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8 May 2012
Is Anthropomorphism a Dirty Word?
Why Animals Matter Says It Is!

(“Anthropomorphism” [human form] refers to the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman beings, such as a deity or other animals, especially attributes of consciousness and emotions.)

In her new book Why Animals Matter: Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-being, University of Oxford animal behaviour professor Marian Stamp Dawkins argues that for animal welfare to work, it “cannot be tinged by anthropomorphism and claims of animal consciousness.” Instead, animal-welfare efforts must focus on “science” and “the critical role animals play in human welfare.”

Dawkins criticizes Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder for being “anthropomorphic” and “anti-science.” To which he responds: “Animals are conscious beings. . . . To continue to deny that other animals are conscious flies in the face of what we know about them and also could be used to justify harming them.” To read it all, click on: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201205/animal-consciousness-and-science-matter.

UPC president Karen Davis wrote today on Amazon that Dawkins rejects “anthropomorphism” as a way of interpreting the minds and feelings of other animals, yet anthropomorphism based on empathy and careful observation is a valid approach to reasonable inferences about other species, especially since we can only see the world “through their eyes” by looking through our own. To read it all, click on: http://www.amazon.com/review/R201GNOAURYXS8.

In 2007 Dawkins accused biologist Jonathan Balcombe of “abandoning all standards of scientific reasoning” for proposing that other animals besides humans are capable of pleasure, happiness and play, causing Karen to ask: Is It Unscientific to Say that an Animal is Happy?

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