Skip to comments.Holes, Cheese, and Heads
Posted on 05/10/2008 8:45:11 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
The Swiss, a few years ago, added a provision to their constitution that gives dignity to all living organisms using the term Würde der Kreatur (dignity of living beings) to apply to both plants and animals. To explain exactly what this means, the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology produced a report called "The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants."
There is a reason the most famous invention of the Swiss is the cuckoo clock. There are obviously more holes in their heads than in their cheese. The report appears to be one of those college psychology text book examples of kind of things written by the inmates of insane asylums. This is typical:
"Committee members unanimously consider an arbitrary harm caused to plants to be morally impermissible. This kind of treatment would include, e.g. decapitation of wild flowers at the roadside without rational reason." [Emphasis mine.]
Apparently, "beheading" daisies is not totally forbidden, though no explanation is given for what a "rational reason" for lobbing off their blossoms might be. A friend suggested "self defense." You know, if you are being attacked by wild pansies, cut their heads of to your hearts content.
There is no wonder Americans have such terrible reputations in Europe. I know the Swiss will be horrified to learn we have machines in this country with no other purpose than to go along the roadside cutting the heads of everything.
Someone needs to inform the Muslims about this. They're missing so much fun. If you cut off the "heads" of many flowers, they grow new ones. With people you only get one shot, but if you're beheading flowers, you get to do it over and over again. The Muzzies should love this.
This is not an anomaly in the way the Swiss, ah ..., use their heads. I was going to say, "think," but that didn't quite fit. In Switzerland you have to take a course in fishing before you can get a fishing license. I'm not sure what their difficulty is, American children manage to fish quite will without taking a course. Actually, the course is meant to teach the Swiss how to fish the government approved "humane" way.
To insure all Swiss do their fishing humanely, Switzerland has passed a law banning all catch-and-release and live bait fishing. This will certainly be a great relief to Switzerland's earthworms. But Switzerland's idea of humanity toward fish seems a bit peculiar. Catch-and-release, if you are not a fisherman, refers to the practice of catching fish for sport, which no one intends to eat, so they are released back into the water from which they came. I suppose the fish's dignity is a bit bruised by being caught, but they seldom suffer more than that. According to Switzerland's "humanitarian" law, any fish caught must be killed by whacking it on the head with a heavy blunt instrument. Anyone can see how much kinder that is.
To the rational these ideas seem wacky, and they are, but one can sort of see why the greens and animal rights folks react the way they do. It's not rational, it's emotional. That part most of share with them and is why most of us have pets. It's a sense of kinship with animals that share many of our own natures and traits. It's why the big eyed cat and playful dog appeal to us so much. In a way, one can almost sympathize with those who think a daisy looks like a bright smiling face. But one really has to wonder about what kind people feel a kinship with earthworms.
I agree the stuff about plants is nonsense. But I seem to recall a Swiss citizen named Albert Einstein who "invented" a new way of thinking about the Universe. It's had a lot more impact on modern science than cuckoo clocks.
save...the article, not the freakin flower or earthworm
“But I seem to recall a Swiss citizen named Albert Einstein ...”
Well, if we’re going to be picky, relativity was a discovery, not an invention. One doesn’t “invent” scientific principles—well, except for psychiatrists, who invent diseases, and evolutionists, who invent everything.
I think it’s the Swiss air. Einstein did poorly in school, but seemed to flourish in the US. Of course he was not really Swiss, though he had a Swiss citizenship when he came to America, which he never gave, though he did become an American citizen.
All right, lets be very picky. What is really Swiss? Einstein was born in Germany and did poorly in school out of boredom because his higher mental faculties were occupied with trying to understand the nature of light. He moved to Switzerland to attend technical school and became a Swiss citizen, which I believe would make him Swiss. (Arent naturalized American citizens Americans?) He was employed by the Swiss Patent Office in 1905 when his thinking about light resulted in publication of his second paper which would later become the Special Theory of Relativity.
He maintained his Swiss citizenship after returning to Germany to teach and do research, and even after he became a U.S. citizen in 1940.
Invention vs. discovery. Its a matter of semantics. One definition of an invention is the creation of something in the mind. What Einstein invented was a new way of thinking about light, time, physics and cosmology in general. His inventive insights, which resulted in major discoveries in physics, also had a major practical impact on future thinking about time and such mundane timekeeping machines as cuckoo clocks and world-class Swiss watches.
That old story now appears to be apocryphal. Some people checked records and discovered Einstein had an outstanding academic career. I believe a lot of the stuff about him doing poorly stemmed from educators desire to show underachieving students that even if they didn't do well now, greatness was still within their reach. They held up Einstein as an example. "See, if Einstein was a poor student and later did great things, you can be like Einstein."
I was not being totally serious about the Swiss thing.
It’s not true, however, that invention vs. discovery is a matter of semantics. I know the words are frequently misused, even incorrectly defined, but once you understand it, the difference is quite simple, and quite important. It’s not the intention of the words that matter, but what they are about. True science discovers things, it does not invent them. Inventors, designers, and technologists invent things.
You can invent all kinds of iron tools and machines, but you cannot invent iron, you have to discover it.
You can invent a laser, but you have to discover the quantum excitation of light before you can invent it (which Einstein did, by the way). You cannot invent the quantum nature of matter, because it has always existed.
You can invent an atomic bomb, but you fist have to discover the nature of atoms and relationship between matter and energy (which Einstein also did). You cannot invent the nature of atoms because that has also always been true.
See the difference. You cannot discover what is invented because it does not exist until someone invents it. You cannot invent what is discovered because what is discovered has always been there, just not yet discovered.
If you wanted to say Einstein invented a way of expressing some of things he discovered, that might be ok, but it’s the things he discovered for which he is most famous.
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