by Simo

I created the acronym, JADA, after reading this passage from Dolphins, by Jacques Cousteau: "There is no natural difference between a dolphin, and, say, a monkey or a dog."[1] In other words, the dolphin is Just Another Dumb Animal. This concisely sums up the attitude of some of those who call themselves scientists.

A Brief Historical Overview

The first person who outlined the systemic suppression of all evidence that the dolphin is a special animal seems to have been Denis Diderot. Here is what he had to say concerning the subject in his Encyclopedia or a Rational Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Industries (late 18th century):

We will not discuss the love they [dolphins] are suppose to have for children, nor their supposed taste for music, nor the attention some have believed to observe in this fish (sic) when called by the name of Simon (sic)[**]. Reports on this subject, ancient as well as modern, seem so fabulous a naturalist could scarcely be tempted to pay them any attention.[2]

The pattern is set: any evidence that indicates a high level of intellectual development for dolphin-kind is to be automatically disregarded. There are certain questions that good little "naturalists" don't ask; avenues of inquiry best left unexplored. In no other field of scientific endeavor are lines of investigation automatically ruled out. How "fabulous" a thing may seem is of no consequence whatsoever. The history of science is full of cases where hopelessly "fabulous" ideas have proved true.

A generation later, the Rev. W. Bingley of the London Linnean Society wrote in his Animal Biography or Authentic Anecdotes of the Lives, Manner, and Economy of the Animal Creation Arranged According to the System of Linnaeus (1802):

The dolphin was in great repute among the ancients and both philosophers and historians seem to have contended who should relate the greatest absurdities concerning it. How these absurd tales originated it is impossible even to conjecture; for the dolphins certainly exhibit no marks of particular attachment to mankind.[3]

To allow even so much as the possibility of conjecture as to the origin of the tales in question is to allow the possibility that all those ancient philosophers and historians wrote what they did since that is exactly how it happened. Notice the dogmatic assertion that Bingley makes here. That, in turn, leads straight to questions the JADA preferred remained unasked (let alone answered!). It was a contemporary of Bingley, Frederic Cuvier, who issued this challenge to the scientists of his day:

To the eyes of modern man the dolphin is merely a voracious carnivore, whose ends are solely those of feeding, rest, and reproduction and whose instincts serve no purpose other than the satisfaction of those needs. Yet to the men of classical times, the dolphin was a gentle, good-natured and intelligent animal, most responsive to benevolent treatment. To strike a balance between opinions so diametrically opposed would necessitate a course of study no man has even thought to undertake.[4]

Over a century later, one man, Dr. John Cunningham Lilly, would finally undertake just such a course of study. And for that they have never forgiven him. For over 200 years, the JADA mentality discouraged investigation and suppressed the truth. Not long after WW II, the United States Air Force proposed to develop a device airmen downed at sea could use to call dolphins to the scene. After learning how dolphins had come to the aid of shipwrecked sailors and downed aircrews, it seemed reasonable to do something to actively summon such aid. How was the idea received by these so-called "scientists"? They did everything in their power to stop this project! Unfortunately for genuine science, not to mention all subsequent victims of disaster on the high seas, they were successful.[5] Were they so confident in their ignorance that it couldn't work -- or were they afraid that it would?

Obfuscation and Canards

From even the earliest observations of the dolphin brain, it was obvious that this was a "first class" brain. The explain aways began almost at once.

* ) The Atrophied Dorsal Nucleus:

Hatscheck and Schlessinger claimed "primitive" features of the limbic and cortical areas, and an atrophied dorsal nucleus. These alleged observations were made in 1902. Not one of them has ever been seen since.[6]

* ) Neurological Numerology:

However what matters is the size of the brain in relation to the size of the body -- or what percentage of body weight is the brain. To be accurate one must make allowance for this. Scientists do this by dividing the weight of the body into the weight of the brain. When this is done the porpoise’s (sic) brain is smaller than that of man, but much larger that that of the chimpanzee. These are the figures: man: 2.1%; porpoise (sic): 1.17%; chimpanzee: 0.7% of total weight.[7]

This line of reasoning is quite flawed. Brain function is not spread homogeneously throughout the mass of the brain. Even the "simple" brain of a flat worm is a marvelously complex structure. The very lack of any homogeneity renders such comparisons meaningless. (Consider this: the brain weight ratio of the ruby throated hummingbird is 4.2%. By this logic, the hummingbird should be twice as smart as man.) Had this ratio reflected better on the dolphin, do you think they would make such a big deal of this? This particular canard has largely disappeared from more recent literature.

