Author Topic: Do animals "think"  (Read 13195 times)

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #165 on: March 14, 2017, 11:54:25 AM »
I'm pretty sure animals think, but I don't believe they spend a lot of time pondering their place in the universe or "what it all means."  Thinking I see as being on a scale from one to ten.  Dogs are on that scale, although I hesitate to identify an exact number.

Well, somewhere some ape had a thought that got it to "1" on the scale.  Which leaves dogs a bit below "1".  Cats, of course, start at "3".  Just ask them.  ;)

But seriously, I wonder what the first thought beyond animal level was.  There had to be one.  "Burned gazelle in forest fire taste good"?  "Hey I'm naked"?  "Me call me Gorg"?  I'm pretty sure it wasn't "Hey, is there a deity"?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline trdsf

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #166 on: March 15, 2017, 08:16:58 AM »
Probably they do think on some level, but not abstract thought beyond very simple if-then situations.  My cat Althea knows that if she sits quietly while I'm preparing food, then she will get a treat.  And she can differentiate between me (with whom she interacts) and my roommate (with whom she doesn't).  But I don't think she has a sense of self in the way humans do.  There are times she seems surprised to discover there's a tail attached to her.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"I thought I committed regicide today, but I committed deicide!" -- Sadie Doyle, Beyond Belief

Offline Hijiri Byakuren

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Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #167 on: March 15, 2017, 12:22:17 PM »
It depends on the animal. All animal brains are not created equal, obviously.

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #168 on: March 15, 2017, 06:43:41 PM »
It is obvious that they can think when looking at the organisation of hunting of some animals -for ex. lions and wolfs-... And they can learn... Of course when compared to us their ability to learn is very little but at least enough to survive in the wild. If some of us as a group who grow up in cities was left in the wild, we wouldn't succeed in surviving...As pets wouldn't... Because they don't learn to live in the wild... But they can learn if they grow up there... It means they have ability to learn and think...

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #169 on: April 07, 2017, 09:11:05 AM »
It is obvious that they can think when looking at the organisation of hunting of some animals -for ex. lions and wolfs-... And they can learn... Of course when compared to us their ability to learn is very little but at least enough to survive in the wild. If some of us as a group who grow up in cities was left in the wild, we wouldn't succeed in surviving...As pets wouldn't... Because they don't learn to live in the wild... But they can learn if they grow up there... It means they have ability to learn and think...

Humans can survive in the wild better than you might think.  I'm not even remotely a "survivalist" and I could.  It's the other humans I would have to worry about.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #170 on: July 29, 2017, 11:29:46 AM »
Animals can also learn but the problem is that
they cant teach what they learn to the next generations...
They cant transfer what they learn because
they have not the faculty to speak...

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #171 on: July 29, 2017, 11:51:11 AM »
Animals can also learn but the problem is that
they cant teach what they learn to the next generations...
They cant transfer what they learn because
they have not the faculty to speak...

Lack of speech keeps other species from passing on knowledge to the next generation efficiently, but young animals do learn from adults through example. Young cats and canines learn how to hunt by watching their mother and/or other members of their family group. The same type of thing happens in most species that nurture their young.
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Offline Mermaid

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #172 on: July 29, 2017, 11:51:24 AM »
Animals can also learn but the problem is that
they cant teach what they learn to the next generations...
They cant transfer what they learn because
they have not the faculty to speak...
I am going to call bullshit on this one for several reasons:
-Animals DO have vocal language. Some languages are quite complex.
-Animals (including humans) communicate through non-vocal means, also complex.
-Animals teach their young and learn from peers, it's well documented.
-Behavior is a very big driver in natural selection.


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 Shiranu

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #173 on: July 29, 2017, 12:04:24 PM »
Quote
But seriously, I wonder what the first thought beyond animal level was.  There had to be one.  "Burned gazelle in forest fire taste good"?  "Hey I'm naked"?  "Me call me Gorg"?  I'm pretty sure it wasn't "Hey, is there a deity"?

The first two are animal-level thoughts though; they are concerned completely with practical, survival related issues ("Is this food edible?", and, "Is my body temperature secured?"). Only the identification of the self and the existence of a deity are aimed at concepts outside of the self, and I'm not sure the first one really qualifies for that either, since it would be very practical towards survival as well.

The questioning of the divine might actually be the oldest "human" train of thought to have developed in our brain, that preceded even humanity itself, which would explain why it's so heavily ingrained within our psyche.

Quote
Animals can also learn but the problem is that
they cant teach what they learn to the next generations...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160507-animals-teaching-parents-science-meerkats/

Quote
They cant transfer what they learn because
they have not the faculty to speak...

I'm sorry, have you ever walked outside your house? Perhaps you live in a city, in which case have you ever left the city? Animals speak 24/7, the very sound of being outdoors is hearing countless animals, of all varieties, speaking. Additionally this is implying that information can only be transferred through word, which is problematic for humans who primarily communicate through writing and watching (the former a technique we share with countless other animals).

I just don't get where you are coming from with this statement. It's not even remotely correct.


