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  1. #111
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    We take consciousness for granted and so we make the mistake of taking it for granted in other animals.

    Of course to us, other animals look conscious because we project our consciousness into them.
    Neuroscience is making important headway to prove that old set of assumptions that you hold to be false.

    http://news.discovery.com/human/gene...pus-120824.htm

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...nscious-beings

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-...b_1857667.html

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...d-as-such.html

    http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-a...consciousness/
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  2. #112
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Animism and Animalism

    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Neuroscience is making important headway to prove that old set of assumptions that you hold to be false.
    For 200,000 years we practised animism, that is we believed inanimate objects were animate and so conscious. We believed forces of nature like storms and whirlwinds, oceans, rivers and lakes, rocks and sinkholes, and celestial objects like the sun, moon, stars and comets, and statues, were conscious.

    We wanted them to be conscious because we wanted to understand and control them and not be alone in a frightening universe.

    But today we no longer practise animism and no longer believe inanimate objects are animate and so conscious.

    But still we long for love and company, and so have turned from animism to animalism.

  3. #113
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    Maybe we imbued the natural world with consciousness because we were once a part of it in a way that seems foreign now. Maybe our present dualities and distinctions (distinctions about who has personhood, etc.) are the symptoms of our own fragmentary self.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

  4. #114
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    hmm? her english is without a doubt much better than mine, and i really don't mind being wrong & being informed for the better - but your argument has being examined and demonstrated to be based on a false dichotomy.
    Oooooh..My argument has been examined! Presumably by the argument examining committee? And has been found wanting. Was that before, or after you agreed with it and just restated it in different, barely literate, terms? Or are you talking about a different argument? I guess you aren't really interested in argument at all, so much as practicing your amateur trolling skillz. You'd do better to practice your English.

    I'm assuming you wrote this next part to yourself, given that you're the only person up in arms round these here parts. Truth is, you do mind. You mind very much. Take your own advice, dear boy.
    why are you getting up in arms about it? surely there has to be more for you to value in yourself then laying your ego entirely on the accuracy of your thoughts, and even if that isn't the case, there has to be a less counter-productive way then demonstrating your opinion's resistance to reason - one's capacity to resisting the process of learning doesn't do very well to demonstrate how much they've learned.

    ^ETA Woot! I summoned Synarch from the dead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  5. #115
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I just saw this and it is really cool.

    Our elderly dog took to a bad shivering spell that wouldn't quit after going out to pee during the first coldsnap. I wrapped him in a blanket and scruffed on him to warm him up. Later that day I took to shivering and laid down. He came over and laid on top of me to return the favor and warm me up.

    One time when I got out of the shower with hair dripping, he looked at me and started to shake off, either to show me what I needed to do, or to also feel wet and respond.

    Mammals (and some birds) typically do experience a lot of empathy, and this is necessary in teaching their young and attending to their needs when they are born helpless. The species that are less empathetic tend to have fully functional young, or else they have so many young that statistically a few survive even without nurturing and teaching. Any process of teaching and learning requires some level of empathy on the part of both the learner and the teacher.

    I do agree that empathy alone shouldn't be what determines value in a living being, but there is a strange arrogance in humans that leads us to think we are almost magically different from all other animals on earth. We have even done this with other demographics of humans. When viewing the connections we have in DNA and bodily structure to other living beings on this planet, doesn't it seem reasonable to think that any trait we possess exists in at least a pre-cursory form in other lifeforms as well? Why would we be completely different in our self-awareness, empathy, and sentience when we are so intricately related in terms of DNA and structure? With mammals we share similar organs and even brain components. Why think we wouldn't share similar cognitive functioning on some levels and differences on other levels?

