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Rlyeh

Are humans special?

241 posts in this topic

You need to conceive of a symbolic act before you perform it? When someone dives in a river to rescue another, does he first have to conceive of some kind of symbolism?

I submit there is no self interest or benefit in some of these lab tests. It seems to be simple empathy, something that many species share. And it doesn't involve language or abstract cognitive processes.

I have never proposed assigning human or legal rights to non-human animals. I hold that that they only need one right, the right not to be property. Yes. I'm an abolitionist.

What I learned from just one year of college philosophy; the devil's in the details. :)

Yes you need to consceive of a symbolic act before you perform it, (that's what a symbolic act is)or you are simply acting on biological imperative not conscious choice. Altruism is not, and cannot be, a biological imperative, or it is not altruism. Altruism is a conscious choice, by definition.

Even to think of the idea requires the ability to do so. Hence humans observe acts of biological imperativism in animals and attribute to them human motivations, such as conceived and chosen altruism.

With non sapient animals there is always a biological or genetic imperative. Any behaviour has an evolutionary purpose or it would not exist. In social animals acts of "kindness" may ensure membership of a group and enhance survival, for example. These reciprocal behaviours can be learned, in social conditioning, but they are not chosen consciously, as a free gift with no thought of reward. Only a creature aware of its conditioning, biological imperatives etc., can consciously choose to overide them, seeking a philosophical, moral or ethical, result/outcome, which they have created as a desirable construct in their mind.

I am not sure what you mean by property. Are you suggesting no human has a right to decide the destiny of any animal, and so we should not only not eat them, but not care for them as pets or companions? That animals should only exist in a natural state? What about mosquitoes?

Edited by Mr Walker

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Called the multi-verse, I know about it. I always thought the idea of a multi-verse made a lot of sense. Things aways seem to come in multiples. Why wouldn't the Universe. Welcome to UM.

Absolutely right Darkwind, the multi-verse theory is something really extraordinary and its plausible thank you :D

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With non sapient animals there is always a biological or genetic imperative. Any behaviour has an evolutionary purpose or it would not exist. In social animals acts of "kindness" may ensure membership of a group and enhance survival, for example. These reciprocal behaviours can be learned, in social conditioning, but they are not chosen consciously, as a free gift with no thought of reward. Only a creature aware of its conditioning, biological imperatives etc., can consciously choose to overide them, seeking a philosophical, moral or ethical, result/outcome, which they have created as a desirable construct in their mind.

I think our social behaviors are also a genetic imperative. We seek out and live in social groups and battle other social groups. It is an instinct for us to do that. You see it in chimps. That is why it is so hard to do away with war. With everything there are exceptions, even in animals. The thing with animals who live in social groups the ones who don't get pick off by predators or starvation.

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I think our social behaviors are also a genetic imperative. We seek out and live in social groups and battle other social groups. It is an instinct for us to do that. You see it in chimps. That is why it is so hard to do away with war. With everything there are exceptions, even in animals. The thing with animals who live in social groups the ones who don't get pick off by predators or starvation.

Oh certainly many human drivers are biological . Eg the fear/flight physiological response But in humans they are not imperatives, because we can consciously recognise them and ignore them or reset/redirect them. And in fact fight or flight in huamns is a counter productive driver compared with, for example, negotiation and or threat assessment.

The whole system of human law and order is based on this. We can make choices NOT to act as a non aware animal does. Not to rape, to kill, to steal, to take another mans wife etc. Those terms cannot even be applied to other animals .

Humans do not have to fight with each other or to go to war. In fact we have good reason not to, because of our ability to destroy ourselves so efficiently. Also we do not have to compete for resources. Our technologies enable us to exploit/utilise resources, trade them, store them and utilise them so efficiently, that scarcities are avoidable in a way which is not the case in the natural order of things. If we go to war or fight over resources, that is a choice, not an imperative. Other animals simply do not have such choices. Often they must fight or die from starvation.

