When Life Became Sentient

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This topic contains 112 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 years, 11 months ago.

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    Nature lacks empathy

    Tom, if I might add, with tongue in cheek, “Mother Nature… she be a harsh mistress”.


    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: tounge->tongue

    tom sarbeck

    Only Mother Nature? she? mistress?

    Take a bite from your tongue, sexist pig! : >)


    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  tom sarbeck.


    It is not fair or reasonable to abnegate the inner turmoil of other species based on criteria used to evaluate humans.  Not only do other species have the same mental disorders but now it seems we have discovered a parallel in consciousness with monkeys.  And it is not a leap off of the empire state building to extrapolate further similarities as our understanding deepens.




    It is not fair or reasonable to abnegate the inner turmoil of other species based on criteria used to evaluate humans.

    Jake it seems like you want to have it both ways. First…we shouldn’t compare them to humans. But then you compare them with human mental problems. I’m very confused here.

    Secondly, no one is denying how close we are with other mammals and that mammals are usually social, sensitive and emotional creatures. However, a dog cannot even figure out where a ball is if you fake throw it but keep it in your hand. A hedgehog cannot even count to five. The smartest ape cannot communicate more than a couple dozen words (let alone concepts). How on earth are they supposed to mull over and relive and rationalize and regret, and blame people?

    If animals suffer in the way humans do, then biologists will eventually figure it out. Until then, based on the only model we remotely understand (the human mind, emotion, cognitive structures, psychee etc), and yes the mammalian brain, including our own, share many very similar structures, however there is no research nor signs that non sentient mammals suffer as we do, nor any specialised signs of internalized pain or torturous regret all unique to a specific mammal. As I have said before, perhaps they do suffer in a way, at a level and at the scale that we do but we cannot find it. However it’s a big jump to assume it’s somewhere waiting to be found. Personally, I hope to sweet Jebus they do not, as they are incapable of doing anything about it. (insert nature is cruel like metaphor)



    Wrong as to apes Davis. Koko for instance had a vocab of around 1000 words and utilized grammar. Other apes who have been taught sign language have hundreds of words. (going by my infallible memory here) I know a dog who would fetch a towel and then take it back to the bathroom if he did not get the promised treat. On tv i saw a dog who gathered belongings and put them out on the lawn in a pattern to create art. Chimps who look at a computer screen can remember mathematical patterns in dots that are displayed for a fraction of a second with greater proficiency than humans. Birds and octopus solve some pretty amazingly complex problems.

    I am saying that the bias of scientists at least as science emerged and even now is consistent with a religious mindset of special creation. I remember in school wasting days in hearing how we humans were special because of tool use, standing erect, communicating etc. As a child i knew that was bullshit. And as i have sped towards my demise i have  observed  many of the purported unique attributes of humans melt away. Am not a complete nut. I do observe how we humans have created a culture with burgeoning technology and have come to understand the natural world in a way that other animals aint got a fucking clue. Thus our brains have some unique aspects. I also see we are dumb as smoke off shit and on the way to extinction as a species. Our knowledge grows. Technology too. And our morality is at a standstill.  I know not exactly germane to the topic but tangentially it is…

    My point about the angst and inner turmoil of other animals is that we ought not superimpose our patterns onto other animals any more than other animals would be the standard for us. I doubt other animals or aliens suffer in the same patterns as we.  And even among humans my conjecture is that there are differences in the inner lives caused by an overlay of culture.  I would be shocked if it were true that dogs and chimps and polar bears suffering with depression did not FEEL it-FEEL the shit out of it!



    Mr. Crow solves a complex problem.


    tom sarbeck

    After an hour-long trial, a jury of crows unanimously order Atheist Zone participants degrees be revoked and their return to freshman year for more schooling.



    Simon Paynton

    Mr. Crow solves a complex problem.

    I think I’d be hard-pressed to retrieve that piece of meat.



    Tom, it’s a murder of crows 😉


    tom sarbeck

    Strega, the jury self-selected from a mass murder.



    So an ape learns 100 signs instead of 20 and you can train a dog to do some unremarkable  tricks and, that is even remotely comparable to human intelligence, cognitive structures and sentience…how?



    No Davis…i said Koko knew 1000 signs and subsequently looked it up…she mastered around 1100.  And again she had a handle on rudimentary grammar. Those dogs i mentioned were not doing tricks.  The artwork was his of his own volition-doberman i believe and the dog who returned the towel did that on his own also….I dont get my treat you don’t get your towel.  And if you did not watch the link from Reg of crows give it a look. It is an impressive demonstration of intelligence.

    I never said the intelligence of apes and humans is same level. I have read that a chimp is roughly equivalent to a 4  yr old human.  I suspect that there is great variation in intelligence in chimps as there is in humans …so maybe the DaVinci (ChimpVinci) is equivalent to an average 7 or 8 year old human.

