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Author Topic:   Do animals have souls?
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 3 of 303 (61064)
10-15-2003 6:53 PM


Well, humans don't have souls, so why would animals?
I mean if we're going to talk about souls don't we need to know what they are first?

Replies to this message:
 Message 121 by rgb, posted 06-13-2006 7:02 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 6 of 303 (61081)
10-15-2003 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by some_guy
10-15-2003 7:48 PM


some animals have souls(as in emotion), while humans have both souls and spirit. (meaning we go on into an afterlife)
That's a lot of extra untestable assumptions. Why stop there? Why not have a kami which could be the part that lives on but doesn't go to the afterlife and haunts stuff? Why not have chi? Why not have ley lines that spirits use as highways?
In short if you're going to accept the existence of these extra spiritual aspects of humanity, for what reason do you not accept certain others?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by some_guy, posted 10-15-2003 7:48 PM some_guy has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 67 of 303 (305919)
04-22-2006 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by smak_84
04-22-2006 11:59 AM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
It doesn't necessarily matter if they're plants or animals (as far as souls are concerned) as both have souls - that most basic organizing principle that makes all living things to be that which it is - a plant, animal, or human being
Plants are plants because their cells contain chloroplasts, not plant souls.
Species essentialism - the position you advance here, that an organism is held to be part of a given species because it contains within itself a "basic organizing principle" that makes it a part of a species, irrelevant of any physical or behavioral characteristic - has been discredited in science for over 100 years. Dogs are dogs because we choose to call them "dogs", not because they contain a unique dog-type "essence" or "soul."
And of course it's been discredited - species essentialism is disproven by the very simple observation that populations of one species often become a species of their own, over time.
This message has been edited by crashfrog, 04-22-2006 12:26 PM

