Author Topic: Moral Behavior in Animals?  (Read 1854 times)

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Offline Nick

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2012, 08:10:33 PM »
I had to put down a 15 yr old cocker today.  I know its a dog but it is sad to have to do that.  The vet came over to do it at home.  The dog was old and having lots of problems but I'm still kind of bumbed out.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2012, 08:26:58 PM »
I had to put down a 15 yr old cocker today.  I know its a dog but it is sad to have to do that.  The vet came over to do it at home.  The dog was old and having lots of problems but I'm still kind of bumbed out.

my sympathies

I had a blue roan cocker for years ...back in the day   ....a dumb dumb animal that I loved   you'd need a heart of stone not to be bummed out bloke

I wish you the easiest possible transition Nick
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Offline kindred

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2012, 08:57:27 PM »
@sepukku

Not really surprised there, mate. Morality is just another way of implementing survival of the fittest. Groups are stronger than individuals so ,of course, an evolutionary mechanism would crop up to ensure group cooperation.

The big difference in humans and animals though, is the long infancy stage of humans where our brains are incredibly plastic. Newer research shows that even in adulthood and adoloscence, the human brains is still plastic but even moreso in infancy. Our capability to learn so much adds a much more complicated twist to our morality.

I've always been bothered by the people that say that humanity is defined by our morality when other animals also have some form of primitive morality. Aren't we defined by our incredible intelligence that allows us to EFFECTIVELY enforce group morality? Case in point: ethics. Ethics are efficient and objective way of applying morality. 
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2012, 09:01:13 PM »
I had to put down a 15 yr old cocker today.  I know its a dog but it is sad to have to do that.  The vet came over to do it at home.  The dog was old and having lots of problems but I'm still kind of bumbed out.

Sorry about the doggie.  :'(

The best dogs have hearts of gold, and the worst dogs are only as bad as the people who own them. (Paging Michael Vick...)
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2012, 09:15:18 PM »
I'm so sorry for your loss, Nick. They truly are a part of our family. I still really miss my greyhound whom I lost to bone cancer three years ago. Sometimes I wake up and am almost surprised that he's no longer here.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2012, 10:02:53 PM »

Our capability to learn so much adds a much more complicated twist to our morality.

I've always been bothered by the people that say that humanity is defined by our morality when other animals also have some form of primitive morality. Aren't we defined by our incredible intelligence that allows us to EFFECTIVELY enforce group morality? Case in point: ethics. Ethics are efficient and objective way of applying morality.

Agreed although I have always felt ethics (as an individual pursuit, not the rigourously exact nomenclature) is more like an art than a science.

Science can describe the different schools of ethics, but the individual practitioner always brings his own colours  vision and palette, some, for instance, making the most outrageously avant-garde statements (via action), while still firmly convinced they are representing a particular closely defined "school".

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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2012, 10:34:11 PM »
@sepukku

Not really surprised there, mate. Morality is just another way of implementing survival of the fittest. Groups are stronger than individuals so ,of course, an evolutionary mechanism would crop up to ensure group cooperation.

The big difference in humans and animals though, is the long infancy stage of humans where our brains are incredibly plastic. Newer research shows that even in adulthood and adoloscence, the human brains is still plastic but even moreso in infancy. Our capability to learn so much adds a much more complicated twist to our morality.

I've always been bothered by the people that say that humanity is defined by our morality when other animals also have some form of primitive morality. Aren't we defined by our incredible intelligence that allows us to EFFECTIVELY enforce group morality? Case in point: ethics. Ethics are efficient and objective way of applying morality.

Definitely makes sense from an evolutionary perspective and of course, from instinct. But nature still manages to amaze me and I think the things you can see and learn about nature are simply awesome. I remember having a discussion a long time ago with somebody who didn't think animals had emotions, I think it's absolutely ridiculous anybody could even think that way, how much of a bubble would you have live in to have not experience or acknowledge an animal demonstrating some level of emotion?

But anyway I think one of our greater advantages is our capacity for language, it's much larger than other animals. Though I don't think we have any traits that are special in the animal kingdom - we can just see them appear in different species of animals, it's just the special part is the complexity of those traits.

Quote
although I have always felt ethics (as an individual pursuit, not the rigourously exact nomenclature) is more like an art than a science.

