August 26, 2015

"The perfectly sensible reason why panda mothers and other creatures selectively abandon babies."

A piece in The Washington Post by Sarah Kaplan. The occasion seems to be the birth of twin pandas at the Washington D.C. zoo and the mother's rejection of the tinier baby, but is anything worthwhile said about human behavior?
Among bears, cats, dogs, primates and rodents, it’s common for mothers to eat a deformed or dying infant. Most of these animals are unable to hunt or forage while caring for their newborns, and like panda moms, are close to starving while their offspring nurse. A baby that is likely to die is an important source of protein and nutrients, one that can help her produce milk to feed her other young.

“They become a resource, one she can’t afford to waste,” said Tony Barthel, a mammal curator at the National Zoo’s Asia Trail....
We humans don't eat our unwanted babies, but we do sometimes regard them as "a resource" (as documented in the recent Planned Parenthood videos).

But Ms. Kaplan never says anything at all about human mothers, though clearly we are among the "other creatures" who "selectively abandon babies."

31 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Oh great, another Murder Incorporated thread!

Next though, I imagine the writer is going to whole heartedly endorse "red in tooth and claw" social Darwinism too! I can't wait!

kcom said...

Eugenics, where have you been? We've missed you.

Gahrie said...

Why do people forget that the thing that separates us from the rest of the animals is that we don't have to act like an animal?

Bay Area Guy said...

Not to get overly huffy, but it's just another subtle reminder that the Left is a death culture. Most college educated journalists like Ms. Kaplan identify with the Left, and most Leftwing journalists can't resist interjecting their vision into even innocuous stories about Pandas.

Yes, Ms. Kaplan we are able to connect the dots you've cleverly laid out for us - that rejected babies should be "utilized" for sensible ends.

We, on the other hand, are used to your wiley propaganda, reject it, and are more interested in the Sports pages.

Scott said...

Fifty years from now, we won't be debating whether a pregnant woman's "right to choose" is valid right up to the moment she breaks water. Nope. We'll be arguing about how long after birth she will be allowed to engage in infanticide.

EDH said...

"But it’s now believed that giant panda mothers like Mei Xiang are more Sophie Zawistowska, the William Styron character who was forced to choose which child to send to a Nazi gas chamber, than Margaret White, the crazed mom of Stephen King’s Carrie."

Nothing like invoking the noble Jew versus the crazy Christian stereotype to avoid entirely the obvious analogy to abortion.

Renee said...

"Why do people forget that the thing that separates us from the rest of the animals is that we don't have to act like an animal?"

Yep.

We totally get why Pandas and other animals, yes even humans abandon infacts. When it comes to abortion, it never really seems like a choice, for everyone who felt compelled to have an abortion it meant that their social supports (family/friends/school/employer) abandoned her (and him, too). A few relatives (on both mom's & dad's side to help out) can get a new mom through anything (finishing school/maintaining employment).

Nichevo said...

EDH WTF? That's really where your mind goes? I'm sorry that Christians weren't targeted for extinction through industrial murder 75 years ago so you could have gotten a less offensive comparison. Well, I'm glad for the Christians, but...

I do agree the comparison is befuddling. What did Carrie's mom do?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Scarce resources are a bitch.

EDH said...

Nichevo, It's where the WaPo writer's mind went, not mine.

jr565 said...

defense of infanticide by bioethicist Petwer Singer.

http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/

As you can see, nothing new here.

chuck said...

Humans are also more likely to kill female babies. Female infanticide runs 20% - 30% in hunter-gatherer societies.

Michael K said...

"it's just another subtle reminder that the Left is a death culture."

Yup.

rehajm said...

See: Non sequitur

TreeJoe said...

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/us/new-mexico-french-deaths/

I think we need to re-state what it is to be human: When a mother and father hoard their resources for their young, so that their young may survive while the parents suffer/die, we call that act things like "Heroic", "Noble", and "Right." See the above link for a 2 week old example.

http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/08/18/police-ohio-mom-says-she-killed-3-young-sons-in-13-months

When a mother kills a child or children because she feels another child will benefit as a result, we call that "Evil", "Tragic", and "Wrong." See the above link for a one week old example.

