Have you ever wondered (brutality of nature) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-15-2009, 04:50 AM
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On the brutality of nature and why it's the way it is.



Let's leave humans out of this one for now and look at nature without humans.



We still have chickens eating worms, Tortoises eating tadpoles, snakes eating birds, tigers eating marsupials etc.



What's more is the pain that's inflicted on the prey, such as the tiger ripping a marsupial to shreds in order to have its meal.



Did you ever wonder why nature is so rough and seemingly "unfair" with this hierarchy we call the food chain?
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#2 Old 02-15-2009, 06:22 AM
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I think nature is much more fair than being shoved into a cage, tortured and then murdered.



Yes nature is rough, but when people who have compassion and refuse to enter into the vicious circle, I think that even things out quite a bit.



Predator and prey have been around since the beginning of time, well before "man." Some of these species still exist today. Then "man" comes along to muck things up.



Now step back and think if the predator didn't eat their prey what would the world look like? Is the tigers way of sustaining brutal? Yes, but compared to what?
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#3 Old 02-15-2009, 06:52 AM
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Words like "fairness" are in my opinion entirely human and cannot be used to describe what goes on in nature. Organisms need sustenance, the evolve to eat other organisms (which generally taste much better than rocks) who then evolve to get away from the first organisms and so on and on. Its what survival of the fittest is all about, the best hunters and those best at avoiding being hunted survive. It may seem like brutal to us but it's what got us here in the first place.



That being said, I still feel uneasy when I see a lion devouring an antelope. But then, I'm only human.
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#4 Old 02-15-2009, 07:14 AM
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Well, I've wondered how anyone, given the things happening in nature, can think the "problem of evil" is surmountable.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#5 Old 02-15-2009, 09:24 AM
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nature without humans.



Chickens will not eat worms as they are a domestic species bred by humans.



tortoises will not eat tadpoles as they are vegetarian and dont swim.



tigers will not eat marsupials, as tigers live in asia, and marsupials live in australia, new zealand and north and south america.



But yes, I do sometimes wonder why god made it that for some animals to live, others must die. It seems sad.



I do think that the brutality of hunting in nature does not come close to the suffering invloved in farms for humans. Wild animals live free and mostly happy lives, unlike animals trapped in cages who live theirs in pure fear and pain.
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#6 Old 02-15-2009, 09:50 AM
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Hubby and I watch nature shows (NatGeo, Animal Planet, etc.) all the time. I do cringe when I see one animal pounce on another and rip it to shreds but I don't necessarily think it's unfair or wrong. It's not as if we can reason with a lion... offer him up a salad in lieu of the antelope. (well, we could but then he'd probably eat us instead. lol)

It's just the way it is.
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#7 Old 02-16-2009, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by AussieShane View Post

Did you ever wonder why nature is so rough and seemingly "unfair" with this hierarchy we call the food chain?

If you are asking "why" in the biological/zoological sense, then that is a reasonable question, and can be reasonably explained in terms of evolution, survival of the fit etc. If you are asking "why" in a more existential/spiritual sense, then I think that doesn't make much sense. There is no scientific evidence of a God or a Creator, and nature and the animals within it are not moral agents (except that stupid naked ape ...).

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#8 Old 02-16-2009, 05:57 AM
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Personally, I do wonder about it, and more so the older I get. Could be because I'm veggie now and wasn't before. And because I do believe in God, it's very difficult for me to rationalize the whole thing.

On the other side of the coin, I used to be really freaked out if I happened to see a hawk in the midst of catching one of it's meals...now I have a certain respect for the hawk because I realize he/she has to eat too. I never thought of it in those terms before. But I definitely don't like any of it.
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#9 Old 02-16-2009, 06:24 AM
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Well, I've wondered how anyone, given the things happening in nature, can think the "problem of evil" is surmountable.

I've never seen an attempt to a response, except the good old catch-all: "The Lord moves in mysterious ways!"

