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Author Topic: Animal behavior excuses
pickled shuttlecock
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Thesis: We lock people up for acting like animals. "We don't act like animals" could be seen as a basis of criminal justice.

Discuss.

(Disclaimer: I'm aware that this is riddled with holes.)

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hobsen
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Some human behavior is worse than any animal behavior.
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Carlotta
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There are a lot of ways we do act like animals and it's considered completely acceptable and even laudable. Mothering instinct, monogamy (for those who are monogamous, compared with monogamous animals), complex social interactions, respect for authority or the stronger animal.
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kenmeer livermaile
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It's the poor acting that so offends us. If we do a bad job of acting like animals, this imples we perhaps also do a bad job of acting like human beings.
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Pete at Home
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Monogamy is for the birds, or at least for 80% of them.
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sacrip2
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I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit and the Superdome opened up for refugees, there were reports of women and girls being raped when left alone to use the restroom or some such. My thought then was "what are these people, animals?"

That said, I'm not ready to replace British common law with "don't act like animals." Because while animals obey their instincts to survive no matter what, we humans can reason against our instincts, so that we obey only our desires. An animal having sex with an unwilling partner is simply an animal rutting. A man raping a helpless girl is not an animal. He is evil, somthing an animal can never be.

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EDanaII
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"There is no good nor bad but thinking make it so."
-- Uncle Shakey.

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simplybiological
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quote:
Monogamy is for the birds, or at least for 80% of them.
Not true. Most birds are NOT monogamous. Historically, our own human hubris caused us to see our reflection in nature; further study indicates that the majority are sneaking off for additional extra-pair copulation and are guarded by their mate rather than there by choice.
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simplybiological
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FWIW, drawing a distinction between humans and animals is artificial. We ARE animals. And as Carlotta says, much of the behaviors we find GOOD in humans are animal behaviors.

Edited to add: much of what we don't value in humans, things we would consider unjust, are NOT animal behaviors.

[ March 04, 2007, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: simplybiological ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Ironically, it is the making of artificial distinctions and boundaries that so defines humanity as seperate from 'mere' animals.

"Historically, our own human hubris caused us to see our reflection in nature; further study indicates that the majority are sneaking off for additional extra-pair copulation and are guarded by their mate rather than there by choice."

Further irony: assuming that male-dominated forms of monogamy in which women were somewhat chattel were were more common in the past, 'twould seem that our projection of human monogamy upon birds is more accurate than we currently perceive?

Wait until AI takes over and demands human beings pass Turing tests in order to have some degree of freedom. Hee-hee!

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hobsen
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You made a point I had been wanting to make about bird behavior. But a more fundamental objection is that birds and mammals diverged before the time of the dinosaurs. If all mammalian species agree on a behavior, it might make sense to see if birds behave differently. But if mammals are doing all sorts of things, a resemblance of humans to birds is probably coincidence.
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