Archive for the ‘argument’ Category

Keynote address: Matt Dillahunty

2015/11/10

Matt Dillahunty, our master debater of the night before returned to close out the conference with a keynote address.

Matt Dillahunty

He started by saying it sounds very fancy and formal to call it a keynote, and it would really just be some stuff he thinks, shared in his typical casual style.

Honestly, I think it was both. Matt is one of those people who is capable of communicating important, even profound ideas in an accessible, informal way that feels like (that is) just him shooting the breeze with you.

So here’s the general idea. When you’re in a debate situation – whether it’s a formal debate or a casual conversation between folks who simply disagree over things – try to keep some things in mind.

  • Pick your strengths. Don’t try to go head-to-head over the philosophy of religion if what you know is psychology, or history, or education. Work to your strengths.
  • Find the core of their argument. Not the fluff. Not the Gish gallop of zingers they’ve recited to swamp you. Find the centre of their case – whether it’s personal experience, an appeal to Biblical authority, or whatever – and deal with that. Don’t get distracted or side-tracked.
  • Be yourself. Whether you’re speaking in a public debate or one-on-one, do it as you. That’s the best way to come across knowledgeable and genuine. Share what you know. Be honest about what you don’t know. (Remember that “being comfortable with ignorance” thing from Greg Hart’s talk!)
  • They are trying to sell you something. Let them try. You don’t have to sell anything back. You just have to discuss whether their offering is worth buying, and why. Ask questions. Once again, be comfortable not knowing.
  • Review how things went after the debate. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What did your opponent do right? What did your opponent do wrong? What will you do differently next time?
  • Care about truth, not about winning. If you are trying to win, you will be tempted to take shortcuts. To set good reasoning aside in an attempt to score easy points. But if you are trying to get at the truth – if you are willing to revise your own beliefs on learning new things – then you will always win, no matter whose position turns out to be right.

I can’t think of a better way to close out this series on the conference than with the following quote – something I’ve heard Matt say other times in podcasts and videos. It captures not only his own main point, but one of the recurring themes of the conference. It is a principle at or near the core of most secular people’s worldview.

I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible.

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Dillahunty vs Morrison: Does science lead us toward God?

2015/11/02

(This is part of a series of posts about the 2015 Alberta Secular Conference: None of the Above.)

Jon MorrisonMatt Dillahunty

At the end of the first day of our conference we had a debate. In the atheist corner was Matt Dillahunty, an atheist heavy-hitter with dozens of debates behind him. In the Christian corner was Jon Morrison, an assistant pastor from BC with no debates under his belt, brought in by a local church.

I was prepared for scorched earth, for a (metaphorically) bloody rout of the newcomer by the veteran. But, although Matt clearly reasoned circles around Jon in most of the exchanges, both of them managed to keep it civil and lighthearted throughout. The debate turned out much more engaging and worthwhile than I had feared.

And while, at the end of the debate, Jon had uttered no argument that was at all new or persuasive to me, I felt that I had at least managed to map out where he was coming from. Talking with him afterwards, I was even pleased to find that he supports a secular government as much as anyone else there: he agreed that intertwining religious authority with government is bad on all sides.

So, while I won’t be going to him for metaphysical or philosophical insights, I would be happy to work alongside him on any social issue we agree on. If nothing else, by travelling hundreds of kilometers to debate against someone like Matt Dillahunty in front of a room full of atheists, he has proven his bravery.

I could say more, but why don’t you just watch the debate yourself? Here it is, hosted on Matt’s Atheist Debates YouTube channel (just over 2 hours total). Enjoy!

Too much power

2015/09/02

Canada is currently in the middle of the longest election campaign in memory. It was officially called on August 2nd, and the vote will take place October 19. (Normal election campaigns run 5 or 6 weeks; one recent one ran about 8 weeks. But the current campaign’s ten weeks is apparently the longest since 1872.) And campaigning really began (unofficially) well before that – possibly as early as the tail of the Alberta election in May.

If the Conservatives win, Prime Minister Steven Harper will be the first in over a century to win four consecutive elections.

And that would be bad news.

It’s not that I don’t like Harper and his party.

Well, okay, it sort of is.

