Tag Archives | Cruelty

Six Awful Realities Behind the Scenes at SeaWorld

Suggested headline: Intelligent cetacean dreams of murdering curious hairless apes. Pic: Matanya (CC)

Suggested headline: Intelligent cetacean dreams of murdering curious hairless apes. Pic: Matanya (CC)

Cracked.com is one of those sites like TVTropes, Wikipedia, or Reddit where one detour in the name of research or a quick break from work can devolve into hours of wasted time.

During one of those “quick breaks” I stumbled upon an article that could be of interest to those of you who have been following the fall-out since the release of Blackfish:

Six Awful Realities Behind the Scenes at SeaWorld.

Here’s an excerpt.

…For example, we were opening a new exhibit at my park that involved us quickly moving a ton of sharks and stingrays, dashing them across the park and dropping them in new homes with virtually no notice, because management needed the exhibit opened fast for “media day.”

It might be weird to think of sharks and rays as emotionally delicate, but they are: They were extremely stressed out by being moved to a new home, and having a tidal wave of loud strangers with flashy cellphones crash through the very next day didn’t help much.

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Science Overturns View Of Humans As Naturally Barbaric

herzog-boys-wrestling-1969-timeAFP on the mounting body of evidence that people and other advanced animals are, on a biological level, driven largely by empathy and caring — undermining the classic view of man possessing a nasty, violent nature tenuously kept in check by the thin veneer of civilization:

Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish, a leading specialist in primate behavior told a major science conference.

“Humans have a lot of pro-social tendencies,” Frans de Waal, a biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. New research on higher animals from primates and elephants to mice shows there is a biological basis for behavior such as cooperation, said de Waal.

Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were “nasty” at the core but had developed a veneer of morality — albeit a thin one, de Waal told scientists and journalists from some 50 countries.

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Seeing Beyond ‘Evil’

Dr EvilKate Kelland reports on Reuters via MNN:

Simon Baron Cohen has been battling with evil all his life. As a scientist seeking to understand random acts of violence, from street brawls to psychopathic killings to genocide, he has puzzled for decades over what prompts such acts of human cruelty. And he’s decided that evil is not good enough.

“I’m not satisfied with the term ‘evil’,” says the Cambridge University psychology and psychiatry professor, one of the world’s top experts in autism and developmental psychopathology.

“We’ve inherited this word … and we use it to express our abhorrence when people do awful things, usually acts of cruelty, but I don’t think it’s anything more than another word for doing something bad. And as a scientist that doesn’t seem to me to be much of an explanation. So I’ve been looking for an alternative — we need a new theory of human cruelty.”

Baron Cohen, who is also director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge, has just written a book in which he calls for a kind of rebranding of evil to offer a more scientific explanation for why people kill and torture, or have such great difficulty understanding the feelings of others.

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