RE: Capuchin's show sense of justice/fair play

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 22:43:58 EDT

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    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the definitions. You wrote:

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []On
    >Behalf Of
    >Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 7:09 PM
    >To: Glenn Morton
    >Cc:; Asa
    >Subject: RE: Capuchin's show sense of justice/fair play
    >What I'm saying is that materialism cannot truly quantify 'justice' as
    >these experiments are alleging to do. You've never heard of pre-meditation?

    No, unfortunately, try as hard as I do, I am not the fount of all knowledge,
    nor have I heard of everything in the universe. Have you ever heard of
    pre-stack depth migration or deconvolution, PDC bits, risers, casing shoes,
    elastic inversion?
    To act as if it is inconceivable that someone might not have heard of what
    you are talking about (or the terminology you are using) is a bullying
    approach to communication. Frankly to claim "You have never heard of
    "pre-stack depth migration, deconvolution, PDC bits, risers, casing shoes,
    or elastic inversion?, seems a wee bit over the top. But then, contrary to
    you, I won't expect you to know everything I do, nor I everything you do.

    >That's when a creature (human or animal) intends to do something that will
    >bring about a favourable result. The pre-meditator would usually not care
    >about the moral consequences. Now this is self-evident in humans and can be
    >shown experimentally in animals.

    this is inconsistent with your first note which said: "What these
    experiments can never do is to show the pre-meditative state of animals and
    this is where humans come in."

    I guess before I respond, I need to know which it is. Can experiments show
    the pre-meditative state or are they unable to? The inconsistency above is
    too much to make an answer meaningful.

    >In this specific experiment, we have pre-meditation in reverse. What you
    >have is a monkey that behaves the way it does because it has not received
    >what it perceives to be a favourable _ result_. An intention not to
    >co-operate then develops based on unfavourable _results_.
    >>>> On a purely observational basis, I can't prove that you have any sense
    >justice at all. All I can do is observe your behaviour. <<<
    >Distinctively, people generally speaking, seem to have an undefined
    >_knowledge_ which is post-meditative. A murderer may know that his
    >premeditative act of murder is wrong irrespective of his ultimate intent in
    >committing the murder. How can you show this experimentally? How can you
    >show this in animals?

    First off, observationally, I can't tell if you think lying is wrong. You
    can tell me you do, but I don't know if that is the truth and there is no
    way to tell if you do. and what are we to do with people like my mother--a
    diagnosed sociopath who seemed to have no concience at all? She saw nothing
    wrong with beating us to the point of injury for anything she deemed as
    inappropriate at the moment. She was capricious, one could never know what
    would set her off. Often it would be opposite to what set her off the day
    before. I still have scars on my back from her 'sense of justice'. My father
    was always gone, trying to escape her but not wanting to divorce her because
    he knew the courts of the 1950s would give the kids to her. She was human
    but saw little wrong in her actions. What is the evidence of her sense of
    justice? Tell me if you can.

    >Through the use of language we can differentiate between right and wrong.
    >We don't need to prove it experimentally. It is self evident.

    You seriously need some philosophy courses. Nothing is self-evident.

    You can,
    >through the use of your language and your moral or ontological sense, reach
    >a truthful conclusion: "That you can't prove that I have any sense of
    >justice." Again out of bound with experimentation.

    My mother said she cared and loved us. Through language she told my brother
    and I things that weren't true as she beat the tar out of us. If we were
    raised today rather than in the 1950's, my mother would have gone to jail or
    at the least had her children removed from the home.

    >>>>There is no difference between how we infer humans have a sense of
    >justice and how we determine this for animals.<<<
    >Of course there is. You forget that we have the image of God, or are you
    >going to deny the revelation of _truth_ in scripture for lack of
    >experimental proof? You either except it or reject it, you have the _free
    >will_ to do so.

    Did my mother, diagnosed by a shrink as a sociopath and showing no evidence
    of having a concience, have the image of God? Why was her image so much
    different than everyone else's?

