Is it human instinct to eat animals? (split from "Family Started Raising Chickens" - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-16-2010, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='15 July 2010 - 04:20 AM' timestamp='1279164041' post='2673908 View Post


it takes a mental disconnect. A development of self vs. other to an extreme that allows such violence.

I would characterize it as a sickness.

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#2 Old 07-16-2010, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='16 July 2010 - 10:22 AM' timestamp='1279293774' post='2674527 View Post


I would characterize it as a sickness.



If it is, it is a sickness we share with lions, wolves and other naturally social hunters who can also divide the world into loved ones and "other." It's a natural mental ability, to divide the world into self (broadened to include family, tribe in our case) and other (which is all fair game), with some fuzzy gray bits (socially conditioned neutrals) in-between. It's just not one that is conducive to applying morality on a large scale when we are constantly dealing with people who are not of our "tribe" and yet it feels immoral to hurt them. Most of us can kind of broaden our "tribe" to the people we can see and touch, but it is less easy to do so with those we can't (the fuzzy gray bit). The disconnect itself can lead to everything from sport team fanaticism to road rage to homicide. It is antithetical to civilization, and IMO one of the major reasons human attempts at civilization have failed over and over. I happen to think our brains our simple enough this way and our grasp of (human) numbers without the aid of mathematics so frail that in order to have a truly long-term successful civilization we need to socially, morally extend "tribe" to include all things that suffer, so that it can also include the proverbial Ethiopian child without the need for pleading, and hey even next door neighbors (these days) more effectively. So people get their needs met, and suffering of all kinds is lessened.

To the OP, I'm not sure how well this argument would go over with a family that just wants to eat some home-grown chicken, though. Especially devout Christian, and especially if they think that the worldly world doesn't matter, as Jesus is coming to make it all better soon anyway. My sister takes that stance. Talking to her about any concept like this that conflicts with her beliefs like this is absolutely impossible. Maybe slowly, if you're committed. Good luck!
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#3 Old 07-17-2010, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='17 July 2010 - 04:34 AM' timestamp='1279337648' post='2674785 View Post


If it is, it is a sickness we share with lions, wolves and other naturally social hunters who can also divide the world into loved ones and "other." It's a natural mental ability, to divide the world into self (broadened to include family, tribe in our case) and other (which is all fair game), with some fuzzy gray bits (socially conditioned neutrals) in-between.

Well what I characterize as a sickness involves much more than the division of pack and other as such. It may involve religious beliefs, it involves cultural categories and it may involve rationalization.



Comparing ourselves to lions and talking about a "natural" mental ability is ignoring that these things are culturally based, they reflect ideologies, something contingent and malleable. They are not "instincts" or something forced on us by our evolutionary history, or something given.

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#4 Old 07-17-2010, 07:32 AM
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There might be an instinctive component to the taste for meat. Sensing the difference between fresh and spoiled meat would obviously have been an important survival trait along the line, since we cannot metabolize the rotten stuff the way scavengers do. I have no idea how the question could be demonstrated or refuted; unless it can, it's just clashing opinions. But so what if we do have such an instinct? Bucking it and moving ourselves forward from it, when repeated within millions or billions of human beings, can advance our evolution to a higher plane by force of sheer will, until our descendants at some point come to experience it as natural.
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#5 Old 07-17-2010, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 03:32 PM' timestamp='1279377155' post='2674920 View Post


There might be an instinctive component to the taste for meat.

Well in what form do I have that instinct?

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#6 Old 07-17-2010, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 09:36 AM' timestamp='1279377399' post='2674922 View Post


Well in what form do I have that instinct?



The appreciation of umami flavors, for just one. That we can is an indication since we have not been cooking beans and other vegetal sources of umami for particularly long, and meats are quite rich in umami. I understand cats cannot taste sugar having had no significant evolutionary drive to do so. Note this is not an argument for meat eating now. Not at all.

