> America is basically a conservative, corrupt dystopia.
America is a country of 320 million people with a median income of $51,939. A place where people are literally flooding to legally and illegally to get a piece of the prosperity. It a place that in the past 60 years invented the transistor, the personal computer, satellite communication, the internet, chemotherapy, lasers, fiber optics, countless pharmaceutical drugs, the iPhone and Android mobile devices, the list keeps going. Doesn't sound any dystopia I've ever heard of.
A case study on FDA from my father, a cardiologist: A recent advancement in replacement heart valves reduces mortality rates from 10% in high risk patients (old and very unhealthy) to 0.9%, from 5% in medium risk patients to 0.4%. This studies were confirmed through clinical trials run by very well respected doctors. Nevertheless, the FDA still required their own set of trials to confirm the safety of the procedure. This was 5 years ago. The FDA first ran a set of trials, not on standard patients but only those that were deemed "inoperable". They spent a few years working that out and found that the device succeeded, but the approval was only given for patients that were inoperable. Then the FDA covered patients that were high risk, spent a few years and found again that the device was hugely beneficial in mortality rates and the device was approved for high risk patients. We are currently in the waiting for the FDA to approve the device for medium risk patients. In the mean time, my father had a medium risk patient who needed a valve replacement. He could not use the new device, so he sent the man to surgery for a standard valve replacement with 5% mortality risk. The man died on the table, becoming part of the 5%, and my father insists that he would have survived if they had been able to use the new procedure. In Germany there are less regulations, and so they have been using the new technique for 5 years with great success. Because of things like this, you'll commonly see medical procedures in Europe that are 5 years ahead of their counterparts in America, all because the FDA insists on using such plodding methods to verify safety.
It is amazing how everyone can jump on this wave of political bandwagon, including the government in Zimbabwe, without really acknowledging the irony that much more terrible things have happened in Zimbabwe in the past 20 years without nearly the same outcry. Massive hyperinflation, people starving to death, and we suddenly have tears in the West over "Cecile the lion". The corrupt government of Zimbabwe is quick to wipe away our tears and assure us that this will never happen again, all the while continuing to neglect their human citizens. I can agree that big game hunting is stupid and wasteful, but killing a lion simply isn't that big of a deal, not in the grand scheme of things, and not when we rely every day on the deaths of millions of cattle to provide us food. That's just cognitive dissonance. If anything, the doctor was paying a high price for a stupid hobby, which ultimately benefits the local people of Zimbabwe. How many people in Zimbabwe can be fed for $25,000, the price of hunting a male lion?
Basically "Vivid, flesh and blood-victims are often more powerful sources of persuasion than abstract statistic". Most people love Lions and think they are awesome, and hate seeing them caged in zoos. Now we hear about this one lion minding it's own business being lured from a preserve and being killed by some rich American guy .... the lion becomes the flesh and blood victim. Problem like hyperinflation and massive death, while obviously much worse (and horrible) are much harder for the human mind to understand and just become a statistic.
It is extremely scary that this is a problem but it is fairly well known and studied. Stalin even knew about the problem:
"one man's death is a tragedy, a millions deaths are a statistic"
I obviously agree with you, just pointing you to why it is happening.
The elephant in the living room is that the outcry about Cecil the Lion was a form of 'Virtue Signaling.' When people express outrage over something that 'no good person could be for' they do it as a way of forming in-group cohesion.
The article this thread is associated with shows that different groups can rally around different values. If you were from that man's family in Zimbabwe you clearly would have a different take on it and use different 'virtue signals.'
I could never put it into words before but I think this is the reason I dislike Facebook and social media in general. It looks like a big contest of who can show how much they believe in x and it all seems so fake.
But people have not been ignoring it. I have been hearing about it for years. Why is no American actually up in arms about the Zimbabwean government?
1) It is an ongoing problem, not an isolated incident.
2) There is an easy resolution to people from the U.S. flying down there to go hunting that the dept of Justice can implement. Solving the Zimbabwean government's corruption requires more resources than the DoD and state department have available. Americans, particularly those who came of age politically in 2003-2007 are deeply suspicious of our ability to enact regime change.
