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Author Topic:   Do Animals Believe In Supernatural Beings?
jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 301 of 373 (603259)
02-03-2011 2:37 PM
Reply to: Message 300 by Straggler
02-03-2011 2:29 PM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
Straggler writes:
I agree. But knowing the nature of humanity as we do it would be rather remarkable if these people didn't believe in some sort of "gods". And whilst we cannot know it is hardly beyond the realms of speculation to think that these might be representations of those beliefs. In fact one could argue that it is even quite likely.
Now as far as we can see there is nothing similar to even suggest animal belief in such things. But if we did find such things being done by our very close evolutionary cousins (e.g. chimps) it seems to me perfectly legitimate to speculate that they too are doing something quite similar to that which humans are know to be highly prone to doing.
It would at least raise the question of whether or not they are cognitively capable of such beliefs. Which may be possible to research further in terms of neuroscience etc.
Except as I mentioned in my post, I see nothing there to imply or suggest any beliefs in the supernatural.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 300 by Straggler, posted 02-03-2011 2:29 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 302 by Straggler, posted 02-03-2011 2:54 PM jar has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 302 of 373 (603270)
02-03-2011 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 301 by jar
02-03-2011 2:37 PM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
In isolation - No. But when you combine it with the known, highly evidenced and deep proclivity of "human beings" to express such beliefs in this way - Very very much so.
So the question then comes - At what point in human evolutionary development did this proclivity emerge? And at what point did the cognitive abilities for such beliefs emerge in the first place?
These are not simple questions. But they doesn't make them entirely pointless ones to ask.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 301 by jar, posted 02-03-2011 2:37 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 303 by jar, posted 02-03-2011 3:15 PM Straggler has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 303 of 373 (603276)
02-03-2011 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 302 by Straggler
02-03-2011 2:54 PM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
Straggler writes:
In isolation - No. But when you combine it with the known, highly evidenced and deep proclivity of "human beings" to express such beliefs in this way - Very very much so.
So the question then comes - At what point in human evolutionary development did this proclivity emerge? And at what point did the cognitive abilities for such beliefs emerge in the first place?
These are not simple questions. But they doesn't make them entirely pointless ones to ask.
I don't see any support for that assertion.
I see no more support that the images evidenced some belief in supernatural critters than an interest in animals, recording history, making up tales, bragging, appreciation of art or just plain scribbling.
You seem to think they are not pointless and I imagine from pure curiosity they might rank right up there with angels dancing on pin heads, but I also see no relationship or connection with any of the pictures I posted.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 302 by Straggler, posted 02-03-2011 2:54 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 306 by Straggler, posted 02-05-2011 2:28 PM jar has replied

onifre
Member (Idle past 3029 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 304 of 373 (603346)
02-03-2011 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 297 by Straggler
02-03-2011 12:20 PM


Re: What Is Language
This is starting to get too long winded and I'm starting to lose focus with the side arguments. I'll try to summarize a bit and see where that leaves us.
In order to acquire even the most rudimentary language of the type humans excel at one has to have the mental ability to make the basic connection between a symbol and the concept that the symbol represents.
Ok, agreed.
This logical link is demonstrative of some basic ability to think in abstract terms.
Ok, some, yes. Agreed.
If you agree that chimps are capable of making the logical link between symbols and concepts in some basic way I am utterly bemused as to why you have been disagreeing with me about their ability for some basic level of abstract thought?
No, I agreed. You even applauded the fact that we all seem to agree. But ok, lets just say I do now.
Where it gets complicated is that "basic abstract thought" can mean whatever you want it to mean when there is no set scale. This is why I asked you what you meant by abstract thought.
If it's just linking symbols to physical objects, then how the hell would that lead to religious belief?
Which isn’t evidenced? A basic concept of cause and effect? A basic concept of intent? Or an ability to imagine/dream?
I see you chose to leave out the word "combined" this time.
Concept of cause and effect? Sure. Concept of intent? Sure. An ability to imagine and dream? How could you know what goes on subjectively in the mind of an ape?
2 out of 3.
But you didn't break it down like that the first time. The first time you said: "a basic concept of causality and intent combined with an ability to imagine some sort of agent to ascribe these roles to."
And here again, I say no. What evidence do you have that says they do?
We know humans have these subjective/religious experiences.
No we don't. We know they claim to have them. Personally, and I am not alone, I don't believe they do.
Firstly — On what basis do you make this seemingly arbitrary distinction?
Well it's simple, isn't it? Apes don't have what you would call religious behaviors or what can be described as religious belief.
The only evidence that we have of a species doing this involves ONLY members of the homo-genus.
- Oni
Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 297 by Straggler, posted 02-03-2011 12:20 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 305 by Straggler, posted 02-05-2011 2:22 PM onifre has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 305 of 373 (603584)
02-05-2011 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 304 by onifre
02-03-2011 10:56 PM


