Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Roofus » Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:01 pm

DaMadFiddler wrote:From the "Bedtime Stories":

(note: these all start off happy and smiley like any children's book, then show something horrible happening, then have an ending like this)

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I work with a Cambodian guy who eats cat. Not sure where he gets it, but yeah.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Specially Cork » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:07 am

I think the message here is very clear. Fish would feel better if we ate other animals too. I welcome this news.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by hey911 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:49 am

I'm all for conservationism and protecting endangered species, but PETA basically wants every person in the world to stop eating animals. WE ARE an animal, and "other" animals in the seas eat these "sea kittens". I mean come on, do you honestly think a marine predator is going to think twice, "hmmm, it's just to cute to keep me from eating it".

In short I think "overfishing" is bad, threatening endangered species is bad, eating a fish - neutral.
People eat because they have to, and if we have to, why not enjoy it? Eating a balanced vegetarian diet is a "luxury", and is one "many" can't afford.

I don't agree with people eating higher level mammals like cats/dogs. They have well developed cognitive/emotional centers in their brains, and are more like us then any fish ever will be. Why do you think they call them "man's best friend"? Although it's obvious any animal can feel physical pain, fish don't even have the evolutionary brain structures responsible for processing emotions.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Roofus » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:19 am

I don't agree with people eating higher level mammals like cats/dogs. They have well developed cognitive/emotional centers in their brains, and are more like us then any fish ever will be. Why do you think they call them "man's best friend"? Although it's obvious any animal can feel physical pain, fish don't even have the evolutionary brain structures responsible for processing emotions.
Do you eat beef? How about bacon? Pigs actually make pretty good pets. Should we stop eating them too?
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Lartrak » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:51 pm

I don't agree with people eating higher level mammals like cats/dogs. They have well developed cognitive/emotional centers in their brains, and are more like us then any fish ever will be. Why do you think they call them "man's best friend"? Although it's obvious any animal can feel physical pain, fish don't even have the evolutionary brain structures responsible for processing emotions.
What is a "higher level" mammal?
fish don't even have the evolutionary brain structures responsible for processing emotions
I dunno. A lack of what we associate with emotional processing in other animals does not equate to a lack of emotions in the animal. I'm not really convinced either way at this point, and the research on the topic seems pretty poor.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by hey911 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:28 pm

What is a "higher level" mammal?
A reference to the phylogenetic tree. I admit I might be biased towards certain animals, for instance if someone ate my dog, I'd probably do very bad things to them. While cows could be considered higher as well, you have to take into account that they are a "prey" species, and they have been bred to be stupid and productive in some way, like milking or more muscle mass. They also have less emotional cognitive abilities than us.

Which is maybe why a lot of people see things the way they do, the more like us they are, the less likely it's okay to eat them?
I dunno. A lack of what we associate with emotional processing in other animals does not equate to a lack of emotions in the animal. I'm not really convinced either way at this point, and the research on the topic seems pretty poor.
Perhaps your right on the research, but nothing suggest that they do have emotions as we know it. If it isn't the same neural associations as other animals, then wouldn't that make it something entirely different than emotion?

I wouldn't have a problem eating a salmon, but I couldn't in good conscious eat a cephalopod like a octopi, or cuttlefish.

People have to kill animals all the time for over-population, public safety reasons, but that's usually in response to human effects on the environment like the removal of natural predators, or things like introduced species. Should we let these animals live, resulting in the destruction of vegetation, indigenous species, disease carrying, etc...?

If you are to worry about conserving species, I'd say leave the fish for their natural predators like the whale, dolphin, and shark, which are all on the decline.

We've invariably put our hand into every metaphorical cookie jar in this world, and the consequences are still coming in. If they was ever a species that was over-populated, it would be ours...
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Lartrak » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:06 am

While cows could be considered higher as well, you have to take into account that they are a "prey" species, and they have been bred to be stupid and productive in some way, like milking or more muscle mass. They also have less emotional cognitive abilities than us.
I still don't understand what makes an animal higher or lower. It smacks of ye old tree of life stuff. Such distinctions seem nearly completely arbitrary to me. It's something I've been seeking an explanation for for years and I still haven't seen one that makes even the slightest amount of sense.
Which is maybe why a lot of people see things the way they do, the more like us they are, the less likely it's okay to eat them?
Sometimes, I would agree. But, of course, people in the areas where they're native have few problems eating other primates, our closest relations.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by hey911 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:04 am

Lartrak wrote:I still don't understand what makes an animal higher or lower. It smacks of ye old tree of life stuff. Such distinctions seem nearly completely arbitrary to me.
It's directly referencing the tree of life you talked about. The phylogenetic tree uses a system of "taxonomy" or "taxa", but unfortunately it's not simple enough to explain in a couple of posts.

I can give you a link: Taxonomy

Don't laugh, but this animation might help you understand the above a little better: Flash Animation - Derived Characteristics

In biology their could be a division made based on how the organism acquires energy. The two major divisions are autotrophs and heterotrophs.

