Man accused of Killing Kitten after it unplugged the games console Page 4

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  • TechnoHippy 8 Jun 2010 16:45:50 14,637 posts
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    Melchett wrote:
    If it's not already been posted, thread title immediately made me think of this song

    Or this one :-)

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • matt6666 8 Jun 2010 16:49:26 2,620 posts
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    SirScratchalot wrote:
    On the subject of animal thoughts .......
    Whales have even been observed to go human touristing, bringing in kids and friends to look at the funny little people in the boat.


    Fucking hell.. I guess 'Extreme Touristing' is off the coast of Japan then.
  • heyyo 8 Jun 2010 17:13:22 14,374 posts
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    SirScratchalot wrote:
    On the subject of animal thoughts it's been pretty clear that a lot of what we perceive as uniquely human is flawed. Animals use tools,[u]teach each other skills[/u], solve math problems and associate things a lot better than we have allowed ourselves to think.

    The more we look at animals The further we retreat the whole human exceptionalism thing will become more defined, but it's starting to look like we're both closer and more distant than thought.

    Animals do not intentionally teach each other things, they can't because they lack a 'theory of mind', in other words they can't participate in intersubjectivity (joint attention) which is required if one is to teach one something.

    Animals copy a new behaviour, by observing then memorising (observational learning) but they cannot teach one another skills - imitation happens by chance. The new behaviour always dies out as teaching is not possible.

    Regardless, language is unique to humans and will always be - animals have communicative sounds but not language as this is afforded to us by extra evolution.

    In the 1960s & 1970s extensive research was carried out to teach sign language to primates to see if they could learn human language - all failed, the animal utterances lacked correct syntax, sentences were at best 3 words long and repetition was high. There was a bonbo who instead of sign language communicated (very well) by pointing at symbols and whose language ability was that of a 3 year old infant - but it wasn't known if he was doing 'tricks' for reward or whether he understood the social connotations of words, because well, it wasn't possible to ask him like we can ask infants when they get a bit older.

    Animals have qualitatively different brains to us so if we wanted to be really elitist we could say that all the behaviours you mentioned are qualitatively different to ours (ours being superior).
  • spindizzy 8 Jun 2010 17:37:17 6,400 posts
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    @heyyo! You sure mate? Are you an expert in any of these fields? I'm very dubious that animals don't teach their children, but perhaps you have a special definition in mind?

    Edit: for instance, I'm sure I saw meerkats teaching children (not even necessarily their own) on a nature program. And I'm sure I've seen my cat teach kittens. And thinking a bit more, how is imitating by chance different from learning? You mean because animals don't know that another animal is of the same type as them? I thought that squids (and possible others) did possess self awareness to that extent?
  • heyyo 8 Jun 2010 18:16:40 14,374 posts
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    spindizzy wrote:
    @heyyo! You sure mate? Are you an expert in any of these fields? I'm very dubious that animals don't teach their children, but perhaps you have a special definition in mind?

    Edit: for instance, I'm sure I saw meerkats teaching children (not even necessarily their own) on a nature program. And I'm sure I've seen my cat teach kittens. And thinking a bit more, how is imitating by chance different from learning? You mean because animals don't know that another animal is of the same type as them? I thought that squids (and possible others) did possess self awareness to that extent?

    I'm not an expert, only a combined maths/psychology deg student, i'm stating the views of Michael Tomasello who is a prominent researcher in human language & cultural evolution - specifically this view rather unhelpfully I returned the book I read it in today (although i've been reading it for months)

    He suggests that animals' culture do not evolve like ours do, i.e., our civilations advance, animals will always do the same stuff forever, because they lack a 'theory of mind' which is exclusive to humans. The theory of mind in simple terms is the ability to mindread (to some extent obviously).

    This ability to mind read is crucial to learn language, eg we intend to teach a child the word for an object - we wait til the object, lets say sheep appears and we say' look a sheep'. The child has to use her theory of mind to read our intentions to gauge what we a) want her to do b) which object we are indending for her to call a sheep

    This form of teaching is only available to humans, of course humans will imitate tool use and other skills by 'putting oneself in another's shoes' and doing the same action as them - this is how animals learn, but this is merely copying not intentionally teaching. We cannot learn language without a theory of mind because it's impossible, its so useful that we use theory of mind to learn pretty much everything. If we were to (learn) imitate behaviour like animals we'd have to a) watch a behaviour b) perform it for ourself c) memorise what we've done, but more often than not we can have the behaviour described or performed for us and we learn it.

    He states that because animals lack a theory of mind, they cannot teach and new behaviours eventually die out which is why animal culture doesn't advance (they lack cultural transmission). An example of this was in 1960s a group of scientists visted a remote island with monkeys, placed sweet potatoes on the beach and obsevered. A monkey picked up the sweet potato and because it was covered in sand, washed it in the sea (a novel behaviour because these monkey's never saw a sweet potato before) - Monkeys who saw the host behaviour copied it and the behaviour spread, all the monkeys washed sweet potatoes in the sea before eating. Researchers then visited years later placed potato on the beach and monkeys didn't wash them - the behaviour died out.

    Teaching is different from copying by chance because like a game of chinese whispers the behaviour gets diluted to the point of being useless and then discarded, eg each animal will be performing their own take on a behaviour and this wrong form gets copied and eventually the behaviour doesn't achieve anything because its not done correctly.

    It is important to make the distinction between animals teaching animals novel behaviour vs eliciting fixed action patterns or instinctive behaviour.

    Like I said though, I returned the book today and I don't think i'm doing Tomasello justice here 'cos its been over a month since I read it, but look up the book "Tomasello - The cultural origins of human cognition"

    edit: this might work

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ji2_pY4mKwYC&dq=tomasello+cultural+transmission+cognition&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=X3sOTJOJAoz24AbPrfyeDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=tomasello%20cultural%20transmission%20cognition&f=false
  • Sharks 8 Jun 2010 18:23:17 5,136 posts
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    YOU FUCKING BASTARD CUNT CAT FROM HELL I'LL SHOW YOU!!!!
  • matt6666 9 Jun 2010 11:56:09 2,620 posts
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    Call Of Duty 2 veteran, reaching the end of the German Counter Attack in the village behind Pont Du Hoc.(spelling)
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