Animal Experiences
Oni writes:
The only evidence that we have of a species doing this involves ONLY members of the homo-genus.
If chimpanzees are reclassified to homo genus, as genetic evidence and consistency of classification would seem to demand, would you suddenly revise your entire position here to advocate that chimps are capable of such beliefs?
And given the gradualistic nature of evolution isn't it rather ridiculous to suggest that the earliest homo species possessed all of the cognitive abilities under discussion whilst the latest non-homo precursor didn't?
Oni on abstract thought writes:
If it's just linking symbols to physical objects, then how the hell would that lead to religious belief?
I haven’t ever claimed that abstract thought consists of just linking symbols to concepts. Nor have I ever claimed that an ability for abstract thought alone will lead to religious beliefs.
Oni writes:
Concept of cause and effect? Sure. Concept of intent? Sure. An ability to imagine and dream? How could you know what goes on subjectively in the mind of an ape?
We know that various mammals dream and that greate apes in particular demonstrate various aspects of secondary consciousness.
Oni writes:
2 out of 3.
3 out of 3 it appears?
Oni writes:
I see you chose to leave out the word "combined" this time.
Only to find out exactly where the disagreement was.
Oni writes:
The first time you said: "a basic concept of causality and intent combined with an ability to imagine some sort of agent to ascribe these roles to."
Indeed I did. If chimps have some basic intuitive grasp of intent, causality and an ability to dream why wouldn't they be able to combine these such that they ascribe an intended causal role (e.g. cause of theunderstorms) to an imaginary entity?
Oni writes:
Straggler writes:
We know humans have these subjective/religious experiences.
No we don't.
Claims of mystical causes are evidentially unjustified but that humans have such expereinces seems to be a widely accepted fact. Both in general and in the feld of neurology.
Oni on animals having "religious" experiences" writes:
What evidence do you have that says they do?
Link says:
"Animals (not just people) likely have spiritual experiences, according to a prominent neurologist who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades."
"Meager as it is, available evidence says, 'Yes, animals can have spiritual experiences,' and we need to conduct further research and engage in interdisciplinary discussions before we say that animals cannot and do not experience spirituality."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 304 by onifre, posted 02-03-2011 10:56 PM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 329 by onifre, posted 02-13-2011 10:51 AM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 306 of 373 (603586)
02-05-2011 2:28 PM
Reply to: Message 303 by jar
02-03-2011 3:15 PM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
jar writes:
I don't see any support for that assertion.
We know that humans as a species are deeply prone to expending great effort and resource to express their spiritual beliefs. The fact is that it would be truly remarkable if none of the examples you cite in Message 299 have any "religious" connection at all.
It might be that those who created your examples wanted to express a mere fondness for animals or to relieve boredom by "scribbling". But then maybe the people who built Stonehenge did it because they had a bit of a thang for concentric circles.
Who knows right?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 303 by jar, posted 02-03-2011 3:15 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 307 by jar, posted 02-05-2011 3:31 PM Straggler has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 307 of 373 (603593)
02-05-2011 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 306 by Straggler
02-05-2011 2:28 PM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
I don't see any support for that assertion.
We know that humans as a species are deeply prone to expending great effort and resource to express their spiritual beliefs. The fact is that it would be truly remarkable if none of the examples you cite in Message 299 have any "religious" connection at all.
It might be that those who created your examples wanted to express a mere fondness for animals or to relieve boredom by "scribbling". But then maybe the people who built Stonehenge did it because they had a bit of a thang for concentric circles.
Who knows right?
But what I posted was NOT Stonehenge and Stonehenge is totally irrelevant to the issue I raised.
So far you have not pointed to anything that would make me think that what I posted showed a belief in the Supernatural other than the fact which I have raised many times in this thread, we have communication with other humans and they have told us what they believe and then we overlay that knowledge onto members of the same species and relatively recent activities.
If we can be so unsure when it comes to our very close relatives, what makes you think we can know what species other than human might believe.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 306 by Straggler, posted 02-05-2011 2:28 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 308 by Straggler, posted 02-08-2011 5:46 AM jar has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 308 of 373 (603840)
02-08-2011 5:46 AM
Reply to: Message 307 by jar
02-05-2011 3:31 PM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
jar writes:
But what I posted was NOT Stonehenge and Stonehenge is totally irrelevant to the issue I raised.
No it isn't. In terms of the sole criteria you have insisted upon throughout this thread (i.e. direct communication regarding intent/belief with those who created the work in question) Stonehenge is absolutely identical to your examples. If you are now prepared to accept that the motivations behind such examples can be assessed in the wider evidential context of history, psychology, anthropology etc. etc. etc. then I applaud your change of position.
jar writes:
If we can be so unsure when it comes to our very close relatives, what makes you think we can know what species other than human might believe.
I think we can be pretty sure about our fellow humans and their general proclivities based on a the various disciplines mentioned above.
As for other closely related species - At some point in our evolutionary past the cognitive abilities under discussion emerged to a degree that facilitates the sort of beliefs that we know homo-sapiens are highly prone to expressing. It may well be the case that this occurred somewhere along the homo genus line rather than before. But if this is the case nobody in this thread has done anything to adequately make that case. Certainly that it must be limited to homo-sapiens simply because we are the only ones known to communicate such beliefs is like the logic of the drunk who insists that his lost keys must be under the lamp post because it is too dark to find them anywhere else.
I'll leave you with this: Link
Link writes:
Animals (not just people) likely have spiritual experiences, according to a prominent neurologist who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades.
Research suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own.
The trick, of course, lies in proving animals' experiences.
"Since only humans are capable of language that can communicate the richness of spiritual experience, it is unlikely we will ever know with certainty what an animal subjectively experiences," Kevin Nelson, a professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, told Discovery News.
"Despite this limitation, it is still reasonable to conclude that since the most primitive areas of our brain happen to be the spiritual, then we can expect that animals are also capable of spiritual experiences," added Nelson, author of the book "The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain," which will be published in January 2011.
The finding is an extension of his research on humans, which has been published in many peer-reviewed journals. A Neurology journal study, for example, determined that out-of-body experiences in humans are likely caused by the brain's arousal system, which regulates different states of consciousness.
"In humans, we know that if we disrupt the (brain) region where vision, sense of motion, orientation in the Earth's gravitational field, and knowing the position of our body all come together, then out-of-body experiences can be caused literally by the flip of a switch," he said. "There is absolutely no reason to believe it is any different for a dog, cat, or primate’s brain."
Other mammals also probably have near-death experiences comparable to those reported by certain humans, he believes. Such people often say they saw a light and felt as though they were moving down a tunnel.
The tunnel phenomenon "is caused by the eye's susceptibility to the low blood flow that occurs with fainting or cardiac arrest," he said. "As blood flow diminishes, vision fails peripherally first. There is no reason to believe that other animals are any different from us."
Nelson added, "What they make of the tunnel is another matter."
The light aspect of near-death experiences can be explained by how the visual system defines REM (rapid eye movement) consciousness, he believes.
"In fact," he said, "the link between REM and the physiological crises causing near-death experience are most strongly linked in animals, like cats and rats, which we can study in the laboratory."
Mystical experiences moments that inspire a sense of mystery and wonderment arise within the limbic system, he said. When specific parts of this system are removed from animal brains, mind-altering drugs like LSD have no effect.
Since other animals, such as non-human primates, horses, cats and dogs, also possess similar brain structures, it is possible that they too experience mystical moments, and may even have a sense of spiritual oneness, according to Nelson.
Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, also believes animals have spiritual experiences, which he defines as experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective and comparable to what humans have.
Both he and primatologist Jane Goodall have observed chimpanzees dancing with total abandon at waterfalls that emerge after heavy rains. Some of the chimps even appear to dance themselves into a trance-like state, as some humans do during religious and cultural rituals.
Goodall wondered, "Is it not possible that these (chimpanzee) performances are stimulated by feelings akin to wonder and awe? After a waterfall display the performer may sit on a rock, his eyes following the falling water. What is it, this water?"
"Perhaps numerous animals engage in these rituals, but we haven't been lucky enough to see them," Bekoff wrote in a Psychology Today report.
"For now, let's keep the door open to the idea that animals can be spiritual beings and let's consider the evidence for such a claim," he added.
"Meager as it is, available evidence says, 'Yes, animals can have spiritual experiences,' and we need to conduct further research and engage in interdisciplinary discussions before we say that animals cannot and do not experience spirituality."
That the questions asked in this thread have only speculative answers has never been in doubt. But the general response I have received in this thread "They're monkeys. They can't talk. It's a stupid question. You're an idiot." (to paraphrase) are overly simplistic gut reactions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 307 by jar, posted 02-05-2011 3:31 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 309 by jar, posted 02-08-2011 9:11 AM Straggler has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 309 of 373 (603848)
02-08-2011 9:11 AM
Reply to: Message 308 by Straggler
02-08-2011 5:46 AM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
But what I posted was NOT Stonehenge and Stonehenge is totally irrelevant to the issue I raised.
No it isn't. In terms of the sole criteria you have insisted upon throughout this thread (i.e. direct communication regarding intent/belief with those who created the work in question) Stonehenge is absolutely identical to your examples. If you are now prepared to accept that the motivations behind such examples can be assessed in the wider evidential context of history, psychology, anthropology etc. etc. etc. then I applaud your change of position.
Bullshit. They are not comparable. At Stonehenge we can at least test to see if certain facts related to alignment are there. In addition, the scale of the construction of Stonehenge is many orders of magnitude greater than the examples I presented.
You simply claiming that the two are comparable carries about as much weight as Buz claiming he has presented corroborating evidence.
Also you keep misrepresenting my position. I have said repeatedly that we can often make assertions about humans based on communications and then apply that to other similar humans where we have not had direct communication based on the fact that they are HUMAN.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
If we can be so unsure when it comes to our very close relatives, what makes you think we can know what species other than human might believe.
I think we can be pretty sure about our fellow humans and their general proclivities based on a the various disciplines mentioned above.
As for other closely related species - At some point in our evolutionary past the cognitive abilities under discussion emerged to a degree that facilitates the sort of beliefs that we know homo-sapiens are highly prone to expressing. It may well be the case that this occurred somewhere along the homo genus line rather than before. But if this is the case nobody in this thread has done anything to adequately make that case. Certainly that it must be limited to homo-sapiens simply because we are the only ones known to communicate such beliefs is like the logic of the drunk who insists that his lost keys must be under the lamp post because it is too dark to find them anywhere else.
...
That the questions asked in this thread have only speculative answers has never been in doubt. But the general response I have received in this thread "They're monkeys. They can't talk. It's a stupid question. You're an idiot." (to paraphrase) are overly simplistic gut reactions.
But none of that has anything to do with providing an answer. Again, as I have done so many times in this thread, I must ask you "How do you know what it is they believe?"
What is the test?
Where is the evidence?

