This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Killing Bald Eagles in the name of religion

Killing Bald Eagles in the name of religion - Comments

mjr's Avatar Comment 1 by mjr

I don't think this has much to do with religion. I think it is a reasonable concession to tradition. It just doesn't get me riled the way religion does.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 20:01:33 UTC | #929938

78rpm's Avatar Comment 2 by 78rpm

No, I think it is religion, but I also think it stinks in the same way I think that "respect' for any religion stinks, just that it is exponentially smaller than what Christians would have us do for them. Discussion here is good, but we need to choose what we are going to let rile us.

Of course, it is tradition too, so clearly they will be killing these birds the traditional way by flinging rocks at them, or if they use really advanced technology, shooting arrows with hand made stone heads. It would violate their tradition to use firearms, right?

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 23:29:07 UTC | #929993

Layla's Avatar Comment 3 by Layla

This is wrong. If a law is put in place to protect a species tradition does not constitute a good enough reason to violate this law.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 23:40:43 UTC | #929999

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 4 by Mee Peestevone

Same here - doesn't rile me. The right to kill for eagle feathers existed before the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. And I'm sure the Arapaho weren't consulted when the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was created. When they ban the Jewish and Muslim religious laws on how to slaughter animals perhaps then we can go after the indigenous over their killing of two eagles.

Comment 1 by mjr :

I don't think this has much to do with religion. I think it is a reasonable concession to tradition. It just doesn't get me riled the way religion does.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:24:50 UTC | #930080

Akaei's Avatar Comment 5 by Akaei

White says. "If a non-Indian had to get his Bible from a repository, and it was sent in a box, and he opened it and it was rotten — how would he like it?"

If bibles could only be made with dolphin skin, elephant tusks and gorilla paws, and there weren't enough bibles to go around the only appropriate response would be: "Make due with what you have."

Historical persecution and racism against the indigenous peoples of what is currently the US has resulted in hypersensitivity and a phobia of being labeled racist.

The question should begin and pretty much end with: Why are we protecting eagles and are our motives (for protecting them) in touch with actual, current conditions?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:34:44 UTC | #930083

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 6 by Mee Peestevone

Tradition doesn't have to go that far back. They used firearms before the 1790s. Woo is everywhere.

Comment 2 by 78rpm :

No, I think it is religion, but I also think it stinks in the same way I think that "respect' for any religion stinks, just that it is exponentially smaller than what Christians would have us do for them. Discussion here is good, but we need to choose what we are going to let rile us.

Of course, it is tradition too, so clearly they will be killing these birds the traditional way by flinging rocks at them, or if they use really advanced technology, shooting arrows with hand made stone heads. It would violate their tradition to use firearms, right?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:36:10 UTC | #930086

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 7 by Mee Peestevone

According to Environment Canada, about 100,000 can be found in Alaska and British Columbia even in large urban areas like Vancouver. There are also healthy breeding populations in Alberta, Ontario, and on the East Coast.

Comment 5 by Akaei :

White says. "If a non-Indian had to get his Bible from a repository, and it was sent in a box, and he opened it and it was rotten — how would he like it?"

If bibles could only be made with dolphin skin, elephant tusks and gorilla paws, and there weren't enough bibles to go around the only appropriate response would be: "Make due with what you have."

Historical persecution and racism against the indigenous peoples of what is currently the US has resulted in hypersensitivity and a phobia of being labeled racist.

The question should begin and pretty much end with: Why are we protecting eagles and are our motives (for protecting them) in touch with actual, current conditions?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:47:15 UTC | #930090

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 8 by Mee Peestevone

It would be interesting to know if the law ever violated a treaty right. Probably not.

Comment 3 by Layla :

This is wrong. If a law is put in place to protect a species tradition does not constitute a good enough reason to violate this law.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:49:43 UTC | #930092

inquisador's Avatar Comment 9 by inquisador

I'm so glad that scalping of enemies is not a sacred tradition to be maintained.

