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It is bad logic to say,” If an animal does x, then it is alright for humans to also do x?”
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Total Votes : 4

Quibbler
953663.  Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:13 pm Reply with quote

Oh! Stephen why did you do that? I have to take issue with Stephen Fry’s logic. I emphasize, it is the logic that I have a problem with as it opens up a Pandora’s Box of problems. He did what I maintain you should never do. You simply cannot say,” That if animals does x, then it is alright for humans to also do x”. Humans live in a complex society, with complex cultures. Animals do not know any better.

Stephen is correct, “Anything you put in front of a Bonobo, it will shags.” The problem is what he left out, in particular the adults’ promiscuity with the infants. Do you see the problem? If humans did this, we would call it paedophilia, and that is NOT acceptable.

Stephen also claimed that,” 8 per cent of lions display homosexual behaviour… There are those that would have us believe that only mankind is gay.” The implication being that being gay is OK because animals are too. Again, lions are the only big cat that is social, which makes them complicated, so you should not jump to conclusions about what is actually happening. What may appear to be homosexual behaviour may have a different explanation, such a display of hierarchical dominance. It is not the only explanation. I think you need more research before that can be claimed, and you need to remain objective.

When male lions takeover a pride they will often kill the clubs so that females are no longer suckling, and that brings the females into heat, so that the males can then mate to produce their own offspring. Again, in human terms we would call this infanticide.

You can find examples in the animal kingdom of all kinds of behaviour that if a human did, we would consider it deplorable- murder, rape, cannibalism etc. That is why it is not comparing like with like.

It does not bother me if some is gay or not, that is not the issue here. It is the comparison with animals that bothers me.

Do you agree it is bad logic to say,” If an animal does x, then it is alright for humans to also do x?”

 
Jenny
953668.  Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:07 pm Reply with quote

I think the quibble is not over what is justifiable, but over a definition of 'natural' and 'unnatural' as applied to human behaviour.

Welcome to QI by the way, where we love a good quibble.

 
CB27
953672.  Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:53 pm Reply with quote

I think the point made was that homosexuality is often deemed unnatural, and what Stephen was pointing out was that it wasn't.

Rape, murder, incest, paedophilia, etc, are not unnatural, they are deemed wrong in our society because of the harm they do to others, and, as a society, we recognise that allowing harm to others can allow harm us too. Homosexuality, when consentual, doesn't harm anyone.

It's worth noting that we distinguish between authorised killing (capital punishment, war) from murder, and we distinguish paedophilia by age rather than true maturity, we "accept" that incest has been part of history, and is still practiced in some cultures with little outcry from others, and rape within marriage is still seen as legal in some societies.

One of the funniest arguments against homosexuality is that sex should only be for procreation. None of these people is proposing laws to ensure couples only have sex when they're planning to conceive, and many homosexual people would rather abstain from sex than have sex with someone from the opposite sex (which is ironically one of the arguments clergy often uses to suggest they are not against homosexuals).

 
RLDavies
953744.  Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:08 am Reply with quote

The anti-gay campaigners (mostly on the US religious far-right) have always claimed as one of their major arguments that animals -- living in God's innocent grace -- never engage in homosexual behaviour, and therefore it's obviously an unnatural perversion.

In fact, pretty much every species that's been studied in reasonable depth has exhibited homosexual behaviour under natural conditions in the wild. In some cases, even when willing mates of the opposite sex were clearly available.

Nobody was arguing that "anything animals do is OK for humans". The argument is a completely different one, namely a rebuttal of one of the planks of anti-gay campaigns.

 
PDR
953763.  Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:54 am Reply with quote

It's difficult to define "rape" for a non-sentient species (lions, tigers, estate agents etc) because our usual definition requires "informed consent". How can anyone be sure that these creatures give informed consent?

PDR

 
dr.bob
953865.  Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:03 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
The anti-gay campaigners (mostly on the US religious far-right) have always claimed as one of their major arguments that animals -- living in God's innocent grace -- never engage in homosexual behaviour, and therefore it's obviously an unnatural perversion.


So, following Stephen's logic, homosexuality is perfectly natural and it's homophobia that's the unnatural perversion.

 
Tas
953980.  Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:05 am Reply with quote

Assuming that there are no animals that object to homosexuality in their (or other) species? I mean, we can be fairly certain, for example, that dolphins exhibit intelligence. We cannot be certain as to their views on various subjects.

Actually, that brings up a fairly interesting point regarding intelligence and 'animals'. At which point would animals cease being seen as animals, and seen as 'another intelligent species'?

:-)

 
dr.bob
953997.  Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:28 am Reply with quote

When they appear as a panelist on QI

 
tetsabb
954003.  Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:59 am Reply with quote

Well, famously, a tub of lard appeared on HIGNFY next to Paul Merton, and was on the winning side.
I feel confident that a dolphin would know when the answer was 'blue whale' or not.

 
PDR
954066.  Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:53 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
When they appear as a panelist on QI


Not sure the evidence supports that - Johny Vegas has been a QI panelist...

PDR

 
CB27
954093.  Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:36 am Reply with quote

Didn't the ravens have their own version of Qi?

 
dr.bob
954274.  Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:25 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Not sure the evidence supports that - Johny Vegas has been a QI panelist...


Despite rumours to the contrary, Johnny Vegas is not a separate species.

 
PDR
954293.  Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:46 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
PDR wrote:
Not sure the evidence supports that - Johny Vegas has been a QI panelist...


Despite rumours to the contrary, Johnny Vegas is not a separate species.


Which supports the view that the panelists aren't from a sentient species; rather that they are from a species which has some sentient individuals


PDR

 
RLDavies
954670.  Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:06 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
It's difficult to define "rape" for a non-sentient species (lions, tigers, estate agents etc) because our usual definition requires "informed consent". How can anyone be sure that these creatures give informed consent?

The usual technical term in animal behaviour circles is "forced copulation", which can be defined in objective terms as a specific series of behaviours.

Whether forced copulation is an "aberration" depends on the species. It's commonplace in ducks, for instance. In a lot of insects, it's the only way they've ever been observed to mate.

 
Spud McLaren
954936.  Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:26 pm Reply with quote

To my mind, the question/statement
Quote:
It is bad logic to say,” If an animal does x, then it is alright for humans to also do x?”
brings up an interesting point. It is confusing, because humans are animals. So the question ought to be
Quote:
Is it bad logic to say,” If [a specified animal] does x, then it is alright for humans to also do x?”


[/pedant]

 

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