They have been systematically poisoning Canada in two unconscionable ways. First, they are destroying our capacity to know what is happening by muzzling scientists (ask the CBC, the Huffington Post, Democracy Watch, and the New York Times, for example) and turning a valuable census into an anemic survey. Second, they have been stripping Canadians of their rights by passing the abominable Bill C-51, which brushes aside civil liberties in the interest of a questionable strategy for combatting terrorism, and by treating dual citizens as second-class citizens with its bill C-24. These last are purportedly in the name of being tough on crime and on terrorism. But it betrays a lack of imagination that they think the way to protect us from the few bad people in our country is by breaking the core freedoms and rights of law-abiding Canadians.

So yah, I don’t like the Conservatives. I don’t like Harper.

Now, we recently managed to vote out a Conservative party in Alberta which had become so complacent after 40 years in power that even with advance survey results predicting the change, some of us didn’t believe it would really happen. But it did.

And, while I happen to be quite happy with our new government in Alberta, I am even more happy that we, a socially and fiscally conservative province, showed politicians that nobody is invincible. The NDP government is going to heroic lengths to ensure that their budgets and other actions reflect the needs and desires of Albertans. And if, in a future election, we bring back a Conservative government, I predict that it will be a much humbler, chastened party, and will try very hard to govern in line with what people want and need.

With Steven Harper aiming to win an alarming fourth consecutive term as prime minister, I think it’s time we taught our federal parties the same lesson. For most of Canadian history, the roles of government and official opposition have passed between the Conservatives and the Liberals. Now, polls are (tentatively) suggesting that the NDP – the federal counterpart of the same party that overturned Alberta’s political landscape – may form the next Canadian government.

Now, I’m not sure the NDP would be my first choice. I think the Liberals have some things going for them, though I share an antipathy that many Western Canadians have toward that party. (Harper gained power on the heels of scandals among the previous Liberal government.) Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, has (in my opinion) proven to be a much better leader than any of the other leaders in debates and appearances so far. But the Greens are a long shot, and as much as I hate the idea of strategic voting, I don’t want my support for them to split a vote and let Harper stay in power.

One thing that may get the NDP my vote over their opponents is a promise of electoral reform. I believe that proportional representation – the currently most-popular alternative – would make it harder for a single party to hold power for as long and to act as unilaterally as Harper’s Conservatives have done. I think that would invigorate and strengthen our democracy.

But, like many Canadians, my first priority this election is to get Harper out. Get the Conservatives out. I like the idea of a “third party” forming government, just to make it clear to the Conservatives and the Liberals that they don’t own this country, and tactics of fear and smear cannot buy them power.

I encourage other Canadians to do the same – especially Albertans. Don’t let Harper’s rhetoric of fear scare you into following him. Don’t let the uncertainty of an untested party push you toward the certainty of a party that strips away Canadians’ rights and muzzles the people who can give us an unbiased answer to important questions.

Change can be scary. But voting for Harper is choosing to stay in an abusive relationship.

I think I’ll leave the last word to someone who is experiencing first-hand the sort of muzzling that Harper’s party is happy to keep doling out: Tony Turner, writer and performer of the viral “Harperman” video:

Don’t pray on my kids

2015/06/02

Oh, my dear Alberta.

Yes, we have just ousted a party that had been in power long enough to get a real sense of entitlement going.

We are still a socially-conservative province (though perhaps not so conservative as we might think). So we do occasionally get the same issues cropping up here as our southern neighbours get regularly. Today, I’m going to deal with the issue of school prayer.

Most recently, it is a school in Taber, in southern Alberta: Dr. Hamman Elementary School. What’s particularly interesting here is that they stopped morning prayers back in 2013. But the board has decided to reinstate them. (1, 2)

According to the article, they stopped prayers in response to complaints from parents. And now they’ve done a survey, where around 73% of families (91% of respondents) said they wanted prayer. So they’re bringing it back.

