Saturday, August 19, 2023

Is there an echo in here?

 Blessings, Darlings!

I don't usually invest my blogging time on religions other than my own, but I DO often invest it in rants, so I guess what follows is going to still be on-brand.  

This is inspired by a Facebook post by an ex coworker and now Facebook ex-friend.  He  posted that humans are not animals.  As one would expect, I took issue with this idea.  Since he's one of those people who didn't take well to me disagreeing with other things he posted on his timeline, I disagreed with it on MY timeline, and tagged him in the discussion.  

I posted the OED (Oxford English Dictionary, my main religious text!) definition of 'animal' into the discussion, "a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli", and didn't include other details like embryology, oxygen breathing, etc.  This left room for him to bring up and defend the concept that 'humans are more than 'just' animals' - which is a different concept than the one I was objecting to, but would be interesting to discuss.

I asked him for his definition of animals and to state what he meant when he said that humans are not animals.  He repeatedly refused to define animals, but said that humans aren't animals because we can't breed with any other primates, and that 'all other animals can interbreed with others in their family'.  While that seems to be true about humans (I am assuming that some scientists got funding to see if human sperm and eggs could fertilize/be fertilized by all other primates), that even among primates only like 30% can interbreed to begin with.  And in the Canine family alone (don't ask why I have this factoid in my brain) foxes can't breed with any other species, and most coyotes can't breed with most wolves.  

Interestingly enough, while he didn't bring this up in the discussion OFF of his timeline, ON his timeline he brought up the idea that 'all other animals just go by instinct' and humans don't.  Since I was choosing to nor harsh him mellow on HIS time line I didn't point out that this idea was blown away by the fact that animals can be trained, they can LEARN to do things that increase their survival chances.  My cats, even the barn cats, know what noises I make to tell them I'm giving them food right now for example.  This is different than a cat's instinctive knowledge of 'cat sounds'.  I've never known a cat that had to be taught how to hiss, or what it means - THAT is instinct.  

At this point, he said that MY timeline is an echo chamber, because I had previously posted a meme saying "Not everybody has to like me.  I can't force you to have good taste."  I disagree with lots of my friends on a LOT of different topics, and they are all welcome to air these differences on my timeline.  In fact, I celebrate some of my friends exactly FOR calling me out when we disagree and pushing me for more information and my logic behind my opinions.  As it happens one of them, Tony Brown, was reading the thread and spoke up pointing this out.  He is probably the #1 person I invest time disagreeing with - because disagreeing with people and citing sources and logic IS A GOOD THING for me.  Wrestling vigorously with topics of all sorts is valuable in my life, for many reasons, the biggest of which is that you learn when you are hiding from looking deeply into your reasoning.  You recognize your 'hiding' behaviors and emotional reactions.  Now, those hiding behaviors and emotional reactions might be instinctive reactions.

Now, it turns out that he has a big investment in this 'interbreeding' issue.  I saw him post elsewhere that 'what people mistake for evolution is animals interbreeding and spreading genes to new species within a family'.  It's really a shame we didn't get to that - I could have gone on about Covid.  And, of course, I'm going to go on about it HERE, because, well, it's my blog.  

SARS-CoV-2 has been mutating since damn near day 1.  It doesn't matter if you think it escaped from a lab, or was released from a lab, or come directly from animals.  From the original strain, mutations have occurred - mutations, not 'they merged genes with other microbes' - to form new variants.  Different symptoms, different proteins in the spike, etc.  Not enough to be SARS-CoV-3 yet, but constant mutations never the less.  But he feels that 'all mutations are deadly'.  None can make something better at what it does.  And yet - here we are, with constant mutations  going on and we are finding out that some of them make the virus 'better' at spreading.  Are most of the mutations leading to variations that can't reproduce at all, or can't infect humans at all?  Probably.  But that is exactly the way Nature works.  Nature over produces and lets the variations fight it out.  Winner keeps reproducing.

For that matter, there are the 
Suffolk Pink and Winter Wonder apples.  Both are 'sports' - apples that came from mutations on existing trees of different varieties of apples.  Chance mutations that turned out to be darn fine apples, even if the Winter Wonder will never be available here in the US.

To get back to the original disagreement:  Are humans animals, or did he really mean that 'humans are more than 'just' animals?  For us pantheists/panentheists - animals (and plants and rocks and planets and etc.) are all infused with God-stuff, so even animals are 'more than just animals'.  I'm guessing that my ex-FB friend would say that either animals don't have souls or spirits OR that the souls/spirits they have aren't eternal, and only humans have eternal souls or spirits.  I also suspect that he thinks that there are no other sentient tool using species like humans anywhere in the universe, because that would be problematic for him - maybe Jesus would have to visit every planet and repeatedly die (and yes, I just got an image of Jesus as the Highlander)?  But since he didn't just unfriend me - he blocked me - I can't continue the conversation with him.

Yes.  They guy who I had said weeks ago was only interested in an echo chamber, and then accused me of only being interested in an echo chamber . . . blocked me for disagreeing with him and asking him for definitions and to cite his sources.  Welp, you KNOW I feel that proves my point.  

Frondly, Fern

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