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Rlyeh

Are humans special?

241 posts in this topic

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

I Love and have a great respect for all animals that’s why I am and have been a vegetarian for over 40yrs. They are what they are, a dog is a dog; you don’t see donkeys going to a shrink to sort out their troubled mind, But can they know themselves through meditation? You may argue that we don’t know and looking at say Dolphins they certainly seem to enjoy life they are such lovely creatures. They have the ’ life force’ in them, yes, but can they take their senses and turn them inside and in so doing merge into the Inner Light and knowingly become One? That’s all I am saying.

I think in fact animals are in many, many ways better than the troubled humans that we are today. But a human, is not a true human until they know their true nature and when they do they have true respect for all species and the planet on which we live. As to any religious text written after the ’particular teacher’ has long gone by a committee of supposed saintly/holy people, I’m not convinced, especially after this group finished up causing separation of Buddhism into different schools. The fact that the Buddha did not say,’ just be like a dog / dolphin / monkey / pig / bear/etc and don’t worry about the 8 fold path, the 4 noble truths or meditation’ seems to suggest that he thought that the path/way was very important?

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I never trained my dog to alert, never trained my cat to alert, so why do they do it? There is no real benefit to them to let me know I am not well. Especially with the cat, once I'm safely down she often runs off to do her own thing. They are not robots, there is more going on there than just instinct. There is science behind this but Walker you are doing your usual rejection of it, because it doesn't comform to your world view. Just because a being can't comunicate at your level doesn't mean the can't feel emotions or pain.

As I said in one post, if an animal can evolve to our level, then that would mean we are as they are just a product of evolution and we are nothing all that special beyond that.

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I meant from a religious view.

Most religions consider humans a great achievement or even having all creation being specifically meant for humans. Therefore, from a religion's point of view, generally 'yes'.

If we are talking about the god of Abraham and we're talking about everything that god created in its mythos, I'm not sure where angels fall in the hierarchy.

Edited by ranrod

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Darwin wrote about The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

in 1872

More recent science has confirmed and expanded this field of Ethology.

Darwin knew nothing of neuro science nor cognitive mental developent or the relationship between langauge and thought. He observed animal behaviour and made very perceptive comments based on his own understandings of the time. This cannot tell us anything about their level of sapient self awareness, as found in humans, except that animals display non e of the outward abilities conferred on himans such as religious or creative behaviours funereal rituals etc (except things like painting mimiced from humans. The closest some individuals within a species get is very limited tool shaping (something we know auastralopithecenes were capable of for example)

Ethology tends confirms my perspective on this. It appears to say nothing about animal's cognitive awareness vis a vis humans but indeed looks at animal behaviours and the various causations of those behaviours. eg fixed action patterns, imprinting, habituation, learning by association etc.

These are evolved natural abilities, not the results of human level cognitive ability. Humans evolved to this point some hundreds of thousands of years ago or possibly even more.

It has taken us that long to reach our present level of sapient self awareness and if nature is allowed to take its course it will take other species the same amount of time to "catch up" with us it always suprises me that some evolutionists cant see this. They tend to see humans as "just another' animal species with oiur behaviours determined by our animal instincts and imprinting and imperatives.

We ARE an evolved animal species but highy differntiated and in a way "determined" by our evolved level of thought processing and linguistic abilities which enable both tool making and also abstract conceptual ideas and thought.

Human behaviour is now disassociated from those evolved behaviours and can be determined by our self aware intelligence We can choose any form of behaviour we like. This is NOT true for any other animal species on earth. They are trapped in their biological imperatives, instinctive behaviours, imprinting etc., by their lack of understanding that they can be any different.

In turn this makes us the only species on the planet personally responsible for how we behave as a species and as individuals, AND aware of this responsibilty.

Edited by Mr Walker
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I mean human's intrinsic value in creation, not what they can accomplish.

Was the universe, earth, animals, etc, created for humans to rule over?

