November 10, 2014

"Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon has described his terminal colon cancer as the 'most amazing experience of my life'..."

"... because he is surrounded by his loved ones and donating his $100 million fortune to his passion - animal rights..."
"They said these are the scans of a dead man. I said, 'Is it curable?" And they said, "We don't use that word."...

Asked why he decided to dedicate his fortune and final months to animal rights, Simon was unequivocal. "The thing about animals that speaks to me so much is that my passion for the animals and against animal abuse is based on the knowledge that these creatures which think and feel can't speak for themselves"....

123 comments:

jimbino said...

And the very last thing an animal lover would do is own and dominate one. Same as for a lover of women.

Bob R said...

Sorry jimbino. Category error.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

This should be titled, "How the wealth distribution problem takes care of itself."

The Cracker Emcee said...

So a lot of people are going to get their sinecures paid for and a lot of politicians are going to get their pockets lined and very little good will actually be done. Mr. Simon's impending demise is tragic. Pissing away his fortune on agitprop rent-seekers is pathetic.

Rusty said...

Yeah. Because, god forbid, you use any of those millions for, say, cancer research.

Michael K said...

Better then giving it to Democrats.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

Mark Twain.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What kind of suffering would you guys try to alleviate with $100 million?

I would like to establish transitional homes for teens aging out of foster care to help them adapt to adult life and independence, particularly young women who have babies.

The Cracker Emcee said...

He, effectively, has given it to Democrats.

Brian O'Connor said...

In a former life, I wrote a blog exposing animal rights for what they are: an incoherent "philosophy" that fails under its own weight. Haven't posted in years, but the old posts still work. Links to some of my favorites can be found here. http://brianoconnor.typepad.com

MadisonMan said...

He, effectively, has given it to Democrats.

They'll take it anyway. Doesn't he live in California?

jimbino said...

If Sam Simon cared at all about songbirds, he would support euthanizing cats and spaying their owners.

mccullough said...

Since he doesn't have kids he's got to give the money away. He can't let the government get its cut. I'm glad he can exercise some freedom still.

JohnG said...

Since entropy is fundamentally the cruelest force in the universe, perhaps he should devote his $100M to pushing individual atoms back up thermal gradients.

jr565 said...

THis is like when Leona Helmsley dies and leaves all her money to her cat. There are worthy causes that help humans who are genuninely suffering.

garage mahal said...

They'll take it anyway. Doesn't he live in California?

I'm surprised he doesn't live in a red state like Alabama or Wisconsin. We have everything all set up now but it doesn't seem like anyone wants to move here :(

jr565 said...

I love animals, and I love all my pets, and would never hurt them. However, humans are more important.
If you were dying in the middle of the forest no animal would call a doctor. Theyd sniff you and if you looked edible they'd eat you. Or pee on you.

Gahrie said...

Animals cannot possess "rights" because they are incapable of recognizing, let alone respecting, another's "rights".

jimbino said...

On the other hand, Gahrie, animals don't kill out of malice or hire hit men. And they will actually do useful work for you, which teenagers won't do anymore.

Revenant said...

Animals cannot possess "rights" because they are incapable of recognizing, let alone respecting, another's "rights".

So they're like fetuses, then? :)

jr565 said...

"Animals cannot possess "rights" because they are incapable of recognizing, let alone respecting, another's "rights".

So they're like fetuses, then? :)"
No in their current state, but they will grow to be humans. Humans have inhalable rights to life.
Animals would never understand the concept of a right no matter how old they were.

jr565 said...

And I should say they will grow to be humans who have full cognizance of their rights. They are still human, even as fetuses.

rcocean said...

I like animals too, but think of all the people in Africa who could be fed or given medical care with $100 million.

I'm also puzzled how you can have "terminal cancer" and still be alive 3 years later.

jimbino said...

Some animals are much smarter than humans, like the talking snake and Balaam's ass. Fetuses can't talk!

