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Cetacean Rights

Cetacean Rights

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:05 pm

Cetaceans, greater apes, elephants, and corvids do have serious self-awareness due to possessing a theory of mind (i.e., "capable of modeling the thinking of others and attribute mental beliefs, desires, and intentions to both oneself and others"). Basically, they can link each instance of a mental states sequentially and continuously in their thought (i.e., called metarepresentation, "a representation of a representation: a higher-order representation with a lower-order representation embedded within it"). They do not experience mental states "at isolated points of disparate events" unlike other animals.

Source:
https://www.quora.com/Which-animals-hav ... nd?share=1

Here is evidence dolphins are highly intelligent from a lecture by Dr. Reiss:
http://youtu.be/9K_RlZ8fLU4


Cetaceans have passed a nonverbal version of false-belief test also:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hLubgpY2_w

If we acknowledge their high encephalization quotient, high degrees of brain folding, high complexity of their neocortexes, psychological experiments validating strong self-awareness, and the established "theory of mind", then there is strong reason to believe their brains have a high capacity for integration and complexity, meaning they deserve to be called "non-human persons". India already calls them "non-human persons". Furthermore, only a few animals are known to have spindle neurons, which is correlated to high intelligence.

My phylogeny professor, who was over 80 years old, studied on every single continent, has ID'd and named numerous species and subspecies, and studied just about every animal you can think of, said the cetaceans are just as intelligent as humans. The only reason we build cities and they don't is because of our arboreal heritage. Opposable thumbs, fingerpads, and forward facing eyes, that's it. Whales live extremely long lives, have complex societies, and communicate through song, all hallmark traits of extremely intelligent animals.


It's harder to test with whales, but given their high encephalization quotient, I think it's highly likely they'd pass.
“Researchers found that the neocortex of the Minke whale was surprisingly thick. The whale neocortex is thicker than that of other mammals and roughly equal to that of humans (2.63 mm). However, the layered structure of the whale neocortex is known to be simpler than that of humans and most other mammals. In particular, whales lack cortical layer IV, and thus have five neocortical layers to humankind’s six. This means that the wiring of connections into and out of the neocortex is much different in whales than in other mammals. The researchers’ cellular census revealed that the total number of neocortical neurons in the Minke whale was 12.8 billion. This is 13 times that of the rhesus monkey and 500 times more than rats, but only 2/3 that of the human neocortex. What can account for the fact that whales have bigger brains — and similarly thick neocortexes — but fewer neurons? Eriksen and Pakkenberg found that there were 98.2 billion non-neuronal cells, called glia, in the Minke whale neocortex. This is the highest number of glial cells in neocortex seen in any mammal studied to date. The ratio of neocortical glial cells to neocortical neurons is 7.7 to 1 in Minke whales and only 1.4 to 1 in humans. This finding may indicate a tendency for larger glia/neuron ratios as brain mass increases to support the growing neurons. But when one considers other recent research revealing that glia play an important role in information processing (see “The Other Half of the Brain,” fromn Sci. Am. April 2004), one is left to wonder. Is the whale brain intellectually weaker than the human brain, or just different? They have fewer neurons but more glia, and in traditional views of the glia, the neurons count for much more. But if glia process information too, does the different ratio in Minke whales mean they think not more weakly but just much differently?”


source: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/new ... an-we-are/

There's actually a possibility that cetaceans may have an advanced language.

As researcher John Stuart Reid said, "When a dolphin scans an object with its high frequency sound beam, emitted in the form of short clicks, each click captures a still image, similar to a camera taking photographs. Each dolphin click is a pulse of pure sound that becomes modulated by the shape of the object. In other words, the pulse of reflected sound contains a semi-holographic representation of the object. A portion of the reflected sound is collected by the dolphin’s lower jaw, its mandible, where it travels through twin fat-filled ‘acoustic horns’ to the dolphin’s inner ears to create the sono-pictorial image.” This is similar to the science of cymatics

Reid is developing a way to understand their language with cymatics: “The CymaScope imaging technique substitutes a circular water membrane for the dolphin's tectorial, gel-like membrane and a camera for the dolphin's brain. We image the sono-picture as it imprints on the surface tension of water, a technique we call ‘bio-cymatic imaging,’ capturing the picture before it expands to the boundary. We think that something similar happens in the dolphin’s cochleae where the sonic image, contained in the reflected click-pulse, travels as a surface acoustic wave along the basilar and tectorial membranes and imprints in an area that relates to the carrier frequency of the click-pulse. With our biocymatic imaging technique we believe we see a similar image to that which the dolphin sees when it scans an object with sound. In the flowerpot image the hand of the person holding it can even be seen. The images are rather fuzzy at present but we hope to enhance the technique in future.”.

source: http://www.speakdolphin.com/ResearchItems.cfm?ID=20

We fantasize about communicating with Intelligences from Space but we can't communicate with the diversity of Consciousness surrounding us here

A lot of controversy has been surrounding Ocean World and their treatment of Orcas in the USA. Orcas swim a tremendous amount and, being social creatures that communicate with semi-holographic images, they do not really get their physical or social requirements in small pools. This article explains it better than I do:

http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/features/ ... -seaworld/

A lot of controversy has been surrounding Ocean World and their treatment of Orcas in the USA. Orcas swim a tremendous amount and, being social creatures that communicate with semi-holographic images, they do not really get their physical or social requirements in small pools. This article explains it better than I do:

http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/featur...long-seaworld/

All dolphinariums are unethical:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dolphinariums

I think we should focus on eliminating toxins, like PCBs, and driftnets plus certain purse-seine tuna fisheries in the ocean, which kill them.