...

This isn't hard. If you are a human, stranded on a deserted island with no resources and help and find yourself to be delivering a child or children, and you make a choice to save one child - then yes, you are allowed to claim animal instinct drove the choice and it should haunt you the rest of you life.

But in the zoo, where that Panda was receiving lots of care and resources, no the mother's choice was wrong. It unnecessarily ended the life of it's child due to ignorance and false concern. We can examine such action, but let's not forget it made the wrong - ill-informed - choice.

John Tuffnell said...

I thought Althouse had an "animals are assholes" tag.

Fernandinande said...

EDH said...
"But it’s now believed that giant panda mothers like Mei Xiang are more Sophie Zawistowska, the William Styron character... ."


I bothered to read, er, search, the article just to verify that it contained that amazingly silly analogy.

Sometimes infanticide is carried out by the infants:
Cannibalistic Baby Sharks

Siblicide

Gusty Winds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Sweeny said...

Trying to save all babies is unnatural, unnatural, UNNATURAL.

You can be a bleeding heart or you can believe "natural is good." You can't honestly do both.

Of course, lots of people do anyway.

Jim in St Louis said...

Pandas are too dumb to fuck without help. Time for natural selection to finish the job.

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

It's funny how there's always 'something we can learn' from sheep being gay or pandas killing their babies.

But there's nothing to be learned about say, how one colony of ants won't allow swarms of foreign ants into the colony. Or that it's perfectly natural to eat meat.

Or even, to turn this Panda issue on its head that unproductive members of a group are not entitled to the welfare of the group.

The animal kingdom: welfare-state abhorring ethno-nationalist carnivores. Your move, liberals.

Rusty said...

Human mothers sometimes consume their male offspring and turn them into homosexuals.


What?



Not PC?

Gabriel said...

All through history, and all over the world, babies are abandoned. A Roman baby was exposed if its father did not lift it from the floor. Free to anyone who bothered to pick it up, or left to die if not. Hunter-gatherers cannot have babies too close together; one has to at least be able to keep up with the mother on foot, because the mother can only hold one. Polynesian atolls could only support so many mouths at one time.

That's nature for you. It's why we try not to live naturally.

n.n said...

Humans are at war with themselves. Looking at the pandas and the birds, and the baby sharks, too, they are unable to reconcile their enlightened and baser conscience. The prevailing "consensus" is to defer judgment and just do it.

ken in tx said...

Ancient Roman brothels threw unwanted babies in the sewer. Archaeological studies have determined that most of them were male. Apparently the females were kept and raised to be future whores. It's sort of like chickens. You get rid of the roosters as soon as you can. They don't lay eggs and you only need one to keep the chicken coop populated. Human beings have treated each other like animals for much of human history. The advent of Christianity was actually revolutionary.

Anonymous said...

“They become a resource,..."
Like Planned Parenthood's aborted babies, yes?

Dead panda babies provide protein to panda mommy and panda siblings. Good.

Planned Parenthood baby body parts provide money to buy a Lamborghini. Even better.

mikee said...

Having mentioned the Planned Parenthood videos on a reddit.com comment thread the other day, I was surprised to learn that the common response to their existence is that they are completely fake videos.

Cognitive dissonance is easier when you can selectively edit your information input without any doubts, evidence or reasons.

damikesc said...

Let's constantly dehumanize people.

Know what else pandas don't do? Read newspapers.

n.n said...

Aborted human babies are not merely resources, but reduced, reused, and recycled by the abortion industry. Yet, the Planned Parenthood flag continues to be raised as a symbol of indiscriminate killing for profit and control. The videos depicting involuntary endangerment of women; and torture, killing, harvesting, and trafficking of human babies; is directed to people on the fence. And people who cry for Cecil and praise Cecile.

Kirk Parker said...

ken,

"The advent of Christianity was actually revolutionary. "

Do tell.

damikesc,

"Know what else pandas don't do? Read newspapers."

Whoa... Strange New Respect.