Are bees capable of feeling exploited?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Abstract, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #1
    (mod note: split from this thread)

    Yesterday, I met a vegetarian who didn't want to eat a vegetarian cake because it had honey in it. Someone went through the trouble of making a vegan cake (no eggs or milk in it whatsoever), and used organic honey as a sweetener (or I think it was organic.....I work at a food co-op that's mostly organic), which is like the least "abusive" to bees since it's not mass produced, and yet she wouldn't eat it because it crosses the line?
     
  2. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #2
    Just reading that annoyed me. How utterly obnoxious. (as are most vegans) Something about the people who do it for moral reasons... it just irritates the hell out of me. I really hope she gets attacked by a swarm of bees and promptly bitten by an animal or something.
    It also bothers me that everyone else has to try to cater to their eating styles yet they would never try to cater to your preferences for eating.
    Ever notice how unhealthy they tend to look? Not the best promotional value to their uptight little vegan cause either.
    </mini rant>

    On topic, I didn't know that about cheese. I find that the more I know about the food I eat the more I don't want to know.
     
  3. alFR macrumors 68020

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    #3
    To me honey isn't animal-derived - it's just nectar from flowers that has evaporated a bit and become more concentrated. OK, so the bees have carried it to their hive for you, but so what? Someone's harvested all those vegetables in the supermarket and carried them to the shop: it doesn't make them animal-derived, does it?
     
  4. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #4
    If they are going to go that far then they should also refuse to eat commercially produced almonds. Honey production is actually just a byproduct of the pollination process which is where beekeepers make 90% of their money. Almonds and a number of fruits and nuts are dependent on roving beekeepers to pollinate their crops. Taking the honey is no worse than forcing the slave labor.
     
  5. Queso macrumors G4

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    #5
    That's a rather romantic view of it. Technically honey is chewed and dried insect vomit :D

    Link
     
  6. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #6
    There's quite a lot of time, energy, and resources invested in the production of honey by bees. It's far from simply evaporated nectar. Go ahead and try to make some for yourself with your recipe ;).

    As I pointed out I'm not a vegan so perhaps someone who is is better versed (I like honey). My understanding is that Vegans strive to avoid any exploitation of animals for their personal benefit. This includes taking honey from bees. Bees are producing honey (with the opportunity cost of investing their time and energy) for the sole purpose of producing food for their offspring and the hive. They do not consent to it being taken from their hives for human consumption, and taking it is to the detriment of the bees (loss of their net effort). In those terms I'm sure you can see the error in your supermarket-worker analogy....
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #7
    To the OP:

    I would think any "moral" vegetarian would be outraged to learn of that and, likely, would stop eating most cheese. Which just leaves more for the rest of us.

    But... they're... bees. They aren't sentient. They don't feel exploited. They... they're insects. God, this morality thing confuses the hell out of me. I think a lot of people are just insanely over-empathic and am surprised they don't spend their days at the beach, frantically digging up the drowning sand when the tide comes in.
    One can only presume that they also eat the seeds and excrete them in fertile areas, as the plants would want.
     
  8. dylan macrumors 6502

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    #8
    How could you possibly be sure of that?
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #9
    One can never be truly sure of anything.

    However, vast amounts of neurological study indicate that the brain of a bee is utterly incapable of anything even remotely approaching being able to feel exploited. They aren't even self-aware. If you're worried that bees can feel exploited, then I'd seriously start to feel bad for your furniture, which likely feels enslaved.
     
  10. dylan macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Maybe the bees feel exploited in a different way. My point is one can never truly know so I don't feel it's right to state these things as facts. If there's a possibility I think people are justified in being concerned.
     
  11. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #11
    Indeed. I doubt that the chicken I ate at KFC will come back to peck me. :D
     
  12. Queso macrumors G4

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    #12
    You may as well say you'll never clean your bathroom again in case the germs scream when the bleach hits them. Humans are part of a natural cycle where animals do actually live off each other. Whether that be flies feeding on horse dung, lions eating antelope, or humans raiding hives for honey, it's all part of the same engine.
     
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #13
    Quantum mechanics proves to us that it is entirely possible that a gold statue of Steve Jobs will spontaneously appear in your room. Right now. It's possible. It is, however, staggeringly improbable. People who think that "possible" and "likely" are synonyms need to learn more math.

    Is it, in the strictest sense of the word, "possible" that the bees feel exploited? I suppose. In the same sense that that statue of Steve Jobs might appear. It would mean bees think, that, further, they are capable of emotions, that they are capable of complex feelings like "being exploited", and that they don't want us to take their honey.

    No, wait, I take that back. The gold statue thing? Possible with known laws of physics acting in a very unlikely way. Possible for the nerve complex in the brain of a bee to feel exploited? No.
     
  14. Peterkro macrumors 68020

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    #14
    Thats not taking into account the wonderous Improbability Drive.:)
     
  15. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #15
    True... but even it fails with a probability of zero. :D
     
  16. Peterkro macrumors 68020

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    #16
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, to 1 and lowering.

    *solid gold statue of Steve Jobs appears on desk*
     
  17. dylan macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Isn't it possible for it not to be an individual emotion but more of a 'hive mind' type emotion? This would mean that the capability would not need to be present in a single bee but rather in a central consciousness or distributed in parts throughout the collective. I don't think that's too much of a stretch there are still many things beyond our, very limited, comprehension of this world.
     
  18. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #18
    I thumb my nose at these pesky emotional bees. buzz off!
     
  19. kretzy macrumors 604

    kretzy

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    #19
    They're not the Borg.
     
  20. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #20
    Via the gift of interpretive dance I just asked a bee if it was ok for us to have honey. I think I got his answer right, it was:

    "If you keep blowing that goooood smoke over us, man, and leave us some honey for the munchies, you can take what you want. Peace"

    So, there we have it!!
     
  21. Queso macrumors G4

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    #21
    ...and now I'm cleaning coffee up off my desk. Interpretive dance :D
     
  22. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #22
    OK, if you're positing a high-latency low node-count distributed neural network that's capable of achieving consciousness at a level that it's also capable of feeling exploited, then at least I can somewhat see where you're coming from. Still, I think you're vastly underestimating the required complexity.

    Also, as bartelby so amusingly pointed out, the bees derive benefit from us as well (protection, thermal stability, food sources, etc.), and so it's far more likely they'd feel gratitude. It'd be like finding out some other being was exploiting the keystrokes I use to post on MR for their own benefit. I couldn't care less, since they keep me involved here.
     
  23. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #23
    I did??:confused:

    Erm, I mean. Yeah. That's right.

    Or is this some of your famed sarcasm?
     
  24. Motley macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Then why after being stung by a bee did I suddenly have an urge to join the hive and start collecting nector?

    Protect the queen!!!
     
  25. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #25
    Perhaps they do feel exploited, and are now unionizing and going on strike.

    Partial quote:

     

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