Monday, February 12, 2007

It's not fair! Emperor penguins get all the photos!

A friend sent me a link to this article on the disparity between the amount of attention that cute endangered species get as compared with ugly ones. My first reaction was "Duh!" but I thought I owed the writer, who is after all a professional journalist and paid for insightful, information-rich writing, to read the article and avail myself of their expertise.

Past research has shown that lack of human interest in an animal group can result in decreased funding for its protection.

Really?! That surprises me. Let me see if I understand: we human have all the money, but it took research to figure out that we only spend it on things we are interested in. Isn't that sort of the definition of interest? We spend money where we are interested. What's next? Research to determine that we only hang out with people we like? That we only engage in activities that we believe we will derive some benefit from?

Seriously, though, I find it very telling that our intellectuals no longer recognize that our interests must dominate our behavior. This is a central part of our freedom. I suspect that the same conservationists bemoaning the fact that we use our freedom to do whatever we want are the ones who argue that there is little or no significant difference between humans and other living species.

If that is so, let the ugly species get their own money.

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