Do animals commit suicide?

by Matthew Cobb

A recent article in Time looks at various examples of alleged animal suicide, taking as its starting point the recent distressing film about Japanese slaughter of dolphins, The Cove. Animal-rights activist Richard O’Barry, who features in The Cove, is convinced that animals can commit suicide, having allegedly seen Kathy, a dolphin in the 1960s television show Flipper, sink to the bottom of her tank and stop breathing.

To take the discussion onto a rather more rigorous level, the article references a recent piece by a colleague of mine, Dr Duncan Wilson from the University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Together with Edmund Ramsden from Exeter, Duncan has just published an article in the history of science magazine Endeavour (subscription required – NB this link has now been fixed), looking at how animal “suicide” has been interpreted through the ages.

Drs Ramsden and Wilson go back to Aristotle’s story of a stallion that threw itself over a cliff when it realised it had inadvertently mated with its mother (this seems rather unlikely, in my opinion), but concentrate on 19th century views of animal suicide, and convincingly show that accounts of animal suicide  reflect the values of the society in which they are recounted. In particular, during the 19th century, “Humane groups such as the Royal Society for Protection of Animals (RSPCA) seized upon popular accounts to claim that animals shared with humans the capacities for grief, love, despair – and, moreover, that they possessed enough intelligence to plan and execute their own deaths.”

A series of cunning experiments were carried out as part of the growing debate over the nature of animal behaviour – are animals conscious, or is their behaviour “instinctive”? The paragraph on scorpions is worth citing:

“Romanes relayed several accounts where scorpions had killed themselves after being ringed with fire, but noted cautiously, ‘such a remarkable fact unquestionably demands further corroboration before we accept it unreservedly.’ E. Ray Lankester, professor of zoology at University College, London, took up the challenge and, reporting to the Linnaean Society late in 1882, claimed that he had observed a scorpion repeatedly trying to strike itself after he administered chloroform into its glass container. This he believed to ‘throw light on the old tradition’, and tended ‘to confirm its accuracy.’ In 1883, Morgan endeavoured to dispel this belief. He designed a set of experiments ‘sufficiently barbarous…to induce any scorpion who had the slightest suicidal tendency to find relief in self-destruction.’

He surrounded them with fire, condensed sunbeams on their backs, heated them in a bottle, burned them with phosphoric acid, treated them with electric shocks and subjected them to ‘general and exasperating courses of worry.’ Though he witnessed scorpions striking at their backs, this, Morgan explained, was an instinctive attempt to remove irritation. Those who ignored or rejected this fact were ‘not accustomed to accurate observation.’ In 1887, Alfred Bourne provided further evidence that questioned ‘the phenomenon so graphically delineated by Byron’. Scorpions, he claimed, were immune to their own venom.”

The point of Ramsden and Wilson’s article is to show how attitudes to animal suicide have changed over time, and have been shaped by the overall views of any given society: “Through shifting archetypes of animal suicide, we can trace the history of perspectives on self-destruction – we see the victim and hero of ancient philosophy and romanticism, the martyr or sinner of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the automaton and the neurotic, lost amongst the masses of modernity. When scientists, philosophers, writers or theologians have reflected upon the nature of suicide, they have, persistently, reflected on the natural world.”

So where does that leave one of the real, solid examples of animal “suicide” – the worker bee stinging a perceived threat, but dying in the process? The bee’s sting is famously barbed, and as the bee tries to fly away, it pulls out its innards, including the venom gland which not only continues to pulse venom down the sting, but also releases alarm pheromones which attract other bees. The downside is that the bee dies. This video shows the process, and how to get a sting out (it takes an awful lot to provoke the poor bee into stinging…):

The explanation for this behaviour is that the bee is protecting its hive, and thereby its genes. Worker bees are generally sterile (though they can produce male eggs under certain circumstances), so the only way it can make a genetic contribution to the next generation is by helping the hive, with which it shares a high proportion of its genes. From a gene’s eye view, this is not suicide at all, but merely the death of one carrier of those genes, to preserve the life of many more carriers.

