« Way Too Cute. Really. | Main | Erosion »

20 November 2004


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


what a beautiful creature!


Stingrays give me the creeps. Why, oh why, does everybody else like them?

Kate S.

I am the most guilty of anthropomorphising. I can't help it. My common sense is overridden by my sensibility that we are all the same, from the same ingredients, we vibrate in harmony, just slightly off in our individual DNA or hertz cycles; my smile finds their smile, as with the chimp, the porpoise, and now this beautiful sea creature.

What a gorgeous being! Thank you for sharing the smile.


"Surely it is also sensible to not fear anthropomorphizing to the extent that we cannot recognize kinship when it smiles at us from the other side of the glass." I agree. In fact, I don't see that there is really anything wrong with anthropomorphizing so long as it doesn't veer off into belittling sentimentality. We need to retain a basic sense of respect for other beings, I feel. Respect includes both empathy and diffidence, verging on awe.

Obviously, for life scientists whose business it is to reach objective conclusions based on the best evidence and the simplest interpretations thereof, via Ockham's razor, need to avoid imaginative leaps as much as possible. But imagination still plays a role in all interpretations, and it is, after all, simplest to assume that most vertebrate species do have emotions and varying kinds of problem-solving abilities. That doesn't mean assuming that they are "just like us" - unless one assumes that humans are the only creatures with "consciousness," as many scientists (and philosophers) unfortunately still do. Behaviorism's continued allegiance to an extreme mechanistic view of animals is, I think, bigoted and unscientific.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

  • flickr   Instagram   Pinterest
    facebook   Google+   RSS

  • sbpoet's artstream

  • Follow

  • Created with flickr badge.