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  1. #131
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    We have the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but so far the UN has not seen fit to draft a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights.

    Not all countries accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in fact 57 Islamic countries reject it, so there is no chance for a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights.

    However with Animalism on the rise, and with an aggressive wing of Animalism called PETA, who knows when we may be asked to sign a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights?

    Some though warn that Amimalism is but the thin edge of the wedge of Animism.

    And as we move deeper into etribalism, it seems natural to return to the religion of our traditional tribalists, namely, Animism.

    And this may not be as strange as we may think, as Catholicism has kept the link with the old spoken culture, the traditional tribal culture, with their sacred transubstantiation, where sacred bread and wine becomes conscious.

  2. #132
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    I don't know what to think of it.

    Of course, like our dear australian Mole noticed, we are projecting, we are humanizing animals who aren't humans. It can't be anything else.

    But I do not think that settles the question. It seems more complex than that.

    Neurophysiology and Ethology are giving us a few hints that animals with superior brain functions might, indeed, have a kind of consciousness and a genuine form of intelligence. Some could even have a kind of ethos and possibly exhibit intersubjecticity through active communication.
    But nonetheless, since their brains aren't humans, they can't have human emotions or human intelligence. Their psychic world (if any) can only be wildly different from ours. Imagine for instance that you are an elephant. Compared to an human, your memory is perfect, you can instantly recall any event that affected you in the past. Can we really figure, even for a second, what it means and the consequences?
    The truth is we don't know enough. When we try to judge their intelligence, our scientists often try to make them learn human language. But we haven't deciphered their language yet: It means even our scientists are projecting. We judge animals only when they're able to imitate us, not when we imitate them.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  3. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post

    Neurophysiology and Ethology are giving us a few hints that animals with superior brain functions might, indeed, have a kind of consciousness and a genuine form of intelligence. Some could even have a kind of ethos and possibly exhibit intersubjecticity through active communication.
    But nonetheless, since their brains aren't humans, they can't have human emotions or human intelligence. Their psychic world (if any) can only be wildly different from ours. Imagine for instance that you are an elephant. Compared to an human, your memory is perfect, you can instantly recall any event that affected you in the past. Can we really figure, even for a second, what it means and the consequences?
    The truth is we don't know enough. When we try to judge their intelligence, our scientists often try to make them learn human language. But we haven't deciphered their language yet: It means even our scientists are projecting. We judge animals only when they're able to imitate us, not when we imitate them.
    What are you suggesting? That's it's patronising them to offer them "rights" - things which perhaps only have meaning for our species?

    If we don't know enough, how can you be certain what emotions or intelligence they have? It seems to me ridiculous to assert that human emotion is markedly different from animal emotion, given common biological substrates and common ancestry.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  4. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    Hmm. Well, does it matter what we believe?
    If it didn't we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Because if the strong want to exploit the weak - they can if they are able.
    They can't if they are prevented. An army of weak individuals can defeat the strongest foe.

    Like I said, I don't believe that the rights are intrinsic. I think you're born and the environment doesn't especially care one way or another.
    The environment has no moral sense.

    We can create rules and enforcement tools in society which will prevent the strong from exploiting the weak. Or at least make it less convenient. (As an aside I'll note strength and weakness are not disposed of in that model, it's just who has the power is rearranged.)

    So, you can deny the (intrinsic) existence of rights while simultaneously creating a concept of rights to enforce.
    Why would you though? It doesn't make any sense to do that without a moral framework which holds certain "truths to be self-evident". And that moral framework has to derive its power from somewhere, or it would be impotent.

    Hmm, I'd agree with that, but the only logical justification I can think of for unequal rights is competition.
    Explain how unequal rights fosters competition. It doesn't.

    Let me think of an example of unequal rights that I'd think of as fair...hmm, ok investments, for instance. People are given unequal yields (they have a right to the return) based on the amount of investment they put in.
    You are conflating terms.
    Also, it's a little more complicated than that. For example, from where did they derive that initial investment? If they stole it from someone else, what "right" do they have then? But let's not get side-tracked.

