The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Monday, April 18, 2011

On Evolution and Empathy

From La Muse Verte:

In 1959, psychologist Russell Church conducted a study on the empathy of rats. 
In the study, he trained the rats to push a lever to receive their food.  Then, in a twisted change, he fixed the lever to a a floor in the neighboring cage.  Every time the rat would push the lever, the rat in the other cage would get an electric shock.  Rats that had previously experienced shocks were very empathetic to the rat in the other cage. 
Instead of selfishly pushing the lever and receiving its food at the expense of the other rat, the rat would quit pushing the lever and eventually starve to death rather than eat off of another rat’s suffering.
I sometimes am left with the distinct feeling that other species are able to make more moral decisions than humanity.

Be seeing you.

1 comment:

  1. The difference between rats and our rulers is they haven't previously experienced shocks—they're almost exclusively upper class by birth or early attainment. That's why the poor share more than the rich do.