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The Human Animal...

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  • #16
    Originally posted by seer View Post

    Special pleading? We know humans can and do understand cause and effect and that is the result of understanding consequences and that is based on language. We think it through, and language is necessary for that. This doesn't seem any different than teaching my dog to sit and stay as I walk away. She does, knowing she will get a treat at the end of the process.
    I already provided a non-linguistic understanding of cause and effect that occurred with Pavlov's dogs. The dogs would start to salivate without food being present due to the conditioning. Once food (the effect) was no longer presented, the dogs dissociated a bell with food. The ability to distinguish cause and effect has nothing to do with language. Once waiting was associated with a preferred food, the cuttlefish would wait to get the desired food. That requires the ability to process what I already laid out. The Cartesian view that animals are mere automata is pretty much defunct. Animals have demonstrated tool-usage, self-identification with the mirror test, delayed gratification with the marshmallow test, and some birds even can process water displacement. As animal cognitive science progresses, animals are shown to be more cognitively complex than once considered. I understand the desire to keep humans a special creation apart from animals, but not all animals are just dumb brutes acting according to instinct. Humans are more complex and developed but increasingly not so singularly unique.
    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    -Ghandi (Disputed)

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

      I already provided a non-linguistic understanding of cause and effect that occurred with Pavlov's dogs. The dogs would start to salivate without food being present due to the conditioning. Once food (the effect) was no longer presented, the dogs dissociated a bell with food. The ability to distinguish cause and effect has nothing to do with language. Once waiting was associated with a preferred food, the cuttlefish would wait to get the desired food. That requires the ability to process what I already laid out. The Cartesian view that animals are mere automata is pretty much defunct. Animals have demonstrated tool-usage, self-identification with the mirror test, delayed gratification with the marshmallow test, and some birds even can process water displacement. As animal cognitive science progresses, animals are shown to be more cognitively complex than once considered. I understand the desire to keep humans a special creation apart from animals, but not all animals are just dumb brutes acting according to instinct. Humans are more complex and developed but increasingly not so singularly unique.
      I'm not saying animals are not clever in their own way. I've own dogs for years. But how are they clever? That is my point, you can not demonstrate how understanding cause and effect is possible without language, without a rational foresight of consequences. If Pavlov's dogs are acting on more than just instinct how are they making the connection? Cognitively more complex creatures could simply be acting on more complex instinctive abilities. I think we tend to read our experiences back into lower animals. Is my dog really ashamed when she poops on the rug? Or is that merely a instinctive reaction feigning shame?
      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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      • #18
        Originally posted by seer View Post

        I'm not saying animals are not clever in their own way. I've own dogs for years. But how are they clever? That is my point, you can not demonstrate how understanding cause and effect is possible without language, without a rational foresight of consequences.
        I already did with the association between a bell and food. And there's no language used in the cuttlefish marshmallow test.



        If Pavlov's dogs are acting on more than just instinct how are they making the connection?
        They were show to both associate a bell with food and began to salivate on hearing the bell, Then, when the bell was rung but not food was presented, the bell and food were dissociated.



        Cognitively more complex creatures could simply be acting on more complex instinctive abilities.
        So humans despite being cognitively more complex could merely be acting on more complex instinctive abilities.



        I think we tend to read our experiences back into lower animals. Is my dog really ashamed when she poops on the rug? Or is that merely a instinctive reaction feigning shame?
        Consolation has been show in chimps and rats have been shown to rescue fellow rats. As far as dogs and shame, in the least it could be pack behaviour in response to tone of voice. I would doubt it would be shame in what we consider it. But this is diverting to emotional responses as opposed to dogs processing stimuli.
        “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

        -Ghandi (Disputed)

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by seer View Post
          I find it curious that human beings seem to be the only creatures that are at war with their natural inclinations. We are constantly trying to control our appetites and impulses. I suspect that the higher primates are perfectly at home with their instincts and cravings, unitary and uniform. Humans on the other hand seem to be bifurcated. Trying to dominate and control these very natural passions and stimuli... In a real sense - a state of war exists between the rational and the animal nature.
          Instincts and cravings are purely backward-looking. They are determined by what worked best in the past, perhaps thousands of years ago. But for a creature able to understand the consequences of its actions, it may be apparent that those instincts and cravings will lead to unwelcome consequences, such as when constantly satisfying one's cravings for certain foods leads to poor health and/or early death. Such cravings were more useful when such foods were much less plentiful.

          I don't find it surprising that the forward-looking and backward-looking parts of us are often in conflict.

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          • #20
            This reasoning...

            Originally posted by Stoic View Post

            Instincts and cravings are purely backward-looking. They are determined by what worked best in the past, perhaps thousands of years ago. But for a creature able to understand the consequences of its actions, it may be apparent that those instincts and cravings will lead to unwelcome consequences, such as when constantly satisfying one's cravings for certain foods leads to poor health and/or early death.
            ...is also known as the naturalistic fallacy.
            Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
            But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
            Than a fool in the eyes of God


            From "Fools Gold" by Petra

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
              This reasoning...

              ...is also known as the naturalistic fallacy.
              What the naturalistic fallacy actually is per the SEP.
              “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

              -Ghandi (Disputed)

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by seer View Post
                In a real sense - a state of war exists between the rational and the animal nature.
                Plato wrote quite a lot about this (e.g. his famous chariot analogy where the human soul is pulled by the two horses, on of the base passions, and one of the noble and rational desires) and it was a major strand in ancient Greek and then Roman ethical philosophy. In some strands of Greco-Roman ethical philosophy, self-control in the sense of restraining one's own desires and subjecting them to reason, became the great virtue.