Titus said...

Can't he do whatever he wants with his fucking money?

kiss kiss

Patrick said...

His particular cause aside, it does greatly impress me when people can find meaning in their own suffering and death.

Carl Pham said...

I'm OK with this. I don't think humans as a species are more important than any other animals. If he had children, I'd think differently, but he doesn't.

In his place, I'd probably give all the money to St. Jude or something to try to alleviate the horror and pain of little children, but that's probably because I like children better than animals. Since he apparently feels the other way, more power to him. Glad he's keeping it out of the hands of government. PETA are assholes, but not as big assholes as the Federal government.

Larry J said...


"Blogger jimbino said...

On the other hand, Gahrie, animals don't kill out of malice or hire hit men."

I've seen some startling footage of Orcas killing a baby humpback whale for no apparant reason other than just for kicks. And cats are nature's cute little serial killers.

Revenant said...

No in their current state, but they will grow to be humans. Humans have inhalable rights to life.

Sure, but that's not what Gahrie is claiming. He's claiming that things which cannot recognize the rights of others can't have rights.

Inalienable rights are retained even if you *don't* comprehend that you, or others, have rights.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Yeah, I expect $100 million spent on animal testing would go a long way for finding a cure for his type of cancer.

steve uhr said...

One species out of millions will lead to the demise of this planet sooner or later. Makes sense to give $ to some of the others.

n.n said...

No, animals are not like humans from conception to birth. An article of faith recognized by most human beings is that there is an intrinsic difference between human and other life forms.

Laslo Spatula said...

If he is going to spend it on animals I hope he at least earmarks a little of it for Recovering Porn Dogs. The seedier part of the porn industry uses these dogs in utterly disgusting ways, then discards them when they get too old or can't 'perform'..

These sad Porn Dogs usually end up in the shelters, and -- if they are lucky enough to find a home -- they are often frightened of any human touch that isn't blatantly sexual.

Just remember: when you are watching that internet video with the dog humping the 19-year-old girl who doesn't speak English THE DOG DID NOT ASK TO DO THIS.

steve uhr said...

"Animals cannot possess "rights" because they are incapable of recognizing, let alone respecting, another's "rights"."

Sort of like if I can't recognize the color green I could never wear a Packer's jersey.

Laslo Spatula said...

If Sarah Ann McLachlan would just spend a little of her time to write a song for the Recovering Porn Dogs I believe we will better get society's attention.

Revenant said...

An article of faith recognized by most human beings is that there is an intrinsic difference between human and other life forms

And there's a reason that's called "an article of faith" and not "a fact".

CatherineM said...

Misplaced pants...great idea.

I have to say, that's the way I feel about animals. The worst thing about when my pets have been sick and then died is worrying that they suffered a second since they can't say they are hurting or don't feel well. You usually only find out they are sick when it's too late. If only they could tell you.

I also feel that way about child and elder abuse. It's those stories I turn off on the news (or the Sarah McLachlan commercials) - child, elder and animal abuse. I know it happens, I do what I can through volunteer work. but I get too angry imagining the pain they have suffered at the hands of those who enjoy doing them harm.

Laslo Spatula said...

Example: 'Sparkplug' was known as the Ron Jeremy of Porn Dogs, only to later be abandoned, left to wandering the alleys of the San Fernando Valley and eating out of garbage bins behind Thai restaurants. His rescue came in time -- but what about the others?

Curious George said...

Isn't colon cancer preventable? With his money I would have gotten a colonoscopy every year.

Laslo Spatula said...

Don't be misled by false charities: there is no such thing as 'Recovering Porn Cats'.

Laslo Spatula said...