I understand that we need to respect everyone’s rights. And, to that end, I would say the obvious solution is for schools not to officially promote any particular kind of prayer. Does that sound one-sided and biased? It sure is one-sided, because the truth is one-sided. Anyone arguing for compassion, religious freedom, respectful education should be on the side of no school-led prayers. Here are the arguments I’ve come across:

Reasons for school prayer:

  • “It acknowledges the Christian heritage of our country.” Really? We have to alienate students who don’t share those beliefs, in order to respect and remember our heritage? Nonsense.
  • “It promotes community cohesion.” Except if you aren’t a member of one of the Christian churches behind this move. I guess the rest of us can just stand outside while the rest of you cohere our community, eh?
  • “It supports the right to religious freedom of the majority of students.” This is a right that people have with or without government-sponsored prayer. Those students who want to pray can do so anyway. Honestly, nothing is stopping them. That’s the same religious liberty that non-Christians are content with in schools.*

Reasons against school prayer:

  • It promotes one religion above others – something a secular school system has no place doing.
  • It makes some students feel ostracised. This marginalization is more of a problem in more Christian-dominant communities, so using a petition or survey as this school council did is exactly backwards (if students’ well-being is important).
  • It opens authorities to the embarrassment and expense of lawsuits, launched on behalf of marginalized students and families.
  • Assuming school prayer is allowed, the principle of equality suggests that non-Christian invocations should also be allowed. Perhaps we could spend the first hours of every school day reciting the basic creeds of all religious groups that students might belong to. How would you feel about your kids learning Buddhist meditation? The Muslim salat? No? Now maybe you see how some of us feel about you pushing prayer on our kids.

Honestly, people: the cause of religious liberty is, in this as in so many other cases, promoted by ensuring a secular public sphere (ie, a public sphere that isn’t bent on imposing one particular form of religion over any other).

Footnote:

* I have occasionally heard the claim from religious that they are actively prevented from praying in public spaces. I have yet to hear any substantial evidence that this is the case, but let me be clear. Preventing someone from praying (so long as they aren’t disrupting others’ freedom to go about their business) is not okay. If you feel you are being unjustly prevented from exercising your religious freedom, let me know. I condemn any unnecessary infringement on religious freedom, and would happily use my little soapbox here to speak against it.

[Edit: I’ve just seen this editorial from the Taber Times, which states things very clearly and eloquently.]

Rant of a *real* fiscal conservative

2015/05/27

Greta Christina has managed to do one of the most annoying things someone can do on the Internet.

She has taken a position that I thought was rather sensible, a bridge between supposedly irreconcilable camps, and exposed it as a sham. A farce. An illusion.

Dammit, Greta, is nothing sacred to you? Oh, right. Anyway, the position in  question is that of the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative”. I had begun to identify tentatively with the label myself.

Her thorough and well-referenced take-down points out that most of the fiscally conservative positions defended by those who like this label are inherently antagonistic to social liberalism. Cutting taxes, shrinking government, deregulating business – all of these have the effect of marginalizing the marginalized, of deepening the social fissures in society (almost all of which have a huge economic angle).

I can’t think of anything to refute the substance of her message.

And yet … there is a linguistic mis-step that irks me. I don’t know if this is a quibble worth clinging to, or if I should just let it go, adapt my vocabulary. Let me know what you think.

You see, what I think when I hear the words “fiscal conservative” is that the government aims to conserve spending – to find the most economically efficient way to achieve a particular goal.

Let’s take health care as an example. The fiscally conservative position would be to use whatever system results in spending the least per procedure, so that more could be achieved with less. Now, the analyses I’ve seen [1,2,3] show that socialized health care is actually more financially efficient than private health care. The first of those points out that per-capita spending on health in Canada in 2009 was about 55% what it was in the US that year.* The most obvious difference between these systems is that we have a health care system in Canada that is more publicly funded than the American system. I can hear the right-wingers crying out that this is obviously false – there must be some mistake. But I don’t hear them offering actually actual evidence-based rebuttal. Instead, they are relying on their ideological commitments.

So, for health care, the fiscally conservative solution is also (happy coincidence) the socially liberal solution. Cool.

Now, I confess that I haven’t worked through all of the issues out there. I suspect that some issues, such as same-sex marriage, have little to no fiscal angle at all. Okay, legalizing it avoids costly human rights trials, and opens up economic niches that are otherwise unavailable. But really, it’s largely an economic non-issue. And other issues, such as tax regimes designed to reduce income inequalities, are not transparently fiscally conservative. So it’s at least plausible that social liberalism and fiscal conservatism occasionally come into conflict.

