Re: Extropians and animal rights

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 14 Jan 1999 10:02:21 -0500

Ian Goddard wrote:

> At 09:57 AM 1/13/99 -0500, Mike S. Lorrey wrote:
> >I look at criminals as a natural phenomemon of the urban economic ecosystem.


> IAN: An interesting theory and a lot of valid
> insight seems to be in there. A counter that
> comes to mind is: Why would mice become prone
> to violence in close-in high-population living?
> OK, that could be because they Hunt insects. So
> we need to see what happens to rabbits or some
> group of animals that is hard-core vegi, and
> if it did not display an increase in violence
> in crowded habitation, your theory could be
> correct. But I suspect that even rabbits will
> get more aggitated and cantankerous if crowded.

Well, look at cows. As for mice, they are rodents. Most rodents, including mice, are not only scavengers, but opportunistic predators, and sometimes full time carnivores. Most rodents have no problem whatsoever with cannibalism. We can look at human societies which have had little access to game and sparse access to meat of any kind, with rigid social structures for long periods. We can look at countries like Japan and China which have systematically culled their population of misfits for thousands of years. This sort of evolved social engineering certainly has had an effect, I think, upon the weight of the old instincts in the minds of people in those societies. However, I think that nobody today would be willing to go down such a path now.

> >> Also, most primates aren't carnivores, and
> >> as I recall, if they eat any flesh it's less
> >> than 10% of their diet (the great apes are
> >> strict vegetarians), and so the idea of a
> >> human "hunting instinct" seems debatable.
> >
> >Uh, not quite. While the gorilla and orangutan are vegetarians, chimps and
> baboons
> >are omnivorous carnivores, eating everything from roots to leaves and nuts
> and
> >fruit, grubs to lizards, birds and injured ungulates, etc. including,
> sometimes,
> >each other.
> IAN: What's the deal? That's 100% consistent
> with what I said and know.? We've probably
> also seen the same nature shows.

Chimps and baboons are also members of the 'great apes' (the baboons may just be considered a monkey, I can't remember) and are not strict vegetarians. These are also only ape species that exist TODAY. Look at the fossil record....

> >Now, as for humans, considering that we have evidence of tool use in the
> >harvesting of ungulates (proto-horses, proto-bison, mammoths, proto-deer,
> etc) as
> >well as other species like the great sloth, cave bear, etc, for several
> hundred
> >thousand years, and we have fossilized spears etc which are also several
> hundred
> >thousand years old, we know that hunting has been a constant practice of
> human
> >beings throughout their history. We also know that the late homo erectus
> preyed
> >upon the early homo sapiens, as well as many other species, so the evolved
> >practices go much farther back than just human history.
> >
> >We also know from the few cases of 'feral children' that hunting is a
> practice
> >which develops naturally if the opportunity is there (i.e. there is ample
> game
> >available to develop skills with).
> IAN: There is also a swimming instinct that
> even infants can automatically access when
> in water. It's an interesting line of inquiry
> you've opened up, but again, I think there's
> so many other obvious reasons why crime is
> higher in urban and lower in rural areas;
> but the fact that other causes exist cannot
> in itself rule out the theory you've raised.

While many social engineers like to blame it all on the bad public policies of their political enemies, I would say that behavioral evolution is at the very least 50% responsible for the phenomena.

Mike Lorrey