Discussion (39)¬

  1. MarkyWarky says:

    One of your best for a while Author, IMHO :).

  2. Abhijeet says:

    Misspelt “encourage” in the first panel.

  3. Author says:

    Thanks! Fixing now.

  4. M27Holts says:

    The Jehovah god botherers who I pass in the morning on my way to work. Always have anti evolution pamphlets and anti science spiel…Thick as pig shit they are….

  5. Matt says:

    Not inspired by anything in particular? You couldn’t make it up!

  6. Oozoid says:

    Nicely observed. So often have I heard complaints about people ‘behaving like animals’ and thought, if only!

  7. DC Toronto says:

    Sorry author but you’ve missed the mark on this one. Animals kill other animals of the same species all the time.
    Trying to couch the human shootings with the description of indiscriminate is not enough. School shooters may not pick their human targets on an individual basis, but they do pick the places where they shoot with an intention of inflicting pain on a particular segment of society.
    It may feel indiscriminate to the casual observer, but they choose their targets for a reason. As do animals that kill the young of their competitors or who kill a rival.

  8. Johannes van den Bos says:

    Human are also animals, I think.

  9. Duke Robinson says:

    DC Toronto. Animals do kill other animals, but the Author says, explicitly, ” …commit indiscriminate mass murder.” Do the other animals do that?

  10. Deimos says:

    Actually we have a mass murdering animal in most homes that isn’t human, we call them cats.
    I am owned by a pair of cats and a married dog couple, the dogs finish off the occasional fly but the cats
    slaughter anything smaller than a cat for fun. We seriously suspect our large Bengal leopard cat is hunting terriers.

    It’s therefore strange to hear Dog used as an insult and Cat as a compliment, i.e. mangy dog, cool cat.

  11. Len says:

    @Deimos: Your cats kill birds, mice, rabbits, etc and probably bring them to you. This is to teach you how to handle prey. If you do it right with the dead ones, then they’ll start bringing live prey for you to catch and kill in your house, to further develop your kill-skills. Cats are so kind to us. My four cats used to do the same (and occasionally still do). I can now catch (and release outside) most mice and birds quite well, thank you.

    ETA My dogs don’t really stand a chance against the cats. But the puppy chases anything and might catch some small animals if it didn’t first knock over the furniture 😐

  12. M27Holts says:

    Most non human animal killing is done from evolutionary imperatives…lion kills cubs not his so that the lioness will then come into oestress for him to impregnate her with his genes….Do other higher intelligent animals kill for pleasure ? If so how do we know?

  13. Someone says:

    There are some who are still convinced that sharks are mindless eating machines who hunt humans indiscriminately with the rest of their prey. That they are nothing more than scary sea monsters out to ruin a perfectly good day at the beach.

    Those people fail to see the irony (or ignore it) that humans slaughter sharks on an unsustainable level so we can feed our own hunger, greed and/or murderous desires. And humans do so indiscriminately with any and all species we can get our hands on and exploit.

    But hey, as long as we remain top of the food chain and next to God, who gives a fuck, right?

    And no, I’m not a vegan activist or anything like that. Just aware enough to steadfastly refuse what I won’t support.

  14. DC Toronto says:

    Deimos – yes other animals kill indiscriminately. The example of a lion killing another males cubs has already been put forward. Feel free to look up more with your google.
    Holts – the example that began this conversation is school shootings. I contend that they are not for pleasure nor as indiscriminate as Duke suggests. As for pleasure, I assume you mean hunting? I”m not a hunter, but those I know eat the animals they shoot (and sometimes share – it’s the only way I ever get moose meat). I don’t know any big game hunters and given todays technology I don’t think there is much skill or bravery involved so I would put them in the pleasure category. I don’t know if other animals kill strictly for pleasure, although the example of cats bringing home their prey is one where they must get some satisfaction from the trophy … much like a dentist who pays to be lead to a lion in Africa.

  15. John Hodges says:

    This is a variation on “atheists have no moral foundations”. When I hear that, I reply in two ways. I say, there is not the slightest evidence that born-agains are better behaved than atheists. What little evidence there is points the other way: our incarceration rate is lower, and our divorce rate is lower.” The problem with that is that if they ask for a citation, I don’t have one handy. The stats on incarceration I have seen are about the religious beliefs of the prison population, less than 1% of which is atheist (and the stats I have found are quite old). The stats on divorce are similarly obscure. and both have alternative explanations, e.g. both divorce and incarceration are negatively correlated with education and income, and atheists are, on average, a well-educated bunch who are likely to be gainfully employed. The second way I reply is to post a link to some essay of mine, explaining the ABC of a philosophical approach to ethics.