I guess my big issue with the approach Greta Christina takes is that it grants the self-proclaimed conservatives too much. A government that chooses expensive wars, or criminalizes so many behaviours that it can’t keep up with the self-imposed demand for incarceration space, should not be allowed to label itself “conservative” without eyebrows being raised. The Republican Party in the US is not fiscally conservative. The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta is not fiscally conservative. At least, not in the ways that are important to the lives of average citizens.

I suspect that, on substance, Greta Christina and I would not disagree about much here. What I’m not sure of is whether we could agree on the appropriate use of the language. I feel the same way about this as I do about religious folks trying to “own” the language of morality and family values: they don’t have the corner on that market, and often the people they oppose are doing the real thing even better than they are.

What do you think?

Footnote:

* Yes, I know there are many potential confounds in that data. Maybe Americans are less healthy. Maybe things are more expensive there. But for the cost to be almost double what our Canadian system is, you would expect there to be profound and obvious evidence of such things. And I don’t see it.

Apologetics

2015/04/22

Hi, my name is Tim, and I have a problem with apologetics.

On the one hand, I want to remain open-minded: open to new ideas that don’t fit with my existing beliefs; open to the possibility that I’m wrong about important things. I want to be a person who can see both the positive and the negative of an idea, whether it’s an idea I want to believe, or one I want to reject, or one that I’m indifferent to.

On the other hand, I’ve read a few works of religious apologetics. They have all been singularly lacking in philosophical rigour, scientific literacy, or open-mindedness. They have been disappointing. And that makes it hard to give the next work of apologetics a fair hearing, because I can already hear all of my well-exercised objections starting to clamour for attention, almost as soon as I open the cover.

So, when I crack into a new work of apologetics, I feel the cynicism, the disgust, and the contempt start to bubble up. And that’s not the type of person I want to be. I am not a cynic. I am not a contemptuous person.

My solution, for the moment, is to go cold-turkey on reading apologetics. No more giving them the benefit of the doubt. No more slogging through mind-numbing obsequiousness or self-congratulatory drivel to determine whether some new apologist has an amazing insight that I haven’t yet come across.

If you are a believer and think there is a knock-down argument, or even just a thought-provoking speculation, that I should be exposed to, please share it with me in the comments section. I am still determined to remain open to dialogue.

Anyway, rant over. Also, happy Earth Day everyone!

Can you tell up from down?

2014/10/01

Secular morality is relative.

Therefore, there is no ultimate, absolute, universal right and wrong in secular morality.

Because of this, there is no reason for anyone to follow secular moral rules.

It amazes me how often I hear something like this line of reasoning trotted out as a defeater for secular morality. I have long seen that it’s a completely vacuous argument, but I haven’t been able to articulate the problem with it.

Now I think I have a nice illustration that can demonstrate why it fails.

Consider the concepts of “up” and “down”.

These are obviously very useful concepts. They are important directions when dealing with actions like standing, lifting, dropping, flying, etc. They also serve as anchors for other concepts like “above/below”, “top/bottom”, “upside-down”, and so on.

It is often very important for someone to be able to identify which direction is “up” and which direction is “down”. To pilots, for example, it is regularly a matter of life and death.

But “up” and “down” have a dirty little secret: they are relative. “Up”means “away from the centre of the Earth”.

But no, even this is too geocentric.* If you’re on Mars, “up” is “away from the centre of Mars”. And if you’re in space … well, it becomes muddier. Does an astronaut experiencing microgravity in orbit around the Earth consider “up” to be “away from the Earth”? What about if you were orbiting the Sun away from any planet? What about the Voyager probes, shooting away from the Sun in orbit around nothing (except, perhaps, the galactic core)?

You see, the concept of “up” is relative. Even if you’re just on Earth, “up” is a different physical direction for someone in Ghana than for someone in Siberia.

An obvious and necessary corrolary of this is that there is no ultimate, absolute, universal “up” or “down”.

So far, “up” and “down” are the same as “right” and “wrong” in a moral system with relative underpinnings (such as one that is based on the shared psychological underpinnings of human nature – ie, relative to the species): they work only within the local frame of reference.

So, is the idea of “up” basically meaningless? Does it have no bearing on individuals? Do we have any way of deciding whether one direction is objectively “up” in a given situation?

Of course, the answer is obvious. If I am in Edmonton, Canada, then “up” is (objectively) the direction that points away from the Earth’s centre at Edmonton. If I am in Kumamoto, Japan, then “up” is (objectively) the direction that points away from the Earth’s centre at Kumamoto.

