Dolphins, Horses and Na'vi

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Dolphins, Horses and Na'vi

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:31 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-17116882

Deja vu...

Why is the BBC reporting this as news?! It was first reported years ago, and even discussed here!

archive/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=55111&start=165

Jesus, I went to town refuting this nonsense two years ago! At least it saves me the work this time around.

archive/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=55111&start=180
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:37 am

The scientist quoted in the BBC article - Dr Lori Marino - did not come up with the "non-human person" soundbite. In fact, she didn't even show that dolphins are 'self-aware'. Her paper merely states, tentatively, that they might be. The "non-human person" quote was from an ethics expert (what does that even mean?), who has written a book about dolphins.

Lazy, irresponsible journalism from the BBC.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:41 am

As for that whole silly mechanic/engineer thing, that was because apparently only animal psychologists can have an opinion on the topic. I hope it doesn't come to that this time around - if so, we'll all just have to watch while the QOL animal psychologists (are there any?) discuss things.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:00 am

Having just re-read the old thread and the papers that the BBC article refers to, a brief summary:

The paper in question was written in 2001. 11 years ago. What the BBC is reporting on 21 February 2012 as news was first reported 11 years ago.

The 'non-human person' quote came several years later, in a book by an 'expert ethicist' called Prof. Tom White, in 2007 - 4 years ago.

I ask again - how is this news?! Someone did a study 11 years ago with tentative conclusions that were to be built upon, and no further research has been published, suggesting that there is in fact nothing else left to find and that the tentative conclusions were exactly that; someone uses this research as ammunition to sell a book about animal rights 6 years later; and now, a further 4 years later it's being reported as news by the British Broadcasting Corporation, and people will read it, won't read the original articles, and will think that there has been a groundbreaking discovery in the last fortnight that dolphins are people.

Dolphins are amazing creatures, and it's fucking disgraceful that we continue to hunt and kill them for profit. Disgraceful. But to get distracted from the genuine need to stop abusing dolphins by talking about them being "non-human people" is just silly, and makes a laughing stock out of what is actually a very serious subject. I really hope Dr. Brian doesn't post this recycled nonsense on his Soapbox. He's a scientist, he should know better than to trust the media's reporting of scientific research.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Dusty » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:57 am





This recent miniseries by the BBC shows that many animals, including bonoboes, dolphins, elephants and seals, have remarkable intelligence, can communicate with languages and are self-aware, as well as capable of beating many humans in intelligence, memory and perception tests. The presenter, Liz Bronnin, has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry as well as a master's degree in wild animal biology- she communicated with dolphins and bonoboes, wondering if they actually did communicate in the human definition of the term, and she was convinced of this.

if it's been proven that these animals are worthy of our respect on their own terms, I see no offence to the term 'non-human person' if that helps us to be aware of, and do something to stop, the exploitation, capture and slaughter of these beings we share the planet with. To dismiss any of this as nonsense is to perpetuate the species arrogance that has led to the human race rendering many species of animals extinct, and to f*ck up this planet for future generations and many more animal habitats, just because we can. Me, I think this idea is a step in the right direction. You may believe I'm stupid to think of animals in this way, but I believe anyone who thinks animals are there to be used and abused, and not thought of in any respectful way whatsoever, are more stupid. If this is what it takes to make humans respect animals, then bring it on.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:49 am

As I said, nothing has been proven. It was 'sort of maybe' shown that dolphins can recognise themselves in a mirror 11 years ago, and that more research is needed to ascertain whether or not they're really self-aware. No further research has been forthcoming. All that has happened since is an ethicist has referenced the paper and said it proves that dolphins are people, in the largely correct belief that people will see the 'Prof' at the start of his name and won't bother reading the paper for themselves, but rather will assume that what he says is true. It's not true. The paper offers no such proof and no such conclusion.

The Woodpecker Crow collects seeds over the summer, and buries them in various hiding places across the landscape, sometimes burying as many as 100,000 seeds in caches of no more than around 15 seeds each. Up to 9 months later, it can retrieve the seeds with astonishing accuracy, even if the landscape is covered in snow. This is surely a memory feat that would beat any human.

