From: Michael Roberts (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Dec 27 2002 - 17:45:45 EST
It's no worse than describing animal emotions to humans. Sorry many mammals
have strong emotions Why worry about it? God created the lot of us and used
the same templates.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Burgeson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 26, 2002 5:20 PM
Subject: RE: animals and humans (was "Evolution wars")
> Adrian wrote: "It is extremely tempting to ascribe human emotions and
> thoughts to animals who behave like us, and as scientists, we have to
> extra careful and critical."
> While I agree, it is also very tempting to apply "nothing buttery" to the
> question and claim victory for "scientific objectivity,"
> I recommend highly the book WHEN ELEPHANTS WEEP which I revied in
> PERSPECTIVES a couple of years ago. A copy of my review is on page 2 of my
> web site.
> John W. Burgeson (Burgy)
> >From: "Adrian Teo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >To: "Robert Schneider" <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >Subject: RE: animals and humans (was "Evolution wars")
> >Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 13:47:57 -0800
> >Hello Bob,
> >There are clear limitations to Behavior modification that does not
> >require a free will explanation. In fact, one of the strongest
> >criticisms of Behaviorism is that it ignores completely biological
> >nature. In studies of conditioning aversions, we know that even with
> >animals, it is harder (and in some cases impossible) to condition
> >aversion to certain objects, and much easier to condition fear and
> >aversion to other objects (such as snakelike objects). It is not
> >because these animals are exercising their free will, but that by
> >nature, through evolutionary accumulations, they are biologically
> >predisposed to develop fear and aversion to certain types of objects.
> >I am also well aware of the primate language projects, but while
> >advocates like Jane Gooding and others argue that they show evidence
> >of compassion, morality, and even altruism, others like Marc Hauser
> >(Harvard), Pinker (MIT), Kagan (Harvard) are extremely skeptical.
> >One simply cannot know for sure if an animal who shares food is doing
> >it out of compassion or a sense of justice, or simply acting under
> >the powers of reciprocal altruism, social conditoning, or kin
> >selection. It is extremely tempting to ascribe human emotions and
> >thoughts to animals who behave like us, and as scientists, we have to
> >extra careful and critical.
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Robert Schneider [mailto:email@example.com]
> >Sent: Sat 12/21/2002 5:32 AM
> >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Subject: Re: animals and humans (was "Evolution wars")
> > Adrian writes:
> > >
> > > AT: What you wrote appears to support my argument for a clean
> > > qualitative break between animals and humans. One chooses freely and
> > > the other doesn't. Humans arrived on the scene suddenly, although
> > > there were other human-like, but instinct driven creatures roaming
> > > around.
> > >
> > I'm not so certain that there is "a clean qualitative break
> >between animals
> > and humans. One chooses freely and the other doesn't." I can
> >think of many
> > instances when my dog Joshua has chosen freely. And I recall
> >a presentation
> > many years ago by a colleague of mine in Psychology relating a paper
> > published by a former disciple of B. F. Skinner. He was
> >thoroughly imbued
> > with and trained in Skinnerian psychology and the method of positive
> > reinforcement. An applied psychologist, he was once hired by
> >a bank that
> > was opening up a new branch in a major city. The bank wanted to put a
> > display in their front window containing a pig and a piggy-bank. The
> > bankers wanted this pyschologist to train the pig to pick up
> >wooden nickels
> > and drop them into the piggy-bank. There would be a painted barnyard
> > backdrop and dirt, rocks, plants, etc., to give the scene
> > Well, the psychologist got to work, put the pig in the
> >"barnyard," and
> > began a training regiment with positive reinforcement. The training
> > proceeded step by step: first getting the pig to pick up a
> >wooden nickel,
> > then to carry it to the piggy bank, then to drop it in.
> >Every time the pig
> > successfully concluded a step he would get a reward. The
> >training seemed to
> > be going well, for the pig started to drop these wooden
> >nickels into the
> > piggy-bank; then all of a sudden the plan started to go awry.
> >It seemed
> > that the pig developed a fondness for these wooden nickels,
> >and decided to
> > keep them for himself. Instead of putting them in the bank,
> >he would bury
> > them in the sand or hide them behind the rocks or plants.
> >The rewards he
> > was given became less important to him than these little wooden prizes.
> > Nothing the pyschologist tried in order to get the pig with the program
> > worked. The bank had to find another way to amuse potential
> >customers, and
> > the psychologist came to the conclusion that the pig had free
> >will and that
> > Skinner was wrong.
> > I do not deny that animals in general are
> >instinct-driven (as my dog
> > is), but I think that one can make a case that in the
> >evolutionary process
> > some mammals at least have emerged that exhibit behaviors
> >that arise from
> > the animal freely choosing one course over another. Some primates,
> > including great apes and chimpanzees exhibit behavior that is arguably
> > self-reflective. Koko the gorilla (The Gorilla Foundation:
> > communicates thoughts to humans that are clearly
> >self-reflective, using a
> > form of sign language for which she herself has invented signs to put
> > together phrases and communicate feelings and desires. She
> >hasn't uttered
> > any philosophical or theological sentences (at least not
> >yet), but she seems
> > to have a moral sense and communicates moral judgments.
> > Bob Schneider
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