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What I find to be the most convincing reason for the supernatural

DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Breece:
 
Well, I think I did try to resolve that why-animals-are-not-civilised enigma in my post above. I'll be happy to elaborate further, but only the pragmatic point o' it.:)

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Dynamo:
 
Oops, forgot all about your post :P
 
As for your first paragraph, where is your evidence that humans do anything different than this?
 
As for your second paragraph, "instinctual" is a very specific term.  Animals also have "learned behavior", meaning they learn from their mistakes, which is not the same thing as instinctual.  Secondly, what defines a concpet as "new"?  If you mean to say that it is completely unrelated I disagree, I think everything we think of is related to something else we've thought of previously.  Even if one tries to spout random nonsense they are still influenced in what happens to come into their minds at the moment, there is still a basis of reasoning to it.  I've read all the inheritance books actually :P but I don't understand what recognizing patterns and critical thinking has to do with sentience.
 
Heck, even if you wanted to pose the argument that critical thinking implies free will, dogs and other intelligent animals such as monkeys have been found to have the capability to analyze situations and create and execute plans in their heads.  
 
An example:  A dog is put in a bathroom with a toddler fence blocking off the doorway (but not completely covering it, the upper part is exposed), so the dog analyzes his surroundings. He sees that there is a toilet he can jump to, a sink he can jump to from the toilet, and that the sink's height advantage is enough for him to leap over the fence.  He has now formulated a plan and procedes to execute it.  And this happens all the time, tons of similar situations happen with dogs and monkeys and cats, all without training.  The fact that they can be trained to learn even further is even more evidence to their ability to learn and accept new concepts.  
 
Just because a digger wasp with the brain of a pea can't do something a human does doesn't mean it's a case for the free-will and sentience of all other living creatures.  
 
Thanks!

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Destinee:
 
Added you on FB, looking forward to your reply on here :D

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savetheplanet replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Breece:
 
I agree, what makes humans so very different from animals?  There was new evidence out recently that chimpanzees (I think, it might have been a different primate) actually understood the concept of time and made plans that spanned the course of several days.  For instance, if the chimpanzee is given a set of objects, he will not only pick the one most likely to be useful getting food but he will also take it with him when he is moved to a new place that way he can use it later.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

 
This is one of the only threads I'm not currently a part of, so being as nosy as I am, I thought I'd jump in!  ;)
 
I only read this last page, so if anyone can kind of explain the line of conversation, it would be really helpful. :)
 
As for this current topic, I just wanted to say that humans are very different from animals.
 
When Breece said that "animals learn from their mistakes" I couldn't help but think of the dog I used to have who we constantly had to pull porcupine quills out of her muzzle. She never learned to stay away from porcupines, no matter how many times she got pricked!
 
But, I guess humans repeat their mistakes as well. And I admit that animals are smart and can learn very quickly. My current dog understands the word "walk", for example. And I also spend a lot of time with horses, who are very fast learners: they quickly discover what they can get away with, and also who carries the treats!
So I guess humans and animals do have their similarities.
 
But I'm just going to approach this from a Biblical standpoint:
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:24-28)
 
Man was formed after the likeness of God. He was given a mind that, unlike the beasts of the field and the fish of the sea, is able to comprehend and appreciate the majesty of God.
Man has dominion over the animals; not to be cruel tyrants, of course, but to care for them. But would they need care if they were our equals? No. Animals are smart in some ways, but they can’t really compare with man who has been formed after the very image of the Creator himself.
 
Hopefully, in my ignorance, I’m not taking a step back in your discussion.
I’m just trying to go from what I’m seeing here.
God bless. <3

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

I think I mentioned that in my earlier post (habituation, operent conditioned learning, imprinting, and other forms). All these forms of learned behavior are present in animals. I agree with this assertion. However that still doesn't mean that they can create a concept of anything out of nothing. Get what I'm saying? That's just like I am in a romm and there is no way out. I will sit, think for a while(with my vacant surroundings) and finally I might devise something to ave myslef. A cat on the other hand cannot do so. This leads to the assertion that they cannot reach ourt level of organization, although they have been at it before us.
A 'new' concept is not an unrelated one. for instance the steam engine was developed as a new thing but its idea had existed before that. Chinese were using gunpowder before we had even tho't of that. So that means I am not contradicting you(I assume:P)
Critical thinking doesn't imply freewill. I never said that. Will clear if you want to.

