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Debate Score:39
Arguments:24
Total Votes:39
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 Could other animals ever develop human-like consciousness? (24)

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hhioh(454) pic



Could other animals ever develop human-like consciousness?

Humans are, obviously, self-aware of themselves and their surroundings - is it possible for another animal to develop this same feature? Or is it limited to humans only?

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5 points

Our closest relatives are already self-aware. The other apes can recognize themselves and understand the wants and intentions of others. They have most of the same mental tools as humans, just to a lesser extent.

2 points

Dolphins too. Apparently the verdict is still out as to whether cats and dogs posses consciousness. And the definition and test of consciousness is of course not properly defined...

1 point

I'd heard that about dolphins but couldn't speak to it from my own knowledge. I know they pass the paint-spot test which I think it a pretty standard way to test for sentience. As far as I know, cats and dogs haven't been able to pass that. It doesn't completely discount the possibility but I'm not sure I'd say they're self-aware.

2 points

Sure. We're an animal and we did. It's just a matter of their environments, predators, surroundings, etc creating an eco-system where it is the smartest more often who mate with the smartest and so on for hundreds and thousands of generations.

I'm pretty sure if it were not for human interference other primates like chimps and bonobo in a hundred thousand years or so would evolve to intelligent, self-aware beings... wait longer and other mammals would likely follow.

With one animal, us, so far above everything on the food chain though it may be difficult for other animals to get the opportunity to evolve in this way, perhaps.

Side: Sure
1 point

Not likely because (and i know yall are about to give me crap for this) what i believe in, God made humans special and have dominion over all the creatures of the earth. Humans are one of a kind and there is not a way that animals could evolve to be like humans

Side: Not likely
Apollo(1606) Disputed
1 point

i know yall are about to give me crap for this

That is likely the most intelligent part of your comment ;)

God made humans special and have dominion over all the creatures of the earth

That's fine, but do you have any facts to back that up?

Humans are one of a kind

Yes...in a way.

there is not a way that animals could evolve to be like humans

Why not. We were once apes and we evolved to develop this.

-

Also, I like how you sided with both creationism ('God made humans') and evolution in the span of two sentences. Pick one. You can't logically believe in both.

Side: Sure
Suraron(13) Disputed
1 point

There would be no use in me trying to sway you, you've heard the Bible facts a thousand times probably. Thats what i believe, and thats what you believe and I'm not going to hate you and get upset about that. I believe in creationism and do not believe in evolution, its as simple as that

Side: Sure
hhioh(454) Disputed
1 point

May I ask why you "can't logically believe in both"? I think that you can and that they are not mutually exclusive.

Supporting Evidence: God and evolution can coexist (www.scientificamerican.com)
Side: Sure
1 point

Maye at one point, but with the advent of humanity, it makes it much more difficult for other animals.

Side: Not likely
1 point

I certainly hope so. I'd love to be able to see evolution take place like that.

It's absolutely possible in the future, though we already see signs now in, as others have said, dolphins and apes. There was an experiment on dolphins where they put a mirror in the tank with it and put a red mark on the side of one of the dolphins. It went to the mirror several times looking at the mark in the mirror. Even though it couldn't feel it and it wasn't an annoyance to the dolphin it saw it in the mirror and kept looking. I thought it was interesting.

:)

Side: Not likely
1 point

It is unlikely that any other animal will catch up to us in intelligence while we are here. However, when we die out, there will be a vacant space for other life to evolve intelligence. Perhaps in millions of years after we exit, squid may make it to land and develop human-like consciousness? They are already highly intelligent. It would be interesting to see what future lifes archaeologists make of what we left behind.

Side: Sure
1 point

What, exactly, comprises human-like consciousness? A lot of you seem to go straight to human-like intelligence. What about aesthetic appreciation? For all we know, that's a quality specific to humans. No other creature is known to stop to watch a sunset and let it inspire them in their creative work. No other creature, as far as we know, passes allegorical myths to successive generations to help them make meaning of their life experience. And no other creature uses language. (There is animal communication, but it's not language. For an explanation as to why, consult the book Adam's Tongue by Derek Bickerton.)

That being said, we simply haven't been able to find the evidence to suggest that another animal is like us. But we don't even know what really makes us human. Is it our intellectual ability? Creative abilities? Perhaps each species has some alternative consciousness that suits it just as well as our human consciousness suits us, just in different contexts given that every life form fills its own niche.

Side: Sure
zombee(1024) Disputed
1 point

Female choice shapes sexual ornaments in many species, and they're diverse and often complex and colorful, especially in birds. If sexual ornaments were just a simple display of health, they wouldn't need to be intricate, merely inconvenient. Don't you think it's possible peahens selected peacocks based on the robustness of their displays as well as a kind of appreciation for their aesthetic value? If not, why the bright and intricate displays in so many species?

There are also examples of apes and elephants who paint, and I've heard their keepers say they paint from inspiration. This might be more widespread if wild animals had access to art supplies.

Side: Sure
johnnyQ(24) Disputed
1 point

I think the big difference between whatever aesthetic value a peacock finds in another peacock and what a human finds in something like a sunset is that there is a sexual aspect to the relationship between one attractive peacock and another, whereas whatever beauty we find in a sunset is perceived without a sexual impetus... unless you've got a really, uh, unique fetish. That considered, you've gotta ask what evolutionary advantage humans have by being able to find a sunset beautiful, if any advantage exists at all. Maybe our propensity for aesthetic appreciation is merely a consequence of another evolutionary development. And like I said, we just haven't been able to prove beyond a doubt that animals have a consciousness comparable to a human's. Maybe animals are able to perceive more aesthetic value in their surroundings than we can and simply don't need to be as outwardly creative because they have some kind of contentment with just being. Maybe they're superior in that sense. I don't know. I am supporting the view that animals could develop or already have developed human-like consciousness. I'm also saying that when considering the question, humans should be wary not to fall into the trap of thinking that they are superior to other life forms simply because we have more advanced intellectual abilities. I honestly believe that the only thing that truly separates us from animals is our linguistic ability and the consequent abilities that stem from it.

I've never done much research into animals that paint. I've heard of them but never pursued more insight on the phenomenon. That's cool, though, that their keepers feel inspiration prompts them to paint what they do.

Side: Sure

Yes, human-like consciousness is composed mostly of social constructs, and you can see those same constructs in other apes, monkeys, dolphins, ect. The main difference is the ability to use and create tools, which might be more due to our opposable thumbs than anything. I wonder if a monkey could learn from a human how to make arrows?

Side: Sure

Perhaps dolphins many centuries from now could develop a human-like conscience.

Side: Sure