    The appreciation of aesthetics and production of art is highly significant in relating structure, intelligence and sentience. If memory serves and it usually does chimps and gorillas are known to produce art. There was not too long ago a scene in which it was speculated that chimps were displaying some form of nascent religion.

    Elephants visiting their dead relatives is also very likely an act which speaks to a consanguinity in mammals. It does not appear to have any survival benefit in fact it may operate as a survival negative.  What else would you possibly ascribe the act of travelling miles to visit bones of relatives if not something similar to humans visiting or honoring their dead? Oh and i ought also make note of how Koko reacted when her pet cat, All Ball, died.  She freaked the fuck out. She was whaling and inconsolable with grief.

    Again if evolution is the path of nature then it is utterly incongruous to adopt the idea that we are SO different.  Consider also how very sociable many mammals are and how complex their social net is.  It is my thought that those relationships and interactions are in part the reason we and they are similar.


    FYI more from the BBC

    I once wrote a letter to the BBC Science department to thank them for their excellent work. BBC2and BBC4 are gems among (more than) 13 channels of shit.



    1000 words. That’s impressive. All done with extensive training by other humans. Did the ape then teach the other apes 1000 signs? Did they start communicating through that language? Did they express to one another their fears and concerns, appologise and forive? Did they find a way to release their anguish?

    A dog doing some funny tricks tells us absolutely nothing about whether they suffer pain in the way that we do. And even if there is some other way to suffer pain at the scale that we do…it is yet to be found nor is there a theory that remotely stands up to any scrutiny. In reality we are extremely alike with mammals, and yet only we are sentient and as far as we know prolong our suffering and pain through cognitive structures unique to us.

    I’ve said three times now, it’s possible they do suffer pain as we do…but where is the evidence? Teaching apes signs through extensive training and having a dog play tricks to snag some treats…is not evidnece of much except that they are capable of what we can do to a tiny extent. Indeed mammals are alike and they are  social, sensitive creatures who can suffer distress, and possibly internalised pain…who knows. I’m yet to read anything that gives any convincing reason to suspect that they do. We shall find out soon I hope.



    It is 1100 words. Not 1000.  Yes they teach other their adopted sign language. See link                                                          http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1985-07-07/news/0310230280_1_loulis-chimp-washoe                                       Of course they have to be taught. Do we pick up humpback language without being taught?

    I already explained it is not tricks the dogs are doing. The dog fetching a towel was not taught to do so. Returning the towel was his way of saying i am not a stupid pet. The dog who does art began on own. Nobody showed him anything.  On his own initiative he began to collect items in home, take them outside to yard and then arrange them in patterns that are aesthetic.

    You ask whether they suffer pain at the level we do. You might ask whether we suffer pain at the level they do. They suffer in their unique ways, not in exactly the way humans suffer. They are not worrying about the decline in their portfolio or any culturally specific ways.  But fuck yeah they suffer from same fundamental matters as we do-death of beloved or relationships gone sour.  Have you observed how forlorn dogs are when their masters die? There are so many poignant stories that involve things like staying at the grave and not leaving them.  Koko’s emotional reaction to losing her pet cat is same as we humans sustain. Or in many cases it is a greater expression of  loss than many humans suffer at loss of their cats. How do we know they are suffering?  We know they are animals. We are animals. We see our common animal nature expressed in BEHAVIOR.

    You deny other animals are sentient.  But they have demonstrated that they are self-aware. They are clearly demonstrating how they reason and feel.  I have no idea how you can justify notion that they are not sentient.  If you think sentience arises in humans only you have a way of thinking that is akin to special creation.

    Here is a link as to sentience.              http://theconversation.com/heres-what-the-science-says-about-animal-sentience-88047

    Life is easier for us to go about and assume we are masters of the earth and singularly capable of reason, feeling and emotion.  But it is not so.  And when we deny their commonality and posit our special creation it is no problem for us to slaughter them with impunity-to reduce their habitat or in any way to exploit them.  It was not long ago that whites denied blacks were fully human. Even a so-called enlightened thinker in Jefferson had loads of slaves and was shocked to read a letter from a black scientist who was articulate and had clear indications of scientific and intellectual soundness.  In essence those whites who thought themselves better than blacks (almost all of them) had a special creation bias. The history of social darwinism plays out in discriminatory immigration laws, eugenics, the holocaust and ongoing racism. Having a more sound and balanced perspective is vital.

    If aliens or other animals were studying us they might wonder whether we are capable of reason or feeling.  We as a species learn absolutely nothing in terms of treating each other well.  We inflict suffering on each other on such a massive scale both in microcosm and macrocosm  that it is shocking. We live with insane wealth inequality.  We are approaching the end as a species and nothing is changing.  We continue to hold superstition/fiction as truth and as guidelines of morality.

    Yes we are smarter than whales or other apes. At least i think we are.  But does it follow that the superior ratiocination leads to greater depths of pain and suffering?

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