Saturday, September 29, 2007

Austrian court won't delare chimp to be a person

About six months ago, I commented on a court case in Austria in which the court was to rule if a chimpanzee is entitled to "human personhood" or not. Well, the court dismissed the case earlier this week, which is good news to anyone opposed to such lunacy. The plaintiffs have said they will appeal the dismissal to the Austrian supreme court, but hopefully sanity will win out yet again and they will also dismiss this farce. Although I'm an American and this case was in Europe, I watched it closely because of the chance that is could set a very bad precedent, that could, sometime down the road, have ramifications elsewhere. It's nice to see that the judge here decided to use judicial restraint here, instead of engaging in legislation and social engineering from the bench, which seems to be all too common these days, both here in the USA and abroad.

Vege-vangelist teacher fired by school board

A few weeks ago I posted about crackpot teacher Dave Warwak , who came under fire for proselytizing his vegan agenda to his students without the knowledge and consent of their parents. According to this report, Warwak was fired by a unanimous vote of the school board, after he claiming he wouldn't return to the school until the cafeteria removed all meat and dairy from the menu. Besides Warwak's crazy, juvenile tantrum about the cafeteria, what's interesting here is what some of the students have said. Apparently Warwak asked them to not report his evangelizing to their parents or to school administation. That is pretty damning evidence in my book that Warwak knew full well that what he was doing was completely unacceptable. A teacher doesn't ask students to not tell their parents or other faculty members about what is going on in their classroom, unless that teacher has something to hide. Period. Mr. Warwak has thrown away his teaching career in order to become a "martyr" for his fanatical veganism. I hope it was worth it to him to not only throw away his career, but to make himself look like an utter idiot in the process. I guess he could always get a job as a paid shill for PeTA. And BTW Mr. Warwak, don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vegan evangelist teacher leaves rambling diatribe on PeTA blog

I posted the other day about the story of art teacher Dave Warwak who has been suspended by his school for continually proselytizing veganism to his students. Well, Mr. Warwak has left a bizarre, rambling diatribe on the comments section of the PeTA blog post regarding his suspension ( scroll down and read the comments by Warwak ) . Notice that Mr. Warwak doesn't answer ANY of the arguments directed against him. Not a single one. Instead, he offers up all kinds of strawmen and red herrings that range from references to humane education to school shootings. It all amounts to nothing more than hyper-zealous, self-serving grandstanding. It's so all over the place and off the real issues that it barely seems coherent! I left comments in response to Mr. Warwak's rant on the PeTA blog, that, as of this time, have yet to be published ( If it turns out that PeTA doesn't have the courage to post my response to Mr. Warwak, I will post it here. ). I think that most reasonable people that read Mr. Warwak's comments can see them for what they are: an intellectually bankrupt, rambling screed of a zealous lunatic, that is barely even rational. Hopefully, Mr. Warwak isn't typical of the quality of teachers in today's public schools. If he is, the next generation and this nation, are in deep, deep trouble.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Study: Human toddlers smarter than chimps. Well, duh!

A new study seems to have confirmed what most of us, save for perhaps some in the AR community, have suspected all along: human children are smarter than chimps. The study found that human children at 2 years of age have superior social cognitive skills to apes. ARAs sometimes will use the fact that some scientists claim that humans and chimps share so much genetically that the two should, in fact both be classified in the same genus, or even the same species, as a transparent, feeble attempt to justify "personhood" for chimps. Such an opinion is in the scientific minority however, because genetic similarities are not the only criterion used in determining taxonomic classification. It also involves other factors such as anatomical/physiological similarities, as well as behavioral/social similarities, and in those respects, humans and chimps are obviously quite different. This study seems to help confirm that fact. Well, there you have it: two year olds are smarter than chimpanzees. But what about PeTA members or ALF thugs vs. chimps? That comparison hasn't been made yet. My money would be on the chimps.

Teacher removed from classroom for proselytizing veganism

A Chicago-area art teacher has been removed from the classroom for proselytizing veganism to his students according to this report. The teacher, Dave Warwak, who has been a vegan since January ( ever notice how the most recent converts, be it to veganism or religion, are always the most obnoxious ? ) , gave talks about veganism to his 8th grade students and distributed a pro-vegan book to them.
Not surprisingly, PeTA has gotten their collective panties all in a bundle over this. One of their talking heads posted about it on their blog, and this post and its subsequent comments seem to be centered around the idea that this is somehow a free speech issue. That however, doesn't wash. It is a well known fact that free speech does in fact have its limits, often dependent on the situation. If someone was to proselytize like this to their co-workers, and it was reported, in most workplaces, it would be considered a form of harassment and creating a hostile work environment. It could be mean discipline anywhere from a warning to suspension to termination. Why should this situation be any different? If it is "creating a hostile work environment" to push one's own personal views on to fellow adults in the workplace, why is not equally, or perhaps even more so, a form of "creating a hostile learning environment" to push one's own personal views onto children in the school? Additionally, there is the issue of parental consent. Children cannot give informed consent to be proselytized in this manner, so their parents must give consent for them. I wonder how many even knew about Mr. Warwak's pontificating, let alone approved of it. By not informing the parents and seeking their permission, Mr. Warwak violated those parents' right to decide what values, ideologies and philosophies are appropriate to be taught to their children. I don't have children, but if I did, I know that I wouldn't want them being proselytized to about veganism anymore than I would want them to be proselytized to about creationism, Islam, environmentalism, or any other ideology or religion, especially in a public school, that I, a taxpayer, pay for. School should be about education, not indoctrination or social engineering. Mr. Warwak is paid by the taxpayers to teach students art, not to abuse his position as teacher and use it as a bully pulpit to evangelize his students into his ideology. Every time he chooses to pontificate about veganism to these kids instead of teaching them the curriculum he is charged with teaching, he fails them. He is wasting students' time and taxpayers' money. Shame on him. And shame on the AR/vegan ideologues who support him and disingenuously claim that this issue is about something that it's not.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Respones to pro-AR comments

