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Old 11th November 2013, 01:17 AM   #81
MikeG
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
.......I already agree, based on the scientific evidence of his ability to master the universe through the discovery and application of principles of science and art, that man is the moral centre of the universe. ..........
You have failed utterly, and despite being asked repeatedly, to justify any of these words. Man has not, cannot, and will not ever "master the universe", however weird a definition you ever dream up. Man is also without morals, and even if mankind had utterly wonderful morals there isn't the slightest evidence that this would somehow mean he is at the "moral centre of universe", again, whatever that means.

Ignoring all requests for justification for claims, ascribing things to man which as unsustainable by logic or argument, re-inventing taxonomy.......gee, it's almost like you have an agenda.
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Old 11th November 2013, 04:21 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Brian-M View Post
It's not wrong to leave him there, but nor is it the last word on man.

If we're discussing taxonomy, humans are just another primate. But taxonomy is just a classification system based on biological divergence, not a definition of a species characteristics.

If we were to discuss sapience rather than taxinomy, then humans are apparently unique in the world.
Dear Brian,

The same as saying "humans are physical objects composed of gas, liquids, and solids," it seems.

Quote:
Have you ever heard of the phrase "dumb animal"? Dumb in this context meaning lacking the capacity of speech. It was once common1 to use the phrase dumb animals to refer to all animals apart from man.

You may be an animal, but you're not a dumb animal, so feel free to speak.

1 Of course, this was before the word "dumb" came to mean "stupid". Probably because people unfamiliar with the word "dumb" tended to incorrectly infer its meaning from the context in which it was used.
That's what I was alluding to, the dumb animals. It still feels misleading, it chafes to speak as an animal, but you have agreed this is not all we are, so, I will speak.

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Old 11th November 2013, 04:27 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
You have failed utterly, and despite being asked repeatedly, to justify any of these words. Man has not, cannot, and will not ever "master the universe", however weird a definition you ever dream up. Man is also without morals, and even if mankind had utterly wonderful morals there isn't the slightest evidence that this would somehow mean he is at the "moral centre of universe", again, whatever that means.

Ignoring all requests for justification for claims, ascribing things to man which as unsustainable by logic or argument, re-inventing taxonomy.......gee, it's almost like you have an agenda.
We're mastering the Earth, Mike. We've increased the carrying capacity of Terra by a factor of 600. Any other species of...animals...would have entered dieoff long ago. There is no principled reason why we should enter dieoff, only reasons related to human corruption and incompetence in administering our dominion over the portion of nature immediately in our purview. If we can conquer Terra, there is no reason we can't conquer the rest of the universe.

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Old 11th November 2013, 04:48 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
"The word 'run' may well be a verb in the grammatical sense, but to leave it there is a categorical error."

That sentence makes exactly as much sense as what you've written.
It's irony, Akri.

Quote:
And on what do you base this assumption? Other than your desire for humans to not be animals, I mean.

And you still have no explained what you think humans are best at, or what criteria you used to make that judgement, or how you picked those criteria. You also still haven't answered Mike's questions from earlier.
The assumption animals are speechless? Is there an animal anywhere aside from man who will agree with me that the morning sky is grey?

Humans are the best at increasing their potential relative population density, by discovering ideas pertaining to the physical and mental worlds--science and art. We use these ideas to reorganise our technology and society, and thus increase our net power to survive in the hostile universe. No other species known to us can do this. The criteria for judging this is as I mentioned to Mike: that we have increased our carrying capacity 600-fold through the use of our technology, which originates in our minds as ideas. I discovered this idea through reading the work of Lyndon LaRouche, who taught me how to use "categorical" in its proper context in this discussion.

And, to answer Mike's questions:

Quote:
The basis of our WHAT? You are kidding me, aren't you?

And I have already provided you with examples of animals which have far greater specific mental abilities than ours. How is that going to fit into your system?
The basis of our moral supremacy. No, I'm not kidding. And, so some animals display savant-like mental abilities--are they able to enter into a conversation of morality with us? If so, why can they not learn to discover scientific principles? If they can, why are they not counted as one of us?

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Old 11th November 2013, 07:23 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
It's irony, Akri.
Do explain.

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The assumption animals are speechless? Is there an animal anywhere aside from man who will agree with me that the morning sky is grey?
The blue parts are you equivocating between two different things (the ability to use verbal language versus the ability to use verbal language in a specific capacity).

The red part is special pleading. You are once again starting with a conclusion (animals are dumb and humans are smart) and then filtering the evidence to fit. Humans are animals. Humans talk. Therefor at least some animals talk.

Additionally we are not the only animals to use verbal communication. Our appears to be the most sophisticated, but the difference is of degree rather than type. And there are other animals that can learn to pick up our language, at least to a certain degree. Dogs, elephants, horses, other primates, and some birds can all learn the meanings of words and in some cases even get a basic grasp of grammar. Meerkats have a fairly complex vocal warning system for alerting others of predators, with different calls based on the predator type and where it is.

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Humans are the best at increasing their potential relative population density
WHat does "potential relative population density" even mean? Relative to what? How is this potential calculated? What animal is second-best at increasing their potential relative population density? Third best? Fourth? The reason I ask is to find out if you've actually determined (or at least tried to determine) that humans are the best, or if you've simply assumed that we are.

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by discovering ideas pertaining to the physical and mental worlds--science and art. We use these ideas to reorganise our technology and society, and thus increase our net power to survive in the hostile universe. No other species known to us can do this.
True. Of course, there are other creatures that can do things we can't, including surviving in environments far too hostile for us such as the bottom of the ocean.