    I do agree with the concept that as human beings we can create a sense of value in other living organisms based on how easily we relate to these. This is because psychologically we tend to extend our sense of self with our sense of empathy and meaning. While as humans we typically do this to include our family, community, pets, and sometimes beyond this, what I think could be more closely tied to reality is an understanding of how all life is intricately connected. I suspect that any limits we possess in empathy and comprehension of the significance of other life forms is directly related to our limitations in our own self-awarness. My sense is that empathy and self-awareness are interconnected and not because we project self in order to care about other things, but because at the core of reality other forms of life are not separate from us. I suspect a complete awareness and sense of self would lead us to acknowledge that all life is one.
    Excellent post(s). You nailed it.
    I recently read this book, in which the author examines each of the 30 facets of the Big Five and introduces the associated animal research (mostly on rodents). Don't ask me why brain scientists think they can learn more about human personality by torturing mice than they can from studying humans - they're just stupid that way. And they like to play God. There are (at least) two fundamental contradictions at the heart of the reasoning used to justify the exploitation of animals in the life sciences:- humans are superior to other animals, because we are moral, empathic, noble creatures.... therefore, torturing other species (to learn about ourselves,) is entirely the right thing to do.
    It's not unlike the reasoning of the Nazi scientists during WWII.*

    You cannot use human empathy as a justification for unempathic acts. You cannot both claim that humans are of a different order to other animals whilst simultaneously claiming that we have enough in common for the "science" to tell us anything universal rather than species-specific. I don't know what offends me more, the cruelty or the shit-for-brains reasoning that adds insult to injury.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirk
    “It’s so important to have animal models. It’s possible to really measure neurotransmitter release while the animal is showing the behavior. It’s possible to take out the brain right after the behavior so you can see what was going on at the moment. But it’s hard.” He looks up. His face is tight. “The mothers are easier because you need—you need that brain tissue. But it’s really hard to kill pups.” He pauses. “They can’t live without the mother. I know that night I will have a nightmare. And that’s important. It keeps you on a level where whenever you have to do it, you think about it.
    Apparently, he doesn't think terribly deeply about it though because:
    “It would be really nice if this could be used in humans,” Bosch says. “Postpartum depression—maybe vasopressin is a way of treating this. But we don’t even know if the vasopressin system is active in humans—which isn’t so easy to study.” He sighs, studying his desk for a moment.
    That's right. We don't even know if the system we're studying is active in the species we're interested in. The species above all others for whom any other species can rightly be sacrificed.

    But we reach the irony apogee when it comes to how brain scientists study empathy: they do it by electrocuting mice.
    This time the researchers put a BalbC and a Black 6 in a gallery adjacent to a foot-shock chamber. Strange mice came into the foot-shock chamber. Scientists played a thirty-second warning tone followed by a two-second foot shock. The gallery mice could not see into the shock chamber, but they could hear the shocked strangers squeak and hop around. As usual, the shocked mice quickly learned to associate that warning tone with a shock. When they heard it, they would freeze. Now the gallery mice had their turn in the shock chamber. And before they were shocked even once, some of them heard the warning tone and froze. Never having experienced the shock, they had caught fear from the shocked mice. They had absorbed the others’ fear, and it had altered their own emotions. Some of them had, anyway. Not all of them had gotten the message. You can probably predict which strain was most sensitive to fear in other mice, based on the experiment on how the different strains greet each other. The same mice who squeak and chirp and nose each other—the Black 6 mice—are the ones who learn from their comrades’ scary experiences. Apparently, they’re more socially sensitive. “We think this is a more sophisticated case of empathy,” Lahvis explains. “We think this is feeling into the feelings of another individual.”
    So...apparently Lahvis can define it, he can even test for it. He just can't actually DO it.


    *This analogy taken from The Lives of Animals by JM Coetzee, which I recommend (unlike "Quirk" which is as annoying and reductive as it sounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  6. #116
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    There is disagreement from sources about the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Wikipedia defines them oppositely:

    Which I think is a bit closer to the more common usage (not that it's wrong to define which meaning one means in one's post, of course, since it's far from a settled matter).
    How can the meaning of words be a "far from settled matter"? Just because people who don't know any better continue to misuse them, says nothing about their true (original or commonly accepted) meaning.

    /just answered her own question

    Anyway. When in doubt, look at the root derivation. Empathy means "feeling into" another person's mental and emotional state. Sympathy means "with feeling" - implies having compassion or pity, without necessarily identifying with the other (or even accurately identifying their mental /emotional state). For example, you might pity someone who spurns your pity - that would be sympathetic but wholly unempathetic.