So – apart from the examples of social insects, DO animals commit suicide?

[First posted at the Z-letter]

51 Comments

  1. Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Poor little bee.

    Is there a good reason for the sting pulling out the bee’s innards? Couldn’t it just pull out a ‘detachable’ venom sac, leaving a bee incapable of stinging but still functional in other ways? It feels like that would be more useful to the hive but I could be wrong.

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Ah – from Wikipedia on Bee stings:

      “although the sting is in fact barbed so that it lodges in the victim’s skin, tearing loose from the bee’s abdomen and leading to its death in minutes, this only happens if the victim is a mammal (or bird). The bee’s sting is speculated to have evolved for inter-bee combat between members of different hives, and the barbs serve to improve penetration of the chitinous plates of another insect’s exoskeleton. When bees sting elastic-skinned mammals, the barbs become a hazard to the bees as described above”

      That explains how the situation arose, then. Perhaps there simply hasn’t been enough pressure to rewire the bee’s insides to survive stinging a mammal. I suppose the total loss of such bees is a very small cost to the hive anyway.

      • Posted March 29, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        As a beekeeper, I’ve read literature and research that indicates the “kamikaze” honeybees are nearing the end of their life cycle anyway, and thus designate themselves as the sentries of the colony. So if they die by stinging, the loss to the colony in terms of “bee hours” is not great.

        Bees have an interesting lifespan, in that they don’t do just one thing during their existence. They take on different roles (nursing the young, caring for the queen, foraging for feed, then as protective sentries) depending on their age. It’s a communal existence, but the roles change over time.

  2. Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I think the term ‘suicide’ requires the being to be aware that it’s about to kill itself, and it’s not even clear that a bee knows it’s about to die – it certainly has no need to know, and it seems highly likely that it doesn’t even have the mental capacity to ‘know’ this anyway.

    Best case scenario – the question of suicide is just a rider on the larger, equally nebulous question of whether other animals are conscious, whether they ‘know’ things consciously to make anything other than non-hard-wired decisions, and whether have an awareness of their mortality and future.

    My guess – the same animals as pass the Mirror test *could* commit suicide. But of those, there is probably only one that has the knowledge and control of its own body functions to be able to get them to cease.

    I wonder if any other animals are *consciously* (rather than instinctively) aware that they need air to breathe? Could they drown themselves, by understanding that water will kill them?

  3. Tulse
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    As someone with a research background on depression, the notion that immediate life-threatening peril would induce suicide seems remarkably naive. Suicide in humans usually results from ongoing long-term depression, and not from suddenly having one’s life threatened (after all, do soldiers intentionally kill themselves in the heat of combat?). In other words, the scorpion “model” presented is not at all a reasonable analogue.

    Neither, for that matter, is the bee example. After all, do we think that bees realize that stinging will kill them? Surely any reasonable notion of suicide involves intentionality (otherwise we’d include deaths from smoking and obesity), and even presuming that bees have some sort of intentionality (a huge leap in my view), it is doubtful in the extreme that they are aware of the causal connection between stinging and their death. Talking about bee “suicide” seems precisely the kind of nonsense one sees in bad evo-psych.

    If we really want to look at true analogues for human suicide, we need to look at organisms that a) we are reasonably confident have some sort of sense of self, and b) are put in situations that could reasonably be presumed to induce depression and hopelessness. My guess is the best we will do is look at the real world cases of large mammals such as dolphins, elephants, and primates kept in poor conditions. And my guess is that we won’t see suicidal behaviour, because I think that requires fairly sophisticated cognition about the self and the future, capabilities I don’t think any other organism possesses.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Cognition of the self and the future seems to be wired into at least the mammal brain at a very basic level. I’m thinking of those neurologic experiments where they claim to see rats plan by incessantly modeling themselves towards the future (plan ahead) and from the future (check plans) both, as well as connect travel from A to B and B to C as a memory A to C (so knowing about “the self” and “the future” automatically as regards travel/memory). This seems to be intrinsic to how simple brains operate.

