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Cats as “unintelligent design”?

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So news aggregator Digg labelled a story by Britt Peterson at Atlantic. Curious are the cultural assumptions around design in nature.


The animal so many dote on is among the world’s most destructive predators.

New Zealand’s recent announcement of a plan to eradicate all invasive predators, including feral cats, sparked an immediate response—and not in defense of the stoat, up there with cats among the top 100 on the Global Invasive Species list. “Cat murdering New Zealand[ers] are for the birds,” one commenter vented on The Washington Post’s website. “Removing cats from an area is a futile effort—one that cannot succeed,” another warned. When Australia announced a plan in 2015 to cull 2 million feral cats, the singer Morrissey declared them “2 million smaller versions of Cecil the lion.” The actress Brigitte Bardot called the cull “animal genocide.” Needless to say, no celebrity outrage or online indignation has greeted New Zealand’s or Australia’s expensive and long-standing rat-eradication programs.

What makes an animal a pet—a creature to which our emotions attach, sometimes in logic-warping ways—is surprisingly difficult to pin down. Cats are a particularly puzzling case. Domesticated some 9,500 years ago, they still don’t strike humans as completely tame. More.

<em>Coffee</em> Tins The domestic cat, an obligate carnivore with few deadly defenses against its own predators, managed to parasitize the human mind, resulting in legislation for protecting, not eradicating, cats, despite their toll on songbirds and disease risks. To say nothing of vast commercial markets, charities, and lobbies. Those viral cat vids are only a smidgen of the feline’s cultural influence.

Yet one would hardly be surprised to learn of animal intelligence experiments that show rats outperforming cats on specific tests. Just not the test that counts, as it happens, in a world run by humans.

Patchy Ausstechformen So how is that not intelligent design? Whoever wrote the header wasn’t thinking.

Wonder what they did mean to say… ?

Anyway, some of these people need a hobby:

Stop and think about the adaptive brilliance: More humans seduced by house cats means more besotted allies willing to take to the barricades in defense of all cats, ignoring the broader free-ranging-cat menace. And it is broad. Toxoplasmosis also afflicts nonhuman animals, from beluga whales to kangaroos. Because of runoff in the ocean from sewage containing cat feces, the disease has seriously affected marine mammals like seals (including the endangered Hawaiian-monk variety), sea otters, and manatees over the past several decades.

See also: Animal minds: Chimps fish for algae with sticks


Animal minds: In search of the minimal self

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Parasites of the human mind. Most powerful type ever:

Dionisio, I've had to adapt to my cat Blinky's enviornmental pressures for me to produce more treats and maintain perPETual playtime. ;) I've truly evolved. Andrew asauber
Andrew, No advantage whatsoever... liking cats seems like a result of deleterious genetic mutations that have not been purified yet... watch out, cat lovers may eventually disappear from the planet population as result of negative natural selection. BTW, I'm in that mutant population too. :) Dionisio
So what advantage does Evolution confer on humans for liking cats? Andrew asauber

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