Man is the cruelest animal.Friedrich Nietzsche
Man is the cruelest animal.
I don’t know of any other species that knowingly inflicts harm for no valid reason.
Even junkyard dogs are looking to the future.
It’s a little unfair to take something like this without any context but, on the face of it, it is just silly. Cruelty is in essence a moral concept that cannot meaningfully be applied to the actions of non human species (and, yes, I do know that some kinds or moral behaviour have tentatively been assigned to the great apes but, do I do not think this invalidates my point) .
The domestic cat that brings a mouse home to play with or the fox in the chicken coop killing everything that moves – and far more than it can eat – may be cruel to our eyes but they are just doing what comes naturally. Of course, if used to justify human cruelty this would fall foul of the naturalistic fallacy, but this doesn’t apply to non human animals.
Evil is not just a moral/subjective judgment limited to humans. Most species have reasonable biological/survival imperatives behind their extreme actions but not all. Animal evil exists and the capacity for it seems to go hand in hand with higher cognitive capacity.
The dividing line appears to be somewhere between chimps and dolphins: research has found chimps to be vengeful but not spiteful, but Dolphins and Orcas are quite capable of human-grade evil:
It is hard to say hurting but not killing or eating other creatures is “just their nature” since there is no survival value in it. Dolphins torturing fish they won’t eat isn’t exactly a survival action.
Doesn’t offer much hope for sentient aliens in the unlikely case we find any. 😉
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