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Humans are not smarter than animals, just "different"

qubit

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#1
Humans have been deceiving themselves for thousands of years that they're smarter than the rest of the animal kingdom, despite growing evidence to the contrary, according to University of Adelaide experts in evolutionary biology.

"For millennia, all kinds of authorities – from religion to eminent scholars – have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom," says Dr Arthur Saniotis, Visiting Research Fellow with the University's School of Medical Sciences.

"However, science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings."
So we're not smarter and more intelligent than animals? Oh really? Let's list a few advantages humans have, then:

- Spoken and written language. This is really the defining difference between humans and animals
- Understanding concepts that no animal could possibly understand eg computers, Einstein's theory of relativity, maths and outer space to name just a few
- The massive intellectual and technological achievements achieved by man throughout millenia

It sometimes looks like (human) scientists have nothing better to do than spread fanciful theories. Read the rest at phys.org

Now, ask me if man is better than animals and that becomes a totally different question...
 
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#2
Devils advocate speaking...
-Spoken language. Why do they need it if they have other possibly better ways of communicating?
-Understanding certain concepts. How do you know they do not?
-Massive intellectual and social achievements. How do you know that say the orca's have had massive intellectual and social achievements. Any achievement you could bring up only seems more important because it is relative to you and your perception. We don't tell orca's about our social achievements and they don't tell us if they had any.


Reason I brought up orca's is because of this interesting piece of human orca cooperation history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whales_of_Eden,_Australia
 

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#3
- Spoken and written language. This is really the defining difference between humans and animals
- Understanding concepts that no animal could possibly understand eg computers, Einstein's theory of relativity, maths and outer space to name just a few
- The massive intellectual and technological achievements achieved by man throughout millenia
-Virtually all social animals have a spoken language. They don't write because they don't have opposable thumbs. We know, for example, that specific rooster calls invoke specific responses from the hens. The hens will also distrust the rooster if he "cried wolf" too many times. We also know that wolves have a long range howl for finding each other when separated and if you mimic that sound, they'll howl back so you know where to find the pack. We also know that orcas from different pods can't communicate with each other (assumed their languages are incompatible--kind of like the Native American tribes); it can cause miscommunication and violence towards the minority pod. Orcas also have a long range call they do like wolves when one of their pod is missing.
-I think a lot of the larger mammals could understand complex concepts. The problem is making them care enough to bother.
-The keyword there is "millennia." Without centuries of past experience, neither of the above (writing and complex concepts) would have occurred. If Newton didn't establish the fundamentals of physics, what's the odds of Einstein being interested in such things? Pretty remote.

Orcas are very intelligent animals and I think we vastly underestimate them. They are hugely limited by their environment and apendages though.
 
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#4
i guess yes and no, they develop their own language and concept so do we
we just inch better of developing it
 
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#5
The day that my cat makes me dinner will be the day ill believe all that crap.

I thing my cat is smarter then me is in taking a dump in the kitty litter, no way I can do it that well and cover up lol
 
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#6
First you must define the word "smarter", after that you can make a real comparison...from history you can see that the people who govern us(the president, the pope,th tribal head, etc) keep told us that we(people) are the best of the best, and the fauna it is too low under us, and we like to be told that, and the history(now science) keep "show" us that the difference between us and fauna it is less than we want to see, some animals are better than us in some area(like smell at dogs), even the plant are better than us in some areas, so what is for sure it is that we are vainglorious and we like that...even if it hurt us...
 
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#7
fresh news tho, i mean how come they think about that now ... its common sense to know our place as just another animal on earth ... different yes, yet the most destructive animal known, if that is being smarter i don't know what is not, of course its not generality, but still i rejoin james888 argument, as for the 3 argument you mention, he is right. also we don't know if animal don't understand theory and concept better than us, as they can't talk "human language" but they have their own languages.

many different opinion yet no right one :D
 
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#8
Its all relative
 

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#9
There's some people trying to understand some animal languages but the more complex mammals like whales, we're fairly clueless. Put bluntly, we don't know what they comprehend until we can ask them in their language. I wouldn't be surprised at all if some of the whales (especially social ones like orcas) have stories passed through generations millennia old not unlike humans. We'll never know until we can understand them though and that's a long ways off.
 
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#10
Brian on Family guy is pretty smart :)
 

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#11
And dead. :(
 

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#12
Human race is smarter but it don't act it ( Never will either ) making errors that only do us good which in the end pretty much don't then we repeat. Tell ya what though this world be a much better place without us and were more of a mistake than any thing.

I believe he's making a come back before Christmas although i am not for if it's going be a perm thing but people are pissed at them for it and actually making partitions to get him back lol.
 

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#13
I suspect it is a permanent thing. Macfarlane probably wanted to reduce his workload at the show and that's the most reasonable way to do it. As long as the numbers for the show don't plummet, he'll stay gone.
 

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#14
about the computers... my crow did understand when i was playing or when i was studying on the computer.
it also had a deep interest in racing games for some reason.
 

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#15
I'm surprised at how many people are sticking up for animals being smart like us when they're not and I think this is because they're confusing two things.

Animals may be better at particular tasks, whether it's detecting smells (dogs) swimming, digging or whatever. What they don't have is the power of reason in the way that we do, even if they can figure out certain things such as opening doors etc. Also, if I remember correctly, only certain animals like chimps are self aware. Animals like cats and dogs are not self aware and it's easy to see this by their reactions to their reflections in the mirror, as cute as that may be.

And yes, killing off Brian was a travesty. :p
 

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#16
no they are not smarter... but what i am saying is they are smarter than what most people think.
 