I'm working on a reply to your other post - want to take it to a new thread?
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#7 Old 07-17-2010, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 01:36 PM' timestamp='1279377399' post='2674922 View Post


Well in what form do I have that instinct?

How would I know what the process was like for you, in transitioning from omnivore to vegan? How would I know whether you had to struggle to overcome a strong liking for meat, or whether your higher forces took over in an effortless coup? You can answer the question you posed better than anyone else could, except maybe someone who knew you well when you were making the change. Just because someone overcame it relatively painlessly doesn't prove there was no instinct to overcome. There are very few indisputable instincts we carry. Fear of falling and fear of loud noises are two. And of those two instincts, we know that some people experience them much, much more intensely than others. It might be so with meat-eating; maybe some of us have, innately, more to overcome than others if we're going to change.
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#8 Old 07-17-2010, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='17 July 2010 - 03:42 PM' timestamp='1279377770' post='2674925 View Post


The appreciation of umami flavors, for just one. That we can is an indication since we have not been cooking beans and other vegetal sources of umami for particularly long, and meats are quite rich in umami. I understand cats cannot taste sugar having had no significant evolutionary drive to do so. Note this is not an argument for meat eating now. Not at all.

Well yeah, I can agree that meat can taste good to us. I guess I interpreted 'instinct' more as an instinct to do something.



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I'm working on a reply to your other post - want to take it to a new thread?

That would depend on whether it's going to be a longer discussion or only limited to a couple of comments.

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#9 Old 07-17-2010, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 03:51 PM' timestamp='1279378291' post='2674930 View Post


How would I know what the process was like for you, in transitioning from omnivore to vegan? How would I know whether you had to struggle to overcome a strong liking for meat, or whether your higher forces took over in an effortless coup? You can answer the question you posed better than anyone else could, except maybe someone who knew you well when you were making the change. Just because someone overcame it relatively painlessly doesn't prove there was no instinct to overcome. There are very few indisputable instincts we carry. Fear of falling and fear of loud noises are two. And of those two instincts, we know that some people experience them much, much more intensely than others. It might be so with meat-eating; maybe some of us have, innately, more to overcome than others if we're going to change.

Yeah, I liked eating meat. This is hardly surprising, given that I was used to eating a lot of it. In the same way, I've always liked foods belonging into a standard diet in my country, and may not like some exotic food from other countries. But I've never though this was a matter of me having the instinct to eat foods from my country, any more than I think some people in India have an instinct for a diet with less meat.



If we posit X as an explanation for something that could alternatively be explained by countless other factors, and if moreover X is not present, or is not effectual, at all in many people, so that there's no real causal link or correlation to be established, I think X serves no useful function in explaining our behavior.

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#10 Old 07-17-2010, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 02:04 PM' timestamp='1279379048' post='2674935 View Post


If we posit X as an explanation for something that could alternatively be explained by countless other factors, and if moreover X is not present at all in many people, so there's no real causal link to be established, I think X serves no useful function in explaining our behavior.



You lost me on "countless other factors" and again on the moreover. I think I'd have to be able to agree on both ifs to be able to accept your conclusion. Moreover , I expect that if a taste for meat includes a component of instinct, it is an instinct that can be mitigated by factors such as scarcity and religious objection to the practice, as well as by force of will. The way therapy and pharmaceuticals can help people overcome debilitating versions of fear of falling.
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#11 Old 07-17-2010, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 03:42 AM' timestamp='1279356175' post='2674854 View Post


Well what I characterize as a sickness involves much more than the division of pack and other as such. It may involve religious beliefs, it involves cultural categories and it may involve rationalization.

Comparing ourselves to lions and talking about a "natural" mental ability is ignoring that these things are culturally based, they reflect ideologies, something contingent and malleable. They are not "instincts" or something forced on us by our evolutionary history, or something given.