Quote:
The criteria for judging this is as I mentioned to Mike: that we have increased our carrying capacity 600-fold through the use of our technology, which originates in our minds as ideas.
So the criteria for being judged "best" is the ability to increase carrying capacity 600-fold via technology?

Gee, sounds like your criteria were human-centric from the start. Any reason for choosing that criteria other than the fact that you already knew only humans had done it, and could thus rest assured that you would get your desired result?

Quote:
I discovered this idea through reading the work of Lyndon LaRouche, who taught me how to use "categorical" in its proper context in this discussion.
And what is the "proper context" for "categorical" in this discussion?
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Old 11th November 2013, 07:31 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
We're mastering the Earth, Mike. We've increased the carrying capacity of Terra by a factor of 600.
What does that mean and how did you arrive at the number you did?

Quote:
Any other species of...animals...would have entered dieoff long ago.
Evidence?

Quote:
If we can conquer Terra, there is no reason we can't conquer the rest of the universe.
Sure there is. "Terra" (are you a Warhammer 40k player by any chance?) is very different from other parts of the universe, and thus "conquering" (have you bothered to define this term yet?) Terra does not necessarily mean the rest of the universe can be conquered. Living in a desert or a jungle is not the same as living in a vacuum or on (in?) a gas giant.
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Old 11th November 2013, 11:41 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
If we can conquer Terra, there is no reason we can't conquer the rest of the universe.
Perhaps if you took two seconds and studied the scale of the world beyond of the earth you'd realize what an utterly insignificant "achievement" that is compared to what you are suggesting is feasible. It's akin to a child making a sand castle on a beach and then getting the idea that he can build a skyscraper by himself.
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Old 12th November 2013, 02:06 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
.....
And, to answer Mike's questions:
The basis of our moral supremacy. No, I'm not kidding. And, so some animals display savant-like mental abilities--are they able to enter into a conversation of morality with us? If so, why can they not learn to discover scientific principles? If they can, why are they not counted as one of us?

Cpl Ferro
Well, there's how to not answer simple questions.

So, you think that by having a conversation about morals we are the moral centre of the universe? Despite the fact that we are utterly incapable of agreeing what is moral and what isn't, and are utterly incapable of behaving in accordance with whatever we decide (arbitrarily) to be moral.

Do you want to have another try? This time concentrate on what was actually asked.

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Old 12th November 2013, 02:38 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
......If we can conquer Terra, there is no reason we can't conquer the rest of the universe......

Cpl Ferro
No, you're right, I can't think of a single reason why we couldn't conquer the entire 14.5-billion-light-year-across universe. Not a single one.
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Old 12th November 2013, 03:18 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
If we can conquer Terra, there is no reason we can't conquer the rest of the universe.

Here's three reasons...
  1. The 14.5-billion-light-year observable universe is not the entire universe. As far as we know, it's possible that the actual size of the universe might be infinite, in which case it would be logically impossible for us to occupy the entire universe.
  2. Due to the ongoing expansion of the universe, there are galaxies in the observable universe receding from us at faster than the speed of light. It is physically impossible for us to ever reach them.
  3. We're part of the universe, so in order to conquer the entire universe we'd also have to conquer ourselves. And if we did that, this would mean we've also been conquered by the universe. (Less facetiously; to conquer something literally means to defeat it by force of arms, so the concept of conquering the universe is nonsensical if taken literally. Since you have yet to explain the figurative meaning of your use of "conquer" in this context, your assertion that we could conquer the universe remains completely meaningless.)
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Old 12th November 2013, 06:48 PM   #91
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Dear et al,

I appreciate all your questions and would like to answer them, and I apologise if this seems like I'm being a jerk, but, I'm overloaded. I feel like Magneto versus the X-men and that's never a good thing. My failing, I have yet to establish a protocol on threads indicating I wish to converse with one person, not three or four or six or however many frogpile on. Henceforth, I will answer only Akri, then. Hopefully your questions will be answered by my answers to her/him.

Dear Akri,

Categorical as in total or capital error admixed with categorical as in classificatory. Man seeks to master nature for his own benefit, in part by efforts at classifying things, and yet comes up with a—here taxonomic—system that reduces him to the altitude of an animal, as if that were the final word. It's part of our overall demoralisation as a species that I reference implicitly in my post to you concerning the toppling of the Western project.

On language, it is human speech I use as the yardstick for judging all other life. This is the yardstick of profundity and survival; what other could I possibly be expected to use? And, by this measure, all other creatures are unspeaking. They may verbally signal, but they do not talk as men talk—they cannot access profundity (or, if they can and do, they do not share it very well, and again, if you can find me one, I will happily induct it into humanity).

Potential relative population density refers to the power to sustain a given population per square kilometre. Not necessarily achieving that population, but with the potential to achieve it, relative to terrain types. How to calculate it exactly would I think need referring to LaRouche's manual on economics, which I have not completely read, but, in general the idea should be to consider how much food we could be producing, how much building materials, how many hospitals we can build and run, and so on, based on what LaRouche terms the “energy throughput” per square centimetre—in short, how much power we have available as a society.

In contrast to this, I am not aware of any other species that can increase its potential relative population density. If they could do it at all, they would be doing it as we do, with the creation of history and the historical dynamic. Beavers and honeybees sort of “ape” what we do, but their activity is based on instinct, not scientific discovery, transmission, and application of universal principles.

Humans have survived—briefly--at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, as I recall in the 1960s. As every invading alien should eventually find out, do not underestimate mankind.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...ns-science-sub

This 600-fold increase in carrying capacity is the best measure I am aware of of the advance of ideas, of light, at it were, illuminating the darkness of the universe. Is there any better criteria for judging which species is the moral centre of the universe than this? That's the connection I'm drawing here, between highest power of mind, and moral superiority. Is there any way to demote man from the highest moral rung in a way that does not lead to chaos or self-destruction?