The autotrophs are the "producers", and they acquire there energy through photo absorption or inorganic chemical means. In other words they are self sufficient in that they create organic compound out of inorganic ones, and they are the base of the food chain.

Heterotrophs are the "consumers", and they require organic substrates to get their chemical energy by consuming autotrophs or other heterotrophs. For that reason they can be considered primary consumers (eat autotrophs), or secondary consumers (eat heterotrophs and maybe autotrophs).

If you'd allow the question "is it a person's right to eat animals"? Then wouldn't you also have to ask, "do plants feel pain and emotion"?

They after all are "alive" too. Would the consumption of animal or plant byproducts be enough to sustain a human's nutritional needs?

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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Lartrak » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:54 pm

I've had to study taxonomy in biology classes before. Which is why I don't understand what you're referring to when you describe "higher" and "lower" animal classifications as part of phylogenetics. Neither of your links makes reference to it, in fact. I've read references to it in scientific essays before, but it is apparently part of assumed knowledge - there's never any real explanation for it.

The terms higher and lower in evolutionary classification are completely unscientific. It's baffling to me. It's trying to apply a heirarchy of design where one doesn't exist. It'd make more far more sense in a religious context than a scientific one (do you consider the normal rankings to be God, then Angels, then man, then the rest of the animals?). And thus far, it appears you can't explain it either - you've just made some references to phylogenetics, and aren't actually explaining why cows, say, are "lower" than dogs.

I guess this really isn't directly relevant to the topic, but it's something that personally ruffles my feathers a bit.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by hey911 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:43 pm

As far as I understood it, it meant the how far up the tree trunk, to the branch, the twig, etc...

To be quite honest, I've never been asked about it before. It wasn't really relevant to the material I was studying at the time.

But I don't believe it was a reference to the "value" of the so said organism, it was just a term to designate position. Like in anatomy "superior" means to be "above" in physical relation, but not some statement of worth.

I believe the original taxonomic nomenclature was devised based only on the similarity in structures to any given organism, but as the evidence grew for evolutionary processes, this system was adapted to the new data to reflect the phylogeny of the organism. And more recently, the genetic evidence was taken into account, hence the term "phylo"-"genetic".

But as complicated as we humans are, the difference in gene count from a mouse is estimated to be around or under 1,000.

Again that's 25,000 for us, around 24,000 for the mouse.

But I will say this, I never commented on what the reason for people being acceptant of consuming certain animals was based on, natural or unnatural, and why the same act would be condemned in a different culture.

I do know that male chimpanzees will hunt in groups, and they work together to capture animals like the red colobus monkey. I saw a video one time, and it was pretty grisly... They worked together to flush one out, leading the monkey into a trap, where it was ripped apart and divided between the hunters.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by Ex-Cyber » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:42 pm

hey911 wrote:As far as I understood it, it meant the how far up the tree trunk, to the branch, the twig, etc...
The problem is this: which tree are you talking about, and what does it mean to move "up"? In taxonomic terms, the vertical dimension of the tree is associated with generality vs. specificity of shared characteristics; it makes no sense to talk about "how far up" a particular species or genus or phylum or order is, because by definition every species is at the same level, every genus is at the same level, etc. . In genealogical terms, the vertical dimension of the tree is associated with earlier vs. later generations, so all currently living organisms are near the "leaves". A particular species, phylum etc. may be farther up or down the tree in the sense that it came into being more or less recently, or went extinct, but this is an artifact of history and has no particular association with the characteristics of the species.
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Re: Those Aren't Fish; They're Sea Kittens!

Post by hey911 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:30 pm

Yes I see your point, it's a generalization that really doesn't apply. But the majority of species that have ever existed are now extinct, the current extant species were estimated to be less than 0.1% of all that ever existed.

Unless of course I misunderstood the term that is, for they could have been literally referring to higher-order animals as the larger incorporating group of animals in an "Order"?

Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Etc... or any other grouping "one up" in taxonomic nomenclature. Keep in mind there are super/sub classifications as well.

Like I said before, even after what was the prevailing sense that we were more "complicated" or more "highly" evolved forms of life than a mouse or bacteria. It turns out that we don't have that many more protein encoding genes than a mouse, and even less than some protists and bacteria.

If the semantics over my rusty use of systematic nomenclature are still bugging anybody, here's a site that help jog my memory: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articl ... id=1654192

From the abstract:

Code: Select all

The higher-level phylogeny of placental mammals has long been a phylogenetic Gordian knot, with disagreement about both the precise contents of, and relationships between, the extant orders. A recent MRP supertree that favoured 'outdated' hypotheses (notably, monophyly of both Artiodactyla and Lipotyphla) has been heavily criticised for including low-quality and redundant data. We apply a stringent data selection protocol designed to minimise these problems to a much-expanded data set of morphological, molecular and combined source trees, to produce a supertree that includes every family of extant placental mammals.
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