BaalChatzaf

who's a bird brain?

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Interesting article on the intelligence of crows here:

http://www.guardian....t/2012/jan/04/1

Also gray parrots are extremely intelligent.

See http://en.wikipedia....can_Grey_Parrot

The late gray parrot Alex had remarkable abilities.

My sister keeps a gray parrot and the bird can imitate human voices remarkably well. Also the parrot can say meaningful things. When I visited my sister, her gray said to me::" Hey Bob, are you hungry tonight? Linda is making a steak. "

Linda is my sister's name.

I would swear on a stack of Ayn Rand novels that the parrot knew what it was saying.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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This calls to mind one of Christopher Hitchens' anecdotes. When he visited North Korea he went to the zoo and saw a parrot that praised the Dear Leader using the same phrases that everyone else used.

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This calls to mind one of Christopher Hitchens' anecdotes. When he visited North Korea he went to the zoo and saw a parrot that praised the Dear Leader using the same phrases that everyone else used.

That might be what the interpreter told him. How would he otherwise know? But regardless, the bottom line is the same. I imagine the parrot did just that and he was trained to do just that. I must emphasize--which is why I'm making this inane post--THE PARROT IS INNOCENT!

--Brant

I usually do better with the humor--this is Phil-type stuff--but it makes my diamonds stand out more

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> I usually do better with the humor

No you don't.

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That might be what the interpreter told him. How would he otherwise know?

If the phrase is something short and distinctive like “Heil Hitler” or “Allahu Akbar”, I don’t think it’s a problem. As I recall, however, CH had an interpreter/chaperone with him the whole time, so that's probably the answer.

> I usually do better with the humor

No you don't.

Yes he does.

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Are any animals “on the verge” of becoming “more than animals?” Peter
From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Question to Jeff Olson (was Gayle Dean on Volition, Conception, and Animality) Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 14:13:41 -0500

Jeff-O, I keep trying to get around to addressing the questions you raise, and I keep having trouble "getting a handle" on your questions, because I think that you're using the term "will" in a way which is "on a different page" than the one I'm on.

For instance, you wrote: >If individual human will varies, then doesn't it follow that different individuals possess different degrees of will, and therefore different degrees of responsibility for their actions?  If some individuals do possess more "willpower" than others -- if it is easier, for instance, for some individuals to be moral than for others -- then how can their moral culpability or praiseworthiness be considered equal?

What it sounds to me like you're talking about is "will" defined as some sort of ability just to *make* (viola!) actions happen -- indeed, your usage of "will" sounds to me like the way I've often heard Christians use it (excuse me, Debbie, people whom I'd think of as being "Christians," whether you'd agree or not).  And it sounds like the way Dennis May uses it, as some sort of outside-the-scheme- of-the-natural-world "power."  But this isn't even "volition" as I mean "volition."  (To repeat for the definition I use:  "the capacity for self-aware regulation, within limits, of one's mental activities"; note: it might be better to say, "of what one's awareness is doing.")

I'm not finding that I can get a grip on how the term "volition" as I use it connects with the problems which you raise.  So I wonder if you could give me a definition for what you mean by "will." Ellen S.

From: "Jeff Olson" To: "atlantis" Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 12:22:04 -0800

You're right, Ellen, I haven't been entirely clear in my use of the word "will," especially about how it relates to "volition." By "will," I think people customarily mean the strength and efficacy of one's desire to act; "volition" generally refers to (conscious) regulation of one's mind.  The two are pretty much inextricably entwined, as I'm sure you'd agree. So when I speak of "will," I'm speaking of the sum of mental regulatory processes leading up to a given action, beginning with the choice to focus on something and ending with the choice to act.  By "variable will," I mean differences in the ability to initiate/control all the processes which lead to an action, beginning with differences in the ability to initiate and maintain focus (clearly that's a necessary first step in any action), and ending with the final choice to effect a desire. Jeff

From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: animal conceptuality? Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 14:54:48 EST