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 11:59 AM smak_84 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 12:41 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 69 of 303 (305929)
04-22-2006 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by smak_84
04-22-2006 12:41 PM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
There are bacteria that contain chloroplasts as well, just so you know (and they're not plants - so that doesn't make a plant a plant).
See, here you are with the species essentialism again. Because you can't seem to get this discredited idea out of your head, you assumed that I was referring to the presence of chloroplasts as an essential character - that is, that I was saying that anything that has chloroplasts is a plant, and that anything that is a plant has chloroplasts.
Clear your mind of species essentialism and read my post again.
You're actually wrong - there are no bacteria with chloroplasts. Bacteria are prokaryotic and as such, contain no membrane-bound organelles such as chloroplasts or mitochondria. While a group of photosythetic bacteria (called cyanobacteria) do exist, they perform photosythesis in their cytoplasm (along with all other cellular processes) and not within chloroplasts.
Further, do you have any evidence to disprove the existence of immaterial forms?
The observation that new species develop from old ones disproves the existence of immaterial, immutable essences that define species membership.
Again, by what properties do we determine what a dog is?
A consensus of taxonomists determine what species an organism is a member of. They may do this via observation of behavior, analysis of "key" physical characteristics, geographic proximity to other conspecifics, or even molecular keys to determine phylogeny. These determinations are always tentative and many are hotly disputed. While the biological concept of species seems rigorous, it doesn't lend itself to the development of practical surety about species identification. Species, like all taxonomic categories, is largely an artifical construct in the first place.
We all seem to recognize dogs nonetheless.
Do we? Is this organism a dog?
Regardless of your ability to recognize a chihuahua as a dog, organisms will always exist that aren't so easily recognized without training, and sometimes, not even then. And that doesn't even get into species identification of fossils.
The categories we impose on the world of living things are just that - impositions. They don't reflect a biological reality; they're not evidence that living things are actually divided into categories like "animal" or "plant" or "dog." They're just tools we use to make some sense out of the staggering diversity of natural form, and most of the time they do just that. But that utility should not be mistaken for reality.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 12:41 PM smak_84 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 2:08 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 71 of 303 (306013)
04-22-2006 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by smak_84
04-22-2006 2:08 PM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
Most certainly that animal pictured is a kind of dog. Why wouldn't it be?
Because it's a wolf, maybe? I mean, how do we tell the difference between a wolf and a wolflike dog?
My mistake, about the assertion of bacteria with chloroplasts, I wasn't aware of the depth of you knowledge of biology.
Yeah, I mean, here I am, with 11 and a half thousand posts at a forum dedicated to debate about a theory in biology, using words like "chloroplasts" and "taxonomy". I'm not saying I have any expertise in the subject, but in the future you might consider that if you use scientific terms, people are going to read them according to their precise definitions and not according to your ideosyncratic usage.
I was using bacteria as a general term.
A general term for what? The term specifically refers to one class of prokaryotic single-celled lifeforms, which can't have chloroplasts by definition.
Nice, though. What is that, forum debating tactic #26? Turning your exposed ignorance into an attempt to portray yourself as the condescending expert?
I could go on all afternoon correcting your mistakes, but that's not much fun and I told my buddies I'd play World of Warcraft with them, so I must be brief.
As far as essential characteristics to a species: what makes us human, and not an ape?
What leads you to believe we're not both? No, seriously. The way that you ask this leads me to believe that you don't have much experience or knowledge about cladistics, or else you'd have known that Homo sapiens is a species in superfamily Hominoidea, the apes.
Why wouldn't it just necessarily be a different form that is created?
Created how? How does a physical process - reproduction and random mutation - create something immaterial?
Further the fact that we can all recognize this diversity must mean that there is something that is signaling diversity, but what?
I don't understand the question. The recognition of diversity comes from the observation that individuals vary and are not identical, not the recognition of "signals of diversity", whatever those are. Diversity need not be signaled. It's enough to look around you and realize that organisms are diverse.
Do you, then assert that the existence of the soul is an absurd notion then?
I assert that the existence of souls is not necessary, and that the invention of "souls" is not required to explain the history and diversity of life on Earth, or the behavior of living things.
Does that mean it's "absurd" to posit the existence of a "soul"? I don't know. Is it absurd to posit the existence of something that, as it is defined, cannot exist?
Is it possible that we can only observe their effects but we cannot directly detect them?
That would be a form of detection, so your question is tantamount to asking "can we detect the undetectable?" The answer to that is, of course, "no", provided that words have meaning. Something about your posts indicates to me that that's a position you're prepared to dispute...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 2:08 PM smak_84 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 11:29 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 74 of 303 (306095)
04-23-2006 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by smak_84
04-22-2006 11:29 PM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
If you're going to use insulting remarks like:
If you don't like the way your behavior is described, change your behavior. We were on perfectly civil terms until you chose to respond to the correction of your mistake by becoming condecending.
Bacteria being the term how commercials on TV use it id est another term for microorganisms.
I've never seen a TV commercial that used the word "bacteria" in such an imprecise manner. I believe the word you're looking for is "germ."
Is not a wolf a type of dog?
No, it's not. Canis lupis is a different species than Canis familiaris.
There's obviously a huge difference between us and apes.
Yes, there's a huge difference between us and the other species in superfamily Hominoidea. There's a huge difference between chimpanzees and the other species in superfamily Hominoidea. There's a huge difference between the gorillas and the other species in superfamily Hominoidea.
Superfamily Hominoidea does indeed encompass a considerable range of species diversity. So what? From the genetic information we know that humans belong to superfamily Hominoidea. Look, you can look it up if you don't believe me. What, you didn't think humans appeared in the taxonomy? Maybe you don't think we're mammals, either? Or vertebrates?
Why wouldn't a physical happening create an immaterial thing?
How would it?
Read some philosophy to understand immaterial things.
Which philosophy do you recommend? Be specific. I need authors and titles, please.
There's something your mind picks up on that tells it that one thing is different from another, when it compiles the sense images. What is is picking up on?
Information from the senses, of course. We recognize chairs because they look like things we've been told are "chairs." Sometimes you can construct a chair, though, that people don't immediately recognize as a chair. Sometimes you can see a tree that you don't immediately recognize as a tree. The fact that our detection of objects can be fooled proves that we're merely just visually recognizing the shapes of objects and not detecting their inner essence through some kind of mind-power.