* ) The "Primitive" Brain:

Here is a relatively new canard. The idea is to liken the brain of the dolphin to those of insectivores or the hedgehog. Thus, the dolphin's brain is more "primitive" (whatever that's suppose to mean) than the human brain. Must every intelligent brain be an exact duplicate of the human brain? Is there but one evolutionary route to intelligence? After all, dolphins are cetaceans; humans are primates. Is it so unreasonable to expect there may be some differences? This argument carries with it a considerable amount of anthropocentric arrogance. To maintain that doubtful dissimilarities of brain capacity lie in equally doubtful dissimilarities of a morphological kind just is not good science. The line of reasoning contradicts evolution theory. While the dolphin's brain accounts for just 1.17% of total weight, it consumes 25% of the total oxygen load. For any air breathing aquatic animal totally dependent on just the oxygen it can carry with it under water, that is a serious liability. Yet dolphins have these huge brains that consume oxygen at profligate rates. This would never have happened unless their proto-delphinid ancestors with the genetic tendency towards large brains had not survived in disproportionate numbers. What compensating benefit could those large brains have had over smaller ones requiring less oxygen? There is but one: intelligence.

* ) The Sonar Canard:

"Forrest Wood and many others figure that the animals incredible talent for finding and examining objects with its sonar probably puts much of that brain to use..."[8]

Neither Forrest Wood nor any of those "many others" has ever been able to explain how it is that bats don't also have huge brains. The bat has a brain that is comparable to those of any other mammals of similar size. In fact, the bat with the largest brain, the flying fox, has no sonar capability at all. Like any bird, it depends upon sight alone. Another variation on this theme centers on some Navy studies of electrical activity within the dolphin's brain that seemed to demonstrate that most of the brain is devoted to auditory analysis. What never seems to be mentioned is that similar studies of human and other primate brains show that most of these brains are devoted to visual analysis. Clearly this doesn't impair human intelligence. Forrest Wood certainly likes those Navy experiments, yet he conveniently forgets another: "Navy scientists can now electronically reproduce porpoise pulses (sic) beam them into the water, and, with a computer, stretch the echoes down to human hearing range, allowing blindfolded divers to discriminate between two targets as well as a porpoise (sic)"[9]. How do these divers do it? Do large areas of their brains switch over to auditory analysis, rendering their intelligence subhuman? As Mr. <Mr._Rogers_voice>Can you say: "reductio ad absurdum"? I knew you could.</Mr._Rogers_voice> The idea that the dolphin's neocortex is thoroughly single use dedicated like the microcomputer of a VCR, video game, or microwave oven is the stuff of wishful thinking, not real science. This canard has been around for some forty years. They refuse to "pull the plug" and let this one die with dignity.

* ) The Bastian Experiment:

In 1964 Dr. Jarvis Bastian performed an experiment with two dolphins, Buzz and Doris. Both dolphins could obtain a food reward for pressing one of two levers, depending on whether or not a light signal was steady or flashing. Buzz had to press the correct lever before Doris did to get the reward. Doris could see the light, but not Buzz, thus Buzz could press the correct lever only if Doris told him which one was correct. They achieved success rates of up to 96%. When they had to play the game in total isolation, unable to communicate, their success rate never rose above 54% -- what is expected for a series of random yes or no guesses.[10] Bastian's motivation to perform this experiment was to deride Dr. Lilly's ideas and work. Bastian fancied that if he could devise a scenario wherein dolphins would have to communicate to solve a problem he could debunk Lilly's talking dolphins.

However, the dolphins talked.

So far as Bastian was concerned, the experiment was an embarrassing failure. He even went so far as to say so. "As Bastian explained it, Doris had learned quite by chance to make certain sounds at the light and Buzz had learned by trial and error what the sound meant"[11] Bastian's attempt to explain away the results of the experiment raises some very interesting questions. Assume Doris was just a dumb animal who never before communicated with her fellow dolphins beyond the level of a dog's barking or the mewling of a cat. This dumb animal suddenly decided to make noise at a light -- in the off chance her partner might figure out her meaning. Where did she get the idea she could remotely broadcast information via sound if she'd never done so in her life? Why did she get the idea during this experiment instead of having it occur to her on some earlier occasion? If it really had been an accident, then how did she know she'd need to be consistent for Buzz to figure out her meaning? What made her think Buzz would ever be able to figure out her scheme at all? Does any of this make any sense at all? Bastian evidently came to see just how ludicrous this really is. He next claimed some "unknown stimulus" was somehow giving away the answers. He never found this telltale stimulus, but, by God, he just knew there had to be one. After all, dolphins do not talk.