There is no evidence that advanced social behaviours in human are genetic although our genes give us a propensity for certain things and an abilty to do certain things. We learn social behaviours through social evolution.

Other animals do this as well, especially animals such as apes and chimps, which are only about 100000 years or so from modern human abilities. But human's ability to think, and thus to learn, has advanced our social evolution far beyond that of other primates.

Logic philosophy theology and many other forms of human thought enable us to construct increasingly complex social interactions. This is also facilitated by human abilty to use language involving complex symbolic concepts and constructs.

Edited by Mr Walker

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You say non self aware but there are a lot of animals out there who are self aware, like dolphins, whales, great apes, many types of monkeys and some birds. I think they have the potential to develop to the level we are at through evolution. In the case of whales and dolphins they might already be there. They just don't do technology, but they do have complex communication skills we just don't understand as yet.

Edited by Darkwind
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You say non self aware but there are a lot of animals out there who are self aware, like dolphins, whales, great apes, many types of monkeys and some birds. I think they have the potential to develop to the level we are at through evolution. In the case of whales and dolphins they might already be there. They just don't do technology, but they do have complex communication skills we just don't understand as yet.

None are at anything like a human level of self aware sapience. This has been shown through scientific studies. The most advanced adult animals fall behind humans when humans reach about 4 years of age and continue their brain growth and cognitive devlopment.

It is becoming clearer that, without both language, and the abilty to manipulate tools, (which many scientists believe are connected skills because the abilty to think in linguistic terms facilitates the abilty to see how tools can be used) the evolution of self aware sapience is severely limited.

NOW the real point is what this means. To me it means that our abilities give us great responsibilities and duties, which no other animal has, towards our environment, and especially other living creatures in it. We are quite capable of destroying most life on earth, or of making it a natural environmental paradise (or balanced ecosystem). That capacity, and our recognition of it, must inform our attitudes and behaviours in everything we do. We must ALL learn to tread lightly on our planet and reduce our personal ecological footprint to the minimum required to live healthily and sustainably.

Ps yes i agree that several other animals are close to an evolutionary breakthrough to human level sapience. I would like to see us assist in this uplift using a variety of means which might even include genetic engineering to facilitate the ability to speak, but certainly could include other forms of enhancement and education.

However it is almost certain tha the next human level self aware sapience on this palnet will be a human created artifical intelligence. That will occur within my life time. Uplifting other animal species to sapience will probably take much longer because the task is more complex and difficult, and more ethically confronting.

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It would appear that chimpanzees may be closest to human awareness, in part because they have the same part of a brain (brocas)which makes language possible.

i am wary of the claimed demonstrations of romantic love, altruism and other human level actions claimed in this wiki article, (I dont think a chimp has any mental symbolic construct for the idea of romance, and ive never seen one read shakespeare)because they are based on human observation and attribution, thus imposing a humanocentric pov on the chimp's behaviours. (How on earth anyone can tell that a chimp is enjoying the natural beauty of a sunset without doing a brain scan at the time is beoyond me)

The same with mourning. Chimps appear to mourn but show none of the neandertal or cromagnon indicators of mourning, such as burying the dead with ceremony or recognition of a spiritual aspect to life, by adding grave goods to a burial. They seem more about australopithecus africanus level of sapience.

Recent studies have shown chimpanzees engage in apparently altruistic behaviour within groups.[40][41] Some researchers have said chimpanzees are indifferent to the welfare of unrelated group members,[42] but a more recent study of wild chimpanzees found that both male and female adults would adopt orphaned young of their group. Also, different groups sometimes share food, form coalitions, and cooperate in hunting and border patrolling.[43] Sometimes chimpanzees have adopted young that come from unrelated groups. And in some rare cases, even male chimps have been shown to take care of abandoned infant chimps of an unrelated group, though in most cases they would kill the infant.[citation needed]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee

Evidence for "chimpanzee spirituality" includes display of mourning, "incipient romantic love", "rain dance", appreciation of natural beauty such as a sunset over a lake, curiosity and respect towards wildlife (such as the python, which is neither a threat nor a food source to chimpanzees), altruism toward other species (such as feeding turtles) and even "animism" or "pretend play" in chimps cradling and grooming rocks or sticks.[44]

Communication

Chimps communicate in a manner similar to human nonverbal communication, using vocalizations, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Research into the chimpanzee brain has revealed chimp communication activates an area of the chimp brain in the same position as Broca's area, a language center in the human brain.[45]

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In the case of whales and dolphins they might already be there. They just don't do technology...

