Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Shooting King Kong to save Fay Wray

The predictably hysterical reaction to shooting of a gorilla to protect a child raises a number of issues: 

i) We've had generations of Americans raised on evolution and environmentalism. They believe humans are just animals, like other animals. And they believe humans pose a threat to the ecosystem. In theory, they don't value human life above animal life. In fact, some of them demote human life in relation to animal life. Take the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

ii) Apropos (i), you have Darwinians who extrapolate from human rights to animal rights. After all, we're all just a bunch of animals. 

It would, however, be more logical to reverse the inference. If there's nothing special about humans, then there's nothing special about any animal. Given naturalistic evolution, there's no basis for human rights or animals rights (a point I've argued in many occasions, so I won't repeat myself here).

Mind you, even if evolution were true, you can still value your own species more highly than other species.

iii) Indeed, the outrage graphically illustrates the consequences of a secular outlook, where nothing has intrinsic value. A child is only valuable if enough humans value his life. If more humans value a gorilla's life, then, given a choice, they will sacrifice the child to protect the gorilla. 

Atheism is dangerous for everyone–not least for atheists. Secular ethics is inherently unstable. No one is safe. It all depends on who or what is valued at any given moment. An animal. A protected class. And that can change overnight. 

iv) Many people have pitifully limited conceptual resources for assessing ethical issues. They filter every issue though hypocrisy or fairness.

You have outraged people who complain that Harambe was "unfairly" or "unjustly" killed. Indeed, "murdered."

But sometimes, justice or fairness is irrelevant. Is it fair when a wolf pack runs down an elk? 

Is it fair that Michael Jordan is 6' 6". Would he be a basketball star if he were 5' 6"? 

Is it fair that some diabetics must have a foot amputated? No. But that may be medically necessary to save the life of the diabetic. 

Sometimes you have a duty to do things, not because it's fair, but because it's necessary. 

It would be immoral to risk the child’s safety to protect the gorilla. Wild animals can turn on a dime. The duty is to protect the child, not the animal. When in doubt, the child’s safety takes absolute precedence over the animal’s safety.

v) We have a developing culture divide where many young people operate with an antinatalist philosophy. They love dogs and cats instead of children. They consider children to be a nuisance. They resent children. They resent the elderly and developmentally disabled. Animal welfare becomes their alternative to true humanitarian concern. It makes them feel virtuous to be kind to animals as a substitute for charity towards babies, the elderly, and the developmentally disabled.

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