Should apes have rights? Absolutely not. Rights are a human concept, premised on the idea of autonomous individuals, who should be treated equally before the law.
Animals are not autonomous. They cannot take responsibility for their own actions, and they cannot – like us humans – subordinate their individual natural drives to the interest of society as a whole. In fact, they do not have society. It is therefore nonsensical to grant animals rights.
Continue reading “Animals are useless, unless humans make use of them”
Time and again, we are told that humans are not that special after all: abilities previously thought to be uniquely human are now purportedly evident amongst the great apes. The most recent claim, published in the current issue of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, is that orang-utans use mime to make themselves understood.
Continue reading “Orang-utans are not remotely like humans”
Oliver and Gillian Schonrock have inspired a heated debate this week about how much independence children should have. The couple from south London have been allowing their eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son to cycle one mile unsupervised from their home to school.
Continue reading “Set children free by trusting adults”
A handful of chimp mothers carrying around their dead babies is not evidence of ‘human-like’ qualities.
‘Chimps “feel death like humans”’, the BBC reported this week. And according to Scientific American: ‘Like tool use and self-awareness, distinct grief and mourning might be just one more thing we share with our closest living relatives.’
Continue reading “Monkeys mourning? Don’t make me laugh”
A new book explodes the myth of racist children and reveals how anti-racist initiatives in British schools have split pupils into ethnic camps.
Continue reading “This isn’t racism – it’s just kids being kids”
The modern world is damaging children. They are cooped up inside – impassive and apathetic, and unable to create their own fun and entertainment. Their imagination is dulled by too many hours watching the TV and playing on sedentary computer games. Their minds are corrupted by commerce and advertising. They are traumatised by testing.
So we are increasingly led to believe.
Continue reading “Battle in Print: comments on Sue Palmer’s ‘Out to Play’”
The idea that the first three years of our lives make us who we are is scientifically unsound.
Continue reading “The determinist myth”
A few years ago, in my home town of Trondheim, a five-year-old girl called Silje was beaten up by three boys of her own age, knocked unconscious and left to freeze to death in the snow. People were shocked. Teachers and childcare officers were not alone in wanting to know where the adults had been when this happened. The children, it transpired, had been playing outdoors unsupervised.
Continue reading “A right to play”