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Author Topic:   Do Animals Believe In Supernatural Beings?
Straggler
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 316 of 373 (604185)
02-10-2011 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 315 by jar
02-10-2011 10:42 AM


Re: Summary
jar writes:
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.
I suggest you apply these same standards of evidence the next time you find two humans agreeing that they both believe in the existence of some incomprehensible being that neither of them can define.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 315 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 10:42 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 317 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 1:29 PM Straggler has replied

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


Message 317 of 373 (604189)
02-10-2011 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 316 by Straggler
02-10-2011 1:22 PM


Re: Summary
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
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.
I suggest you apply these same standards of evidence the next time you find two humans agreeing that they both believe in the existence of some incomprehensible being that neither of them can define.
Way too funny. I can ask them what they believe and if they believe in a supernatural critter. But thanks for the humor.

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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 316 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 1:22 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 318 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 1:43 PM jar has replied

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


Message 318 of 373 (604195)
02-10-2011 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 317 by jar
02-10-2011 1:29 PM


Re: Summary
jar writes:
I can ask them what they believe and if they believe in a supernatural critter.
But jar by the terms of your own exacting standards of evidence unless their brainwaves match completely you will be making false conclusions derived from the inexactitudes of language and their inability to adequately express their rather vaguely defined beliefs.
I think you should uphold your own standards more consistently.
jar writes:
But thanks for the humor.
Thanks
But I can only work with the material you provide me with.......

This message is a reply to:
 Message 317 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 1:29 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 319 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 1:59 PM Straggler has replied

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


Message 319 of 373 (604204)
02-10-2011 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 318 by Straggler
02-10-2011 1:43 PM


Re: Summary
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
I can ask them what they believe and if they believe in a supernatural critter.
But jar by the terms of your own exacting standards of evidence unless their brainwaves match completely you will be making false conclusions derived from the inexactitudes of language and their inability to adequately express their rather vaguely defined beliefs.
I think you should uphold your own standards more consistently.
jar writes:
But thanks for the humor.
Thanks
But I can only work with the material you provide me with.......
The humor continues.
As I have said since the very beginning we have oral histories from humans. The brain wave example dealt only with trying to understand what other species believed. If we could communicate with them they could also tell us what they believed.
It really is that simple.

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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 318 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 1:43 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 320 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:08 PM jar has replied

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


Message 320 of 373 (604209)
02-10-2011 2:08 PM
Reply to: Message 319 by jar
02-10-2011 1:59 PM


Re: Summary
jar writes:
The humor continues.
It does indeed.
jar writes:
The brain wave example dealt only with trying to understand what other species believed. If we could communicate with them they could also tell us what they believed.
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 the argument 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.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 319 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 1:59 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 321 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 2:12 PM Straggler has replied

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


Message 321 of 373 (604214)
02-10-2011 2:12 PM
Reply to: Message 320 by Straggler
02-10-2011 2:08 PM


Re: Summary
Straggler writes:
jar writes:
The humor continues.
It does indeed.
jar writes:
The brain wave example dealt only with trying to understand what other species believed. If we could communicate with them they could also tell us what they believed.
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 the argument 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.
And if I had ever made such an assertion you might even have something to talk about.

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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 320 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:08 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 322 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:14 PM jar has replied

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


Message 322 of 373 (604215)
02-10-2011 2:14 PM
Reply to: Message 321 by jar
02-10-2011 2:12 PM


Re: Summary
So based on the evidence when do you think the cognitive abilities required for such beliefs did emerge?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 321 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 2:12 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 323 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 2:21 PM Straggler has replied

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


Message 323 of 373 (604218)
02-10-2011 2:21 PM
Reply to: Message 322 by Straggler
02-10-2011 2:14 PM


Re: Summary
Straggler writes:
So based on the evidence when do you think the cognitive abilities required for such beliefs did emerge?
No idea or even an idea of how anyone could ever find out short of actual time travel.