When people think of Recovering Porn Dogs their minds usually picture the obvious: the German Shepherds, the Rottweilers and the Pit Bulls. But Recovering Porn Dogs exist in all varieties of canine: the Bulldog, the Pug, the Yorkie, the Daschund and -- yes -- even the Chihuahua. Now is the time to help them all.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

My best friend is dying from colon cancer. When you're a poor, 52 year man dying mostly alone that 'most amazing experience of my life'.. bullshit doesn't apply.

Biff said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said..."What kind of suffering would you guys try to alleviate with $100 million?"

Careful, comrade citizen. That's the kind of question that led a good lefty like Bjørn Lomborg to embrace counter-revolutionary beliefs that there are any number of things in which to invest that are likely to yield far greater bang for the buck than the things that All Right Thinking People believe to be important.

Unknown said...

I will admit, if I had enough money to throw it away, I would like to establish some kind of a ranch for stray dogs where they could just roam like the buffalo, eat when they felt like it, and do their own thing. It's probably very impractical but I do love dogs.

traditionalguy said...

What, no reparations?

n.n said...

Revenant:

I don't question the difference and, in fact, emphasize it. I note that the distinction between human and other life forms, including animals, is recognized universally and is a de facto truth. The same is true of individual dignity and other concepts and phenomenon that cannot be isolated in the scientific domain.

That said, I am suspicious of some people's motives to equate human life and other life forms, as well as evolution following conception and approaching death. The casual integration of faith and fraud, respectively, with science, that is exploited to degrade human life, merits additional scrutiny.

Fernandinande said...

K3Wl.

Chef Mojo said...

Good for him. He can do whatever he goddamn well pleases. Good for him.

I know what he's going through, because I'm headed right behind him; a bit slower, but just as inevitable. The sight of the gibbet above you does indeed to focus you very clearly on how you wish to spend the rest of your quickly diminishing existence. Everybody's going to react differently, and I'm damned if I'll countenance a condemnation of a man coming to grips with his mortality and trying to find joy in his final moments.

acm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

jimbino said:
On the other hand, Gahrie, animals don't kill out of malice or hire hit men."


Actually, dolphins are much nastier than I knew when I was watching Flipper:

http://deepseanews.com/2013/02/10-reasons-why-dolphins-are-aholes/

Dolphins don't hire hitmen because they prefer to do the job themselves. And also because you can't use fish to pay hitmen.

acm said...

He was a very fortunate man, and it sounds like he understands that. Good for him.

Those criticizing him for his choice in charitable giving can pound sand.

Terry said...

PETA is a radical organization. They believe that animals are the equal of people. That is psychotic. Save a drowning child or a drowning rat? Gosh, that's a tough one, pal!

madAsHell said...

He fucked up.
He never created a family.

Terry said...

"So they're like fetuses, then? :)"
This is about the stupidest thing Revenant has written.
Yes, Revenant, not only are they like fetus's, they are like infants, and also like people who are severely mentally disabled, or even like people who are asleep.
Maybe you would like to make it okay to kill them, too?
Boy, that was quite the 'gotcha' you had there, wasn't it.
Fuckin' idiot.

Anonymous said...

He has the right to do what he wants with his money and I'm a dog lover myself. However, the sentimentality of the animal rights movement shows just how far removed the suburban and urban yuppies who belong to PETA actually are from nature.

It's hard to get misty-eyed about Our Animal Friends if they are threatening your life or the lives of your children or if they are destroying the crops you need to get through the winter.

Gahrie said...

When you start convicting beavers for property damage, or bears for murder, you can talk to me about animal "rights".

I am perfectly willing to extend protections to animals, but then that is exactly what makes us different from animals, because they would (could) not do so for us.

Animals are not born our equals, and cannot become our equals.

David said...

Someone needs to explain to this guy--or to someone--that his fortune is worth a hell of a lot more than $100 million. At least it is if he is actually getting "tens of millions" of royalties every year. Yet his foundation has assets of only 23 million. Just what is going on here? Some bullshitting, perhaps?

