Behavioral and neuroscientific studies across the animal kingdom
demonstrate that many species share the sights and sounds of life with
us humans. That they too can feel, even though they can't talk about it.
First, except for size, there are no large-scale, dramatic differences
between the brains of most mammals, including the human brain.
Second, almost all human behaviors have precursors in the animal
literature. For example, when people experience pain and distress
they contour their face, moan, cry, squirm, and try to avoid anything
that would trigger the reoccurrence of the pain. Many animals do the
same. Likewise for the physiological signals that attend pain
- activation of the sympathetic autonomous nervous system causing an
increase in blood pressure, dilated pupils, sweating, increased heart
rate, release of stress hormones and so on. Finally, all of nature's
children are related; all of us live on the various branches of the
same tree of life.
Because it is likely that mammals can consciously experience the pains
and pleasure of life, can be happy or sad, we should not be eating
their flesh. Indeed, we should not breed sentient beings for their
It was difficult to immediately follow this growing realization with
action - the taste of meat is very deeply engrained! The death of our
beloved family companion Nosy - a black German Shepherd with that
canny look - in my arms a few years provided the final impulse to make
me live in accordance with my belief. I am now an octo-lavo
Given that so much nourishing and tasty food is available to us, food
that does not involve raising sentient creatures under atrocious and
brutal circumstances (find out how cattle are raised to produce white
veal-meat) and then eating their flesh, why persist in this morally
unjustifiable behavior? For a closely argued elaborate version of
this ethical argument, I recommend reading the philosopher Peter
Singer's seminal Animal Liberation.
In the summer of 2000, my son and I joined an archeological
expedition to dig up part of the Temple built by King Herod in 20 BC
in Caesarea, along the Israeli coast. While there, I
had an Apple
tattooed onto my right deltoid. Together with the
Boeing B-747 Jumbo Jet and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco,
the Apple Macintosh is the most beautiful and elegant artifact of the
20-th century. A perfect marriage of form and function. And to
answer the obvious question, yes, this tattoo
will remain this crisp and cool until the day I die. But you also
have got to go with the times - so watch this
cartoonish vision of Bill and Steve getting along - or not.
Check out these images of my brain. Cool, eh! To find out more or to look at
my brain in more detail, hit
this button .
My Erdös number
is 3 (through Jonathan Harel, who published with Robert McElice who
published in 1971 with Paul Erdös). This is far less than the
median of 5 or the mean of 4.65. If you have written a
scientific paper with me, your Erdös number will be 4.