And it's a good thing too. Considering their environment if you whacked a circuit board and asked them to start welding parts together I have a feeling the results would be.... errm, shocking :ph34r:
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Ps yes i agree that several other animals are close to an evolutionary breakthrough to human level sapience. I would like to see us assist in this uplift using a variety of means which might even include genetic engineering to facilitate the ability to speak, but certainly could include other forms of enhancement and education.

I guess you didn't see planet of the apes. :o

Here is a list of animals found to be self aware.

http://listnation.blogspot.com/2012/03/9-animals-that-are-self-aware.html

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Yes you need to consceive of a symbolic act before you perform it, (that's what a symbolic act is)or you are simply acting on biological imperative not conscious choice. Altruism is not, and cannot be, a biological imperative, or it is not altruism. Altruism is a conscious choice, by definition.

That's debatable. Many philosophers and scientists deny that pure altruism even exists.

Even to think of the idea requires the ability to do so. Hence humans observe acts of biological imperativism in animals and attribute to them human motivations, such as conceived and chosen altruism.

I don't think you need specific cognitive abilities to exhibit altruistic acts. The wiki article on animal altruism begins with "Altruism is a well-documented animal behaviour," and then goes on to list numerous examples of these acts.

With non sapient animals there is always a biological or genetic imperative.
The examples above show altruistic acts exhibited by non-sapient beings. Self awareness or self consciousness doesn't seem to be a requirement.
I am not sure what you mean by property. Are you suggesting no human has a right to decide the destiny of any animal, and so we should not only not eat them, but not care for them as pets or companions? That animals should only exist in a natural state? What about mosquitoes?

Yes. All things being equal, we don' need to consume animal flesh or milk. The exceptions are for those stunted human societies that are still living in the Stone age. http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/

Under the general wiki entry on altruism there is a sub-section labelled; "

Evolutionary explanations

Main articles: Altruism in animals, Evolution of morality, and Evolutionary ethics"

So we see a long history of people trying to explain altruism in evolutionary terms. This seems to be a valid territory for explanations, since the alternative would be special creation, i.e. Adam and Eve.

If homo sapiens sapiens is "special", what about homo sapiens neanderthalis? What were they, chopped liver? What about homo ergatser, homo erectus, etc. etc.?

Can you show me a clear and distinct point when one archaic hominid became "special?" I submit there is no such point, it is a continuum like other aspects of macro-evolution. And morality is just one more such trait that has evolved.

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I guess you didn't see planet of the apes. :o

Here is a list of animals found to be self aware.

http://listnation.bl...self-aware.html

Ive seen all the variants of that film and its prequels/ sequels including the original with charlton heston. The last one showed how human intervention might increase the intelligence and self awarenss of an ape. I think this will eventually be done, but it does require a lot of thought about the bio ethics of it.

There are already available hormones for humans which are proven to improve human brain function and thus; intelligence, memory, problem solving, speed of thought process. etc. The research developed out of human growth hormones which have been available for some time now.

I use the term "human level self aware sapience" for a good reason Yes, less than a dozen species (or at least individuals within those species) pass the mirror test of self awareness. ie that they exist as an entity separate from a reflection of themsleves in a mirror, something a human child does from about 18 months of age.

Is an 18 month old intellect an example of human level sapient self aware ness? Of course not.

The human child will continue brain development and cognitive maturity until, by age of 4, it will surpass any other mature animal species on the planet. Then its brain will continue to grow for another 20 years, on average, as will its cognitive abilities. Would we accord human level, self aware sapience, and all the responsibilities that entails, even to a four year old. Personally I wouldnt and human society never has.