Simon worked on the Simpsons for only four years but has been credited as a co-executive producer since his departure in 1993 while not working on he show. He could not get along with Brooks and Matt Groening. Groening has referred to Simon as "brilliantly funny" but "unpleasant and mentally unbalanced." The Simpsons generates immense wealth for a few people, and it sounds like it might have been worth tens of millions a year to get rid of Simon.

As for his charities, it's his money, even if he didn't do as much as advertised to earn it. It is kind of strange that he's not directing some of it to cancer research or treatment, but Sam Simon is a strange guy.

His 100 million is not going to cure cancer anyway. My wife had exactly the same cancer he has (metastatic colon cancer), but as an added bonus she also got recurrent breast cancer at the same time. That was 18 years and a hell of a lot more than 100 million dollars ago. Metastatic colon cancer is still, as the surgeon told me after my wife's surgery, "uniformly fatal."

My wife survived for three years after her diagnosis. For most of that time she thought that life was still worth living, but near the end she was just ready for it all to be over. She made no grandiose claims and no grandiose complaints. She held on to what she could and let the rest slip away piece by piece when she could no longer hold it. She didn't have a lot of money to give away. What she had went to her daughter by a prior marriage (with my consent and approval.) Even if she had a lot of money to give away, she would have made sure it didn't get in the papers what she had done.

William said...

He hasn't worked on the Simpsons in over twenty years, but he continues to receive royalty checks in the tens of millions per annum. The Simpson character that he probably has the most in common with is Mr. Burns. Ain't capitalism swell. And when you get down to it aren't iniquities in wealth distribution rather negligible when you consider the unequal distribution of cancer genes. Chemotherapy is probably more bearable with one hundred million dollars, but the best fate is not to have it.......I don't agree with his choice of charities, but someone who made saner choices would not have created the Simpsons.

Revenant said...

I note that the distinction between human and other life forms, including animals, is recognized universally and is a de facto truth.

Contrary to your apparent definition, "universally" does not mean "by people you know". You should familiarize yourself with eastern religions before rattling off statements about universal truth.

Revenant said...

I am perfectly willing to extend protections to animals, but then that is exactly what makes us different from animals, because they would (could) not do so for us.

Never owned a dog, eh?

Drago said...

Titus said...
Can't he do whatever he wants with his fucking money?

No.

Because he "didn't build that".

Haven't you been paying attention?

n.n said...

I know about the human/animal connection through reincarnation. However, that does not diminish the distinction between humans and animals, and does not favor animals over humans, does it? What other trans-species connections do people believe exist?

It seems that this article of faith is pervasive in some Western philosophies as well. Notably the pagan philosophies that reduce human life to a clump of cells (perhaps to facilitate harvesting stem cells), and rationalize genocide through equating evolution from conception and approaching death.

Scott said...

If Mr. Stein sees this, I could really use some help myself....

On the other hand, there are a great many people who I would happily throw into the fire to save my corgis.

Freeman Hunt said...

You could probably fund 1500 to 2000 missionaries for a year for $100,000,000.

Michael K said...

"I'm also puzzled how you can have "terminal cancer" and still be alive 3 years later."

Only if you put a bomb on an airplane and kill 250 people.

Michael K said...

" when you are watching that internet video with the dog humping the 19-year-old girl"

Wow, you have some interesting viewing habits or some channels I don't have access to.

heyboom said...

Here is the thing:

No animal is going to die and leave 100 million to any kind of cause at all. Ever.

Humans are better than animals and always will be.

n.n said...

rcocean:

The people in Africa do not need welfare. They need constitutional republics that establish order and recognize individual rights.

Terminal conditions guarantee that you will die... Well, we all have terminal conditions. A medical diagnosis only estimates that a life cycle will be prematurely aborted based on a limited number of factors, while assuming that a single, peculiar forcing will be catastrophic. But forecasting, let alone predicting, the behavior of a chaotic process (e.g. human life) is impossible beyond a limited frame of reference in time and space (i.e. scientific domain). The accuracy of forecasts are inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established reference.