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 5:46 am

Dynamo:
 
Well, I disagree that humans can create a conept of anything out of nothing as well.  Prove to me we can.  I also don't fully understand your example about the room with now way out, how would we devise a way to save ourselves in that situation?  
 
Anything we could do that animals can't do to save ourselves from a room with no way out is just because of technological superiority.  I'm not saying we aren't smarter than animals, of course we are.  But I don't think technological design or anything else for that matter comes from "nothing".  I'm not convinced that humans have the ability to create a brand new thought out of nothing.  Monkeys had the brand new thought of using sticks to poke into termite hills and eat the termites off of them.  Not to say that we haven't done that and more, but explain to me how that's any less of a "new" thought than those we have?

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 5:59 am

Half.note:
 
Actually, this debate is on whether humans possess attributes that cannot be explained any other way but through Supernatural means (like God) so Bible verses aren't that relevant :P
 
Interesting read though!
 
Thanks!  <- This forum should really support signatures so we don't have to manually put them in :/

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 6:37 am

Thoughts are bound to be created from preceding ones. I never said that you can create a thought out of nothing. We might as well as grasp your monkey example here. What he actually did was to prod about, do a little bit of experimentation, and hit upon the idea. I mean, the inception of a new idea is due to curiosity that breeds research that breeds experimentation that breeds the idea. (Apparently, a lot of breeding is in order:P). A thought, however is different from an idea. For instance I can create an idea based on curiosity and past experience as to how to get out of the room. But I cannot create a thought- opposed to thinking which actually is the cognitive process leading to creation of an idea, not a thought. So animals can think but they cannot create a thought, they can only create and implement an idea. And a thought is also different from expression or impression. 
Cheers

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Dynamo:
 
I really don't understand at this point :/
 
What's the difference between a thought and an idea?  Who determined this difference? 
 
Maybe a more direct question, what can humans do (in terms of thoughts/ideas, whatever) that animals can't do.  And then from that question, what about the things we can do that animals can't do is not a direct result of brain structure.
 
This thread is essentially about whether there are characteristics of the human consciousness or state of mind that can only be attributed to supernatural sources and point to God.  Anything we can do that animals can't do (in regards to your argument) is a direct and explainable result of our superior brain structure.  
 
Thanks!

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Dynamo:
 
I really don't understand at this point :/
 
What's the difference between a thought and an idea?  Who determined this difference? 
 
Maybe a more direct question, what can humans do (in terms of thoughts/ideas, whatever) that animals can't do.  And then from that question, what about the things we can do that animals can't do is not a direct result of brain structure.
 
This thread is essentially about whether there are characteristics of the human consciousness or state of mind that can only be attributed to supernatural sources and point to God.  Anything we can do that animals can't do (in regards to your argument) is a direct and explainable result of our superior brain structure.  
 
Thanks!

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 22, 2012 at 2:42 am

The first explanation:
1.Idea vs Thought 
 
Idea and Thought are two words that are often confused when it comes to their meanings and connotations. Idea refers to a plan or a process that occurs in the mind in relation to the completion of a work or duty. Thought on the other hand is a mental process that keeps on going in the mind unabated. This is the main difference between the two words idea and thought.
Thought paves the way for an idea. This is the truth. Thoughts should combine to form an idea. In other words an idea is formed by the combination of thoughts about a particular problem. Hence you can say that the thought is a subset of idea. Observe the two sentences
1. The thought occurred in my mind.
2. An idea arose in my mind.
In the first sentence the use of the word ‘thought’ is to simply indicate a reason that occurred in the mind. On the other the use of the word ‘idea’ in the second sentence is to indicate ‘a plan’ that arose in the mind in relation to the solving of a problem or approaching a problem and the like. This is the difference between the usage of the two words ‘idea’ and ‘thought’.
A thought is a piece of reasoning produced by thinking. At times the word refers to a way of thinking that is characteristic to a particular class of people or society as in the expression ‘the medieval European thought’ or ‘the Western thought’.
An idea on the other hand refers to a conception or a plan formed by mental effort. In other words it can be said that an idea is nothing but a mental impression or notion or in simple words a concept. These are the differences between idea and thought.




