Are humans animals?

The most traumatic experience of my life: In school we played a game where the teacher would name a letter of the alphabet and we had to write down a city, a plant, an animal, a mountain, a lake etc. that started with that letter. When I wrote down 'Mensch' (German for 'Human') as an example for an animal starting with the letter 'M' the teacher didn't allow that as a correct answer. When I claimed that he was wrong and I was right he let the class vote about it.... They voted overwhelmingly against humans being animals. I was disgusted of my teacher and my classmates and left the classroom in protest. So, you know what I’ll vote and you know what I’ll think of you if you vote 'No' but don't let this distort the scientific correctness of this poll and answer truthfully.

Poll results:

(30 votes) 83%

(2 votes) 6%

(4 votes) 11%

Why would your teacher refuse to include humans in the animal kingdom? Was he a fundementalist?
It's obvious which side of this I'm on considering that I named my cats Darwin and Mendell

Either a religious fundamentalist or an anal retentive humanist. At least it made me realize that there is work to be done on this planet.

I love your description....

DeAnna Burghart:
Amen. <g> Reminds me of a friend that I knew in college who got absolutely *hostile* once when I suggested that dolphins had more *raw* intelligence/IQ than most humans. He yelled at me (with the completely rational come back "They just don't! That's all! <g>) and wouldn't speak to me for a week. LOL
A lot of people like that are threatened by the perception of humans as animals (the same types who object to breastfeeding infants because it's too primitive & animalistic and bottle-feeding is somehow more civilized). Takes away their sense of superiority. <g> The irony is that their vehement denial is such an *instinctive* reaction to a perceived threat ...
As far as I'm concerned, humans are *definitely* animals. After all, we're not vegetables (except for a few of the folks I deal with who can't manage our password-retrieval system) or minerals (except for one of my ex-boyfriends, who is definately dumber than a rock <eg>).
I wonder why the teacher felt so threatened that she (?) would rely on the uninformed opinions of schoolchildren to back her up instead of stating the opinion on her own logic. <weg>

I don't think there is *that* much difference between humans and other animals.
For example, some people think animals (other than humans) do not think. That is just plain silly. I have had a dog now for 8 years and he definitely does think.
For example, he might be sitting in the living room. Suddenly he will raise his head, look around, then run upstairs, get a bone and bring it down to play with.
I would say this shows obvious thought. He clearly was looking for that bone and with full intent and forethought went to get it where he remembered he left it.
What (most) animals besides humans do not have is language ability, because they have no language centers in their brains. That is true for dogs - they respond to intonation and get used to what you are trying to say to them based on the totality of your command: your body gestures, intonation, etc. But I do not believe they are capably of understanding the words themselves.
Try telling your dog, in a completely different tone of voice (neutral with no other overtones or gestures> to "Sit". There will be no response.
Anyway, getting back to humans - sometimes I get this weird feeling, while walking through the city and looking at giant skyscrapers, that the building activity is very much like bee hive activity, and, looking at things from reverse, a lot of what we do and build is instinctual and that our sense of awareness and intelligence is somehow an illusion.

Hmmm... so question this.... If humans are considered animals.....then have we brought the animals up in status or knocked the humans down a notch?
Maybe it's too uncomfortable to think of humans as not being animals because then you have to think of why we are not animals, why we are different, then maybe what caused us to be different..... or who caused us to be different. ......and what might that might mean for the way in which we live our lives.
Hmmm...... no ice cream available to waddle to....darn!

Followup poll :
Equal rights for humans and other animals?
If we are equal, should we have equality?

Poll Results:

(5 votes) 28%

No (please post your reasons in the discussion)
(9 votes) 50%

(4 votes) 22%

[...] while we all agreed that humans are animals, I don't remember agreeing that all animals are equal.

So, you're putting human lives above the one of other animals. Of course, since you eat chopped up animals and - I would assume - no humans, you would otherwise be a hypohypocrite. But, where do you take the right to make that distinction?

Chopped up animals - Actually, I just had some. Yum.
Humans are not the only animals that eat other animals. It is natural.

