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Animals Are Canny Smart...And Soulful? II | McBirdie's Nest

Animals Are Canny Smart...And Soulful? II

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Sep 14, 2006

Animals Are Canny Smart...And Soulful? II

Round two on the animal intelligence debate. For newcomers, the original post is below. You may want to scan the previous comments to get an idea of what peeps have been saying.

Main points covered have been: How do we measure intelligence? Is "human-like" the only yard stick? Animal ghosties? And...the S-word Enjoy.

As I was posting this, one of the men-folk have just posted the blog on "Do animals have souls like humans?" question...with the requisite "We need to have a 'souls don't exist' option" comment. I love situational irony, peeps. :)

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One of the most popular matching questions to blog is the "Do animals have souls like humans?" which invariably means the blogger has to say..."do we assume humans have souls?" Not that I am not impressed with the originality of that sentiment *cough*, but I think this article is darned interesting.

Take a look at what some of our animal friends are up to: Read the article

From that article: "People generally define intelligence in terms that place our own species at the apex, but recent studies on other animals suggest skills such as abstract thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and language --once thought unique to us --may not be so uncommon after all...

Chickens practice deception, pigeons can categorize images in photographs as quickly as we can, a gorilla plays a joke on a human teacher, and a tiny fish leaps from one tide pool to another using a mental map formed during high tide...

Key to human intelligence is our ability to think in abstract terms, and the ability to apply previously acquired concepts in problem solving...The study suggests this species, and possibly all birds, possess rule abstraction. Other research has determined that baboons and chimpanzees think abstractly.

Linguists have argued that certain patterns of language organization are the exclusive province of humans. Once again, new research is turning that idea on its head...

Another quality of human intelligence that many animals appear to share is the capacity for complex emotion.

The sensory rewards and punishments that accompany strong emotions, in many cases, create the drive for animals to stay alive and reproduce. Countless studies suggest that creatures from birds to bats to baboons feel joy, pain, sadness and other emotions..."


Certainly there are already people who believe that animals feel emotions and are quite clever, but what do you think when you see the evidence stacked up that many animals exhibit the characteristics once held sacred to human intelligence: abstract thinking, problem solving, language, and complex emotions? What are the ramifications for animal testing? Keeping animals as pets? Or will we say that if animals are so much like humans...they actually just went down a peg in our estimation?

 

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Animals Are Canny Smart...And Soulful? II
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Sep 14, 2006 Animals Are Canny Smart...And Soulful? II Round two on the animal intelligence debate. For newcomers, the original post is...

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