Who’s Teaching the Morals, Here?
I’m having a hard time typing this with a straight face, but scientists at the University of Vienna have recently released a study claiming that, in the words of a news article, “living with humans has taught dogs morals.” Apparently, the researchers attribute dogs’ sense of “fairness” to their contact with humans.
Are they drinking from their lab-bench pipettes again? I mean, don’t you always think of dogs as exemplifying the finest attributes we look for in humans? Loyalty, love, and—of course—fairness … aren’t these qualities we can all learn from dogs? With all the human injustices—the wars, rapes, pillaging, cutting other people off in traffic, etc.—it seems a bit grandiose to claim that dogs learned their sense of fairness from us.
Consider this news story from Argentina: A 14-year-old girl abandoned her newborn baby outdoors, in winter, in the middle of the night. When the baby was found, she was being kept safe and warm—not by the human being who left her to die or by any other human but by a dog.
The dog, China, was keeping the baby girl safe among her own puppies and, perhaps seeing that she was weirdly hairless, had even covered her with a rag! Authorities theorize that China found the baby outdoors and carried her back inside. If not for China, the baby would have died unprotected against the cold outside.
So let me get this straight—who should learn from whom here?
Written by Amanda Schinke