I no longer post here after VB was sold in 2012. (See my profile page for details.)
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#10 Old 02-16-2009, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by AussieShane View Post

On the brutality of nature and why it's the way it is.



What's more is the pain that's inflicted on the prey, such as the tiger ripping a marsupial to shreds in order to have its meal.



Did you ever wonder why nature is so rough and seemingly "unfair" with this hierarchy we call the food chain?



I don't think nature is unfair. It's just how certain animals obtain their sustinence. It's just how evolution "decided" it would be.



I think that brutality is a human concept. The preditor is just doing what it needs to do. Assuming an even match*, it takes a lot of effort to kill. (and that effort appears brutual from a human standpoint). (*e.g. A lion may have sharp claws and teeth, but a zebra has speed, endurance, and a nasty back kick that even a lion wouldn't want to be in the way of).

Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
-nomad888
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#11 Old 02-16-2009, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Indian Summer View Post

If you are asking "why" in the biological/zoological sense, then that is a reasonable question, and can be reasonably explained in terms of evolution, survival of the fit etc. If you are asking "why" in a more existential/spiritual sense, then I think that doesn't make much sense. There is no scientific evidence of a God or a Creator, and nature and the animals within it are not moral agents (except that stupid naked ape ...).



human moral agents. That's kind of an oxymoron...

Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
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#12 Old 02-16-2009, 10:42 AM
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human moral agents. That's kind of an oxymoron...

Whaaa?

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#13 Old 02-16-2009, 01:33 PM
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I don't think nature is unfair. It's just how certain animals obtain their sustinence. It's just how evolution "decided" it would be.

I disagree. Of course nature is unfair, at least sometimes. A lot of the deaths and suffering that "naturally" occurs in nature happens because of "coincidences", such as diseases, parasites, or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And it's not always the weak who fall victim to nature's whims either.



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Whaaa?

Or "ka farsken!" as I would have put it.

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#14 Old 02-16-2009, 02:14 PM
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I disagree. Of course nature is unfair, at least sometimes. A lot of the deaths and suffering that "naturally" occurs in nature happens because of "coincidences", such as diseases, parasites, or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And it's not always the weak who fall victim to nature's whims either.





I disagree with your disagreement. "Fairness" implies intent. It's another human construct. Nature is impartial and random.

Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
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#15 Old 02-16-2009, 02:55 PM
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I disagree. Of course nature is unfair, at least sometimes. A lot of the deaths and suffering that "naturally" occurs in nature happens because of "coincidences", such as diseases, parasites, or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And it's not always the weak who fall victim to nature's whims either.

Disease and parasites are not coincidences, or even "coincidences" its simply another example of an organism evolving to exploit another organism. You could argue that its unfair to a virus when its killed by an animals immune system. Nature is only unfair when we choose to apply human terms to it.
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#16 Old 02-16-2009, 03:00 PM
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That non-humans and plants themselves may not conceptualize 'fairness' and 'unfairness' in no way means that humans cannot evaluate nature with those terms.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#17 Old 02-16-2009, 03:32 PM
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Disease and parasites are not coincidences, or even "coincidences" its simply another example of an organism evolving to exploit another organism. You could argue that its unfair to a virus when its killed by an animals immune system. Nature is only unfair when we choose to apply human terms to it.

But dying and suffering are intrinsically felt to be bad experiences by non-human sentient animals. It doesn't matter that the non-human can't conceptualize this, it's enough that their preferences and desires for life and welfare are thwarted in a world such as ours. They experience this to be so, even without the words or strict value judgements that humans can give to the same events.
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#18 Old 02-16-2009, 06:38 PM
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On the brutality of nature and why it's the way it is.

Yes. Sometimes its almost enough to tempt me away from atheism and into a belief that the world is indeed being run by a psychotic sadist.

