Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Good book! Ben was an only child (in 1973) until his parents adopted a baby chimpanzee. They did it as an experiment, to see if they could teach the chimp, Zan, sign language. At first Ben thinks this is weird, but soon he begins to think of Zan as his little brother, almost human.
The book very naturally brings up interesting questions like what it means to be human, the essence of language, animal rights, and even family roles and discipline. Can you teach a chimp to be human? If you could, would it be morally acceptable? I'd love to listen to a classroom full of students discussing these things.