Week 7: Are Animals Just as Conscious as Human? By Claudia Zapien

The lecture regarding consciousness asked the question of how do we know who is truly conscious. The problem with that question is that a lot of people believe that they are aware of what being conscious means, but truthfully if they really see the definition of conscious doesn’t just regard humans, but it includes a much larger scale that include a lot of organic beings such as animals.
The definition of consciousness is a state of mind, a way of perceiving, especially the relationship between ones self and others. Consciousness gives to the idea of there being thoughts, sensations, perceptions, dreams, self awareness. Something that is conscious is always looking to retain and maximize their survival, such as food, safety, family, such as mates and offspring. When it comes to the concept of procreation, being that can create offspring will usually find a mate or various mates in order to carry along the process. Males are wired to spread their seeds around as much as possible to maximize the number of offspring they can produce. The size of testes are a major factor in whether a male will most likely be monogamous or not. When it comes to females they have to be very selective since they can only produce a limited number of offspring at a given time. They have to make sure that the mate(s) they have chosen will give them healthy and desirable offspring. This is why females are more leaning towards monogamy  and males are not, of course in all generalizations there are exceptions
The primary function of sexual behavior in all animals is to procreate which is why the topic of gay animals being monogamous is something that doesn’t follow the evolutionary pattern and cannot be explain unless there is further analysis. Why is it that these animals that are hotwired to spread their seeds so that they can reproduce as many offspring as possible limiting themselves by picking a mate for life that cannot reproduce offspring for them? This questions is something much more complicated, but it is a very obvious example of how conscious these animals are of their selves and those around them. They have decided to limit or better yet eliminate their possibilities of offspring due to a bond towards another animal that is unable to help them reach one of their biological needs. Just like humans, it is talked about that the reason why there animals choose to be monogamous is due to jealousy. Now an animal that isn’t conscious wouldn’t be aware of this concept of jealous because that required the animals to have feelings, thoughts, dreams, and to be aware that he or she isn’t the only one in their environment.
Something else that give us a good provide sufficient evidence that these animals are aware and conscious of everything around them is that fact that even if biologically they aren’t the sex that physically gives life they still have these wants to have children and care for them. A perfect very public example of this were Roy and Silo, the gay monogamous penguins in the New Your Zoo. The couple began making a nest to incubate their egg, since they did not have a real egg they used a rock and acted as if it was an egg and kept it warm just like if the couple was a typical heterosexual pair. The second time, they couple was given a simulation egg and the couple was able to provide the same excellent care that a heterosexual couple would provide. Finally, in 2002 there was a couple that did not want to incubate their egg properly so the egg was given to Roy and Silo and they are not proud parents of a girl penguin named Tango.
Obviously sex and having a mate and family isn’t just to fulfill a biological and evolutionary purpose, but it is also a way to identify you’re self as a unique, conscious being. Another example that we can actually see and have tangible evidence. In rodents, scientist were able to scan the brain of rodents. There were two groups, the one who were in somewhat monogamous relationship and those who did not have a particular mate, but had different one. They identified that there are neural transmitters that are released by the brain when animals including us human have a meaningful, physical, sexual interaction with our mate. The group that was still sexually active did not show this concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain and that is because they are aware that there are different type of relationships, those that are just to fulfill your procreation purpose and those that are more emotional.
Truthfully, these are only a few example of how it is completely obvious that animals are conscious even if we don’t feel like they are as advanced as we are, they might be and even more. We have to place ourselves in the environment of these animals to fully understand the complexity of these animals. We cannot judge an animal by human criteria because we are completely different and something that is important for animals might be very insignificant for us human even if it has to do with the same basic needs in life which are safety, survival and procreation. We need realize that we cannot judge the every situation by our own umwelt, which is the way you personally view  the world due to your surrounds.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7WuM3nAD-E
http://www.students.emory.edu/HYBRIDVIGOR/issue1/mating.htm
http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-14577.html
http://www.students.emory.edu/HYBRIDVIGOR/issue1/mating.htm
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/07/MNG3N4RAV41.DTL
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506EFD9113BF934A35751C0A9629C8B63
By Claudia Zapien

One Response to “Week 7: Are Animals Just as Conscious as Human? By Claudia Zapien”

  1. admin says:

    8.5/10 (because it was submitted late)

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