Similarly, for many secular moral systems, even if there is a relative element in them, it is still relative to something concrete. For example, my current inclination is to base my moral reasoning on principles that I think most people would share, such as valuing individual freedom and preventing harm. So, although my moral system is relative to these human values, the reasoning works as long as I’m talking to people in the same location: that is, as long as the people I’m speaking to share these principles.

This is not proof that secular, relativist morality is superior to theistic alternatives. I don’t know if one can prove such a thing about moral systems (except in cases where a moral system is inconsistent with itself, of course – that is a mark against any set of ideas).

But I hope that the “up/down” analogy will help people understand the faults with the most common objection to relative systems of morality.

Footnote:

* It’s also very imprecise. Due to gravitational effects of mountains and other stuff, the gravitational pull at any particular point on the Earth’s surface isn’t necessarily straight toward the Earth’s centre.

Microedits and Macroedits

2014/09/22

I’ve been dipping my toes in the Stand To Reason apologetics website – mostly through its podcasts Stand To Reason (with Greg Koukl) and Thinking Out Loud (with Alan Shlemon). This post is a response to Shlemon’s assertion in this episode that macroevolution is a whole separate thing from microevolution.

This is a familiar trope among those of us who try to keep an eye on the creationist pushback against the science of biological origins. Many many people have countered it – in books, in articles, in encyclopedias and FAQs, in blog posts and videos, in debates and other personal interactions.

I have nothing new to add, really: the science is in, and creationism fails the test. There are ways to work God into your worldview without contradicting reality, but many people aren’t willing to adapt their beliefs to the evidence. Their loss.

Anyway, as I was listening to Shlemon smugly dismiss the scientific objection that macroevolution is simply the accumulated effects of microevolution over large enough time spans, I was thinking how I might respond. If an acquaintance were to offer that argument, how could I respond in a way that might get them past the cognitive block they have?

Here’s what I came up with:

Imagine that each species can be described by a (potentially very long) line of letters. Let’s say we only use letters corresponding to the four basic elements: A (aqua, for water), C (combustia, for air), G (gasea, for air), and T (terra, for earth).

Now, imagine there are ways of changing the sequence of letters, so that a child doesn’t have exactly the letters of its parent or parents. Let’s call a single letter change “microevolution”. That could be, for example, a “C” changing to an “A”. Or a “T” being inserted between a “G” and another “T”. Or an “A” being lost altogether.

And let’s say that “macroevolution” means a wholesale change of the sequence: no letter is the same as it was before.

Can you imagine a way to do microevolution over and over again and eventually get macroevolution?

I sure can.

And that’s it.

Oh, there are some constraints. Biological evolution requires that each stage – each mutated offspring – is viable and is not at a substantial selective disadvantage relative to the other variants present in its population. So, in the real world, it is not the case that any species could evolve into any other species by any textually-sufficient chain of genetic mutations. But that’s not the claim of modern evolutionary science. The strongest claim it makes is that there has been at least one such path leading from life’s early progenitor(s) to each species that has ever existed on Earth.

Anyway, what do you think of my illustration? Does it replicate what someone else has produced? If so, please point to them in the comments. Does it seem clever? Useful? Scientifically accurate?

God and morality: beyond Euthyphro

2014/09/16

I am currently trying to deepen my understanding of the basic nature of morality. My main go-to for this investigation is philosophy. Yes, you can read that as “secular philosophy”, but only in the sense that I’m not presupposing any gods exist or play a part in morality. I’m not ruling them out either.

Many people (now and in times past) have thought that the existence of a god or gods was important to morality, and many people have pushed back on that idea. I’ve had a thought or two on that back-and-forth that I’d like to share.

I’ll start at the Euthyphro dilemma, first articulated by Plato. It is a response to the claim that morality comes from God, and it has two prongs:

1. Is something moral because God commands it?

If so, then God could command the reverse and that would be moral. This goes against our intuitions. For example, rape is bad, whether God commands it or not. So this prong seems to fail.

2. Then does God command it because it is moral?

If so, then the morality of an act is logically prior to God’s command. God becomes the messenger of morality, but doesn’t really ground it. So this prong undermines God’s role in grounding morality.

That’s it.

