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Are humans special?


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#136    Mr Walker

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

View Postredhen, on 12 January 2013 - 10:57 PM, said:

Indeed. In the conspiracy forum I started a thread asking "911 truthers" who planned the attacks and for what reason. I see a lot of polemics but little truth seeking,

Certitude is rare in the hard sciences never mind the soft ones like psychology and anthropology. But that shouldn't stop us from seeking the best possible explanation.

I dont have much training in the hard sciences, although I completed pre university physics and double maths. At uni the hardest sciences I studied were statistics and physical geography. The rest of my subjects included; language, psychology, history, politics, sociology, literature, and cognitive devlopment/ learning theories etc. relevant to education, which was my overarching study.

I also regularly attended, as one could in those days, lectures on all sorts of subjects from byzantine art and architecture, philosophy to many of the sciences,

After studying 10 hours a day  6 days a week at high school, the total  of about 10 hours a week of commited lectures and tutorials  and another 10 hours required for assignments, allowed me a lot of time to fill, which i did by attending every lecture I could find that sounded interesting.

I was lucky enoguh to be on a full government scholarship based on my results at high school, and so unlike many modern students did not have to work to pay my way

Increasingly, in my opinion, based only on reading and listening to people, the hard sciences have separated them selves from other studies and adopted; language, definitions, and parameters which "alienate" them from all non scientists.

Indeed there are growing divergences within sciences as they become increasingly specialised and complex and sub groups spring up within particular disciplines. Also a lot of the "soft" sciences try to emulate/incorporate the hard sciences perhaps chasing the prestige, status and money, which goes with those disciplines or, more charitably, trying to produce empirical and certain results as found in the hard sciences. I read a lot (about a million words a week) and have done so for nearly 60 years I pick up a lot of stuff from that reading in journals magazines and  increasingly from material published online form academic sources.
Yesterday, i had to go to the chemist to buy some anti fungal crystals which dissolve in solution and you soak your feet in. We used to call them condies crystals back in the 1950s but 50 years since last using them, I was able to walk into the chemist and ask for some potasium permanganate. I just dragged the name up from my memory of 50 years ago. So a good memory helps as well.

Edited by Mr Walker, 12 January 2013 - 11:29 PM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#137    shadowx

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:04 AM

View PostRlyeh, on 27 December 2012 - 08:10 PM, said:

I meant from a religious view.

We have souls, animals do not.


#138    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:06 AM

View Postshadowx, on 13 January 2013 - 12:04 AM, said:

We have souls, animals do not.

We are animals

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#139    redhen

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:06 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 12 January 2013 - 11:21 PM, said:

Increasingly, in my opinion, based only on reading and listening to people, the hard sciences have separated them selves from other studies and adopted; language, definitions, and parameters which "alienate" them from all non scientists.

The gap in C.P. Snows Two Cultures seems to be closing;

"Alas, Snow’s vision has gone unrealized. Instead literary agent John Brockman has posited a “third culture,” of scientists who communicate directly with the public about their work in media such as books without the intervening assistance of literary types. At the same time, many of those in the humanities, arts and politics remain content living within the walls of scientific illiteracy."

from http://www.scientifi...ws-two-cultures


#140    redhen

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:08 AM

View Postshadowx, on 13 January 2013 - 12:04 AM, said:

We have souls, animals do not.

depends what religion; many Christians hold that non-human animals do have souls, just not immortal ones like ours, allegedly.


#141    Artaxerxes

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:09 AM

Our separateness is an illusion.  We are all part of God.   We view everything as being separate and apart in this life but in actuality we live in a holographic universe and everything here is a projection from someplace else.  

The Universe as a Hologram:

"If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected."

http://www.earthport...m/hologram.html

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#142    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:17 AM

View PostArtaxerxes, on 13 January 2013 - 12:09 AM, said:

Our separateness is an illusion.  We are all part of God.   We view everything as being separate and apart in this life but in actuality we live in a holographic universe and everything here is a projection from someplace else.  

The Universe as a Hologram:


I wish some of my bills were an illusion .Like on the holodeck ( from Start Trek )  I would look at each bill and call out - "COMPUTER...END PROGRAMME "

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#143    Mr Walker

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:36 AM

View Postredhen, on 13 January 2013 - 12:06 AM, said:

The gap in C.P. Snows Two Cultures seems to be closing;

"Alas, Snow’s vision has gone unrealized. Instead literary agent John Brockman has posited a “third culture,” of scientists who communicate directly with the public about their work in media such as books without the intervening assistance of literary types. At the same time, many of those in the humanities, arts and politics remain content living within the walls of scientific illiteracy."

from http://www.scientifi...ws-two-cultures

I'd not seen this article before But his observations mirror my own.