Quaestor said...

All animal right prigs should be required to live as subsistence farmers for as long as it takes to educate them.

Anonymous said...

My brother died of bile duct cancer at age 52. He never married, was a regular at his neighborhood tavern for most of his adult life, and had no life savings. God got ahold of him a few years before his death. He attended church regularly and led a Bible study group in a nursing home where there were some younger residents who felt life was passing them by. He encouraged them. When I helped him get to appointments for financial aid at his clinics he asked the workers if he could close each meeting by praying for their needs. His time from diagnosis to death was about 10 months. I am still being encouraged as I think of the good he did for others as his physical strength faded.

CatherineM said...

I am so sorry David for your loss.

rhhardin said...

Check out Vicki Hearne's What's Wrong with Animal Rights, which appears and is deleted from the internet from time to time. pdf

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
They'll take it anyway. Doesn't he live in California?

I'm surprised he doesn't live in a red state like Alabama or Wisconsin. We have everything all set up now but it doesn't seem like anyone wants to move here :(

They'd love to, but you're there.

Robert Cook said...

"I love animals, and I love all my pets, and would never hurt them. However, humans are more important."

Human self-interest aside, why and how are humans more important?

Robert Cook said...

"Groening has referred to Simon as 'brilliantly funny' but 'unpleasant and mentally unbalanced.'"

Isn't this almost redundant? And why single out Sam Simon?

Robert Cook said...

"Animals are not born our equals, and cannot become our equals."

I think it is we who must demonstrate we are the equal of our animal co-inhabitants of this planet.

Robert Cook said...

"An article of faith recognized by most human beings is that there is an intrinsic difference between human and other life forms."

As is true of many articles of faith, this one is wrong.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"I love animals, and I love all my pets, and would never hurt them. However, humans are more important."

Human self-interest aside, why and how are humans more important?

Will.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry J said...

Chef Mojo said...

Good for him. He can do whatever he goddamn well pleases. Good for him.


It's his own money. Telling him how to spend it is vulgar. He earned it and can do with it as he pleases.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Human self-interest aside, why and how are humans more important?

Capability and interest regarding the transmission of values and accumulated knowledge to successive generations.

Robert Cook said...

"Capability and interest regarding the transmission of values and accumulated knowledge to successive generations."

How does that make us more important than other animals?

Robert Cook said...

"Will."

What?

Scott M said...

$100 million would give a lot of inner city kids rides on Virgin Galactic's replacement spacecraft. Just sayin'...

Scott M said...

How does that make us more important than other animals?

Because we're the only animals on the planet with the capability to build asteroid deflecting defenses. We haven't yet, but we're the only ones with a prayer of ever doing so.

That makes us pretty important to the survival of all the other animals, doesn't it?

Anglelyne said...

Rev to Gahrie: I am perfectly willing to extend protections to animals, but then that is exactly what makes us different from animals, because they would (could) not do so for us.

Never owned a dog, eh?


Dogs are people, Rev. Gahrie was talking about non-human animals.

SGT Ted said...

I have yet to see a rescue shelter for humans run by dogs and cats. Or any hospitals run by animals, for animals.
Tell me again what animals are equal to humans?

If you cannot tell the difference and see what is a superior being, you are an idiot. A sentimental one, but an idiot just the same.

While some cultures worship certain animals, other cultures BBQ them with spices and marinades. Including dogs, cats and other "cute" animals.

Animal "rights' are bullshit on stilts.

Unknown said...

Is "Laslo Spatula" a proxy for "Betamax.."?

Unknown said...

And the JohnG entropy comment -- I'm gonna quote that -- do I need contact info for royalty/copyright purposes?

Unknown said...

I always thought the Simpsons was a little like Joe Camel, packaging adult products so that kids would buy into it. And selling the Simpsons language, attitudes, and themes to kids was a great way to drive another nail into the coffin of traditional values.