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 308 by Straggler, posted 02-08-2011 5:46 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 310 by Straggler, posted 02-08-2011 9:39 AM jar has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 310 of 373 (603851)
02-08-2011 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 309 by jar
02-08-2011 9:11 AM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
jar writes:
They are not comparable.
In terms of lacking any directly communicated motivation for creation both Stonehenge and your examples in Message 299 are very very comparable indeed.
jar writes:
I have said repeatedly that we can often make assertions about humans based on communications and then apply that to other similar humans where we have not had direct communication based on the fact that they are HUMAN.
Or (as I would put it) the wider evidential context of history, psychology, sociology, anthropology etc. etc. allows us to make reasoned speculations about the probable motivations and origins behind such creations.
jar writes:
Again, as I have done so many times in this thread, I must ask you "How do you know what it is they believe?"
How do you "know" what those who built Stonehenge believed? You don't. And nor do I. But that doesn't mean all answers (e.g. they just liked concentric circles) are all equally evidentiall valid does it?
jar writes:
What is the test?
What is your test for assessing the motivation for any historical event for which there is no recorded history? Contextually evidenced speculation is probably about the best that can be hoped for.
jar writes:
But none of that has anything to do with providing an answer.
Ahhhh - If it is definitive answers you want then maybe you shouldn't take part in necessarily speculative threads?
jar writes:
Where is the evidence?
For fucks sake jar I have repeated this to you personally at least half a dozen times in this thread:
As (yet yet yet yet again) AdminMod put it: This thread poses the question: "What evidence might look like and try to resolve one way or another what we can say we know about this topic."
How do you think continually demanding that "answers" be "provided" or repeating "Where is your evidence" makes any sense in that context at all?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 309 by jar, posted 02-08-2011 9:11 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 311 by jar, posted 02-08-2011 9:49 AM Straggler has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 311 of 373 (603856)
02-08-2011 9:49 AM
Reply to: Message 310 by Straggler
02-08-2011 9:39 AM