Humans have the capability to overcome instinct. It's what makes humans so powerful. With that power comes responsibility. And with that responsibility comes the obligation to reason - and to develop high ethics. It's the price we have to pay for the power we have. It's what makes the difference between destructive and constructive use of what makes humans unique.

Are you suggesting... that humans are superior to animals?

Wouldn't this mean that humans are not animals after all? ;-)

I'm not suggesting that they are equal in regards to their properties. Different animals are different in regard to their properties. I'm suggesting that they should be treated as equal with the same standards like we tread humans as equals although they might have varying properties. Just like objects in Javascript ;-)


I think we believe animals should have rights or they should have more rights its just that they are not humans and therefore should not have the same or equal rights.
So when the statement is made humans are animals we don't really mean that animals are humans....there is a fundamental difference.

Susan Conarroe:
Well, do we have equal rights with them in their societies?
Varies from species to species, I'm sure, but in large part, I'd say "no."
We get grouped into the vast catagory of other-than-like, which then gets divided according to that society's mindset (predators, prey, etc.) and treated accordinly. Several socities near human habitation have a 'human' subcatagory, but we tend to have a 'dog' subcatagory of animals and treat them a little differently than most, so there's nothing unusual there.
I think humans are animals, I think all animals are equal in importance on a cosmic scale, and each animal determines the center of its own little universe - usually itself, or "family," or "pack," and so on.
So, are animals and humans equal? Yes, on a cosmic scale. I don't think our self-realized intelligence makes us any more important. Should animals have equal human rights with humans? I say that's unnatural. <g>
Now, I think that animals should be interacted with on terms of respect. I think that we humans make abominable use of our shared environment and that we are generally disrespectful of any other species in a way that is somewhat unnatural. <shrug>
So much for "equal rights."


I think we are missing the point, here. Just because other animals would have equal rights wouldn't mean that they could get a drivers license. If humans are heheavilyetarded they still have equal rights. Equal rights always means equal under comparable circumstances.

I voted no because... rights don't exist in nature, they are a human invention. The only thing that matters in nature is reproductive fitness.
Now... if your question had been worded differently; ie, "Is it wise for humans to assign and enforce equals rights for all members of the animal kingdom, human or otherwise?"

Followup poll:
Equal rights for all members of the animal kingdom.
Is it wise for humans to assign and enforce equal rights for all members of the animal kingdom, human or otherwise?

Poll Results:

 (4 votes) 25%

 (10 votes) 63%

 (2 votes) 13%

Now to take this to another plane or Continent as the case may be. Did anyone see that show Survivor where I gather some guy on it stabbed a live pig just to demonstrate that he was useful. If we go with the idea that 4 footed critters are equal to 2 legged ones then is what he did murder? Or was it survival of the fittest? Or just a very bad tv show <g>?

I have no problem with someone stabbing a live pig in order to survive. Having to turn away when it's shown on TV while chewing on shredded pig that was bought shrink wrapped in the super market is an other story. Of course, I doubt he needed to stab the pig in order to survive - otherwise there probably wouldn't have been a TV camera near by.

I don't know who started this thread but it kept me awake all night <g>.
How do we work on equality between everyone? In most of society (IMHO) we have many degrees of inequality whether it be between color, sexes, religions, views of children as property. Using just one of the countries I lived in the difference between each province was different. In France depending on what part you were from determined if you were equal to people from lets say Paris.

Unequal plus unequal can equal equal.
The world is full of unequality. Equality is just a concept we developed - it's an ideal. Equality results when an imbalance of strength and weakness is not executed.
In order to further equality one doesn't need to eliminate or negate differences. Differences are a good thing. If everything would be balanced and undifferent then there would be no enenergy and no life. The very nature of nature is unequality. If unfair and unethical differences are not used to the advantage of the stronger and if we keep the remaining unequalities in balance then we get equality as a result.
For example, if we wouldn't kill other animals when we do not need to then that would be a major step in the right direction.

By teaching our kids to eat animals we teach them to be uncompassionate. Don't be surprised when that uncompassion later pops up in places you didn't expect or intend.

Logical connection?
Chris wrote: By teaching our kids to eat animals we teach them to be uncompassionate.
I don't see how that follows...

Logical connection?
I think so, yes! My previous message Chris 2/19/01 10:17am makes the case for this. Executing an imbalance of strength and weakness is uncompassionate. You don't agree?