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#19 Old 02-16-2009, 06:52 PM
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. . .tortoises will not eat tadpoles as they are vegetarian and dont swim. . . .



That is correct most tortoises do not swim, turtles do. But tortoises do eat some (very few) insects such as beetle larva and slow moving crickets.
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#20 Old 02-16-2009, 09:34 PM
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Yes. Sometimes its almost enough to tempt me away from atheism and into a belief that the world is indeed being run by a psychotic sadist.

But this sadistic god cannot be omnipotent, since it has lost quite a lot of control over you, SE. Or maybe not even thoroughly sadistic after all, for there is goodness in you.
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#21 Old 02-16-2009, 10:48 PM
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Thank you ajax. Its just a drop in the bucket though. Its not enough to make any real difference.

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#22 Old 02-17-2009, 12:18 AM
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It's how it is.



Just like humans are immoral sadists out for number one...that's only made the more terrifying by their big brains...



(I'm not a human anymore...I'm a naked ape...thank you very much.)
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#23 Old 02-17-2009, 01:40 AM
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The worst I've seen/heard of is Komoda, or whatever they're called, dragons biting their pray and leaving them to die of blood poisoning for a few days before coming back to eat them. Urgh. At least I guess they lead a fairly happy existence before being killed.
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#24 Old 02-17-2009, 07:47 AM
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Yes. Sometimes its almost enough to tempt me away from atheism and into a belief that the world is indeed being run by a psychotic sadist.



Yeah, sometimes I wished I believed in a god so I could be mad at it.



To the OP:



Yes, I often think of these things and reflect on how much it sucks that there has to be misery. I guess if we (as in all Earthlings) didn't have unhappiness then we couldn't appreciate happiness.



That doesn't help all the baby mammals killed by males so they can more quickly impregnate the babies mothers. Or all the babies killed because they are weaker and smaller and easier to kill and that's why many animals have so many babies.



Individually they don't benefit at all from the comparison of happiness vs. unhappiness when they are killed in their first days or weeks or months. They have a short time and then they die.



Or prey animals like mice and rabbits and how they breed so effectively so even though carnivores eat most of them they still maintain their species with sheer numbers. That doesn't make life any happier for the individuals that are killed, it's only an evolutionary advantage for the genes of the most prolific breeders, not one designed to make anyone happy.



It's a crazy world.
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#25 Old 02-17-2009, 09:37 AM
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...

It's a crazy world.

It's a world that fills many, myself included, with great despair. Maybe the best we can do is fight for, to reach for, the goodness that we occasionally catch glimpes of. If we are to really trust our deep-seated judgement that compassion, justice, etc. are true goods in any possible world, instead of viewing them as anomalies in the mindless evolutionary process, then we actually do believe that goodness is real. The same world that harshly displays a callous disregard for individual lives, also contains an opposing force to care for those lives (and this caring is no less real, even if it's rarer to find.) Which side of the war would people choose?



If the universe has no final meaning but the meanings that we variously give it, there is a certain tragic and beautiful element to be found when we humans protest and fight against this ultimate meaninglessness. If the things that we hate in this world are actually deviations from a genuine, universal good, then there is a solid basis for the hope that our attempts to make a better world are not in vain. We can (and some people do) have faith that one day all will be well, and there will be no more tears.
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#26 Old 02-17-2009, 10:25 AM
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I love how the OP says to leave humans out of this, but most members aren't doing that. Animals do what they have to do to survive. In an ideal world all animals would be herbivores, but that's just simply not the case.
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#27 Old 02-17-2009, 10:46 AM
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i love how the op says to leave humans out of this, but most members aren't doing that. Animals do what they have to do to survive. In an ideal world all animals would be herbivores, but that's just simply not the case.



+1

Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
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#28 Old 02-17-2009, 12:26 PM
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Yeah, sometimes I wished I believed in a god so I could be mad at it.