Re: Limits to understanding other's beliefs.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
They are not comparable.
In terms of lacking any directly communicated motivation for creation both Stonehenge and your examples in Message 299 are very very comparable indeed.
Again, irrelevant as I pointed out in the very next sentence and as you quoted below.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
I have said repeatedly that we can often make assertions about humans based on communications and then apply that to other similar humans where we have not had direct communication based on the fact that they are HUMAN.
Or (as I would put it) the wider evidential context of history, psychology, sociology, anthropology etc. etc. allows us to make reasoned speculations about the probable motivations and origins behind such creations.
Which so far are only relevant when used in connection with other humans.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
Again, as I have done so many times in this thread, I must ask you "How do you know what it is they believe?"
How do you "know" what those who built Stonehenge believed? You don't. And nor do I. But that doesn't mean all answers (e.g. they just liked concentric circles) are all equally evidentiall valid does it?
Exactly. Stonehenge could simply be a calendar to help with planning agriculture EXCEPT for one thing which I also pointed out and that is simply the scale of the effort required to build Stonehenge.
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
What is the test?
What is your test for assessing the motivation for any historical event for which there is no recorded history? Contextually evidenced speculation is probably about the best that can be hoped for.
jar writes:
But none of that has anything to do with providing an answer.
Ahhhh - If it is definitive answers you want then maybe you shouldn't take part in necessarily speculative threads?
jar writes:
Where is the evidence?
For fucks sake jar I have repeated this to you personally at least half a dozen times in this thread:
As (yet yet yet yet again) AdminMod put it: This thread poses the question: "What evidence might look like and try to resolve one way or another what we can say we know about this topic."
How do you think continually demanding that "answers" be "provided" or repeating "Where is your evidence" makes any sense in that context at all?
And as I have asked you repeatedly "What evidence might look like and try to resolve one way or another what we can say we know about this topic."?
What is your evidence? Where are the examples that we should consider?