We actually do not rule over anything, we think we do because we have weapons which can kill from a distant, but when faced with the true forces of nature, we are nothing and when faced with an wild animal like a hungry lion without guns to defend ourselves, we are again....nothing.

We do not rule in the water, without a boat, we are again...nothing in the open seas.

Admitting to being able to kill because we have capability to make items which kill to rule, is nothing to be proud of either.

Edited by freetoroam

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Hell yeah we're special... I like easy questions. :D

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I never trained my dog to alert, never trained my cat to alert, so why do they do it? There is no real benefit to them to let me know I am not well. Especially with the cat, once I'm safely down she often runs off to do her own thing. They are not robots, there is more going on there than just instinct. There is science behind this but Walker you are doing your usual rejection of it, because it doesn't comform to your world view. Just because a being can't comunicate at your level doesn't mean the can't feel emotions or pain.

As I said in one post, if an animal can evolve to our level, then that would mean we are as they are just a product of evolution and we are nothing all that special beyond that.

My rejection is based on science not wishful thinking and certainly not any "religious" view. Of course we are a product of evolution, but humans are specia,l in the sense of unique, because we are self aware, and can choose our behaviours and know their consequences We thus suffer from fear and guilt but also pride and love, joy, and a knowledge that we do all we can, to be all we can. No other animal can have that sense, nor suffer the pains of guilt for a hurtful deed, or because they neglected another. Not only can animlas evove to our level they will but by then we will be another 100000 years evolved and probably not even living as we know it now

Personally i would like us to help other earth species evove to our level more quickly so we can share with them the wonder and joy of being self aware. Mind you, given the wolrd views of some humans, such an animal might blame us for introducing fear hate envy and trauma into their self awareness and take us to court for interfering in their development, but thats a risk i would be prepared to accept.because i love what it means to be self aware and sapient.

i would love to be able to discuss the meaning of life and the nature of love with my dog, for example.

And yes animals feel physiological pain just as human animals In mamamals especially, our physiology is very similar do but they do not suffer as humans do. Suffer is a psychological term. applied to humans reaction to pain or trauma.

We suffer because we forsee pain, we fear pain etc. On the other hand a human can reduce their perception and feeling of pain greatly (scientifically demonstrated to at least 50% and in some individuals to almost nothing) That is because of the level ofour self awareness.

It can heighten our physiological pain through fear anticipation and stress, and it can lessen it through meditation, calmness, faith , will power or belief.

Animals dont have that abilty. They feel the pain they have, but do not suffer the self aware knowledge of pain, think about how long they may be in pain for, or fear the consequences on their health mobility etc og pain neither do they fear old age future events their own death etc. They dont know, or worry whether the pain is caused by a cancer or a broken leg.

Hence we can put an animal down if we chose not to prevent its pain, and indeed, by law must do so. But because a human is self aware it is illegal to do the same for a human being, except in some jurisdictions, in the last stages of a terminal illness where pain relief may be administered, even knowing it will kill the patient Thus while euthanasia of an animal in permanent pain is mandated in most western countries, a human being cannot even chose to die legally, and anyone who helps them die is a criminal

Edited by Mr Walker

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In theory yes, we are special in the aspects of evolution. In reality, No we are not special

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This cannot tell us anything about their level of sapient self awareness, as found in humans,

.. as found in humans. This sounds like circular reasoning or a priori knowledge.

except that animals display none of the outward abilities conferred on himans

again, begging the question.

such as religious or creative behaviours funereal rituals etc

there's evidence for neanderthal burial rites, flower pollen, etc.

It has taken us that long to reach our present level of sapient self awareness and if nature is allowed to take its course it will take other species the same amount of time to "catch up" with us

mm, so we are not special?

We ARE an evolved animal species but highy differntiated and in a way "determined" by our evolved level of thought processing and linguistic abilities which enable both tool making and also abstract conceptual ideas and thought.

determined? If you don't believe in free will, then my arguments will fall apart, badly.

