Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chimpanzees on the brink of extinction in the wild

An article published this week in the Birmingham Examiner and based on research conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology indicates that the latest census show a 90% decrease in the wild chimpanzee population in Ivory Coast.
The reasons are deforestation, the growth in human population, poaching and civil war.
The surviving population is mainly located in protected areas, such as the Tai National Park, which will lose external financial support in 2010.

Read the article in the Birmingham Examiner.
For more info, visit the site of the Planck Institute.
Visit this link for information on Ivory Coast and Tai National Park.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Religion, Primate Research and Ethics

Is Religion opposed to evolution?
As far as Buddhism is concerned, there is no opposition.  As indicated by the Dalai Lama in his new book "The Universe in a Single Atom", if a buddhist concept goes against scientific proof, then science must be accepted.  For more info, check out this review from the New York Times.

In the speech he gave at Harvard University in 1993, Daisaku Ikeda, another Buddhist scholar, said: "Buddhism provides a philosophical basis for the symbiotic coexistence of all things.  Among the many images in the Lotus Sutra, a particularly compelling one is the merciful rain that falls everywhere, equally, moistening the vast expanse of the earth and bringing forth new life from all the trees and grasses, large and small.  This scene, depicted with the vividness, grandeur, and beauty characteristic of the Lotus Sutra, symbolizes the enlightenment of all people touched by the Buddha's Law.  At the same time, it is a magnificent tribute to the rich diversity of human and all other forms of sentient and non-sentient life.  Thus, each living thing manifests the enlightenment of which it is capable; each contributes to the harmony of the grand concert of symbiosis.
In Buddhist terminology, "dependent origination" (engi) describes these relationships.  Nothing, nobody exists in isolation.  Each individual being functions to create the environment that sustains all other existences.  All things are mutually supporting and interrelated, forming a living cosmos, what modern philosophy might term a semantic whole.  That is the conceptual framework through which Mahayana Buddhism views the natural universe."

However, for most of the Christian world and religions based on the theory of the existence of God, there seems to be no cross-over and this could prove dangerous indeed.
This is why I was relieved to find an article that seems to open the door to exploration.
In a presentation she gave on "Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and the Future of Theological Reflection", Dr Nancy R. Howell said: Theology typically has limited itself by anthropocentrism (the belief that humans are the central element of the universe), and in so doing, we have missed a more complete picture of God’s relationships and of nature’s value”. “Theologians have written for decades about ecology in a broad sense, but my research wonders how Christian thought might be deepened and enriched by focus in some detail on creatures similar to humans."
For more details, read the article published in The Laurinburg Exchange.

In light of our many religious beliefs or lack thereof, is it ethical to conduct tests on primates? or any animals for that matter?  And when we do so, don't we owe these animals to treat them right for the sacrifices we, humans, make them do on our behalf?

It is important for us to keep our eyes open and make sure abuse on any "sentient or non-sentient beings" happen.  Please check this article about PETA's allegations of abuse on monkeys used for experiments at the Oregon National Primate Research Center.  Please also visit

Let us respect every living thing around us and protect our environment.

html web counter
free html web counter