    I think of sympathy as more Fe and empathy as more Fi. In the former, you are relying on how the other "ought" to feel, and responding "appropriately". With the latter, you are relying on how the other actually feels, using the cues and nvqs they communicate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  7. #117
    Warflower Nijntje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Dolphins have more empathy than we do, therefore, we should really make them our Lords and Masters.
    Quick, someone write a new Creation myth.
    until they turn on us!!!


    Terrible things happen to good people every day.
    Consequentially, I am not one of the good people.
    I am one of the terrible things.
    .



    Conclusion: Dinosaurs


  8. #118
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    But today we no longer practise animism and no longer believe inanimate objects are animate and so conscious.

    But still we long for love and company, and so have turned from animism to animalism.
    Today, we still don't even know what consciousness is, so to assert with any degree of confidence who has it and who doesn't, is sheer hubris.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  9. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Was that before, or after you agreed with it and just restated it in different, barely literate, terms? Or are you talking about a different argument? I guess you aren't really interested in argument at all, so much as practicing your amateur trolling skillz. You'd do better to practice your English.
    the side argument that you yourself chose to get into after (within the same post) agreed that we're on the same page with the main argument has been demonstrated to be based on a false dichotomy... but, having actually linked to where you did the very thing you just accused me of doing... i have to say i am in total agreement with you that someone seeking arguments for the fuck of it even when in agreement with someone is a very strong give away for trolling as the best case scenario - an utter lack of self awareness being the alternative. which one is it salome? are you a troll or do you genuinely lack any ability to judge yourself?

  10. #120
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    ^I have no idea what you're talking about. In english, please. Or maybe get someone to translate for you?

    ETA. Ok, let's see if I can help you out.

    My first post in the thread was this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Of course consciousness isn't unique to humans. What a stupid idea that was.

    I'm for anything that prevents the exploitation of animals, but the logic here is fail.

    We don't treat humans preferentially because they are more intelligent than other animals. If this were the only criteria, it would be morally acceptable to treat stupid people as "animals". We treat humans preferentially because we ARE human and we think we're the shit. And we treat preferentially all those attributes we see in other species that remind us of ourselves. This is not morality. It's human chauvinism.

    Personhood implies person-ality. Therefore, everything with a personality should really be treated as a person... But that would be too inconvenient. Since we don't eat dolphins we can give ourselves a pat on the back for conferring upon them the "privilege" of personhood. Meanwhile the dolphins are saying : "Fuck off, we're better than you. Oh, and thanks for all the fish."
    Which doesn't differ substantially from your reply to me:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    i'm saying that from our egocentric perspective as humans bound by human experience, we are capable of experiencing more empathy towards dolphins and monkeys and dogs and elephants then we are towards fleas and ants and digestive bacteria.
    You say as much, here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    you're effectively agreeing
    It is also fia's position, so when you blustered into the thread with:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    i'm disagreeing with everyone.
    ....you weren't. You just didn't understand what they had already covered.

    I'm not sure what you thought you were replying to, when you addressed yourself to me, unless you failed to understand that my post immediately preceding yours was ironic...which seems...unlikely.

    I also posted this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    You can't give anything rights. They are intrinsic. You can only enshrine them in law.
    Which started a whole diversion into what "intrinsic" actually means. Your argument seems to be that intrinsic rights are not intrinsic. Which is a dumb argument. A more sensible one would be to say that intrinsic rights do not exist.

    This part is where you fucked up the meaning of "intrinsic":
    Quote Originally Posted by Mane
    oh, and FYI - that intrinsic value we have - its to each other. for fuck sake, we don't need the universe to put crowns on our heads and tell us we're special, what does it matter what value we have to some higher entity wanking over us?
    Which is what confused fia, who doubted herself instead of doubting that you know wth you're talking about.
    Needless to say, I don't have that problem.

    I'm not sure where you're getting your "false dichotomy" from.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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