However I would suggest the problem is now reversed. Because science has such a high cultural priority (equivalent to that once conferred on an education in humanities) it dominates all other forms of knowledge and undertanding.

Now scientists look with disdain on people who dont "speak their language" ANd yet science cannot suceed in integrating itself into mainstream society unless the mainstream/ ordinary citizens can understand its language Sceince needs funding and prioritisation of resourcs which in a democracy is conferred via popular assent.

It may be only perception, but it almost appears that some scientists strive to create a cult of exclusivity to increase their status,  and hence funding, through esoteric knowledge as priests once did . Others, as you point out, have become more proficient communicators and mass market their ideas and work.

A "renaissance man", past or present, must have a broad understanding of all knowldge. This is gained first by a common literacy in all areas, but secondly by non specialisation and diversity in study and understanding. As science becomes more complex it increasingly specialises and requires a full specialised commitment  to master a discipline, or area of expertise. That increases the gap between a specialist and all others.

Yes it is important that all humans have a good sound basic knowledge of science. But it is also critical that every scientist has a good sound basic understanding of the nature of humanity; as a species and as individuals.

Edited by Mr Walker, 13 January 2013 - 12:38 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#144    shadowlark

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:57 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 12 January 2013 - 10:23 PM, said:

I have a need to  give love and the dog fulfils a part of that need. But my need to be loved cannot be fulfilled by the dog, because I know he cannot love me. He can display all the qualities (good and bad) of a loyal pack member, but not love.

Hey Mr Walker, can you respond to my previous posts and how the above would apply to them, specifically:
  • Why would my cat Tonks mourn the loss of our cat Rye for months if she did not love him? What need would mourning fulfill in her?
  • Why did Hachiko return to the train station every day for years. His master did not die there and lingering scents of his master would soon fade. What need does this fulfill?
  • Why did Constantine return to the site of the accident that killed his human family for years afterwards? Again, any lingering scents would soon fade. What need does this fulfill?
My answer? Love. There is no doubt in my mind that animals are capable of loving and hating.

I'll grant you that Greyfriars Bobby may only have been staying with the scent of his master/other bodies, although you would think cemeteries would be full of dogs if this was the case. But what about the cases of Hachiko & Constantine? It could not have anything to do with the scents of their families, as these would have soon faded.


#145    Mr Walker

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM

View Postshadowlark, on 13 January 2013 - 06:57 AM, said:

Hey Mr Walker, can you respond to my previous posts and how the above would apply to them, specifically:
  • Why would my cat Tonks mourn the loss of our cat Rye for months if she did not love him? What need would mourning fulfill in her?
  • Why did Hachiko return to the train station every day for years. His master did not die there and lingering scents of his master would soon fade. What need does this fulfill?
  • Why did Constantine return to the site of the accident that killed his human family for years afterwards? Again, any lingering scents would soon fade. What need does this fulfill?
My answer? Love. There is no doubt in my mind that animals are capable of loving and hating.

I'll grant you that Greyfriars Bobby may only have been staying with the scent of his master/other bodies, although you would think cemeteries would be full of dogs if this was the case. But what about the cases of Hachiko & Constantine? It could not have anything to do with the scents of their families, as these would have soon faded.

I have deliberately not responded to your posts because to do so would attack a belief system you have about your animals.

It is not my right to personally attack that, although i have expressed my pov via responses to other posters.

  I ahve 60 years experience with animals. At one time our family/pack consisted of 8 dogs, two cats (and often a number of kittens) 13 sheep, a dozen ducks, 40 bantams, two guinea fowl and  a pair of peacocks, along with numerous gold fish fish, and native animals which we fed and watered, like many birds and  lizards including, one time, a two metre long goanna who enjoyed our hen's eggs..

These lived in fairly close daily contact with us, from the cats sleeping on the bed  and the mother dog at the foot of it. The cat would catch rabbits and bring them, alive and kicking, in the bedroom window and present us with them. The cat and the dog would curl up together and groom each other the dogs would give warning f anyone approaching the farm house from a kilometer or more away. A some of these died naturally of old age and some we had to put dowm as they developed cancers or other illnesses Alll were buried by me in our garden ((one and a half acres of it) including the sheep (and digging a proper grave for a sheep in heavy clay soil is as hard as digging one for a human being )

I say thos to put my vies on animlas in perspective We love them As stated earlier we give several thousands of dollars each year to animal welfare groups and write to politicians and governments protesting animla cruelty around the world But i am trained in huma cognitive development and language I also have read a lot about animal cognion sapience and self awareness And my knowledge does not allow me to hold mistaken beliefs abouthe nature of animals Experst in dogs for example will tell you that the greatest mistke you can make is to treat a dog like a human, ratherr than utilise understanding of a dogs nature to relate to it.

