Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Is there any plausible reason to believe insects don't feel pain?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Is there any plausible reason to believe insects don't feel pain?
Viking_Longship
Member
Member # 3358

 - posted      Profile for Viking_Longship   Email Viking_Longship       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have learned recently many "ethical" vegans argue that the insects killed in the production of vegetable protien are acceptable deaths because they are not truly sentient and don't feel pain.

As some of you know more about biology than I do, is there any biological reason to presume insects don't feel pain?

[ December 12, 2012, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

Posts: 5765 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
They can respond to noxious stimulus - just depends on what you think of as 'feel'. They do have a brain, they probably experience something akin to emotions - fear, anxiety, etc. They likely lack any form of self awareness/sentience.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/06/honeybee-pessimism/

However we generally view emotion as having some sort of thought component - not a purely instinctive reaction.

Also note that if you view insects as feeling pain - you might have to also consider simple robots that are programmed to exhibit these behaviours to feel pain also.

[ December 12, 2012, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You might also have to consider plants, fungi, bacteria, amoebas, fungi, etc. to have emotions/feel pain.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806090010.htm

[ December 12, 2012, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
msquared
Member
Member # 113

 - posted      Profile for msquared   Email msquared   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts " Life is pain. Anyone telling different is trying to sell you something."

msquared

Posts: 4002 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wayward Son
Member
Member # 210

 - posted      Profile for Wayward Son   Email Wayward Son   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Of course, there are simplier ways out of such a conundrum. [Smile]
Posts: 8681 | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cherrypoptart
Member
Member # 3942

 - posted      Profile for cherrypoptart     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think insects do feel pain. Worms feel pain too.

I just learned recently that vegans go even further than that though and honey is not considered vegan. There are websites that explain it and it makes sense in its own way but it also answers a question I had wondered about. It basically comes down to subjugating insects against their will and using them in ways that are unnatural to them.

Vegans say their way is much better for your health. So I wondered what if this was proven not to be true. Would you sacrifice your health in order to do what you thought was right?

With honey, I think the answer is yes, they would.

Perhaps that makes their decision and dedication to it even more impressive.

Posts: 7675 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Viking_Longship
Member
Member # 3358

 - posted      Profile for Viking_Longship   Email Viking_Longship       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The ironic thing is that thanks to pesticide use and collatoral damage from harvesting stealing honey from bees is one of the least damaging ways to get sweetness.
Posts: 5765 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If it is " Unnatural" for bee's to have money stolen from them, Then why did they evolve scanners?

Anyway from that logic I could see how ethical vegans would be okay with breastfeeding and oral sex, presuming consent. But what about unethical vegans?

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 888

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
is there any biological reason to presume insects don't feel pain?
From a brief reading I just did: yes - the lack (in insects) of nociceptors and neocortices, the parts that relate to the communication and experience of pain in mammals, bird and other larger animals.
Posts: 3318 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Aris,

quote:
The apparent absence from insects of any known or likely candidate nociceptors is of doubtful significance. Whilst it could be argued that the evolution of specific nociceptors accompanies a developing capacity to experience pain states, alternative mechanisms could possibly subserve this function. For example,
nociceptive information could be decoded from abnormally high-frequency discharges from non-nociceptors aren't necessary - the coding rates of other neural cells (thermoceptors, baroceptors, nociceptive mechano-, chemo-, and thermo-receptors, such as has been proposed for nociception in some mammalian viscera.

http://www.ikhebeenvraag.be/mediastorage/FSDocument/41/Eisemann-164.pdf

So while nociceptors are a pain specific feature of vertebrates, likely other cells can serve that purpose.