“We're mastering the Earth, Mike. We've increased the carrying capacity of Terra by a factor of 600. “
“What does that mean and how did you arrive at the number you did?”

It means that 600 times as many humans now live on Terra as could live a number of nonhuman (viz, non-technological) hominids. This is, I think, derived from considering nonhuman hominids to be equivalent to what are more conventionally termed “apes” and considering their maximum population densities.

“Any other species of...animals...would have entered dieoff long ago. “
“Evidence? “

As above, if there were any other species with the population expansion capacity of man, then there would be no limit to their expansion. They would be like us, and since there aren't any known besides us, there aren't any known.

“If we can conquer Terra, there is no reason we can't conquer the rest of the universe. “
“Sure there is. "Terra" (are you a Warhammer 40k player by any chance?) is very different from other parts of the universe, and thus "conquering" (have you bothered to define this term yet?) Terra does not necessarily mean the rest of the universe can be conquered. Living in a desert or a jungle is not the same as living in a vacuum or on (in?) a gas giant.”

Those are speculative reasons, not universal principles barring our way. We can think positive.

By “conquer” I mean something to the effect of “bend to our will, exploit, populate, discover, or improve”. Not that everything can or will be conquered as if there were no rules to the engagement—it seems it will be a long time before we conquer every last cubic metre of interplanetary space, but who knows?--but that the universe is inherently a fertile place.

Cpl Ferro

PS.
I admire the background for W40K, though I haven't played any of that in years. I picked up calling Earth Terra and the Moon Luna from other science fiction. It's more consistent with the rest of the solar system's nomenclature. Do you play?

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Old 12th November 2013, 09:17 PM   #92
Akri
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
Dear et al,

I appreciate all your questions and would like to answer them, and I apologise if this seems like I'm being a jerk, but, I'm overloaded. I feel like Magneto versus the X-men and that's never a good thing. My failing, I have yet to establish a protocol on threads indicating I wish to converse with one person, not three or four or six or however many frogpile on. Henceforth, I will answer only Akri, then. Hopefully your questions will be answered by my answers to her/him.
There are a lot of problems with this decision (including the fact that this is a discussion forum, not a private conversation, and it is thus a bit rude to both want to continue the conversation in public AND only address one person).

However, the decision would be a bit more tolerable if your responses to me were well thought-out and actually dealt with my criticisms in a meaningful way, instead of simply using special pleading and moving the goalposts in order to dodge the issues. You aren't even attempting to address the problem I've pointed out repeatedly of you starting with your conclusion and working backwards.
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Old 13th November 2013, 02:13 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
....... I wish to converse with one person, not three or four or six or however many frogpile on. Henceforth, I will answer only Akri, then........
This is not only not the way it works on a public forum, it is simply damn rude.

You haven't answered anyone yet, let alone Akri. When you actually produce evidence as opposed to assertion, and when you stop working backwards from your desired outcome, then people might start taking you seriously.
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Old 15th November 2013, 12:16 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
There are a lot of problems with this decision (including the fact that this is a discussion forum, not a private conversation, and it is thus a bit rude to both want to continue the conversation in public AND only address one person).

However, the decision would be a bit more tolerable if your responses to me were well thought-out and actually dealt with my criticisms in a meaningful way, instead of simply using special pleading and moving the goalposts in order to dodge the issues. You aren't even attempting to address the problem I've pointed out repeatedly of you starting with your conclusion and working backwards.
Rude, Akri? No, I'm not rude, I'm honest. Why would anyone want to debate someone who is overtaxed? Hardly a fair contest. The Internet is rude for presenting forums where multiple people frogpile one, who is expected to reply to every jot and tittle. I am tired of this sort of thing, and am being honest about it. The Internet is what we make of it. Why shouldn't there be more one-on-one viewable by all comers? Just custom, is all. Will I be called rude when I put a disclaimer at the bottom of my future posts indicating my desire for singular reply modes? Probably, huh!

But, your reply (2nd par) tells me that you are invulnerable to persuasion, because the essence of my point in this thread is to distinguish between man and beast, and tell why man is morally the superior. And, I've done that, in sketch. Man, by virtue of his mind, is uniquely capable of wilfully discovering ideas of nature and mind, that he can translate into technology and art that let him reorganise society so as to increase his power over nature. His mind, again, is key. Without this, let him fall prey to the taxonomers. If this initial sketch does not excite your sense of human dominion, what else could I say that would change your mind? If human superiority is not self-evident from this, then to you I say, "Animal rights?" For why should to the roach not have rights, if there is no moral difference between man and beast? Or, should we all be squashed equally?

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Old 15th November 2013, 12:37 PM   #95
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Having a one-on-one discussion on a forum is rude because that's not what forums are for. If you don't have time for the discussion then either back out of the conversation entirely, or focus on answering the most pressing arguments regardless of who made them (or else simply take things slowly--there's no time limit). You don't have to respond to every little statement everyone makes, but if someone brings up a good argument you shouldn't ignore them just because they aren't me. There's a right and wrong way to deal with having limited time to deal with a forum discussion, and picking a single person to deal with is not the right way.


Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
But, your reply (2nd par) tells me that you are invulnerable to persuasion
I'm quite vulnerable to persuasion. The trick is that your arguments need to actually be persuasive. They are not.

Quote:
because the essence of my point in this thread is to distinguish between man and beast, and tell why man is morally the superior. And, I've done that, in sketch.
No you haven't. You've yet to explain why "conquering the universe" is a sign of moral superiority. Or why using language is a sign of moral superiority. Or why the taxonomic classification of "animal" should be taken to denote any kind of moral inferiority.