                It's my view that Paul talks about this quite a bit in his letters when he draws on these Greek and Roman ethical ideas to speak of the conflict within humans, talking about the 'flesh' vs the 'spirit' as these two parts of the human psyche oppose one another. In that context of Greek ethics, Paul presents the teachings and example of Christ as helping and inspiring followers to follow their spiritual desires rather than their fleshy ones, and thus presents Christ as helping achieve Greco-Roman ethical goals.

                These terms, I think, have led others to get some quite mistaken ideas about what Paul is saying in these passages, and make major mistakes in their understanding of what Paul thinks about human nature. e.g. some people think 'flesh' = human nature in its natural state, and 'spirit' = divine intervention, and thus come away with the mistaken view that Paul has an extreme negative view of human capability and believes utterly in the need for divine intervention within the individual's psyche. They don't realize that in the Greek philosophical tradition flesh+spirit = human nature in its natural two-part state, the chariot being pulled by two horses, and that the Greek tradition understood all humans to have the power and choice to tip the balance between the two in their lives just as in Plato's chariot analogy the chariot rider is the human soul who has the power to steer the two horses pulling the chariot in different directions.

                It's in light of that background that I think we can see why the Greek Christians in the centuries that followed were so vehement on the subject of free will and its crucial importance and maintained such a 'high' view of man and were so bullish on the ability of humanity to do good - they understood Paul's writings correctly against the background of Greek ethical philosophy they were drawing from. Whereas the major opponent of these ideas was Augustine - a Latin-only speaker who couldn't read Greek and didn't understand the ethical tradition Paul was drawing from, and so misunderstood Paul's words in numerous ways, arriving at an extreme view of the depravity of humanity and their predestination by God, which Calvin would later develop further again with a lack of understanding of the background ideas Paul was drawing from.
                Last edited by Starlight; 03-26-2021, 09:14 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by seer View Post
                  I find it curious that human beings seem to be the only creatures that are at war with their natural inclinations. We are constantly trying to control our appetites and impulses. I suspect that the higher primates are perfectly at home with their instincts and cravings, unitary and uniform. Humans on the other hand seem to be bifurcated. Trying to dominate and control these very natural passions and stimuli... In a real sense - a state of war exists between the rational and the animal nature.
                  I would disagree....

                  People who see the world in conflicting binaries---might see "war" everywhere...but another pov is that of complimentary binaries such as ying/yang. In such a perspective...binaries function as "necessary synthesis"....
                  the pov from Islamic philosophy would be that human nature (fitra) in its natural state is one that is at peace (balance/harmony). Excess breaks the balance. Therefore there is no inherent conflict between body (animal) and soul (human). All creation, in its natural state, is one that is "muslim" --- one that is in balance and harmony in accord with "Gods will"/Nature.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    This reasoning...

                    ...is also known as the naturalistic fallacy.
                    Sorry, not even close.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                      What the naturalistic fallacy actually is per the SEP.
                      Yep. I could have left a link, but I figured if people wanted to know what I was referring to then they could trouble themselves to look it up.
                      Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                      But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                      Than a fool in the eyes of God


                      From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                        Sorry, not even close.
                        It's a bullseye. You define certain actions as "good" because they lead to presumably desirable outcomes. That's the naturalistic fallacy in a nutshell.
                        Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                        But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                        Than a fool in the eyes of God


                        From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                          Yep. I could have left a link, but I figured if people wanted to know what I was referring to then they could trouble themselves to look it up.
                          Stoic never identity the "good" as desirable outcomes. Stoic was talking more about evolutionary psychology.
                          “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

                          -Ghandi (Disputed)

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                            You define certain actions as "good" because they lead to presumably desirable outcomes.
                            It's amazing that you think that was in my post, in which I never defined anything as "good".

                            My point was that instincts are hereditary behavior, meaning that they are determined by genetics, rather than environment. And those genes are still around because they were useful in enabling us to survive and/or procreate. Now, most of us wouldn't complain about being able to survive and procreate, but genes that developed in one environment (i.e. before human civilization) might not have the same effect in another environment (i.e. modern society). It would not be surprising if they led to consequences that we might not like.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Stoic View Post
                              It's amazing that you think that was in my post, in which I never defined anything as "good".
                              It was clearly implied, especially given the context of this thread. And then you go on to say:

                              Originally posted by Stoic View Post
                              My point was that instincts are hereditary behavior, meaning that they are determined by genetics, rather than environment. And those genes are still around because they were useful in enabling us to survive and/or procreate. Now, most of us wouldn't complain about being able to survive and procreate, but genes that developed in one environment (i.e. before human civilization) might not have the same effect in another environment (i.e. modern society). It would not be surprising if they led to consequences that we might not like.
                              Emphasis mine. The intent here is pretty obvious: you are equating the desirability of consequences with their moral value.
                              Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                              But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                              Than a fool in the eyes of God


                              From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by seer View Post
                                I find it curious that human beings seem to be the only creatures that are at war with their natural inclinations. We are constantly trying to control our appetites and impulses. I suspect that the higher primates are perfectly at home with their instincts and cravings, unitary and uniform. Humans on the other hand seem to be bifurcated. Trying to dominate and control these very natural passions and stimuli... In a real sense - a state of war exists between the rational and the animal nature.
                                Since we've developed different hardware on top of the primitive hardware we share with our common ancestors, that tension cannot NOT exist. How then is that "curious"?

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