Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mocking The Monkeys

So I was listening to this lecture about developmental psychology, and the lecturer was talking about the experiments they were doing with young children. Every once in a while she would go back and compare the performance of the children to that of monkeys. Now, I am not sure who should be insulted, but I am fairly sure someone should. There seems to be a good case for the kids since the research equates their mental capacity to that of a monkey. The monkeys on the other hand also seem to have a strong case as no one seems to try and challenge babies with climbing a tree or living with Jane Goodall.

You hear stuff like monkeys can do this , monkeys can do that all the time, and I would always say it sounds interesting…sounds interesting, But is it really? Is it interesting? Its not like there's some actual work we are planning on having monkeys perform, right? Its not that we can gain some deep and meaningful understanding of life, the universe and everything by having monkeys perform these weird tasks.

Now, this sort of thing presumably took quite a bit of work to get to, you sometimes have to live with the monkeys or train them to perform or understand certain rules, and you have to do controls…very hard work. And its not just limited to monkeys, there's the whole story with Skinner and his pigeons, rats and mazes, and generally speaking a whole lot of experiments involving animals performing all kinds of strange tasks.

So I had to ask myself,"why?" , "why go to all this trouble?" ,why would anyone spend all this time and money to show that a monkey has the mental capacity of a two year old? And then it hit me – why does Jay Leno ask random pedestrian to locate Iraq on the world map(obviously its somewhere in Australia), or what the DC stands for in Washington DC (don’t believe all that district of Columbia stuff. It obviously stands for De Capital). Also, why are there shows like "are you smarter then a 5'th grader" or "beauty and the geek"? simple – to show how people are stupid so that you can sit at home and mock their ignorance.

Sure, mocking people isn’t "nice", its entertaining, but its not nice. Still, must we mock the monkeys? i mean, there are so many things humans are ignorant about, surely our time and resources are better spent mocking one another.

So please, if there's one thing you take from this post, let it be that "Prison Break" stopped making sense once they broke out of prison.