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Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:48 PM

A little off topic but I am flabbergasted at what people believe!

In this thread:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1821902

I had the nerve to point out that animals like dogs and cats really don't understand what you are saying to them. I pointed out they see differently, hear and smell things we cannot detect and don't have a brain wired like ours, but we humans anthropomorphize them.

Oh the outrage!

Why, did you know that some dogs will sit on command...so they obviously understand English!

And I apparently said animals don't think.... but where I said that I cannot find.

This stupidity boggles my mind!

My audacious and stupid ideas about animals (who apparently are JUST LIKE US) starts at post #35 "Beautiful Pics". But if you don't want to go there (I don't blame you) here's a sample of the answers I'm getting:

#65 lol

Putting together a string of commands is...language. Understanding and doing it or resisting it is also known as "thought."

The truth is, we're all animals, just like them. We do some things better than them, and they do some things better than us.

The idea that they don't think is a funny one, but if it helps you feel better about yourself, feel free to continue to believe so despite evidence to the contrary.


OK back to our regularly scheduled program....

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Reply A little off topic but I am flabbergasted at what people believe! (Original post)
AlbertCat Nov 2012 OP
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #1
JNelson6563 Nov 2012 #2
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #3
AlbertCat Nov 2012 #4
dmallind Nov 2012 #5
AlbertCat Nov 2012 #6
dmallind Nov 2012 #7

Response to AlbertCat (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:02 PM

1. Yeah, that's a "little" off topic.

And I am not going to get in the middle of that thread. But....why do you believe that animals do not understand what we say to them? I will agree that when I say a long string of words, like "oh you are such a sweet kitty", my cat has no idea what I have said. But when I say "no" or call his name, I get the response that I want---so is he not able to understand that?

I just figured that if you bring it here, I will continue it here.

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Response to AlbertCat (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:32 AM

2. Animals understand tone

and body language.

You can tell a dog he's a stupid asshole while petting him and using a soft tone and he'll wag his tail and eat it up, as it were.

So I guess both sides of this "argument" are right to an extent.

Julie--here to help

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Response to AlbertCat (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:27 AM

3. The juxtaposition of your name and your complaint is hilarious

Well done, sir.

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Response to AlbertCat (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:20 PM

4. Let's see....

I posted it here because I think it's akin to thinking Nature is "looking at you" and "understands you"...which are religious notions.

Also, it's, like religion, a complete rejecting of the fact we all experience the world thru human brains that have a tendency to do human things....like anthropomorphize. I talk to my cat all the time and love him dearly. But I don't think he understands what I say to him. This is akin to people experiencing feelings and hallucinations and, instead of thinking logically about the experience, jump right onto the supernatural bandwagon "It was my grandmothers ghost!" is not too different from "My cat knows what I'm saying!"

I find it far more interesting to KNOW that your pets experience and live in a world that is not like the one your brain constructs for you. Noting the similarities and DIFFERENCES is enlightening.

And none of you posters here have addressed what I was talking about in the 1st place... anthropomorphism. The reason we have religion in the 1st place..IMHO.

Who here thinks "Putting together a string of commands is...language."? I think it's a bit more than that!

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Response to AlbertCat (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:38 AM

5. Depends what you mean by understand.

To play Kantian for a moment, the mental abilities of understanding and reasoning are different things. Dogs have some limited understanding but no rasoning in my opinion. No it's not just body language and tone. The commands sit stay down etc are delivered in the same tone by most handlers, and without gestures. Clearly the dog can tell what the word means. A dog trained in English will not respond to French commands or vice versa. Dogs that can fetch different beverages from a cooler on demand are not extremely rare. They can obviously then not only understand but perceive and remember the difference between water and soda.

Now yes of course a compound sentence of invective delivered in a pleasant voice will be wagged at and glowing praise delivered in a stern tone will be treated with deference in a trained dog. Complex conversation is beyond them IMO, and tone obviously conveys much. Certainly they lack reasoning. But to posit they cannot distinguish between words - understanding - is to deny common repeatable experience.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:21 PM

6. All very interesting....

but no one has addressed what I was talking about:

Anthropomorphism.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:25 PM

7. Becaue you talked about much more than that

Understanding words is not anthropomorphic. It is an ability shared by many species at various levels. Your dog, or gorilla, or dolphin, can understand words you use without becoming human or being seen as a human. Dogs understand a limited number of words but can read human emotions and moods better than a lot of humans I know (me included). This does not anthropomorphize them either. A lot more of canine intercourse is related to nonverbal communication after all, and in the 15,000 or so years of domestication it would be absurd to think they haven't worked out shit about us.

Now you would have a very good point if you limited your flabbergasts to people who claim that their dogs get bored without the TV on, or understand complex sentences, or respond with choices to questions about whether they need to go for a walk or eat first, etc. But understanding much of humans' moods and some of humans' words is too low a bar for flabbergasting.

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