You are characterizing meat eating in general as a sickness, yes? I am failing to understand why this needs a complex cultural explanation as it is an evolved behavior demonstrable via fossil evidence as well as observational studies of our closest relatives. If culture did not evolve from simpler forms, where did it come from? I was merely positing the psychological mechanism by which this ability, to ethically (with regards to maintaining a social system and true love for our own) eat meat in a wild setting, evolved, and how we still carry this mechanism with us whether or not we eat meat. This disconnect.

So I'm guessing that you are coming at the problem from a different angle, whereby we are born with no notions of meat eating and it has to be ingrained in us? To a degree, I agree with that. In the same vein I agree that kittens are born with no notions of meat eating. Like babies, they simply play with other creatures, whereas herbivores typically do not (they have fear responses). Kittens and children have to be taught what to do when the time comes by their elders. But the instinct to catch things and play with them is there, as it is in my own children and in any child I have ever observed. I don't observe this instinct among natural herbivores being expressed to the same degree, and much more often replaced by a fear response. For civilization's sake, this instinct would be best left at the infantile level, IMO, and our taste for umami satisfied with vegetable foods now that we reliably can.

Can you tell me more specifically how you are thinking about meat eating as a sickness that is culturally caused?





Sorry about your thread, OP. It has evolved into a good discussion though, eh?
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#12 Old 07-17-2010, 09:07 AM
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Curcuma, it's true that if a litter stays with the mother cat long enough, and if prey are available to demonstrate with, the mother will probably try to teach her kittens about hunting. However, kittens often leave their mothers at six to eight weeks of age, and are often reared for those weeks in homes without any prey to teach with. No time, no materials. And yet, those same kittens will usually grow into mouse-catchers if they have the opportunity. They can be taught, but they don't have to be. They figure it out on their own, as if by instinct.
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#13 Old 07-17-2010, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 04:16 PM' timestamp='1279379817' post='2674947 View Post


You lost me on "countless other factors" and again on the moreover.

Countless (ok, we can count them, here's a list of three) other factors for explaining why someone eats meat or likes its taste: it's what he/she is used to eating in a given culture; its taught as acceptable and necessary to eat; one simply likes meat, whereas someone else doesn't, a bit like someone likes listening to Lady Gaga and someone else doesn't.



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Moreover , I expect that if a taste for meat includes a component of instinct, it is an instinct that can be mitigated by factors such as scarcity and religious objection to the practice, as well as by force of will. The way therapy and pharmaceuticals can help people overcome debilitating versions of fear of falling.

What is an instinct that is at the level of speculation and that is "mitigated" away to be non-effectual? It's a useless abstraction.

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#14 Old 07-17-2010, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='17 July 2010 - 03:25 PM' timestamp='1279383915' post='2674975 View Post


I think the meat-eating extension of our hunting instinct has been completed by our brains connection to tool use and strategy, rather than connection to claws and teeth.



Maybe if we hadn't developed opposable thumbs, we'd have much springier legs and pointier claws & teeth than we do. Or we'd be extinct.
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#15 Old 07-17-2010, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 03:28 PM' timestamp='1279384133' post='2674978 View Post


What is an instinct that is at the level of speculation and that is "mitigated" away to be non-effectual? It's a useless abstraction.



I think the environment in the United States is a pretty good laboratory for demonstrating what happens when scarcity and religious prohibition cease to be factors: What happens is that more than 95 percent of the population eats meat. I don't think it's just because our televisions hypnotize us into wanting Big Macs, it's been going on far longer than advertising has been a science. Don't call it instinct if you don't want to, but I will not exclude instinct as a strong possibility. I don't believe it can be either proven or refuted. As I wrote earlier, absent that proof one way or the other, it's just clashing opinions.
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#16 Old 07-17-2010, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='17 July 2010 - 04:46 PM' timestamp='1279381570' post='2674955 View Post


You are characterizing meat eating in general as a sickness, yes?

No.



Irizary said: "It takes a special kind of a-hole to kill an animal whom you've come to know for a mere taste preference."



You argued that it doesn't take an a-hole, it takes a mental disconnect.



I said that I think it takes a sickness.



