How Should We Speak about Animals?

The strangeness never ends at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

They just posted an article we don’t understand. It’s titled PETA: Insults Like “Pig,” “Sloth” Hurt Animals, and it was written by ol’ Hambo himself. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Is insulting someone by calling them a “pig,” “sloth,” or “chicken” actually insulting animals? Well, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) seems to think so! [That’s a link to Fox News.] In a recent tweet, they shared an infographic with alternative words to common animal-based insults such as snake (try “jerk” instead), rat (“snitch”), or pig (“repulsive”). They ask that people use these alternatives because “using animals as insults perpetrates speciesism.”

Egad — we don’t want to be guilty of specisism. Hambo then quotes PETA:

Words can create a more inclusive world, or perpetuate oppression. Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals & justified in violating them. Stand up for justice by rejecting supremacist language.

What does Hambo think about “the myth that humans are superior to other animals”? He tells us:

The evolutionary underpinnings and biases of this organization are immediately obvious from the language used in their “animal insults” tweet. [Evolutionary underpinnings? Hee hee!] They believe humans are just “other animals,” no different from a snake, pig, or chicken (they even argue that to believe we are superior to these other creatures is “supremacist” thinking!). This comes from the naturalistic evolutionary worldview that we’re just animals with no more inherent value than a rat. After all, we all just got here by random, chance processes — and all life is supposedly related!

We don’t know what PETA thinks, but if that’s an example, it’s not exactly Darwinian. Hambo seems to agree, even though he disagrees with PETA. This is his analysis:

Of course, if you examine their worldview closely, it falls apart. In an evolutionary worldview, why care about “other animals”? After all, blue whales aren’t concerned about the plankton population, lions don’t mind taking down a weak gazelle, and bald eagles don’t compassionately care for trout. If we’re just animals, why care about the environment or “other animals” at all? It’s just survival of the fittest out there! And besides, from an evolutionary perspective, humans are related to plants, too, so we should stop eating plants and mowing the grass, as we’d be abusing and harming our relatives? It’s all such nonsense, filled with inconsistencies.

Now Hambo explains how PETA should be thinking:

Now, we should take everything other people say and hold it up to the light of Scripture. [Hooray for Hambo!] And when we do, we see that PETA’s worldview is utterly opposed to God’s Word. We are not “other animals” — humans are distinct and different. We’re made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27) and given dominion and stewardship over creation, to use it for our good and God’s glory (Genesis 1:28) — so, yes, we are “superior” to the animals! That doesn’t mean we lord that over creation, wantonly destroying the environment or driving species to extinction. Quite the opposite! We use the intellect, moral conscience, and creativity (part of what makes us uniquely human and “superior”) to kindly rule over God’s creation and honor Him.

That wasn’t difficult to understand, was it? We’re skipping to the end now. Hambo tells us how we should talk:

And, by the way, in an evolutionary worldview, there’s no moral authority by which to say insulting people (by using animal insults or otherwise) is even wrong — why be kind with your words in that worldview? But in the biblical worldview, every person is made in God’s image and we’re to understand the power of our words and speaking kindly and gently to others: [Scripture quotes omitted.]

Now, dear reader, you know how to talk about other people. Isn’t Hambo wonderful?

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7 responses to “How Should We Speak about Animals?

  1. That’s one reason why I stopped using trumpig… as it was insulting to the pig. I now like Diaper Don instead. Just as calling xtians stupid is insulting!!!…to stupid people.

  2. “Well, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) seems to think so!”
    Ol’Hambo is lying again.

    “Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals & justified in violating them.”
    Whether we agree with this or not (personally I’m rather indifferent), this does not mean “insulting animals”.

    ” in an evolutionary worldview, there’s no moral authority by which to say insulting people (by using animal insults or otherwise) is even wrong”
    Spot on in this specific case. Whenever a creacrapper slings an animal insult to me (or otherwise) I take it as a compliment.

    “to kindly rule over God’s creation and honor Him.”
    So Ol’Hambo actually sides with PETA on the topic of “using animals as insults”, albeit for different reasons.
    What a goof.

  3. chris schilling

    If PETA re-wrote Genesis:

    “Now the talking jerk was more crafty than any of the wild animals God made…”

    “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food…she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. They scoffed the lot and made repulsive nameless animals of themselves, and soon became indolent, in the manner of a group of arboreal Neotropical xenarthran mammals, constituting the suborder Folivora…”

    “God said to the man: ‘Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ Adam quickly buckled under the pressure and snitched on Eve, who simply blamed it all on the talking jerk…”

  4. Hi, I’m from People Eating Tasty Animals
    Please be nice to your food!

  5. And again we see Ham’s talent for zeroing in on one of the real motivations behind creationism: the desire to be told that you’re special! Genesis says (inter alia) that all other living things were created by class. Human beings were the only living things specifically and separately created, and they alone were created in God’s image. So we’re special.

    Nearly all of the demographic Ham is pitching to are ordinary. We all are, in fact. But we wish we weren’t. Ham gets that. So telling ordinary people that they’re special is part of his schtick.

    He’s not saying it because it’s true. It is true, but not in the way he means it. No, he’s saying it because it works. It’s effective. Like everything Ham says or does, it supports his goals. I suppose that his ultimate goal is the triumph of his favoured set of falsehoods, but an intermediate one is the well-being and affluence of Ken Ham. This works towards that goal, as well.

    PETA is trying, in its usual cack-handed way, to assert that animals should not be denigrated by being used as insults. I think there’s a reason for that, but they don’t actually give it. The reason is that it makes cruelty to animals easier. And cruelty is not merely horrible in itself, it tends to spread.

    Funny how Ken doesn’t even mention that.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Recent news is that humans consume world resources like there are 1.6 earths. Sounds like Hambo (and us) are overachieving in caring for the world and all the other animals.

  7. What about personal names, like Leo or Ari, which mean “lion”?