Thursday, February 28, 2008

Animals apparently NOT autistic supergeniuses

Scientists have been forced to carefully and patiently explain that animals are in fact just animals, not an army of cuddly human-a-likes that coincidentally all suffer from the exact same neurological condition.

Autistic Temple Grandin forced the study after her best-selling book "Animals in Translation" posed the idea that maybe animals were autistic just like her. This was actually followed up by a study at Colorado State University. I'm sorry I have to say this, CSU, but when someone triumphs over a disability and goes on to write a successful novel about her thoughts that's a heartwarming story. That's a triumph of the human spirit, maybe even a Disney movie about a zany bunch of neurally-impaired animals who triumph over impossible odds, but it's NOT the basis for actual funded behavioral research. When a make-a-wish cancer child tells us all he wants from Santa is a cure, we brush a tear from our eye and whisper "What a brave boy" - we don't launch a North Pole search-and-retrieve mission to catch some fat bearded bastard who's apparently hoarding a tumour-killing retrovirus.

Italian scientist Giorgio Vollortigara has been forced to go on record and explain that animals aren't savants because they can remember things like where they buried their nuts or how to sing - it turns out, that's actually what animals do. You'll note that Grandins examples of squirrels and parrots are all the cute ones as well, at no point implying that vultures are perhaps misunderstood geniuses with expert corpse-dismembering skills, trapped behind cruel disability. A dog's ability to identify thousands of individuals based solely on the scent of their ballsack is also mysteriously absent

I can only guess that this is an animal rights ploy - having failed in the general field of "Don't eat the poor edible animals!" whining, they've taken a page from modern America and are trying to Politically Correct us into submission. If the cute widdle bunnies are also mentally disabled, well, then PETA can make all the utterly detestable "Meat = Holocaust" parallels they want and we'll be legally restrained from punching them until juice comes out.

But in a wonderful backfire, some of the research into this field included torturing baby chicks - so maybe the "Animals as mentally damaged victims" camp will think twice before pulling another stunt. Like designating cute creatures as native american or alterna-sexual or something. The Australian scientists found that when you block off certain parts of the brain, the (fuzzy little) birds act like something is wrong with their brain. A shocking result, also demonstrating that some debates are so stupid that even when you're proving your opponent wrong you still look retarded.

Original study here.

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