3) This was the straightforward fault of an American. However the U.S. bears zero responsibility for Mugabe's actions unless you blame the U.S. for pressuring Ian Smith to resign.
4) There are small numbers of Americans that are upset about the fall of the Rhodesian government, but they irredeemably associated with murderous racism in the eyes of most Americans. Thus, there is no simple narrative that mainstream Americans can put forth as a solution or thing-that-should-have-been-done.
People with no responsibility for causing the situation, no clear path to fix the situation, and only the power to create an atrociously bloody mess of the situation cannot be faulted for only being passively aware of the situation.
>It is not invalid to care about something just because there are also more important things in the world.
But the lack of displaying caring behavior about the bigger issue while displaying caring behavior about the smaller issue can be a basis by which to question if they really care, or if the behavior is being expressed for some other reason. Many sibling posts here have other reasons for displaying caring behavior other than actually caring (some which have some scientific basis).
I just wonder why people care about this one specific lion. Cause it had a nickname and was "famous"? No one cares about animals being killed on mass so we can eat them, i know i don't, but oh no, a lion is killed, they are running out of those in Zimbabwe. Is it because it had a dramatic story line? Everyone will forget about this "massive tragedy" in a few weeks anyway.
> No one cares about animals being killed on mass so we can eat them, i know i don't, but oh no, a lion is killed, they are running out of those in Zimbabwe.
It's not about animal death, it's about killing an iconic animal (a lion) which we're already in danger of losing entirely. And -- to make it worse -- killing it for no other reason than for some kind of misguided personal glory. And on top of that doing so in a way that smacks of old school rapacious colonialism.
> Everyone will forget about this "massive tragedy" in a few weeks anyway.
Sadly, yes. And when you finally see that news report in a few decades about how the last wild lion finally got poached, well, you can rest assured that we'll all forget about that "massive tragedy" in a few weeks, as well. No harm, no foul.
My outcry stems from the fact that a wild lion is a rare, beautiful creature and we should be extra careful with them because I think we all would like to live in a world where out children, grandchildren, and people far into the future can continue to experience and admire these creatures.
So if you're asking if I care about people hunting lions legally? I don't like it and find it offensive, cruel, and destructive.
If you're asking whether I care about people hunting deer or rabbits? I don't like it, but I also recognize that it's much more complicated. And I don't think we're in danger of hunting those species out of existence, so it's a bit of a lesser issue. Also, eating when you've hunted does change the equation. I'm not a vegetarian. I understand that animals die so I can eat meat. Whether that's moral is a completely different issue.
> My outcry stems from the fact that a wild lion is a rare, beautiful creature and we should be extra careful with them because I think we all would like to live in a world where out children, grandchildren, and people far into the future can continue to experience and admire these creatures.
So it's again just about "us", about our own perverse pleasure of experiencing and projecting our own suppressed wilderness fantasies onto other sentient beings? And if the creature isn't "beautiful" by some random standard, well, sucks to be them? That's the exact "logic" all the trophy hunters have, they want to experience the majestic wilderness and be a part of the "circle of life" by a playing a faked game of life and death with a powerful beast. After all, where's the grandeur in hunting a mere cow, right? Of course, all in a highly controlled and for them completely safe and alienated fashion, with practically zero risk of being killed themselves.
> Also, eating when you've hunted does change the equation.
Unless you're in a specific situation where you're environmentally forced to hunt in order to survive, I don't see how it changes anything. Would you be willing to let your cat or dog be hunted by your neighbors on the condition that they eat them?
Heh, I actually wanted to placate that post with disclaimers along the lines of "or any other animal, regardless of 'legal' status and 'ownership', and I do not condone hunting and/or eating said animals by others". I know you're kidding, but ... yeah, geekish pseudo-OCD. Aaaand do note that in my original post I was referring to your neighbor specifically, you're the one who implicated me into this whole mess!
No, dishonorable because the guy lured the lion out of the zoo with a piece of meat, then shot it with an arrow from his Jeep. Then the animal bled for 40 hours before they finally caught up to it and killed it. Then he bragged about how he's an amazing hunter.
A lion is well edible. So is a cat, a dog, and just about any other creature people in various cultures regard as "pets".
