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Can animals be as deranged as Humans?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/27/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 736 times Debate No: 60966
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Although humans may be capable of having more cognizance than other animals, it is not only possible, but common for animals to partake in behavior that is as or more deranged than that of humans.


Is it possible for an animal's brain to develop differently than most animals of the same species? Absolutely. But we have to define deranged. I would appreciate it if you would do so. I would give you mine, but this is your debate, and I would like it if you could give your definition of your topic, as well as some kind of example. Also, if you claim animals can be deranged as humans, the BoP lies on you (although I don't really like having to prove something over the Internet) and you would need to give examples of animals being ruthless like some humans. I will give examples of "deranged" humans, and we can compare (or let the voters compare) the differences, and if one is more deranged than the other.

Animals kill for food. Humans kill (sometimes) because they have a mental disorder and a part of their brain hasn't developed "normally," causing them to harm other people and commit horrible acts of unnecessary violence. This leads us to call them "deranged." So I would say no, animals can not be as deranged as humans, as we haven't witnessed any assault or kill another animal for no reason other than to defend their territory, that they feel the other animal is a threat, or for food.

That's as much as I'll say now, as I should be just accepting, so I'll let you give your definitions, examples, and arguments, as there are only three rounds.

Thanks for creating this debate! Hope for something good to come of this.
Debate Round No. 1


I will list my sources at the bottom for reference

What I meant when I used the word deranged was akin to unnecessarily cruel or torturous in behavior.

While it is true that animals do kill to defend their territory, to defend themselves, or for survival purposes relating to food, these are not the only reasons that animals are known to kill.

Between the year 2000 and 2002, there were 19 individual cases of male sea otters attempting to, and often succeeding in raping harbor seal pups in Monterey Bay, California. These cases oftentimes ended in fatal injuries in the part of the seal pups. In addition, it is not uncommon for female sea otters to die as a result of trauma from male copulation.
"Delivered in the scientific deadpan required of such papers, the Aquatic Mammals report attributes the incidents to three male sea otters "observed harassing, dragging, guarding, and copulating with harbor seals," persisting for up to seven days after the otters killed the objects of their misguided advances. The ordeal must have been horrific for the seals. The victims that were necropsied by veterinarians had lesions around the nose, eyes, flippers, and genitals, including perforations in the vaginal and rectal tracts. A painful and confusing end for the poor pups."
Not only are the sea otters raping and killing seal pups, but they are continuing to rape the bodies of those they kill for up to a week after the individuals perish.
-Quote taken from Source 1

Another such example of this kind of behavior is found in dolphins. While most individuals view dolphins as being intelligent, helpful, beautiful, kind creatures, they also have a dark side. A very, very dark side. Male bottlenose dolphins are known to harass female dolphins in groups until they force it to copulate with each of them despite the female's attempts to escape. In addition to this horrible fact, dolphins do not limit themselves to their own kind and have been known to try to force themselves sexually on human swimmers as well. Dolphins are also known to kill other marine mammals and fish for fun as well as committing infanticide. This information is made only more disturbing by the recently discovered fact that dolphins have names that they call one another. Not only do they gang-rape one another and kill their young for apparently no reason, but they do so when they acknowledge the others as individuals.
In addition to these disturbing facts, it has recently been discovered that along with gang rapings, murders, and infanticide, dolphins share one other behavior with humans. The desire to get high from the use of drugs. Of course, dolphins don't have access to the many forms of drugs that humans use, but they found their own solution to this problem, a solution in the form of puffer fish. Dolphins have been observed to chew on puffer fish, causing them to release a neurotoxin in small amounts. The dolphin will then pass the puffer fish to another dolphin who does the same thing. In human terms, this might be referred to as a "puff, puff, pass rotation" (couldn't help myself). The dolphins enter a state of euphoria following ingesting the puffer fish toxin. "They began acting most peculiarly, hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection."
-Quote taken from Source 2

One last example of this kind of behavior comes from the Adeliae Penguin. The Adeliae penguin is another example of a sexual deviant in the animal kingdom. Male penguins have been observed to accost and copulate with other male penguins, injured females, chicks that had tumbled from their nests as well as corpses. In some cases, the males become so horny and desperate that they will mate with the ground until they ejaculate. One researcher took "just the frozen head of [a] penguin, with self-adhesive white O"s for eye rings, propped upright on wire with a large rock for a body, was sufficient stimulus for males to copulate and deposit sperm on the rock."
-Quote taken from source 1

Source 1:

Source 2:


Well for starters, thanks for sharing that with me and DDO. It's actually quite fascinating learning about things like this and how horribly animals can act.