2. In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images. Many philosophers consider ideas to be a fundamental ontological category of being.

The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings.

In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflex, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place.

Thought and thinking are mental forms and processes, respectively ("thought" is both). Thinking allows beings to model the world and to deal with it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires.



 
Furthermore, what we can do is superior to what animals can do as a result of our superior brain structure. I think that is obvious. However some of our sensations are those that are superior without being in anyway related to brain structure.

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

Dynamo:
 
Ah, I think understand what you're trying to say better now.
 
An idea is a product of thought.  Very interesting information about that difference.  
 
The problem remains though, what "sensations" or "thoughts" can we have that animals can't that aren't explained by physical means.  And to expand on that, where is your evidence that such thoughts and sensations we can have cannot be had by animals.  
 
Thanks!

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

 
Well, good to see that we've finally agreed on some point now:D
 
At this stage, I can't provide you any evidence. After all, I am not a ethologist(scientist who studies animal behavior), Moreover, I'm not in the limelight today. I'll, however try to search for some evidence and send it to ya.:P
Cheers!

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Dynamo:
 
Alright, good luck!

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

Well here is something that I hooked up. Its pretty interesting in a sense, although a bit apocryphal.
 
What separates us from animals is conscience. Firstly, let us define conscience. 
"Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong."
That's what wikipedia says. However we can consider it as the inherent quality of all human beings. We can also consider it as the "The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong:"
In both cases, the result is effectively same. I kill a being, and immediately i'm directed by an inward inherent and intrinsic force to rectify my conduct. An animal kills another but is not driven by the same inwardly force (otherwise all lions would have retired to lead a secluded life:P). Moreover, this also marks the reason why anthropomorphism is rejected in the study of ethology. All our feelins are associated with our conscience, and since animals lack conscience logically, therefore they cannot be held valid for possessing values of confidence, morality et cetera. This can lead us to the imperfect conclusion (coz the evidence for it is not much, for we cannot perform telepathy or mind-reading to know whether an animal has conscience or not.) that animals are a step behind humans not because they haven't got conscience, which has nothing to do with brain size.
 
An interesting note, though. There are some examples of scientists and people claiming that animals feel remorse after some vile act, or they have nightmares. Interestingly, we cannot predict the exact cause just by looking at the outcome(the reason why teleology was rejected), so it might have been that some internal reaction triggered a response that we took to be remorse coz it shows the same symptoms. We forget, while taking this into account, that animals are studied with a different mindset that differs from human study (human biology). Moreover, some claim that all birds and mammals can dream. A fine aspect, but one unrelated to conscience, as what we call dreaming scientifically is very much different from what dreaming subjectively and philosophically is. THerefore we encounter the same problem, we cannot read the mind of an animal to know whether it has a subjective conscience.
 
The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations that conscience was the human capacity to live by rational principles that were congruent with the true, tranquil and harmonious nature of our mind and thereby that of the Universe: "To move from one unselfish action to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness...the only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts."
 
Moreover, the same views can be applied to decree/predestination. Man has the ability to choose between right and wrong, depending on whether he uses his conscience or denies it. Here is another interesting read:
 
