Animal behaviour

I am and probably will always be a Catholic although it does not stop me questioning things that happen every now and then so here it is. I was watching a program recently on wolves and how they attack their prey and tear them apart. I made me wonder why God has made animals in such a way that they attack and kill each other. It seems certain animals were made just to be eaten by others, a bit strange. Why not just make the predatory animals eat food they do not have to kill?

They were originally designed to eat plants, but the Fall forced a change in the plan.

But carnivores have fangs, claws and short digestive tracts. So, personally, I dont think there were designed to eat plants.

Cruelty within nature, is often said by atheists as a reason why they say that there is no God. However all this proves is that the creation is not as they would want it to be. It does not disprove the existence of God, or that God loves us.

I think we are not able to see the bigger picture going on. God could have created a perfect world with no suffering (which is what we believe will be in the future), but He created the universe as it is, with its complexity, and beauty, and also the carnivores, predators and parasites. This may not satisfy some. But to me its all part of God’s plan. GB

I have my own little theory about God allowing free will not only to men but to all creation, even in the process of our God driven evolution.

However you look at it though, you have to admit that God has put together a wonderful earth. It can only work in the way we see it with checks and balances. If there were no carnivores, there would be huge explosions in the populations of plant eating animals leading to the denudation of plant communities and slow deaths by starvation of countless plant eating animals. God knew in His wisdom what the outcome would be of his creation.

Even vegetarians have to kill to eat! Why did God make **any **living being eat living beings? Physical life needs physical life to survive and develop. Death is not evil but an essential part of the biocycle. From our sheltered, man-made houses and cities we have a distorted view of nature. It is not “red in tooth and claw” but full of beautiful colours - and animals do not live in fear and trembling. Many delight in life far more than we do… :slight_smile:

We die only once. Does that dispel the value of life for animals even if they don’t survive after death? To think so is absurd because life is much longer than death! What is the best way to die? From a slow, lingering disease or swiftly by an efficient predator? Even animals torn to pieces rapidly die of shock because severe pain makes them lapse into unconsciousness. Armchair criticisms of life on earth are justified only if we can provide a feasible blueprint of a better one… and that has never been achieved by anyone…

I hadn’t read your post when I posted mine but we both pointed out the value of predation - yours with regard to starvation and mine to disease! We could add all the animals born weak, deformed or crippled by an accident or infirmity… :slight_smile:

It’s very possible you were misunderstanding what was said. There would be no reason to use that as a basis to claim there is or is not a God. What I can easily see being said, is that the many attributes christians give God such as just, loving, all knowing and others, seem incomplete and or innacurate with what we can observe in the natural world. Whenever this topic comes up, there is no sense in discussing it because christians then go into this whole “plan” that is beyond human comprehension thing. That is an answer for a lot of things that clearly don’t add up. This is not a matter of wanting things to be the way we want them too. God could exist and be unjust, unloving, unforgiving. None of those things would disprove a God. Nor would they prove one.

Yes, That is exactly the point. People who don’t believe in God see the pain inflicted on innocent life (caterpillars in which wasps lay eggs was Darwin’s choice example) as an indication that there is not an all-knowing, all-loving, all powerful God, since if there was one, God would stop, or not start, this sort of thing. That leaves open the theoretical possibility of an ignorant, hateful, or weak God. Interestingly there seems to be little concern for animal suffering before the enlightenment, so it is possibly of little interest to theists.

Life is neither innocent or guilty. It is amoral! Can you design a world in which there is no competition or conflict?

That leaves open the theoretical possibility of an ignorant, hateful, or weak God.

Only if you can design a better world!

Interestingly there seems to be little concern for animal suffering before the enlightenment, so it is possibly of little interest to theists.

Ever heard of Jesus or St Francis of Assisi?

I think that all all-loving, all powerful, all knowing God would not allow amoral creatures to suffer pain either. Not sure about designing a better world. If I was all powerful I guess I’d be willing to have a go! I do not recall Jesus being particularly concerned for animal life. He took an active part in asphyxiating fish. He also seemed to be ok with animal sacrifice. He did report that our heavenly Father did not let sparrows fall without being aware of it, but I don’t think any sparrows were prevented from falling. St Francis seemed to have quite an awareness of non-human life, but I do not recall ever reading that he taught against cruelty to animals. From his skill with wolves, though, I’d guess he could easily have his own reality show if he were active in this word today!

What exactly is wrong with pain? That’s a key assumption you’re not looking at.

It hurts.

It is the devil, “The Lord of this World” (Jn 21:31), “The God of this World” (2 Cor 4:4), who is responsible for the cruelty and futility of nature. Beelzebul means, of course, the Lord of Flies, but it could equally be wolves, owls, serpents, viruses, etc.

The Fall of the Universe is an ontological change, and is thus effectively the creation of the world as we know it (full of dangerous beasts, famine and pestilence). It is the product of sin, of the serpent, Lucifer, contrary to the will of God.

So we should never consider the cruelty and futility which are the essense of this “creation” as any part of the True God’s intention.

So, God loves us, but not the rest of his creation? Do you knowingly inflict intense suffering upon those you love?

I think we are not able to see the bigger picture going on. God could have created a perfect world with no suffering (which is what we believe will be in the future), but He created the universe as it is, with its complexity, and beauty, and also the carnivores, predators and parasites. This may not satisfy some. But to me its all part of God’s plan. GB

That’s kind of the point, really - God could have created a perfect world, and what’s more, many Christians believe he originally did, except that he incorporated creatures that he knew were predisposed to scupper his plans and make him undertake a complete revision, albeit one he apparently refuses to share. But if there’s a perfect world waiting for you, why is it waiting?

You have nailed it. Ecosystems are self sustaining, self balancing. If they weren’t, there would be massive population explosions and great extinctions occuring all the time. God put together a self sustaining system. Unfortunately, the majority of the human race has now moved out from the natural environment and has little understanding of how it works. Life in the urban concrete jungles violates all the rules of self sustaining eco systems and I find it amusing, if not hypocritical, that the denizens of those concrete jungles express dismay at how the natural world works and ignorance of how it all fits together. Most predation is done on the weak and infirm. The fittest survive, the weak and infirm culled. And contrary to popular opinion, most animals caught as prey feel little or no pain. The pain is chemically dulled as a result of the flight or fright reflex response. That’s why you can see films of lions eating antelope alive and the antelope is silent. If the concrete jungle dwelling atheists learnt more about nature and natural systems, they’d soon see the hand of God!

Is there any evidence for this? Or is this just something you belief on faith?

Endorphin and enkephalin are the body’s natural painkillers. When a person is injured, pain impulses travel up the spinal cord to the brain. The brain then releases endorphins and enkephalins. Enkephalins block pain signals in the spinal cord. Endorphins are thought to block pain principally at the brain stem. Both are morphine-like substances whose functions are similar to those of opium-based drugs. [LEFT]
[/LEFT]
discoveriesinmedicine.com/Com-En/Endorphin-and-Enkephalin.html

Are you a hedonist?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.