rabbits. Why do you think this is harmless? I assume you feed your cat, that it's not dependent on hunting for a living, unlike owls and hawks that are absolutely dependent. You've allowed your cat to compete with wildlife for the available food, but its an unfair competition since the cat gets fed regardless of the availability of voles, chipmunks, etc. The raptors just starve, and no one feeds them. (Not even their Father in Heaven, RW.)

traditionalguy said...

The Birds is a classic Hitchcock movie that Camille Paglia hits out of the park in her analysis of its display of Nature's dominant force lurking.

The Birds need to quit patiently using Obama's leading from behind trick on cats. We need warrior birds. No singing, just sneaking up quietly for an air assault.

Quaestor said...

Ron Winkleman wrote: Which is fine. But if you are going to reject the notion of God, you gotta abandon those silly believes about right and wrong.

This is why the religious give me the willies. If not for that fear of Hell they'd make Hitler take a backseat to the followers of Jesus.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Not even their Father in Heaven, RW.

Ooooh, what a burn.

Seriously, that was pretty childish. I would like to say it was beneath you.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This is why the religious give me the willies. If not for that fear of Hell they'd make Hitler take a backseat to the followers of Jesus.

Dude, it wasn't the religious that killed 100 million plus in the 20th century. It was atheists. I don't refrain from doing bad actions because I fear hell. I refrain from bad action for the same reason you do, because it would be wrong not to do so.

The difference between me and you is that my belief that right and wrong exists and aren't just instinct and conditioning is rational.

You are the one operating on feelz.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We need warrior birds. No singing, just sneaking up quietly for an air assault.

Those would be the Blue Jays who are relentless in their aerial attacks on the cat. Swooping down and pecking at him and pulling out his hair. The only safe place is under the car or truck. Such is life.

Cats gotta cat. Jays gotta jay.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You know, I have only ever ran into two atheists who actually faced he implications of that belief. I know I never did. One said he cried when he came to the conclusion that there was no God. Neither felt the need to be a proselytizing atheist.

So I use the moral argument for God because that is how I came to be a believer.

I saw a news report about a father raping his one day old son at the hospital where he was born. What evolutionary advantage could that possibly transmit I thought. That is simply evil. And then I started really thinking about the problem of good and evil. Atheists spend a great deal of time talking about the problem of pain. That is, why does God permit suffering, but they don't spend much time talking about good and evil. In order for good and evil to exist there has to be a God. Otherwise, the post-modernists are right. Its all a narrative used to gain and hold power. Since I was not a post-modernist I started looking into churches.

Birkel said...

Unless and until somebody on this thread can argue a defensible position about the exact nature and timing of homo erectus* being part of wildlife and no longer being a part of wildlife, I cannot be satisfied.

Quaestor has not even made an attempt to define the words he(?) uses to frame his argument. I am saddened at his ineptitude. It is almost as if the words he chooses to use mean precisely what he wants, nothing less and nothing more.


*as an example

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Not that atheists cannot act in a moral manner. Most do. And many a churchman (and woman) acted most immorally. But the absence of God means that morality is a null set. Its all just sound and fury signifying nothing.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Or rather, I am acting rationally in light of my beliefs. Atheists who talk about rights and wrongs and dignity are either selling something or are self-deluded.

Quaestor said...

There's a curious thing about the known fossils of Homo neanderthalensis, there is unequivocal evidence of routine cannibalism. Neanderthal remains are exceedingly rare. The absolute number is uncertain, but they represent at least three hundred individuals living and dying over 200,000 year span, and yet more than 20% show evidence of being cannibalized. In one site in Spain a whole extended family group, 12 men, women, and children were evidently attacked and butchered by another group of humans. Given the dating that cannibal group was most likely Neanderthal as well.

Neanderthals were well adapted, tough, and smart... and yet they are gone. Why were the intruders from Africa, the Homo sapiens, able to replace them so quickly? One reason that has been put forward is that they lived in larger groups, that whatever resource they competed for with the Neanderthalers, the African migrants won by weight of numbers. There is no evidence Neanderthals lived in groups larger than a dozen or so, whereas the sites associated with Homo sapiens in Europe show habitation by many more, perhaps as many as modern hunter-gathers in SE Africa - up to fifty with about a dozen prime-aged males. Traces of cannibalism among the Homo sapiens fossils is more far more rare, which is probably one reason why their groups grew so large. 12 was optimum number for a Neanderthal group. That meant that you needed only one or two allies to hold off an assault when the mammoth meat ran low, a Mexican standoff as it were. Whereas in a large group a few allies would be useless against the others. In short the Africans could trust one another sufficiently that could live safely and function together in a large group.

This is where morality starts. It's not Yahweh on Mt. Sinai carving tablet of stone. It's the primal survival value of Homo sapiens, passed to us in our genes and reinforced by practical success at living and reproducing.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and the fact that you believe that a Hawaiian would resent a question so badly that he could not refrain from physical violence is not only not an answer to my question, it strikes me being kinda racist.

Night Owl said...

As others have alluded to, it's not so much that Americans are anti-intellectual
as thay are anti-elitist. And with good reason: Intellectuals, even with their high IQs and Ivy-league educations, are just as prone to talking out of their ass as your average idiot; they just use bigger words. And they are just as prone to only "believing what they want to believe" when it suits them. Intellectuals can summon the enourmous power of their big brains to rationalize away a reality they reject better than anyone else, and they will boldly double down on their mistakes, rather than face facts and believe the unbelievable-- that they may be wrong.