Human behaviour is now disassociated from those evolved behaviours and can be determined by our self aware intelligence We can choose any form of behaviour we like. This is NOT true for any other animal species on earth.

ok, so free will's back in, good. What about Dawkin's Selfish Genetheory/book?

They are trapped in their biological imperatives, instinctive behaviours, imprinting etc., by their lack of understanding that they can be any different.

as far as you know, or assume? There could be another undiscovered archaic hominid, logically. (This is the UM forum)

In turn this makes us the only species on the planet personally responsible for how we behave as a species and as individuals, AND aware of this responsibilty.

there's evidence for individual altruism in other species. Responsibility? As a species? That's now a moral argument. Another thread maybe.

cheers

Edited by redhen
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Why do we burn fossil fuels, cut down trees? To build houses to keep us warm when its cold outside. This adaptability, mastery of and indepence from our immeditae environment is the reason we have nto gone extinct during ice ages, or why we have been able to migrate to different climates around teh globe, it is the reason you are here right now. Why do we cover it up? Because we have conflict resolution that allows us to work together instead of killing each other.

I'll just leave this here.....

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.. as found in humans. This sounds like circular reasoning or a priori knowledge.

again, begging the question.

there's evidence for neanderthal burial rites, flower pollen, etc.

mm, so we are not special?

determined? If you don't believe in free will, then my arguments will fall apart, badly.

ok, so free will's back in, good. What about Dawkin's Selfish Genetheory/book?

as far as you know, or assume? There could be another undiscovered archaic hominid, logically. (This is the UM forum)

there's evidence for individual altruism in other species. Responsibility? As a species? That's now a moral argument. Another thread maybe.

cheers

I dont care what sort of reasoning it is. Humans have a known level of sapience self awareness etc ergo the benchmark is "as found in humans" if we are discussing whehter humans are special or the same as other animals.

Not begging the question. behaviour does not explain causation for that behaviour and so unless/ until it clearly exhibits human level self awareness such as poetry or burial customs religious ceremonies etc it cannot be atributed to human level self awareness.

I already explained that all forms of early hominid which exhibit human quailities are now classified as humans. That includes neandertals and homo erectus and cromagnon etc. Homo sapiens is NOT the only form of human. From memory, neandertal is the earliest hominid to dispaly /leave evidences of a "spiritual" sense, eg burying the dead with ceremony, which qualifies as human level self awareness They still ate their dead but so did many quite modern humans.

Human beings are unique, which in itself qualifies them as special.

Humans have free will. Other animals do not because they so not have the cognitive ability to recognise or utilise free will. Their behaviours are determined by other forces. While biological imperatives, genetic predisposition etc., may influence human behaviour, every human with a mature brain has the ability to overide those factors by choice will and discipline.

And so we have laws in every society which recognise this fact and punish people who CHOOSE to go against those laws. One can no longer argue, "I killed her because she made me angry by not cooking my tea," or "I caught her in bed with another man and couldnt help my self".

We are expected, as adult human beings, to be able to consciously overide any instinctive, imperative, or programmed behaviour we evolved with.

All animals other than humans tha t we are scientifically aware of are trapped within their genetic and biological evolved imperatives. Humans are NOT. Again, our laws and moralities, ethics ,philosophies, theologies, and logic all recognise this point.

No there is no evidence at ALL for altruism in other species. Altruism requires a conscious choice to be altruistic. It requires understanding the cause of ones behaviourand acting on tha tunderstanding. Altruism Is NOT an act and no matter how much an acto by an animal LOOKS like a simialr altruistic act by a human being it is not and cannot be Altruism is a motivation and a veryconscious motivation One cant act altruistically if one is programmed to, or does so from genetic or biological imperatives.It isnt love if one has no choice about it due to biology, chemicals, or genetics either. Altruism must be chosen and its nature and implications understoodm for an act to BE altruistic.

