Friday, July 17, 2009

Putting my foot down

Some people claim to be "into nature."

Another way of putting that is "some people like to believe that nature is something besides what it really is, a teeming mass of bugs and gooey stuff and things that wish you'd die so they could eat you."

And I'm ok with that.

But I'm always a little surprised when someone tries to stop me from killing a bug inside my house. When did so many people adopt this "catch and release" program? We're not talking about some endangered species here. I'm not cutting down trees in my yard because I'm annoyed by a spotted owl living in it. This is just killing a spider or a cockroach, of which there are approximately 1.26 bajillion in the world. These are species that have been existing virtually as-is for millions of years. And you can bet they'll be crawling around when humanity has long been lost to nuclear war (which will be fought with weapons that those "nature" people should have been protesting, but they were too busy saving roach #129,385,203.939, 992.)

In short, I think the bugs will be just fine, no matter what I do.*

But then sometimes these people will come back at you with more ethical arguments. The most common ones are:

1. "Because he (the bug) didn't do anything to deserve being killed" - You can only kill animals that deserve it? So, like, if I see the cockroach cut another cockroach off, does that make it ok?

2. "Because bugs feel pain the same way as we do." - . . .

Only that's not true at all. Well, to be fair there's no way to tell for sure how animals feel. But the fact is that human beings have both highly evolved nervous systems and highly developed brains, much more advanced than any insect. I would submit that those evolutionary advancements allow us an incredible understanding of hurt.

Pull the leg off of a cockroach and it'll go scurrying off, probably capable of living the rest of it's life normally. Crack a person in the shin with a stick and he'll likely take several minutes before he can walk nomally again.

Of course there are plenty of animals that probably interpret injury on a near-human level. But it's just strange to think about . . . by developing a deeper sensory dialog with the world around us, we've also gotten an excuisite understanding of pain.

*And you know what? Really I'm helping them out. I'm encouraging the survival of bugs who DON'T like the indoors. It's like a cheetah going after the weakest deer in the herd. I'm just like that cheetah, fast and awesome.

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