Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Kibbles and Bits

The marketing certainly isn't for the dog, but for the dog's owner. A discussion recently came up between myself and the other folks in my lab concerning the notions of animal inteligence and self-awareness. With the maybe exception (don't know for sure yet) of the primates and whales, I don't think any animals are self aware. Mrs. du Toit's recent piece (scroll down to "word of the day" since I don't know yet how to link to an individual entry) speaks well to my understanding of the subject.

I have one quibble with her content though, and I hope Kim doesn't know where I live, just kidding, I hope.

Anyway, the particular phrase of concern that she writes, with respect to the proclamation "guns are scary," is that

It would be correct to say a human being was scared when they saw a person with a gun, but the gun cannot have a feeling or cause one.
and this is a problem because a gun can in fact cause a person to feel scared. Now this is not a rational feeling on the part of the person experiencing it, but that does not alter the causal nature of the feeling. They have been conditioned, probably by themselves, or possibly their parents or whatever, to feel this emotion in the presence of a gun, with or without the bad guy. I've seen it first hand.

That's my nit-pick. I hope this contribution to humanity is both deep and profound. I'm glad Kim pointed me to the Mrs., it's good stuff and I'll be back. Maybe someday I'll rise above the slop artist blogger that I am and move onto thoughtful and moving pieces like the du Toit's and all the other monuments in the blogosphere, but for now, let's hope not.


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