To the OP:



Yes, I often think of these things and reflect on how much it sucks that there has to be misery. I guess if we (as in all Earthlings) didn't have unhappiness then we couldn't appreciate happiness.



That doesn't help all the baby mammals killed by males so they can more quickly impregnate the babies mothers. Or all the babies killed because they are weaker and smaller and easier to kill and that's why many animals have so many babies.



Individually they don't benefit at all from the comparison of happiness vs. unhappiness when they are killed in their first days or weeks or months. They have a short time and then they die.



Or prey animals like mice and rabbits and how they breed so effectively so even though carnivores eat most of them they still maintain their species with sheer numbers. That doesn't make life any happier for the individuals that are killed, it's only an evolutionary advantage for the genes of the most prolific breeders, not one designed to make anyone happy.



It's a crazy world.





Even evolutionary scientists don't understand why we don't see more symbiosis in the biosphere, as it is actually a much more successful model than competition for exploiting niches.

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#29 Old 02-17-2009, 09:35 PM
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i agree nature is brutal. okay let me show you my perspective and feel free to disagree but this is how i see it. I think that its completely cruel how you have to eat other living things to survive and they call it the circle of life. i dont see why they dont call it the circle of death. Plus with every living thing multiplying it is like one person, one ant, one tree is completely insignificant and meaning less. and i feel the most sorry for us humans. atleast animals dont really get infections or diseases nearly as much. the human body is considerably weak and very prone to illness and infection. heck even a bug bite can kill you! the human body is completely ineffiencient in use of oxygen and food for energy. even fingernails are supposed to be a protective mechanism but it seems more like a joke to me. im sure they will come in handy when i want to fight a bear :/ ok i admit you can train your body to be strong believe me i do but if you go more than like 3 hours a day you are so prone to injury that never heal. even a worm will grow back if you split it in half but i guess we are out of luck.



sorry i agree. i never had a choice so i think i have a right to complain : [
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#30 Old 02-17-2009, 09:50 PM
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I love how the OP says to leave humans out of this, but most members aren't doing that. Animals do what they have to do to survive. In an ideal world all animals would be herbivores, but that's just simply not the case.



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+1

I'm not sure what you two mean by "but most members aren't doing that". No one is arguing against animals doing what they need to do to survive. But this doesn't negate the real struggle and pain that is experienced by them with their goal of survival.



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Thank you ajax. Its just a drop in the bucket though. Its not enough to make any real difference.

Well, I was hoping to make a more subtle point. Heh. The differences that a given person makes in the world are often very indirect, and therefore largely remain obscure. Who knows how many people you have caused to at least pause to consider their eating habits. Maybe most of these people will never significantly change those eating habits, but these same people may mention in passing, at some time, what they've heard about factory farms, for example. Maybe they bring it up only to ridicule those nutty veg*ns, but it's possible that just by broaching the subject others who hear may ultimately choose to learn more about AR. (I realize this will not relieve animal-to-animal predation, and parasitic relationships, in this world.)



I think we also need to consider that most people can change. With enough education and self-reflection, they can begin that (oftentimes slow) process to a more compassionate life. I don't think we know enough about a person's every private thought to give up on her/him, or to become a full-time cynic. (Not saying you are one.) We must hope and believe that other people's eyes can be opened. Especially since we can occasionally see ourselves in them, even though they seem so profoundly different on the surface.



One of the best mottos for the animals in relation to humans is "our similarities are more significant than our differences". I have to hope that is true of our fellow humans as well.



(feel free to call me out for being overly presumptuous with the following...)

Finally, if the goodness that emanates from you survives bad moods, tears, outrage, then on some level you are acknowledging it as what makes this life worth living. Paradoxically, maybe there are times when you see it as something worth dying for. You couldn't imagine what your life would be without this fidelity to doing what is right. In a way, you pay your respects to something you think is more important than yourself every day of your life. This devotion is not all that different than religious worship.



And with that, I'm out (and ducking for cover).
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