      So there doesn’t seem to be any qualitative difference between species in this regard. So the questions would be “do we see this behavior” and “what does it take to display this behavior”. I dunno on both, but at the same time I don’t think an arbitrary “fairly sophisticated” is indicative either.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        On second thought, there are many sorts of suicide where “the self” and “the future” doesn’t seem to come into it, at least in a strong sense.

        For one, I think many suicides are believed to be failed repeated attempts to evoke help. The later could be a unique socialization process, in which case animals won’t have it, or a general behavior, in which case they may. Apparently dogs provoke attention, so there is a basis for the later behavior.

        Also, the problems of depression, isn’t there a suppression of both sense of self and future as well as problems of planning? So maybe suicidal depressives are driven less by those and more by attempt to avoid immediate pain. Animals do the damnedest thing to avoid pain, gnawing their legs off in traps for example (and thus likely “suicide”).

  4. NewEnglandBob
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting question but anthropomorphizing must be kept out of the answer.

    From the Time article: “”Is my death worth more than my life?” is a question that could not be asked by most species. Even humans who do take their own life do not ask this question of themselves in a sane and rational manner most of the time. I could see it apply possibly in a prisoner-with-information situation, but not in many other situations.

    • Artikcat
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      The harrowing letter, one of 2, that Virginia Woolf wrote to her beloved husband before throwing herself into the creek: “Dearest, I feel certain I am going mad again…..and I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.”
      The point being that despite her selfcriticism, the letter conveys a lucid mind, lucidly killing herself…harrowing and astonishing.

      • Artikcat
        Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Now that i reread my “micropiece” I argue that “lucid” is debatable. Is a long life trained samurai “lucid” when he “seppuku(s)” himself? Actually, the companion quality here should be “sane”. Is a sucidist “in-sane”?

  5. Wrysmile
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Interesting

    With the example of the bee the question must be asked does the bee know it will die if it stings, I’d say it was unlikely, it is just an instinct to sting it isn’t deliberately giving it’s life over for the good of the Hive.

    • John Lock
      Posted March 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      You could test this hypothesis (in part anyway) by considering whether a bee that had already successfully stung something (e.g. a hornet) and survived is more or less likely to sting a mammal than one which hadn’t. This may already have been done…

  6. Wrysmile
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    apologies for repeating your point Tulse

  7. Haunted
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I think you’ve accidentally put the wrong link to the Endeavour paper since it is linking me to “Magic and artifice in the collection of Athanasius
    Kircher” by Mark A Waddell

  8. Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I thought that bit of the Cove was really unpersuasive until I understood that dolphins are voluntary breathers. Taking the next breath is not automatic. It doesn’t seem impossible that a dolphin could be miserable, and therefore not motivated to take the next breath. It wouldn’t have to mean that the dolphin has asked himself a philosophical question like “is my life worth living?” Perhaps there are other cases like this–e.g. chimpanzees do seem to get depressed. Do they sometimes stop eating? If so, this is a sort of suicide, though not our high planning, high self-awareness type.

    • Tulse
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      If there were compelling evidence that dolphins and chimps suffocate or starve themselves due to emotional distress, then I’d consider that to be examples of animal analogues to human suicide. But I don’t know of any evidence beyond the one disputed case reported in the Cove.

      • Posted March 23, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        The words we use to talk about this make a big difference. I said “stop eating.” You changed it to “starve themselves.” There’s a difference. It’s not implausible that a depressed chimpanzee might stop eating. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if depression in apes has some of the same physiological effects as in humans. Same with dolphins. To say “suffocate themselves” is a lot different than just saying they might stop breathing (since they’re voluntary breathers) due to emotional states. Your phrases imply much more self-awareness and intentionality.

        • Tulse
          Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          As I see it, such self-awareness and intentionality is a necessary condition to talk about suicide. Plenty of people become morose and stop caring for themselves after a loved one dies, and in some cases such people may die from lack of self-care. But we typically wouldn’t call such cases suicide. Not caring whether one lives is different than actively trying to kill oneself, and it is only the latter that is properly labeled “suicide”.

          • Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            In human cases I think we’d see similarities between full-blown, deliberate suicide and a death that results from depression and lack of self-care. Even if what we find in animals is only at that end of the spectrum it strikes me it would be interesting and important to know if there are cases like that.

    • Posted March 29, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      As much as I liked “The Cove” as a film, I also regarded the claim of suicide as rather dubious. The dolphin had been in his care for a long time; it simply could have died of an illness or natural causes when he was observing it.

  9. Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I was a little surprised that the famous lemmings (Lemmus lemmus) weren’t mentioned, just because one interpretation of masses of them swimming until they drown is that they commit suicide due to overpopulation. (A better explanation is that their attempt o cross water just fails.)

  10. Eddie Janssen
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Do animals animals get bored? Can they get bored?

    • Artikcat
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      you mean an animal animal? not a human animal?

      • Eddie Janssen
        Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Both I think. I grew up on a farm in the sixties and seventies in the Netherlands and in november cows were put in the farm, tied to a pole. There they would be restrained until may the next year. Most of the time light would be minimal, the view would be a wall less than a meter away. What are you going to do 180 days and nights?
        The first day (and night) you debunk ontological proofs of God but what is a girl to do next?
        And real animals? Apart from staying alive what do they do with their time?

        • Artikcat
          Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          short answer: they are.

        • Notagod
          Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Some animals display characteristics of being bored; dogs do, cats must because they certainly get to doing some weird things that seem to amuse them. Some birds do various things that must be recreational activities. I’ve seen magpies interact with cats in what might have been a teasing way or possibly as an attempt at companionship because they seem to enjoy the same type of behavior amongst themselves. Cows and sheep don’t seem to amuse themselves much but calves and lambs do stuff that appears to amuse them.

    • Tulse
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      My dogs certainly act bored if they don’t receive attention. More accurately, they act morose and lethargic until engaging in behaviours that are almost guaranteed to get my attention (e.g., barking directly at me, bringing me a ball to throw, stealing objects they are not supposed to have, interposing themselves between me and my computer desk when I’m working, etc.).

    • Hempenstein
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Over the weekend I heard someone from a wildlife rescue organization give a talk, together with four of their demonstrator birds (ones which for various reasons wouldn’t survive back in the wild). I think it was the red-tailed hawk that they give toys to. After awhile (in this case meaning some weeks) the bird seems to tire of the toy and shreds it, and then they go buy it a new one. So there’s one example. And then there are the animals in zoos that at least appear bored to us.

  11. Posted March 23, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    The father of a friend of mine committed suicide in a very rational and sane manner – he was in his 80s and caring for a wife who had increasingly advanced dementia. All his friends had died, and he felt he had nothing further to look forward to, and was unable to offer anyone anything else in his life, so he went out and bought the necessary equipment and did the car/exhaust thing. Perfectly calmly calculated, especially as he didn’t want to fail and be locked away in a care home.

    In my personal experience, geese who lose their life-long partners very commonly starve themselves to death. Coupled with their well-attested intelligence, this might be a good candidate for suicide, but it’s anyone’s guess what their mental state is, and whether they’re “choosing” not to eat, with corresponding knowledge of the outcome.

  12. souper genyus
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Interesting read, but color me skeptical (as I’m sure you are, Dr. Coyne). I doubt that any other animals actually kill themselves through a conscious decision. Other than the instinct model that others have mentioned, I could think of some other possible scenarios that can be misconstrued as suicide.

    For example, it’s possible that the dolphin O’Barry allegedly saw kill itself was simply sick and could no longer gather the strength to reach the surface.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      This was posted by Matthew Cobb, not Jerry Coyne.

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      The dolphin was in O’Barry’s arms when he didn’t take his next breath and died, not below the surface.

  13. Frank
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    “From a gene’s eye view, this is not suicide at all, but merely the death of one carrier of those genes, to preserve the life of many more carriers.”

    Why would anyone be interested in a gene’s eye view? (This comment is not intended to be snarky.)

