Author Topic: Do animals "think"  (Read 14237 times)

Online PickelledEggs

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2014, 12:33:24 AM »
Not to mention sniffing pretty ladies crotches at inappropriate times. 
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Offline Plu

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2014, 03:34:00 AM »
There have been interesting tests performed with a number of types of animals that suggest they are capable of abstract thinking (which I'm guessing is what you mean with "thinking") which includes various species of monkeys, dolphins, birds like crows and parrots, and probably a bunch more.

But if you're going to write an actual report on this, it's probably good idea to start by thinking a bit about what people consider "human thinking" and what they consider "animal thinking", because the difference isn't all that obvious.

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2014, 07:48:44 AM »
Animals can think.   I've seen them do it.

I've seen my rat figure out how to get to a treat that she's not allowed and when she finally worked it out she was grinding her teeth and looking very pleased with herself.  You could practically see the cogs whirring around in her brain.
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2014, 07:50:04 AM »
Not to mention sniffing pretty ladies crotches at inappropriate times. 

I swear my dog dials up the cuteness when there's a hot woman around.
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Offline Mermaid

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 07:54:07 AM »
I'd say we as a species are very specialized, but not for brute force hunting. Our brains are capable of a lot of different types of thought, our hands are highly specialized with opposing thumbs and on and on, but in the wild, naked and completely unarmed competing for food we kinda suck.
By "specialized", I mean adapted to fit a particular biological niche. Take a dolphin as an example of a very specialized species. You can't take a dolphin out of the water and expect it to live very long. Humans can live in a really wide range of environments and adapt to a very wide range of conditions. Exceptionally so for members of the animal kingdom.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.

John F. Kennedy

Offline josephpalazzo

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2014, 08:11:09 AM »
Animals can definitely think. Once I had a cat, and she learned on her own to open every door in my house. She would stretch on her hindlegs, turn the knob and would know if she had to pull or push on the door once the knob had unleashed the door. She also learned how to open my patio doors. Some had to be pushed towards the right, others to the left. She knew exactly which ones were which. I'm pretty sure if I had had the time she would have learned 1+1=2, but unfortunately, she came back one day with half her face disfigured, and I had to bring her to the vet, and we had to put her down. But I believe up to this day that she was the "Einstein" of her species.

True story.

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2014, 09:14:32 AM »
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Offline josephpalazzo

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2014, 11:13:50 AM »
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 11:15:23 AM by josephpalazzo »

Offline Plu

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2014, 11:17:09 AM »
You could make a cool story about a cool starry bra, bro.

Offline josephpalazzo

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2014, 11:33:59 AM »

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2014, 11:47:25 AM »
Should I buy that for my wife?!?? :biggrin:

Unless you want to buy it for yourself...   
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Offline josephpalazzo

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2014, 05:52:23 PM »
Unless you want to buy it for yourself...   

And get my wife jealous, are you nuts?!? :axe:

Offline curiouscrab

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2014, 06:33:43 PM »
Depends. I know mice only think about food, because they run into my mouse traps all the time and can't seem to plan accordingly.
Romans - 1
Jesus - 0
:vegetasmiley:
Just :hand: and :think: for a moment about your life. :doh: when you realize you believed in something and found out it wasn't true :liar: :wall: (aka :new_xmas:). Now repeat while thinking about what you may currently believe in. :fU:

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2014, 06:47:56 PM »
Finally some intelligent replies.
You asked a question and potentially preemptively excluded a possible answer with no justification, regardless of how well someone might try to put it forward or explain it.
I wouldn't even propose free will as an answer but if the question is as lazy as that then expecting intellgient, well thought-through answers seems a bit rich. It is at best lazy and at worst purely intellectually dishonest, and somewhere in the middle is presumptuous to ask a question and state that certain answers don't count regardless of what anyone says.

Maybe that's something to consider when becoming indignant at the lack of intelligent replies that take other people's time and effort to formulate.


As to your question, define "think"? The answer can vary between yes or no depending on what is counted as thinking, for example, if solving simple problems counts as thinking, then yes, many animals do think, as some of them are clearly capable of figuring out how to open doors, or move things to access food.
If perhaps you mean they are capable of processing information and adapting their behaviour accordingly, then yes, they can, how else could you train a dog if they were incapable of recognising positive and negative reinforcement?

In my opinion, to give a yes/no answer, which is completely objective, a completely objective definition of "thinking" is required.




Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2014, 06:48:36 PM »
We also interpret their talents and 'intelligence' according to ours; according what is 'fascinating' for us that an animal can do, so we probably miss a lot about their real 'intelligence' too. Making these experiments with crows -or other animals- and watching them solving all those steps by themselves charm humans with their familiarity to human intelligence and basically humans think they are 'intelligent' only because they do something more than the other animal; present a pattern of behaviour more 'resembling' to humans. This is a primitive way of evaluating their obvious consciousness and 'intelligence'. Frankly, it is barren, because the whole idea is strictly human centered.

This is one of those examples where expressing a personal opinion has nothing to do with the scientific facts, and it is an expression of cynicism more than anything else.
Just because humans are pretty much the only species on this planet to objectively conduct, study and interpret tests on intelligence does not make those tests somehow fallacious because they center around the subjective perception of what intelligence is.
When an animal of any kind is able to interact with its environment and manipulate it in such a way as to benefit itself and its own survival, there is no subjectiveness involved in making observations about said behavior. That behavior is objectively considered to be intelligent because by definition goes above and beyond what other organisms are capable of doing. We don't label a crow to be an intelligent animal merely because we see some of our own behavior and cognitive ability reflected in them.
When a crow teaches itself how to fish with bread, that's a sign of intelligence no matter how you toss it.
At it's core, the definition of intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Intelligence benefits some species over others.

I usually try to avoid quoting Wikipedia as to not create the perception of superficiality, but Wiki usually nails it at presenting a pretty coherent and comprehensive and easy to encompass concept:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-awareness
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 06:53:20 PM by Shol'va »