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  #41  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:46 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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How about this, between cats and dogs, which are more self aware? I just don't know. I wish there was a way to output a cats brain pattern and input it into a human brain.

The result would probably be a strong urge to move to Canada, buy too many drums, and come up with a logo for yourself.

Bam!
You would probably be sitting around licking yourself.
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  #42  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Agreed. Habits are learned. Acting to someone coming home is learned. They do have memory.which they use through the recognition of patterns. But this again is just a reaction.
Is there anything that people do that can't be dismissed as "just a reaction"??


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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
How about this, between cats and dogs, which are more self aware? I just don't know. I wish there was a way to output a cats brain pattern and input it into a human brain.

The result would probably be a strong urge to move to Canada, buy too many drums, and come up with a logo for yourself.
Dogs are smarter than cats, no doubt. People are sometimes fooled by the arrogant mask cats wear to mask their ignorance. Having said that, when they're in the mood cats are champion cuddlers ...
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  #43  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

I believe they do. Companion animals can even often understand our thought processes, be it by interpreting body language, taught cues, or what have you, many animals will help others in need, offer quiet comfort when we're upset...

I'm a "cat guy" I love them and have always had at least one as a companion. I've watched cats work out their path in their head before taking some insane climbing route to the top of a house. I've watched cats have spats between one another, and form lasting bonds with their playmates, and even humans. I've known cats who got depressed when their friend passed away, much the same way my grandmother was never the same after grandpa's passing. They have their own agendas, and independent thought is a given in my mind. This simply can't all be instinct, because each one has it's own personality. You can tell where instinct comes in.

Overall I think "animals" have a lot more going on upstairs than we give them credit for sometimes. Often the complexity of their thought process is limited, and just as in humans, some of them (and us) are incredibly stupid.
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  #44  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Dogs are smarter than cats, no doubt.
I've always made a distinction between "intelligence" and capacity for learning specific things a specific way. I've noticed that dogs seem to have more aptness to learn behaviors at our beck, while cats seem to have a bit more capacity to learn on their own, but can't be bothered to learn "tricks" beyond a few steps. Like me, it seems to be an attention span issue.
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  #45  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

We have a neighborhood cat around here. When I say hi to her, she always answers back with a meow just like a neighbor would say hi. She doesn't want to be petted. I just see her passing by now and then going from here to there.
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  #46  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Is there anything that people do that can't be dismissed as "just a reaction"??




Dogs are smarter than cats, no doubt. ...
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  #47  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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You would probably be sitting around licking yourself...
... and going round the drums marking your territory!
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  #48  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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... and going round the drums marking your territory!
That would be a lot of urine for my kit. :)
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  #49  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
We have a neighborhood cat around here. When I say hi to her, she always answers back with a meow just like a neighbor would say hi. She doesn't want to be petted. I just see her passing by now and then going from here to there.
I can't think how this is an instinct. Responding to verbal cues from another species when you have no intent to cultivate any line of self-serving. Sounds like a friendly disposition. That's not fear keeping her from coming over for some cuddling. Fear would dictate that she stay quiet and out of sight. She just isn't personally interested in much more than a quick "hi", or has bigger fish to fry.
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  #50  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

I tell my cats to stay, and they stay! See!

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  #51  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Animals are not self-aware. They don't understand the concept of a self, or even know what a concept is. Animals do not reason; they are like computers. They take in data and follow a set of instructions (instincts). They react to something based on whether it gives them pleasure or pain.

There are no levels of self-awareness: either you are, or you aren't.
The reason we can relate to other humans is because we have language.

How can you say that animals are not self-aware if you can have no way of relating to their mind?

Quote:
I've had dogs that seem to make decisions, or at least they try to exercise their will until I make enough demands. So I say dogs can reason, though they're not always reasonable.

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Humans can reason but they are not always reasonable.

Humans are not the ultra-reasonable creatures that some people might have you believe. History has shown that humans are very much more motivated by instinct and emotion - rather than reason.
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  #52  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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I can't think how this is an instinct. Responding to verbal cues from another species when you have no intent to cultivate any line of self-serving. Sounds like a friendly disposition. That's not fear keeping her from coming over for some cuddling. Fear would dictate that she stay quiet and out of sight. She just isn't personally interested in much more than a quick "hi", or has bigger fish to fry.
That's what I figure. She stays between several different houses.
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  #53  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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The reason we can relate to other humans is because we have language.

