Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

At Mind Matters News: Can squirrels really be socially unjust? Check their privilege?


A recent paper suggests that the animal world, untroubled for aeons by any notion of conscience, has a lot to answer for:

The idea that humans are not really much different from other animals has resulted in an interesting reversal: Writing about non-human animals as if they were humans. A recent essay in Behavioral Ecology, for example, interpreted “wealth inequality” among animals as if the animals were people:

“Squirrel privilege is real.” “Checking Privilege in the Animal Kingdom.” “Even Hermit Crabs Have Wealth Inequality.”

“These headlines hail from Salon and New York Times, respectively, and represent a growing trend among scholars and the media to tackle animal “inequality” — and also argue humans can learn important lessons about income inequality and privilege from such studies.” – Daniel Nuccio, “‘Checking Privilege in the Animal Kingdom’: Biologists Investigate Animal ‘Inequality’” at the College Fix (June 21, 2022) the Paper Referenced Is Open Access.

But what does it mean for academics to discuss “privilege” and “inequality” in a world of squirrels, who live without reason, ethics, or law?

Denyse O’Leary, “Can squirrels really be socially unjust? Check their privilege?” at Mind Matters News (June 27, 2022)

Takehome: Researchers long assumed that people think like animals. But the equation reads the same in reverse: Animals think like people. Folklore soon trumps reality.

You may also wish to read: A Great Reset historian muses on what to do with “useless” people. Transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari, a key advisor to the World Economic Forum, thinks free will is “dangerous” and a “myth.” It’s not clear that, given his intense, dramatic focus on “useless,” “meaningless,” and “worthless” people, Harari is far off from totalitarianism.

Oh dear, the Babylon Bee is in trouble. How could one satirize a piece like this? It is a self parody, a joke! Fasteddious
Squirrels are constantly all over my yard, most of the time eating birdseed and defiantly staring me down. For the amount of squirrels and the amount of time they are present, they seem to do very little damage. Raccoons and deer on the other hand... Andrew P.S. and groundhogs! asauber
Squirrels are RACISTS !!! Oh My DARWIN! P.S. I will keep feeding squirrels when I can. Squirrels aren't human beings. relatd
The war on human exceptionalism, as Wesley J. Smith calls it, is — at heart — a war on reason.
Exactly because they use human exceptionalism to attempt address "the needs and desires of nonhumans".
“Inequality is a threat to our social fabric, but it’s not just a human problem,” argued the World Economic Forum in January in a piece that connected human and non-human inequality. Headlined “Inequality is not confined to humans. Animals are divided by privilege, too,”
So humans have decided that squirrels have a "problem" with inequality, even though squirrels themselves see no need to fix the problem and they survive and reproduce quite well anyway.
They may prove useful when we take up the case of an individual chimp or elephant, or even a whole species, but their limits are clear when we apply them to a river, an ocean, or a forest. A plant has no “identity;” it is simply alive. The waters of the earth have no bounds. This is both ecology’s meaning and its lesson. We cannot split hairs, or rocks, or mycorrhizal roots and say: This thing here is granted personhood, and this thing not. Everything is hitched to everything else.
A plant or river or forest has rights, but a child in the womb can be killed.
But what does it mean for academics to discuss “privilege” and “inequality” in a world of squirrels, who live without reason, ethics, or law?
These people are not scholars, in the sense of people studying the truth about reality. Instead they're misguided social reformers who happened to get hired by colleges and universities due to preferences in hiring (for people who think like this). Outside of the university environment they're suffering from mental illness. Within the confines of higher education they're opinion-makers and shapers-of-culture. Silver Asiatic

Leave a Reply