Quote:
Man, by virtue of his mind, is uniquely capable of wilfully discovering ideas of nature and mind, that he can translate into technology and art that let him reorganise society so as to increase his power over nature. His mind, again, is key. Without this, let him fall prey to the taxonomers.
You're continuing to paint the taxonomic classification of humans as a bad thing, without offering any reason that doesn't involve assuming things not in evidence.

Quote:
If this initial sketch does not excite your sense of human dominion, what else could I say that would change your mind?
Something based on facts rather than emotional appeals would be a good start.

Quote:
If human superiority is not self-evident from this, then to you I say, "Animal rights?" For why should to the roach not have rights, if there is no moral difference between man and beast? Or, should we all be squashed equally?
Oh, I do think that there are moral differences between humans and other animals (with quite a few organisms existing in a fuzzy area that I'm unsure how to define). I just don't think you've presented a worthwhile argument on that, or any other, front.

In the interest of helping the conversation along, I'd like to suggest that you drop the flowery language in favor of being as straightforward as possible. Purple prose is not your friend in this kind of discussion. If you can't state your ideas in plain language then it's probable that you don't actually understand them (you wouldn't be the first person to have that problem, though, so don't feel bad).
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Old 15th November 2013, 01:08 PM   #96
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Animals are perfect "in-the-box" thinkers, human beings can think "in" and "out" of the box. Humans can make things which are pefectly senseless and avoid making things which make perfect sense (and the way around). If nobody ever would have said: "What is funny about living in a cave, why not build houses" we still would live in caves. This way humans are less "perfect" than animals.They have the ability of "neurosis" and "imperfection". That is lifting them above evolution in which progress occurs as disadvantage of a complete species or advantage of another one, being more "perfect". The human race does not depend entirely from such an evolutionary selection process. That is the difference.

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Old 15th November 2013, 01:14 PM   #97
Akri
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Originally Posted by MaxMurx View Post
Animals are perfect "in-the-box" thinkers, human beings can think "in" and "out" of the box. Humans can make things which are pefectly senseless and avoid making things which make perfect sense (and the way around). If nobody ever would have said: "What is funny about living in a cave, why not build houses" we still would live in caves. This way humans are less "perfect" than animals.They have the ability of "neurosis" and "imperfection". That is lifting them above evolution in which progress occurs as disadvantage of a complete species or advantage of another one, being more "perfect". The human race does not depend entirely from such an evolutionary selection process. That is the difference.
Except we're discussing "animals" in the taxonomic sense, which means humans are included in that category. We can talk about what separates humans from other animals, but not what separates us from animals in general (in the same way that we can talk about what separates dogs from other animals, but not what separates dogs from animals in general).
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Old 15th November 2013, 07:14 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
Having a one-on-one discussion on a forum is rude because that's not what forums are for. If you don't have time for the discussion then either back out of the conversation entirely, or focus on answering the most pressing arguments regardless of who made them (or else simply take things slowly--there's no time limit). You don't have to respond to every little statement everyone makes, but if someone brings up a good argument you shouldn't ignore them just because they aren't me. There's a right and wrong way to deal with having limited time to deal with a forum discussion, and picking a single person to deal with is not the right way.



I'm quite vulnerable to persuasion. The trick is that your arguments need to actually be persuasive. They are not.


No you haven't. You've yet to explain why "conquering the universe" is a sign of moral superiority. Or why using language is a sign of moral superiority. Or why the taxonomic classification of "animal" should be taken to denote any kind of moral inferiority.


You're continuing to paint the taxonomic classification of humans as a bad thing, without offering any reason that doesn't involve assuming things not in evidence.


Something based on facts rather than emotional appeals would be a good start.


Oh, I do think that there are moral differences between humans and other animals (with quite a few organisms existing in a fuzzy area that I'm unsure how to define). I just don't think you've presented a worthwhile argument on that, or any other, front.

In the interest of helping the conversation along, I'd like to suggest that you drop the flowery language in favor of being as straightforward as possible. Purple prose is not your friend in this kind of discussion. If you can't state your ideas in plain language then it's probable that you don't actually understand them (you wouldn't be the first person to have that problem, though, so don't feel bad).
Dear Akri,

The situation is like being in a cocktail party, except without the natural limitations of the cocktail party. If I'm having a conversation with someone at one, and three other people start talking to me, all at once, each expecting their tangent to be addressed, without the sum conversation of the group gelling into a single back and forth, then me saying, "Whoa, pardon me, too many comers, let me answer you," is not violating anything except the inherent rudeness and dysfunctionality of the crowd.

Blech. I'm done with metaconversations.

I'm throwing the ball into your court. I've sketched out the direction I see human moral supremacy coming from, and you've waved it all away. So, I ask you, are humans morally supreme in this universe or are they not? If they are, where are you getting your notion of supremacy from? If not, what would it take to convince you otherwise? (And don't say "evidence". I have no idea what kind of "evidence" would persuade you. If nothing would persuade you, then my statement of your immunity to the perception of human nobility stands.)

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Old 15th November 2013, 08:18 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
I'm throwing the ball into your court. I've sketched out the direction I see human moral supremacy coming from, and you've waved it all away.
I've asked you to actually explain your view instead of merely asserting it. That's not "waving it all away". But it's interesting that you took it that way.

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So, I ask you, are humans morally supreme in this universe or are they not?
As I said earlier in the thread, I'm not sure that's a valid question. Other animals don't appear to care about morals, but that doesn't necessarily make us morally superior to them. If we're not even measuring on the same scale then is it really accurate to say that we're superior? Different, sure.