Also, it seemed odd to me that the Arapaho elder complained that the birds they received that were recovered from dead specimens found in the wild, were too rotten to be used. Yet the process of treating those remains was to pluck the required feathers and send them to the tribe, after keeping them in a repository for a time.

How do feathers go rotten? Has anyone noticed this with feather dusters?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 10:51:41 UTC | #930130

danconquer's Avatar Comment 10 by danconquer

Many countries have designated certain species as 'protected', usually for reasons of biodiversity and protection of a species endangered as a result of human activity. Such regulations almost always allow an appropriate authority to make an exemption, but the reason for the exemption must be to satisfy real - not imaginary - requirements, such as preventing the spread of a disease.

Whether the catalyst in this case is supernaturalism or mere tradition makes no difference. Neither are sufficient reasons to override an enshrined regulation or law. This decision is morally wrong and, I suspect, quite possibly legally wrong. I hope it is challenged. If allowed to stand it creates an intolerable and absurd precedent. What if I or my made-up sect decided that it is the most sincere and inescapable requirement for us to sacrifice any number of other officially protected species? No exemption would be entertained, and thus it would be discriminatory.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:40:47 UTC | #930139

mmurray's Avatar Comment 11 by mmurray

This is not the only case of indigenous groups being allowed to hunt protected species. In Northern Queensland the Australian Native Title Act allows traditional owners to hunt protected species to satisfy their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs.

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3448943.htm?site=farnorth&section=news

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3458727.htm

Don't watch this if your stomach is weak they cut up a turtle while it is alive. There is a dispute in this case over whether they are exempt from cruelty laws as well. There is also probably trade going on in turtle and dugong meat which is definitely illegal as it would violate the "non-commercial communal needs" part of the law.

If the videos doen't play outside Australia you can still read the transcripts.

Michael

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:49:57 UTC | #930141

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 12 by Peter Grant

Stupid humans killing beautiful birds.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 14:13:11 UTC | #930160

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 13 by Alan4discussion

Local native human populations killing tightly regulated very restricted numbers has a minimal effect on animal populations. Native Arctic subsistence hunters kill sea mammals & birds where commercial hunting is banned.

Unlike commercial poachers who devastate animal populations for tiger-skins, rhino horns, ivory and bush-meat, these tribes usually respect the ecology and avoid destructive over-exploitation.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 15:03:03 UTC | #930171

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 14 by Mee Peestevone

Brings to mind the Passenger pigeon.

Comment 12 by Peter Grant :

Stupid humans killing beautiful birds.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 17:38:52 UTC | #930197

78rpm's Avatar Comment 15 by 78rpm

[Comment 13 >

these tribes usually respect the ecology and avoid destructive over-exploitation.

I do not accept this concept of the "Noble Savage." Being human animals, they won't be any more self-limiting in their hunting than any other human animal. Plus, the Constitution specifically makes them U.S. citizens with all the rights and privileges that I have. They can do just fine without their fresh-killed eagle feathers. The law is the law---no exceptions for any religion, be it out of Rome or out of the wilderness.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:46:23 UTC | #930275

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 16 by aroundtown

This one is a no-brainer for me. It's wrong to do and has no merit, as far as tradition and all the rest of the tactics of justification that is just bunk. I would imagine the Eagle would protest if it could. Man's arrogance in presuming superiority and complete control over animals is pathetic. Any close and honest examination of our actions in regard to animals will attest to our destructive nature in their regard. The Tuna use to be the size of small trucks and now that is just a distant memory because of the voracious fish snackers that humans are and this is just one example. Another would be the Elephants and the shit we like to make out of Ivory and lastly some pecker-head thinking Rhino horn will do something for them. Just bullshit as far as I am concerned.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:47:21 UTC | #930277

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 17 by aroundtown

So I'm guess that it would be kosher for Eagles to get together in an Eagle council and decide Humans need to be added to their nests for decoration purposes. Does that sound about equal and fair. No harm, no foul right?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:55:56 UTC | #930282

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Comment 18 by Ted Foureagles