I don't see any case made showing a connection between teaching kids to eat animals and teaching kids to be uncompassionate.

Fair enough! If I read my messages again then I have to admit that the correlation is not explicitly clear.
We humans are - if I can generalize a bit - superior in strength to other animals. That is a difference and a natural unequality. Equality (the kind that we've invented as a concept) would result if we would not use that power to our advantage and the others disadvantage. It would be a sign of compassion towards the weaker. Not killing and eating an other animal when we do not need to in order to stay healthy would be such an example. Therefore, teaching kids to do so would be teaching them compassion. Doing the opposite teaches them the opposite.

When I try to follow logical trains of thought, I always remember "one bad link" and the entire subsequent argument fails.
So before continuing, let's stop with your first sentence - humans are superior in strength to other animals?
Not so!

I think now you're to hard on me! OK, let's say superior in strength compare to the animals we eat. They are obviously weaker.

I don't know - I wouldn't try to wrestle a cow.

Superior in cunning, pehaps... not so much sheer musclepower, though!

Yes, for the sake of my argument it's the superiority in cunning that matters.

OK. Let's go back to the argument (for argument's sake).
Do you think teaching kids to eat a hamburger at McDonald's in any way conveys any message at all about human superiority, lack of compassion, etc.
Do you think a lesson is being made at all when you order two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun?

I can perhaps buy the argument that we should all be vegetarians because eating other animals isn't compassionate - BUT - what stumps me is why that same argument should NOT be also extended to plants, which are also living creatures.
And if we extend it to plants, then what does that leave us to eat? Only stuff like fruit and eggs and milk, which are only plant and animal "byproducts" which don't kill the animal to produce them. And then you could make all kinds of arguments about indentured slavery and whatnot (apple trees in orchards, cows in a dairy).
So isn't this all a slippery slope to start down to begin with?

Doug, Yes, of course! When you feed a kid those two all beef patties it will eat it without thinking about where that stuff came from. At that moment your only teaching the kid that it is ok to eat it. But one day the kid will think for the first time about the concept of where that stuff is coming from and will - at the very least - realize that it is lucky not to be the animal that was shredded to make that burger. After realizing the unpleasantness of the animals situation it will have to rationalize by reacting with uncompassion. If it would not react with uncompassion it could not avoid to feel gilt - something it will try to avoid because it would be too difficult and complex to handle, specially at its (the kids) age.

Sue, Yes, it's a bit of a slippery slope. I would even claim that all 'things' - no matter if they are alive or not - have a right to be treated with dignity. Why should we not develop ethical behavior that follows the same standards in all those cases? We just need to look at the issues from various perspectives and then form our ethical behavior around those. For example, science can tell us reliably enough how a certain action is perceived on the receiving end. The extent of consciousness and the complexity of the nervous systems are two examples of important factors that should be taken into account. Those are deciding factors when you want to estimate the amount of psychological pain that is caused. A secondary important factor is the necessity of the action. The first pain you should stop to cause is the one you don't need to cause. You disagree?

I don't disagree in principle, but in practice it gets awfully hard differentiating and making those kinds of decisions...

Who said live is a piece of cake?

Nobody... But you can get paralyzed making decisions like that all day long.
Will I cause more pain/harm (to the fox) if I wear my down parka with the fox fur trim around the hood, or if I wear my polyester parka made in a sweatshop in southeast Asia?
Maybe a bad example, but sometimes you have to just do the best you can and try hard not to think about the rest of it...

No, that's a good example, Sue!

Well, it was, if you consider that you will have to decide first off if you want to purchase the coat (or the other coat) to begin with. I can see making that sort of decision when you make a major coat purchase.
But the example I really meant to give was more of a day to day everyday life kind of example - where making that sort of decision for every little thing you do would get impractical.

Like what, for example?

I can't think of a good example now, either...

Maybe because it doesn't exist?

On the other hand, the parent might teach the kid to appreciate the earth that gives us such bounty and to always treat animals with humanity, making sure to slaughter them in non-painful ways and urging them to raise livestock in pleasant surroundings.
I think it is possible to be a compassionate person and still be a meat eater.