This election cycle is showing that the average person is right to look askance at the judgement of intellectuals. The intellectual elite were blinded by their progressive dream of electing the first female president, and were not looking out for the best interests of the country when they chose Hillary to be the Dem candidate and foisted her onto the electorate. Now that they are stuck with her they must double-down on their mistake, and they expect us all to go along with them as they ignore the realities of Hillary's corruption, incompetence and ill-health.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This is where morality starts. It's not Yahweh on Mt. Sinai carving tablet of stone. It's the primal survival value of Homo sapiens, passed to us in our genes and reinforced by practical success at living and reproducing.

If its passed on in the genes and social conditioning then its instinct. So you are conceding that its all just an ultimately pointless? That right and wrong don't really exist? Good and evil? That morality is just a set of accidental rules that allowed a group of bipedal creatures to kill and slaughter another group of similar bipedal creatures until they were extinct about 40,000 years ago? Morality is about being adapted to live in groups of 100 - 150 instead of groups of about 12?

Interesting definition of morality.

tim in vermont said...

These mostly seem like good reasons to me.

mockturtle said...

We need warrior birds. No singing, just sneaking up quietly for an air assault.

I have watched aerial assaults by crows on humans on more than one occasion. Usually, though, it's just bombing raids.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and morality didn't start on Mt. Sinai. You might look into the subject of natural law and address actual arguments, not just the redneck Elmer Gantry preachers of your imagination. Some of the greatest thinkers of the last 2000 years were Christians.

RigelDog said...

It is in my personal self-interest to be logical and careful in my thinking. It is not in my personal self-interest to delude myself on this point... I have logical objections to the alleged numbers of songbirds being killed by domesticated cats who are permitted to be outside by owners who provide them with food and shelter. Milo the Maine Coon was in our house every day to eat and rest; much more so in the winter. Logically, the occasional vole that he caught in the neighbor's yard (exposed embankment was full of them)would not unbalance the local ecology. Certainly not more than those who set out poison for mice in their house or voles digging under the lawn. Not an issue. Feral cats, perhaps.

Earnest Prole said...

People believe what they want to believe.

The example that comes most easily to mind is Althouse’s shape-shifting, goalpost-moving, straw-man-knifing refusal to acknowledge Donald Trump’s statements a year ago that his immigration plan would require every illegal immigrant to leave the country.

And yes, there’s a Trump angle to all human culture.

Lem said...

"Now you're probably all wondering why I brought you here today"

Quaestor said...

Oh, and the fact that you believe that a Hawaiian would resent a question so badly that he could not refrain from physical violence is not only not an answer to my question, it strikes me being kinda racist.

Racism... the last refuge.

Quaestor said...

Morality is about being adapted to live in groups of 100 - 150 instead of groups of about 12?

That's where it may have started. No one is certain, except the religious, who are very certain of what they can't demonstrate.

And not accidental. And there's no evidence of violence between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals in Europe. Neanderthals did violence to each other, there's support for that. The African migrants won by out-competing the Neanderthals. Twelve hunters succeed in getting the mammoth much more often than three, and as time progressed their competitive advantage only increased. Year by year, decade by decade the Neanderthals got less food, thus their fecundity decreased until after about 10,000 years they died out completely.

Quaestor said...

Humans knew right from wrong long, long before the priests of the sky monsters told them the obvious and claimed the authorship on behalf of their invented deities.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Isn't the widespread domestication of the cat considered a major factor in the decline of plagues? What's a bird or two? Plus how else will I hear one animal imitate a barking dog, a crying baby, and a screaming woman at 3 in the morning?

Quaestor said...

Isn't the widespread domestication of the cat considered a major factor in the decline of plagues?

Sounds too pat to me. Yersinia pestis infects cats as well as humans, so I doubt that claim.

Birkel said...

All I have wanted to know is if homo erectus acted purposefully.

Because that would define them inside or outside wildlife, one supposes.

Michael Edward McNeil said...

Quibbling about what's “domesticated” and what's not doesn't fill the bill. Cats in the modern context of suburban dwellings cannot really be “wild” (despite undoubtedly being largely psychologically wild) because in anything like a natural environment, cats (even though not native to the Americas) would form a natural balance with their prey (birds, squirrels, rats, and whatnot) around them. Excess cats, unable to feed themselves, would starve, which would allow a reasonable proportion of prey critters to survive and propagate themselves for the future.

Humans, however, living in the suburbs, screw up anything like a natural “wild” balance by constantly shipping in new cats en masse, and feeding them to boot. Because the cats are being fed, outside their own catching, starvation cannot limit the number of cats, which is constantly augmented by new cats people acquire and then let roam. The result is not “natural selection” but unnatural devastation.

Quaestor said...

All I have wanted to know is if homo erectus acted purposefully.

Bullshit. If you want to know there's room for more researchers.

mockturtle said...

"And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."--Jesus

Birkel said...

Ah, Quaestor, you are purposefully not answering a question because you understand doing so would force you to take a position and quit moving the goalposts. But I am dogged and will never tire asking you to take a firm stand, coward.

Have the courage of your convictions and announce your anti-human position.

Michael Edward McNeil is there for you.