Yet More Convincing ‘scientific’ Proof of, uh…


What do you think this means: De Waal Traces Human Behavior to Apes.

The renowned Yerkes primatologist designed an experiment in which two side-by-side apes were rewarded with the same food after completing the same task. Both animals repeated the task to continue to receive the reward. When one of the apes began to be rewarded for the same task with a better treat, the other animal, observing the unfair treatment, quickly refused to repeat the task, effectively going on strike.

De Waal calls strike behavior an “irrational reaction.”

I have to be honest with you: If I belonged to a labor union, I would be highly offended by this. Said the article:

De Waal, whom TIME magazine designated as one of “100 People Who Shape Our World,” described the uncanny similarities between human and ape behavior in the inaugural lecture of the Life of the Mind lunchtime lecture series on Wednesday.

It is amazing to me that people get paid to a) nominate people like De Waal as 1 of 100 people in a world of several billion who ‘shape our world’, and b) make ‘discoveries’ like De Waal made and be nominated as 1 of 100 people out of several billion who ‘shape our world.’

If striking is an ‘irrational behavior’ imagine how irrational it is to go to work on an assembly line. Now that would be a study I would be interested in reading.

To borrow a phrase from R Dawkins, this is all ‘very amusing.’ And I am sure that Prof. De Waal’s will go a long way to improving the relations between striking labor unions and management. All management has to do is give them a better prize and the union worker will stop acting like an ape. Thank you, Professor, for such enlightening research! I nominate you for one of the Ig Nobel’s!



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