Many fish that live in the deepest depths of the ocean have four or five different cones, the photoreceptors used to see light. We have three (I have two, being colour blind). These fish therefore have much, much greater powers of colour perception than humans.

...so what?

Animals are amazing. They all are. Not just dolphins and elephants, but spiders and gerbils as well. They're all perfectly adapted to their niches, despite the difference between different animals being just a few genes. The Krebs cycle is the same for all animals (presumably that's the relevance of the biochemistry degree). Other animals are 'better' than humans in an uncountable number of ways. But they're not better at being humans. Humans are pretty much the experts at that one, by definition. And that includes the human condition. Some animals might show fleeting glimpses of self-awareness but it's not even close to the human equivalent. That doesn't mean they're not worthy of respect. It would be a very sad world if the only way an animal could earn respect was by acting like a human, and it's very sad when people try to fight the corner of animals by trying to prove how human-like they are.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Dusty » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:05 am

You didn't watch the documentaries, did you. Elephants CAN recognise themselves in the mrror, without training, and that was shown in episode 2. From that evidence, it's clear to see that many intelligent animals can do this. Many others can make tools, too- going back to your old thread, you got called on that one for saying otherwise, and there was evidence to back our claims up. There is plenty of evidence to support those claims as well as the current argument for Dolphins' rights in that documentary. The main thrust of the argument is NOT that animals have to be like humans to gain respect, but that their differences from us are accorded equal respect- what makes them intelligent and capable of reason should be respected, even if we don't neccessarily understand what they mean- it's the same as giving a foreign person equal rights despite our not understanding his language or culture, but instead recognising that he has them.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Innuendoes » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:21 am

Elessar wrote:As I said, nothing has been proven. It was 'sort of maybe' shown that dolphins can recognise themselves in a mirror 11 years ago, and that more research is needed to ascertain whether or not they're really self-aware. No further research has been forthcoming. All that has happened since is an ethicist has referenced the paper and said it proves that dolphins are people, in the largely correct belief that people will see the 'Prof' at the start of his name and won't bother reading the paper for themselves, but rather will assume that what he says is true. It's not true. The paper offers no such proof and no such conclusion.

The Woodpecker Crow collects seeds over the summer, and buries them in various hiding places across the landscape, sometimes burying as many as 100,000 seeds in caches of no more than around 15 seeds each. Up to 9 months later, it can retrieve the seeds with astonishing accuracy, even if the landscape is covered in snow. This is surely a memory feat that would beat any human.

Many fish that live in the deepest depths of the ocean have four or five different cones, the photoreceptors used to see light. We have three (I have two, being colour blind). These fish therefore have much, much greater powers of colour perception than humans.

...so what?

Animals are amazing. They all are. Not just dolphins and elephants, but spiders and gerbils as well. They're all perfectly adapted to their niches, despite the difference between different animals being just a few genes. The Krebs cycle is the same for all animals (presumably that's the relevance of the biochemistry degree). Other animals are 'better' than humans in an uncountable number of ways. But they're not better at being humans. Humans are pretty much the experts at that one, by definition. And that includes the human condition. Some animals might show fleeting glimpses of self-awareness but it's not even close to the human equivalent. That doesn't mean they're not worthy of respect. It would be a very sad world if the only way an animal could earn respect was by acting like a human, and it's very sad when people try to fight the corner of animals by trying to prove how human-like they are.


There is no such thing as a woodpecker crow. Woodpeckers are picidae family and crows are corvidae family. And maybe you need to watch this woman. No, these raptors aren't humans and no one is claiming that they are. But, they are highly intelligent birds, as are the corvidae family - but not the picidae family. And this woman proved that owls (we already know how they feel if their mate is lost or dies) feel emotions.


 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:29 am

Who had 2 in the sweepstake for number of posts before Dusty gets personal?

