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Animal Rights – a “fringe political movement” directly tied to “Liberal Evolution Agenda” ?

This is an era for renewed synthesis of science and spirituality.  If you feel uncomfortable with the theory of “evolution,” fine.  You’re not alone and I wish you luck in your struggles with the related tenets of paleontology and geology.  But to disregard animal rights as a “fringe political movement”  ?!?!    What?!?!

I overheard (what was to me) a very disturbing conversation on Christian Radio this weekend.  (nothing like a road trip to set you straight on contemporary discourse)

The debate was framed in terms of the “evils” of “animal rights.”

my friend and family member

my friend and family member

But ultimately it hinged on the issue of evolution, and thus, one perspective on Man as related to – well – Life.

The guests were from the Institution for Creation Research, who, among other points, argue that “The miraculous complexity of life is evidence of creation” and “The evidence for creation can be clearly seen from that which has been made by our Creator.”  Indeed, these expert “scientists” expanded on their empirical observations with an argument that went as follows (I was taking notes):

> Liberals in the US impose their education curriculum on honest taxpayers and “indoctrinate the young of this nation into a culture of Evolution.”
> “Evolution teaches that Man is no better than a chimp or plant”
> Consequently we are “increasingly guilty of Anthropomorphism”
> “Liberals have made up the concept of Animal Rights to strengthen their argument for evolution.  This radical political movement goes directly against The Church.”
> “But God made only us in his image.”  “God gave Man dominion over the earth” and “God gave us control.”
> “It’s a slippery slope.  Implying that an animal doesn’t like something is implying that it has a soul, which it doesn’t.  God gave only Man reason and emotions.  When you come home and say ‘gee, Fido is sad because I left him home all day alone.’ You are forgetting your scripture.”
> “By teaching evolution, we are compromising everything.”
> “We risk worshiping the creation, not the Creator.”

It was the final statement that I found most profound.  My background is in cognitive anthropology and cultural conservation.  Conflicts in worldview are nothing new in human history.  But never have we, as a species, understood so very much about the workings our universe, and been so confused about what to “worship.”  In my opinion, resolving the final point (a conflict of dualism) will mark a profoundly significant advance in our global culture.

It seems, historically, that such debates have always been highest at peaks of technological advance and innovation.  Think Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock… It’s not easy to integrate all of what we might discover in a generation with the structural tenets of our shared worldview.  It’s stressful to have your basic understandings challenged.

I understand the prolonged friction between the evolution camp and the creationists.  But I wholeheartedly believe there is greater room for synthesis between modern science and traditional religious dogmas than what is being allowed in the above Animal Rights argument.  I need only look into my Labrador’s eyes to essentially disregard all of what the radio host was trying to sell me on.  One guest speaker, an “animal behaviorist & trainer” from the Creatures of Creation Ministry, argued that we overestimate the intelligence and personality of animals.  “To say chimps are special because they learn to use sign-language or prefer this or that is like saying a vine climbs to the top of a tree because it likes the view.”

What an asshole.  Keep him away from my pets.  And my kids.  It betters the vine to do as it does.  And it betters him to fluff his ego.  So be it.

This, my friends, is a very problematic point of view.  Regardless of your God, your faith or your diet, disregarding the capacity of other species to learn or feel is a very slippery slope toward the raping of our planet. Subjugating other species, races, sexes and the whole of “creation” is something we’ve been highly effective at, particularly when such dogmas have been integrated with the very technology which they themselves once protested.  Don’t like the concept of a round-earth?  What about if it meant expanding your kingdom?  Ah… now we’re talking.

Go forth and conquer, my pious brethren.  Don’t forget- they don’t have feelings, or souls, and can’t know right from wrong, so swing wildly and take what you want.

I hope for the future of our nation that there were more than a few proud Americans who called into this radio show to inform them of their dangerous logic.  If you need to explain away the sentiments of fear, remorse, affection, loyalty and empathy among our animal friends in order to justify your worldview, you’re going to have a tough sell in the modern world.

My dog and I are going the “radical” hippy parade.

gods a turtle smaller2

Posted in Sustainability, Worldview/Indigenous Concerns.

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  1. Tessa Hall says

    These Christian radio creationists you overheard seem to be repressing (or completely lacking) empathy, which is all too common these days. Too bad they don’t realize what they’re missing out on by denying the unity of everything. I have a hard time understanding that sort of an outlook on life, all I can think of is that it must be megalomania. Glad you included the picture of the kids in the parade, that gives me hope. I bet if you asked a group of kids if animals have souls, they would unanimously say yes. Unfortunately somewhere along the way some people are taught to close their minds and fear whatever they don’t fully understand.

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