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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 322 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:14 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 324 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:23 PM jar has not replied
 Message 325 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:53 PM jar has replied

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


Message 324 of 373 (604220)
02-10-2011 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 323 by jar
02-10-2011 2:21 PM


Re: Summary
Given the graduated nature of evolution do you think it likely that the cognitive abilities required for belief in the supernatural simply popped into existence with homo-sapiens without trace in any other preceding species?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 323 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 2:21 PM jar has not replied

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


Message 325 of 373 (604229)
02-10-2011 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 323 by jar
02-10-2011 2:21 PM


Re: Summary
Given your sudden silence - Let me ask my question again in greater context.
jar writes:
Summary. So far absolutely no evidence or examples have been presented that might indicate support for non-human animal belief in Supernatural Beings. Message 313
Given the graduated nature of evolution do you think it likely that the cognitive abilities required for belief in the supernatural simply popped into existence with homo-sapiens without trace in any other preceding species?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 323 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 2:21 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 326 by jar, posted 02-10-2011 4:17 PM Straggler has not replied

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


Message 326 of 373 (604249)
02-10-2011 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 325 by Straggler
02-10-2011 2:53 PM


Re: Summary
Straggler writes:
Given your sudden silence - Let me ask my question again in greater context.
jar writes:
Summary. So far absolutely no evidence or examples have been presented that might indicate support for non-human animal belief in Supernatural Beings. Message 313
Given the graduated nature of evolution do you think it likely that the cognitive abilities required for belief in the supernatural simply popped into existence with homo-sapiens without trace in any other preceding species?
No idea.

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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 325 by Straggler, posted 02-10-2011 2:53 PM Straggler has not replied

AdminModulous
Administrator
Posts: 897
Joined: 03-02-2006


Message 327 of 373 (604269)
02-10-2011 6:30 PM


Summary?
I've not paid strictly close attention to this thread to be fair (though I meant to when it opened), but it seems to me to have run its course.
If there is a new angle to come at it from I'm happy to keep the thread open and all, but I get the feeling that readers will now know the positions of the primary participants and little that is new is being said.
So, if you agree, post a final summary and I'll consider closing the thread. If you still think there's life in the old girl yet please continue and use a new subtitle. Thanks.

Replies to this message:
 Message 328 by Straggler, posted 02-11-2011 8:39 AM AdminModulous has not replied

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


Message 328 of 373 (604320)
02-11-2011 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 327 by AdminModulous
02-10-2011 6:30 PM


Re: Summary?
I think we are all done here. Feel free to close.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 327 by AdminModulous, posted 02-10-2011 6:30 PM AdminModulous has not replied

onifre
Member (Idle past 3028 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 329 of 373 (604593)
02-13-2011 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 305 by Straggler
02-05-2011 2:22 PM


