Author Topic: Do animals "think"  (Read 41778 times)

Offline Plu

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2014, 07:31:53 AM »
Yeah I see now. Awesome stuff :)

Offline aitm

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #46 on: March 27, 2014, 08:17:30 AM »
Great stuff.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Offline Sal1981

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #47 on: March 27, 2014, 09:26:07 AM »
I would think so, not that would even begin to know how to demonstrate that, so I have to take that on account on how dogs behave.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" --- Richard P. Feynman

Offline aitm

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2014, 11:01:08 AM »
Quote
Do animals think?
   Yes


Quote
Like humans think?
No
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2014, 11:24:44 AM »
   
Do animals think?
Yes

Like humans think?
 No

I disagree. The other day a stray dog came to shit on my property. Then looked at me with a fuck you grin.

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #50 on: March 27, 2014, 11:54:09 AM »
drunkenshoe, the reason I found your response to be cynical is because you were painting a bleak picture of the way the scientific community is currently conducting research in this related field. Something that is illustrated by these statements you made:
-We also interpret their talents and 'intelligence' according to ours
-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'
-it is barren, because the whole idea is strictly human centered.

Let's go past the part where I ask for evidence that the scientific community is subjectively observing animal behavior strictly by the human paradigm. Before I go further let me once again state that we are using words in this thread that have many definitions.
For example, you talk about animal consciousness. What do you mean by it?
The word "intelligence" also has many definitions.
The most basic definition of intelligence is the ability to not only acquire knowledge (learn), but to also apply it.
So my question is, why is observing this type of behavior something that is subjective? You said above that we consider this point because it is "human centered", meaning a characteristic of human intelligence, and therefore we look for the same characteristic in animals in order to see if they are intelligent. So my question is, why is this standard not objective? What's so human about it, besides the fact that we as humans are best at it?

You also said "the only animal that has intelligence as the way we understand is humans", and this is both vague and false. Vague because once again we are not sure what definition of "intelligence" we are using, and false because it claims consensus (the way WE understand), where there is in fact NO consensus.

You also say "The more you observe them, the more they become familiar and then you become more open and sensitive to the difference traits; therefore more 'objective'."

"more objective" implies that the way scientists currently study intelligence in animals is subjective. Is there some evidence of that? Do we know of an animal that is currently classified as non-intelligent by certain scientists, while other scientists consider it intelligent at the same time?

You also say "the fact that animals have consciousness", well, when we don't know what is meant by consciousness, that statement has no meaning.

Otherwise I completely agree with you how the scientific process works, I also agree that we don't posess all knowledge at this time. What I disagree with you on is over what we know so far. You seem to paint a cynical point over how scientists currently judge and understand behavior.

If that is not what you meant, then again, please understand that I was only responding to what I quoted you saying above.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 11:58:07 AM by Shol'va »

Offline aitm

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #51 on: March 27, 2014, 01:16:32 PM »
I disagree. The other day a stray dog came to shit on my property. Then looked at me with a fuck you grin.
Then by God I withdraw the aforementioned objection to whatever I was replying to previously!
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2014, 01:46:53 PM »
drunkenshoe, I can find answers for myself, rest assured of that. The point was to understand the context of your discussion.
Suffice to say I am well aware that we are on atheistforums here, but people take the term to understand different things, and sometimes go insofar as to consider consciousness a matter of transcendental.
So now that we've clarified that, the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness supports my argument: scientists are approaching the topic with objectivity and is anything but barren, primitive, etc. If by "we" you mean people like us, from all walks of life, non-scientists, that's a different matter.
Do you believe the signatories to the declaration regard consciousness from the paradigm of human experience?

Offline SGOS

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2014, 01:47:21 PM »
I disagree. The other day a stray dog came to shit on my property. Then looked at me with a fuck you grin.
When he was just coming out of the puppy state, I caught my own dog shitting I our lawn and he looked pretty guilty.  I was torn.  Had I unintentionally taught my dog to feel guilty over taking a shit?  But it was an anomaly.  He soon came to understand that he didn't have to feel guilty if he went in the bushes to shit in private.  Apparently, if he shit in the bushes in private, no one would know it was him, and he could preserve a modicum of dignity.  Well really, I have no idea what he was thinking or how he processed the situation, but it worked out for the best, and we got along like best buddies after that. 

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #54 on: March 27, 2014, 01:56:08 PM »
SGOS, I can explain that, it goes back to how you conditioned your dog to not shit in your house. Some people house train their dogs in such a way that the dog misunderstands that the act itself is bad rather than the act of doing it in the wrong place. Case in point, my sister's female dachschund. She is 5 years old and to this day she is inconsistent when asking herself to go outside. When she shits in the house, she hides it. If you go outside with her and watch her, she has a tough time going.
The key is to not punish your dog when you do catch them shitting in the house.

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #55 on: March 27, 2014, 02:01:37 PM »
Not too long ago, I watched a PBS doc on how certain plants can distinguish the predactors that attack it. As a defense, it can send a gas that will attract the predators of its predators. Some trees know their relatives: they will protect and nourish them against other plants. At the end of the program, one of the researchers stated that if plants do think, how do they do it without a brain and a nervous system? Stay tuned.