How can you say that animals are not self-aware if you can have no way of relating to their mind?
Humans are self-aware. I think you can agree with that? Look at what humans have accomplished: civilization, technology, medicine, entertainment... Then look at what animals have accomplished. At most, they've, what, survived and adapted in limited and primitive ways? If animals were self-aware, they'd have something to show for it, and the world would be a whole lot different.
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  #54  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:44 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Look at what humans have accomplished:







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Then look at what animals have accomplished.




Amazing what a pre-frontal cortex and opposable thumbs can do ...
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  #55  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:04 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

Going all tree-hugger on me, I see... an amusing twist of my words, but clearly not what I meant.

Think about it. If animals were self-aware, they would NOT be satisfied living the simple lives they live. They would do what humans did: adapt, evolve, and conquer! Create things! Build things! Dogs wouldn't be sleeping all day, or playing with chew toys, or licking themselves. Who can say what they would be doing? Perhaps things similar to what humans do, or maybe not. But they aren't doing anything that proves they are self-aware.

If you were a self-aware dog, suddenly thrust into this hierarchy of being, wouldn't you question it? And then, maybe even rebel against it?

Humans have dogs as pets, not the other way around. It is that way for a reason. Humans are self-aware, and dogs are not.
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  #56  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Humans have dogs as pets, not the other way around..
I've been with dogs for....oh, about 20 years and it is the other way around actually.

PS- You speak of conscious thought purely as a brain or an intelligence function. That would imply that Mike Tyson is less of a human than Albert Einstien was.

...

Last edited by aydee; 01-17-2012 at 05:34 AM.
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  #57  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:44 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

"Is there anything that people do that can't be dismissed as "just a reaction"??"

Sure . they design things, they invent things.
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  #58  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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I've been with dogs for , oh about 20 years and It is the other way around actually.

PS- You speak of conscious thought as a brain on an intelligence function. That would imply that Mike Tyson is less of a human than Albert Einstien was.

...
I'm not sure what you mean, but you reminded me of something else I was thinking about.

Animals don't quite think; they process. What I mean by this is that they don't think about whether they want to eat or sleep. They process the information at hand, for example, how hungry they are or how sleepy they are, and react based on that information. They don't think about hunger or tiredness like we do ("I'm hungry, I'll eat in a few minutes" or "I'm so tired, I just want to sleep"). What I'm getting at is that animals process data in a more simplified and involuntary way. If a light goes on a dog's brain telling it it's hungry, it will eat. Humans, on the other hand, think about the decision to eat based on a variety of things, and can even deny the satiation of hunger. Dogs don't do that.

By the way, I'm not stating this as fact. Sorry if it seems like I am saying all this stuff with certainty, or with any evidence. It's just what I think. This is philosophy, after all.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:05 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Amazing what a pre-frontal cortex and opposable thumbs can do ...
Polio vaccine, X-rays, cancer research, penicillin, computers(to include the one you are typing on), heart surgery, heart, lung, liver transplants, airplanes, jets, cars, trains.. All made by animals with a pre-frontal cortex and opposable thumbs.
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  #60  
Old 01-17-2012, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

Hey Typo

Tree hugger, eh? Are you going all Tea Party on me? :P

Fact: animals lead intense emotional lives. They strategise. They learn. The smarter ones use tools. They have a sense of humour. They develop different ways of doing things (ever seen cats and dogs spontaneously use their paws like hands?).

Yet you have misunderstood. I love animals for the usual reasons - innocence, cuteness, special skills, interestingness etc, but the animalistic side of humans is our worst side. I would never say we should be more like animals - IMO we're waaay too much like them.

I think the best uniquely human things we've developed are the arts, philosophy and ethics.
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  #61  
Old 01-17-2012, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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I think the best uniquely human things we've developed are the arts, philosophy and ethics.
You forgot exceptionally large burritos. I've never seen a cat make a burrito rivaling a small human child.

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Old 01-17-2012, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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You forgot exceptionally large burritos. I've never seen a cat make a burrito rivaling a small human child.
I stand corrected!

The ingenuity of humanity ... I could swear that the dog's saying, "Pleeeeease, free me from this thing ... it's entirely the wrong shade of green"

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  #63  
Old 01-17-2012, 03:45 PM
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Fact: animals lead intense emotional lives. They strategise. They learn. The smarter ones use tools. They have a sense of humour. They develop different ways of doing things
I agree with this...

