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EnviroLink Forum • View topic - SAY NO TO CAPTIVE DOLPHINS IN THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:03 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:31 pm 
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I only skimmed this thread but I did not see mention of the Cambridge Declaration of animal consciousness. Notable neuroscience experts signed this document declaring all mammals and all birds and the group of animals that includes octopuses to all have a conscious mind. I believe this is a copy of that declaration

edit, oh I do see it has been quoted... but the link was broken.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Hello animal-friendly:

I am trying to read around all the embedded quotes but can I ask you what your definitions are of an OBE? Mine is derived from scientific papers by for instance, such as those of Olaf Blanke (try a PubMed search for his papers or search there too for "out of body experience"). And if consciousness is not by and of the brain, then what?

As for your experience with hot things, next time you burn yourself, try to think about the timing - the difference between sensation and perception is short, but you can discriminate it. That you think you never have, does not negate my assertion, based on scientific fact, about speed and level of processing of the painful information. Anyway, personal experience is anecdotal until rigourously tested. But to illustrate what I mean, try this: Touch your lip lightly with the tip of your index finger. Where do you feel the touch? More powerfully, and first, on the lip, not on the index finger. Why? Because the touch information from the lip has a shorter distance to travel than information from the index finger. Same principle.

Note that I do not deny that animals have consciousness, and agree with the basic premise of the CD - what I object to is that it does not only not provide any new insights, but parts of it are based on false premises, the unwarranted conclusions such as the inferences about mirror recognition and what it means. I do not deny that perhaps non-human species may be self-aware, and that this self-awareness shares features with human self awareness; however, mirror recogntiion has nothing to do with it because it is not a good measure of it. So rather than saying I am wrong, how abouyt providing evidence that I am? And personal experiences are not evidence.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Animal-friendly:

Sorry, just noticed - You get stuck into me about "talking apes" - sorry, but try to read carefully, as I try to read your posts. I wrote "the talking ape, singular, ie, Homo sapiens -joke, joke... :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:49 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:07 am 
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Hello AF: No, I do not disagree with the basic premise of the CD. What I object to is a declaration that has nothing new to tell us. Talk is very cheap, and even cheaper, grandstanding about self-awareness based on data that are not evidence of it. As for dolphins in captivity, dolphins are also often over-rated because they have big brains, without people bothering to think about what exactly that means (big animals have big brains - so what?). What we know is that the dolphin brain is not like a primate brain, having evolved to become large independently of the primate line. New research also suggests it does not have as many nerve cells as the equivalent primate brain, and is, perhaps not surprisingly, also organised differently in its cortex (as is the elephant brain). That does not mean that it is not remarkable, but to me, no more remarkable, and possibly less so, than the brains of the smallest mammals that weigh very little indeed and belong to the bumblebee bat (the whole animal only weighs a few grams - yet if flies - and navigates not unlike a dolphin) and the Etruscan shrew - a carnivore and thus, a hunter of food. Sure, dolphins can learn clever tricks, but again, so can animals with much smaller brains, animals that also respond equally or better to human-given cues - dogs. To consider dolphin awareness or self-awareness, we must try to come up with questions to ask of a brain that lives in the waters and in groups. Why should dolphins have self-awareness of the advanced kind (theory of mind) that humans who live in larger and more complex groups do? Why should chimpanzees. or elephants? Can we ask questions that will show whether these species do possess advanced self-awareness, or not? Much has been done in chimpanzees but without much evidence emerging.... so far.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:16 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:29 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:38 am 
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Bottom line throughout this thread is whether your brand of awareness is not emotionally based in conjecture more-so than factual case of animals having such elevated awareness A.F.. Even within human cycles people are completely out of their element when they leave the concrete jungle they grew up in and are left to their own devices in the wilderness and humans have the added benefit of trading secrets about contrary life-styles through written word or other elevated communications as preparation for such changes. I think the designer of this thread has lost track of those realities and injected to much animal anthropomorphism.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:12 pm 
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Hello AF: Not sure what the problem is since I have acknowledged that consciousness is not unique to human or even primate brains. You are attacking a straw man/person if you think I am making an argument that bigger brains are better - what I did was point out that many people believe is that there is something special about dolphins because their brains are big (remember that this thread started with objections to dolphins in captivity) whereas I made a case that that in itself does not confer special consideration, and that animals with smaller brains can do the same things we consider clever about dolphins. And we can agree to disagree on the details of the Cambridge Declaration; however, I think that I can rightly object to people using the argument of authority (why should the signature of Stephen Hawking, a non- brain expert, be an argument for animal consciousness? He may believe, and believe for scientific reasons (evolution alone would suggest it) that animals have consciousness, but the the CD goes beyond that to include self-awareness, and if you have some understanding of the things like mirror recognition and other studies of self awareness, like the possession of theory of mind, you would not sign off on that as a universal aspect of animal consciousness. We simply do not have enough or good enough evidence for such a generalization, not even at the single animal species level, like (Indian) elephants, or dolphins (usually, bottlenose). But that is not denying the possibility, and research continues. As for your personal OBE, I will certainly listen to what you think you experienced; however, whatever it is, it is not proof until data have been collected from a number of people (as has been done) to look for shared features that will help define what OBE 's characteristics are. And neuroscientists will try and relate these to the brain because all the evidence supports that personal perceptions originate there. Which brings me back to a question of mine you have not answered: if consciousness, including the consciousness of OBEs, is not by and of the brain, then what?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:59 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:18 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoOHWHEJ ... e=youtu.be

assumptions of contemporary neuroscientists ...... looking in the wrong place.


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