So, in my opinion, your cat did not mourn the other cat. Neither did she love him in anything like the way humans do. Animals are programmed  into (and can also learn) social behaviours. But they are not aware of the acts they do. They have no symbolic/conceptual understanding of love or grief.  They simlply do not have the mental /cognitive or language abilities to be able to form, or understand, such concept;s and without them love, grief etc do not exist except as feelings which are biologicla in nature.

I dont deny animals have feelings, but they are not similar to or equivalent with a human feeling which comes with a lot of associated understandings that compound it and alter it beyond recognition to a non self aware animal  Love as used to express human understnading cant be used to define animla feelings.

I dont know what other word could be used, but the responses you see  come from a programmed genetic /biological response, just as a pack has an alpha male and a female leader. And just as animals cooperate together for function and survival, and groom each other for parasites etc..

There are many logical reasons for an animal returning to a particular site.To believe it does so from love /emotional attachment to its "master ' is only that; a belief. That belief is often chosen to fulfil a persons desires/needs for the world to fit comfortably as they would like it to be Not necesarily from reality.

Strange as it may seem to some, I prefer to seek reality in all things, to choosing a belief structure about anything; because the truth leads to progress, and greater truths, and development of knowledge, functionality, and more positive outcomes. To understand the world as it is, is always more beneficial in the long run than to create an alternative world in your mind as you would like it to be. Although that is a fun exercise, with its own positive outcomes, as long as you recognise it is a fantasy of your own creation.
Ps the "you ' here is not directed at you personally, but is used generically for ease of expression.

Edited by Mr Walker, 14 January 2013 - 01:15 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#146    shadowlark

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

I have deliberately not responded to your posts because to do so would attack a belief system you have about your animals.

It is not my right to personally attack that, although i have expressed my pov via responses to other posters.

Don't worry, I won't take offense to anything you say. I have my beliefs, you have yours. No problem :)

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

I say thos to put my vies on animlas in perspective We love them As stated earlier we give several thousands of dollars each year to animal welfare groups and write to politicians and governments protesting animla cruelty around the world But i am trained in huma cognitive development and language I also have read a lot about animal cognion sapience and self awareness And my knowledge does not allow me to hold mistaken beliefs abouthe nature of animals Experst in dogs for example will tell you that the greatest mistke you can make is to treat a dog like a human, ratherr than utilise understanding of a dogs nature to relate to it.

I agree to some extent. I don't think it's a good idea to view an animal as human and treat it as such. Yes, you can shower them with love and affection, but you need to understand that they are different, have different needs and different ways of communicating. I remember this every time I'm around my horse. I love her to death, I trust her, but she's still an animal and therefore still unpredictable. What she's fine with one day could set her off the next. But I personally don't think that that means they can't have affection/love for us or others.

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

So, in my opinion, your cat did not mourn the other cat. Neither did she love him in anything like the way humans do. Animals are programmed  into (and can also learn) social behaviours. But they are not aware of the acts they do. They have no symbolic/conceptual understanding of love or grief.  They simlply do not have the mental /cognitive or language abilities to be able to form, or understand, such concept;s and without them love, grief etc do not exist except as feelings which are biologicla in nature.

So why do you think she acted different/sad/depressed? I realize I'm using terms for emotions that humans show, but I don't know how else to put it. She acted in a way that I perceived to be as sad. Do you think she could pick up on the fact that hubby and I were sad, and acted different because she didn't understand?

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

I dont deny animals have feelings, but they are not similar to or equivalent with a human feeling which comes with a lot of associated understandings that compound it and alter it beyond recognition to a non self aware animal  Love as used to express human understnading cant be used to define animla feelings.

I dont know what other word could be used, but the responses you see  come from a programmed genetic /biological response, just as a pack has an alpha male and a female leader. And just as animals cooperate together for function and survival, and groom each other for parasites etc..

Hmmm...yes, I could see that. "Love" as a kind of social function to increase one's chances of survival.  So, a pet dog would show "love" by getting super excited, wagging it's tail, slobbering kisses on its owner because it "knows" said human will in turn feed, groom and take care of it. (I put "knows" in quotes as I have a feeling you would say the dog doesn't "know" this, it's just an ingrained biological response :P - correct me if I'm wrong).