Of course, this all hinges on what we define "morality" as. Thus far I don't think you've bothered to actually explain that bit.

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If not, what would it take to convince you otherwise?
To start, you need to define your terms. You need to actually explain how the things you've been talking about ("conquering the universe", using speech, whatever else you've mentioned) are connected to morality, because I honestly do not see the connection. Then, if your argument is that humans are morally superior, then you need to show that only humans do these things (or that only we do it in a way that involves morality). You need to do this without special pleading or moving goalposts. So if you say "only humans do X" and then you're given examples of animals that do X, you don't get to then re-define X to be something else. You need to actuall address the arguments being put toward you, instead of sidestepping them. That issue of you constantly taking the term "animal" to imply stupidity, lack of morality, lack of speaking ability, etc, is a big issue that you need to deal with.

In short, you need to actually read what I and others have been saying, and address those concerns in a way that does not rely on special pleading, shifting goalposts, and flat-out evasion.
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Old 17th November 2013, 06:15 PM   #100
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Dear Akri,

It's equally interesting to me that you seem to have no interest in human nobility, although I eagerly await correction on this count. If you had such interest, you would see that I am pointing you in the direction of an idea, namely of humanity as a unique species, or kind of species, with a unique imperative and prerogative in the universe.

That you're “not sure [the question of human supremacy] is a valid question” alludes to this disinterest. If we're not superior, then what is our relationship to other animals? Equality? How is that possible, and what moral theory justifies it, and what should we do to those who violate that equality by their choice of clothing, diet, medical experimentation, pest control, or simply land development? Or is morality—the field concerning what we should or should not do--merely custom? I mean, where are you coming from, here? Do you not live in a place from which the indigenous life has been killed or excluded to allow for your presence and life support?

I'm not shifting the bedposts or whatever, I'm talking about mankind. Mankind! Does mankind have a right to survive at the expense of any other life form, and, if so, why?

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Old 17th November 2013, 11:08 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
It's equally interesting to me that you seem to have no interest in human nobility
I'm gonna stop you right there. You're confusing me not finding your arguments persuasive with me not being interested in the concepts being discussed. This is a mistake.

Quote:
If you had such interest, you would see that I am pointing you in the direction of an idea, namely of humanity as a unique species, or kind of species, with a unique imperative and prerogative in the universe.
What you're doing here is called "poisoning the well." You're inventing a reason to dismiss my arguments by declaring that I can only be disagreeing with you if I'm disinterested.

Quote:
That you're “not sure [the question of human supremacy] is a valid question” alludes to this disinterest.
Being unsure is not the same as being disinterested.

Quote:
Do you not live in a place from which the indigenous life has been killed or excluded to allow for your presence and life support?
I think you're confused about what I mean when I said that I disagree about our moral superiority. It's not that I think other animals are equal to humans under human morality. It's that I don't think our morality is better than theirs, because they do not have a morality to compare ours to. So to me, saying we're morally superior to other animals is like saying that a jet's flight ability is superior to a tank's. It doesn't make sense to be comparing them on that front in the first place.

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I'm not shifting the bedposts or whatever, I'm talking about mankind. Mankind!
Yes, you are shifting goalposts. One example of this is when you went from arguing that no other animal can increase it's potential relative population density. You then named two creatures that do this (beavers and bees) and then immediately declared that they don't count because they don't use technology. You shifted the argument from "no other animals can increase potential population density" to "no other animals can increase potential population density via technology". You changed the claim after the fact in order to better fit your data.

Quote:
Does mankind have a right to survive at the expense of any other life form, and, if so, why?
See, at no other point have you asked this question. That's a big part of why this conversation is having problems: the things you're saying are apparently not the things you actually wish to discuss. If you want to talk about whether or not mankind should be has a right to survive at the expense of other life forms, then that's what you need to ask. I won't speak for anyone else, but it absolutely was not clear to me that this was the direction you were trying to take the conversation. Your train of thought does not travel the way mine does, so you need to actually spell out your thought processes. Otherwise I'm not going to have the slightest clue what it is you're actually trying to discuss.

As for the above question: I think we have as much a right to survive at their expense as they do to survive at our expense.
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Old 18th November 2013, 08:30 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
...is morality—the field concerning what we should or should not do--merely custom?..
Yes.

It is a purely human concept and solely dependent on the social mores of the group of humans you happen to be taking to at any one time.

Your morality is not my morality and it is certainly neither universal or superior.
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Old 18th November 2013, 08:38 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
...Does mankind have a right to survive at the expense of any other life form,
Yes.
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..and, if so, why?
Because practically EVERY species on the planet survives at the expense of another life form, we are no different from animals in that sense.

But this is not an organisms right, it is merely the influence of natural selection on the organism.
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Old 19th November 2013, 02:35 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
It is a purely human concept [...]
As far as we know, but we don't know a whole lot about what goes on in the minds of non-human creatures. There is evidence that elephants mourn their dead, and that crows can carry a grudge for an amazing length of time. We don't know if this or other animal behavior involves anything we might describe as morality, but we don't know it doesn't. Basically, a lot of open questions, and leaping to conclusions is probably not the best approach.

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[...] and solely dependent on the social mores of the group of humans you happen to be taking to at any one time.

Your morality is not my morality and it is certainly neither universal or superior.
This is all true and relevant, however.
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Old 19th November 2013, 06:01 AM   #105
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As far as moral supremacy goes, we do seem to be the only animal to label certain behaviours moral or immoral on often arbitrary or irrational grounds, whereas plenty of other species have effective 'codes of conduct' that tend to punish transgressors and reward adherents, and for which there is usually a clear survival advantage for the relevant population.

