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Mirror Test

Crocodile Symbiosis

Neither of these has to see a dentist because of being too stupid to avoid sweets.

A mirror test is supposed to demonstrate self-awareness. Put an animal to sleep, place a dot on her head and, when she wakes up, and show her a mirror. If she looks at her image in the mirror and somehow acknowl-edges the dot, she’s self-aware. If she doesn’t, she is not. Simple, right?

The problem is this is a test of self-awareness as designed by human minds. We can’t escape our own way of thinking. It’s all we’ve got.

The only thing tests like these prove is that the subject is thinking like a human, or is self-aware like a human.

Are we supposed to believe that thinking like a human is the only way to think intelligently? Or that it is the only way to be self-aware? Such ideas are nothing more than human-centric egotism. We’ve built the internet and flown to the moon, but we also commit heinous acts of barbarism against all living beings on the planet (do not try to think of one we overlook; the effort will depress you). This contrast is not a scale which balances ethical depravity against in-tellectual and scientific triumphs.

We must refuse to accept the notion that human intelligence is the ultimate in any intelligence. We are simply the most intelligent humans.

Let us not fall into the trap of requiring human-like behavior from high-functioning predators like alligators and sharks, neither of which have needed to evolve for eons, and both of which are perfectly evolved for their environments.

I am not opposed to mirror tests. I am opposed to using the results of them to justify discrimination, and subsequently violence, against living beings.



5 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Veganism, Vegan. Vegan said: RT @Veganism: http://t.co/kdiEoGK You passing or failing a test I design does not authorize me to exploit and murder you and those like you. […]

  2. […] author describes Snargleplexon as a vegan education and humor blog. I particularly like this post about self-awareness whether animals have it. Take me […]

  3. Excellent point. We fail to recognize our own biases in so many ways!

  4. I believe that this narrow mind is not just applied to the differences in Man vs. Nature but also applied to the differences we see in each other.

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