A couple of ARAs left some comments to older posts that I feel a need to respond to. I've decide to respond here, as opposed to the comments section of deeply buried, old posts. Here's the comments that were left:

In response to a post about a Canadian AR group exploiting children for ideological gain, Jason left the following comment:

"I'm curious what the difference is between allowing your child to participate in an animal rights protest and allowing your child to be in a Mcdonalds ( sic ) commercial?
Are the children being "exploited" by their parents and Mcdonalds ( sic ) as well? Or is it only because you disagree with the message of these particular children that you find it so offensive? Though I have no children, if I did I would be proud if they chose to protest against animal cruelty. That is so much better than joining the brainless masses who live their lives without any thought to the well being of others. It's sad that selfishness, cruelty and greed are considerd ( sic ) the "status quo"."

What Jason is offering here is essentially a straw man argument. Instead of addressing the original issue of whether Liberation B.C. is engaging in child exploitation for ideological gain that I raised, Jason sets up the issue of McDonald's advertising and chooses to attack it. For the sake of argument however, I'll answer what Jason has raised here. I agree with Jason that McDonald's using children in advertising is a form of child exploitation, and I'm not particularly fond of it. I think the ethics and level of responsibility of such business practices are questionable at best. However, I do see a difference between the two. Animal rights is a complex enough issue for adults to understand, let alone kids. It is an emotionally charged issue that involves arguments from diverse, complicated subjects such as ethics, philosophy, and biology, that young children cannot comprehend. Children cannot understand the issue from a rational perspective, only from an emotional one, and that leaves them extremely vulnerable to indoctrination. In short, children CANNOT give informed consent as to whether or not they want to be part of such ideology. Kids being involved in fast food advertising is somewhat different. It does not involve emotionally exploitative indoctrination to a worldview, philosophy, or ideology, as involving kids in AR protests does. I acknowledge that it certainly involves predatory/exploitative advertising of potentially unhealthy products to children, whom again, cannot give informed consent, which is unethical and irresponsible. It does not however, sink to the same low of emotionally exploiting children in order to indoctrinate them into a particular worldview that they can't fully grasp the implications of, or simply using them as pawns for ideological gain, IMHO. That is simply disgusting and reprehensible.

Regarding a post about the animal deaths involved in the production of vegan foods, "halv" left the following comment:

"Wow...comparing the unfortunate and unintended killing of small animals during produce farming to the fully intentional killing of animals for meat production is really stretching it. That's like saying someone who accidentally hits a deer with their car is the same as someone who goes hunting. Your getting desperate Grizz.
But your attention seeking ways continue....and sadly I'm helping it along by writing in."

Bringing up the issue of the extensive animal death involved in the production of vegan diets isn't "stretching it", it's a valid point, and one that ARAs don't really have a sufficient answer for. If animals are truly rights holding beings as the ARAs insist, then how can these deaths simply be ignored and written off? Rights is serious business, and the violation of any rights-holding being's right to life, the most basic right of all, must be addressed, whether that violation is a matter or intention or negligence. If animals have rights, then no amount of "collateral damage" to those rights-holding entities can be acceptable. I wonder if "halv" would say that x number of human children being killed in crop agriculture is acceptable "collateral damage" that cannot be helped, or if he/she would say that any number of human children being killed in crop agriculture is unacceptable and all measures must be taken to prevent it. If animals hold the same basic rights as human children, then how can it possibly be ethical to blow off the deaths of those animals any more than it would be ethical to blow off the deaths of the human children? The reason that "halv" and his/her ilk don't want to seriously address this issue is because it reveals the hypocrisy, and ethical/intellectual inconsistency that lies at the heart of AR ideology. If vegans/ARAs seriously confront their own hypocrisy and their own complicity in animal death, it costs them some of the moral high ground that they like to believe they hold, and many of them are far too arrogant to give up that psuedo moral high ground. I'm curious as to how "halv" came up with his/her sophomoric little ad hominem attack in the last line. "Halv" gives no supporting evidence for the charge that I'm "attention seeking". What I seek to inform people about is the dark side of the AR movement, its implications to personal liberty, as well as it's hypocrisy and intellectual inconsistency, and the last thing "halv" and other ARAs want is for that to be exposed. "Halv", thou doth protest too much.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A gathering of lunatics.......

........will be happening in November according to this release. A conference entitled "Smash The State, Crush The Cage" will be held November 9-11 at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. From it's bizarre, radical title, one can probably guess that this will be a gathering of the looniest of AR lunatics such as the so-called "anarchist" crowd. What's interesting here is the last line of this release. Apparently everyone is welcome except "representatives of the military, the police, and/or federal agencies". Hmmmm. I wonder why that would be? Talk of violent overthrow of the government and and other criminal activity per chance? As per usual for the nutty, malcontented "anarchist" crowd, these folks don't seem to be real bright. The surest way to attract the attention of law enforcement is to tell them to stay away. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at this one.