Read some philosophy -- some Plato, some Aristotle, some Aquinas, some Maimonidies, some Immanuel Kant and then we'll resume this discussion.
This is a science forum, not a philosophy forum. You're required here to defend your arguments with evidence, not with reading assignments. If it helps you, pretend that I've actually read the major works of those philosophers and rejected their arguments as unsound and contradicted by the facts. Now, can the discussion continue? It's incumbent on you to defend your own arguments, not enlist a cadre of musty old codgers to do it for you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by smak_84, posted 04-22-2006 11:29 PM smak_84 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by smak_84, posted 04-23-2006 12:57 PM crashfrog has replied
 Message 82 by 1.61803, posted 04-23-2006 9:26 PM crashfrog has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 84 of 303 (306221)
04-23-2006 11:09 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by smak_84
04-23-2006 12:57 PM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
Same genus perhaps both are dogs in that sense?
In what sense? "Canis" is not the genus of dogs; it's the genus that contains dogs. Members of Canis are dogs only if they belong to the familiaris species.
Now, it may be that the familiaris species contains the organism I posted that picture of, or it may be that it doesn't. As is clear from other posts, there's room for disagreement there.
If the existence of immaterial and material things were tied together, creation of material things (not the ex nihilo creation - creation as in the creation of an artwork) would necessarily effect immaterial realities whose existence is tied to them.
Then how would those realities not be material? If they can be affected by the material, and their origin is in the material world, they must be, by definition, material - not immaterial.
Again, quit using ad hominem attacks during debate
It's not ad hominem. I'm asking questions about your position because I don't understand it. Surely mutual understanding is required for fruitful discussion?
What I'm asking you is, if you reject the taxonomy that places humans in superfamily Hominoidea, what else do you reject? If humans do not belong to the family of apes, what family do you put them in?
The fact that the human intellective process has created things animals haven't even come close to (but only resemble in simpler occurances - like language) shows we are vastly different from apes.
It's a difference of degree, not anything fundamental; taxonomists don't generally use differences of degree as defining characters because individuals within a species typically vary significantly amongst themselves in regards to that character.
But assume for a second that, per your argument, we make the ability to create a symphony, for instance, the defining character of humanity. But can you write a symphony? I can't. These epic acts of creation you refer to are the exception among our species, rather than the rule. Does that mean that only a privleged few, the Mozarts and the Einstiens, are truly human? And the rest of us are what, exactly?
Or the mentally handicapped? If one is so profoundly retarded or autistic that these acts of creation are forever beyond them, do they cease to be human?
Philosophy to read for starters would be Aristotle's Physics, Metaphysics, and Nicomachean Ethics.
I don't see the relevance of ethics to this discussion. Could you elaborate? You appear to be using these materials as a dodge.
Provide evidence for these observations please.
You've never mistaken one thing for another? Not ever? That defies credibility, I must say.
The philosophy peresented by these guys is the basis for the scientific method.
Another mistake. Take it from someone employed in the sciences - the basis of science is evidence, not philosophy. Scientists don't wait around for philosophers to tell them how to do their jobs - they develop experiments to test theory, and draw narrow conclusions from the evidence. The field of "philosophy of science" is an effort to describe what scientists do, not dictate to them how to do science.
The basis of the scientific method is the history of scientists developing it to do science; not philosophers telling scientists what to do. I realize that you might have heard differently in your philosophy classes, but that's just philosophers misrepresenting the story in the way that makes them seem more important.
You cannot reject their arguements if you have not read them. Further you cannot say they're contrary to fact if you have not read them.
You don't know that I haven't read them. I have, and have rejected them as unsound. It's now incumbent on you to support your own arguments in your own words, not with reading assignments.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by smak_84, posted 04-23-2006 12:57 PM smak_84 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 85 by smak_84, posted 04-24-2006 12:12 AM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 86 of 303 (306261)
04-24-2006 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by smak_84
04-24-2006 12:12 AM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
Why must all existing things be material?
I didn't say that they were. But how would we define the "material world"? (Besides "that which is inhabited by a Material Girl.") If a thing can interact with the material world, and its origin is in the material world, then it is by definition "material."
now tell me what causes intermolecular attraction
I don't see the relevance of the question, but molecules interact when their constitutent atoms react as a result of their electron shells.
Refer to the first response.
But your response doesn't answer my question. In fact it's your responses that are becoming insulting.
You asked me if I thought humans were vertebrates. This is something most grade schoolers understand and it is an insulting question to ask.
How can a simple question be insulting? Regardless, grade schoolers also understand that humans are mammals, and that humans are apes. Is "what grade schoolers understand" now to be taken as the definitive character in regards to taxonomic classification?
I simply don't understand your responses on this matter. It would help if you stopped acting like your position was so obviously correct that one would have to be an idiot to disagree, and started making yourself clearer and explaining where necessary.
Collectivly, as humanity - this has occured because humans exist - because humans are different from apes in an extraordinary way.
But that's circular reasoning, because the question at stake here is who gets to belong to "collective" humanity. I mean, suppose that we included chimpanzees in "collective humanity." Wouldn't then they be able to share in the credit of composing Beethoven's 5th, and thus be human?
Or, conversely, if we assume that the autistic individuals do not belong to "collective humanity", then the fact that other humans were able to compose is irrelevant to their status. We'd have to consider them something besides human.
Your reasoning is circular because, with the term "collective humanity", you're assuming what I've asked you to demonstrate.
Go drink some tar, but think it's actually water and see what happens. There's actually differences between things which are not dependant on how we describe them (there are objective, sepearate existences, that differ from each other).
Tar isn't sticky and black because it has the tar "essence"; it's sticky and black because its a mixture of different hydrocarbons that have that effect. Water isn't clear and refreshing because it has a refreshing essence; it is that way because it has a chemical structure that our bodies require for life.
If you have actually read them why don't you just say that you have read them, instead of telling me to "pretend" you've read them.
Because I was trying to get you to abandon a dodge. Asking your opponent to retire and read a stack of books so that he stops being so impertinent and ignorant is an insulting way to deflect criticism of your arguments - "you can't possibly be right because you're so ignorant." It's an ad hominem, which I was politely trying to get you to stop doing. Sadly, you didn't seem to get the hint.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by smak_84, posted 04-24-2006 12:12 AM smak_84 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by 1.61803, posted 04-24-2006 9:51 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 91 of 303 (306366)
04-24-2006 10:50 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by 1.61803
04-24-2006 9:51 PM