Ten years later, the experiment was repeated at the Harderwijk Dolphinarium and Research Center in Holland. The Dutch scientists took even more elaborate precautions against any accidental stimuli than had Bastian -- even blindfolding the dolphin who was to receive the instructions. A different pair of dolphins also achieved success rates of 80% to 95%.[12] That two different pairs of dolphins could achieve those success rates by "chance", "trial and error", or an "unknown stimulus" stretches credibility way past the yield point. Usually one experiment doesn't mean a great deal. Independent verification and replicated results by an independent laboratory is another story. Except when the JADA doctrine is at stake. These explain aways flagrantly violate Occam's Razor: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necissitatem (Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.) Whenever JADAS attempt to discuss this experiment, the "entities" (i.e. theoretical assumptions) multiply faster than cockroaches in an inner city tenement. This is why they prefer to ignore it altogether. As to the results of these experiments, res ipsa loquitur -- the thing speaks for itself.

Flipper to the Rescue

If an 18th or 19th century sailor were to have been rescued by dolphins, it would have been best if he kept it to himself. Otherwise, he would have faced ridicule, accusations of having fallen overboard in a drunken stupor, or of suffering delirium while awaiting rescue from his shipmates. Had he maintained his story, and claims of sobriety and/or clear headedness, that would have been taken as further proof as to just how drunk or delirious he really was. His story would never have been believed. For well over 200 years, it had been sufficient to maintain that no dolphin had at any time ever rescued any human being. (These are just absurd tales, remember?)

This situation prevailed up until the end of WW II. By the late 1940s, there were suddenly too many men all telling similar stories. Outright denial was no longer a credible option. The only holdouts in this regard are David and Melba Caldwell: "Despite some controversy, we do not believe wild dolphins would be likely to support humans, such as downed fliers. We feel a flier would be too strange an object for the dolphins".[13] Obviously, these two "scientists" have never bothered to read Airmen Against the Sea by George Llano.

The JADA had a real dilemma here. Either he had to admit that dolphins really do engage in care giving -- rare enough in the animal world within species -- but a more generalized care giving directed at species vastly different from their own. Such a concession would forever demolish the JADA doctrine: there is no natural difference between a dolphin and a monkey or a dog. Therefore, they refuse to concede this

Operation Explain Away: Part I

It is a well known fact that the porpoise (sic) is an extremely inquisitive creature and loves to sport and play. Any thing floating on or near the surface will attract his attention. His first act on approaching the object of his curiosity is to roll under it. When doing so, something partially submerged, like the body of a drowning person, is nudged to the surface of the water. The sea does its part and automatically drives floating objects towards the beach. It is therefore within the realm of possibility that on some remote occasion a porpoise (sic) did happen to assist unintentionally in the rescue of a drowning person. An observer watching this procedure from a distance might well have assumed that the action of the porpoise (sic) was intentional. No doubt that it was from such an incident as this the story originated. It is true that when a young porpoise (sic) in the tank at Marine Studios, Florida, died, its bereaved parent was found the next morning supporting the young one at the surface... But to suppose a porpoise (sic) would do this for a human being, except in the spirit of play, is more than we can believe...[14]

Even in this grudging concession to evidence he could no longer deny, there remains that line Goodwin will not cross: "But to suppose a porpoise (sic) would do this for a human being... is more than we can believe". As if that's harder to accept than Goodwin's flight of fancy that suddenly becomes the basis for "No doubt..." By the late 1950s to early 1960s, this type of face avoidance was no longer credible. There were too many cases where dolphins' rescuing humans could not be explained away as unintentional, play, or even aggressive behaviors. Another explain away was needed.

Operation Explain Away: Part II

An early text, Dolphins: The Myth and the Mammal, written by Antony Alpers of New Zealand, states the following:

In the instant following the birth [of a dolphin] the mother whirls around sharply and swiftly. This puts her in a position to help the infant rise to the surface for its first breath, and it may serve to break the umbilical cord before the infant rises. Normally, the young one, with its eyes wide open already, will wriggle its own way to the surface.[15]

However, in Mammals of the Ocean, written in 1972, we read:

The moment of birth of a bottle nosed dolphin at the Marineland, Florida. The mother rolls on her side and the baby is born tail first. It is quickly taken to the surface to prevent drowning. An "auntie" or "midwife" dolphin is often in attendance.[16]

Notice the discrepancy here. Why is it that one text, the earlier one, says that baby dolphins make their own way to the surface for that all important first breath, yet another says they are taken to the surface? None other than Jacques Cousteau enlightens us. (The following is from a fund raising letter sent out by the Cousteau Society over Cousteau's signature in 1985.):

A shipwrecked sailor was struggling in the water. The shore was near, but his strength was almost spent. Then suddenly there was a friendly presence in the water, a strong, sleek body that buoyed him up, escorted him to shallow water, saved his life. This story, or something akin to it, has been told countless times about dolphins and porpoises. When I take it, together with what we have learned about these marvelous creatures in the past forty years, I have to give credence to at least some of these tales... But the stories of rescued swimmers may find their explanation in a simpler trait, a trait that dolphins share with a majority of us animals, a trait that may be more important than any amount of brain power. When a dolphin mother gives birth, her baby is expelled under water. The first act following birth is critical: to lift the freshly born youngster up to the surface for its first breath. So powerful is this motherly instinct that other struggling animals have been pushed to the surface instinctively by female dolphins. How marvelous and beautiful! The instinct to protect the next generation drives some automatic motor response in the dolphin and in many other species.