I don't know whether it was more ethical than that stupid Turner cartoon about Gaia.

Anglelyne said...

Robert Cook: How does that make us more important than other animals?

In some transcendent cosmic sense, it doesn't. In any transcendent cosmic sense, none of us creatures crawling about on the earth for a speck of time is "important". But I'm always entertained when self-proclaimed debunkers of human exceptionalism start making appeals to a transcendent morality which in the end is every bit as pulled-out-of-their arses as the human sentimentalists and religious believers they're usually sneering at.

(Not picking on you in particular here, Robert - really I may dead wrong about where you were going with your brief comment. Jus' sayin'.)

Anglelyne said...

jimbino: And [animals] will actually do useful work for you, which teenagers won't do anymore.

Yeah, but other people aren't (yet) forced to subsidize the living expenses of your worker animals, so I guess that's not really an option for you right now.

tim in vermont said...

I remember when The Simpsons was funny. Back before it became the Democrat Morality Play of the Week show. That was many years ago.

Too bad for this guy, but we are all gonna die of something.

tim in vermont said...

animals don't kill out of malice

Ever seen a chicken coop after a visit from a weasel?

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"Will."

What?

It's what separates us from animals.
We have choice.And more importantly the will to exercize it. Animals don't have choice.

SGT Ted said...

animals don't kill out of malice

AHAHAHAHAHA.

City people are so cute. Provincial, really.

Robert Cook said...

"Because we're the only animals on the planet with the capability to build asteroid deflecting defenses. We haven't yet, but we're the only ones with a prayer of ever doing so.

"That makes us pretty important to the survival of all the other animals, doesn't it?"


But none of this is important. We've been hit by asteroids before, and there have been huge species die offs...with eventual rise of new species of life replacing the old.

Eventually, all life on this planet will die off, and the planet itself will expire, along with our sun and the solar system.

Robert Cook said...

"We have choice.And more importantly the will to exercize it. Animals don't have choice."

How do you know animals don't have choice? Even assuming this is so, what of it? It is only our ego and vanity and self-interest that leads us to believe ourselves better than or more important than any other life form on the planet.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Someone's gotta define importance. I guess those of us at the top of the food chain get that privilege.

A to the C said...

Im going to stipulate that the $100 million I leave behind be used to permanently fund a group of vicious, brutal bastards-with-hearts-of-gold, to travel around the country solving mysteries and fucking up anyone who intentionally harms children, old people, or dogs (okay, cats too).
First, though,I need to get a hold of that 100 mil.

Scott M said...

Eventually, all life on this planet will die off, and the planet itself will expire, along with our sun and the solar system.

Is a nihilist more important than a fatalist?

Really, RC, it's easy to see why you tend to fall toward the left side of things.

Anglelyne said...

Robert Cook: Eventually, all life on this planet will die off, and the planet itself will expire, along with our sun and the solar system.

Did you, a grown man, really sit down and type out these Deep Thoughts with a straight face?

It is only our ego and vanity and self-interest that leads us to believe ourselves better than or more important than any other life form on the planet.

And the problem here is? Of course we're "more important" to ourselves. What are you disagreeing with, Oh Mister Behold-the-Heat-Death-of-the-Universe Deep Thinker? From what basis are you deriving judgments about the wrongness of this view? What does that even mean? Is there Some Objective Moral Order/Imperative out there that knows or cares that some apes on a speck of dust are ordering a planet as best they can to their own liking, without consulting the snail darters? Is it really put out with said ape's egoism and vanity, or harassing the consciences of hippos for selfishly pursuing their own ends?

Why, it's almost as if you thought the actions of this ephemeral species, which nature will soon enough grind into dust, to be...important in some way.

Scott M said...

Did you, a grown man, really sit down and type out these Deep Thoughts with a straight face?

It takes an ivory tower to enable such.

