Vegetarian Discussion: Self-awareness Reaches New Heights In Animal Kingdom

Self-awareness Reaches New Heights In Animal Kingdom
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Pearl
2006-11-03 06:53:22 EST
"Lamellae" <llae@gnatscape.net> wrote in message news:hgW1h.722$l25.421@newsread4.news.pas.earthlink.net...
> Ditch:
>
> > "Lamellae" <llae@gnatscape.net> wrote
> >
> >>http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/290529_elephant31.html
> >>
> >>"For those who study the development of intelligence in the animal
> >>kingdom, self-awareness is an important measurement. An animal that is
> >>aware of itself has a high level of cognitive ability.
> >>
> >>Awareness can be tested by studying whether the animal recognizes itself
> >>in a mirror. Only humans, apes and, more recently, dolphins, have been
> >>shown to recognize that the image in the mirror is of themselves.
> >>
> >>Now, in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers
> >>report that an Asian elephant has passed the mirror self-recognition test.
> >>
> >>"We thought that elephants were the next important candidate," said Diana
> >>Reiss of the Wildlife Conservation Society, an author of the study with
> >>Joshua Plotnik and Frans de Waal of Emory University. The researchers
> >>tested Happy, Maxine and Patty, three females at the Bronx Zoo. They put
> >>an 8-foot-square mirror on a wall of the animals' play area and recorded
> >>what happened with video cameras.
> >>
> >>The elephants exhibited behavior typical of other self-aware animals.
> >>
> >>They checked out the mirror, in some cases using their trunks to explore
> >>what was behind it, and used it to examine parts of their bodies.
> >>
> >>Of the three, Happy then passed the critical test, in which a visible mark
> >>was painted on one side of her face. She could tell the mark was there
> >>only by looking in the mirror, and she used the mirror to touch the mark
> >>with her trunk.
> >>
> >>Happy, Reiss said, is a "beautiful case of cognitive convergence" with
> >>other self-aware animals."
> >
> >
> > I don't see anyone here advocating farming elephants for food, or dolphins,
> > or apes.
>
> Are you learning-resistant? Elephants are the newest to join the list. Not
> because elephants have changed, but because we have. See anyone here
> advocating that animal study should be put away, there's nothing more to be
> discovered?

'Editorial
Horton Sees an Image
Published: November 2, 2006

To the very short list of animals that can recognize themselves in a mirror
- i.e., humans and apes and possibly dolphins - scientists have now
added the Asian elephant, or at least three female Asian elephants in the
Bronx Zoo. Faced with the presence of an enormous - and rugged -
full-length mirror in their enclosure, the animals displayed clear signs of
grasping that they themselves were the origin of the images in the glass.
One elephant, named Happy, was even able to touch a mark on her own
face that was visible only in the mirror. It is still not known whether male
elephants are as self-aware.

Such tests appear to mark a boundary between animals that display
some form of consciousness and those that don't. But what they really
do is raise questions about the value we attribute to consciousness and
our inevitably human definition of it. It is always us setting the rules.
How many tests set by elephants could we pass?

Can we even pass the very simple test of allowing them to survive in the
wild? The clear implication of the mirror test is that animals who pass it
are somehow closer to us and thus more deserving of our protection.
But as the fate of chimpanzees makes plain, we are no more likely to
save species with a proto-human form of consciousness than animals
whose mental life bears no resemblance to our own.

We keep probing the animal world for signs of intelligence - as we
define it - and we're always surprised when we discover it. This
suggests that something is fundamentally wrong with our assumptions.
There is every reason to value other life-forms as much for their
difference from us as for their similarity, and to act accordingly. That
may be the only intelligence test worthy of the name.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/opinion/02thu4.html?_r=1&oref=slogin




D*@.
2006-11-04 12:38:21 EST
On Fri, 3 Nov 2006 11:53:22 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie> wrote:

>Such tests appear to mark a boundary between animals that display
>some form of consciousness and those that don't. But what they really
>do is raise questions about the value we attribute to consciousness and
>our inevitably human definition of it. It is always us setting the rules.
>How many tests set by elephants could we pass?
>
>Can we even pass the very simple test of allowing them to survive in the
>wild? The clear implication of the mirror test is that animals who pass it
>are somehow closer to us and thus more deserving of our protection.
>But as the fate of chimpanzees makes plain, we are no more likely to
>save species with a proto-human form of consciousness than animals
>whose mental life bears no resemblance to our own.
>
>We keep probing the animal world for signs of intelligence - as we
>define it - and we're always surprised when we discover it. This
>suggests that something is fundamentally wrong with our assumptions.
>There is every reason to value other life-forms as much for their
>difference from us as for their similarity, and to act accordingly. That
>may be the only intelligence test worthy of the name.
>
>http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/opinion/02thu4.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

I pretty much agree with all that. As I argued with the Goos: the
mirror test doesn't tell us anything about whether or not animals are
self aware, but only whether or not they can figure out anything
about a mirror. Just because we can't get animals to comprehend
the concept of reflection doesn't mean they are not aware of
themselves. The very idea is idiotic...

"Animals cannot be or feel disappointed." - Goo

"Non human animals experience neither pride nor
disappointment. They don't have the mental ability
to feel either." - Goo

"Anticipation requires language." - Goo

"No animals anticipate." - Goo

"The dog didn't do what Darwin said. His statement of
the "changes in behavior" is not reliable." - Goo

"Dogs, cats, cattle, almost all animals "lower" than
the great apes have no sense of self." - Goo

"They are not aware that they can see. " - Goo

"They are *not* aware that they can smell." - Goo

...VERY idiotic!
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