Author Topic: HAF Book Club: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?  (Read 45 times)

Davin

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HAF Book Club: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
« on: September 12, 2017, 09:54:30 AM »
I finished this a few days ago, but there was a funeral and a new dog so my time was a bit consumed.

The first half of the book I liked a lot. It was about 70% through that I thought, "OK, I get it, behaviorists have gotten it wrong. Fuck, dude, give it a rest for a chapter or two."

The animal cognition idea that consciousness and mental abilities are a matter of degree, is something that I had come to before reading this book, so it was mostly preaching to choir for me. But I still thought the cases and presentations of scientific data, anecdotes, and demonstrations were interesting.

It seemed to be a book mainly aimed at people on the fence or people who just haven't given it much thought. It might convince a few people opposed if they actually gave it a fair shake. Being on the author's side, I wasn't too interested in it argument after making it half way through, but the experiments, data, and anecdotes kept me in.

He did a great job expressing his argument and showing why it makes sense to take his approach as opposed to the approach of those like Skinner.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.


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BooksCatsEtc

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Re: HAF Book Club: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 09:48:49 PM »
I'm so embarrassed -- I only just started reading this.  I know de Waal has gotten a lot of flack for "sentimentality" and anthropomorphism in his views on other animals, I wonder if this accounts for his vehemence on the subject here?
Sandy

  
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Velma

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Re: HAF Book Club: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2017, 11:06:34 PM »
I'm so embarrassed -- I only just started reading this.  I know de Waal has gotten a lot of flack for "sentimentality" and anthropomorphism in his views on other animals, I wonder if this accounts for his vehemence on the subject here?
Don't feel bad. I've only made it two or three chapters in. I kept getting distracted by other books - so many other books.  :blush:
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of the astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.~Carl Sagan

BooksCatsEtc

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Re: HAF Book Club: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2017, 04:05:47 AM »
I'm so embarrassed -- I only just started reading this.  I know de Waal has gotten a lot of flack for "sentimentality" and anthropomorphism in his views on other animals, I wonder if this accounts for his vehemence on the subject here?
Don't feel bad. I've only made it two or three chapters in. I kept getting distracted by other books - so many other books.  :blush:

Yep, exactly the problem I'm having.
Sandy

  
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Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 08:37:24 AM »
I know de Waal has gotten a lot of flack for "sentimentality" and anthropomorphism in his views on other animals, I wonder if this accounts for his vehemence on the subject here?
It seems like his frequent reminders about how the old methods are inadequate are the result of proponents of such sticking to preconceived conclusions instead of following the evidence all the while trying to make fools of people challenging their views.

Dealing with behaviorists is a lot like dealing with religious apologists, they move goal posts, deny any evidence that challenges their views, and they attack the people while avoiding the arguments. Not all of them, but that's also the same as religious apologists.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.