It also seems to me that we probably have a far greater variation between population groups (cultures) in those behavioural aspects we associate with morality than other species do in those aspects.

In some cultures the right to kill in retaliation or retribution rests with the individual, in others with the family, and in others only with the leadership; in some cultures those who can no longer contribute are abandoned, in others they are maintained; in some cultures homosexuality is accepted, in others it isn't; in some cultures polygamy is fine, in others not; in some cultures cannibalism is OK, in others not; in some cultures the sexes are held to be equal, in others, not... and so-on. There do seem to be some simple underlying codes of conduct we have in common with other species, but they seem to have been distorted and corrupted in a wide variety of ways - thanks to our powerful, but often wayward, intellectual capabilities.

When it comes to unnecessary violence against our own kind, particularly large-scale violence, there's little doubt we're supreme, and we're pretty good at needlessly destroying other species too.

Whether any of this really equates to 'moral supremacy', or is necessarily something to be proud of overall, is a subjective judgement - like morality itself. That certain rules of behaviour are a result of sophisticated intellectual processes does not, of itself, necessarily add value or make them universally desirable.
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Old 19th November 2013, 12:13 PM   #106
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Dear Akri,

That you do take interest in human nobility is excellent. We are ahead of the game, now.

I do not wish to poison any wells. I'm asking you if you recognise man as unique, out of your intuition if nothing else?

“That you're “not sure [the question of human supremacy] is a valid question” alludes to this disinterest. “
“Being unsure is not the same as being disinterested.”

Okay, I retract that and replace it with, "Given my experience in talking with these matters, with people who see nothing special in man, I find it easy to confuse unsureness with disinterest."

“Do you not live in a place from which the indigenous life has been killed or excluded to allow for your presence and life support?
"I think you're confused about what I mean when I said that I disagree about our moral superiority. It's not that I think other animals are equal to humans under human morality. It's that I don't think our morality is better than theirs, because they do not have a morality to compare ours to. So to me, saying we're morally superior to other animals is like saying that a jet's flight ability is superior to a tank's. It doesn't make sense to be comparing them on that front in the first place.”

I'm unclear here: you think animals are inferior to humans “under human morality” and that comparing human morality to animal morality is a non-starter. Do you see the problem here? I'm not aware that animals have any morality to compare ours to either—so that leaves us with human morality as the one and only morality we have available to consider. Under that morality, as you seem to agree, animals are not the equal of men.

“I'm not shifting the bedposts or whatever, I'm talking about mankind. Mankind!”
“Yes, you are shifting goalposts. One example of this is when you went from arguing that no other animal can increase it's potential relative population density. You then named two creatures that do this (beavers and bees) and then immediately declared that they don't count because they don't use technology. You shifted the argument from "no other animals can increase potential population density" to "no other animals can increase potential population density via technology". You changed the claim after the fact in order to better fit your data. “

Mea culpa; I have made an incomplete argument, by failing to include the adverb “willfully”. Can beavers and bees increase their population densities beyond the limits set by genetic nature? That is, they use technology (viz, architecture) to increase their respective population densities, but those things are never willfully improved, are they? Their populations reach a peak and then stop growing, because there is no willful development of ideas. Whereas man has no known upper limit on improving his technological practise. At our best, we consciously tap into the intellectual font of the universe in a way animals can not dream of.

“Does mankind have a right to survive at the expense of any other life form, and, if so, why?”
“See, at no other point have you asked this question. That's a big part of why this conversation is having problems: the things you're saying are apparently not the things you actually wish to discuss. If you want to talk about whether or not mankind should be has a right to survive at the expense of other life forms, then that's what you need to ask. I won't speak for anyone else, but it absolutely was not clear to me that this was the direction you were trying to take the conversation. Your train of thought does not travel the way mine does, so you need to actually spell out your thought processes. Otherwise I'm not going to have the slightest clue what it is you're actually trying to discuss.”

Then, the background to my questions it may serve well to illuminate. The concept of human nobility I'm speaking to comes to me from Lyndon LaRouche, who claims to be operating in the tradition of classical humanism, an idea extending back to the ancient Greeks at the latest. In essence, it is man exalted, man liberated, man developed personally and socially, against the political, religious, philosophical opponents of such freedom. He focusses on economics as defining man, as man discovers ideas and translates them into technological practise.

My first question, was, “Are there any recorded instances of animals experiencing a human-level disgust?” The subject of human taxonomic classification came up and I began arguing in favour of some kind of distinction being made, later conceding that taxonomic distinguishing was not appropriate. Since then, I've been arguing from the general idea of human moral and active distinctiveness. This is what I wish to formulate regarding, the idea that man is the centre of the universe. That is why I ask questions regarding the differences between man and animal.

“As for the above question: I think we have as much a right to survive at their expense as they do to survive at our expense. “

Which should strike you as problematic. If your right to eat the deer and live is exactly equal to the deer's right to elude and starve you, how shall we resolve the matter? If there is no solution it seems like a difficult way to live, with an incomplete morality.

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Old 19th November 2013, 12:24 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
......If your right to eat the deer and live is exactly equal to the deer's right to elude and starve you, how shall we resolve the matter? If there is no solution it seems like a difficult way to live, with an incomplete morality.....
Ah, finally, we're getting somewhere.
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Old 19th November 2013, 04:20 PM   #108
Akri
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
I'm asking you if you recognise man as unique, out of your intuition if nothing else?
We are unique in some ways and non-unique in others. Just like everything else.