As far as suffering goes, milk cows in particular suffer their whole lives being literally raped, having suction devices affixed to their nipples, and their children taken away from them almost as soon as they're born.
I think there's a risk of dismissing a sentiment you don't understand as therefore being irrational vs being something that you simply don't understand. To play Devil's advocate here we have always had the problems you mention and most likely always will; at least for a very long time. But there's a very real chance (and very soon) that we won't have these magnificent creatures like Lions/Rhinos/Elephants etc. The killing of a lion like Cecil (tagged, well known) increases that sense of urgency and concern that we seem unable to save these creatures from hunters and poachers. These are not renewable resources like cattle or chicken.
Secondly so many big problems are complex with multiple contributing factors and it's hard to tell the victim from the perpetrator and often times those roles change over time. Cecil's killing, much like the killing of a child, is very black and white. He was lured with game, shot with an arrow, suffered pain for 40 hours and was then shot and beheaded. There's no shades of gray in there like "Was he or she in the wrong place at the wrong time? Did they do something to contribute to their own demise via their behaviour? Are we going to find out some new fact in this case in 72 hours or at the trial that makes us realize there's more to this victim than we thought?"
I think it's this sense of losing for ever combined with the lack of any ambiguity that creates such a strong response. To address your post it is logical and explainable. You may not agree with it but it's certainly not irrational behavior.
It's not at all amazing: it is because Cecil's story is representative of just how flagrantly fucked up a situation exists, and Cecil's story is, of the countless such involving people and culture and animals, so very easy to tell.
Is it valid to go meta and ask the same questions about the incredulity about the coverage? I.e. there are numerous more egregious examples of people getting outraged about relatively unimportant stuff while ignoring important stuff, so why is everybody getting upset at the disproportionate outrage over Cecil the Lion?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if worse things were being caused in Zimbabwe by a rich American dentist then they would probably have caused their own band wagon. It's not just the poaching, it's that it was literally a holiday for a rich white guy who wanted to kill something.
I think that people channel their repressed opinions of the world, my job, diet, lifestyle, etc. is killing the planet, burning the ozone, supporting child slavery, whatever, into causes where they have the rare ability to have their real and ideal values match. I haven't hunted a lion and therefore I can speak from a moral high ground, blah blah blah.
No it's because it's useless. "Oh this is terrible" - well great, propose some solutions?
In the case of Cecil the Lion it's "stop shooting endangered species you stupid rich Americans" - it highlights the very real poaching problem which is destroying large wildlife in Africa, and which costs actual human lives to (something like 5000 park rangers have been murdered by poachers over the last 10 years).
Fix Zimbabwe's government? Well we tried that in Afgahnistan and Iraq and it didn't work. And we certainly have been trying things in Africa - I have an uncle who was there for years as part of the various support and aid missions the UK run in commonwealth countries which fund things like schools.
One of these problems we could not have our own citizens fall ass-backwards into making it worse (and have some scope to actually prevent). The other we're working on but feeling "the full force of the tragedy" every day is wildly unproductive.
>In the case of Cecil the Lion it's "stop shooting endangered species you stupid rich Americans"
Except offering controlled hunts can be used to the benefit of the endangered species. Direct benefits such as removing the male in charge once they have become too old to the indirect benefit such as the sale of such hunting rights providing funds to help the species in question.
> removing the male in charge once they have become too old
This seems a bit far-fetched to me. I doubt that hunting parties care particularly about targeting males that have "become too old" (define too old). Also, to the extent that this would be a problem in the first place, nature has been handling this situation with what I can assume is remarkable efficiency for millions of years without relying on humans.
The second point you raise makes more sense; however, I'd find it hard to rely on a famously corrupt government to distribute funds from hunting to protect species and feed their citizens rather than protect and feed themselves.
The ideal is that hunting these animals are in general illegal and you are given permission only for a single pre-selected individual. The licenses for such would go on bid and the highest bidder wins the right. I think this has been done before to some success.
>nature has been handling this situation with what I can assume is remarkable efficiency for millions of years without relying on humans.