However; there are different levels of unnecessary "deranged" acts. While you have listed different forms of rape and murder, as well as necrophilia, the only thing I would have to do to debunk your argument is give an example of a human who has done worse than all three of those, or a human who has committed worse forms of each.

Adolf Hitler - we all know who he was and (for the most part) what he did. He ordered the killings of approximately six million people. He gassed millions and tortured and enslaved millions[1]. It was his goal to eradicate an entire race of people, the Jews. He took people from their homes and families and ordered the killings and enslavement of almost all. One could argue that someone who gives the order to enslave, torture, starve, separate from their families, and kill millions of people is more deranged than an animal who kills one (or even hundreds) of other animals.

I could use Genghis Khan as an example too.

Or what about any terrorist who purposefully kills or maims or beheads thousands of people?

To say Hitler (my best example) is as bad as something who rapes and kills one (or even a few) other living things is reasonable until you think about it. Would you consider the killings of millions of people as bad as the killing or rape of maybe a few? Tens of millions lives have been destroyed because of Hitler, whereas only maybe a dozen have been because of some animals. Although horrific, not as bad as what some humans have done.

Also, here's something to illustrate how horrible some humans can be [2].


Debate Round No. 2


While it is not common in the animal kingdom, it does occur for animals to commit acts that are similar to genocide. Animals do not have specific religions or ethnicities by which to discriminate against so it might be easier to view these acts as being more war-like than genocidal" however, I don"t think that this phenomenon lessens the evil of the act. Humans have the mental capacity to draw invisible lines between ourselves, separating ourselves from our neighbors, but using this psychological property does not make it more deranged when we kill off thousands or millions of our own kind.

Ants are known to slaughter entire colonies of other ants and enslave the ants of the losing side to do manual labor. This is in much the same way that Hitler dominated the Jewish people and forced many of them to serve him doing manual labor as slaves and for experimentation.

Chimpanzees have also been observed to go to war with other Chimpanzee tribes, slaughtering entire groups of them. They have even been witnessed to cannibalize those that they are victimizing.

It might be said that the "Hitler example" is still more deranged than the other examples given because Hitler was able to do something unique. He was able to corrupt innocent individuals and brainwash normal people into doing atrocious acts. The corruption of innocents might be viewed as the worst of all deranged acts.
However, cuckoos have been observed to lay eggs in the nests of other species. When the egg hatches, the newborn cuckoo throws out the eggs of the other species. The cuckoo parent corrupts the baby cuckoo into taking several lives the instant it"s born and takes away the entire family of another species.

Animals commit mass murder, take slaves, rape and pillage, corrupt innocents, and even cannibalize victims. However, can animals discriminate against groups the same way that humans can as Hitler discriminated against the Jewish, gypsy and other populations?

In some animal groups, if an individual is born who suffers from albinoism (white coloration), the individual will be shunned or killed and will oftentimes be abandoned at birth.
In the UK, it has been observed that if a brightly colored Parrot or Budgerigar is let loose into the population, the Sparrows and Starlings will all collectively attack it.
Many species of apes and monkeys will discriminate against other tribes and will be completely unwelcoming to outsiders of the same species.
There was a specific case of a chimpanzee named Washoe that was raised by humans for the first 5 years of its life. It was raised as if it were a deaf human child and learned to speak sign language. At 5 years old, it was introduced to other chimpanzees. The other chimpanzees rejected her and would have killed Washoe if it had not been for human intervention. Washoe used sign language to describe the other chimpanzees as being "black cats" and "black bugs." She didn"t even identify with being the same as the other chimpanzees and looked upon them as being something inferior to herself.