"The secular approach to conscience includes psychological, physiological, sociological, humanitarian and authoritarian views.[1] Lawrence Kohlbergconsidered critical conscience to be an important psychological stage in the proper moral development of humans, associated with the capacity to rationally weigh principles of responsibility, being best encouraged in the very young by linkage with humorous personifications (such as Jiminy Cricket) and later in adolescents by debates about individually pertinent moral dilemmas.[48] Erik Erikson placed the development of conscience in the 'pre-schooler' phase of his eight stages of normal human personality development.[49] The psychologist Martha Stout terms conscience "an intervening sense of obligation based in our emotional attachments."[50] Thus a good conscience is associated with feelings of integrity, psychological wholeness and peacefulness and is often described using adjectives such as "quiet", "clear" and "easy".[51]
Sigmund Freud regarded conscience as originating psychologically from the growth of civilisation, which periodically frustrated the external expression ofaggression: this destructive impulse being forced to seek an alternative, healthy outlet, directed its energy as a superego against the person's own "ego" or selfishness (often taking its cue in this regard from parents during childhood).[52] According to Freud, the consequence of not obeying our conscience is guilt, which can be a factor in the development of neurosis; Freud claimed that both the cultural and individual super-ego set up strict ideal demands with regard to the moral aspects of certain decisions, disobedience to which provokes a 'fear of conscience"
 I hope i made sense there. Tell me if there is anything to clear up.
 
Cheers

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

"The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudoscientific charlatans."
Richard Dawkins

Just a little bit fo reading. Here's something other than that. Read this article by Ken Carman on volconvo:
"A tough question. I suppose we could argue this scientifically, but how do we really know unless we are inside their heads? I think some do, some don't. Most cats I've had don't seem to have one. Most dogs do. Or is that just pack mentality I'm sensing? The proofs, I assume, would be anecdotal. Almost every dog I've had knows when they do something wrong. Like little kids you can tell when you come home, though sometimes it takes a while. I caught my collie, who doesn't care either way about cats, giving a piece of cheese to my cat. He is like most dogs: cheese is manna. Holy. Like a horny teen offering a hot girl to his enemy, or someone he doesn't care about either way at least. I found out later the cats had been out of food for a while.

I suppose it depends upon the intellect of the animal. Slugs: certainly not. Horses? Not sure. I suspect it varies within the dog-dom too. There some dogs that make a rock seem smart, some breeds. That's not me talking. One of my clients over the years was a big dalmatian fan. She used that phrase. Another, a fan of greyhounds, said something similar.

In high school and Sunday school I had the same teacher who rabidly pushed that animals can't think at all, which is a slightly different question: though I believe you have to have the capacity for thought to even remotely have something resembling a "conscience." She was a Science teacher, yet I use "rabid" because she couldn't support her claim, just insult you if you asked for proof.

As a sidebar: she was also in a wheelchair and liked to use that to beat anyone over the head she found bothersome. Obviously a lady with issues.

Anyway, what do you think?








Mods: if you think this belongs in another category... go for it. I guessed."


Here is another one:

"Science leaders have reached a critical consensus: Humans are not the only conscious beings; other animals, specifically mammals and birds, are indeed conscious, too.
It may have seemed obvious to you and me that Fluffy and Fido are aware of their own existence and are not simply biological machines. You may also take it for granted, when you stare into the eyes of a chimpanzee, that you're seeing a self-aware being. And that when the whale you helped to free from being tangled in fishing gear proceeded to swim around the boat giving you high fives, she was saying thank-you. But scientists (especially those who make money through experimenting on captive animals) have been very cautious in coming to this conclusion.
Finally, however, the official decision was reached in late night discussions two weeks ago during the prestigious annual Francis Crick Memorial Conference. This year's conference was entitled "Consciousness in Human and Nonhuman Animals" and included presentations by neuroscientists and experts in the fields of marine mammals, birds and cephalopods (octopus etc.). The conference issued this announcement:


The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals was publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, UK, on July 7, 2012, at the conclusion of the Conference, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, by Philip Low, David Edelman and Christof Koch. ... The Declaration was signed by the conference participants that very evening, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, in the Balfour Room at the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, UK. The signing ceremony was memorialized by CBS 60 Minutes.
The group didn't attempt to define what consciousness actually is. That's a very complex questions and no one really has a clue. But the full declaration includes statements like:


Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in particular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.


... The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.
So, is this something more than a bunch of theoreticians telling us what we already know? Yes. It's a really important statement that will be used as evidence by those who are pushing for scientists to develop a more humane relationship with animals. It's harder, for example, to justify experiments on nonhumans when you know that they are conscious beings and not just biological machines.
Some of the conclusions reached in this declaration are the product of scientists who, to this day, still conduct experiments on animals in captivity, including dolphins, who are among the most intelligent species on Earth. Their own declaration will now be used as evidence that it's time to stop using these animals in captivity and start finding new ways of making a living."

