The Perils of Anthropomorphism

Mutterhals writes on the Black Sun Gazette:

That’s a big word up there, but it describes a fairly simple concept. Anthropomorphism is when you attribute human characteristics to non human things and people do it most frequently with animals.

There was a video floating around the internet recently claiming to show a dog smiling when its owner approached. In reality, as many savvy animal lovers pointed out, the dog’s posture indicated fear, as evidenced by its tense expression and down cast tail. Because dogs can’t smile; smiling is a function of certain muscles in the face that dogs simply don’t have.

I know, I’m an evil bitch for throwing a bucket of ice cold logic all over a coo-inspiring video. However, in light of the recent events at Sea World, where an experienced trainer was killed by a killer whale in between shows, it does seem that people fall into to this trap a bit too easily.

Read More: Black Sun Gazette

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  • tonyviner

    I thought this was gonna be about Fantasia. :(

  • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

    *Killed* by a *killer* whale? Why, what are the odds? Do you think the whale is sorry for what it did? Should we have a time out with it?

  • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

    *Killed* by a *killer* whale? Why, what are the odds? Do you think the whale is sorry for what it did? Should we have a time out with it?

  • Anarchy Pony

    Yeah, um, its far more dangerous to use anthropomorphism with machines and technology than living things. And Some dogs do learn to present actual smiles, I have known two dogs that have done this. They were certainly not showing fear or apprehension when they were doing it.

  • Anarchy Wolf

    Yeah, um, its far more dangerous to use anthropomorphism with machines and technology than living things. And Some dogs do learn to present actual smiles, I have known two dogs that have done this. They were certainly not showing fear or apprehension when they were doing it.