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

There are many logical reasons for an animal returning to a particular site.To believe it does so from love /emotional attachment to its "master ' is only that; a belief. That belief is often chosen to fulfil a persons desires/needs for the world to fit comfortably as they would like it to be Not necesarily from reality.

If you could give some examples of the bolded, that would be great. I can't think of any biological need that returning to a site would fulfill.

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

Strange as it may seem to some, I prefer to seek reality in all things, to choosing a belief structure about anything; because the truth leads to progress, and greater truths, and development of knowledge, functionality, and more positive outcomes. To understand the world as it is, is always more beneficial in the long run than to create an alternative world in your mind as you would like it to be. Although that is a fun exercise, with its own positive outcomes, as long as you recognise it is a fantasy of your own creation.
Ps the "you ' here is not directed at you personally, but is used generically for ease of expression.

I think I'm with you for the most part in this. I have certain beliefs that others may not share which are based on personal experiences (i.e. I believe in ghosts cause I've had experiences I can't explain rationally).  If someone were to give me a rational explanation, my beliefs would most likely change accordingly. I, too, seek the truth. Please don't worry about offending me with anything you say - I wouldn't ask if I didn't want an answer :)


#147    GreenmansGod

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:25 PM

You have yet to address why may cat, takes the time to let me know I am in danger of falling. I know pretty much how she knows, but the question is why does she have the need to inform me. She has not been trained to do it.  I have if anything, have been trained by her to listen, because if I don't I suddenly get weak and fall.

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#148    eight bits

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

Quote

  I have if anything, have been trained by her

By Jove! I've think you've got it!

:)

Posted Image

#149    GreenmansGod

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:11 AM

This is a progam from PBS on Crows.  Crows are special.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1621910826

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#150    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 14 January 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

So, in my opinion, your cat did not mourn the other cat. Neither did she love him in anything like the way humans do. Animals are programmed  into (and can also learn) social behaviours. But they are not aware of the acts they do.

Interesting stuff Walker.  I guess I don't understand though what of the above doesn't necessarily apply to humans.  I have no idea if you or any other human, or even myself, experiences love the way anyone else does, or if you or I actually feel love at all. Humans also have programmed and learned social behaviors.  I definitely don't know how you know that animals are not 'aware' of the acts they do, just because an action may be instinctual doesn't necessarily seem to mean they are not aware of it.  If you inadvertently put your hand near a hot stove burner, your hand will pull away automatically, I believe it's a reflex that originates in the spine and not the brain actually.  But I'm 'aware' of it, even though it's involuntary.

Quote

They have no symbolic/conceptual understanding of love or grief.  They simlply do not have the mental /cognitive or language abilities to be able to form, or understand, such concept;s and without them love, grief etc do not exist except as feelings which are biologicla in nature.

That may be true that they have no conceptual understanding of love or grief, but I think it sure is an amazing coincidence that some animals from outward appearances behave similarly to humans when in apparent grief, in ways that go beyond simple anthropomorphization.  Love and grief are feelings that are biological in nature, I'm not sure where the line is being drawn here.  I also have no idea if animals feel entirely different emotions than humans.  My cat has caught and killed one mouse in her life, and if I was to try to describe how she was feeling, I would say she was happy after the deed was done.  But I have no idea, it may be some entirely different cat emotion which we have no conceptual understanding of.

Quote

I dont deny animals have feelings, but they are not similar to or equivalent with a human feeling which comes with a lot of associated understandings that compound it and alter it beyond recognition to a non self aware animal  Love as used to express human understnading cant be used to define animla feelings.

I don't know that your emotions are similar or equivalent to mine either, if your associated understandings alter your emotions than you do not feel the same emotions I do by the same reasoning, there's no reason to think your understandings are at all similar to mine.  I agree that the way other animals feel is different, but I don't know what that tells us; their feelings may be more intense, less intense, and/or entirely alien to us.

Quote

I dont know what other word could be used, but the responses you see  come from a programmed genetic /biological response, just as a pack has an alpha male and a female leader. And just as animals cooperate together for function and survival, and groom each other for parasites etc..

And we know that humans' responses are not 'programmed genetic/biological responses', how?  Maybe I'm just disagreeing with your statements concerning what animals 'do not' or 'can't', I think to put it more accurately I would say that 'we don't have any good evidence that animals feel grief 'like humans do'' for instance.  But the only additional evidence I have that you or anyone else does though is through language, which has multiple problems: people do not always accurately ascertain and describe their own emotions and language really does not have the capability of describing 'feelings' too accurately.  I can definitely see how one could view animals as essentially robots executing their programming, I do also to some extent, but I see no reason why that framework doesn't apply also to humans then.

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