Robert Cook said...

Blond Robot, I'm disagreeing with several others here who have asserted we are more important than other animals.

hombre said...

cook: "Human self-interest aside, why and how are humans more important? (7:09 AM)

This is difficult for godless moral relativists to grasp, but man is made in the image or likeness of God and therefore shares some qualities with Him. This sets man apart from the animals, prepares him to commune with, and be redeemed by, God. This is not true of animals.

Apart from that, this might be easier for you: Children and cats are susceptible to the same fatal virus. You possess one dose of a curative vaccine. An infected child and an infected cat are before you. Neither can survive without the vaccine. Do you give it to the child or the cat? Why?

Hope that helps.

Anglelyne said...

Robert Cook: Blond Robot, I'm disagreeing with several others here who have asserted we are more important than other animals.

But you're not. That's the point. You attach a bunch of morally-weighted terms to your alleged disagreement, which makes no sense absent some kind of belief in human exceptionalism. You're just disagreeing with them on the details.

Robert Cook said...

Blonde Robot:

I don't know what you're talking about. What "morally weighted terms?"

Robert Cook said...

"This is difficult for godless moral relativists to grasp, but man is made in the image or likeness of God and therefore shares some qualities with Him. This sets man apart from the animals, prepares him to commune with, and be redeemed by, God. This is not true of animals."

Accepting for the moment and for the purposes of this question the myth of a god, why would man be more important among god's creatures than any other of his creatures? Oh...right, because "we're made in his image."

Well, that's why there's no point in arguing on the basis of myths.

"Apart from that, this might be easier for you: Children and cats are susceptible to the same fatal virus. You possess one dose of a curative vaccine. An infected child and an infected cat are before you. Neither can survive without the vaccine. Do you give it to the child or the cat? Why?"

Assuming the same vaccine would work for the cat as for the child, I would give the vaccine to the child. This is because I am a human being and I do possess human self-interest. This does not demonstrate or prove any objective superiority of human to non-human animals, only human self-interest in action.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"We have choice.And more importantly the will to exercize it. Animals don't have choice."

How do you know animals don't have choice? Even assuming this is so, what of it?


Reason.

Rusty said...

hy, it's almost as if you thought the actions of this ephemeral species, which nature will soon enough grind into dust, to be...important in some way.

They feed us. They amuse us, and in some ways educate us.
And as a result we exercise our will not to wantonly destroy every one of them.
Contrast this with a pack of wolves, say. Which, when food is abundant, will, without regard for tomarrow, kill every prey animal thay can catch even if they don't want to eat it.

hombre said...

"I would give the vaccine to the child. This is because I am a human being and I do possess human self-interest."

I'm sorry. Unless the child is yours - which is not part of the equation - what self interest is served? Does your "human self-interest" dictate that humans be given preference over animals? If so, what in the world are you arguing about?

As for the "myth of God" part: You do see that if you actually "accept the myth of a god," your "why" question is nonsensical, don't you? Or do you simply know nothing about the concept of God, mythical or otherwise.

Robert Cook said...

"Unless the child is yours - which is not part of the equation - what self interest is served?"

The self-interest of preserving my own kind. My innate empathy for someone of my own kind. My selfish desire that a reciprocal decision would be made on my behalf if I were in the position of the child vis a vis the cat and one vaccine to save only one of us.

Although saving the life of one child versus one animal will not make any difference in the survival of my own kind, it would be the basis of my decision to provide the vaccine to the child rather than to the cat.

Robert Cook said...

"You do see that if you actually 'accept the myth of a god,' your 'why' question is nonsensical, don't you?"

No. If god created all creatures, why would we assume we are his favorite, or that he has a favorite? Perhaps it is only our vanity that leads us to assume a god would favor us over the rest. Why would god create a multiplicity of creatures if he favored any one over the others?

Robert Cook said...

"Reason."