My name and much of my world view was given to me by my traditional Cherokee Grandfather. It is common among Native American societies to understand ourselves as sovereign nations not necessarily subject to US laws -- incorrect, but common. I view killing for means beyond subsistence or protection as abhorrent. Some of my traditional relatives don't see killing for spiritual reasons as wrong, and some of my fellow mainstream Americans don't see killing for political reasons as wrong. The latter far outweighs the former, and Native American numbers are so small that hardly anything we do makes much difference. Native and European cultures on this continent are still far from perfectly blended, and conflicts in ideology permeate the realtionship. Native Americans hold some few rights by treaty, and are often keen to defend as many of them as possible, even when they contain irrational beliefs. I don't like it, but am loathe to surrender those last precious rights. And for what it's worth, I'd sooner kill a human than an eagle.

}}}}

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 00:50:33 UTC | #930289

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 19 by Mee Peestevone

Where I live, First Nations people attain eagle feathers from zoos, aviaries, and moulting at nest sites. And get really ticked off when one of their own kill the birds especially for commercial purposes. Unfortunately there are a few who want the whole body of the eagle - bones and various body parts for healing ceremonies and medicinal purposes.

As for scalping, check this out:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2000/01/04/mikmaq000103.html

Comment 9 by inquisador :

I'm so glad that scalping of enemies is not a sacred tradition to be maintained.

Also, it seemed odd to me that the Arapaho elder complained that the birds they received that were recovered from dead specimens found in the wild, were too rotten to be used. Yet the process of treating those remains was to pluck the required feathers and send them to the tribe, after keeping them in a repository for a time.

How do feathers go rotten? Has anyone noticed this with feather dusters?

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 01:01:25 UTC | #930295

canadian_right's Avatar Comment 20 by canadian_right

Our local Natives get to do a lot of stuff that they were doing before the Europeans arrived. For example, they are allowed "food fisheries" during times when commercial fishing is generally closed. Some of these rights are enshrined in treaties, some are local law.

We had a case where some local natives were killing eagles for the feathers, but they ware arrested, convicted and fined as the locals never used eagle feathers for their traditional ceremonies. The feathers were being sold on the black market down into the States.

The treaties and laws should be respected, but I think the natives would be doing themselves a favour if they did not always exploit these rights when it adversely affects people outside the reserves.

Traditions that harm people should be abandoned. Tradition is not a a good reason to continue immoral acts. For example, my ancestors had a long and colour tradition of slaughtering neighbours, sometimes inviting whole villages over to celebrate a peace treaty then sneaking back and slaughtering the women and children left behind. Despite doing this for millennia we gave it up as immoral.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 01:27:04 UTC | #930298

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 21 by Mee Peestevone

As long as the non-natives keep exploiting their rights to natural resources that adversely affect Natives and their communities such as the extraction of uranium, clear-cut logging, open pit mining, commercial overfishing, fish farms etc, I imagine some Natives don't care. However many do and the good news is there are new treaties and treaties in the making to address these concerns. At least it seems to be working out for the Nisga.

Comment 20 by canadian_right :

Our local Natives get to do a lot of stuff that they were doing before the Europeans arrived. For example, they are allowed "food fisheries" during times when commercial fishing is generally closed. Some of these rights are enshrined in treaties, some are local law.

We had a case where some local natives were killing eagles for the feathers, but they ware arrested, convicted and fined as the locals never used eagle feathers for their traditional ceremonies. The feathers were being sold on the black market down into the States.

The treaties and laws should be respected, but I think the natives would be doing themselves a favour if they did not always exploit these rights when it adversely affects people outside the reserves.

Traditions that harm people should be abandoned. Tradition is not a a good reason to continue immoral acts. For example, my ancestors had a long and colour tradition of slaughtering neighbours, sometimes inviting whole villages over to celebrate a peace treaty then sneaking back and slaughtering the women and children left behind. Despite doing this for millennia we gave it up as immoral.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 02:15:08 UTC | #930308

Vicar of Art on Earth's Avatar Comment 22 by Vicar of Art on Earth

I will drink a toast to the memory of two lives given to get New Agers to leave Native Americans alone. Shame it had to be this way.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 03:28:23 UTC | #930319

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

Comment 15 by 78rpm

Comment 13 - these tribes usually respect the ecology and avoid destructive over-exploitation.