And in many cases nature has allowed a species to go extinct as well. The specific case would be a patriarch that prevents younger more fertile males from propagating while his own genetics is weakened from age (consider in humans how age of either parent correlates with birth defects). It is an overall rare case, but the idea is that permission to legally hunt an endangered animal will sale for a high price if for no other reason than because it is so rare.
>I'd find it hard to rely on a famously corrupt government to distribute funds from hunting to protect species and feed their citizens rather than protect and feed themselves.
Yeah, it only works if you have a decent enough government. Which brings in the question of if fixing the government may be more important a goal not just because of how it benefits humans but how it can benefit the endangered species. (Not to say we have any good way to do such.)
Economy is creeping simple. This is not earning $25,000, is a monetary disaster.
Lets forget all about destroying a scientific work of decades just for fun; If you sell only 6 photographic safaris each year just because this particular lion permited turists to be at 10 m you earn about $29,000 each year. (I think that just doing 6 photo safaris in a single year is a ridiculous low and ultra-conservative estimate).
Multiply this for the last 13 years and you'll have earned at least 375,000 dollars (If we assume only a single jeep and tour-operator doing business in the park, something that is false, obviously). Just a pale shadow of the real monetary value of the animal. Is not unreasonable to asume a damage over the million dollars here.
So if we cry for starving people, this single animal has been feeding african toddlers and their families, for its entire life and could continue doing this for other 3 or 5 years maybe, except because it was killed, just for fun, and his head is converted to a valuable object that can be re-selled maybe tomorrow. For the hunter's point of view, is an investment.
I also want to do some charity. Will you sell me the liberty statue for a 0,01% of its real value please?. Hey, is for a good cause... be richer. I'll give valuable facebook likes to the poor starving children of Minessota also. I promise.
> It is amazing how everyone can jump on this wave of political bandwagon, including the government in Zimbabwe
The government isn't, really. They're issuing a temporary moratorium until the media attention dies down. They don't actually care; they're just playing the media.
In other words, they're doing the cynical thing to get the media off their backs until the story blows over, and then it'll be business as usual again (and like any other tempest in a teapot, nobody's going to care anymore by the end of August).
The cognitive dissonance you cite disappears completely if we accept the uncomfortable elephant in the room: we value the remaining animals far more than we value human life. And isn't that normal when there are 7 billion of us and 30 000 of them?
How many humans do there need to be before I can own one and keep it in a cage (even if regulations require it to be a big cage)? I'm thinking of putting the cage on display and calling it something. Maybe a yoo.
My point being, we seem to value them more in our actual interactions, but when it comes to discussing rights and laws, we still value them less. So my actual question is why do we have this discrepancy. We cry on the death of a lion more than a human, yet putting another lion in a cage for our own amusement is allowed but doing the same with a human is considered extremely wrong.
You have correctly identified the contradiction. We love animals but our instincts are even stronger. The only rational conclusion is that we are not rational creatures - we are creatures of instinctive survival/domination. Therein lies the dissonance, because we refuse the rational conclusion which would be explicitly to value human lives less than those of animals.
For those most opposed, I would agree. But I suspect that most of those involved in this outcry are not so opposed (they may be opposed to any caging, but they would be fine with some level of caging).
The right number is the one which nature will support, and sadly, that probably means we'll push out the wildlife entirely. My point was that there is a contradiction between a) our stated desire to protect remaining wildlife, and b) our failure to master our own instincts.
Our strongest instinct is survival, closely followed by resource appropriation. Both are the enemy of wildlife, yet we love wildlife. To remove the contradiction we'd have to dominate our survival instinct and reduce our own population, with all the awful moral and ethical consequences (for humans) that that would entail.
We could kill off nearly every other species on the planet, including many of which we have domesticated and breed for product (bees, cows, etc.) and humans would be just fine.
The only sad thing about a species going extinct is it is one less species for us to study and learn from. It's a drastic loss for science and the only hypothetical loss for people at large is if there was something of value lost (e.g. discovery of a gene that cures a disease that only the now-extinct animal naturally produced)
You can especially kill off most apex predators without issue. Which is why the loss of a lion isn't a big deal.