What both these do not specify is the inherent capability to distinguish between right and wrong, which can be considered as the simplest definition of conscience. Some claim that dolphins are one exceptions, that they are "humans of the sea", but tell me, if animals possess conscience, then can they hold a parliament to prosecute a wolf who murdered an owl? Moreover, the above articles also confuse conscience with consciousness, which is something entirely else. Animals are conscious, but they lack conscience. That's the difference. Another idea: do animals have any religion at all? For the major components of conscience are the yields of religion. So animals do not have atheistic, Islamic, Christian or anarchaic views. The rule that governs them (it can be considered similiar to the one that rules us now) is might is right. the lion is deemed the king of the jungle coz there is no one else to put up much of a fight. That's what it boild a bit down to. Otherwise we would have animal espials tracking down animal delinquents, and that would be great if suddenly an animal adjudicator decided that the animal offendor must go to the block. That's is what separates us, for civilisation springs from consciene, as being civilised individually is dependant on subjective conscience, and individual civilisation leads to societal civilisation.

A bit creepy, I think. Gotta go now. see ya!
Cheers.

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

 
"The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudoscientific charlatans."
Richard Dawkins
 
Just a little bit fo reading. Here's something other than that. Read this article by Ken Carman on volconvo:
"A tough question. I suppose we could argue this scientifically, but how do we really know unless we are inside their heads? I think some do, some don't. Most cats I've had don't seem to have one. Most dogs do. Or is that just pack mentality I'm sensing? The proofs, I assume, would be anecdotal. Almost every dog I've had knows when they do something wrong. Like little kids you can tell when you come home, though sometimes it takes a while. I caught my collie, who doesn't care either way about cats, giving a piece of cheese to my cat. He is like most dogs: cheese is manna. H.oly.  I found out later the cats had been out of food for a while.

I suppose it depends upon the intellect of the animal. Slugs: certainly not. Horses? Not sure. I suspect it varies within the dog-dom too. There some dogs that make a rock seem smart, some breeds. That's not me talking. One of my clients over the years was a big dalmatian fan. She used that phrase. Another, a fan of greyhounds, said something similar. 

In high school and Sunday school I had the same teacher who rabi.dly pushed that animals can't think at all, which is a slightly different question: though I believe you have to have the capacity for thought to even remotely have something resembling a "conscience." She was a Science teacher, yet I use "rabid" because she couldn't support her claim, just insult you if you asked for proof.

As a sidebar: she was also in a wheelchair and liked to use that to beat anyone over the head she found bothersome. Obviously a lady with issues.

Anyway, what do you think?








Mods: if you think this belongs in another category... go for it. I guessed."

 
Here is another one:
 
"Science leaders have reached a critical consensus: Humans are not the only conscious beings; other animals, specifically mammals and birds, are indeed conscious, too.
It may have seemed obvious to you and me that Fluffy and Fido are aware of their own existence and are not simply biological machines. You may also take it for granted, when you stare into the eyes of a chimpanzee, that you're seeing a self-aware being. And that when the whale you helped to free from being tangled in fishing gear proceeded to swim around the boat giving you high fives, she was saying thank-you. But scientists (especially those who make money through experimenting on captive animals) have been very cautious in coming to this conclusion.
Finally, however, the official decision was reached in late night discussions two weeks ago during the prestigious annual Francis Crick Memorial Conference. This year's conference was entitled "Consciousness in Human and Nonhuman Animals" and included presentations by neuroscientists and experts in the fields of marine mammals, birds and cephalopods (octopus etc.). The conference issued this announcement:


The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals was publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, UK, on July 7, 2012, at the conclusion of the Conference, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, by Philip Low, David Edelman and Christof Koch. ... The Declaration was signed by the conference participants that very evening, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, in the Balfour Room at the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, UK. The signing ceremony was memorialized by CBS 60 Minutes.
The group didn't attempt to define what consciousness actually is. That's a very complex questions and no one really has a clue. But the full declaration includes statements like:


Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neuro.physiology, and neuro.anatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness.  Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive micro.circuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neuro.physiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neo.cortex. Magpies in particular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.