What I was, and am, referring to is the complex of emotions, attitudes, beliefs, norms, etc that is reflected in a human being's (in a Western context, let's say) decision to kill an animal they know personally, for a taste preference.



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I am failing to understand why this needs a complex cultural explanation as it is an evolved behavior demonstrable via fossil evidence as well as observational studies of our closest relatives. If culture did not evolve from simpler forms, where did it come from? I was merely positing the psychological mechanism by which this ability, to ethically (with regards to maintaining a social system and true love for our own) eat meat in a wild setting, evolved, and how we still carry this mechanism with us whether or not we eat meat. This disconnect.

I am emphasizing a cultural explanation because we are cultural beings (other animals are too). Lions or kittens or wolves are less influenced by e.g. religion and morality than we humans are, so I think making the comparison to their instincts is simplistic.



Here's a post of mine along similar lines: https://www.veggieboards.com/forum/in...st__p__2649214



If you want another thread to continue this discussion, I think that thread might be a good place.

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#17 Old 07-17-2010, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 05:37 PM' timestamp='1279384640' post='2674983 View Post


I think the environment in the United States is a pretty good laboratory that demonstrates what happens when scarcity and religious prohibition cease to be factors: More than 95 percent of the population eats meat. I don't think it's just because our televisions hypnotize us into wanting Big Macs, it's been going on far longer than advertising has been a science. Don't call it instinct if you don't want to, but I will not exclude instinct as a strong possibility. I don't believe it can be either proven or refuted. As I wrote earlier, absent that proofone way or the other, it's just clashing opinions.

So would you say that any behavior that is engaged in by 95% of the population is an instinct?



Quite a lot of people drink. Is there an evolutionary benefit to getting drunk? Is it an instinct to buy a beer?



Is there any kind of evidence that you think could falsify the idea that people have an instinct to eat meat? Or is any kind of possibly falsifying evidence always explainable away by the mitigating other reasons that still leave that purely abstract theoretical construct hanging there, irrelevant in practice but still intact?

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#18 Old 07-17-2010, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 03:41 PM' timestamp='1279384906' post='2674987 View Post


So would you say that any behavior that is engaged in by 95% of the population is an instinct?



Quite a lot of people drink. Is there an evolutionary benefit to getting drunk? Is it an instinct to buy a beer?

Once we started living in cities, but before we started putting chlorine in our drinking water, beer and wine were far safer to drink than water. Those children who couldn't drink alcohol without succumbing to acute alcohol poisoning died before they could reproduce. Natural selection decreed that it was better to die from cirrhosis in your 40s than to die from tainted water before your 20s. So if by evolution you mean natural selection, I see the hand of evolution at work in a taste for alcohol. That doesn't mean it's an instinct, though people who took to it had a survival edge, so it did have its place.





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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 03:41 PM' timestamp='1279384906' post='2674987 View Post

Is there any kind of evidence that you think could falsify the idea that people have an instinct to eat meat? Or is any kind of possibly falsifying evidence always explainable away by the mitigating other reasons that still leave that purely abstract theoretical construct hanging there, irrelevant in practice but still intact?

Well, if I thought it could falsify my belief, I wouldn't be holding that belief, would I? But two things do occur to me that might argue against my "instinct" belief, both having to do with children. One: when you first spoon-feed meat to babies, they spit it out. You have to feed it to them again and again before they start accepting it. That is in stark contrast to feeding them fruit and cereal (though not vegetables), which they accept much more readily. The other is how incredulous and then morally indignant a very small child can get when he or she first learns where meat comes from. The whole idea seems so very mean to them. It's impressive, awesome really. I only had two kids, and witnessed it in both of them when they were about four years old. There are limits to how much one should generalize from a test population of two, but it really knocked me back at the time.
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#19 Old 07-17-2010, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 06:07 PM' timestamp='1279386430' post='2674999 View Post


Well, if I thought it could falsify my belief, I wouldn't be holding that belief, would I?

Falsifiable is not the same as false.