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#17
I trust my dogs opinion about people. But he doesn't like the UPS driver. I think its because he doesn't bring him anything
 

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#18
How is smartness (??) defined? I don't think any animal is as smart as humans as such, but on the other hand they have their niches. Humans are sort of above that.

If they use this as an excuse to tell people to treat animals better I'm all for it.
 
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#19
In some ways we are smarter due to the way we were forced to evolve our intelligence to survive. For a long time, we were small, weak, stupid hominids. Having opposable thumbs enabled us to create and use tools. Mutations in our throat structure allowed us to develop complex language. Which enabled us to become fierce pack hunters, granting us access to high quality animal protien and further enhancing our size, strength, intelligence and then further down the road lead to civilization.

We are not smarter than animals. We are just very smart animals.

Some of the other animals have evolved to occupy their niche in the ecosystem and are extremely 'smart' at what they need to do. They may not understand abstract thought the way we do, and may not be good at the things that we think define intelligence. Their thought processes would be totally alien to us even if we developed a supercomputer that allowed us to understand them.
 

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#20
no they are not smarter... but what i am saying is they are smarter than what most people think.
Agreed. Take the cleverness of parrots as an example. They can certainly figure out a thing or two. :)

How is smartness (??) defined? I don't think any animal is as smart as humans as such, but on the other hand they have their niches. Humans are sort of above that.

If they use this as an excuse to tell people to treat animals better I'm all for it.
+1. I detest animal cruelty too and despise the people who dish it out.
 

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#21
Animals may be better at particular tasks, whether it's detecting smells (dogs) swimming, digging or whatever. What they don't have is the power of reason in the way that we do, even if they can figure out certain things such as opening doors etc.
Incorrect (dog demonstrates deduction):
We have no way to prove or disprove if an animal, like Chaser, reasons internally before making a decision. Judging by his indecision, I think that's evidence that he does (it can't be that one, it can't be that one, it must be this one I don't know, but is it really?).

You underestimate animals. If a dog with a brain that small can deduce information that it is lacking, what do you think something with a brain as big as an entire human being can deduce? Case in point, we know elephants are extremely intelligent but research into how intelligent is lacking.

I like to think of animals as autistic people. They have intelligence but they show it in ways that is outside of the norm (for humans anyway). Are autistic people dumb? No, some can do stuff "normal" people simply can't (like memorize an entire song and play it back perfectly on first hearing). They just don't fit the paradigm of demonstrating-scientific-knowledge-makes-you-"smart" bias. Before "science" as a concept was established, how do you think people developed their bias towards "smart" people? In the cave man days, I wouldn't be surprised if it was synonymous with brave. One can't discover fire without likely getting burned first, for example.
 
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qubit

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#22
That's a very bright dog, I agree and was nice to see. However, we know that dogs can distinguish between word sounds - as opposed to truly understanding word meanings - and can be trained like this. This just takes it to a higher level, like someone with a higher IQ for example, but it's essentially the same thing. The fact this dog could figure out the unknown Darwin doll was something I hadn't seen before, however. Yes, the dog is reasoning here, but it's still at a very simple level nowhere near what humans can do, so my argument holds. Show me an animal that can reason anywhere near like a human and I'll reconsider my viewpoint.

Also, I guess we have another "unfair" advantage over animals: we live a damned sight longer than most of them, giving us the ability to learn so much more. For a cat or a dog, it's basically 10-15 years and then it's all over for the poor thing and smaller animals such as mice, only a couple of years. That's a very fast learning rate to squeeze it into such a short time span.

I see that for some reason ABC retardedly doesn't like to embed its videos on TPU. :shadedshu:
 

FordGT90Concept

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#23
You're going to have to define what "reason anywhere near like a human" means, beyond the poor grammar. :laugh: Are you implying emotion? I'd argue that too.

I'd argue that Chaser reasoned and that your argument is null and void. I would concede that you probably couldn't teach the concept of the decimal system to Chaser but since when did quantifying anything really matter to anyone except humans (and even then only because we trade--a distinctly human thing as far as I know)?

But there's the point! Whales and elephants do live as long as humans do (if not substantially longer)! There's so little research into them beyond acknowledgement that they are indeed very intelligent. Case in point: elephants deliberately avoid mice but no one can definitively answer the "why?" Could it be that they respect the life that the mouse represents? That they don't want to take a life if they don't need to? Orcas exhibit similar behaviors in captivity. They're friendly giants, unless provoked or mentally...in a bad place (vengeful, frustrated, etc.). Even domesticated dogs and cats behave similarly.
 
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qubit

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#24
Yes, I'm talking about the sort of reasoning that allows us to have a conversation here over the internet on a computer that we've built, with all the advanced concepts we must understand in order to allow us to achieve this. Really, all the points I made in my OP and more. I'd like to see animals send someone to the moon or a space probe to the furthest reaches of the solar system. The list just goes on and on. I don't see what's to disagree here?

And I'll give you poor grammar! :p <qubit does a punch and judy on poor Ford>
 

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#25
I'd argue the reason why we get to this point and no other animals did (that's a pretty major assumption by the way) is because we're the only ones that always walk upright (freeing our hands) and have opposable thumbs (to manipulate objects). If humans never happened, what's the odds of some other animal evolving these advantages and reaching this point in millions of years? I'd say pretty good. We got lucky but according to our genetic makeup, the luck almost ran out many times.

Then again, Chaser demonstrated the fundamental reasoning all computer technology works on: binary; yes or no: if object might be Darwin, yes; if object is known not to be Darwin, no.