Survival of the Fittest

Written on: September 21, 2011

Some people say that animals have high pain tolerance, but is it really that they have less sensitive pain receptors? Or that they perceive pain the same way, but they just have to appear as though they do not feel pain for survival reasons? The world is a dangerous place. The strong preying on the weak is the rule in nature. In finding suitable habitats to live in, for example, the strong animals are the ones that take all the rich niches, while leaving the poorer niches for the weaker animals. It is not that the weak animals chose to live in the poorer niches. They did not and would not want to settle there if they had a choice, but they didn’t have a choice, as proven by many studies. They didn’t have a choice for being born genetically inferior among their species either. So if that is the case, and if the only way to survive in this dangerous world is to be strong, any animal would have to appear strong if they were not already strong, whether they like it or not.

For example, injured animals are considered weak, making them easy targets for predators. And this is why no animal would want to look injured even when they become injured. Is that to say that they have high pain tolerance, or that they don’t feel pain? Just because you, an ignorant human being assuming that you know everything (when in fact, your perception of the world is only limited to what you can perceive), react in a certain way when you become injured (i.e. make noises as you make a fuss about it), does not mean that animals would and should react the exact same way that you do. You cannot perceive something that you can only visually and audibly perceive – i.e. the pain associated with the action and screech that animals produce when they are in severe pain (e.g. getting a lethal bite). So when you don’t see an animal retracting or screeching, you cannot conclude that they do not feel any pain. Keep in mind, you are living in a world of luxury where you have caged yourself from the dangerous world, where you can assume that you are safe. So of course when you get injured, you can allow yourself to be weak and make a fuss about things, so that other people in the cage can help you, without having to worry about predators coming into this cage to attack you. So as long as you stay in the cage, you will be safe.

Animals, being so free in the dangerous world where only the fittest can survive, cannot do that. Any sign of unfitness, they would become eliminated. Hence they would have to do everything to be or look as though they are fit. So if they got a serious bite on the leg, they would have to try to keep their posture and appear as though they could run away if they were being chased, or else they would fall easy prey to their predators. So, just because they are not limping does not mean that there was nothing wrong with their leg, or that the leg was not injured, or that they were completely healthy because it appeared as though they were functioning normally. They just had to do what they can do to survive in this dangerous but free world.

And if these injured animals just happened to be lucky enough to survive, after doing what they can do to try to stay alive, is it fair or does it make any sense at all to make the statement: that their survival is due to them being fit in the first place, such that there was absolutely no need for them to receive treatment for their injured leg? Keep in mind that these animals were injured, so they were not fit for survival at all. In other words, they were just lucky that they’ve survived.

1) Animal behaviour course on the habitat selection section
2) Physics course, or specifically this quote from the course: “Under normal conditions the research scientists is not an innovator but a solver of puzzles, and the puzzles upon which he concentrates are just those which he believes can be both stated and solved within the existing scientific tradition.” – Thomas Kuhn
3) Evolution course on the mutation and natural selection section
4) Religion course for mentioning Darwinism

Published: August 23, 2011

One Response to Survival of the Fittest

  1. Pingback: Good courses = good inspirations | Mysteries of the Mind

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