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Have you read The Selfish Gene? I think this would answer your question far better than I ever could, but…

      …in a nutshell, it is sometimes useful to think of a gene (with “gene” being defined as any fragment of genetic material that is small enough to be persistent over several generations without getting broken up by meiosis) as doing whatever it selfishly can to propagate itself. Many animal behaviors which seem very puzzling when you think of natural selection as favoring organisms that survive and reproduce, suddenly become quite explicable when you think of natural selection as favoring genes that persist in the form of multiple copies.

      If I’m answering the wrong question, let me know… but if I’m answering the wrong question, then it seems like your comment must be snarky. 😀 heh… unless I am missing something…

  14. Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    If you define suicide as being intentional self-termination with no likelihood of benefit to other carriers of the same genes, then that cleanly eliminates the worker bees… so let’s use that definition.

    With that definition, we can pretty much rule out all but the most intelligent of animals, the ones capable of formulating super-instinctual goals (i.e. the goal may help fulfill instincts, but the goal per se is not instinctual) and devising a plan to carry them out. By the definition above, no animal is going to commit suicide for instinctual reasons. A scorpion killing itself to avoid pain? Please. A scorpion isn’t smart enough to devise that plan itself, and the “selfish genes” don’t give a shit how much pain an individual scorpion experiences. There is no selective pressure to reduce the experience of pain — at all.

    So if any animals (besides humans) are legitimately committing suicide, it would have to be limited to dolphins, bonobos, pigs, elephants, and maybe dogs or orangutans or another very smart species. I find it plausible that animals of that type could commit suicide under certain conditions, but of course it would require some pretty explicit evidence.

  15. MadScientist
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    If suicide is a behavior associated with the mechanisms of the brain, then we should look for such behavior in the closest related primates first of all. If such behavior is not found in other primates then we would need ideas and evidence as to why they don’t exhibit such behavior (all evolved better control than humans, or suicidal tendencies evolved in a human ancestor not common to other extant primates).

    Looking for such behavior in all other animals is silly – it only makes sense if the behavior is not observed in other primates and we wish to look for evidence that other primates have somehow eliminated such tendencies. Even if we did observe such behavior in other species, it remains a challenge to discover if it is in any way related to human behavior.

    • Greg M
      Posted March 29, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      I don’t really think understanding human suicide is the point of this discussion, so much as understanding the capacity of non-human animal brains. I would look first to Orcas for this type of behavior. They are the only non-human species that appears to have documentable self-aware quasi-linguistic vocalizations.

  16. Thebear
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Beaching whales springs to my mind – but afaik that behaviour isn’t properly understood.

    Establishing intentionality in animals is in my view very difficult. One can allways interprent, but the danger of antromorphication is definitly there. So untill we teach whales to write suicide notes (ref: David Brin) I guess the question will be undecided.

  17. blue
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    My take: a human is the only animal capable of exercising that pernicious thing called ‘free will’, and end its life while still able to reproduce. It’s a side effect of our unique consciousness, with its exceptionally developed self-awareness. It can actually overcome the prime directive – “copy thyself”.

    In other words: there are no emo chimps.

  18. Posted July 7, 2010 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    So where does it leave “natural selection” and the fact that educated human beings commit suicide? Why would an educated human being deliberately end their ability to reproduce, often during the prime reproductive window of life and, even when a suicide is not caused by a loss of or lack of finding a suitable mate? Why would an already wealthy and educated human being leave all hope of reproduction far behind in the dust and venture out where no suitable mate is likely to be found and, often engage in war and commit great violence and otherwise risk life and limb, at the mere wisp of a hint of a few gold or other dollars more? Is reproductive survival really the singular root motivation of human beings, as the theory of evolution by natural selection has long assumed? Why do some of our most educated modern human beings continue to create weapons of mass destruction, pollute the habitat of their own offspring and use their education to bilk the common masses out of their life savings which deceptive financial schemes? How could Adolf Hitler, Albert Schweitzer, Bonnie Parker and Mother Teresa, all arise in the same modern “advanced” species? How can the known history of Cortez, the American West and the Klondike Gold Rush be rationally explained by modern evolutionary theory? Why are scientists, lawyers and politicians on the corporate payroll here in the 21st Century, after thousands of years of moral education to the contrary, pretending there is no such thing as global warming? Since the technology has existed since the 1980’s, why aren’t millions of Americans already driving inexpensive automobiles that get 100+ MPG? How does this insure the reproductive survival of our species?