A little story:

My dad has a house which he goes to on weekends, he keeps long lasting foods in a jar in a stone cellar, such as vegetables cans, bottles of vinegar and oil and so on.

A few years ago, we made an astonishing discovery, a mouse(s) (we knew the animal because of the droppings) had drunk the whole content of a cooking oil plastic bottle, nothing special about that, but, they made a hole at the top of the bottle to lick the oil, and once the level has dropped, they filled the bottle with little stones and debris to raise the oil level to the hole, we were amazed, for a mouse to actualy work out such a system to get the food is incredible as this action needs thinking and planning. Some animals are much more "intelligent" than they're credited for, we could not believe it, but we had the proof in front of us.
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  #64  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Some animals are much more "intelligent" than they're credited for, we could not believe it, but we had the proof in front of us.
...

As people understand animals better, the trend in almost all modern research suggests that animal intelligence is highly underestimated. However, Typo is right, ultimately it is a philosophical debate and no argument can be conclusive, either way.

It is true that humans are way ahead on the evolutionary scale compared to all other living forms, but it is important to note that all the definitions and parameters of evolution are also made by humans, as Polly alluded.

It is already established that animals feel pain, fear, and have the capacity to love, but issues like emotional intelligence, a sense of morality, a sense of right and wrong is the crux of the debate and where it rests really.
Do animals have a sense of justice? Some animal researchers will even give you positive scientific evidence of that.

How whales hunt collaboratively, how elephants societies grieve or how crows scavenge, if studied in some depth will blow peoples minds.

All of this seems well past the 'conscious thought' level to me.


...

Last edited by aydee; 01-17-2012 at 05:05 PM.
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  #65  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

Indeed this is a debate that we will not solve and has not been solved by minds better than ours. I will say that this thread although not music related has indeed proved that some of the members on this forum can and have debated without resorting to be personal attacks or name calling. I am currently watching a series of DVD's entitled The Animal Planet. Some real surprises there. For your mature, human behavior, I salute you all. Peace.
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  #66  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

I think animals are smarter than we know. How does my cat know I am leaving for vacation and won't be back for a week? He does, and gets all weird on me. He knows when my wife or myself is sick and stands vigil. He has a definite personality and moods. Just like humans.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

My sis had a parrot like that. She had to use a door not in view of the cage to carry out the luggage. They tend to associate, luggage, words etc with actions. Her parrot knew she wouldn't be there and that I would for a week. Parrots tend to have one friend, caretaker, and everyone else is suspicious. Learning, emotions, moods, reactions...all of these things are obvious. Trained seals blow horns but right behind comes the fish to reinforce the behaviour.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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You forgot exceptionally large burritos. I've never seen a cat make a burrito rivaling a small human child.

In the 2 years I've been here, I'm pretty sure this is my favorite post ever.
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  #69  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

...

Here's a neat little elephant story that my son and I experienced some 10 years ago at the Washington Zoo.

We are watching a keeper escort a huge female into an indoor enclosure. He guides her in and loosely shackles her to a peg in the ground. He turns and gets some feed from a huge stockpile, about 20 yards away, and places it in front of the elephant. She munches away hungrily as the keeper attends to his other tasks.

Very soon she finishes the feed placed in front of her and is watching the keeper going about his business. About 10 minutes go by and the keeper finally exits the enclosure.

As soon as he shuts the door behind him, she gingerly works the peg out of the ground with her trunk, and hurriedly shuffles across to the big feed pile. She grabs a trunkful - about as much as the keeper had put in front of her and quickly shuffles back to her original position.
Amazingly, she shoves the peg back into its hole and starts eating again. A few minutes later the keeper walks back into the enclosure, and its like nothing happened while he was gone.

I could have sworn she faked a really angelic, innocent look.......

.... cool!


...
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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...

Amazingly, she shoves the peg back into its hole and starts eating again. A few minutes later the keeper walks back into the enclosure, and its like nothing happened while he was gone.

I could have sworn she faked a really angelic, innocent look.......

.... cool!


...
I'd say deception is certainly a consious thought.

Anyhow, the big issue here is judging other creatures by our own perception of humans offering the gold standard. Whilst we've certainly evolved to be the dominant life form on this planet, that doesn't mean that creatures operating at a different level are automatically excluded from higher brain function ability. Maybe it's about priorities too, and carving out a good life in the environment you're limited to by physical restrictions. After all, if you were a krill, you'd still spend most of your time avoiding whales.