Other animlas dont form that sort of mental concept or understanding because they are not capapble of doing so. Their "acts of altruism" are not choices to them because they do not have human level free will or the capacity to choose freely. And responsibilty is not a spearte thing it is integrated into this point as is altruism. Our self awareness allows us to chose altruism and confers on us the abilty to do good or evil by choice We KNOW wha the consequences of any act will likely be. That abilty automatically also makes us responsible for our choices and their consequences. EVERY one of them. Individual and racial.

Humans cannot escape their responsibilty for every act they take. Kids/teenagers often do something stupid and then, when something breaks or someone is hurt, say," Oh it wasnt my fault. It was an accident." but even kids can predict potential consequences and so they are responsible if they act carelessly or without thought and something goes wrong. It was a conscious and informed choice and they knew there was a risk, but chose the act for their own reasons/ priorities. Sadly many adult humans also think and act like this,but less often, because they have more developed brains and greate experiential/comparative knowledge.

Edited by Mr Walker

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I dont care what sort of reasoning it is.

You should. This is not the philosophy forum, but we should strive to make our arguments cogent and sound.

Humans have a known level of sapience self awareness etc ergo the benchmark is "as found in humans" if we are discussing whehter humans are special or the same as other animals.

And who sets this benchmark? Humans. This sounds like prejudice, in the broadest sense of the word.

Not begging the question. behaviour does not explain causation for that behaviour

Psychologists and ethologists both infer emotions from observed behaviour, in both human and non-human animals.This is trivial.

and so unless/ until it clearly exhibits human level self awareness such as poetry or burial customs religious ceremonies etc it cannot be atributed to human level self awareness.

Self awareness does not necessarily require poetry or religious rituals. If you believe it does, can you provide any scholarly articles to support this claim?

Human beings are unique, which in itself qualifies them as special.

That sounds like a tautology.

Humans have free will. Other animals do not because they so not have the cognitive ability to recognise or utilise free will. Their behaviours are determined by other forces.

Why do you dismiss the evidence that others and myself have shown for non-human altruism? It sounds like you've made up your mind that only humans show altruism and that when we observe the same behaviour in non-humans you turn into an absolute skeptic, i.e. "we can never know what an animal is thinking" .

And so we have laws in every society which recognise this fact

And who makes the laws? Humans.

We are expected, as adult human beings, to be able to consciously overide any instinctive, imperative, or programmed behaviour we evolved with.

That would be nice if true. Maybe we could then do something about the exponential human overpopulation crisis.

No there is no evidence at ALL for altruism in other species.

Yes there is is, and not just from Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal.

Altruism requires a conscious choice to be altruistic.

That's your definition. And that's why we've been running around in circles on this thread.

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We are different to other species because are brain is more complex and differs from every other species

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We are special but animals are cool too. Normally we cant communicate with animals so whos to say they have less intellegence than we do, we are different from them thats for sure but they are special too. Each is unique not only to thier own kind but to themselves as well, their coloration, thier swiftness, their boldness or underdogness, thier little hops and walks and flights and scampers... awww. So yes we all are very special. We can pretend we know about animals, but we only know them externally and from our own viewpoints and in this regards humans are more special for us because we have the opportunity to get to know each other on a much deeper level than that. We are all so unique on the inside and on the out. Anyone who doesn't think humans are special doesn't think they are special and thats sad... I bet those people are hard to be around because they probably have a negative attitude and a lack of respect for others. If we see our own beauty we will see other's beauty as well and that makes for plenty of special moments.. :)

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You can talk to as many whales as you like. The problem is they cant talk to you. Studying whales can tell you a lot about the earth, but talking to them, no. They do not know very much at all, and probably none of their thoughts or knowledge is structured in a linguistic way that allows for the formulation or communication of ideas. Their songs are like the hunting calls of wolves for example, or the songs of birds, a useful evolved mechanism, but not human- like communication at all.