Now if all producers were to go extinct and the bottom feeders of the food chain(s) such as plankton were to vanish from the Earth? Most, if not all, life as we know it would die from starvation. The animals with the most adaptive and most abundant food sources would live the longest, but eventually they would also run out of food!
A lion isn't a producer nor is it the bottom of the food chain. So a lion dying or lions going extinct really doesn't matter outside of scientific studies.
That is total bullshit and you know it. This whole culture of self-loathing was cute at the beginning, but it's descended into absolute absurdity. You are patently out of your mind if you actually believe what you wrote. You don't, of course, but what's a little hyperbole when you're posturing for imaginary geek cred points on a website amirite?
My father, who is a cardiologist, has all these stories about how they keep trying to prove that caffeine and coffee in general are bad for you, bad for your heart specifically. But the more they try to prove it is bad, the more they keep finding that caffeine is actually good for you and reduces the risk of heart disease. I'll have to ask him for specific studies. Now the sugar they put in the coffee, that's a different story...
True, but in miniscule amounts. Significantly lower than the doses taken by the people who use L-theanine as a supplement. Also L-theanine to caffeine ratio is all wrong.
>Why pick pure l-theanine and caffeine over green or black tea?
>Most studies done on the l-theanine-caffeine combination have a l-theanine to caffeine ratio that isn't consistent with ratios you would expect from most teas. The studies used about twice as much l-theanine as caffeine by weight. The ratio found in most teas is reversed, with the possible exception of high quality green tea. 
A good way to look at this objectively is to go to scholar.google.com, type in "physics" in the search bar, and limit your results to the past 10-20 years. You will have to filter through the books and survey articles (get a couple pages in), but you should get a picture of the more important articles in the past 20 years.
While the humorous distinctions are all great, they are also sort of tiresome to me. Maybe I'm the only one. To me it's a symptom of a world where we have too much specialization. To do "science" a scientist will often have to do "engineering" and I also feel like engineering expands knowledge just like science does.
Yes because people tend to apply it to people they don't like instead of people that objectively are potentially dangerous. This justifies a lot of bad things including and not limited to restricting ones empathy towards that person because "they have no feelings".
Your boss fires you without any emotion, from his side of the story it is because you annoyed him for a very long time and it was finally the last straw. To you he is a psychopath who doesn't consider any of your feelings having to do with being fired. You go to his house, armed, because people like that deserve to be "put down". You do something stupid and get put in jail, "but it's all his fault, he's the psychopath!"
So applying a label is more harmful to you than causing harm with or without a label. Let me test it: your view is short-sighted. If I was right, you roll your eyes or get irritated. If you were right, then you seeing it led to a feeling of being violated, potentially shortness of breath, lost sleep, and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder. Is this how you feel?
Your other point makes sense. I think it's what your getting at. How people categorize other people can lead to them harming them and often does. This is part of human nature I'm afraid: shows up everywhere with every kind of people with very few exceptions. Your boss vs employee example is decent until you take it to the extreme to support your agenda. An extreme that's rare.
Now, let's try a different take with an actual person in my categorization. He's a nice-looking, sharply-dressed, young manager from a fairly typical family with typical good and bad per people that grew up with him. He picks fights with underlings who are good workers but don't play politics (image worse than him). He wittily cuts them, sets them up for problems, and has enjoyment in his eyes. He regularly deceives both new hires and existing staff in games that benefit him at their other expense. Far from remorse, the more agony and rage people break out into the more there's a glimmer in his eyes. His calm, confident, and apparently caring demeanor around most employees and other management ensure his victim's rage fit appears to be their own personal problems. He cunningly tells a believable story that pushes all the right buttons. They quit. If anything, he's good at getting troubling workers out of the place the others think with some on the fence and a few seeing his game but quiet.
I call him a psychopath, born or learned, because he acts like one. His victims used the same word although it's certainly a pop psych term & that's expected. How would you describe this person to a third party, especially a layperson, that captured these traits adequately?
Note: He eventually did leave the place... in handcuffs... for allegedly fondling his hot gf's... daughter. The look on his face in the mugshot wasn't shame or guilt. It was a look I've seen 100+ times on kids & teens: "Shit I got caught."