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 310 by Straggler, posted 02-08-2011 9:39 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 312 by Straggler, posted 02-09-2011 6:50 AM jar has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 312 of 373 (603949)
02-09-2011 6:50 AM
Reply to: Message 311 by jar
02-08-2011 9:49 AM


Summary
jar writes:
Straggler writes:
In terms of lacking any directly communicated motivation for creation both Stonehenge and your examples in Message 299 are very very comparable indeed.
Again, irrelevant as I pointed out in the very next sentence and as you quoted below.
That the sole criteria you have been banging on about all thread applies equally in both examples is not "irrelevant". Just rather inconvenient for you.
Jar writes:
Stonehenge could simply be a calendar to help with planning agriculture EXCEPT for one thing which I also pointed out and that is simply the scale of the effort required to build Stonehenge.
You are making my point for me. There is a great deal we can legitimately infer about motivations in the absence of written records or other direct forms of communication regarding prehistoric events. With regard to Stonehenge specifically - Given what we know about the scant resources and struggle for survival that ancient peoples faced it would indeed be ridiculous to think that they would expend that much effort on a whim. They would only do something on that scale if they thought it really mattered. And from our studies of history, psychology et al we know that religious beliefs are one of the few things that are likley to have motivated that sort of endeavour.
jar writes:
Straggler writes:
Or (as I would put it) the wider evidential context of history, psychology, sociology, anthropology etc. etc. allows us to make reasoned speculations about the probable motivations and origins behind such creations.
Which so far are only relevant when used in connection with other humans.
Which your examples in message 299 are. Yet for some reason you are insisting that we should view each individual example as if it existed in some sort of evidential vacuum. The fact remains, given the prevalence of such beliefs and the manifest desire to express them, that it would be remarkable if none of the examples you cite had any "religious" connection at all wouldn't it? Why you think we should view some questions in splendid isolation whilst viewing others through the lense of contextual evidence remains a mystery. Psychology, history, anthropology, evolutionary theory etc. etc. are all relevant to the discussion at hand.
jar writes:
What is your evidence? Where are the examples that we should consider?
Have you read this thread at all? Are you expecting film of rabbits burning incense and chanting? But in summary:
1) We know humans are deeply prone to such beliefs.
2) We know that humans evolved from "non-humans" (for lack of a better term).
3) We don't know when the cognitive abilities required to hold "religious" beliefs manifested themselves in mans evolutionary past but given the graduated nature of evolution there is every reason to think they didn't just pop into existence fully formed with homo-sapiens.
4) Evidence suggests that other great apes (e.g. our closest living relatives chimpanzees) have the basic cognitive abilities to grasp cause and effect, ascribe intent and use their imagination.
5) This raises the question of when the cognitive ability to ascribe causal roles to imagined entities arose - Before or after the breaking away of the homo-genus line?
6) Neurological evidence suggests that apes (and indeed many other mammals) are capable of what humans call "religious" experiences".
7) What most less intelligent animals make of these experiences is probably beyond even speculation but those who have observed apes in particular describe behaviour that is comparable to that of humans and speculate that the internal mental processes and motivations may not be a million miles away from those that we know of in humans.
All of this has been discussed at some length (via a reasonably interesting "role of language" side topic). Apparently you missed it.....?
jar writes:
And as I have asked you repeatedly "What evidence might look like and try to resolve one way or another what we can say we know about this topic."?
We can say that the question is a legitimate one. Albeit one without concrete answers available.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 311 by jar, posted 02-08-2011 9:49 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 313 by jar, posted 02-09-2011 9:27 AM Straggler has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 313 of 373 (603968)
02-09-2011 9:27 AM
Reply to: Message 312 by Straggler
02-09-2011 6:50 AM