There you have it: the long awaited concession from JADAs that dolphins have indeed come to the aid of humans in peril. But it's just a dumb animal instinct after all. There's just one slight problem here: the claim dolphin mothers push their infants to the surface is a lie. Alpers reported the truth and Cousteau is lying (or at the very least, ignorantly propagating an untruth). Turn to page 71 in Mammals of the Ocean, there you will find a photograph of that critical moment following birth. Neither the mother nor her "auntie" show the slightest inclination to push the baby to the surface, who is doing quite well "wriggling its own way to the surface". The movie Day of the Dolphin and a documentary Say Goodbye both include scenes of the birth of a dolphin, as does this new movie Dolphins (Omnimax). All of which clearly demonstrate the falsity of Cousteau's claim. Not even the Caldwells, for all their blatant intellectual dishonesty, could bring themselves to endorse such a manifestly false claim.[17] In all fairness, I would like to make it clear that it is not known if Jacques Cousteau actually originated this particular lie. It appears to have infiltrated the literature starting some time around 1961.

Don't dolphin mothers ever help their infants to the surface? Of course they do, but only when the baby is in trouble -- not otherwise. If the behavior in question is selective, that won't do. That means the mother is observing the situation in its appropriate context. Thus, her decision to come to the aid of a baby in difficulty is not a powerful "motherly instinct" and it damn sure isn't an "automatic motor response". It is quite the opposite: a reasoned judgment based upon observation and conscious analysis. If you concede she was thinking regarding the well being of her own child, then, logically, she was thinking when she helped Cousteau's shipwrecked sailor to shore. That is one concession no JADA will ever make.

Any one who says mother dolphins always push their infants to the surface is, at best, innocently parroting an untruth; at worst he is a deliberate liar. The JADAs could not have foreseen the necessity for this particular lie back when they were denying all dolphin rescues. At last, the JADA's deceit has finally caught up with him.

One can't help but wonder at times whether or not the untruths told by JADAs are the result of stupidity, ignorance, and/or anthropocentric arrogance, or are the product of some hitherto unidentified psychopathologic process. Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that there are liars, damned liars, and marine biologists.

The True Nature of the Proposition

Here is a small sampling of what JADAs have had to say regarding their ideas.

David and Melba Caldwell:

All of us who work in cetology can be thankful for public interest in dolphins because this misinformation may make it easier for us to obtain funds for research. It has also forced us to dig really deep to find out what all their phonations are about in order to be able to prove to even the most fanatical believer that dolphins do not talk.[18]

The Caldwells unconditionally accept the validity of the proposition as a given. They already lay claim to the "truth": dolphins do not talk. They "think" they can begin their "research" with their conclusions already drawn, looking for confirmatory evidence almost as an after thought. Perhaps that's how it works in cetology, yet in every other branch of science, it's observation first, conclusions later. The Caldwells' admitted research methodology is a 180-degree perversion of the scientific method. The incredibly poor quality of the research described in The World of the Bottle Nosed Dolphin comes as no surprise. If one already has "the answer" whence the motivation to actually do the work?

Elgin Ciampi:

It is my experience that the porpoise (sic) to be correctly understood, must be brought into comparison with the primate, for his intelligence lies on this level, and I feel that he is at no time as intelligent nor as wise as the human being. There are those who crave the sensational and will believe it regardless of the evidence; but for those looking for the truth, they will find the porpoise's (sic) awareness of life sufficiently wonderful.[19]

Elgin Ciampi states in no uncertain terms that if you fail to see it his way then, ipso facto, you cannot be looking for the truth. Instead, you "crave the sensational" and will apparently believe anything. This is nothing less than character assassination before the fact. Feeling precedes proof or evidence. That "evidence" Ciampi alluded to never appeared. Indeed, Those Other People the Porpoises contains a good deal of evidence to the contrary of Ciampi's "correct understanding".

Forrest G. Wood:

Nobody other than Lilly, no scientist, I believe, has attempted to say how intelligent these animals are with respect to humans. With all our ability to communicate and express insights, if we cannot come up with something to measure our own intelligence adequately, I can't see how we could do it with dolphins.[20]
(Emphasis in original)

In the first half of Wood's statement, he echoes Ciampi's sentiment. He goes even further than Ciampi, using one's "ideological purity" to determine who is, or is not, a scientist. (Note: Josef Stalin and his Communist Party did the same thing.) Belief is unconditional and unquestionable. The statement also contains the presumption of nonfalsifiability: " scientist, I believe has attempted to say how intelligent these animals are with respect to humans... I cant see how we could do it with dolphins".