How do you know whales can't talk to us? Just because you don't understand what they're saying, doesn't mean they aren't communicating with us. I can't communicate with a Russian/Japanese/Turkish speaker. Does that put them on the same level as whales? By your logic, since I can't undertsand them, they must not know very much at all.

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.

If it was purely biological, other animals wouldn't have one partner for life - they would have several in an attempt to spread their genes to the next generation. A male cat could go from female to female to female just trying to spread his genes to as many females as possible.

As to animals mourning the deaths of other animals, I share my story of our cats Tonks and Rye. Tonks adored Rye. Followed him everywhere. If he was in a different room and you said "Where's Rye?" she would go find him. When Rye died last January, Tonks mourned for him for months. She was constantly looking for him, calling for him, and acting very depressed. She was never the same cat after he died. (We had other cats that she liked, so it wasn't that she was suddenly all alone). Four months later, Tonks went downhill. We discovered she had cancer. Brought her home as we tried different meds. One night, she was really bad. Just laying around not moving. We knew it was time. We talked to her, asked her what she wanted. No response. No meowing, no movement, just laboured breathing. Then my husband said "I think we should let her go see Rye" As soon as he said Rye's name, Tonks lifted her head up and meowed. Not a pained meow - the meow she used to say to him when he'd come back from the vet or from a different room. The "Hey Buddy!" meow. That was the only sound she made that night. We took her to the vet soon after. Was it coincidence? Maybe. Or was it a simple cat, remembering her friend who had passed 4 months earlier and trying to communicate that she wanted to see him? I like to think that. I can't prove it, cause I don't speak cat. But just because I don't undertand, doesn't mean I should stop listening and assume animals aren't talking to us.

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Is the human animal, God's greatest creation?

Yes, because we're the only living thing created in his image.

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Shadowlark :cry: that is touching.

My dog still looks for her buddy cat, Lugh, who was murdered last month. I am going to adopt a cat for her next month. I thought I would take her to the adoption center and let her pick one out.

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How do you know whales can't talk to us? Just because you don't understand what they're saying, doesn't mean they aren't communicating with us. I can't communicate with a Russian/Japanese/Turkish speaker. Does that put them on the same level as whales? By your logic, since I can't undertsand them, they must not know very much at all.

If it was purely biological, other animals wouldn't have one partner for life - they would have several in an attempt to spread their genes to the next generation. A male cat could go from female to female to female just trying to spread his genes to as many females as possible.

《My reply 》

Male cats do actually go from female to female.. the females stay in a certain section and make their camp, the male comes around and gets her pregnant and has other female cats waiting for them down the way. The male cat is territorial and tries to keep the area to himself, fighting off the other male cats so that each area had its own dominator... at least thats what its like in my neighborhood. The male stops coming around after the female cat gets fixed. The female seems to respect him and lets him eat first and the babies look forward to him coming around, they want to wrestle and learn from him. The daddy cat in my neighborhoods name was Panthro and he had plenty of kids and baby's mamas... you could tell they were all related too. I dont see him around much anymore... life on the street is tough for a player...

《End reply》

As to animals mourning the deaths of other animals, I share my story of our cats Tonks and Rye. Tonks adored Rye. Followed him everywhere. If he was in a different room and you said "Where's Rye?" she would go find him. When Rye died last January, Tonks mourned for him for months. She was constantly looking for him, calling for him, and acting very depressed. She was never the same cat after he died. (We had other cats that she liked, so it wasn't that she was suddenly all alone). Four months later, Tonks went downhill. We discovered she had cancer. Brought her home as we tried different meds. One night, she was really bad. Just laying around not moving. We knew it was time. We talked to her, asked her what she wanted. No response. No meowing, no movement, just laboured breathing. Then my husband said "I think we should let her go see Rye" As soon as he said Rye's name, Tonks lifted her head up and meowed. Not a pained meow - the meow she used to say to him when he'd come back from the vet or from a different room. The "Hey Buddy!" meow. That was the only sound she made that night. We took her to the vet soon after. Was it coincidence? Maybe. Or was it a simple cat, remembering her friend who had passed 4 months earlier and trying to communicate that she wanted to see him? I like to think that. I can't prove it, cause I don't speak cat. But just because I don't undertand, doesn't mean I should stop listening and assume animals aren't talking to us.

