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Re: It was only a matter of time

Delurking for a moment...

Living on top of Hell Creek Formation on the Montana/Wyoming border 65 miles 
from the nearest town, surrounded by excessive coyotes and copious prairie 
dogs.  I'm always having trouble deciding whether to hunt for fossils or hunt 
for the varmints.  Life is full of decisions but in this case, hunting both are 
pleasurable.  One often leads to the other opportunistically if your collecting 
gear includes an accurate rifle (which mine does). If you've ever had a prized 
horse break it's leg in a prairie dog hole or have had a calf have his face 
eaten off by a pack of coyotes while it was being born, you'd understand.  

All creatures, man included are products of their environments but directed by 
their instinct.  I spend more time outdoors in the backcountry than indoors 
during the warm season around here.  Those of you not exposed to the rougher 
side of nature (I was a cop a few decades ago and indicate that society has the 
same rougher side) don't understand and never will.  To me, it is difficult to 
restrain from shooting a coyote on sight.  I'm having trouble figuring out why 
I would try not to based on my experience.  The reptilian side of my brain 
rules in this regard (instinct or learned behavior?).  Rule: No matter how much 
you love the earth, it doesn't give a darn about you.  Neither do the creatures 
on it that live by instinct or that have been taught otherwise by experience.  
If you are prone toward eating vegetables all your life (sheep), then you'll 
likely not be an aggressive creature, you like meat (wolves), you'll likely 
kill to get it.  This rule applies to every creature from Dinosaurs to Man.  No 
torture necessary, the wolves have no problem with this.  Only the sheep(le) 
don't sleep at night. 

I get entertainment of our alpha rooster and my wife going at it daily as she 
checks for eggs.  No razors necessary.  The bird has learned to leave me alone. 
 Go figure.

I have no question that the theropods got pleasure out of in every bite by 
their killing of other animals.  It's the thrill of the hunt reinforced with 
tasty animals at the end. Apologies to the vegans out there.

Frank Bliss MS Biostratigraphy
Weston, Wyoming

On Mar 17, 2011, at 5:22 PM, Erik Boehm wrote:

> We are not slaves to our first instinctual response.
> If we were, instances of rape and sexual harassment would be orders of 
> magnitude higher than what they are now.
> We consciously restrain ourselves from doing things all the time.
> What you describe (and I don't dispute) sounds like the instinctual response 
> gets sent to the parts of the brain involved in consciousness, and evaluated 
> (somewhat) logically before action - if time permits.
> I can think of at least two instances I did things I started doing before I 
> was consciously aware of my actions - both involved punching someone I knew 
> in the face/ hitting them in the face with a handheld flashlight...
> When its late at night, you come home to a dark and quiet house, and someone 
> leaps out at you as you come around the corner...
> or:
> You are out camping in the woods, its late at night, and you are returning to 
> camp after relieving yourself and someone rushes at you from behind a tree....
> You cannot be held accountable for your actions.
> (You can however call your buddies "idiots" for trying such stupid pranks - 
> but I think the blood coming out of their nose was sufficient).
> But that is entirely different than... oh, I don't know... strapping razor 
> blades on to the feet of two roosters, and watching them fight to the death 
> for your entertainment.
> You can't blame that on an unconscious instinctual behavior that never got 
> evaluated by the conscious mind.
> --- On Thu, 3/17/11, Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:
>> From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
>> Subject: Re: It was only a matter of time
>> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
>> Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 3:06 PM
>> On Fri, Mar 18th, 2011 at 8:43 AM,
>> Augusto Haro <augustoharo@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Ok, but you can refrain from killing a small animal. A
>> cat/dog/orca
>>> apparently cannot choose between doing so nor not.
>> They behave
>>> instinctively in a greater measure than us.
>> Most of human behaviour is driven by the non-conscious
>> parts of the brain. This is why criminal 
>> profiling is use
> lways 100% conscious of our decisions 
>> and actions, and had full control over them, then such
>> behavioural predictive measures would be 
>> useless.
>> Brain studies have shown that many of our decisions are
>> made before we are consciously aware of 
>> them, and that the brain simply delays acting on those
>> decisions until it has first sent the intention 
>> to the parts of our brain that produce conscious thought.
>> Because we seem to become aware of the 
>> decision before acting on it, we assume cause-and-effect
>> and think we consciously made that 
>> decision. In reality our brain is simply fooling us into
>> believing in the illusion of free will.
>> http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/mind_decision
>> Humans are slaves to instinct as much as any other species.
>> Should we torture ourselves with a 
>> sense of higher responsibility that our physiology doesn't
>> allow us to accomplish?
>> -- 
>> _____________________________________________________________
>> Dann Pigdon
>> Spatial Data Analyst         
>>      Australian Dinosaurs
>> Melbourne, Australia         
>>      http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
>> _____________________________________________________________