I read the following sad book review of The Chimp Who Would be Human in the March 17 issue of People magazine, just another reminder that humans and animals are uniquely different:
Loving your research subject is a no-no in science, but as journalist Hess's Greek tragedy about ape-human communication shows, it can be tough to avoid.
Meet Nim, a chimp taught sign language as part of psychologist Herbert Terrace's 1970s attempt to disprove Noam Chomsky's assertion that only humans can learn language....
Raised by Columbia University grad student Stephanie LaFarge and her family in their brownstone, Nim could sign over 100 words, do laundry and, apparently, enjoy his celebrity.
But Nim grew belligerent as he aged, and the project lost funding. Taken from the humans he loved, he was eventually related to a cage at the Institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma.
Shortly afterward, scientists concluded Nim didn't understand what he was signing, and he was sold to a vaccine-testing facility before being rescued by a group spearheaded by Terrace and LaFarge. He spent his remaining years on a Texas ranch in a kind of half life, "too wild for a house and too human for a cage."
Hess's fascinating book makes Nim seem so heroic that readers will find themselves weeping, both for this extraordinary chimp and for the way we humans failed him.
"Humans failed him"? How? I don't know how animal rights activists would answer that but the answer is we failed Nim by not letting him be the creature God created him to be. We tried to force him to be human.
In recent years I have noted not only the rise of anti-American sentiment but also anti-human sentiment. Some are attempting to elevate animals as superior to or no different humans.
But humans are uniquely set apart from any in the animal world. Humans are the only creatures created in the image of God.
[Photo of baby Nim courtesy of Fund for Animals; photo of Nim caged in later life courtesy of SocialFiction.org]
The self-loathing will be the end of us, if we don't do something to stop it.
I find it interesting that the founder of PETA says something to the effect of "a bug is a fish is a chimp is a boy". She implies that we humans are nothing more or less than any other animal on the planet. But somehow, we are supposed to be "better" by resisting the need to eat meat.
So which is it, dear? Are we animals or are we superior beings?Posted by: PajamaMama at March 21, 2008 8:50 AM
I've also been disappointed to see new tv shows on "Discovery" channel like "Life After Humans" and "The Human Footprint" that attempt to show just what a wasteful and polluting "things" we are. Just more and more promotion of this supposedly enlightened self-hatred that we're all internalizing.
I hear in the UK they're starting to label even produce with some convoluted "carbon footprint" rating that consumers can use to decide which is the most "responsible" vegetable to buy. I guess soon, each of us will have a carbon footprint rating tattooed to our foreheads so we know who to be friends with.Posted by: PajamaMama at March 21, 2008 8:58 AM
Great post, Jill! Exactly! Failing creatures is not allowing them to be what God created them to be, trying to force them to be something different.
We should just stop messing with nature. It's our own ego's that makes us think we can control it, and we should just leave it alone..we hurt that chimp more than we helped it.Posted by: Elizabeth at March 21, 2008 9:39 AM
As opposed to PETA, I view this experiment (teaching a chimpanzee to sign, treating it as human) as just as abusive as the medical experiments that PETA regularly criticizes. But suddenly, PETA approves because the means justify their ends of trying to prove that chimpanzees are somehow equivalent to human beings. No matter now that this chimpanzee became accustomed to a certain type of existence and is no doubt thrown for a loop by having its life turned upside down just because it suddenly began to act - gasp - like a chimpanzee.
For the record, I donate monthly to the Humane Society because I believe in the prevention of animal CRUELTY...but I DON'T believe that animals have RIGHTS in the same vein as do human beings. I own two dogs who are treated better than many human beings. I eat meat. I buy free range produced meat and dairy products because they come from animals that are allowed to live natural lives as they were meant to by God. I believe that we human beings are stewards of the earth and of the animal life on earth, so we are charged with using its resources in a humane and judicious way.Posted by: PajamaMama at March 21, 2008 10:39 AM
"Failing creatures is not allowing them to be what God created them to be, trying to force them to be something different"
Some in the Left can argue very well that those in the far reactionary right or Christian pro life movement will say the same thing above about the races of man and the Civil Rights movement? I heard it all!
But leftists always say stupid things like that.
Or is there some truth to what Christian fundamentalists say? What about the Christian fundamentalist 20, 50, 100 years ago - how have they evolved in thinking about the races? Are they still hung up with the racism of their Southern Confederate forefathers?