You made me cry... what a beautiful story. :)

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Yes, because we're the only living thing created in his image.

I think more than just us are in his image. I believe the earth is a reflection of heaven and all things in it. If we value all things on heaven and earth we will have a deeper appreciation for god and a better understanding about creation and how all things work together... but yes humans are truly blessed...

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On the subtopic of animals mourning their dead, there was an unsentimental (but still touching) piece last month in this blog,

http://uncertaintist...mbers-her-dead/

The article also touches on the problems of making inferences about another species' mental states, for example, whether Neanderthals (as close to us as anyone can be without being us) really buried their dead. But the empahsis is on a dog,

img_0789-crop-adj-6x8.jpg

This is Clea, an older dog, an alpha Akita. She’s asleep on her dining room rug. On the floor beside her head lies a small plush toy, brushing her cheek. It is a whimsical dragon which belonged to Alexei, her brother, litter-mate, lieutenant and inseparable companion in life, who died about a year and a half ago.

It may seem obvious what is going in the picture, but it is not. Clea cannot share her mind with me. I must be careful not to presume too much about what she is thinking, careful not to make connections between the living Clea and the dead Alexei that may not be in her mind, but only in mine.

That would be projection and unwarranted anthropomorphization. Those are bad. Then, again, so is denial. In any case, there is nobody whom Clea can tell what she feels. In this post, I argue that we should listen anyway.

Edited by eight bits

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Male cats do actually go from female to female.. the females stay in a certain section and make their camp, the male comes around and gets her pregnant and has other female cats waiting for them down the way. The male cat is territorial and tries to keep the area to himself, fighting off the other male cats so that each area had its own dominator... at least thats what its like in my neighborhood. The male stops coming around after the female cat gets fixed. The female seems to respect him and lets him eat first and the babies look forward to him coming around, they want to wrestle and learn from him. The daddy cat in my neighborhoods name was Panthro and he had plenty of kids and baby's mamas... you could tell they were all related too. I dont see him around much anymore... life on the street is tough for a player...

You made me cry... what a beautiful story. :)

Yes, exactly. And not only will males breed with as many females as possible, but female cats can get pregnant by more than one male at a time. It's like they'll mate with any male possible in order to pass on their genes. So I really don't think animals who stick with one partner do it for purely biological reasons.

Sorry I made you cry :)

This is Clea, an older dog, an alpha Akita. She’s asleep on her dining room rug. On the floor beside her head lies a small plush toy, brushing her cheek. It is a whimsical dragon which belonged to Alexei, her brother, litter-mate, lieutenant and inseparable companion in life, who died about a year and a half ago.

It may seem obvious what is going in the picture, but it is not. Clea cannot share her mind with me. I must be careful not to presume too much about what she is thinking, careful not to make connections between the living Clea and the dead Alexei that may not be in her mind, but only in mine.

That would be projection and unwarranted anthropomorphization. Those are bad. Then, again, so is denial. In any case, there is nobody whom Clea can tell what she feels. In this post, I argue that we should listen anyway.

If that's not mourning, I don't know what is. Reminds me of the Greyfriar Bobbys of the world - how else can you explain dogs standing watch over their beloved master's graves?

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You should. This is not the philosophy forum, but we should strive to make our arguments cogent and sound.

And who sets this benchmark? Humans. This sounds like prejudice, in the broadest sense of the word.