Worldwide attention has been given to the high mortality of dolphins associated with driftnets and certain purse-seine tuna fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Other types of fishing gear also endanger cetaceans but have not received as much publicity.


http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endange ... s/bycatch/

Marine chemical pollution, such as PCBs (PolyChlorinated Biphenyls), are known to also harm these cetaceans:
http://us.whales.org/issues/marine-chemical-pollution

Since all cetaceans are remarkably intelligent, they should not be hunted by the Inuits, Japanese, Faroe, and etc. peoples. This is because they suffer to a comparable level as us because they have narratives they can reflect on. Buddhists tend to be negative consequentialists (i.e, focuses on minimizing bad consequences rather than promoting good consequences. This may actually require active intervention "to prevent harm from being done", or may only require passive avoidance of bad outcomes).

Image

as far as his or her heart desires*

Gosh, what a typo the person that made this gif made.
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Re: Cetacean Rights

Postby Guo Gu on Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:23 am

thanks for sharing... fascinating.
is that last statement about "buddhists tend to be negative consequentialists" by you or are you quoting someone?
be well,
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Re: Cetacean Rights

Postby Seeker242 on Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:42 am

ALL animals should have rights, not just cetaceans and great apes, IMO. :) Philosopher Jeremy Bentham once said: 'The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but "Can they suffer?' It's quite obvious that they can suffer!
Kill a cat, with a dried shit stick, under a cypress tree in the courtyard, while eating three pounds of flax! Only a cow goes Moooo!
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Re: Cetacean Rights

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:36 pm

Seeker242 wrote:ALL animals should have rights, not just cetaceans and great apes, IMO. :) Philosopher Jeremy Bentham once said: 'The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but "Can they suffer?' It's quite obvious that they can suffer!


That's true, but I feel when metacognition comes into the picture, suffering can intensify. For example, anthropods don't suffer to a comparable level as dolphins.

Personally, I do agree that all mammals and birds deserve equal consideration though, but I don't know how to convincingly argue for that. I know how to argue we shouldn't harm elephants, cetaceans, greater apes, and corvids because research points to that implication.

I don't think plants and bacteria / archae suffer though, but I could be wrong.

is that last statement about "buddhists tend to be negative consequentialists" by you or are you quoting someone?


I don't think all Buddhist precepts or ethical conduct is reduced to negative consequentialism, so I guess I was wrong in that aspect, but there is a strong negative consequentialist vibe to it:

http://emptinez.me/2012/09/22/is-buddhi ... tarianism/

Keown is convinced that the nearest to Buddhist ethics is Negative Utilitarianism (NU). NU is a version of utilitarianism which prioritizes the exemption from pain before the increase of pleasure, in other words, for negation of suffering instead of maximizing happiness. This resonates with Buddhist soteriology in that both target at reduction of suffering as central to the system (176).

However, the kernel difference lie in their assumptions about suffering and its cause.
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Re: Cetacean Rights

Postby lobster on Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:10 am

From experience it seems that children and less developed creatures that are primarily emotionally based suffer more or more intensely/overwhelmingly.

:blush:

I guess being kind is good plan :ghug:
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Re: Cetacean Rights

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:27 pm

S S,

Samsaric Spiral wrote:Personally, I do agree that all mammals and birds deserve equal consideration though, but I don't know how to convincingly argue for that

A way that I reason about it (although I don't argue it, much) is that the life of each animal is all it has.

That is, to the animal, its life seems "as big" to it as ours does to us. Thus, we ourselves have no Human "right" to interfere or intervene in its life (except "Compassionately"?), especially when it might come to ending its life.

Some say that animals do not have the intelligence or sensitivities that we have, and that therefore animals may not, or might not, "appreciate" their lives as being as big as ours. But, on this I would argue, "Perhaps. But whatever "size" their life has to them, and whatever their life "feels like" to them, IT IS ALL THEY HAVE.

Could our own life be bigger, or feel bigger, to us Humans? Certainly, say, when we Awaken to our true nature. But before awakening, does that mean it would be OK for Awakened people to squash us like bugs? No, Awakened people would not do that, because Wisdom and Compassion arise in them naturally, and they know that there is just one being -- if that many -- and that we are all fingers of the One Hand.

Thus, I think that when the first Buddhist Precept reads, "No killing", it is the description of the behavior of a Buddha (as all the Buddhist precepts are). And that that Precept is not just about the non-killing of Humans. But I am one who takes the Precepts -- ALL the Precepts -- as descriptions of the behavior of an awakened person, and not as prohibitions. I take the Precepts as being descriptive, not normative. Descriptive of the actual behavior of a Buddha (an Awakened -- Wise, Compassionate -- person).

Some morning musings,

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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