... The absence of a neo.cortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuro.anatomical, neuro.chemical, and neuro.physiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neuro.logical substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these  neuro.logical substrates.
So, is this something more than a bunch of theoreticians telling us what we already know? Yes. It's a really important statement that will be used as evidence by those who are pushing for scientists to develop a more humane relationship with animals. It's harder, for example, to justify experiments on nonhumans when you know that they are conscious beings and not just biological machines.
Some of the conclusions reached in this declaration are the product of scientists who, to this day, still conduct experiments on animals in captivity, including dolphins, who are among the most intelligent species on Earth. Their own declaration will now be used as evidence that it's time to stop using these animals in captivity and start finding new ways of making a living."
 
What both these do not specify is the inherent capability to distinguish between right and wrong, which can be considered as the simplest definition of conscience. Some claim that dolphins are one exceptions, that they are "humans of the sea", but tell me, if animals possess conscience, then can they hold a parliament to prosecute a wolf who murdered an owl? Moreover, the above articles also confuse conscience with consciousness, which is something entirely else. Animals are conscious, but they lack conscience. That's the difference. Another idea: do animals have any religion at all? For the major components of conscience are the yields of religion. So animals do not have a.theistic, Is.lamic, Chris.tian or anar.chaic views. The rule that governs them (it can be considered similiar to the one that rules us now) is might is right. the lion is deemed the king of the jungle coz there is no one else to put up much of a fight. That's what it boils a bit down to. Otherwise we would have animal espials tracking down animal delinqu.ents, and that would be great if suddenly an animal ad.judicator decided that the animal offendor must go to the block. That's is what separates us, for civilisation springs from consciene, as being civilised individually is dependant on subjective conscience, and individual civilisation leads to societal civilisation.
 
A bit creep.y, I think. Gotta go now. see ya!
Cheers.

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I think it all boils down to this brief likkle thingummy:
Cognito ergo sum.
(Rene Descartes)

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm

In response to the fact that the Dolphin is the most intelligent being after us human: Probably. I never denied it isn't., However, it also lacks that particular property; conscience. I mean, dolphins are all very caring and they even help humans, driving away sharks, but they are also a step behind us. I will however, deal with this little enigma in a different manner now:
 
"And how do we find him in this environment? A ‘restless’25 being engrossed in his ideals to the point of forgetting everything else, capable of inflicting pain on himself in his ceaseless quest after fresh scopes for self-expression. With all his failings he is superior to Nature, inasmuch as he carries within him a great trust which, in the words of the Qur’«n, the heavens and the earth and the mountains refused to carry:
‘Verily We proposed to the Heavens and to the earth and to the mountains to receive the trust (of personality), but they refused the burden and they feared to receive it. Man alone undertook to bear it, but hath proved unjust, senseless!’ (33:72)."
 
An extract from The Reconstruction by Iqbal. Note the verses from the Quran. The trust of personality is one that one we promised to bear, not even the sun and the mountains. Although this may point out that I'm being a bit ecclesiastical, this actually requires a lot of explanation for which I don't have the time and the exposure. So I'll just try to explain what it means here, and scoot off, hoping you dig.
The trust of personality can be defined in different ways. i think you should go and read the posts I posted (haha) on the thread half.note's thread. Humans(according to Quran 2:130-139) have a greater rank than angels and other all creatures. to expound this view, look at the poetic verse:
"Better to be a human than live as an angel
For the former traverses the shelp of life"
So it is better to be a human than try to become an angel, but to become a human is a lot harder than trying to become an angel. For our basic purpose is to fulfil the rights of other persons and to strive to help others. The spring bed for this is conscience (through a very complicated process which I can't discuss right now) and since all evidence suggests that animals are conscious lacking conscience, so we not only have a different purpose of life, but we also are higher than animals because of this.
 
My mind is buzzing like a hornwart. Gotta go now.
 
Cheers.
 

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