I think that's a fair way of thinking it. I don't think you can look at ethics in an objective way as it is really just abstract and not something that can be objectively measured. There may be some models of ethics that are absolutist, but they're just subjective to those who set the 'rules'. Though my ethics are more situational and relative and relies heavily on my own beliefs.

Considering ethics is a means of self-expression, I think the word 'art' is definitely apt.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2012, 02:53:07 AM »
. Though I don't think we have any traits that are special in the animal kingdom - we can just see them appear in different species of animals, it's just the special part is the complexity of those traits.



....being dumb enough to invent gods, then believing in the invention?   
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2012, 02:54:38 AM »
....being dumb enough to invent gods, then believing in the invention?   

Chimpanzees do it, IIRC.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2012, 02:58:09 AM »
....being dumb enough to invent gods, then believing in the invention?   

Chimpanzees do it, IIRC.

now that has got me curious    any linkage Luci?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2012, 03:16:51 AM »
now that has got me curious    any linkage Luci?

I remember reading such a thing, but the best I could find was a crappy video of chimpanzees "worshiping"[1] their leader. Unfortunately, Google is only giving me people who worship animals, rather than animals who worship gods.
Either I was dreaming (not entirely unlikely) or what I read was BS.
 1. Seemed more like blind submission than worship to me.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2012, 03:52:29 AM »
now that has got me curious    any linkage Luci?

I remember reading such a thing, but the best I could find was a crappy video of chimpanzees "worshiping"[1] their leader. Unfortunately, Google is only giving me people who worship animals, rather than animals who worship gods.
Either I was dreaming (not entirely unlikely) or what I read was BS.
 1. Seemed more like blind submission than worship to me.

Yeah mate I've just been looking    ....couldn't find anything   
....it would have to be a physical display of conceptualisation that I really doubt could even be accurately interpreted by an observer.





I inherited a wild country cat (came with the rural property I moved into)     ....it thought I was god after a while

How did I know?   

......the headless rabbit offerings on the back doorstep.

"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2012, 06:25:41 AM »
When my brother and I would go swimming our dog would constantly try to drag us back to shore by the neck of our life jackets. I was too young to realize it, (I just thought she was annoying as hell at the time) but she was trying to save us.
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2012, 10:11:37 AM »
When my brother and I would go swimming our dog would constantly try to drag us back to shore by the neck of our life jackets. I was too young to realize it, (I just thought she was annoying as hell at the time) but she was trying to save us.

Aww, that's adorable!  ;D

I had a greyhound (lost him to cancer two years ago today ... what a crappy April Fool's joke that was) who'd step between me and anyone who seemed threatening. I traveled for several years around the country in my RV and I always felt much safer with him by my side. My current greyhound only protects me from taking up too much space on the bed, the couch, and the hiking trails! She hasn't figured out her role as protector yet!!!  ;D
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2012, 09:57:46 PM »
I had this theory when I lived in Texas where we had ants EVERYWHERE..I would play god causing earthquakes, floods and pestilence from the sky at them so they built little temples all over the backyard for me.  :D They'll wait thousands of years now for my return.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 10:04:49 PM by atheola »
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Offline orpat

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2012, 07:20:10 AM »
Most animals are just uneducated humans or vice versa. Consider a 2 year old baby for example, it is just an animal.

I remember when i was an animal(i.e as a 3 yr old baby when i was still uneducated), I still used to have feelings and emotions.

So if you are having a chicken for dinner, what you are basically eating is an animal with emotions and intelligence which might be equivalent to a human baby.

I might be wrong but....


Dr. Bernard Rollin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University

“Contrary to what one may hear from the industry, chickens are not mindless, simple automata but are complex behaviorally, do quite well in learning, show a rich social organization, and have a diverse repertoire of calls. Anyone who has kept barnyard chickens also recognizes their significant differences in personality.”

http://www.chickenindustry.com/cfi/intelligence/
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 08:16:21 AM by orpat »
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2012, 07:23:10 AM »
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

Offline orpat

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #46 on: April 02, 2012, 08:27:05 AM »
I admit my realization of chicken's intelligence left me horrified. I was unable to consume chicken for many days.