I am pro life, Roman Catholic, but try to keep religion out of my anti abortion views, because I sometimes feel that the shamltzy 'born again" theatrics hurts the anti abortion movement and instead I see this struggle as a human right, and anti radical socialist feminist battle - the human rights of the baby is being infringed on when the mother aborts. I subscribe to the Natt Hentoff secular school of pro life.
I am also weary of so called "Christian" fundamentalists putting down my Roman Catholicism, even when they call me a heathen or put us down for having a Pope, praying to Saints, loving the Virgin Mary...my cousin who is a Southern Baptist delights in offending.
I tell you what though, many Dogs are nicer and more caring than some humans. It's reported that when a mother wolf dies, the rest of the pack takes care of her young. I do agree with the article though, let animals be animals.Posted by: jasper at March 21, 2008 11:10 AM
But does the fact that the chimp didn't know chimp are not capable of learning language?
Just because its not OUR language doesn't mean they don't have their own, which would never translate the way you can translate languages communicated by other PEOPLE.
Project X was my favorite movie as a kid - still in my top 10 probably. So being the little activist kiddo I was, I used to write to labs and research firms asking them to let their chimps back out in the wild.
Having driven through parts of Africa and being able to see animals you typically see in a zoo in their natural habitat, it hits home even more how WRONG it is to remove them from it for our own benefit.
So Jill, while I mostly agree with what you're saying here, except for the whole part about God "designing" them and us, can I assume that you are opposed to ALL use of animals for experimentation and research by humans, including product testing? Otherwise, this becomes a bit hypocritical.Posted by: Amanda at March 21, 2008 11:29 AM
Sorry - messed up that first sentence - thats what i get for typing while also on the phone...
I meant to say:
But does the fact that the chimp didn't know what he was signing really mean that chimps are not capable of learning language?Posted by: Amanda at March 21, 2008 11:32 AM
To 'Not a Fetus Fascist' --
You echo my views in many ways. I also am Catholic, but don't think arguing theology is the right way to achieve the end of abortion. The right to life is the fundamental human right. I'm glad I'm not the only one here in that camp.
Please consider choosing another nickname. I don't even want to think about the 'Fetus Fascist'.Posted by: LB at March 21, 2008 12:01 PM
LB, right. Let's not talk her up:]Posted by: heather at March 21, 2008 12:04 PM
Well, abortion is a moral issue to me but it doesn't have to be a dogmatic religious one where am going to get on my knees and say "praise Jesus!". Yeah, I might have the spirit of Jesus and Mary inside of me when I protest or speak out against pro choice hypocrisy, but I keep that private and not out in the open and corny. If I do that - the cheesy religious born again stuff then the libs and Commies and the femi-fascists are going to laugh at us, not take us seriously, and dismiss us for rebel flag waving cross burning Jimmy Swagert cranks. I'd rather play with them, look like them, blend into their circles - infiltrate, and use some of their urban street theatre protest tactics and win with rational scientific and conservative (classical liberal) arguments with some mockery and satire thrown in for good measure in the spirit of those past who fought to make us all aware of communist tyranny - mainly Whittiker Chambers, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Reagan, William F Buckley, and really, really make it known as I said that abortion is a human rights issue - that unborn babies are oppressed, and we are dissidents fighting a battle in a sea of indifference, cynicism, and media blitz ala the Hollywood leftist establishment
I liken it to the struggle to end slavery. Not really a religious issue to a point, but a moral and ethical one. I view abortion as the new slavery - all men or persons are free - yes, created equal by God if you believe that, so the unborn is a living being inside the mom - it is not property of the mom - the mom is just providing a shell or pod where this person will evolve and be born. So the mother doesn't have a right to terminate or kick out that precious person living in her body - she needs to see her pregnancy through to the very best she can.
It's like slave owners believing that their slave were their property, that they could dispose of that property, see it, punish it, or even kill it because to the slave owner the slaves were not human. The same thing now with abortion - those who peddle abortion are the new slave owners, the new KKK,.Posted by: not a fetus hater at March 21, 2008 12:36 PM
a pregnant woman is just "providing a shell or a pod"???
Please tell me you're kidding. PLEASE.
That is one of the pro life arguments that just turns my stomach.