Re: Animal Experiences
Hi Straggler,
Had to get away from this thread for a bit since (and this is in no way an offense to you) it was bothering me to think I was wasting so much time trying to figure out, with zero experience or education on the matter, if chimps had religious beliefs.
But, I didn't want to just drop it without coming to some conclusion.
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?
No I would not. Here's why: I was listening to the lecture that Mod provided in the Peanut Gallery. In it, the dude speaking mentions that homo-erectus didn't have a "language" which, I didn't know that shit. Now, if he is right that they didn't, can it then be said that chimps do?
In other words, how broad is this thing we call language? And how come in some cases lower primates are thought to have language but in other cases higher primates (such as erectus) are not considered to have language? When is it language, and when is it just a vocal representation of physical objects with not much else to it? Is there a reason to think erectus doesn't have language but chimps do some how, being a lesser primate?
Because of this, I don't think I can give you an educated answer as to what is needed for religious belief as far as abstract concepts, the need for language, etc. I know homo-sapiens do have religious beliefs, and I don't see evidence for other animals having it. That's about as best as I can say on it.
We know that various mammals dream and that greate apes in particular demonstrate various aspects of secondary consciousness.
I was refering to the other type of dream, the kind one would combine with the word "imagine" as you did. More in the metophorical sense: To imagine and dream of living on an island with hot babes.
And it's not that I don't think animals can't do that, it's that how on earth could we know that they do?
If chimps have some basic intuitive grasp of intent, causality and an ability to dream...
What does the "ability" to dream have to do with anything?
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?
Even if they can, what is it about that entity that makes it supernatural? If they imagine a human causing thunderstorms, they have applied all of the above and yet it remains natural.
Wouldn't they have to know the limits of nature to be able to break those limits using their imagination? If so, then I don't think, nor does any evidence suggest, that they can do this.
Claims of mystical causes are evidentially unjustified but that humans have such expereinces seems to be a widely accepted fact.
Humans have experiences, that is a fact. They have subjective experiences, that too is a fact. How are these experiences religious or supernatural?
"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."
But now it changes from religious to spiritual. Well, if that is your new question, "Can animals have spiritual experiences?" I would say yes, many probably can. But to me, as an atheist who has had spiritual experiences, there is nothing supernatural about a spiritual experience.
In fact, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is also an atheist, says his study of the cosmos is s spiritual experience.
So it changes if it's spirituality that you seek to know about.
- Oni
Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 305 by Straggler, posted 02-05-2011 2:22 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 330 by Straggler, posted 02-13-2011 11:59 AM onifre has replied

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


Message 330 of 373 (604599)
02-13-2011 11:59 AM
Reply to: Message 329 by onifre
02-13-2011 10:51 AM


Re: Animal Experiences
Oni on language acquisition writes:
Now, if he is right that they didn't, can it then be said that chimps do?
I have been arguing that some intelligent animals (e.g. chimps) are capable of abstract thought and thus can make the logical link between symbols and concepts that lies at the root of human language. Nothing more. I am not advocating the linguistic abilities of chimps beyond this simple ability for abstraction.
This whole thing arose because CS and Jon declared as fact that chimps were incapable of abstract thought (and thus beliefs) because they lacked language. You seized on my answer to them refuting this that and we seem to have been talking at cross purposes on this ever since. Despite both agreeing that chimps are capable of some limited level of abstract thought.
Oni writes:
And it's not that I don't think animals can't do that, it's that how on earth could we know that they do?
Neuroscience? And is it so outrageous to suggest that the behaviour of one type of ape is potentially comparable to another type of ape?
Oni writes:
What does the "ability" to dream have to do with anything?
If you have the cognitive where-wth-all to of dream of non-existant entites and ascribe them causal roles how is that not a base form of "supernatural belief"?
Oni writes:
How are these experiences religious or supernatural?
They are called "religious" or "supernatural" when those who have them believe them to be caused by supernatural agents. I of all people am not advocating that these beliefs are correct.
Oni writes:
Even if they can, what is it about that entity that makes it supernatural? If they imagine a human causing thunderstorms, they have applied all of the above and yet it remains natural.
Wouldn't they have to know the limits of nature to be able to break those limits using their imagination? If so, then I don't think, nor does any evidence suggest, that they can do this.
It is worth noting that hunter gatherer societies that have been studied anthropologically in relation to this question make absolutely no distinction between nature and supernature. It is all just how the world works as far as they are concerned. But they nevertheless believe in things that we would class as "supernatural" (e.g. gods).
As a further human comparison for ascribing supernatural abilities to things otherwise lacking explanation - Have you heard of cargo cults?
Oni writes:
I know homo-sapiens do have religious beliefs, and I don't see evidence for other animals having it. That's about as best as I can say on it.
I think the "homo-sapien only because that is all we know" stance is too simplistic. Given the graduated nature of evolution it would be startling if the cognitive abilities required for supernatiural belief were not present in preceding species to some extent. The only real question is how far back it is relevant to go.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 329 by onifre, posted 02-13-2011 10:51 AM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 331 by Jon, posted 02-13-2011 12:16 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 333 by onifre, posted 02-13-2011 12:30 PM Straggler has replied

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