Psychologists and ethologists both infer emotions from observed behaviour, in both human and non-human animals.This is trivial.

Self awareness does not necessarily require poetry or religious rituals. If you believe it does, can you provide any scholarly articles to support this claim?

That sounds like a tautology.

Why do you dismiss the evidence that others and myself have shown for non-human altruism? It sounds like you've made up your mind that only humans show altruism and that when we observe the same behaviour in non-humans you turn into an absolute skeptic, i.e. "we can never know what an animal is thinking" .

And who makes the laws? Humans.

That would be nice if true. Maybe we could then do something about the exponential human overpopulation crisis.

Yes there is is, and not just from Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal.

That's your definition. And that's why we've been running around in circles on this thread.

I should have said i dont care what sort of reasoning you think it is. The reasoning is sound and logical and was not circular but i couldnt be bothered arguing that with you.

Human level self awareness is the benchmark by which to compare other forms of awareness WITH human level awareness. We are discussing if we are special and if our rweasoing and awareness is differnt to all other animlas that makes us ipso facto special (unique in fact)

It is not trivial it is the basis for this debate. One cannot infer human motivations just because other animals have human type behaviours We are the same as other animas in our evolutionary history thus we wil share many behavioural traits and thie biologicl motivators/drivers with other animals but IN ADDITION we are self aware and our behaviours can be chosen on the basis of that self awareness. It worries me that many huamns argue we are simply animals and our behaviour is predetermined, therefore we are not repsonsible for our anger hate prejudices etc.; when we CAN alter and change these emotional states by will. ALL human emotions are part intellectual and learned. They are amenable to alteration. No one is forced to be angry hating vengeful spiteful or afraid.

Infer yes based o huamn awarenes and understanding tha tis a faulty tool.

One cant argue with scientific facts. I am not prejudiced I have spent fifty years interested in human cognitive development psychology sociology linguistics and neurology I am also concerned for animlas but I am not going to make the mistake of attributing human awarenes or thought to them. I am responsible for their welfare not they for mine.

Laws can only be applied to humans because only humans have the self awareness required to make them and to decide appropriate sanctions for behaviour We dont charge a non human animal with murder, because it doesnt have the concept for murder and has no choice in its actions.

There is no EVIDENCE for human level altruism in animals. Observation of behaviour and human imputation is not accepetable scientific evidence for anything. Concrete physicla evidence resulting form such an awareness and or brain scans showing identicla brain activity during the commision of an act would constitute evidence As far as I am aware no such evidence exists. I would suggest it cannot, because of other animals inability to form conceptual symbolic and linguistic thought structures required to be altruistic

I woulsd suggest my definition for altruism is both traditionaland accurate. But given the propensity for language to be hijacked by special interest groups, I am not going to insist on it. If you think someone doing something "nice" constitutes altruism, without knowing their motivation for that act, then so be it.

I could give away al my assets to the poor ,but if i was doing so in the hope of getting to some form of heaven, then that would not be an act of altruism.

Many might see it as such, if they did not know my inner motivation. Their observation would be accurate, but their inferences flawed

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Yes, exactly. And not only will males breed with as many females as possible, but female cats can get pregnant by more than one male at a time. It's like they'll mate with any male possible in order to pass on their genes. So I really don't think animals who stick with one partner do it for purely biological reasons.

Sorry I made you cry :)

If that's not mourning, I don't know what is. Reminds me of the Greyfriar Bobbys of the world - how else can you explain dogs standing watch over their beloved master's graves?

Many bird species not only have a lifetime partner but return to the precise nest every year Do you also think that represents a form of sentimentality and chosen behaviour, or do you accpet it is inbuilt into their biology. As to the dogs behaviour. Dogs can scent cadavers deep under ground, and many are trained to do this.They also recognise individual scents from tiny traces and are alsos used for that purpose There is a simple explanation for why a dog might sit by its masters grave. It can still smelll traces of him.
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