Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are humans animals?

When I first saw this footage, I instantly thought how unfair it was. One jackal could easily kill a seal pup by itself, and according to the narrator, one in four pups born every Spring in this area suffer such a fate. This is the way nature works: the strong prey on and kill the weak. There is an order, an ecosystem, a food chain. That's the way it is. Population control. There has to be enough food to go around, and sufficient numbers of seals are born each Spring so that the jackals and hyenas can eat and feed their young, and the seal population is not affected.

I can watch a video like this dispassionately because I am looking at animals, and animals do what they are programmed to do. They don't have choices, and they don't moral quandaries.

However, it struck me as interesting that my reaction to the scene of the attack immediately made me think of bullying. The jackals were picking on the poor pup. Imagine how terrified it was, but it wasn't bullying of course, because animals can't do that. Bullying is a human thing.

Most people abhor bullying, especially those who have been victims of bullies, because it's immoral. We humans know intrinsically, that for us such behaviour is not acceptable: it's wrong. The conclusion I draw is that although humans may act like animals, and sadly that happens a lot, we are not animals.

The naturalist will argue of course that we are simply more highly evolved animals. I disagree. We are made in the image of God: not physically, but in every other way. Watch the video again and ask yourself if you think a human doing that to an animal, or to another human would ever be considered acceptable.

The survival of the fittest is not a concept which should be applied to people, because we are more valuable than animals.

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