Earl Murchison:

You're talking to a creature from an entirely different universe. And this creature has an entirely different perspective on the universe -- entirely different. Why should we expect a full interchange? How presumptuous! How anthropocentric! And if they did say it, how would we understand it?[21]

It is not easy to make sense of what Murchison says. "You're talking to a creature from an entirely different universe". Just what is this suppose to mean? "And this creature has an entirely different perspective on the universe..." Which universe does the creature have an entirely different perspective on: "our" universe, or that other one? His point is that his ideas are not falsifiable. This supposed nonfalsifiability rests on suppositions that are, in turn, nonfalsifiable -- if not downright incomprehensible.

Louis M. Herman:

They [dolphins] are extremely flexible in what they can learn. I think we could probably teach a dolphin to do things at a level comparable to that of a chimpanzee. But one of the things we’ve learned is that certain questions, like the comparative intelligence of animals, may not be worth asking.[22]

Once again, we have a presumption of nonfalsifiability, coupled with an apparent plea that we not ask any inconvenient questions whose answers might prove Herman wrong. As we have seen, Diderot and Bingley were afraid of the same thing.

The conclusions are obvious: the proposition is to be accepted as true, unconditionally and unquestionably -- with no proof, with no evidence -- in other words, by faith alone. Secondly, the proposition is held to be nonfalsifiable, not in theory, not in practice. These are the characteristics, not of a scientific hypothesis, but of dogma and superstition. The JADA is not a scientist, despite whatever claims he may make, whatever credentials he may have, whatever accolades he may have collected over the years. He is, at the core of his being, a fanatical, dogmatic, true believer. Unlike scientists, he does not welcome inquiry -- to the contrary -- he fears it. He brooks no argument; he tolerates no disagreement. His primary purpose is not to discover the truth; it is to defend THE ONE TRUE FAITH against all "heretics" and "infidels".

What accounts for this? You might want to consider this remarkable statement made by Kenneth S. Norris in a moment of unguarded candor:

There is entirely too much of this dreamy-eyed stuff about dolphins ruling the world. What we find is that dolphins, whales, and other sea mammals are just like mammals everywhere, and in a way that is reassuring.[23]

Notice his admitted motive for believing dolphins are "...just like mammals everywhere..." He does not cite the preponderance of the evidence; he finds the idea reassuring! This is quite typical of JADAs: their writings are full of sound and fury signifying nothing. There is virtually no real evidence to back up their claims as to the limited mental capabilities of dolphins. What little evidence is offered is usually quite flawed: irrelevant, misinterpreted to fit a preconceived notion, self- contradictory, or even fabricated out of a whole cloth.

How threatening, how scary, some people evidently find dolphins never ceases to amaze or amuse. This whole business would be laughable were the consequences not so appalling. Kenneth S. Norris: "Whatever personal feelings I may have, I find it hard to defend a position which says no porpoise (sic) should be killed for commerce when our entire meat industry is built on practices that are equally cruel"[24] Norris actually lives by this amazing non sequitur. Whenever stupid, foolish, ignorant, misguided, or even malevolent people slaughter dolphins; when greedy amoral corporations starve captive dolphins to force them to perform the same idiotic doggie tricks over and over; as the U. S. Navy continues to pursue its obscene Swimmer Nullification Program -- Dr. Kenneth S. Norris, the self-proclaimed Porpoise Watcher of the University of California, Santa Cruz, has nothing to say. Why should he? By his own admission: cows, dolphins, pigs, chickens: all the same to this eminent dolphin "authority". Just so many dumb animals to be used, abused, and ultimately discarded however we please.

Setting aside the very real possibility that the dolphin may be man's intellectual equal -- frequently derided by Norris as "mush", and other comments of equal intellectual astuteness, dolphins still merit special consideration. Dolphins have saved the lives of thousands of human beings over the ages. Doesn't common decency demand some reciprocation on our part? How many dolphin lives are Norris and the rest of his ilk prepared to sacrifice to their false doctrine?

Recognizing the JADA

As we have seen, the JADA proposition lacks the basic properties of a scientific hypothesis. It is a faith based belief system. It is not merely unscientific, it is anti-scientific. This is not to say it is "irrational" in the sense of being of questionable sanity; it has its own "inner logic". From this inner logic inexorable consequences follow. This, in turn, means the JADA will always give himself away.