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#20 Old 07-17-2010, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 07:51 AM' timestamp='1279378291' post='2674930 View Post


How would I know what the process was like for you, in transitioning from omnivore to vegan? How would I know whether you had to struggle to overcome a strong liking for meat, or whether your higher forces took over in an effortless coup?...There are very few indisputable instincts we carry. Fear of falling and fear of loud noises are two. And of those two instincts, we know that some people experience them much, much more intensely than others. It might be so with meat-eating; maybe some of us have, innately, more to overcome than others if we're going to change.



Why do you assume the instinct is desire to eat meat? I can tell you that for many of us what seemed to be the "instinct" to overcome was to NOT eat meat. Many of us seem to be - even from a young age - "instinctively" repulsed at the idea of killing and eating animals. How do you know which is the real instinct? (To kill and eat, or not to kill and eat animals)?



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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 09:07 AM' timestamp='1279382846' post='2674961 View Post


Curcuma, it's true that if a litter stays with the mother cat long enough, and if prey are available to demonstrate with, the mother will probably try to teach her kittens about hunting. However, kittens often leave their mothers at six to eight weeks of age, and are often reared for those weeks in homes without any prey to teach with. No time, no materials. And yet, those same kittens will usually grow into mouse-catchers if they have the opportunity. They can be taught, but they don't have to be. They figure it out on their own, as if by instinct.



It may be instinct for cats to catch things that move. But I believe that many if not most cats who have not had a model of eating their prey will not recognize dead mice as food.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
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#21 Old 07-17-2010, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Irizary' date='17 July 2010 - 04:57 PM' timestamp='1279389429' post='2675012 View Post


Why do you assume the instinct is desire to eat meat? I can tell you that for many of us what seemed to be the "instinct" to overcome was to NOT eat meat. Many of us seem to be - even from a young age - "instinctively" repulsed at the idea of killing and eating animals. How do you know which is the real instinct? (To kill and eat, or not to kill and eat animals)?

Like I wrote, I believe instinct may be a component of the desire to eat meat, a practice lived out in 95 percent of the population of the U.S., a country pretty much free from the influence of either scarcity or religious prohibition. I never stated it as an assumption, but rather as a strong possibility in light of its extremely high prevalence. I'd also like to say that instinct has been used as a justification for eating meat, but that it shouldn't be. Even if there is such an instinct, as I wrote earlier, so what? All the more credit to those who have managed to overcome it, especially those for whom the "prey drive" has always been particularly strong.

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Originally Posted by Irizary' date='17 July 2010 - 04:57 PM' timestamp='1279389429' post='2675012 View Post


It may be instinct for cats to catch things that move. But I believe that many if not most cats who have not had a model of eating their prey will not recognize dead mice as food.

Izirary, the point I was disputing was that kittens need to be "taught by their elders" if they are going to be able to kill and eat mice. If a cat rejects a dead mouse as food, it's possible the mouse has been too-long dead to still be edible, and also that the cat, with other sources of food, is not hungry. I've never had a cat that would not eat at least part of what it had killed, at least sometimes. And my cats would not have had the opportunity to be taught killing or hunting by their mothers.
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#22 Old 07-17-2010, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 07:13 PM' timestamp='1279390400' post='2675019 View Post


Like I wrote, I believe instinct may be a component of the desire to eat meat, a practice lived out in 95 percent of the U.S., a country pretty much free from the influence of either scarcity or religious prohibition. I never stated it as an assumption, but rather as a strong possibility in light of its extremely high prevalence. I'd also like to say that instinct has been used as a justification for eating meat, but that it shouldn't be. Even if there is such an instinct, as I wrote earlier, so what? All the more credit to those who have managed to overcome it, especially those for whom the "prey drive" has always been particularly strong.

What, in a person's psychology or in his or her behavior, are your distinguishing criteria that separate merely liking something or wanting to do something, from having an instinct to do it? What explanatory benefits do you gain from explaining behavior by instinct rather than strong preference?