Quote:
I'm unclear here: you think animals are inferior to humans “under human morality” and that comparing human morality to animal morality is a non-starter. Do you see the problem here?
Yes, I do see the problem: you're misrepresenting my statements. I did not say that animals are inferior to humans under human morality. I said that human moral systems cannot be compared to animal moral systems because animals do not have moral systems that we are aware of.

That said, even if I did say that animals are inferior to humans under human morality there would be no problem. Both statements can be true: we can be superior under our own morality, without comparing our morality to theirs.

Quote:
Mea culpa; I have made an incomplete argument, by failing to include the adverb “willfully”.
So now you've switched over to special pleading. Why does it matter that we do it willfully while they simply do it? Answer: because it allows you to support your desired conclusion of "humans are special".

Quote:
Which should strike you as problematic. If your right to eat the deer and live is exactly equal to the deer's right to elude and starve you, how shall we resolve the matter?
Perhaps I should have said that both groups have the right to try and survive at the other's expense.
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Old 19th November 2013, 07:26 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
As far as we know, but we don't know a whole lot about what goes on in the minds of non-human creatures. There is evidence that elephants mourn their dead, and that crows can carry a grudge for an amazing length of time. We don't know if this or other animal behavior involves anything we might describe as morality, but we don't know it doesn't. Basically, a lot of open questions, and leaping to conclusions is probably not the best approach.
There are at least two other threads on the subject that I've participated on, on the subject. I can assure you I'm not jumping to conclusions -but I am not very convinced that these reactions are much more that autoresponses, or even a degree of anthropomorphism. And that is just on "feelings". Ascribing morality to animals is pushing it even further. IMO of course.

Eta : This thread is relevant to our sidebar here, where I hopefully explain my opinion more fully.
Animal emotions including depression and suicide.
Quote:
This is all true and relevant, however.
The OP seems to have given up on demonstrating that animals actually register disgust.
Extrapolating this lack of evidence for one reaction to that of morality is realy missing the point of logical discussion.
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Old 21st November 2013, 12:12 PM   #110
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Dear Akri,

"I'm asking you if you recognise man as unique, out of your intuition if nothing else? "
"We are unique in some ways and non-unique in others. Just like everything else."
But, you don't think that uniqueness makes us morally superior. What would, in your view, make us morally superior?
"I'm unclear here: you think animals are inferior to humans “under human morality” and that comparing human morality to animal morality is a non-starter. Do you see the problem here? "
"Yes, I do see the problem: you're misrepresenting my statements. I did not say that animals are inferior to humans under human morality. I said that human moral systems cannot be compared to animal moral systems because animals do not have moral systems that we are aware of.

"That said, even if I did say that animals are inferior to humans under human morality there would be no problem. Both statements can be true: we can be superior under our own morality, without comparing our morality to theirs. "
Fair enough, for I don't think animals have moral systems either. The only moral system we have, if we view humans en toto, is ours. So, we might as well call “our morality” just plain “morality” unless there is anything to compete with it, which apparently there is not.
Why don't you think humans are superior under the only moral system we have?
"Mea culpa; I have made an incomplete argument, by failing to include the adverb “willfully”."
"So now you've switched over to special pleading. Why does it matter that we do it willfully while they simply do it? Answer: because it allows you to support your desired conclusion of "humans are special"."
You don't think it worth distinguishing between increases in potential relative population density caused by consciousnesses apprehending ideas, and that caused by impersonal forces? Animals have a genetic limit on their increases in population, which we lack, since there is no evidence ideas are anything other than an inexhaustible resource.
"Which should strike you as problematic. If your right to eat the deer and live is exactly equal to the deer's right to elude and starve you, how shall we resolve the matter? "
"Perhaps I should have said that both groups have the right to try and survive at the other's expense."

I would be interested in knowing where for you such rights, for human and animal, come from, in order to better see that they are true.

But, also, how could such a right to "try and survive at the other's expense" be denied? What would denying a roach's right to try to survive look like? If it's undeniable, does that also make it meaningless?

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Old 21st November 2013, 12:15 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
There are at least two other threads on the subject that I've participated on, on the subject. I can assure you I'm not jumping to conclusions -but I am not very convinced that these reactions are much more that autoresponses, or even a degree of anthropomorphism. And that is just on "feelings". Ascribing morality to animals is pushing it even further. IMO of course.

Eta : This thread is relevant to our sidebar here, where I hopefully explain my opinion more fully.
Animal emotions including depression and suicide. The OP seems to have given up on demonstrating that animals actually register disgust.
Extrapolating this lack of evidence for one reaction to that of morality is realy missing the point of logical discussion.
Never had a dog or cat?
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Old 21st November 2013, 12:39 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
Dear Akri,

"I'm asking you if you recognise man as unique, out of your intuition if nothing else? "
"We are unique in some ways and non-unique in others. Just like everything else."
But, you don't think that uniqueness makes us morally superior. What would, in your view, make us morally superior?
"I'm unclear here: you think animals are inferior to humans “under human morality” and that comparing human morality to animal morality is a non-starter. Do you see the problem here? "
"Yes, I do see the problem: you're misrepresenting my statements. I did not say that animals are inferior to humans under human morality. I said that human moral systems cannot be compared to animal moral systems because animals do not have moral systems that we are aware of.