As nonscientific belief is never rational, the motivation for such belief must arise from other considerations. One such motivation is the emotional. Kenneth Norris believes as the belief reassures him. Since the JADA who believes for this reason is not emotionally prepared to give up a belief that means a great deal to him, one consequence is the presumption of nonfalsifiability. The JADA wants you to accept his belief, not question it. To prevent those inconvenient questions that could cast doubt on the belief, he declares that it is not falsifiable. If it can't be falsified, then investigation is not necessary. If investigation does not occur, the belief can't be falsified. Thus, acceptance becomes automatic. Sometimes this desire is stated explicitly (i.e. Bingley, Herman) sometimes it is left implicit (i.e. Wood, Murchison).

Another consequence is the emotional outburst when challenged. Michael Parfit: "[Forrest] Wood's sharp attack on Lilly's point of view and on his credibility as a man of science framed the argument"[25]. The mere mention of the opponent's name, Lilly, was enough to send Wood flying into a rage. Parfit mentions a similar incident involving Norris, upon asking him about delphinese: "'There isn't anything that even hints at language' Norris said, slightly irritated at the difference between what he clearly labeled as his own speculation and Lilly's assertions. 'What I see (sic) is a great rat's nest of sound which nobody -- nobody -- knows about..."[26]. (Emphasis in original) Slightly irritated? Sounds more like barely controllable rage to me.

This is the typical JADA reaction to challenge: to ridicule, attack, and scoff at anyone who would dare to disagree with him. Why do mere ideas provoke such anger? Why indeed, if the idea in question were as nonsensical as they'd have you believe? If Wood and Norris can prove Lilly is wrong, then why don't they simply do it?

Another possible motive is the hidden agenda. Mike Haslett: "I have to say I think a dog is as smart [as a dolphin]"[27]. Mike Haslett is described as a "porpoise (sic) catcher" and former oceanarium manager. At the time he made the statement quoted earlier, Earl Murchison was serving as the head of an "organization of dolphin trainers"[28]. (International Marine Animal Trainers Association?) Could either of these men afford the luxury of believing that their livelihood condemns intelligent, sensitive beings to a life time of confinement in concrete boxes, performing the same idiotic doggie tricks several times a day, day after day after day, for dead fish? Could an antebellum slave driver have afforded the luxury of believing that a black African and a white European are of equal moral worth? Regardless of whether or not this is a personal consideration on Haslett's or Murchison's parts, what is certain is that both of them have a vested interest in the JADA doctrine. The day the JADA doctrine is falsified is the day that Murchison and Haslett (and quite a few others) find themselves on an unemployment line. It is always a good idea to find out what the dolphin expert actually does for a living, and who's paying the bills.

A general air of intellectual dishonesty often permeates the works of the JADA. Robert Stenuit: "As far as I am concerned, let it be understood that I am 'pro' [dolphin intelligence]... As I am not a scientist, I may confess... that I have taken sides mainly for sentimental reasons"[29] Do you think a similar confession can be found in, for example, The Porpoise Watcher, or The World of the Bottle Nosed Dolphin, or Dolphins? No way Jose; not a chance Sundance! The fact that Norris never mentioned his real motive in The Porpoise Watcher (or any other "scientific" venue) is intensely dishonest.

Another hallmark of intellectual dishonesty is the non sequitur. The Caldwells, describing an experiment to see if they could elicit rescue behavior: "Dolphins show no sign of supporting even a strange dead dolphin, so why should they support a totally strange animal such as a human?"[30] Is this what the experiment really shows? Or does it demonstrate that rescue behavior is not instinctive? The dolphin's sonar would show right away that the strange dolphin was, in fact, dead. Therefore, the rescue behavior didn't occur. A simple stimulus in an inappropriate context failed to elicit the behavior. (The Caldwells' description of this experiment strongly suggests it was deliberately staged to yield a predetermined outcome.)

Here is another example from The Porpoise Watcher:

On another occasion, an approaching group of bottle nosed porpoise (sic) sent a scout animal ahead toward the barrier. After this animal had run along the length of the fence, it returned to the school, and amid much whistling and clicking, they all swam carefully through the poles.[31]

What does Norris make of this: "...I want to explain that in all my work with porpoises (sic) I have never seen any evidence that suggests to me they have a language like ours"[32] Does this conclusion seem reasonable to you?