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#23 Old 07-17-2010, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas' date='17 July 2010 - 05:17 PM' timestamp='1279390659' post='2675022 View Post


What, in a person's psychology or in his or her behavior, are your distinguishing criteria that separate merely liking something or wanting to do something, from having an instinct to do it? What explanatory benefits do you gain from explaining behavior by instinct rather than strong preference?

It would be one explanation of why it's harder for some than for others to let go of meat, if the instinct is expressed more strongly in some than in others. Which can function as a point of empathy for those who struggle in their attempts to go meatless and stay meatless. In some posts on some of these forums I am disheartened by the lack of understanding or compassion for those who are locked into a meat-eating way of life, and even for those who try but have a harder time with it. The instinct paradigm could, I think, foster a more sanguine and livable attitude for navigating an overwhelmingly meat-eating culture.

(I have to go offline for awhile, but want to say I am finding this a really enjoyable discussion.)
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#24 Old 07-17-2010, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 11:13 AM' timestamp='1279390400' post='2675019 View Post

Izirary, the point I was disputing was that kittens need to be "taught by their elders" if they are going to be able to kill and eat mice. If a cat rejects a dead mouse as food, it's possible the mouse has been too-long dead to still be edible, and also that the cat, with other sources of food, is not hungry. I've never had a cat that would not eat at least part of what it had killed, at least sometimes. And my cats would not have had the opportunity to be taught killing or hunting by their mothers.



Perhaps this is getting off topic, but I really want to correct any kind of misconception about domestic cats and reverting to some natural instinct to hunt. Many don't have it and can't recognize prey as food. I think it's important to point this out because many people are under the misconception that domestic cats can survive and feed themselves as long as there's some prey source, and this can lead to some cruel behavior on the part of humans.



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Warning: Dumping cats in a barn, forest preserve or anywhere else is against the law in Illinois. It is also extremely cruel: Domesticated cats have never been taught to hunt by their mothers and CANNOT survive on their own.

http://www.treehouseanimals.org/TNR/FeralFAQ.htm



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Many people think pets can regain their so-called "natural" instincts and hunt to survive if they are abandoned or lost. The truth is - they can't. Their lives are a grim struggle to survive in back alleys or in rural areas on whatever scraps of food they can beg or steal. Unless they are cared for by a feeder, most die young from disease, starvation, abuse, and accidents - or die violently as food for a predator.

http://www.feralcat.com/kelson.html

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#25 Old 07-17-2010, 12:26 PM
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Instinct: "Instinct is the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behavior. " Inclination. Not a script for all aspects of a behavior, just an inclination.

Walking. Babies work very hard to learn to walk. This is tied in with the social instinct. Like all instincts, this instinct is thwartable, as can be seen by reading about wolf children, or people with neurological disorders.

Hunting: Babies, toddlers and children can be seen to chase and grab other animals (and insects) for fun. Same as other predatory animals do to greater or lesser degrees, but not herbivorous animals. Can also be thwarted. The culmination of killing and eating easier to thwart than some other instincts. This instinct can be satisfied by chasing balls (sports) and working with animals.

Fruit Eating. Babies greatly prefer sweet foods to any other (but IMO this is partly because human milk is really sweet, like melted ice cream). Fruits in the wild would be relatively scarce where humans evolved but a good idea to get when available as sources of calories and some vitamins.

Vegetable Eating: Vegetables not preferred, but children and babies will eat substantial amounts of leafy matter as nibbles. I did trail walking. If this weren't an instinct, there would be no drive to sample anything green and growing. Needs to be supplemented with knowledge of what is edible and what is not as learned from elders, but the instinct, the inclination, is there.

You could say that we have an instinct to sample just about anything that might be edible, as modified by our cultural taboos and preferences.

Social Instincts. Babies cry to get attention and get others interested in their needs. Later, they coo and giggle for the same effects. Later, they learn other means (talking, gesticulating, etc) to get their needs met, and the needs of others in their family. These are social bonding, social gluing instincts. They are present in every neurologically normal baby and not taught. These can also be thwarted by punishment and repression.