That said, they make a pretty compelling arguement that they have purely reflexive responses and that everything that looks like response to pain can be attributed to reflexive mechanisms and response to abnormal neuron firing.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
See this article which discusses C. Elegans and Drosphila as models for pain research,

quote:
With these results, the C. elegans PVD neurons join the class IV multidendritic neurons of Drosophila (Hwang et al., 2007) as model nociceptors. For both sets of neurons, their complex dendritic branching, the genes they express, and their behaviors all line up with those of mammalian nociceptors.
http://www.painresearchforum.org/news/3822-sensation-small-scale
Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Aris,

quote:
The apparent absence from insects of any known or likely candidate nociceptors is of doubtful significance. Whilst it could be argued that the evolution of specific nociceptors accompanies a developing capacity to experience pain states, alternative mechanisms could possibly subserve this function. For example,
nociceptive information could be decoded from abnormally high-frequency discharges from non-nociceptors aren't necessary - the coding rates of other neural cells (thermoceptors, baroceptors, nociceptive mechano-, chemo-, and thermo-receptors, such as has been proposed for nociception in some mammalian viscera.

http://www.ikhebeenvraag.be/mediastorage/FSDocument/41/Eisemann-164.pdf

So while nociceptors are a pain specific feature of vertebrates, likely other cells can serve that purpose.

That said, they make a pretty compelling arguement that they have purely reflexive responses and that everything that looks like response to pain can be attributed to reflexive mechanisms and response to abnormal neuron firing.

Letterip, Even if there is a compelling argument to the contrary, that does not mean that there is no PLAUSIBLE argument that insects do not feel pain. So while you are probably right about insects feeling pain, Aris is absolutely and oncotrovertibly right that a plausible argument exists that they do not.

Logic.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pete,

I wasn't claiming he was wrong, just pointing out that the evidence is far from decisive one way or the other. Many insects continue behaviours that seem illogical if they were reacting to pain (ie continuing eating while being eaten). However even C elegans has nociception like receptors and varies its behaviour in response to nociceptive events.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Another good thread,

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=5069555&postcount=39

Really it depends on the definition of pain that you are using. Some people use a really simple definition - react to noxious stimuli - which would open the definition up for bacteria, flowers, and robots to feel pain.

A more sophisticated definition from the link is,

quote:
neddon uses a looser definition of pain that's widely used in animal-based research. If the animal has basic neurological receptors, including nociceptors, connected to a central nervous system, the ability to naturally create painkillers called neuropeptide opiates, a proven reaction to analgesics, and humanlike reactions to pain, it's a winner.
By that definition we could exclude plants, bacteria, but not many invertebrates.

If we go with a definition that requires some sort of higher level response such as emotional involvement, then we might be able to exclude most invertebrates, and also would exclude fetuses and those born 'brain dead'.

The wikipedia article is pretty good also.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain_in_invertebrates

So really it all depends on what level of inclusiveness or exclusiveness you are comfortable with for describing pain.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 888

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Really it depends on the definition of pain that you are using.
That thing I feel when it frigging hurts.
Posts: 3318 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Pete,

I wasn't claiming he was wrong, just pointing out that the evidence is far from decisive one way or the other. Many insects continue behaviours that seem illogical if they were reacting to pain (ie continuing eating while being eaten). However even C elegans has nociception like receptors and varies its behaviour in response to nociceptive events.

Interesting. How does their behavior vary?
Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pete,

if you poke it with something sharp it recoils, or if it is immobilized it will do tail thrashing

http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/groups/wschafer/Suzuki2003.pdf

if you put it in some place hot it will move away from the hot location to a temperature it can better tolerate.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:

if you poke it with something sharp it recoils, or if it is immobilized it will do tail thrashing

Interesting. Yes that does suggest that insects may experience pain. But since some humans seem to react to extreme pleasure in the same way -- recoiling and thrashing their tails -- 1 might reasonably posit that pain might be a
different experience for an insect then for a human.

[ December 15, 2012, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm also not sure what the capacity to feel pain has to do with rights or with sympathy. If it's human has leprosy loses his capacity to feel pain, does that mean it's okay to kill or dismember him?

I personally would feel more grief and sympathy at the felling of a 1000 year old three, that at the squashing 10 month old rat, even if a rat can feel pain and a tree cannot.

[ December 15, 2012, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
D.W.
Member
Member # 4370

 - posted      Profile for D.W.   Email D.W.   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pete, your phone input posts are making me wonder if interpreting auto-correct messages will become second nature to us. Much like (at least to my perception) our increasing use of abbreviations and acronyms.

The "communication age" is doing interesting things to our written language. [Smile]

Posts: 4308 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
seagull
Member
Member # 694

 - posted      Profile for seagull   Email seagull   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This discussion reminds me of:
The Soul of Mark III Beast

Do machines feel pain?

Posts: 1910 | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1