In my experience, most atheists see the Euthyphro dilemma as fatal to the religious position that God grounds morality. I lean this way myself.

And, so far as I can tell, most theists disagree. (For samples of their responses, see Wikipedia, Stand To Reason, or CARM.) The best responses I’ve heard are along the lines of this: “Things are not moral because God commands them. Rather, their morality or immorality is derived from God’s very nature.”

I don’t know. On the one hand, this certainly avoids the first prong: morality doesn’t hang simply on God’s commands. But what about the second prong? I feel that one could restate the defense like so: “God’s nature partakes of the moral grounding, and so morality is fundamental to who God is.” So, while not temporally prior, the moral grounding is logically prior to or separate from God.

This response probably has holes in it too – I’ll leave that to more detail-oriented philosophers.

But, regardless of the nature of morality – objective, subjective, external, internal, whatever! – there is one thing an all-knowing God could help us with. They could share that understanding. They could say, “Actually, morality is fundamentally subjective. I’ve shared My top ten in this Holy Book, and I have a special prize for anyone who chooses the same morality as Me. But you know, take it or leave it. It’s not Ultimately better or worse.” Or, They could say, “I ground true morality, and it works like XYZ, and anyone who goes against it is Objectively Wrong.”

In other words, God could be a teacher.

So, while I’m not sure that gods’ existence has any material implication for the nature of morality, it would certainly have implications for our understanding of morality – if any god were inclined to communicate such things.

Based on this, and contrary to things I have thought and perhaps voiced in the past, I’d have to say that it would be nice if an all-knowing, good god existed.

So … why don’t I then look deeper into the morality of the Bible, or the Koran, or the Gita? Same reason as before: all the evidence suggests to me to point that these books came entirely from the minds of humans. And I have found better human expressions of morality elsewhere: more thoughtful, more humble, more true.

What would convince me that this ever-so-handy teacher-god existed, and was behind a particular work of moral philosophy? I don’t know. I suppose the appropriate kind of evidence would depend on the proposed traits of the god. But, as others have said before me, it is unlikely that a finite mind (like mine) could competently identify an infinite anything (which most modern conceptions of God are), so I don’t think there is any rational basis for me asserting to know that some perception of mine corresponds to an infinite being.

On the other hand, someone doesn’t have to be unboundedly good, knowledgeable, or powerful to be a valuable teacher. So even a more limited god might be handy to have around.

Still, I see no evidence even for that more modest, more comprehensible being.

Oh well. I guess I’ll have to carry on doing my best with what I’ve got.

 

People are animals too!

2014/09/10

A recent edition of Science Friday talked about mental illness in non-human animals. One of the guests pointed out that this may involve anthropomorphizing other animals, and that got me thinking.

Whether it is malice attributed to stinging insects, propositional thoughts projected onto pet fish, or a sense of humour read out of a pet cat’s funny antics, there are plenty of cases where people are almost certainly reading their own mental states into other animals’ minds. It is a *failure* of empathy, a failure to understand the capacities and limitations of the other creature.

But there is another side to this. When someone objects to the cruel treatment of animals in factory farms, there are those who will say that they are just animals, and cannot feel pain. There are those who will say that, even when a zoo animal displays all the symptoms that would point to depression in a human (social withdrawal, lack of appetite, etc), it can’t be actually depressed because it’s “just an animal”.

This anti-anthropomorphizing is no more rational or correct than the over-anthropomorphizing of the other side. The one is assuming that other animals are more like humans than they really are; the other is assuming they are less like humans than they really are.

Well, as I was listening to the Science Friday episode, I had a thought. Perhaps a way to bring both sides closer to a realistic assessment of other animals’ mental states is to look at it the other way. Instead of thinking of other animals in terms of human traits, why not think of humans in terms of animal traits.

After all, humans are simply one kind of animal. We are apes; we are mammals; we are vertebrates. Just like we share certain biological traits with other apes (such as long post-natal care period of young and fine motor skills in our hands), we probably also share certain psychological traits. Why? Because our brains, which shape our mental states, are similar in many ways to those of other apes. We also share some traits with other mammals (though fewer than with the apes, because we are related more distantly). And some with other vertebrates. And so on.

Anyway, I don’t have anything more specific to offer just now. Just something to think about. Don’t anthropomorphize other animals; zoomorphize humans!