Penguins, Shy Swedish Females and the Non-Speciesist Imperative
Now we have this report from Yahoo! News:
BERLIN (AFP) - Six gay penguins at a German zoo are still refusing to mate with females of the species flown in from Sweden in 2005, the zoo said.
The problem was that the female Humboldt penguins have proven too shy in their advances, the director of the zoo in the northern port city of Bremerhaven said.
"The Swedes will not make the first move," Heike Kueck said.
The females were flown in last year in a bid to bring the males to mate and help save the Humboldt species from extinction.. . . .
The initiative to "turn" the penguins and make them mate had prompted a furious response from gay rights groups.
I encourage you to read the whole article, which is quite short and is accompanied by a cute picture of penguins cuddling. [Update: if the link does not work, see below.]
So we have a great moral dilemma: the environmentalists want to save the species, and gay rights activists want a "hands off" approach to their sexual orientation. So I wonder: WWDD? (What Would Dawkins Do?).
In a previous post, I chuckled at Richard Dawkins' views (as expressed in this Washington Post article) and his belief that "the fact that humans think of themselves as altogether distinct from other animals -- and the biblical notion that humans have dominion over other animals -- is a sort of racism." He also condemns our culture's "speciesist imperative." However, I completely agree with him that "evolutionary science has a great deal to say about ethics and morality." I am glad that he is willing to stand up and be honest about it. As noted previously, intelligent design is a scientific theory with obvious philosophical implications. And macroevolutionary theory is a scientific theory with obvious philosophical implications. It is also obvious that macroevolutionary theory has ethical and moral implications. It seems to me that people who ignore or deny the implications of both are simply being obtuse (for example, a certain judge).
For these reasons and others, banning any criticism of macroevolutionary theory from the public schools and giving macroevolutionary theory monopoly status is arguably itself a violation of the Establishment Clause.
Dawkins' views on foxhunting and bullfighting are not the only moral and legal conclusions that you could draw from evolutionary theory. It could be (and has been) used to justify killing 6 million Jews, among other things.
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Update: If the Yahoo News link does not work, try a Yahoo or Google search for "gay penguins Swedish Humboldt."