Ellen Moore asked: << Can any one of you animal volitionists provide us with a certain example of an abstract animal concept?  >>

I'm not an animal volitionist, nor do I think that animals (except for my cat) commonly think in abstractions, but I can give you one example that always has fascinated me because it seems more than perceptual; it appears to involve some level of abstraction. If, by accident, you step on you pet's paw or otherwise hurt her, she does not run away as she would do if you had deliberately hurt her as punishment for something.   Generally, she will come to you to be comforted instead. I don't, of course, mean that the pet thinks: On, that was an accident, she didn't mean to do it, so I don't need to be afraid. But in some way, the rather complex difference between the accidental and the intentional is "grasped." Barbara

From: Santos To: atlantis

But in punishing a pet, you use verbal and body language, which the pet understands.  In accidentally stepping on a paw or tail, it is not prefaced by a firm voice and action towards the cat. (I'm willing to bet, Barbara, That YOU take the initiative in the comforting.) Patricia

From: BBfromM

Patricia Santos wrote: << But in punishing a pet, you use verbal and body language, which the pet understands.  In accidentally stepping on a paw or tail, it is not prefaced by a firm voice and action towards the cat. (I'm willing to bet, Barbara, that YOU take the initiative in the comforting. >>

This doesn't answer the question, it simply makes the pet's understanding more complex. Because you have the pet "grasping" that punishment is preceded by a certain kind of language, and accident is not. Barbara

From: Michael Hardy To: atlantis

I don't think this issue of animal conceptuality is as philosophically important as some people seem to think.  Ayn Rand made some assertions about the differences between us and other animals, but her philosophical point was about the differences between the ways we do or should function mentally, on the one hand, and the ways we would function if we had only lower, non-rational mental abilities.

Barbara wrote: >If, by accident, you step on you pet's paw or otherwise hurt her, she does not run away as she would do if you had deliberately hurt her

Some people may recall Kurt Keefner expressed the view, and I agreed, that animals not only are able to read expressions on people's faces, but by doing so are *directly* aware of people's moods and states of mind.  By "directly" I mean it is not a *conscious* inference of the person's state of mind from what is seen, but rather what is seen causes an awareness of the state of mind by a non-conscious and (I suspect) hard-wired causal process.  I think that same process in humans makes possible the ability of cartoonists to portray people's moods via an amazingly small number of strokes of the pen. Mike Hardy

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

Are any animals “on the verge” of becoming “more than animals?” Peter
 

What would happen if you took the most intelligent males and females of some species of animal and mated them together and continued in this manner for lots of generations? Could dogs, chimps, whatever be selectively bred to equal humans in intelligence?

I think there is a limit based on the gene pool. To exceed the limit would require a mutation.

 

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1 hour ago, jts said:

What would happen if you took the most intelligent males and females of some species of animal and mated them together and continued in this manner for lots of generations? Could dogs, chimps, whatever be selectively bred to equal humans in intelligence?

I think there is a limit based on the gene pool. To exceed the limit would require a mutation.

 

Mutations! Wasn’t that a song from “Fiddler on the Roof?”

Has anyone ever had their genome mapped? Hey, Caveman. Some people are upset if they have DNA found in other races, but there is recent evidence that homo sapiens “mated” with Neanderthals. Did that diversifying fact aid in our evolution and survivability? Perhaps. I have also heard that humans share a huge amount of DNA with every living species on earth. If we are the only intelligent species to survive (so far) are we keeping another potentially intelligent species “down” by our mere presence? I don’t think so, but I wonder if another intelligence species will evolve if we die off, as in “Planet of the Apes?” Will Ice Ages, or heat waves have any lasting effect on humans? Could a vegetarian species ever evolve into an intelligent being?

A recent news story was about how men adjusting the thermostat will usually put it on 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit but women put it a few degrees warmer. I always say, “you can put more clothes on but you can’t take them off (beyond a certain point) without going nude so the men should have the final say.       

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