You don't think (at least some) animals have (some form of) reason?

I do.

Unknown said...

"The self-interest of preserving my own kind."

LOL. Argue that your own kind has no intrinsic value above any other life form, then claim an intrinsic, meaningless and totally abstract value. Preserving your own kind, like the animals do?

n.n said...

Robert Cook:

The answer can be derived from deduction. God does not favor one creation over another. However, the distribution of quantity, and perhaps quality, of God's spirit or energy is significant. The favoritism is implicit. This is supported by God's religion or moral philosophy that places a greater burden on humans than other life forms.

n.n said...

Rusty:

That's true. We do not know the quality or origin of consciousness and freewill. Many people speculate that it originates with the brain, but that is an assertion based on circumstantial evidence. We do not have the ability to discern between origination and expression. As for animals, they clearly mimic human behaviors, but are characteristically limited in their degrees of freedom.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Humans are exceptional simply as a matter of the observed degrees of freedom. Perhaps animals have a sixth or even seventh sense, or other super-natural abilities, but that will remain an article of faith. A tenet of some ancient pagan religion.

Freeman Hunt said...

I once accidentally made someone burst into tears by suggesting that the only reasons animals didn't do evil at the level of humans was that they lacked our intelligence and technology.

Anglelyne said...

RC: I don't know what you're talking about. What "morally weighted terms?"

"Egotism". "Vanity." Those are moral terms that reference an external standard that also includes opposing, superior moral characteristics. If you really just mean "well, the same sort of self-interest that motivates any animal", you should clean up your vocabulary for clarity.

Accepting for the moment and for the purposes of this question the myth of a god, why would man be more important among god's creatures than any other of his creatures? Oh...right, because 'we're made in his image'."

Well, that's why there's no point in arguing on the basis of myths.


Indeed.

RC, every argument you have ever made on just about any subject on this blog is implicitly based on a moral standard external to basic animal self-interest.

So you'd give a kid a vaccine before a cat because of "innate empathy for someone of my own kind" and the operations of reciprocal altruism? OK, but why stop with cats, if the pan-animal attribute of self-interest explains ostensibly "moral" acts, and only "vanity" makes us think human beings are "better than" other animals? "Self-interest" and "innate empathy" come into play for intra-, not just inter-species competition, ya know, and I haven't the slightest doubt that you'd go into a high moral dudgeon at many hypotheticals I could come up with that appealed to innate emotions and self-interest while not granting any special status to some humans simply for being human beings.

IOW, you're not really operating on views more objective, more "rational", or less delusional about the value of human beings than the people who believe that we should behave in certain ways because "man is made in the image of God". On the contrary, I'd say their mythical system is more "rational" than yours - it is explicit in its assumptions and internally coherent. Whereas secularist progressives just get into a more and more confused pickle trying to torture a materialist world view into supporting their preferred policies.

Robert Cook said...

"As for animals, they clearly mimic human behaviors, but are characteristically limited in their degrees of freedom."

Who says they "mimic" human behaviors? Rather, they exhibit behavior natural to them, and those behaviors are similar in greater or lesser ways to our ways, because we are all animals on the earth trying to survive and evade death.

Robert Cook said...

"RC, every argument you have ever made on just about any subject on this blog is implicitly based on a moral standard external to basic animal self-interest."

When did I ever say "basic animal self-interest" was the only value? However, I do believe all human values--ethics, morality, what you will--are extrapolations of our innate self-interested drive for self-preservation. I do not believe any values originate outside ourselves.

hombre said...

Cook: "The self interest of preserving my own kind."

Why? Your own kind is no more important than any other kind, right?

"If god (sic.) created all creatures, why would we assume we are his favorites?"

We don't assume it. His Word tells us so. But whether we speak of God, or "the myth of a god," some knowledge of the subject is required to discuss it intelligently. Unfortunately, most philosophical materialists prefer to discuss either subject ignorantly.