Honestly guys (you regulars out there) I really REALLY try to relate and look at things from all sides, and identify with a lot of what many of you say... but its stuff like THAT that just makes me frightened by the whole idea of the Pro Life movement. I am not a frikking pod chamber, thank you very much.Posted by: Amanda at March 21, 2008 12:51 PM
I agree. I also prefer to argue the simple right or wrong of abortion based on concrete merits rather than religious arguments. It's inevitable that when you bring up God or the Bible in a debate about abortion, the other side simply shuts down and dismisses any further points you may have by saying "that's just a religious argument". My usual response to that is "Whew, what a relief...I thought you were going to say that I was WRONG."
However, when it comes to interacting with other post-abortive mothers AND fathers, discussion of the forgiveness of God is crucial to the dialogue.Posted by: PajamaMama at March 21, 2008 1:01 PM
I am not a shell or a pod either!!
Since the baby is not property of the mum - but a whole unique person - it is being carried in an organic pod, cavity, or shell - this is not a bad thing - its an honor for a woman to carry life like this - its just natural - organic, green...all the terms you socialists use when you want to get high and mighty. its a beautiful thing how conception happens and nature or God or whatever you believe in provides a warm aqueous "terrenium" like eco-sphere - a protected pouch - almost marsupial like for those 9 months for a sacrifice the mother is put through - by nature mind you in order to safely carry the unborn into the world - so sure moms, especially the "pro -choice" moms who are maybe getting pissed now - yup pod like in the beautiful ordeal to make a person - one needs a workshop, a storage shed, a shelter to build and grow the design, the clay that will one day be an incredible person and if it's to be a woman and she choose to breed then nature will provide the pod once again to keep the human family going and going and going - a beautiful vicious cycle that you pro-choicers and O population types want to end. So there...Posted by: fetus dissident at March 21, 2008 1:19 PM
Ok. Let me get this straight...
the fact that i don't appreciate you referring to pregnancy as a woman being a chamber for a "shell" or "pod"
....makes me a socialist who is against population growth?
Those are some very interesting assumptions you're making about me, for someone who is new to this board and really has no idea what my beliefs are.
And you know what they say about assumptions?Posted by: Amanda at March 21, 2008 1:23 PM
I'm pro-life and I don't ever want to be thought of as a "pod" or "shell!" Even an "organic" one!
I'm a human being!
samantha b.Posted by: Anonymous at March 21, 2008 1:46 PM
OK, I have some more.
I got kind of excited when I read your initial post, about being pro-life without involving religion, about some of the more conservative pro-lifers harming the movement with their extreme views, etc.. I feel much the same way, and I love it when people who share these views post on the board. Sometimes the contibutors lean a bit heavily toward the Christian fundamentalist side, unfortunately.
Then you said the part about the pod. Do you really feel that way? In my opinion, it makes it seem the mother is only passivly involved in the pregnancy, and while I've never been pregnant, I'd like to think there was more between the baby and mom than just a "storage shed" (really?) and its contents.
And the marsupial thing really eeked me out! I hope that was just an unfortunate choice of analogies!
samantha b.Posted by: Anonymous at March 21, 2008 1:57 PM
yoy!Posted by: heather at March 21, 2008 2:39 PM
heather- what does "yoy" mean?
s.b.Posted by: Anonymous at March 21, 2008 2:49 PM
I really don't know. It was in response to the pod post;]Posted by: heather at March 21, 2008 3:05 PM
you say "yoy" and kind of roll your eyes.Posted by: heather at March 21, 2008 3:11 PM
I guess pod or shed or shell was a bad choice of words - the mother is much more than that, I should know better - and the bond between mother child is a given. Sorry to offend my pro life partners. Not all pro choicers are socialists - although many have leftist ideas. I even know some who call themselves libeterians or conservatives or Republicans who are more fiscal conservatives and are pro abort. Look at Rudy Ghoul-liani!Posted by: fetus dissident at March 21, 2008 3:15 PM
fd, that's okay. I got the meaning;]Posted by: heather at March 21, 2008 3:21 PM
Sorry I got all crabby on you! Sometimes I get too sensitive when little things rub me the wrong way.
I know what you mean about not all pro-choicers being socialists. To be honest, in some areas other than abortion I lean toward a somewhat liberal or socialist point of view. This makes me a bit of an anomaly in the pro-life arena, I guess. That's why I really appreciated your comments about leaving religion out of the debate
I hope you continue to contribute to the discussions here! It might encourage me to contribute more, too.
