Human Exceptionalism

No, Dolphins Don’t “Talk” Like Humans

https://youtube.com/watch?v=X_aGoFqU5fQ

Science” is often really ideology these days, particularly in the attempt by some to convey onto animals characteristics that are distinctly human, in order to, in my view, destroy human exceptionalism.

Here’s a small example.  LiveScience has an article up headlined “Dolpins ‘Talk’ Like Humans, New Study Suggests.” Now what do you think that means?  The most obvious conclusion is that scientists have found that dolphins communicate with language, that is, that they talk to each other just like humans do.

Ah, but that is not what the study found.  Rather, scientists learned that certain tissues are used to make dolphin sounds that work similarly to vocal cords.  From the story:

Rather than vocal cords, the dolphins likely use tissue vibrations in their nasal cavities to produce their “whistles,” which aren’t true whistles after all. The researchers suggest structures in the nasal cavity, called phonic lips, are responsible for the sound.

Okay, that’s interesting.  But then, making my case even stronger, the story notes that, contrary to the headline, dolphins aren’t talking like us:

The dolphins aren’t actually talking, though. “It does not mean that they talk like humans, only that they communicate with sound made in the same way,” Madsen told LiveScience.

Big difference.

Okay, then why the headline that strongly implies the exact opposite?  The truthful head would be how dolphins “vocalize” like us, not “talk” like us.  And no, the quotes around the word “talk” doesn’t excuse what appears to be an attempt to give a significant anthropomorphic meaning to the story.  Indeed, that’s why it made the front page of The Drudge Report.

Most Popular

Education

An Idea for Student Loans: Get Rid of Them

Here is a three-part plan for something practical the federal government could do to relieve college-loan debt. Step 1: The federal government should stop making college loans itself and cease guaranteeing any such loans. Step 2: It should prohibit educational lending by federally regulated financial institutions ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More
White House

MoveOn.GOP?

Some of you will be familiar with a lefty, partisan Democratic organization called MoveOn, formerly MoveOn.Org. It was founded during an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s shenanigans (which were not, Democratic mythology notwithstanding, strictly sexual in nature) and argued that it was time for the ... Read More
Sports

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More