Yet another hallmark of intellectual dishonesty is the stealth attack:

Unfortunately, much of the recent popular literature on dolphins tends to portray them as "little men in wet suits". A lot of attention has been centered on the notion that dolphins are as smart as some men, or smarter than most, or that they can talk but that we humans are just too stupid to understand them... Dolphins probably are just exceptionally amiable mammals with an intelligence now considered by most workers, on a subjective basis, to be comparable to that of a better-than-average dog.[33]

What "recent popular literature" is that? To whom, do you suppose, are they referring? The name "John C. Lilly" never appears anywhere in The World of the Bottle Nosed Dolphin. Not even in a neutral context: "Anesthesia for dolphins needing surgery has finally been developed"[34]. Dr. Lilly was the one who developed the techniques and equipment to which the Caldwells refer. As cetologists, unless they are utterly incompetent, (in which case, what business do they have writing about dolphins in the first place?) they would know this. They relentlessly attack the ideas, yet fail to address the source of it all. This, too, is quite typical of JADAs. They know that they are peddling a defective product in the market place of ideas and they don't want you to realize that. This is understandable: the Caldwells don't want your comparing their intellectually dishonest, spurious, and specious tome to, for example, Man and Dolphin or Mind of the Dolphin. In other words, they don't trust you to think for yourself. If the Caldwells had any proof, or even strong evidence, that the idea that dolphins are "little men in wet suits" really was as "misinformed" than they'd have you believe, you can bet next month's rent money that they most certainly would have mentioned Lilly by name. In assessing any book, TV show, article, etc. ask yourself these questions:

JADAs invariably betray themselves in at least some, if not most, of these ways. This is the nature of dogmatic belief. By no means is it unique to JADAs. You can find this in any dogmatic belief system.

Don't get the idea that I am "picking on" certain individuals. The real enemy isn't any one individual, or group of individuals. The enemy is a doctrine that discourages investigation and tries to conceal the truth. Were this only about some silly professor (Norris) a couple of incompetent, unproductive cetologists (the Caldwells) an entertainer posing as a scientist (Cousteau) it wouldn't be worth the bother. These individuals just happened to be careless enough, or, perhaps, arrogant enough, to reveal themselves in such an obvious manner as to provide useful examples. Take the lessons you've learned here and apply them. The JADA doctrine has hidden the truth for centuries. To rob it of its power, it is necessary to bring it out into the open for all to see. I'd like to see it never hides from any one ever again.

Don't get the idea that I consider those who believe dolphins are intelligent beings are all on the side of the angels and all who disagree are arrayed with the forces of darkness. This is not the case at all. There can be legitimate disagreement with the hypothesis that dolphins are as intelligent as man (i.e. Karen Pryor): after all, it hasn't been proved yet. There are also those on the other side who are as disreputable as any JADA ever was.

As early as the writing of Mind of the Dolphin, it was obvious that Dr. Lilly was flirting with New Age ideas. At the time this was harmless, as it didn't get in the way of the science. By 1969, however, Dr. Lilly was doing some incredibly foolish and irresponsible things. He dosed his dolphins, who loved and trusted him, with 400 micrograms (mcg) of LSD without their knowledge or consent. (Lilly never gave a coherent explanation as to why he did this.) 20mcg of LSD will bring on a buzz. 100 -- 120mcg will produce a nice 8 to 12 hour trip; 250mcg is a rather stiff dose, definitely not recommended for a first flight. 400mcg or more is a brain buster. As with the Army's LSD experiments ten years prior (where unsuspecting humans were given large doses of LSD without their knowledge or consent) over a two-week period, five of Lilly's dolphins committed suicide (as did some of the Army's test subjects). In other words, the Age of Aquarius Dr. Lilly was more dangerous to dolphins than was the electrodes-in-the-brain Dr. Lilly of the early 1960s. By 1978, and the publication of Communication Between Man and Dolphin, Lilly had become irretrievably lost in that New Age enchanted kingdom of his. Unfortunately, he attracted quite a following of these New Age nuts. This New Age garbage is evident in works such as The Dolphin's Gift, Mind in the Waters, and, to a lesser extent, in Lure of the Dolphin, and Dolphin Dolphin. (This is not without precedent: Thomas Edison was thoroughly seduced by the "New Age" movement of his day: Spiritualism. He accepted this without his usual skepticism. Eventually, his ideas grew too bizarre even for his fellow Spiritualists -- and that's really saying something! Nikola Tesla, who'd always been somewhat weird all his life, with a collection of some highly unusual mannerisms, was certifiable by his "golden years".)


Even as late as the 1680s -- a relatively advanced post-Renascence era -- in order to obtain employment, let alone tenure, professors of astronomy were required to swear an oath that they would never teach anything that challenged the age old superstition that comets were a supernatural sign of God's displeasure with human sin, thus harbingers of misfortune. All evidence that suggested comets were simply astronomical objects obeying all the same laws as every other celestial object was actively suppressed. The most renowned professors from the most prestigious universities countered new developments with weighty tomes and arguments. The University of Tubingen, University of Heidelburg, University of Leyden, University of Linz, University of Magdeburg, University of Giessen, the Clementine College (Rome), all, at one time or another, lent the weight of their reputations to crush all straying ideas. As new developments continued to leak out anyway, the learned professors reinterpreted old dogmas in new ways to explain away the new discoveries.