"That said, even if I did say that animals are inferior to humans under human morality there would be no problem. Both statements can be true: we can be superior under our own morality, without comparing our morality to theirs. "
Fair enough, for I don't think animals have moral systems either. The only moral system we have, if we view humans en toto, is ours. So, we might as well call “our morality” just plain “morality” unless there is anything to compete with it, which apparently there is not.
Why don't you think humans are superior under the only moral system we have?
"Mea culpa; I have made an incomplete argument, by failing to include the adverb “willfully”."
"So now you've switched over to special pleading. Why does it matter that we do it willfully while they simply do it? Answer: because it allows you to support your desired conclusion of "humans are special"."
You don't think it worth distinguishing between increases in potential relative population density caused by consciousnesses apprehending ideas, and that caused by impersonal forces? Animals have a genetic limit on their increases in population, which we lack, since there is no evidence ideas are anything other than an inexhaustible resource.
"Which should strike you as problematic. If your right to eat the deer and live is exactly equal to the deer's right to elude and starve you, how shall we resolve the matter? "
"Perhaps I should have said that both groups have the right to try and survive at the other's expense."

I would be interested in knowing where for you such rights, for human and animal, come from, in order to better see that they are true.

But, also, how could such a right to "try and survive at the other's expense" be denied? What would denying a roach's right to try to survive look like? If it's undeniable, does that also make it meaningless?

Cpl Ferro
Why do you put parentheses around almost every sentence? This is normally done in only two circumstances: when quoting someone, or when an author is indicating dialogue in a work of prose.

If you are quoting someone from this site, then you should name them, and provide a link to the original, and this is done very quickly and easily by using the Quote button at the bottom RH corner of the post you are quoting. You might have noticed that everyone else does it the way I have just described.

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Old 21st November 2013, 01:06 PM   #113
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When chimpansees had a language, they would use a different word to distinguish their superior nature from animals who are less intelligent then them. Maybe when we did not exist, they would call themselves 'humans'.
And when a more intelligent spieces will come in to existence, milions of years later, they maybe will call us 'animal', and themselves 'humanity'.
Relativity, that's the key.
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Old 21st November 2013, 01:57 PM   #114
Akri
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
But, you don't think that uniqueness makes us morally superior. What would, in your view, make us morally superior?
That depends on what you mean by "morally superior". If you mean that our moral system is superior to their moral system, then that is both correct and meaningless, in the same way that it is a correct bun meaningless comparison to say that a 747 flies better than a Ford pickup.

If you mean what makes us superior under our own moral system, then it depends which system you're looking at (humans have several).

Quote:
Why don't you think humans are superior under the only moral system we have?
I don't recall every saying that humans are not superior under our own moral system.

Quote:
You don't think it worth distinguishing between increases in potential relative population density caused by consciousnesses apprehending ideas, and that caused by impersonal forces?
Not unless you can give a reason for this to be important other than "because it supports the conclusion that humans are special".

Quote:
I would be interested in knowing where for you such rights, for human and animal, come from, in order to better see that they are true.
You're the one who introduced rights to the discussion. Feel free to offer your own definition, and then I'll amend my statements as necessary.

Quote:
But, also, how could such a right to "try and survive at the other's expense" be denied? What would denying a roach's right to try to survive look like? If it's undeniable, does that also make it meaningless?
Again, you're the one who brought up the concept. Feel free to explain what you mean with the terms you introduce to the conversation.
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Old 21st November 2013, 03:25 PM   #115
EHocking
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Originally Posted by Polaris View Post
Never had a dog or cat?
Not uncoincidentally that was practically the first response to my post on the other thread.

And all it does is pretty much support my claim that people tend to anthropomorphise animals' reactions into human emotional responses.

Oh, and the answer to your question - yes. Many.
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Old 21st November 2013, 05:05 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by CplFerro View Post
If your right to eat the deer and live is exactly equal to the deer's right to elude and starve you, how shall we resolve the matter?
"One goes further with a handful of might than with a bagful of right."
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Old 21st November 2013, 05:53 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
And all it does is pretty much support my claim that people tend to anthropomorphise animals' reactions into human emotional responses.
It may simply be anthropomorphism, true, but parsimony suggests that a fellow mammal, displaying a reaction that resembles disgust to a stimulus that could be reasonably thought to invoke disgust is somewhat more likely to be experiencing disgust than some unknown alien emotion or emotion-analogue.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 06:42 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
Not uncoincidentally that was practically the first response to my post on the other thread.

And all it does is pretty much support my claim that people tend to anthropomorphise animals' reactions into human emotional responses.

Oh, and the answer to your question - yes. Many.
I tend to think claims toward anthropomorphism are a holdout of bad science past, grounded in the mistaken notion that there's something special about homo sapiens that separates it significantly from the rest of the animal kingdom to the point that some people maintain that humans aren't animals at all.

The more we learn about animals, the more we find that there is less and less that makes us truly special among the kingdom (personally I think the passing down of information beyond immediate generations is the only thing that does), and as has been pointed out in this thread, it strains belief that emotions just popped into existence with humanity when there are so many other shared traits.

The converse is that if animal emotions are merely autonomous responses, then there's no evidence that ours are something else, which would make them no less real to us, or any less real to animals experiencing them, leading me to conclude that it's a distinction without a difference.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 06:51 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
It may simply be anthropomorphism, true, but parsimony suggests that a fellow mammal, displaying a reaction that resembles disgust to a stimulus that could be reasonably thought to invoke disgust is somewhat more likely to be experiencing disgust than some unknown alien emotion or emotion-analogue.
I've seen a reaction that definitely resembled disgust in one of my cats when he sniffed my ex-girlfriend's hand lotion. A very recognizable "eeeeeewwww!"

I've also seen the same reaction in a tiger when sniffing Obsession for Men, despite his brother absolutely loving it.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 07:41 AM   #120
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I read this thread with little interest until I recalled a funny clip in an email received quite some time ago.

Looked and found it on YT by typing the most unsavoury line in my google bar yet.

Just had to post this as it sure does look like disgust to me . . .


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdOY4OgZaHM


Other's thoughts ?
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