Re: Summary
Summary.
So far absolutely no evidence or examples have been presented that might indicate support for non-human animal belief in Supernatural Beings.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 312 by Straggler, posted 02-09-2011 6:50 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 314 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 10:27 AM jar has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 314 of 373 (604144)
02-10-2011 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 313 by jar
02-09-2011 9:27 AM


Re: Summary
jar writes:
So far absolutely no evidence or examples have been presented that might indicate support for non-human animal belief in Supernatural Beings.
Well done jar. Well done.
From Message 292
Straggler writes:
Again - I am not actually claiming that there is any evidence for animal belief in supernatural beings at all. Bluegenes theory that the human imagination is the only known source of supernatural concepts is looking pretty frikkin safe. As (again) AdminMod put it this thread poses the question: "What evidence might look like and try to resolve one way or another what we can say we know about this topic."
The fact is that I seriously doubt that any animals do hold any supernatural beliefs. But I don’t think it is as obvious as everyone here seems to be insisting that they cannot do so. In fact I would speculate that the advent of such beliefs in our evolutionary past quite possibly predates modern humanity and that studying our closest living relatives might shed some light on how or why this came about. But we never really get to that because everybody is too busy telling me monkeys can’t talk.
You never really got past the "monkeys can't talk" stage did you?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 313 by jar, posted 02-09-2011 9:27 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 315 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 10:42 AM Straggler has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 315 of 373 (604147)
02-10-2011 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 314 by Straggler
02-10-2011 10:27 AM


Re: Summary
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
So far absolutely no evidence or examples have been presented that might indicate support for non-human animal belief in Supernatural Beings.
Well done jar. Well done.
From Message 292
Straggler writes:
Again - I am not actually claiming that there is any evidence for animal belief in supernatural beings at all. Bluegenes theory that the human imagination is the only known source of supernatural concepts is looking pretty frikkin safe. As (again) AdminMod put it this thread poses the question: "What evidence might look like and try to resolve one way or another what we can say we know about this topic."
The fact is that I seriously doubt that any animals do hold any supernatural beliefs. But I don’t think it is as obvious as everyone here seems to be insisting that they cannot do so. In fact I would speculate that the advent of such beliefs in our evolutionary past quite possibly predates modern humanity and that studying our closest living relatives might shed some light on how or why this came about. But we never really get to that because everybody is too busy telling me monkeys can’t talk.
You never really got past the "monkeys can't talk" stage did you?
What I have repeatedly stated is that not only have there been no examples presented there has been no suggestions of how we could tell what other species believe.
As I pointed out back in Message 84:
quote:
If and when we develop a sufficiently sophisticated common language between humans and another animal species we may then be able to find out whether or not they believe in supernatural beings. Until such time though, we ain't got a clue unless someone can show some way simply through observation what exactly each critter is thinking.
If and when brain scanning reaches a point where we can reliably differentiate a humans brain patterns when thinking about something supernatural from every other possible thought, and find that we can reliably differentiate some other species brain patterns that correspond directly to testable thoughts like hunger or pleasure or sex or anger or art appreciation to the extent we can build a one to one correspondence between human thoughts and the other species thoughts, then and only then might we be able to claim that we have any idea what exactly the critter is thinking related to something like supernatural entities.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 314 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 10:27 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 316 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 1:22 PM jar has replied

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