    But for clarity you're really talking about rights of opportunity, yes?
    I'm mostly talking about the right to live as a free agent (with the opportunities as well as the perils that entails), not enslaved to another being that imagines itself to be your superior.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  5. #135
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    What are you suggesting? That's it's patronising them to offer them "rights" - things which perhaps only have meaning for our species?

    If we don't know enough, how can you be certain what emotions or intelligence they have? It seems to me ridiculous to assert that human emotion is markedly different from animal emotion, given common biological substrates and common ancestry.
    Just like I said, I think we don't know enough yet.

    A different brain necessarily means different emotions, different ways to express intelligence, or to communicate. You should have noticed I didn't qualify those emotions, I didn't judge them.
    Even when we have solid proof of their intelligence, with some species, it's like trying to communicate with aliens.
    I didn't discard the possibility that in fact, some of them might actually be more intelligent than humans. With elephants and killer whales, it's a serious possibility.

    But we don't know.

    ἕν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα!
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  6. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Just like I said, I think we don't know enough yet.
    I am influenced by Julian Jaynes book, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", where he postulates that human consciousness arose 3,000 years ago.

    If his hypothesis is correct, then it suggests to me that it is unlikely that any other animal is conscious.

    Of course other animals have emotions and elicit emotions in us. And some animals, like elephants, have mirror neurons. But none of this means they are conscious.

    And of course they seem conscious to us, but many things are not as they seem.

  7. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    I am influenced by Julian Jaynes book, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", where he postulates that human consciousness arose 3,000 years ago.

    If his hypothesis is correct, then it suggests to me that it is unlikely that any other animal is conscious.

    Of course other animals have emotions and elicit emotions in us. And some animals, like elephants, have mirror neurons. But none of this means they are conscious.

    And of course they seem conscious to us, but many things are not as they seem.
    at this point you are pretty much down for the good old the zombie argument - how do i know that your brain isn't just mimicking the symptoms of consciousness, mechanically set to communicate a notion of consciousness while lacking any experience of your own? i thought your conscious, but maybe i was just projecting

    prove to me that you are conscious!

  8. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    at this point you are pretty much down for the good old the zombie argument - how do i know that your brain isn't just mimicking the symptoms of consciousness, mechanically set to communicate a notion of consciousness while lacking any experience of your own? i thought your conscious, but maybe i was just projecting

    prove to me that you are conscious!
    Good question.

    And your question has something in common with the Turing Test - how can we tell if a machine is conscious?

    And it is a good question because I don't have the answer, except to say, while I can't deduce you are conscious, I infer you are conscious.

    And as you point out, inference is weaker than deduction, yet almost all our scientific knowledge comes to us from inference.

    So the weak answer I can give you is that I infer you are conscious in the same way I infer gravity.

  9. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    And your question has something in common with the Turing Test - how can we tell if a machine is conscious?
    that is indeed where i stole it from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    And it is a good question because I don't have the answer, except to say, while I can't deduce you are conscious, I infer you are conscious.
    you can't gain proof, but you have evidence: you have the symptoms of consciousness that i exhibit.

    what we are finding in animals, and what many have linked here, are multiply studies showing that animals exhibit the same symptoms - they could be faking it, it could be a mechanistic illusion of some sort, but the exact same argument can be used to question the consciousness of another human being (and if i remember correctly, it was actually used to do just that - during the 2nd wave of european-african slavery).

    to the best of my knowledge, you appear to be conscious.
    to the best of my knowledge, a dolphin appears to be conscious.

    it's all any of us have to go by.

  10. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    you appear to be conscious.
    to the best of my knowledge, a dolphin appears to be conscious.
    it's all any of us have to go by.
    And the Sun appears to go round the Earth, but we have inferred that the Earth goes round the Sun.

    And this is how science has progressed: from appearance, through inference, to scientific fact.

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