I agree, Doug! But if the parent is teaching that to the kid then they surely can't end up in a burger restaurant together! Now, that would be very hypocritical in deed!

Human compassion, morality and burger joints
I don't think it is hypocritical!

Now you're just pulling my leg....

john cornicello:
Interesting topic to come back to from my trip. And one that I recently took part in in another discussion board (where they were talking about PETA and Ted Nugent and hunting). Sue has already made the point I was making back then. But why should that stop me from re-posting my message to that other group????, So here goes...
Hey every one.... great topic about the Ted Nugent and pita controversy.
I'm a little bit confused by all of this. I always thought that PETA stood for People Eating Tasty Animals. Why would they have a problem with this?
Me? I'm a vegan. Well, sort of... They say that you are what you eat. I eat cows and chickens. Cows and chickens are vegans, so I'm a vegan by extension.
The way I look at it, plants are living things just like animals. I can't stand the idea of someone going around chopping them off at the roots for food. That's barbaric. I can hear the screams. And they have absolutely no chance for escape being firmly rooted into the ground where they stand.
When I go out hiking I can look out over a lush valley and basque in the glory while my vegetarian friend standing next to me looks out over the lush vegetation and all he can think is "hmm.., lunch!"
Actually, in a perfect world we should not be eating animals or vegetables, only other humans. But that won't fly. So, go out and eat what you need.
I like BJ's attitude. You do it for yourself. Don't impose yourself on others, leave that for the fundamentalist religious folks.
One thing I am convinced of is that not eating meat causes a definite loss to ones sense of humor and breeds agression. I mean, when I go out for a steak and it gets served to me with some sort of vegetation on the plate I quietly move the vegetables off to another plate and don't make a scene about it (as offended as I am about the vegetables being there). Give a vegatarian a dish that has some meat in it and see what their reaction is.
Go to a big event at the Seattle Center. Look at all those angry folks with their tables and clipboards at the entrances. I always want to tell them to go grab a hamburger and chill out. Relax. Enjoy yourself. I bet there is more violence among the vegetarians and vegans. No, not all of them. But we're talking generalities here.
Being a vegetarian isn't any healthier than being a carnivore. I've actually done some research on this. I picked a year (1820) and found a group of vegetarians and a group of meat eaters. You know what? They are all dead!! Everyone who ate a brussel sprout in 1825 is dead. Life is short enough. Go out and enjoy yourself.

Well, I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. That certainly sums up the state of the world on this issue!