Edited by Mr Walker

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That's debatable. Many philosophers and scientists deny that pure altruism even exists.

I don't think you need specific cognitive abilities to exhibit altruistic acts. The wiki article on animal altruism begins with "Altruism is a well-documented animal behaviour," and then goes on to list numerous examples of these acts.

The examples above show altruistic acts exhibited by non-sapient beings. Self awareness or self consciousness doesn't seem to be a requirement.

Yes. All things being equal, we don' need to consume animal flesh or milk. The exceptions are for those stunted human societies that are still living in the Stone age. http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/

Under the general wiki entry on altruism there is a sub-section labelled; "

Evolutionary explanations

Main articles: Altruism in animals, Evolution of morality, and Evolutionary ethics"

So we see a long history of people trying to explain altruism in evolutionary terms. This seems to be a valid territory for explanations, since the alternative would be special creation, i.e. Adam and Eve.

If homo sapiens sapiens is "special", what about homo sapiens neanderthalis? What were they, chopped liver? What about homo ergatser, homo erectus, etc. etc.?

Can you show me a clear and distinct point when one archaic hominid became "special?" I submit there is no such point, it is a continuum like other aspects of macro-evolution. And morality is just one more such trait that has evolved.

Humans are now scientifically defined to include neandertal and cromagnon as well as all other sapient hominid species. There are at least 3 and perhaps four separate gene pools mixed in modern humans including neandertal and another from a cave site in central asia. I always include them mentally in any refernce to human. I am an evolutionist. Even god is an advanced evolved species.

God has nothing to do with making us special except perhaps in some interactions teaching and working with us..

We are special because of our evolved level of self awareness and sapience. An artificial intelligence or a chimp with our awareness /intelligence would be as specail it would have "a soul" and a spirit which would be as obvious as these are in living humans. It would mourn the dead in measurable/ observable ways, be spiritual, develop religions, gods beliefs etc.

And human altruism is like love. It is a HUMAN construct measuring human attributes that require conceptualisation, language symbolism, and mental shared understandings.

Science is by no means clear on how to measure or define altruism, because it only rarely crosses outside of a group or a species. Where a human choses to be altruisic they give with no thought of reciprocity or reward. We simply dont have any evidences that other animals think like that or act like that.

Most observed behaviour which human observers call altruism in other animals is based either on natural instincts like mothering or pack behaviour, or on reciprocity.

ANimals learn to give so they can get something from the group in return. When a human acts, expecting any form of reward or reciprocity, eg in caring for an animal and expecting comapanionship, that is not altruism, either. Being nice to someone in the hope they will be nice back to you, is not altruism either.

PS many scientists and philosophers argue that pure love does not exist either. They are fools. :devil: The fact that a human being can intellectually conceptualise the idea of altruism, (or love) and define its parameters, means that it exists mentally; and the mental concept or symbolism can be acted out in real life, within the defined parameters, making it a solid and concrete physical act.

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PS many scientists and philosophers argue that pure love does not exist either. They are fools. :devil: The fact that a human being can intellectually conceptualise the idea of altruism, (or love) and define its parameters, means that it exists mentally; and the mental concept or symbolism can be acted out in real life, within the defined parameters, making it a solid and concrete physical act.

You do know there are other species that mate for life right and your diffinition of love is yours and yours alone.

Or should I get the church of none beliefe to get in your face about what love is.

Walker over the years I thought you might become of a human but wow ther is no hope.

Edited by The Silver Thong

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Humans are now scientifically defined to include neandertal and cromagnon as well as all other sapient hominid species. There are at least 3 and perhaps four separate gene pools mixed in modern humans including neandertal and another from a cave site in central asia. I always include them mentally in any refernce to human.

So Homo Australopithecus is not on your short list? What's the criteria for humanity? I submit there are no hard and fast rules for this discernment.