When a comet appeared in the European sky in 1680, Pierre Bayle, professor of astronomy at the University of Sedan, decided to take his discoveries public. He wanted to reassure a frightened populace that there was nothing to fear. As no good deed ever goes unpunished, Holland condemned him; France spurned him as a scholar. His observations, investigations, and arguments were denounced as "impious". He found himself relegated to a positively Orwellian status as an "unperson" -- which is why you probably never heard of him. From our vantage point on the cusp of a new century and a new millennium, it may be tempting to laugh at such foolishness. Just don't laugh yet. Norris, Wood, Cousteau, the Caldwells, etc. are one and all the direct counterparts of those silly 17th century professors. And Dr. John C. Lilly is our "Pierre Bayle". Will he suffer the same fate? Will future generations be the ones laughing at us? Will we let that happen?


Alpers, Antony. Dolphins: The Myth and the Mammal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1961.

Brown, Robin. Lure of the Dolphin. New York: Avon Books/The Hearst Group, 1979.

Caldwell, David K.; Caldwell, Melba C. The World of the Bottle Nosed Dolphin. J. B. Lippincott Co., 1972.

Ciampi, Elgin. Those Other People the Porpoises. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1972.

Clark, Martha; Devine, Eleanor. The Dolphin Smile. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1967.

Cousteau, Jacques Y. Dolphins. Garden City: Doubleday and Co., 1975.

Crail, Ted. Ape Talk Whale Speak. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher, Inc., 1980.

Goodwin, George G. Natural History. ( October, 1947).

Linehan, Edward. "The Trouble with Dolphins", National Geographic (April, 1979).

Mammals of the Ocean. 1972.

"Mammals of the Sea", Modern Maturity (Oct. -- Nov., 1984).

McNally, Robert. So Remorseless a Havoc. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981.

Norris, Kenneth S. The Porpoise Watcher. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1974.

Parfit, Michael. "Are Dolphins Trying to Say Something or is it All Much Ado About Nothing", Smithsonian (October, 1980).

Stenuit, Robert. The Dolphin, Cousin to Man. New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1968.

Foot Notes

[1]Jacques Y. Cousteau, Dolphins (Garden City: Doubleday and Co., 1975), p. 177.

[**]The name is actually Simo: Greek for something like "long-nosed" -- a common pet name for dolphins.

[2] Martha Clark and Eleanor Devine, The Dolphin Smile (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1967), p. 71.

[3] Clark and Devine, op. cit., p. 74.

[4] Robert Stenuit, The Dolphin, Cousin to Man. p. 122.

[5] Cousteau, op. cit., p. 200.

[6] Robin Brown, The Lure of the Dolphin (New York: Avon Books/The Hearst Group, 1979), pp. 168 -- 72.

[7] Elgin Ciampi, Those Other People the Porpoises (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1972), p. 124.

[8] Edward J. Linehan, "The Trouble with Dolphins", National Geographic, (April, 1979), p. 516.

[9] Linehan, op. cit., p. 516.

[10] Stenuit, op. cit., pp. 55-6.

[11 Robert McNally, So Remorseless a Havoc (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1981), p. 51.

[12] Brown, op. cit., p. 125.

[13] David Caldwell; Melba Caldwell, The World of the Bottle Nosed Dolphin (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1972), p. 59.

[14] George G. Goodwin, Natural History, (October, 1947).

[15] Antony Alpers, Dolphins: The Myth and the Mammal (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1961), p. 80.

[16] Mammals of the Ocean. 1972, p. 71.

[17] Caldwell, op. cit., p.  33.

[18] Caldwell, op. cit., p. 112.

[19] Ciampi, op. cit., p. 127.

[20] Michael Parfit, "Are Dolphins Trying to Say Something or is it Much Ado About Nothing", Smithsonian, (October, 1980), pp. 73 -- 80.

[21] Ted Crail, Ape Talk Whale Speak (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1979), p. 269.

[22] Linehan, op. cit., p. 540.

[23] "Mammals of the Sea", Modern Maturity, (Oct. -- Nov., 1984), p. 78.

[24] Kenneth S. Norris, The Porpoise Watcher (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1974), p. 244.

[25] Michael Parfit, op. cit., p. 74.

[26] Michael Parfit ibid., p. 77.

[27] Edward Linehan, op. cit., p. 521.

[28]Ted Crail, op. cit., p. 269.

[29] Robert Stenuit, op. cit., p. 59.

[30] Caldwell, op. cit., p. 95.

[31] Kenneth S. Norris, op. cit., p. 95.

[32] Norris, ibid., p. 196.

[33] Caldwell. Op. cit. p. 17.

[34] Caldwell. Op. cit. p. 138.

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