    >>>>Even language doesn't help us much here. Just because you say you have a
    >highly developed sense of justice doesn't make it so. <<<
    >How do you know that? How can you be certain, _absolutely_ certain of that
    >fact (or should I say truth)?

    I know it because my mother said she had a concience. She didn't. Why should
    I believe you, when some people don't care about lying and don't seem
    bothered by that activity?

    I know what I said is true from watching a human female, my mother, say
    things absolutely inconsistent with any sense of justice.

    Why does Paul, the baboon, look around in the following example--actually

    "Forming alliances is only the beginning. If it takes smarts for a baboon
    or monkey to keep track of all the facts in his social relationships,
    imagine how much intelligence is required when he and his companions begin
    to lie."
            "Take Paul, for instance, a young juvenile chacma baboon observed in
    Ethiopia by Richard Bryne and Andrew Whiten of the University of St. Andrews
    in Scotland. One day they noticed Paul watching an adult female named Mel
    dig in the ground for a large grass root. He looked around. There were no
    other baboons nearby, though the troop was within earshot. Suddenly and
    with no visible provocation, Paul let out a yell. In an instant his mother
    appeared, and in a flurry chased the astonished Mel out of sight.
    Meanwhile, Paul walked over and ate the grass root she left behind." ~
    Donald Johanson and James Shreeve, Lucy's Child, (New York: William Morrow
    and Co., Inc., 1989), p. 274

    He did this several times with other victims:
    Paul the lying baboon
            "Neither of these possibilities is likely, because both of us saw this
    young baboon go through the same routine with different 'victims' on
    different days." ~ Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten, "The Thinking Primate's
    Guide to Deception," New Scientist, Dec 3, 1987, p. 54-57, p. 54

    animal lying
    "A case sent to us by Hans Kummer, the Swiss primatologist, stretches the
    imagination to breaking point if we are to accept the explanation by
    unintentional conditioning. In the hamadryas baboons Kummer studies, a
    single male typically controls a harem of females. Females may seek contact
    with other males but the owner of the harem does not usually permit this.
    On one occasion, Kummer watched a female spend 20 minutes shuffling bit by
    bit over a distance of only 2 metres. She stayed in a sitting position, so
    that she ended up with her head and upper parts visible to the harem male
    but her hands were concealed by an intervening rock. Why conceal her hands?
    Because there were busy grooming another male, who was likewise hidden by
    the rock. Here, if we try to construct a 'plausible history' that could
    have conditioned this behaviour by reinforces, it is no longer sufficient
    that the female discriminates between the simple presence or absence of
    another individual. Her behaviour shows that she was able to calculate
    precisely how the world looked from another animal's viewpoint--by no means
    a simple feat even for young humans." ~ Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten,
    "The Thinking Primate's Guide to Deception," New Scientist, Dec 3, 1987, p.
    54-57, p. 55
            "Melton, a hefty adolescent, had upset a small youngster and made it scream
    loudly. As regularly happens, several adults, including the youngster's
    mother and the top male of the group, rushed to the scene and headed for
    Melton. Instead of fleeing or showing submission, he immediately stood on
    his hind legs and scanned the distant hillside--in exactly the way that
    these baboons behave when they have seen a predator or a group of foreign
    baboons. The pursuers skidded to a halt and looked intently in the
    direction Melton was staring; they never resumed the chase. With powerful
    binoculars, and despite an extensive search, we could spot no genuine cause
    for alarm; the 'outside threat' was a fiction." Richard Byrne and Andrew
    Whiten, "The Thinking Primate's Guide to Deception," New Scientist, Dec 3,
    1987, p. 54-57, p. 55-56
            "An adult male was about to eat some bananas that only he knew about, when
    a second male came into view at the edge of the feeding area. The first
    quickly walked several metres away from the food, sat down and looked
    around as though nothing had happened. The newcomer left he feeding area
    but as soon as he was out of sight he hid behind a tree and peered at the
    male who remained. As soon as that male approached the food and took it,
    the hiding male returned, displaced the other and ate the bananas." ~
    Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten, "The Thinking Primate's Guide to
    Deception," New Scientist, Dec 3, 1987, p. 54-57, p. 57

    Sounds to me like they know what the others will think of lying. What is the
    observational difference between these cases and what we actually observe in
    humans? Nothing!