Samantha B.Posted by: Anonymous at March 21, 2008 3:50 PM
I am also Roman Catholic and agree with what "Not a Fetus Fascist" says as far as bringing religion into the pro-life argument. (I know this will open a whole other can of worms, but I DO feel that the human rights "angle" allows for better and longer discussion when trying to make people see how wrong abortion is.) You have to use different approaches depending on who you are debating with.
It seems like whenever I discuss abortion or any pro-life issue, I immediately get asked if I'm a Catholic. When I answer "Yes", the discussion comes to an immediate hault. It then becomes an all out assault on my faith, and an attack on "us" for our reverence of Our Lady, clergy abuse, the celibacy issue, the Pope, Saints, blah, blah blah, and the "LIFE" issue goes right out the window.
I'm also in liberal California, so that's another strike against me.
From the beginning of the whole abortion debate, the Catholic Church is pretty much the one who spearheaded the movement to oppose abortion, and was quickly joined by other mainstream Christian religions...which is wonderful. Then, anyone who professed opposition to abortion was assumed to be a whacko Catholic...REGARDLESS of what religion they practiced.
Time has proven that Catholics ARE NOT the only religion opposed to abortion...we were just the most vocal at the onset when Roe was legalized.
I wish MORE people realized that the Catholic Church does NOT claim any control or dominance over dealing with Human Rights Issues...yet we are always the first ones who get slammed and dragged through the mud when we speak out about them. "WE" work in tandem with a myriad of Christian faiths in promoting the dignity of the HUMAN PERSON...in ALL it's stages of LIFE.
Sorry for the rant, I know this has nothing to do with Chimps !Posted by: Mike at March 21, 2008 10:51 PM
Mike, I feel your pain, but there are some people who aren't religious, and even they could tell someone that abortion is WRONG! I feel that region is irrelevant.Posted by: heather at March 22, 2008 7:59 AM
Some interesting links to non-religious pro-life pagesPosted by: PajamaMama at March 22, 2008 8:31 AM
Some interesting links to non-religious pro-life pagesPosted by: PajamaMama at March 22, 2008 10:45 AM
Sorry for the rant, I know this has nothing to do with Chimps !
mike have you seen our president?
lolPosted by: We Sk8trz Rule at March 23, 2008 11:50 PM
yeah the "Chimp in Charge"Posted by: Down with PD Sk8tr at March 24, 2008 1:23 AM
friggin hilariousPosted by: Down with PD Sk8tr at March 24, 2008 4:03 PM
friggin hilariousPosted by: Down with PD Sk8tr at March 24, 2008 4:03 PM
Posted by: Down with PD Sk8tr
at March 24, 2008 4:04 PM
Posted by: Down with PD Sk8tr at March 24, 2008 4:05 PM
If we're in the mode of posting funny pictures...
Not a big NASCAR fan but I gotta bow down to the great #3.Posted by: Doug at March 24, 2008 5:49 PM
Posted by: Doug at March 24, 2008 5:53 PM
Posted by: Doug at March 24, 2008 5:54 PM
Posted by: Doug at March 24, 2008 5:57 PM
DOOOOUUGGG! LOL!Posted by: heather at March 24, 2008 6:37 PM
yeah...what Heather said !!!Posted by: Mike at March 24, 2008 11:03 PM
1. The vast majority of cases of animals being killed/tortured in some way or other do NOT involve any sort of benefit to humankind. Eating live cockroaches at Six Flags during Halloween is a good example of this. No benefit to humans, just plain abuse. No supposed conflict between human rights and non-human rights.
2. The pro-life movement would have been further along than it is now if it had decided to stick with scientific fact and the framing of abortion as a human-life (and therefore human-rights) issue, rather than quoting from Scripture to make its case. The experience Mike had is a perfect example of this. It's not his fault, but people immediately dismissed his point of view, believing that you have to have a certain religious belief in order to oppose the destruction of human beings.Posted by: bmmg39 at March 27, 2008 1:34 PM
Great post, just like always. When I'm entering your blog I'm always sure I won't regret it. Continue writing.Posted by: RockHard at April 6, 2008 12:57 PM
Leave these people alone! We have democracy, so all men and women do what they want, and they don’t care what you think!Posted by: Mike Crowl at April 9, 2008 5:28 AM