Given that animals have been observed to commit mass murders and to discriminate against one another, the only difference that remains between the atrocities that Hitler committed and the ones that animals perpetuate would be that of intent and ideology. Hitler discriminated against peoples based on religion and background. Animals have not been observed to have belief systems so it is impossible for them to discriminate against one another based on such a thing. However, I do not believe that this makes Hitler"s mass murders any more deranged.


You brought up some very good points, and once again I was intrigued to read more about all of this.

But the thing I would like to bring up is the one main thing that separates us from animals; reason.

Humans have the ability to reason. They know what they're doing, and they chose to do what they do for their own personal gain, or to just straight up inflict pain and hardship onto another person(s). Animals attack to survive. They still go off survival skills and their main goal is simply that - to survive and breed. Our goal, as humans, is not as simple as survival. We have laws in place because of how we feel when something bad happens and how detrimental it is to our society when someone commits a horrible act of violence.

Hitler tortured and enslaved an entire race of people because he wanted to not only take over the world, but he thought the Jewish race (and many more) was simply inferior to his. Your ant example is good, however, just like a normal war of survival of the fittest, the ants did what they did to advance their species. The ants are trying to survive, whereas the humans are trying to conquer.

When you said we divide ourselves by religion or ethnicity, you made a good point - animals kill for survival, we kill for beliefs. There have been so many wars over religion or ethnicity that have taken hundreds of millions of lives, that if we hadn't separated ourselves based on ideas, we may have made it to eight billion people on Earth by now, and possibly even advanced technologically. The animals that kill do it either to defend themselves or advance their species. They don't do it because the two believe in different religions or are different "ethnicities," but to survive and keep the species alive. However some do kill for pleasure, the ones that can possibly be compared to human warlords do it for different, "rational" reasons, while the humans who have done so do it for nothing more than power or discrimination.

Our technological differences also show how cruel we can be. Experimentation on humans and other species is rampant and is still accepted in some places. Nowhere in the animal kingdom have you seen animals performing horrific acts of violence on each other or other species especially to test theories or ideas.

Regarding the cuckoo example; the main reason the newborn cuckoos attack the others is because of the animalistic instinct to get rid of something that doesn't feel right. However that is a good example of the older Cuckoos taking advantage of an animalistic or primal instinct to take over, Hitler did so on a much, MUCH larger scale. And regarding scenarios like this, where both species do somewhat of the same thing, we have to take into consideration the quantity of these acts. Hitler caused millions of people to believe Jews were a horrible disgusting race, and to torture, experiment on, and exterminate all of them. Adult Cuckoos simply took advantage of a primal instinct (so not even really brainwashed) in their newborns, and basically started a fight. It would be like if I put a lion in a gazelle's home, I didn't brainwash or even necessarily instigate anything, I just pushed primal instinct on the lion.

I like your albinoism example. However, this can easily be dismissed by assuming the animals who attack that one see it as inferior or not pure or something along those lines. And not in a way like the Hitler>Jew example, but more of a "this is bad for the sake of our species" kind of way.

For every story of one animal being raised by humans then rejected by other animals, I can give you ten of a black guy being beaten and not accepted in schools, stores, libraries, public places, etc, fifty years ago.

If you could have given me an example (with sources) that showed how some animals go against primal or natural instinct to purposefully inflict pain and suffering to another animal because they believed different things, I would be a bit more willing to agree with you. I do agree that animals can be very cruel and vicious, but the main reasons for doing so are simple primal instincts. The exceptions are not as violent or deranged as some humans, who have the ability to reason.

Thanks for a good debate, this was a completely different subject than I'm used to!
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by 09gellerj 2 years ago
I defined deranged in the second part of my argument. "What I meant when I used the word deranged was akin to unnecessarily cruel or torturous in behavior."
Posted by wxyz2000 2 years ago
I feel that your topic is kind of vague.

What do you mean by "deranged"? Do mean mean "insane", or do you mean psycho? Could you define exactly what you mean in the comments?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The resolution was general--not specific to the worst of what humans can do. Pro responded well enough even to Con's extreme examples, but overall showed that animals (generally) CAN (emphasis mine on CAN) be as deranged as humans (generally). Arguments to Pro. A thoroughly depressing read, though.