    >You write that I _say_ it. May be you ought to consider the _duality_ of
    >language and moral knowledge in this case - something uniquely human. This
    >cannot be shown experimentally and that is my point.
    >>>>You might be a sociopath, you might be a robot who goes around
    >proclaiming to all that you have a highly developed sense of justice.
    >Behavior is all I can use to determine your value system, and you might be
    >a robot programmed for the right behavior to fool me.<<<
    >And who programmed me? Someone with an obvious sense of justice expressed

    Just because someone can say the word 'justice' doesn't mean they have a
    sense of justice. What a category mistake. I can program my computer to
    proclaim 'I have a deeply held sense of justice!!!!" Would you believe it if
    my computer said that to you? I doubt it very seriously.

    >>>>Shoot, I don't know if you have a pre-meditative state, whatever the
    >that is. prove to this group you have a pre-meditative state--after you
    >define your term.<<<
    >Pre-meditative state in human beings is self evident as I have already
    >said. No court can prima facie convict a murderer if they cannot prove his
    >pre-meditation - _mens rea_ (at least in the common law world). Where have
    >you been?

    We don't 'prove' premeditation. We look at the ACTIONS, the OBSERVABLE
    ACTIONS, to see if they are consistent with premeditation. That is what a
    court of law does. If I rig an accident to kill someone, I could never be
    convicted of premeditation because there wouldn't be evidence of it. Say
    for instance, I put a person in the passenger seat, drive around finding a
    pickup with 2 x 4's sticking out of the back and then rear end it in such a
    way that the passenger is impaled on the 2 x 4s. Claiming it was an
    accident would be consistent with the OBSERVED facts. Thus, you are flat
    wrong. We don't prove premeditation, we look at actions consistent with

    As to where I have been, I have probably been in the company of more lawyers
    than you. And my company's lawyer just last week sent people to me to
    discuss certain legal issues that they needed clarifying.

    >>>> Have you ever compared salaries with your co-workers who are doing the
    >same job? what do you feel like when you don't get as much as they?<<<
    >You misunderstand because you have an extremely utilitarian view of this -
    >in line with most atheists. Are you sure you understand salvation?

    Why is it that people with a severe conservative theological bent often
    throw out this 'you can't be a Christian' jab???? It seems to be saying that
    if one doesn't agree with you theologically one can't be a christian. For
    the record, I beleive that Jesus Christ was crucified, killed, lay 3 days in
    the grave, was resurrected bodily. He appeared to the disciples in bodily
    form. Salvation lies only through him and it comes by accepting him as Lord
    and Savior. Are you adding to the scripture that one can't be a christian
    if he believes that animals have a sense of justice? What verse is that
    found in? What Biblical book contains that juicy tidbit. I wait with bated
    breath, your quotation of that passage.

    There is nothing wrong with having a utilitarian view of the inner workings
    of the mind. I can't observe your mind anymore than you can observe mine.
    All I observe is behavior. To claim that I can prove you have a mind goes
    beyond the evidence at hand. I believe you have a mind, as an assumption,
    but in point of fact, it is arguable whether or not you are using it in this
    discussion. You might be a program which passes the Turing test, in which
    case, you have no mind at all. Do you know what the Turing test is?

    >Your position is extremely close to a relativist one. May be you need to
    >take a course in basic _Christian_ moral philosphy.

    I did my graduate work in philosophy, studying Augustine, Aquinas, Liebniz,
    Pascal, Spinoza, Kant etc. Would that count? I won't claim to be as on top
    of philosophy as I was 30 years ago, but I do believe I know a wee bit about

    As to relativism, I am most certainly NOT a relativist. But I know this, if
    you deny observational data, you risk undermining the entire basis upon
    which Christianity is based. The observations of the disciples had to be
    true or Christianity is false. By denying clear observational data, you are
    making it doubtful that observational data is to be trusted. Without that
    trust, the observation of a resurrected body becomes problematical.


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