  19. Posted July 9, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    WHY EVOLUTION IS NOT TRUE:

    Evolution is a misleading term that causes the vast majority of people, including many educators, to misconstrue what the known evidence actually demonstrates. What is true based on ALL of the known evidence, is that life is created so it can survive by adapting over time as environments dictate. A much better description for this is “life in transition” or “creation-in-flux”, rather than “evolution”.

    Articles published in major media continue to mislead the public by presenting a simplistic model of evolution taught 20 or more years ago, that is no longer true based on the current known evidence, nor is it agreed to by most current professional biologists.

    Suppose 100 birds classified by science as being the same “species”, were living in San Pedro, California. Now suppose somebody caged 75 of these birds and put them on a ship heading for the South Pacific. Now suppose the ship began sinking near three very different island environments, the birds were mercifully released from their cage before it sank and, 25 of the 75 birds ended up in each of three very different island environments.

    After many generations, assuming they all reproduced normally, a scientist might then happen along and discover three “new” species of birds, classifying the now several hundred of each population as four “distinct” species; three “new” species on each of the three islands being traced back as having “evolved” from the original “species” left behind in California.

    Given this simplistic scenario, what is actually true is that the same life form has so dramatically changed due to survival circumstances, that science now artificially classifies it as four distinct different “species” of bird. In true reality, it is the same bird, the same life form, which has adapted and changed in order to survive.

    That is a much different reality than the general public typically is taught, due to the very poorly termed word “evolution”, which should have been discarded a long time ago. The general media, PBS and other science videos and school textbooks, continue to paint a false picture in the minds of students and the general public. Such media often contains extremely biased, non-evidence based conclusions, such as human beings are often said to be descended from the “ape family”.

    Even Richard Dawkins admits that apes and humans represent two modern life forms that did not exist in the not too distant past. It is just as accurate to say that apes “evolved” from the human family as it is to say that humans “evolved” from the ape family, although neither claim is accurate.

    Get over it, Antony Flew did. Species do not “evolve” from other species. Rather, ALL of life is in a constant state of transition as it adapts and changes to an ever-changing environment. This very clearly demonstrates creation; deliberate conception, design and construction by a Higher Intelligence. This is what the known evidence of every human civilization generation has AWLAYS clearly demonstrated.

  20. Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    To Richard Aberdeen
    With the bird model you described variance within the species. If new genes or chromosomes are introduced, then eventually there will be a point at which two groups exist which cannot reproduce together. This would be over a long time period, so don’t expect it to be observable within a human lifetime as many creationists do. At this point the two groups could be defined as different species.
    How you can stick in the your sentence ‘This very clearly demonstrates creation; deliberate conception, design and construction by a Higher Intelligence. This is what the known evidence of every human civilization generation has AWLAYS clearly demonstrated.’ which connects to nothing in the previous reasoning.
    It does not clearly demonstrate creation, deliberate conception or construction. I think you really need to learn how to construct a logical argument and carry the process through to the end instead of picking the bits which suit your desired destination. This is the fault with ALL creationist thinking. Creationism by its very nature cannot EVER have a scientific proof. The only proof that a thing is created is to see someone create it, in the case of the Cosmos, that is NEVER. That some Shaman three thousand years ago DECIDED that God did it and then wrote it on a stone tablet is NOT a scientific argument. If you wish to believe in a Creationist Universe, feel free, but please do not insult others with such a poor display of gobbledegook dressed up as Science. Please try applying the logical, scientific critique that you apply to Evolution to your own religious beliefs and see how well they stand up.

  21. m
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I firmly believe my 12 year old cat committed suicide and so does my mother.


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