I have absolutely no vested interest in anything being true whatsoever. It makes no difference to me if animals can talk (they can't), if homeopathy works (it doesn't), if people can talk to the dead (many have been shown to be fakes) or if there is a god. It makes no difference to me. I don't have a wife or children and my family don't have strong views, so I'm in the fairly luxurious position of being able to completely change my views without any real impact on my life. That's the position 'science' is in, but inevitably many scientists aren't, for one reason or another.

So I wasn't "called up" on anything. Some evidence was provided that animals can modify tools (although not in a way that requires causal reasoning), and that was the end of it. I now know and am fascinated by that fact; you see it as a personal victory, which is a bit strange (not a diagnosis). It's yet another amazing thing about animals, but doesn't actually advance the argument that they're non-human people, and actually that example (a bird bending a stick, i.e. modifying a tool) didn't even contradict the point I was making, but rather a small (incorrect) point I'd made along the way.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:33 am

Innuendoes wrote:There is no such thing as a woodpecker crow. Woodpeckers are picidae family and crows are corvidae family.


:lol:

I'm not going up argue with you there! I'm referring to Nucifraga columbiana. I'm sure it has many aliases!
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Innuendoes » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:35 am

Elessar wrote:
Innuendoes wrote:There is no such thing as a woodpecker crow. Woodpeckers are picidae family and crows are corvidae family.


:lol:

I'm not going up argue with you there! I'm referring to Nucifraga columbiana. I'm sure it has many aliases!

It's a corvid. It sometimes acts like a crow but it's a corvid and I used to feed them in Colorado up in the mountains where they live as they don't live at lower altitudes. I know the bird well. Ha ha.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Innuendoes » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:36 am

Innuendoes wrote:
Elessar wrote:
Innuendoes wrote:There is no such thing as a woodpecker crow. Woodpeckers are picidae family and crows are corvidae family.


:lol:

I'm not going up argue with you there! I'm referring to Nucifraga columbiana. I'm sure it has many aliases!

It's a corvid. It sometimes acts like a crow but it's a corvid and I used to feed them in Colorado up in the mountains where they live as they don't live at lower altitudes. I know the bird well. Ha ha.

It also often acts like a wood pecker but other corvids do as well. BUT, they're not ! They're all corvids and woodpeckers are NOT ! :lol: :)
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Elessar » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:39 am

Innuendoes wrote:
Elessar wrote:
Innuendoes wrote:There is no such thing as a woodpecker crow. Woodpeckers are picidae family and crows are corvidae family.


:lol:

I'm not going up argue with you there! I'm referring to Nucifraga columbiana. I'm sure it has many aliases!

It's a corvid. It sometimes acts like a crow but it's a corvid and I used to feed them in Colorado up in the mountains where they live as they don't live at lower altitudes. I know the bird well. Ha ha.


Well then, you'll know about their amazing spatial memories! I remember there being two theories about how it maps all the hiding places for seeds. One is that it really does have an incredible memory and a massive hippocampus (which I don't think was backed up by anatomical studies); another is that it 'guesses' where it buried them on the basis that it is using the same criteria for choosing a spot as it would have done back when it was burying them. That doesn't really explain how it can still find seeds under many inches of snow.

Either way, a remarkable little bird.
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Dusty » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:40 am

Elessar wrote:Who had 2 in the sweepstake for number of posts before Dusty gets personal?


You've made several baiting comments after our little spat on the religion thread in the hope that I'd have a go back at you, then start this topic off, based on something I said over a year ago to effectively do the same thing and I reply with a link to a two-part documentary series, made by a TV presenter who has degree qualifications in that field that backs my viewpoint up, and I'm being personal? Besides, if you had no vested interest in being right over a variety of subjects unrelated to this topic, why the hell mention them again in this thread- in one post? I didn't insult you, so how can that be personal?

Dafuq. :roll:

Funnily enough, this topic has become topical in the news again, because the Daily Mail posted a similar article only a couple of days ago, which means that this viewpoint is gaining ground- and I would have brought this up again, had animals' perceptions been raised in the religion thread.
 
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Re: Recycled dolphin story

Postby Innuendoes » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:49 am

Elessar wrote:Either way, a remarkable little bird.

Most corvids are.
 
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