I used to keep tropical marine creatures. I even had a tidal tank. I remember an experience with an octopus. I placed a shrimp into a water filled screw top jar, & secured the lid. I then dropped the jar into the tank. The octopus unscrewed the lid & snagged the shrimp in under a minute. That octopus had never encountered a screw top jar before, so instinct? I don't think so. It did, however, spend a few seconds grappling with the jar before it got the lid off, so maybe it went through a number of pre programmed stress tests to search for weaknesses before putting it's efforts into rotating the lid. Either way, impressive.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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I tell my cats to stay, and they stay! See!



Man. You can't do anything in moderation huh? :) I can't talk... I have 3... in far less space than you probably have.

And I think this was a Godfather-style message for me to keep the noise down.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:58 PM
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I am on a ten acre hobby farm, with a huge old bank barn. They stay outside, and in the barn for the most part. I love my cats. :)
My cats get real mice. That way they don't get in my bikes, and truck, or run around in my attic all winter. The mice that is.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:43 PM
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I'd say deception is certainly a consious thought.

Anyhow, the big issue here is judging other creatures by our own perception of humans offering the gold standard. Whilst we've certainly evolved to be the dominant life form on this planet, that doesn't mean that creatures operating at a different level are automatically excluded from higher brain function ability. Maybe it's about priorities too, and carving out a good life in the environment you're limited to by physical restrictions. After all, if you were a krill, you'd still spend most of your time avoiding whales.

I used to keep tropical marine creatures. I even had a tidal tank. I remember an experience with an octopus. I placed a shrimp into a water filled screw top jar, & secured the lid. I then dropped the jar into the tank. The octopus unscrewed the lid & snagged the shrimp in under a minute. That octopus had never encountered a screw top jar before, so instinct? I don't think so. It did, however, spend a few seconds grappling with the jar before it got the lid off, so maybe it went through a number of pre programmed stress tests to search for weaknesses before putting it's efforts into rotating the lid. Either way, impressive.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocWF6d0nelY

Been there...done that.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:12 PM
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Did he just hump that lid off?!!


...

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Old 01-17-2012, 10:43 PM
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If there's food at the end of the line, nothing's impossible...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsuVLsDyln4
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:06 AM
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If there's food at the end of the line, nothing's impossible...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsuVLsDyln4
Yep. We need a like button because that was awesome!
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
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Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
If there's food at the end of the line, nothing's impossible...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsuVLsDyln4
Definitely strategy involved ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NoRbONMAP8
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  #78  
Old 01-18-2012, 01:29 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Definitely strategy involved ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NoRbONMAP8
Cool... Seems like Easy is thinking "You haven't got anything more challenging? I'm bored"... :-))
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

I'm coming kinda late to this, cuz I haven't logged in all week, but I had to make a point that no one seems to have brought up yet. There is NOTHING in all creation that is either/or. So there can be no yes or no answer to this question. There has to be a whole range of possibilities between "do they" and "don't they". In other words, at one end are things like amoebas, and at the other are things like us. In between is everything else, and everything else will have a degree of self-awareness depending on where it is on the scale.

Btw, Taoists equate the loss of Tao (getting kicked out of the Garden, the "Fall from Grace" in Christian mythology) to the acquiring of self-awareness.

There. I have answered the question. We can go back to drums now. ;)
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?

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Going all tree-hugger on me, I see... an amusing twist of my words, but clearly not what I meant.

Think about it. If animals were self-aware, they would NOT be satisfied living the simple lives they live. They would do what humans did: adapt, evolve, and conquer! Create things! Build things! Dogs wouldn't be sleeping all day, or playing with chew toys, or licking themselves. Who can say what they would be doing?
I don't see how this follows, why self awareness and the ability to create agriculture and progress that can extend from that should be so linearly related...

If my dogs do not have it, but develop self awareness tomorrow, with no other mental or physical changes, I don't see how their capabilities could possibly change to any extraordinary degree.

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Humans have dogs as pets, not the other way around. It is that way for a reason. Humans are self-aware, and dogs are not.
Or we're smarter and capable of more complex and controlling behaviour, regardless of self awareness.

I mean, if dogs are not self aware, but magically became so overnight, albeit remaining the same in all other ways, I don't see how there is any possible way that their level of intelligence and their physical abilities would ever enable them to "conquer! Create things! Build things! ".

I do know my Alsation is very bright and absolutely not happy to be just lying around and chewing things. She needs to explore and to see new things and to hunt. That's goal orientated behaviour, just on a different scale from (not all, either...) humans.
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