Finally, an unrelated to any specific post thought: If animals cannot think, than neither can human babies, who are dumber than a sack of shit. Or if we want to go darker, mentally handicapped people. That is a train of thought that has unfortunately been taken to it's "logical" conclusion before with terrible consequences. So I think this is a situation where "logically" looking at the situation does not have a desirable outcome.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 12:06:50 PM by Shiranu »
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." - Nelson Mandela

"Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be." - Miguel de Cervantes

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #174 on: July 29, 2017, 12:12:37 PM »
I am going to call bullshit on this one for several reasons:
-Animals DO have vocal language. Some languages are quite complex.
-Animals (including humans) communicate through non-vocal means, also complex.
-Animals teach their young and learn from peers, it's well documented.
-Behavior is a very big driver in natural selection.
There is no doubt that animals' cognitive capacities are as complex as yours.
Especially when talking about our cousins who are chimpanzees and bonobos.
But when compared to the humans their communication skills and mimics(face expressions) are very simple and
involve a few of ways of transferring emotional messages...

Is there any animal except human that teach to the young ones the old myths that come from ''hundreds of years'',
and that teach the young ones the religious rituals etc that come from very early history of the clan?

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #175 on: July 29, 2017, 01:50:13 PM »
I am going to call bullshit on this one for several reasons:
-Animals DO have vocal language. Some languages are quite complex.
-Animals (including humans) communicate through non-vocal means, also complex.
-Animals teach their young and learn from peers, it's well documented.
-Behavior is a very big driver in natural selection.
I grew up being taught that animals do not use tools, and that was one of the big dividers between humans and animals.  Just about the first instance I remember of that being found to be false was in a study of chimps and it was observed that a mother chimp was using straw or a twig to fish into a termite mound and eat the termites that clung onto the stick.  She was showing this to her young chimp.  And now there are a multitude of animals that make and use tools.  And they teach those techniques to the next generation as well.  As for speech--they, for the most part, do not form human words (although apparently some primates can learn sign), but they do make sounds and communicate with those sounds.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline Mermaid

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #176 on: July 29, 2017, 01:51:37 PM »
There is no doubt that animals' cognitive capacities are as complex as yours.
Especially when talking about our cousins who are chimpanzees and bonobos.
But when compared to the humans their communication skills and mimics(face expressions) are very simple and
involve a few of ways of transferring emotional messages...

Is there any animal except human that teach to the young ones the old myths that come from ''hundreds of years'',
and that teach the young ones the religious rituals etc that come from very early history of the clan?

Animals have very complex body language used for communication and they do express emotions readily in this manner. Some have complex spoken languages. As far as passing stories from generation to generation goes, how do you know they can't? I know that sounds a little bit preposterous, but is it, really? How do we know? We assume we are superior to other animals, but I am not so sure. Elephants, for instance, are very complex creatures. Our ability to measure the intelligence of other beings is limited because of assumptions like this: We only have our own perspective. I learned in school back in the 70s that animals didn't have language or emotions, or know how to use tools. That turned out to be total bunk.
If you measure the abilities of animals based on human actions, you're not designing your experiment properly.
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 aitm

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #177 on: July 29, 2017, 06:04:01 PM »
Yes they can "think", but I don't think they can understand the consequences of their actions. Familiar dogs often get into spats, rarely serious, but on occasion that quick strike spat can puncture a vein...or two. Odd how this thread came up. Just last Saturday we came home from a early morning wedding to find our oldest covered in blood and blood all over porch. She obviously got into a quick spat with either the younger boxer or the new young male border collie, but she got hit in a vein on the inside of her front leg that was just bleeding out. Had we been 20 minutes later, she would have already been dead...but as it was...unfortunately, even with that, the vets said the trauma of that much blood loss and given her age, her recovery could easily top 4 grand. We let her go. We also found out she had numerous other bites on her as if perhaps she got ganged up on. A disturbing thought for us dog lovers that even those we trust as "family", when pissed are a little more deadly that we are...weapons aside.
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 #178 on: July 29, 2017, 06:53:54 PM »
Yes they can "think", but I don't think they can understand the consequences of their actions. Familiar dogs often get into spats, rarely serious, but on occasion that quick strike spat can puncture a vein...or two. Odd how this thread came up. Just last Saturday we came home from a early morning wedding to find our oldest covered in blood and blood all over porch. She obviously got into a quick spat with either the younger boxer or the new young male border collie, but she got hit in a vein on the inside of her front leg that was just bleeding out. Had we been 20 minutes later, she would have already been dead...but as it was...unfortunately, even with that, the vets said the trauma of that much blood loss and given her age, her recovery could easily top 4 grand. We let her go. We also found out she had numerous other bites on her as if perhaps she got ganged up on. A disturbing thought for us dog lovers that even those we trust as "family", when pissed are a little more deadly that we are...weapons aside.
Oh man, aitm, my heart goes out to you--that is a painful, painful story!   We have 3 rescued dogs and so have no idea of what life was like for them before us.  I have seen little bits of things here and there of two hounding the other, if only for a brief moment.  All it would take (I've thought) is for one of them to lose their temper while were not around and the gangup could become serious.  I can't say I worry--but it is on my mind.  It must be sad times at your home right now.  As I said--my heart goes out to you and your family.   
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline Baruch

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #179 on: July 30, 2017, 12:34:46 AM »
There is no doubt that animals' cognitive capacities are as complex as yours.
Especially when talking about our cousins who are chimpanzees and bonobos.
But when compared to the humans their communication skills and mimics(face expressions) are very simple and
involve a few of ways of transferring emotional messages...

Is there any animal except human that teach to the young ones the old myths that come from ''hundreds of years'',
and that teach the young ones the religious rituals etc that come from very early history of the clan?

Some pods of killer whales have developed local hunting traditions that persist from generation to generation, that are unique to their pod.  But then cetaceans are very smart.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 12:37:51 AM by Baruch »
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