28.02.2001, 17:08

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> New Eclipse Helma plugin project
> Is the Bespin web-based code editor the ideal future ServerJS IDE?
> Server-Side Javascript Standard Library
> First Soleil on Mont-Soleil
> Rhinola 0.8 - Server JS reduced to the minimum
> Helma turns 1.6.3
> Helma 1.6.3-rc3 ready for testing
> Helma 1.6.3 Release Candidate 2
> Release Candidate 1 of Helma 1.6.3
> Helma at the 2008 OpenExpo in Zurich
> Large Hadron Collider
> Ecmascript Harmony
> The A-Z of Programming Languages jumps to Javascript
> Fresh Javascript IDE in Ganymede Eclipse release
> Helma at the Linuxwochen in Linz
> Brendan on the state of Javascript evolution
> Stuff by George Carlin
> Is AppleScript done?
> ES4 Draft 1 and ES3.1 Draft 1
> Want ES4 in Helma today?
> SquirrelFish!
> Permaculture 101
> ES4 comes to IE via Screaming Monkey
> Apple's position on ECMAScript 4 proposals
> Helma Meeting Spring 2008
> Attila Szegedi about Rhino, Helma and Server-Side Javascript, and scripting on the JVM in general
> Helma 1.6.2 ready to download
> Larry Lessig's case for creative freedom
> Earthlings - Can you face the truth?
> The Story of Stuff
> A Quick Start to Hello World
> The Overlooked Power of Javascript
> Adobe's position on ES4 features, plus the Flex 3 SDK source code is now available under the MPL
> Solar cell directly splits water for hydrogen
> Asynchronous Beer and Geeking and other opportunities to talk about Helma, Rhino and Javascript on the server-side
> Openmocha and Jhino updated to 0.8
> Even more Server-side Javascript with Jaxer
> e4xd and jhino - javascript server-side soft-coding
> Additional Filename Conventions
> Update to Helma 1.6.1
> Netscape, the browser, to live one more month
> Heavyweight Champion of the World by Reverend and the Makers
> SimpleDB vs CouchDB
> Nuclear plants in Switzerland are modern Orgetorixism
> Helma powered AppJet - Takeoff!
> CouchDB for Helma
> Bubble bursting friendship bracelets
> Evolving ES4 as the universal scripting language
> Helmablog and an article in Linux Pro Magazine
> More praise for Helma
> Javascript as Universal Scripting Language
> So, what's up with World Radio Switzerland?
> Helma Conspiracy Theory
> JSONPath and CouchDB
> Hold the whole program in your head, and you can manipulate it at will
> Keeping track of localhost:8080
> Rhino 1.6R6 with E4X fix and patches for Helma
> Helma 1.6 is ready!
> Junction brings Rhino on Rails to Helma
> Javascript for Java programmers
> The server-side advantage
> John Resig on Javascript as a language
> Rhino on Rails
> Release Candidate 3 of Helma 1.6.0
> ECMAScript 4 Reference Implementation
> Antville Summer Of Code 2007
> Helma 1.6.0-rc2
> Using H2 with Helma
> Helma warped around existing db schemas
> Rocket the Super Rabbit
> Bootstrap is out of the bag
> The last mention of Microsoft
> Helma 1.6.0-rc1
> Introducing Planet Helma
> Helma ante portas
> Fixing Javascript inheritance
> Shutdown-Day the Helma way
> Upcoming Helma 1.6, new reference docs and IRC channel
> Making Higgs where the Web was born
> Jala for Helma
> See you at Lift'07
> More on Javascript Inheritance
> Mocha Inheritance
> Helma 1.5.3
> Fresh Rhino on Safari
> Truly Hooverphonic!
> Helma 1.5.2
> RFC 4329 application-ecmascript
> Helma 1.5.1 ready to download
> Aptana - Eclipse reincarnated as a Javascript IDE
> Building the Conversational Web
> Drosera steps in to debug Safari
> Helma 1.5.0 has been released!
> Helma 1.5 RC2 is ready
> Helma 1.5.0 Release Candidate 1 available for download
> FreeBSD Jails the brand new easy way
> Javascript 2 and the Future of the Web
> Frodo takes on chapter 3
> No Rough Cut :-(
> Welcome to Helma!
> 40th Montreux Jazz Festival
> trackAllComments
> Rails' greatest contribution
> Consensus vs Direct Democracy
> A candidate for CSCSJS or a Mocha Fetchlet
> A (Re)-Introduction to JavaScript
> coComment Roundup
> Track your comments
> Sketching image queries and reinventing email
> ECMAScript - The Switzerland of development environments
> I love E4X
> Tutorial D, Industrial D and the relational model
> Stop bashing Java
> E4X Mocha Objects
> Logging and other antimatters
> Stronger types in Javascript 2
> Javascript Diagnosis & Testing
> Homo Oxymora
> Yeah, why not Javascript?
> Moving beyond Java
> Spidermonkey Javascript 1.5 finally final
> Helma Trivia
> Finding Java Packages
> JSEclipse Javascript plug-in for Eclipse
