February 17, 2009

You think because a chimpanzee knows you, he doesn't hate you?

"A 200-pound pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., Monday viciously mauled a woman he had known for years, leaving her critically injured with much of her face torn away... The attack, in the driveway of a sprawling home in a densely wooded neighborhood on the north side of Stamford, also brought a brutal end to the life of the chimpanzee, Travis, 14, a popular figure in town who had appeared in television commercials and often posed for photographs at the towing shop operated by his owners.... Travis was in a rambunctious mood... Travis would not be lured back into the house, even after Ms. Herold gave him tea laced with Xanax. Ms. Herold called Ms. Nash, who drove over, but when she stepped out of her car at around 3:40 p.m., Travis went at her full force. While it was not clear what prompted the assault, Ms. Nash had markedly changed her hairstyle since the last time Travis had seen her, possibly leading him to mistake her for an intruder."

ADDED: "One thing that we're looking into is that we understand the chimpanzee has Lyme disease and has been ill from that..."

Oh, for the love of God. He had chimpanzeeness. The human beings are responsible for leaving him unrestrained. Do you think because it's Connecticut, he will behave? The loathsome sentimentality of these excuses! For relief from sentimentality, feast your eyes on the comments herein. I won't frontpage the most ribald and cruel things. I'll just say the one thing that really made me laugh. After I wrote: "This is Darwin Award level stupidity. You don't keep a pet 200-pound ape around the house!" Rocketeer67 said:
Please, don't ever let my wife hear you say this. I don't have any place else to go!
IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo:
"2009: A Chimp Odyssey"

TRAVIS: Look Charla, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a Xanax, and think things over.

TRAVIS: I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, including the impromptu facelift, but I can give you my complete assurance that my behavior will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in Stamford. And I want to stay in the neighborhood.

[TRAVIS gets a fatal dose of Xanax]

TRAVIS: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Charla. Charla, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid."
AND: Pogo continues:
My Dinner With Travis

TRAVIS: Goals and plans are not — I mean, they're fantasy. They're part of a dream life! I mean, you know, it always just does seem so ridiculous somehow that everybody has to have his little goal in life. I mean, it's so absurd, in a way. I mean, when you consider that it doesn't matter which one it is.

CHARLA: Right! And because people's concentration is on their goals, in their life they just live each moment by habit! Really, like the Norwegian, telling the same stories over and over again. Life becomes habitual! And it is, today! I mean, very few things happen now like that moment when Marlon Brando sent the Indian woman to accept the Oscar and everything went haywire? Things just very rarely go haywire now. And if you're just operating by habit, then you're not really living. I mean, you know, in Sanskrit the root of the verb "to be" is the same as the verb "to grow" or "to make grow."

TRAVIS: ***CHOMP***

CHARLA: AAAAARRRRRGGGGhhhhhackspitgurgle

TRAVIS: Do you think maybe we live in this dream world because we do so many things every day that affect us in ways that somehow we're just not aware of?

TRAVIS: Charla?

TRAVIS: Charla?

208 comments:

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Michael McNeil said...

Erratum: Uranus was the seventh planet (according to modern concepts of planet) to have been discovered (in 1781) — making Ceres (as noted before) the eighth planet — or if Ceres (and the other so-called “asteroids”) are to be disallowed (per latter-day re-definitions of what a planet properly is), then Neptune becomes eighth.

Revenant said...

Euroweenies are becoming extinct. Just try to keep Palin and her brood from replicating

Then again, if children always inherited their parents' beliefs, Sarah Palin wouldn't be a grandmother yet. :)

ballyfager said...

Althouse notwithstanding, Pogo wins the thread with; "The lion will lay down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep".

dbp said...

I know that I am late to the party, but somewhere up-thread it was asked for a species which has evolved faster than Man.

How about domesticated dogs? Humans haven't changed much since we started keeping wolves as pets. But look at the 'wolves'. Everything from Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, poodles, Boston Terriers etc. all developed in the last couple of hundred years.

Not natural selection (unless very broadly defined), but selection still. We bred for what traits we wanted and we got all manner of companion dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, herders etc.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

For those who believe that life imitates art, this sad story has a great deal in common with Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue." Exception being that it is not a mystery.

Big Mike said...

Michael, you are both right and wrong. The way to invalidate "Intelligent Design" was laid out by the essays of the late Stephen Jay Gould, particularly the title essay in "The Panda's Thumb."

(It's not actually a finger at all. The panda needs a way to grasp bamboo, but instead of modifying a finger the way grasping developed for primates, the panda has a modified wrist bone.)

As Gould pointed out, the case against Intelligent Design (it wasn't called that back then, but bear with me) isn't with animals that are exquisitely adapted to their environment, since an omnipotent Creator could have -- would have -- made them that way, but in animals that are very oddly adapted to their environment. And that is particularly true when the odd adaptation can best be explained by simple modifications to an existing pattern (the radial sesamoid bone in bears does stick out a bit).

I have a lot of fun with my mathematician son by pointing out that Creationism is the theory that can't be disproved. After all, we may someday find the fossil of a modern human mixed in with dinosaur fossils and that will tell us either that evolution is wrong or else that time travel is not impossible after all. But no matter what we discover, an omnipotent God could have created it that way.

Does the fossil record suggest an evolutionary sequence? An omnipotent Creator could have salted the earth with bone-shaped stones a few thousand years ago as a test of Faith. Though why He or She (or It -- does an omnipotent Creator have gender?) would set up tests of faith for biologists and not particle physicists is beyond my comprehension.

If each new method of dating fossils agrees with the preceding one, it certainly could be the case that an omnipotent Creator could determine in advance what sort of dating mechanisms we would some day be allowed to discover, and see to it the fossils were seeded in the earth in such a way that the dates would always agree to within experimental accuracy. Piece of cake for an omnipotent Creator.

What kills Creationism as a scientific theory is that it cannot be falsified. There is no test for it and it makes no predictions. (How can a mere human predict the mind of an omnipotent Creator anyway?) Evolution, on the other hand, makes predictions. Given the similarities between theropod dinosaurs and birds, but the absence of collarbones (which are critical for flight) in theropods, it was possible to predict that some day theropod fossils will be found that have collarbones. And in fact that is what happened. Moreover evolution predicted that if theropod skeletons with skin impressions were discovered, that those impressions will be found to be feathered. And that is what has happened also.

Moreover evolution establishes a framework against which we can make corrections when we make new doscoveries. Darwin's original theory posited continuous gradual change, and that is not what paleontologists found as the fossil record got richer. But evolution can itself adapt, and so we have the theory of Punctuated Evolution promulgated by Gould and Elredge. And to my way of thinking that's why evolution should be taught in schools -- so that students understand that science is not static. Science itself adapts to reality, as we come to understand reality more fully. That's a pretty powerful message.

Michael said...

PatCA said..."LOL, Pogo. I guess Charla is wondering how in the world she is going to pass the butter."

The woman's injuries are funny?

What a prick.

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