Offline Naru

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2014, 02:02:38 PM »
Do animals think, depends on what you define think. Animals do think like thinking how to hunt for food or where is a safe place to rest but do they think what is out there or how things work then no. This is called theory of mind. When we are infants we don't have this feature yet. We don't get this until the age 4 to 5.

Now animals do problem solve but they don't seek knowledge from other animals so they don't ask question.

Theory of mind
Quote
Theory of mind is a theory insofar as the mind is not directly observable.[1] The presumption that others have a mind is termed a theory of mind because each human can only intuit the existence of his/her own mind through introspection, and no one has direct access to the mind of another. It is typically assumed that others have minds by analogy with one's own, and based on the reciprocal nature of social interaction, as observed in joint attention,[4] the functional use of language,[5] and understanding of others' emotions and actions.[6] Having a theory of mind allows one to attribute thoughts, desires, and intentions to others, to predict or explain their actions, and to posit their intentions. As originally defined, it enables one to understand that mental states can be the cause of—and thus be used to explain and predict—others' behavior.[1] Being able to attribute mental states to others and understanding them as causes of behavior implies, in part, that one must be able to conceive of the mind as a "generator of representations".[7][8] If a person does not have a complete theory of mind it may be a sign of cognitive or developmental impairment.

Theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans, but one requiring social and other experience over many years to bring to fruition. Different people may develop more, or less, effective theories of mind. Empathy is a related concept, meaning experiential recognition and understanding the states of mind, including beliefs, desires and particularly emotions of others, often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes". Recent neuro ethological studies of animal behaviour suggest that even rodents may exhibit ethical or empathic abilities.[9] Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development maintain that theory of mind is a byproduct of a broader hypercognitive ability of the human mind to register, monitor, and represent its own functioning.[10]

Research on theory of mind, in human and animal, adults and children, normally and atypically developing, has grown rapidly in the 35 years since Premack and Woodruff's paper, "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?".[1] The emerging field of social neuroscience has also begun to address this debate, by imaging humans while performing tasks demanding the understanding of an intention, belief or other mental state.

An alternative account of theory of mind is given within operant psychology and provides significant empirical evidence for a functional account of both perspective taking and empathy. The most developed operant approach is founded on research on derived relational responding and is subsumed within what is called, "Relational Frame Theory". According to this view empathy and perspective taking comprise a complex set of derived relational abilities based on learning to discriminate and verbally respond to ever more complex relations between self, others, place, and time, and the transformation of function through established relations.


Offline SGOS

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2014, 02:17:01 PM »
SGOS, I can explain that, it goes back to how you conditioned your dog to not shit in your house. Some people house train their dogs in such a way that the dog misunderstands that the act itself is bad rather than the act of doing it in the wrong place. Case in point, my sister's female dachschund. She is 5 years old and to this day she is inconsistent when asking herself to go outside. When she shits in the house, she hides it. If you go outside with her and watch her, she has a tough time going.
The key is to not punish your dog when you do catch them shitting in the house.
Actually, I was pretty careful about that, and to be honest, my little story was somewhat altered for the purpose of humor.  I never had a problem with house training him.  He just wanted to go outside.  I think it was because when I first brought him home, I put him in an earth floored sunroom at night which was 5 feet from our bed.  He would sleep at the door so he could be close to us, but always went to the far end of the sunroom to do his duty, so it just felt more natural to go outside.  He naturally seemed to want to keep his area clean, even when he was 8 weeks old.  He may have messed in the house once or twice, but no more than that.

I watched him closely when he was outside, as soon as I saw him getting ready to poop on the grass, I would rush to him with a "No, No," haul him into the unkept wild area on the edge of the lawn and stand there until he did his duty.  Then I would praise him excessively.  It didn't take long.  He was a pleasure to train and he learned faster than any other dog I had owned before.

I don't know about what constitutes dog intelligence, but he seemed incredibly smart to me.  He was a golden retriever, and they have a reputation of wanting to please.  He was good at pleasing too.  I loved him dearly.

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2014, 02:41:57 PM »
I'm expressing what scientists already know very well in layman terms.
Please take note that is not what originally prompted my response, it was for the above mentioned points that I responded. I do not find your follow-up responses to be cynical at all. Maybe rude, but not cynical. I'd also like to point out that the term "consciousness" does have different meanings depending on the field (scientific vs philosphical etc) which is why I wanted to clarify what we were talking about, and that the Declaration is not a unanimously accepted document amongs all scientists. I am not saying that to express an opinion that the declaration in itself is invalid. Not at all. In fact, I'd have signed it too. I'm only signaling that once again we are making sweeping generalizations.

If the declaration is the latest result of moving from the traditional paradigm, what makes it in itself a declaration from the paradigm of human experience? You were stating earlier that at least thus far, the scientific comunity has regarded this subject species-centric. So are you saying the Declaration is more of the same? In other words how is it a shift from the traditional if it's still regarding the subject from the paradigm of human experience? I would be interested in hearing what measuring stick you might suggest that we use, or maybe a different approach, which would account for objectivity and somehow recognizing and eliminating the deficiencies you mentioned prior.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 02:44:38 PM by Shol'va »