  16. John B. Hodges says:

    This argument is a variation on “atheists have no moral foundations”. One of the ways I reply is with the link below.

  17. I get annoyed at any attempt to separate human beings from animals, or compare our behavior either favorably or unfavorably to animals. This is all coming from the religious assertion that god gave us naming rights and dominion over all the creatures of this earth, that we are somehow separate and apart from animals.
    We are not. We are animals. Sometimes our natural animal behavior can be attenuated by culture, at other times – think bull fights, cock fights, dog fights, spectator sports or the slaughter of sharks – it is amplified by culture. But any suggestion that we are somehow different, or special, is just one more bit of religious bullshit.

  18. M27Holts says:

    Aye I’m in complete agreement….that is why I went with evolutionary imperatives to explain nature red in tooth and claw….Homo sapiens is THE apex predator….so we are on that pedestal are we not?

  19. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Re: Humans being apex predators. As far as the protists are concered, the animals, plants, and fungi are just tasty meat (or veg) snacks. Even the Cthulhic deities put a higher value on our needs and desires.

  20. Laripu says:

    DH, we are different and special. So far, no other organism has published Internet comics.

    Seriously, it’s the combination of opposable-thumb-toolmaking, and language, and curiosity that makes us special. And makes J&M possible.

  21. Donn says:

    We’re certainly separate from other animals, inasmuch as their behavior is much more strongly tied to instinct – behavior patterns that have evolved over a much longer time frame. The barmaid thinks they’re healthier, that they don’t break down in senseless ways like mass murder. The religionists think, as John Hodges explains above, that we’re healthier because (if we follow their religion) we take instructions from God.
    Mass murder seems like a hard thing to defend as a healthy occupation. Plenty of human societies have found ways to do a lot of killing, either of rival social groups or maybe just as a way to keep the population down, and if it’s an evolved pattern that contributes to sustainable culture, OK, maybe. But school shooting style murder is just chaotic dysfunction. Do “animals” suffer from that? Well, you have to look at similarly social species, and you have to look at them under arguably comparable circumstances. Population density, for example, relative to what’s sustainable. I think there is in the end no way to duplicate the extreme level of social disintegration, in another species, and that’s the answer.

  22. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: I blame Maggie Thatcher. (I blame her for most of the ills of current society!)

  23. pink squirrel says:

    animals do commit mass murder- blue whales for example kill thousands whenever they eat krill

  24. Anonymous says:

    Encourage masturbation and extra marital sex – I dont see the religious as doing anything much to discourage either of those activities

  25. Laripu, I didn’t mean to suggest that humans don’t have some unique characteristics, making Internet comics being a good example. Most species have some unique characteristics. Unique characteristics are a requirement for dominating an ecological niche and we manage to dominate several.
    Our unique characteristics are things like inter generational communication through the written language, inter cultural communication that allows good and bad ideas to spread and be adopted, and a big brain that allows us to comprehend concepts like mortality and imagine different configurations of matter to create advanced technology. This is all part of what has made us the planet’s ultimate apex predator. But all of this is still just evolution’s experiment with the big brain. Whether that experiment proves successful in the long run is still an open question. Much smaller brained creatures, like the horseshoe crab and cockroach, may well outlast our species. They’ve been around longer already.
    Keep in mind that for one million years, give or take a few weeks, the only tool human beings made was the hand axe. In all that time, nobody thought to put a handle on it. That would have been the equivalent of a robin putting a roof and rain gutters over its nest. We just hadn’t evolved the brain capable of imagining an axe handle. But we are no less the animals after that brain evolved.

  26. Gordon Willis says:

    Ah well, and Terry Pratchett tells us that beech trees drip poisons to prevent other plants from growing around its roots, and this is supposed (according to him) to make us think again about the beech tree (my absolute favourite). But it’s a tree, for goodness’ sake. And a cat is just a cat. It is incapable of murder. These beings cannot reflect on their behaviour (cat) or their mere presence (tree). They are simply themselves.