We are special because of our evolved level of self awareness and sapience. An artificial intelligence or a chimp with our awareness /intelligence would be as specail it would have "a soul" and a spirit which would be as obvious as these are in living humans. It would mourn the dead in measurable/ observable ways, be spiritual, develop religions, gods beliefs etc.

There are other species that mourn for their dead. A soul or spirit makes humans special?

And human altruism is like love. It is a HUMAN construct measuring human attributes that require conceptualisation, language symbolism, and mental shared understandings.

Again, altruism is acting against our self interests for the sake of others. These empathetic acts are seen and documented in other species as I have shown.

You know what makes humans special? It's the combination of certain traits that are seen in other species but not in this certain combination. I'm speaking about our capacity for speech and language.

- a hyoid bone

- a descended layrnx

- FOX2P gene

- Broca's and Wernickes area of the brain.

That's it. Give those traits to a chimp and he would be able to read, write and converse.

And I wonder what he would say to us?

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PEOPLE SUCK ! JUST ASK ALL THE LIONS TIGERS BEARS AND ELEPHANTS,OH WAIT..YOU CAN'T ,PEOPLE SHOT THEM ALL !

Anilmals are not better than humans, they have no choice, they are ruled by instinct, we aren't, hence the problem. We are more than the lower forms of life, we have the power to think and be self aware in ways that does not seem to be present in other animals....after all that....well perhaps we are just meat in the end, so no, most likely we are a dead end like most critters. We will one day disappear, and the world may be a better place because of that, well until it ends by something, well before our sun goes out.

doug

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You do know there are other species that mate for life right and your diffinition of love is yours and yours alone.

Or should I get the church of none beliefe to get in your face about what love is.

Walker over the years I thought you might become of a human but wow ther is no hope.

What has mating for life got to do with love? One is a biological phenomenum, the other is a philosophical/symbolic concept created only in human minds, spoken of only in human languages, and enacted only by human beings.

Humans love all sorts of people and entities. I love ALL human beings both intellectually and philosophically. I love a dozen or more human beings emotionally. I love one human being sexually as well as romantically. I love my dog and I love a number of places and experiences, feelings and sensations.. Everyone may have their own definition of love but mine fits easily within the standard parameters of human love in literature, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and common usage.

I am a human being, and while not your ordinary run of the mill type of human being, I wouldnt want to be one of them, if in fact such a thing actually existed. I'd be called Norm for a start, lol

In my mind every human being is unique within their humanity.

Ps i could only find one reference to the church of non belief and i dont get your allusion to them in this regard.

Love is a human construct, as is religion, but love, per se, has nothing to do with religion, and any atheist is as capable of love as any theist. Human have a capacity for love (And hate and altruism and anger and fear etc) but that capacity for all those things, to be activated and enabled, like speech and the ability to think, must be taught or instilled in each individual human from birth (or perhaps even beginning before birth, as a child becomes aware in the womb.) And any adult or a child who has been taught to hate, or fear, or get angry, can be retaught and reprogrammed, to love not to hate, not to fear not to get angry etc. A human being can even be taught, when older, how to love, if they never learned this as a young child.

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So Homo Australopithecus is not on your short list? What's the criteria for humanity? I submit there are no hard and fast rules for this discernment.

There are other species that mourn for their dead. A soul or spirit makes humans special?

Again, altruism is acting against our self interests for the sake of others. These empathetic acts are seen and documented in other species as I have shown.

You know what makes humans special? It's the combination of certain traits that are seen in other species but not in this certain combination. I'm speaking about our capacity for speech and language.

- a hyoid bone

- a descended layrnx

- FOX2P gene

- Broca's and Wernickes area of the brain.

That's it. Give those traits to a chimp and he would be able to read, write and converse.

And I wonder what he would say to us?

Australopithecus is not on my shortlist because anthropologists and paleontologists etc have not found any definitive evidence of activities which prove they had the same self awareness as say neandertals. They might have but there is no evidence. They appear closer to some modern primates who can use tools but are not thinking or communicating at a human level.

There is no concrete evidence that any animals other than humans MOURN their dead (Mourn is a again a human linguistic term devised to describe a specific human act.)