Right now i do eat chicken(very less) hoping they had an easy death before dying. Though i must admit i am trying to be a vegan as hard as i can.
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Offline Samuelxcs

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #47 on: April 02, 2012, 08:42:54 AM »
I admit my realization of chicken's intelligence left me horrified. I was unable to consume chicken for many days.

Right now i do eat chicken(very less) hoping they had an easy death before dying. Though i must admit i am trying to be a vegan as hard as i can.

What would you do if you realized the intelligence of plants? Eat rocks or just become like a vulture? Chickens are not much different than humans in terms of food. Minimum suffering should always be a rule if someone wants to kill another thing for food.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 09:41:42 AM by Samuelxcs »
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #48 on: April 02, 2012, 09:38:38 AM »
Humans don't stop being animals just because we grow older.  So if a two-year old or a three-year old is an animal, then so too is a twenty-year old or a thirty-year old...or a hundred-year old.

This brings many of the Native American beliefs into perspective, though.  They believed, if I recall correctly, that if they killed an animal, it deserved to be used fully, with as little waste as possible.  Because then you were respecting its life, instead of just throwing it away.

Offline Nick

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #49 on: April 02, 2012, 09:39:13 AM »
My grandma use to catch chickens and swing them by the neck until the head and neck were in her hand and the body running around headless.  I never gave my grandma any crap.
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #50 on: April 02, 2012, 09:46:21 AM »
My grandma use to catch chickens and swing them by the neck until the head and neck were in her hand and the body running around headless.  I never gave my grandma any crap.
Wow, who was your grandma, Elizabeth Bathory?
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #51 on: April 02, 2012, 10:13:16 AM »
My mother-in-law did that too, Nick. And my husband's grandmother and my grandmother.  Husband also did it in the military when he was in sapper leader training and to simulate them having to find their own food, they were given live rabbits and chickens.  Snapping necks on both critters was the most humane, and quiet, thing to do.
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #52 on: April 02, 2012, 10:48:16 AM »
I wonder if early human hunter/gatherers gave much thought to the pain their prey endured as they thrusted stone tools into them. I suppose on some level they might have, but being their prey was as likely to kill them I think it was minimal.
I can remember as a kid when the dogs would tree a posum we would throw rocks at the poor critters till they dropped and the dogs got them and back then we gave it not a second thought.. Of course today I wouldn't dream of such cruelty, but in kids it's quite normal behavior to want to kill what is perceived as vermin or a threat of some sort.
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2012, 10:56:48 AM »
On the subject of grandma's mine had an old cat named Tippy and every now and then old Tippy got fat and had baby Tippy's so grandma just tied the little Tippy's in a sack then dropped them in the rain barrel then buried them in her flower garden as easy as taking her next breath even though all us kids cried..
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2012, 02:59:17 PM »
On the subject of grandma's mine had an old cat named Tippy and every now and then old Tippy got fat and had baby Tippy's so grandma just tied the little Tippy's in a sack then dropped them in the rain barrel then buried them in her flower garden as easy as taking her next breath even though all us kids cried..

That is horrible. :o  I have seen similar things in third world countries. People have got to learn to spay and neuter. There is an organizatin, I think in Canada, that does info campaigns and trains vets in other countries to do simple fixing of cats and dogs.

People value their pets more and treat them better after having invested some money in a vet visit. And local vets have a new source of income, because people bring in their pets again when they are sick. Just fix Tippy.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2012, 03:03:48 PM »
if I had been there, granny would have been in the barrel. 
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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2012, 04:07:34 PM »
Yes, drowning a sack of kittens or puppies is horrible.  And especially in this day and age, there's no excuse for not simply neutering pets instead.

Does anyone know when they figured out how to spay female cats?  And dogs too, I suppose.  I did some looking on Google but aside from "several decades", I couldn't find anything.

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Re: Moral Behavior in Animals?
« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2012, 04:51:38 PM »
...Does anyone know when they figured out how to spay female cats?  And dogs too, I suppose.  I did some looking on Google but aside from "several decades", I couldn't find anything.

I'm 54 years old. We got our first cat when I was six and we had him neutered. Spaying and neutering has been around for a very long time, and in my opinion, as long as there are cats and dogs being killed due to a lack of enough homes, it is the only ethical choice for a pet owner.
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