    But we actually do reflect. So let us stop talking about lions and dandelions (which also, by the way, “drip” poisons and smother the earth with their dark blankets of leaves…). We can choose, because we have decided that we can. Author nails the fact that we don’t accept that. We’d rather excuse ourselves from changing by clinging to old teachings and blaming something we don’t understand or have made ourselves incapable of understanding.

  27. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Gordon–can I ask where that Pratchett remark coems from please? I cant track it down and would like to be able to quote it

  28. Troubleshooter says:

    “Extramarital sex, masturbation, and bad table manners,” eh? [Troubleshooter does his best Dr. Zachary Smith] Oh, the pain … the pain…

  29. M27Holts says:

    Well my two out of three marks me as 66.666% on the road to tell…hallelujah!

  30. M2Holts, just two out of three? I scored a hat trick on that one, though I have changed my ways when it comes to extra-marital sex. Possibly only because Cialis just gives me a headache since my prostate cancer treatment. Bad table manners aren’t nearly as much fun and small compensation. Masturbation is really hard work now.

  31. Donn says:

    This may not help with Terry Pratchett, but the described phenomenon is allelopathy. The wikipedia entry thereon doesn’t mention the beech, but it does touch on the difficulties that researchers encounter in this area – the apparent allelopathy may actually fail to appear under controlled experiments, because the effect is really due to something else.

  32. Helen marion Fischer says:

    This derogatory reference to animal behavior is puzzling. Did not their god invent the food cruel food chain? If this is true, animals cannot be held responsible for their culinary preferences.

  33. M27Holts says:

    DH…I have failed to get a strike because I haven’t had a better offer outside the marital bed. And possibly due to the fact that I would be appalled at the reciprocation by my wife. So I’m only going to be slightly toasted and then dipped in salt for all of eternity….nice…

  34. M27Holts says:

    Let’s face it. Is there any sapiens alive over sixteen who hasnt had a wank? Excepting those with serious disability obviously…

  35. Observing one says:

    Eagles throw their siblings out of the nest. Chimp clans can go out and do war with each other. Sharks dont spare injured sharks.

    And (school) shootings have nothing to do with Evolution. They have their roots in the availability of weapons near confused or insane people. To prevent mass shootings we either should get rid of all automatic weapons or of all insane people. Before things happen. So which one is easier?

  36. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Observing one: Re school shootings and evolution: We have a paper in peer review at the moment that explores the reproductive options that are suddenly made available to one particular class of school shooters who otherwise fit the profile of those on a road to reproductive nowhere. The TL;DR is that there are a group of females who find this group incredibly attractive and (unlike the older shooters) they tend not to suicide during the shooting. They get many many offers of marriage while in prison and often get married inside. Watch this space or message me if interested.
    Donn: Thx for the tip

  37. DC Toronto says:

    Thanks HH – sounds very interesting.
    I contend that the shootings are not random acts but are meant to show dominance by the shooter over others. Since most are already shunned by society they are more free to assert themselves is anti-social ways.

  38. Gordon Willis says:


    Yes, you can ask, and I will try to find it. But it is definitely him. Back later.

  39. Gordon Willis says:


    I get upset when a beloved author criticises the things I happen to like: I have said “nitch” (not “neesh”) since as long as I knew the word, because once upon a time, and long before T. Pratchett saw the light, that is what everybody said. And I love beech trees, and his trivial remarks are annoying because being not only trivial but morally stupid they demean him; and to me “whom” is still a normal word, as it is to others who are not snobs or whatever contemptible people Pratchett thought they must be. He was an excellent writer, full of prescience and humane insight, and I love and admire his books, but he had his faults.

    Unfortunately, I remember the things he said, and not chapter and verse. “Niche” is in “The Truth”, mockery of people who say “whom” occurs in several books. And also associations between horses (well, dragons) and girls called Sara: a genuine piece of class bigotry. He ought to have been ashamed of that. No one is perfect. I forgive him because of everything else. Oh, and he’s wrong about Leonard of Quirm.


NOTE: This comments section is provided as a friendly place for readers of J&M to talk, to exchange jokes and ideas, to engage in profound philosophical discussion, and to ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions. As such, comments of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature will not be tolerated.

If you are posting for the first time, or you change your username and/or email, your comment will be held in moderation until approval. When your first comment is approved, subsequent comments will be published automatically.