Appearance and observation is not evidence without communication and knowledge because we tend to impute our own feelings onto an animal with no certainty that they feel anything like we do. No other animals perform ritual ceremonies, place grave items or appear to have a concept of life after death which the eariest humans demonstrated. I am not sure than any other animals even bury their dead let alone with ceremony.

Does a female chimp feel sad when its baby dies? I don't know, and without a comparative brain scan we cant know. I suspect they might, but its hard to say. Does she understand the nature of death, its difference from life. Its permanance.

Will she sit and think for lonely nights over a long time, about her lost baby, or will her memory quickly fade. Will she shape and create a religious belief to provide hope and comfort ? Will she agonise about the cause of death, any responsibilty she had for the childs health, or might just believe she had, and whether or not to try again?. Does she know and understand that she will face years of grief and alterationn of her emotive state, compared with how she would have felt if her baby had lived?

If she does not know any of these things, is she really feeling anything comparable to the way a human mother feels at the death of her child?

Speech, language and associated thought; because our abilty to think is tied inextricably to our facilty with language, and increasingly abstract language enables and goes with, increasingly abstract thought.

Give the attributes to a chimp and teach him how to think and speak in abstract concepts and indeed you would gain human level consciousness and that would mean the chimp had a soul.

A soul comes form the concrete abilty of a human to know consequence, to recognise harmful consequence and to understand cause and effect. To be able to know tha tone can hurt another physically or emotionallly/psychologically.

This creates an ability to know and chose to do "good" or to do "evil". With this comes conscience and a human form of psychopathology. Hence humans can become disturbed at inner conflicts of good and evil, thought and deed.

I use psychopatholgy here not in the sense of mental illnesses, but in its secondary meaning

Features of people's mental health considered collectively

Any entity, animal or artificial, with similar abilities would inevitably have a similar mind and psychopathology, and thus would possess a soul capable of judgement, of becoming good or evil, and knowing the state of itself and the direction of growth it was heading in.

The chimp might say anything, depending on the environment it grew up in, but its defining questions would be those of humanity. Why do I exist? Where did i come from? What is the purpose of my life? Does god exist? And, where can you get the best banana split in town?.

I will repeat one more time, something like altruism (or love) canot be attributed to, or judged on, an act. It is an intent, a mind set and construct, a symbolic and figurative thought ,which may lead to an act based on that prior thought.

Ask any woman if she can tell if someone really loves her when they buy her flowers. It is the intent and belief and construct in the givers heart and mind which makes it an act of love (or not). This is true with altruism as well.

Edited by Mr Walker

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It has been shown Elephant mourn their dead.

http://elephant.elehost.com/About_Elephants/Senses/Grieving/grieving.html

Just because you don't have the empathy to understand how an animal feels doesn't mean they don't have feelings. I have been about animals all my life, sometimes I prefer them over humans. They are more honest. Mammals all have the same type of brain. Why wouldn't they feel the same emotions we have. The part of our brain that feels emotions and pain is actually very primitive and was there long before the analytical part of our brains.

My dog and my cat really pick up on my emotional and my physical state. They know before I do when I am getting sick. They let me know. One time I was out walking the dog suddenly she starts pulling for home. By the time I got home I could barely walk. She knew I was having a relapse with my MS before I knew it. My cat is even better at it than the dog. She knows I am in danger of falling before I am do. She touches my leg and runs to bedroom. Meaning I need to lie down before I fall down. If they where mindless instinctive robots they wouldn't care enough to let me know what is going on. If they didn't have similar emotional state we have alert dogs couldn't do their job, because they just wouldn't bother. My dog works as a therapy dog. She always knows who needs her the most. If she didn't any empathy she couldn't do it. She had a patient who never responded anybody, (his brain was gone, so everybody thought) but my dog would go up to him and ask to get on his lap. The guy would respond to her and start petting her. His nurses and family were amazed. He was there and she was the only one who knew it.

