January 29, 2007

Dumbest thing I've Read Today

From a psych professor, of all people, explaining why understanding human consciousness will magically end all yuckiness in the world:

As every student in Philosophy 101 learns, nothing can force me to believe that anyone except me is conscious. This power to deny that other people have feelings is not just an academic exercise but an all-too-common vice, as we see in the long history of human cruelty. Yet once we realize that our own consciousness is a product of our brains and that other people have brains like ours, a denial of other people's sentience becomes ludicrous. "Hath not a Jew eyes?" asked Shylock. Today the question is more pointed: Hath not a Jew--or an Arab, or an African, or a baby, or a dog--a cerebral cortex and a thalamus? The undeniable fact that we are all made of the same neural flesh makes it impossible to deny our common capacity to suffer.

Why on God's green earth would people who--as the author correctly points out--have managed for centuries to ignore their shared humanity based upon things like eyes and shared impulses toward family, love, etc., suddenly beat swords into plowshares upon confronting the fact that everyone is sentient?

They won't. The excerpt is from this longer piece in which yet another academic extols the virtues of scientific knowledge as the panacea for our times. And you know what? Scientists may one day be able to talk about the ways in which genes and electrical impulses control our thought patterns, but unless you're gonna start practicing active eugenics on every child in utero, you won't ever be able to correct for human nature.

And no, over-excited psych professor who has faith that this research is the true path for getting rid of that pesky "God" guy, that wasn't a suggestion. Sheesh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at January 29, 2007 03:31 PM | TrackBack

Jeremy Bentham's famous sentence. Vicki Hearne : ``Animal rights are built upon a misconceived premise that rights were created to prevent us from unnecessary suffering. You can't find an animal-rights book, video, pamphlet, or rock concert in which someone doesn't mention the Great Sentence, written by Jeremy Bentham in 1789. Arguing in favor of such rights, Bentham wrote: "The question is not, Can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?" ''


Suffering is favored by groups because anything else, she writes, is too complicated for propaganda.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at January 29, 2007 08:59 PM
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