Sexual instincts. At a certain age, all of us who are gonadally and neurologically within the normal range develop sexual inclinations and urges. There's a long history of trying to thwart and repress these instincts..



There are many more, but I need to get going.

Culture is extremely important in directing these instincts, moreso to humans than any other animal, but I think it is a mistake to assume we are a completely cultural animal just because its influence is great.

The things that are common to humanity in general tend to derive from instinctive urges.
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#26 Old 07-17-2010, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='17 July 2010 - 12:26 PM' timestamp='1279394812' post='2675043 View Post


Hunting: Babies, toddlers and children can be seen to chase and grab other animals (and insects) for fun. Same as other predatory animals do to greater or lesser degrees, but not herbivorous animals. Can also be thwarted. The culmination of killing and eating easier to thwart than some other instincts. This instinct can be satisfied by chasing balls (sports) and working with animals.



There are vegetarian monkeys, and I'm pretty sure they're curious and probably try to catch moving things too. There's a difference between that and purposefully killing and eating flesh.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#27 Old 07-17-2010, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Curcuma' date='17 July 2010 - 08:26 PM' timestamp='1279394812' post='2675043 View Post


Instinct: "Instinct is the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behavior. "

Take away "inherent", and all you have is an inclination towards a particular behavior. People have inclinations towards particular types of behavior for countless reasons, and usually it suffices to characterize such inclinations as preferences, desires, goals, hobbies, interests or occupations. What you do when you talk about instinct is only to add that element of "inherent".



I don't know if it makes sense to say of anyone raised in a veg*n family that they are born with (if that is how we define 'inherent') a preference or desire to eat meat, if they never express this desire or are even repulsed by meat. At best, it would be some kind of a hidden, sub-conscious desire completely detached from action. What do we gain from positing such a desire (or preference, or inclination) that has no apparent features of desires?

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#28 Old 07-17-2010, 01:44 PM
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Most Westerners have a pretty strong revulsion towards eating insects, even though they're easy to catch and plentiful. People in other cultures eat them with no problem, even when there is other food available. Which is the instinct?

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#29 Old 07-17-2010, 02:14 PM
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When Westerners go to other countries they will often try "exotic" food that they would have considered gross until they tried it, as will people from other cultures when they visit here. Seeing other people eating it helps overcome our revulsion, especially if it smells all right to us. If instinct comes into play here, it might be part of what keeps us safe by steering us toward what has proven safe for us in the past. Which is the flip side of what makes us leery about things we've never had at all, and steers us away from things that have gotten us sick in the past. Like if I got sick-drunk on Chianti during Orientation Week at college, I might be strongly revolted by the idea of drinking Chianti again, for years after that. I've read that this reaction is the vestige of a survival mechanism (though it's not foolproof, of course) that helps keep an organism from getting poisoned twice by the same substance.
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#30 Old 07-17-2010, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy' date='17 July 2010 - 10:14 PM' timestamp='1279401287' post='2675076 View Post


When Westerners go to other countries they will often try "exotic" food that they would have considered gross until they tried it, as will people from other cultures when they visit here. Seeing other people eating it helps overcome our revulsion, especially if it smell all right to us. If instinct comes into play here, it might be part of what keeps us safe by steering us toward what has proven safe for us in the past. Which is the flip side of what makes us leery about things we've never had at all, and steers us away from things that have gotten us sick in the past. Like if I got sick-drunk on Chianti during Orientation Week at college, I might be strongly revolted by the idea of drinking Chianti again, for years after that. I've read that this reaction is the vestige of a survival mechanism that helps keep an organism from ever being poisoned twice by the same substance.

If instinct is an inclination towards something that is born with you, then we can re-phrase Irizary's question as: is a person born with an inclination to eat insects, or born with a revulsion to eating it, or born with no inclination one way or the other?

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