My Dad raised dogs I have seen what happens when a dog loses her pups, (don't mean one pup, but all of them.) they mourn them. They mope around for a couple of weeks. Part of that is hormones, but there is another part that is just sadness even after the vet help them with a shot. They aren't that different from us when it comes to emotions. We westerners have a long history of superiority in our thought about them, I notice from the postings in the nature forum science is starting to come round to a better understanding of the minds of our animals brothers. You should take a look, Walker.

If they have the potental through evolution to become like us then how aren't we so special. We are just different in our behavior and the way express them.

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We have many special qualities but so do other species. But what makes us the most special is we can turn our senses inward and ‘Know our true selves’ we can experience Enlightenment. This is what is special we can practice meditation. This awareness is the missing piece we search for all our lives we call satisfaction, harmony, fulfillment, etc, etc. The quality of this awareness is for us to be able live in Peace and from that, feel Love and gratitude, what a great treasure we all have. Anyone can experience this birth right, through the art and science of looking within, shame most don’t Know anything about it.

‘Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart who looks inside awakens’. Carl Jung

Edited by sutemi

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We have many special qualities but so do other species. But what makes us the most special is we can turn our senses inward and ‘Know our true selves’ we can experience Enlightenment.

Since you brought up enlightenment, non-human animals are said to have Buddha nature in several schools of Buddhist thought.

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Some humans are very special...

lol

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There is no concrete evidence that any animals other than humans MOURN their dead (Mourn is a again a human linguistic term devised to describe a specific human act.)

That is just not the case. There is documented evidence for non-human grief.

The first one that comes to mind is Flint, one of Jane Goodall's troop that she monitored. After Flint's mother died, he refused to leave the site. He climbed up a tree and stayed there while the rest of the troops left. He died in the same tree three weeks later.

[media=]

[/media]

I submit that anyone who watches this video and denies non-human animal grief is deluding themselves. Perhaps self-delusion is what makes us special?

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What I've always wondered is other than humans being the first of the animals to develop to speech and cognitive thinking, would/will another animal evolve to being humanoid? Maybe that is why I like Avatar so much, because they are humanoid, but obviously evolved from an animal that was not simian in nature.

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It has been shown Elephant mourn their dead.

http://elephant.eleh...g/grieving.html

Just because you don't have the empathy to understand how an animal feels doesn't mean they don't have feelings. I have been about animals all my life, sometimes I prefer them over humans. They are more honest. Mammals all have the same type of brain. Why wouldn't they feel the same emotions we have. The part of our brain that feels emotions and pain is actually very primitive and was there long before the analytical part of our brains.

My dog and my cat really pick up on my emotional and my physical state. They know before I do when I am getting sick. They let me know. One time I was out walking the dog suddenly she starts pulling for home. By the time I got home I could barely walk. She knew I was having a relapse with my MS before I knew it. My cat is even better at it than the dog. She knows I am in danger of falling before I am do. She touches my leg and runs to bedroom. Meaning I need to lie down before I fall down. If they where mindless instinctive robots they wouldn't care enough to let me know what is going on. If they didn't have similar emotional state we have alert dogs couldn't do their job, because they just wouldn't bother. My dog works as a therapy dog. She always knows who needs her the most. If she didn't any empathy she couldn't do it. She had a patient who never responded anybody, (his brain was gone, so everybody thought) but my dog would go up to him and ask to get on his lap. The guy would respond to her and start petting her. His nurses and family were amazed. He was there and she was the only one who knew it.

My Dad raised dogs I have seen what happens when a dog loses her pups, (don't mean one pup, but all of them.) they mourn them. They mope around for a couple of weeks. Part of that is hormones, but there is another part that is just sadness even after the vet help them with a shot. They aren't that different from us when it comes to emotions. We westerners have a long history of superiority in our thought about them, I notice from the postings in the nature forum science is starting to come round to a better understanding of the minds of our animals brothers. You should take a look, Walker.

If they have the potental through evolution to become like us then how aren't we so special. We are just different in our behavior and the way express them.