Re: About hydrozoa and scyphozoa...
I know so many people who think that essences do differentiate matter.
It's basically Plato's Idealism, the idea that all objects represent degenerate forms of a perfect ideal; chairs are chairs because every chair is a degenerate form of the perfect chair.
Of course, that raises the question - if I cut down a tree use the wood to make a chair, at which point does the wood stop being an increasingly degenerate tree and become a decreasingly degenerate chair?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by 1.61803, posted 04-24-2006 9:51 PM 1.61803 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by Christian7, posted 05-16-2006 8:02 PM crashfrog has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 122 of 303 (321259)
06-13-2006 9:02 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by rgb
06-13-2006 7:02 PM


Consider that a soul is the part of you that continue to exist after you are long gone.
All parts of me will continue to exist after I'm long gone. The atoms of which I am composed will find their seperate ways into other organisms; possibly even other human beings. Maybe even my distant ancestors.
Could you be more specific about which parts you're referring to?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 121 by rgb, posted 06-13-2006 7:02 PM rgb has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by rgb, posted 06-14-2006 12:37 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 126 of 303 (321489)
06-14-2006 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by rgb
06-14-2006 12:37 PM


While it is true that you are made up of individual atoms and such, it is not true that they are necessarily you.
They're me, now.
Of course, this gets into the Ship of Theseus problem.
You are a combination of the individual parts, and even your individual parts are made of little individual parts, but once they are disesembled they seized to be part of you.
Which was sort of my point. There aren't any parts of me that persist any longer than all the rest of the parts. So which parts were you referring to?
Memories? Memories in other people's heads aren't a part of me to begin with. They're a part of them. My own memories don't survive my death any longer than anything else does, so they can't be my "soul."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by rgb, posted 06-14-2006 12:37 PM rgb has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 127 by rgb, posted 06-15-2006 1:35 PM crashfrog has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1576 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 168 of 303 (325226)
06-23-2006 8:52 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by Faith
06-23-2006 4:15 AM


Re: rape?
Females take care of themselves against predatory males just fine in most species I'm aware of. Give them a good swat across the puss if necessary, fangs, claws and all.
When dragonflies and damselflies mate, my entomologist wife tells me, the male uses his penis to punch a hole through the back of the female's head, impaling and permanently immobilizing her while he deposits his sperm.
When the deed is done, the male holds the female under water until she drowns, because the female releases more of her eggs in death. Plus, she's prevented the opportunity to mate with another male (though it wouldn't be clear how, even without the drowning, she could possibly survive another act of copulation.)
In other words I think the scope of animal copulatory behaviors is significantly wider than you suggest, and while "rape" may not have much meaning in regards to organisms that are "programmed" to mate in these fashions, it definately includes species where female mate choice is suborned by the male physically overpowering the female.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by Faith, posted 06-23-2006 4:15 AM Faith has not replied

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