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Natural Rights Explained — 3 Comments

  1. In the quest for “natural rights” sometimes one truth is forgotten. The one thing that none are immune from or rid of. That one thing is natural law. The rules that are there and can not be changed because it simply is. The laws of physics for example are natural laws. They can not be changed or modified. Only our perception of them thru discovery and utilization change. This holds true with all laws of nature. They don’t change. Where these “natural laws” came from and how they came about is the subject of discussion throughout the ages but for the purpose of this discussion unimportant. It’s only thru the “superior intellect” and outright hubris of the human species that these laws are attempted to be broken. They are never broken without consequence.


    All throughout nature from the lowest of life form to the most advanced it is the “natural” function of a “parent” to protect and nurture it’s offspring from inception until a maturity that no longer needs that nurture at a cost to the “parent”. Even in the plant world this holds true. Seeds are protected and nurtured within fruit, nut, pod, or by other means that promote protection and facilitate the maturity of the seed. The production of these protective mechanisms use resources and nutrients that could better bolster the strength of the mature plant. Yet the resources are otherwise expended without choice or consent. The animal kingdom is the much more obvious manifestation of the “natural law” to nurture and protect. It’s the rare occasion that an animal abandons their young. In those occasions there is most likely a reason that we can’t perceive.


    When it comes to the “natural law” to protect offspring I’ll use a favorite example from a lady in Alaska. She fancies herself a “momma grizzly”. There is nothing more ferocious than a mother bear protecting her cubs. But what is it that motivates this animal that would normally just as soon avoid wasting it’s time on a human. Generally humans aren’t seen as a tasty treat. History has shown that there is much easier prey to be had. It’s simply the reaction to the “natural law” to protect from any and all perceived threat.


    Humans no matter how they try think they are not are subject to these “natural laws”. When those laws are broken it eats away at the very place within the realm of nature and our existence. Were you to get an honest answer from even the most resolute in their decision to disregard natural laws they will tell you that there is a price paid.

    • This is an interesting take on the subject, Chris, which deserves exploring. I, of course, accept the premise of natural law, in the realm of physics. Man is still trying to make sense of them, and may never succeed, since there is some evidence of dimensions beyond our senses’ ability to perceive. Have you ever heard of Flatland? Very thought provoking on several levels.

      I am not sure it would be correct to call the instincts associated with life ‘natural law.’ Probably not, if for no other reasons than that they are not universal, and vary greatly between species. There is also an interesting inverse correlation, between the level of intelligence of a sentient life form, and the number of instincts one seems to have. Significantly, man has very few that cannot be suppressed, modified, overcome, or eliminated entirely by the volition of his mind. Even the basic survival instinct can be suppressed long enough to commit suicide, so even that cannot be deemed natural law, in the same sense as the immutable laws of physics.

      In any case, there is nothing in the reproductive examples you cite, which cannot be elegantly explained with Darwin and Natural Selection. Have you ever read Dawkins’, “The Selfish Gene?” It is a delightful read, which I enjoyed back in the ’70s when it was first published, long before he became associated with the ‘New Atheists’ movement. The gene centered view of evolution is a fascinating theory, and whether one ascribes to it or not, it does in fact offer a working theory to explain a host of otherwise inexplicable aspects of the nature of life, without resorting to mysticism. 🙂

      I am not entirely up to speed on the evolution vs. creation debate; but I wasn’t aware that there might be widespread disagreement with some of the things I learned in biology class, that differ considerably with what you have described here. In any case, I will explain my understanding. First, I was taught that seeds were encased in fruit, not for protection, but for propagation. The fact that animals carry them a distance from the plant before consuming them and discarding the seed, expands the territory of the plant species.

      Similarly, nuts too are carted off. Yes, many are then consumed, but not all are successfully cracked, and a few will survive to propagate the species. Many hard cased seeds survive the trip through the digestive tract of birds, and end up sprouting in a nice newly fertilized spot. This symbiosis between plants and animals is well documented. While some plants have defense mechanisms from animal predation, others deliberately attract the attention of animals, for reproductive purposes. Many plants cannot reproduce, without attracting pollen bearing insects to their blooms (or Q-tips, as the case may be). 😉

      Speaking of animals, I must totally disagree with the suggestion that protecting one’s offspring is some sort of universal natural law. There is no doubt that it is instinctual in a great many, and I suppose the source of those instincts could be debated, although evolution works for me. The strength of the instinct, and the relative ferocity of the mother exercising it, probably correlates closely with the period of gestation, the size of the litter, and the nominal rate of infant mortality. Bears have one or two cubs once a year. From a reproductive standpoint, they are precious.

      However, there are all manner of animals, probably the vast majority of them, which have an entirely different reproductive strategy. They produce hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of offspring, leaving them entirely at the mercy of eager predators and hostile environments. Talk about infant mortality rates, most of these offspring are not expected by nature to survive, but usually a few of the ‘fittest’ do. Think of turtles, most fish, and most insects for examples. For these species, if anything, it might be considered natural law that most don’t survive. They would soon starve in a Malthusian nightmare of their own making, if they did.

      As for your last paragraph, I will acknowledge that there are some questions regarding the spiritual dimension of man’s nature, which I don’t have answers for. Whence comes the life-force and instinct for survival itself? I have reason to believe that our conscience, sense of justice, and basic (Jungian) personality traits are innate. This is where I somewhat part company with John Locke et al, regarding the tabula rasa theory of mind.

      While I acknowledge that we are fundamentally motivated to move toward pleasure and away from pain, there is more to it than that. The value of pain, I understand; whence comes the emotion of pleasure? Consciousness itself is an intriguing mystery. I know enough to reject most of the nonsense, of the mystics’ attempts to explain the order of the universe, including the predominant variant in our culture; but doing so doesn’t help locate the right answers to my questions. It only aids in dispensing with the obviously wrong ones. 😉 ◄Dave►

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