From Discovery News/Discovery.com:
Animals Said To Have Spiritual Experiences


  • A neurologist and other scientists argue animals are capable of having spiritual experiences.
  • The researchers hold that spiritual experiences originate within primitive parts of the human brain, structures shared by animals.
  • The challenge lies in proving what animals experience.

Seriously cool. And plausible, as evidenced by my own Diablo:

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Watched my sister do the exact same thing with her dog.

"Dude! Let's see if we can get the dog stoned!"
"Dude! Let's see if we can get the dog stoned!"

Did the dog stare at his paws and go "wow" lol

bow wow
So, spiritual experiences are just quirks of basic brain functions that even "lower" animals have and are not messages from Old Grumpy in the sky. Most atheists could have told them that. What's new?
But we know the dog god is the true god because god is dog backwards.
But we know the dog god is the true god because god is dog backwards.

I once heard a televangelist say that we know condoms are dumb because they aren't in the bible and the word itself has "dumb" in it.

So apparently, coincidences in the English language are god's way of communicating with us, which would mean you're on to something Stephan!

Of course, it could also be argued that dogs are the anti-christ, since they are the inversion of god. :-P
No, wrong piece of the trinity. There's the anti-Christ, and then there's Dog. So, what's the antithesis of the holy spirit?
So, what's the antithesis of the holy spirit?

The unholy solid...or the Roman solider that had sex with Mary? =P
"I'm not a Roman, Mum! And I never will be! I'm a kike, a yid, a hebe, a hook-nose! I'm kosher, Mum! I'm a Red Sea pedestrian and proud of it!"
"Unholy Solid."

I like that. A lot. Totally stealing.
Other than the primates I think dogs are the most emotional sensitive. First of all they are pack animals genetically tuned to hierarchy and pack loyalty. They have been associated with and selectively bred by humans for at least 12,000 years. That selection process has caused certain traits to dramatically increase in frequency within the species resulting in an animal that is loyal and very attuned to human moods and emotions.
However, while animals may experience a "spirituality" of sorts, I don't think they are capable of creating a fantasy world in which to couch their spiritual moments.
Sounds a bit like my take on the subject. I can see the basic problem-solving abilities being sort of, vaguely ritualistic, metaphorically speaking. I think they look at it as a sort of puzzle of where the next treat comes from. I don't think they make up stories about why the treats come, though. They lack the vocabulary for anything beyond basic emotional communication.
Intelligences is comprised of, among other things, pattern recognition and cause and effect awareness. The higher the level of intelligences the more refined the recognition abilities become in terms of complexity. The dogs abilities in both pattern recognition and cause and effect awareness are quite refined, it is however, very attuned to human behavior and the human environment. They learn, without benefit of training, to understand many of their human companion's routines, moods and intentions.
What is critical in the human and dog relationship is that the human establish themselves as the "Alpha Dog", if that's not accomplished the dog will be untrainable for the most part.
You said, "They lack the vocabulary for anything beyond basic emotional communication."
That is partially true, I don't think they understand language as such, they do however, understand the tone of spoken language. The tone in which a command is given is understandable to the dog. A firm, "bad dog", will have my dog shuffling around on her belly with her ears laid back while a "good dog" brings her leaping up for an ear scatching. But it's not the words it's the tone of the voice.

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