> Catching up to Continuations
> Mighty and Beastie Licenses
> Tasting the OpenMocha Console
> "Who am I?", asks Helma
> Savety vs Freedom and other recent ramblings
> Mont-Soleil Open Air Lineup
> Rhinola - Mocha reduced to the minimum
> OpenMocha 0.6 available for download
> E4X presentation by Brendan Eich
> What is Mocha?
> Do you remember Gopher?
> The disappointment
> OpenMocha Project Roadmap
> MochiKit Javascript Library
> Getting your feet wet with OpenMocha
> People flocking to see global warming
> Rails vs Struts vs Mocha
> The JavaScript Manifesto
> OpenMocha is ready for a spin
> The limits of harmonization
> Le Conseil fédéral au Mont-Soleil
> Amiga History Guide
> The people must lead the executive, control the legislature and be the military
> Copyback License
> Looking at FreeBSD 6 and Beyond
> Qualified Minority Veto
> The Doom of Representative Democracy
> Violence in a real democracy
> Concordance and Subsidiarity
> Wrapping Aspects around Mocha Objects?
> Future of Javascript Roadmap
> Baby steps towards Javascript heaven
> Mac OS X spreading like wildfire
> Trois petits filous à Faoug
> Jackrabbit JSR 170
> Rich components for HTML 5
> More Java Harmony
> Mac goes Intel
> Google goes Rumantsch
> Oxymoronic Swiss-EU relations
> Rico and Prototype Javascript libraries
> Paul Klee - An intangible man and artist
> Incrementalism in the Mozilla roadmap
> Mocha multi-threading
> Moving towards OpenMocha
> Google goes Portal
> What Bush doesn't get
> Unique and limited window of opportunity
> Persisting Client-side Errors to your Server
> Dive Into Greasemonkey
> Brown bears knock on Switzerland's door
> The experience to make what people want
> "Just" use HTTP
> Yes, what is gather?
> A Free Song for Every Swiss Citizen
> Java in Harmony
> Jan getting carried away
> Evil Google Web Accelerator?
> JSON.stringify and JSON.parse
> Ajax for Java
> The launching of launchd
> Timeless RSS
> Kupu
> SNIFE goes Victorinox
> AJAX is everywhere
> Papa Ratzi
> How Software Patents Work
> Ten good practices for writing Javascript
> Free-trade accord with japan edges closer
> Mocha at a glance
> Adobe acquires Macromedia
> Safari 1.3
> View complexity is usually higher than model complexity
> Free Trade Neutrality
> SQL for Java Objects
> Security Bypass
> Exactly 1111111111 seconds
> Kurt goes Chopper
> Choosing a Java scripting language
> Spamalot's will get spammed a lot
> The visual Rhino debugger
> The Unix wars
> EU-Council adopts software patent directive
> FreeBSD baby step "1j"
> Never trust a man who can count to 1024 on his fingers
> Visiting the world's smallest city
> Finally some non-MS, non-nonsense SPF news
> Swiss cows banned from eating grass
> Ludivines, the "Green Fairy" of absinthe
> First Look At Solaris 10
> EU Commission Declines Patent Debate Restart
> Alan Kay's wisdom guiding the OpenLaszlo roadmap towards Mocha?
> 1 Kilo
> Re: FreeBSD logo design competition
> Schweizer Sagen
> Europas Eidgenossen
> Art Nouveau La Chaux-de-Fonds 2005-2006
> XMLHttpRequest glory
> The Beastie Silhouette
> The Number One Nightmare
> Safe and Idempotent Methods such as HEAD and TRACE
> Sorry, you have been verizoned.
> Daemons and Pixies and Fairies, Oh My!
> Sentient life forms as MIME-attachments: RFC 1437
> Anno 2004: CZV
> Web Developer Extension for Firefox
> Refactoring until nothing is left
> Brendan, never tired of providing Javascript support
> Catching XP in just 20 Minutes
> Designing the Star User Interface
> Rhino, Mono, IKVM. Or: JavaScript the hard way
> Re: SCO
> Judo
> Convergence on abstraction and on browser-based Console evaluation
> Today found out that inifinite uptimes are still an oxymoron
> New aspects of woven apps
> Original Contribution License (OCL) 1.0
> Unified SPF: a grand unified theory of MARID
> BSD is designed. Linux is grown.
> 5 vor 12 bei 10 vor 10
> Mocha vs Helma?
> Schattenwahrheit: Coup d'etat underway against the Cheney Circle?
> Abschluss Bilaterale II Schweiz-EU
> From Adam Smith to Open Source
> Linux - the desktop for the rest of them
> Big Bang
> Leaky Hop Objects
> Return Path Rewriting (RPR) - Mail Forwarding in the Spam Age
> Microsoft Discloses Huge Number Of Windows Vulnerabilties
> Steuerungsabgabe statt Steuern
> Anno 2003: deployZone
> The war against terror
> The war against terror (continued)
> The relativity of Apple's market share
> Are humans animals?
> More >>>