The example you give of elephants is classic attribution. A human observes the feamale elephant's behaviour and atribute it to grief. That is not evidence only anthropomorphic reasoning. We dont know WHAT the mother is feeling or thinking but because we would feel grief and have some similar physical postures and characteristics, we attribute grief to the mother elephant. The postures and behaviours amy be widespread in the animal kingdom and humans are evolved animals as well. That does not prove, or really even indicate, that other animals are grieving or mourning . I also love animlas and have lived withe all my life but i do not make the mistake of attributing human thought reasoning or capacities to them I will grieve for them but they are unable ot grieve for me.

My wife and i spend thousands of dollars on animal welfare every year, belong to groups like the rspca and ifaw, and have been companions to dozens of animals of all kinds including 13 pet sheep we rescued after they were abandoned. We presently live with a cat we took in from the wild 22 years ago. She is the oldest cat on our vets data base. We have a labrador, finn, (proper name phineas finbar the magnificent) in our family which we also rescued from abandonment 8 years ago

If youve ever seen the film "marley and me" you have finn in a nutshell. We love him but he doesnt love us. He sees us as his pack leaders, providers protectors and bosses. He enjoys our company walking, swimmming, and eating anything he can get his paws on, but he is not a human being.

Those two animals cost us close to 10000 dollars a year to care for properly. We gain from their company and the knowledge that we love them. But we know they can't love us as we love them, even if they eat with us sleep with us and accomapany us as part of our family. Animals act from anmal instincts even therapy dogs, blind and hearing dogs, and cadaver dogs. They can be taught much and their behaviour adapts to exposure to humans but they are not human beings and dont think, reason, or feel like humans do.

Dogs can detect illness on a person's breath or perspiration and are even known to be able to detect cancers before they can be picked up on scans etc. But that's a natural attribute of their keen scent.(something like 400 times as sensitive as a humans, from memory) And humans DO respond to animals with love empathy and other human emotions, thus explaining your own reactions and those of the therapy patients.

My wife certainly prefers animals as beings to humans but that is, imo, because animals are simple and predictable. They respond to discipline love and good treatment by becoming a member of your pack and treating you how they would a member of their pack. Humans are complex and difficult to relate with succesfully because of their individualised behaviours based on their individualised learned experiences and beliefs etc.

Edited by Mr Walker

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That is just not the case. There is documented evidence for non-human grief.

The first one that comes to mind is Flint, one of Jane Goodall's troop that she monitored. After Flint's mother died, he refused to leave the site. He climbed up a tree and stayed there while the rest of the troops left. He died in the same tree three weeks later.

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I submit that anyone who watches this video and denies non-human animal grief is deluding themselves. Perhaps self-delusion is what makes us special?

See my post above. Observed behaviour is not evidence of any internalised thought process. Many animals stay witheir young after death perhaps they dont understand death an its pernmanace and are hoping the young will come back to life again It is not behaviour which defines internal atributes like love or grief or empathy but the understanding and intent which drives those behaviours love grief empathy etc are not ACTS they are states of mind which cause the acts.

We see grief inan animlas behaviour because we understand intellectually what grief is and we have a complex mix of physical and emotional/psychologicla responses to death that we know WE feel and intellectualise.

There is no physical evidence that i know of, that any other animal can feel and think in this way. They do not have the abilty to form the symbolic and conceptual understandings to allow them to, making it almost impossible for them.. My studies of both human linguistics/cognitive development and also of human sociology and psychology, specifically warned us not to anthropomorhise our own understandings onto animals.

Tthere has to be clear clinical evidence to attribute human abilities to other animals. In recent years there has been a lot of debate and division. Some has sadly been driven by the american divide betwen creationists and evoutions, and the understandable worry tha tcreationist believ humans have a natural dominion over nature, but that is really irrelevant. I am an evolutionist. I believe in science. It i s science in many disciplines which tells me other animals do not have the physcal abilities to think and feel (because human feelings are not just physical but intellectual responses) as humans do

Edited by Mr Walker

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