[extropy-chat] Animals

Kevin Freels kevinfreels at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 12 16:09:52 UTC 2004

Reacting to symbols does not necessarily mean that a dog understands
language. Chimps, by far the most advanced in language and possible
self-awareness still have tremendous difficulty with such simple sentences
such as "Put the cup on the plate" and "Put the plate on the cup". Language
in itself implies rules of grammar which so far have been difficult to teach
to animals.

Intelligence and interpreting symbols do not mean that an animal is capable
of language. Pavlov showed that by ringing a bell, you can make a dog
salivate. This "symbol" could just as easily be a poster that says "food"
instead of a bell that rings. This does not mean the dog can read. They
certainly can;t pass that knowledge down to their offspring

Likewise, humans with damage to The speech and comprehension areas of the
brain can lose all ability to use language. If language is lost, so are all
of our thoughts. All we have left is pictures which these people can still
recognize and react to. Have these people lost their consciousness? Is
consciousness the same as language?

We have a lot to learn in this area. Heck, we have a lot to learn in all
areas! It's all so fascinating! I hope I make it to the singularity just so
I can spend my time learning more!

Here's an interesting website on the topic of language in animals:


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mike Lorrey" <mlorrey at yahoo.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 8:50 AM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Animals

> --- "Robert J. Bradbury" <bradbury at aeiveos.com> wrote:
> >
> > On Thu, 12 Feb 2004, Avatar Polymorph wrote:
> >
> > > Humans are not "actively selecting" for intelligence in dogs and
> > cats, not
> > > even in sheepdogs.
> >
> > Ca-ca.  Go to any dog show and watch the performance of the animals
> > --
> > I doubt you would be able to claim we are not selecting for
> > intelligence.
> Yes. There is a show on Animal Planet called, I think, Dog Star or
> something like that. Its a dog talent show. One dog, Heelboot, put on a
> show of langauge comprehension that is quite amazing.
> >
> > > Otherwise some very smart cats and dogs would have come into
> > existence some
> > > time ago.
> >
> > Given the above I would argue that "intelligent" cats and dogs do
> > exist.
> I would say the only real restraint on their further development of
> intelligence is the lack of speech capability, which is a genetic thing
> and not a mind thing.
> My german shorthair is highly intelligent, recognises whole sentences
> as well as context. She communicates as she can with her own sign
> language. The only reason she isn't a trick dog is that she is highly
> willfull and self aware. She'll only do a trick if she wants to. She
> even lies. If you offer a biscuit and tell her to roll over, if she
> doesn't like the surface, she'll just spin around in a circle and act
> like she did the work. She thinks she's a person, and will sit on
> furniture like a person, leaning back on the backrest.
> Dogs likely won't naturally evolve language only because without hands,
> they have no need of a more complex language to deal with technology.
> =====
> Mike Lorrey
> "Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
>                                        - Gen. John Stark
> "Fascists are objectively pro-pacifist..."
>                                        - Mike Lorrey
> Do not label me, I am an ism of one...
> Sado-Mikeyism: http://mikeysoft.zblogger.com
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