I do not accept this concept of the "Noble Savage." Being human animals, they won't be any more self-limiting in their hunting than any other human animal.

Historical records show many were (and still are), in balance with the ecology, especially in animist cultures. Many lived sustainably for centuries before modern commercial and technologically generated human population explosions brought about cultural changes.

At the present time Amazon tribes who have lived sustainably for centuries, are being over-run by destructive commercial exploiters with modern weapons.

Biologists also collect limited samples for study. Life and death are part of living nature. It is not fossilised and unchanging!

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 12:36:34 UTC | #930361

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 24 by ANTIcarrot

Bald Eagles are not endangered by any stretch of the imagination.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle
This is no different from leather and meat. It's all pointlessly cruel and evil.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 16:47:56 UTC | #930381

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 25 by Steven Mading

It's a shame that the justification is standing on the indefensible principle of "let's make exceptions to the law for religious reasons".

What it should be standing on is the principle that the tribe is native and should be allowed some exceptions to US law on the basis that they be given some autonomy due to having been here first. (Basically, the same principle that allows for Indian casinos).

Exceptions to the law for religion are despicable. Exceptions to the law because they are laws imposed by an invading nation that signed a treaty with you and agreed to let you have some autonomy from their laws and should fucking honor that treaty for once, are laudable.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 19:44:19 UTC | #930414

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 26 by Katy Cordeth

Comment 1 by mjr :

I don't think this has much to do with religion. I think it is a reasonable concession to tradition. It just doesn't get me riled the way religion does.

I agree, although even if it were to do with religion, I think I would still find it hard to get upset over the deaths of two members of a not particularly endangered species. If bald eagle appeared on the menu at my local Pret a Manger, I think I'd be first in the queue for a sandwich.

I do wonder, though, at the timing of this story and how much it might be intended as a big f.u. from these Arapaho guys to all the super-patriotic candidates standing in the upcoming general election.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 00:46:43 UTC | #930473

HellFireFuel's Avatar Comment 27 by HellFireFuel

The Northern Araphao have every right to kill a couple of eagles.

It's their country.

They don't have to obay the laws of the colonialists.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:27:59 UTC | #930567

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 28 by hungarianelephant

Comment 23 by Alan4discussion :

Historical records show many were (and still are), in balance with the ecology, especially in animist cultures. Many lived sustainably for centuries before modern commercial and technologically generated human population explosions brought about cultural changes.

Perhaps so. Historical records also show that megafauna disappeared from the Americas at a time suspiciously close to the arrival of distinctly un-modern humans. The arrival of the Maori in New Zealand heralded extinction events there. Just in the last few days, there have been reports of evidence linking the arrival of humans in Australia 40,000 years ago, not just with catastrophe for the native animals, but also with dramatic changes to the vegetation.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:10:34 UTC | #930569

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 29 by Starcrash

This is both obscene and absurd, and frankly I can’t understand how this exclusion isn’t an explicit violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Speaking of absurd, why would this be against the establishment clause? It isn't forcing anyone to do anything in the name of religion, but rather allowing a religious group their freedom to practice their religious rituals (which is allowed by the first amendment).

My mother (a Christian) told me about this recently, and I replied, "it's another sad example of religious exemptions made at the cost of innocent life." But apparently she brought it up because of the women's contraception issue currently in the US Congress, and she thought it was unfair because another religion was getting their exemption but she wasn't getting hers. sigh Such is human bias that it makes people blind to reason.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 02:38:49 UTC | #930679

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 30 by Alan4discussion

Comment 28 by hungarianelephant

Quite so!
Only some groups of humans had/have territories where they respect and maintain the ecological balance. Killing two eagles is not a threat to this species.

Humans as an exploitative invasive species have frequently caused extinctions and continue to do so.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 11:42:21 UTC | #930719