An international group of experts on cognitive science has asserted that animals, including many that are much different from humans, experience the same degree of consciousness as humans. Per the article:
An international group of prominent scientists has signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in which they are proclaiming their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are ....What's also very interesting about the declaration is the group's acknowledgement that consciousness can emerge in those animals that are very much unlike humans.... "Consequently, say the signatories, the scientific evidence is increasingly indicating that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness....The declaration was signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking .... (bold added).
Oh, and welcome to the group. :-D
These sorts of discussions happen all the time.
They happen a lot because the underlying dynamic is a debate on altruism vs. non-altruism.
Scientists can't even agree on what consciousness is. Claiming animals are conscious is pretty useless at this point. Let's define the human conscious experience before we claim we are not unique.
I am thinking of consciousness as synonymous with a sense of self. Otherwise, computers could be said to be conscious.
It isn't saying that they are intelligent in the same way nor to the same degree that we are but some demonstrate altruism and there are a lot of humans who appreciate it. For example, there would be a serious backlash if it were decided that unwanted dogs should be ruthlessly drowned in the ocean to save on disposition costs.
I suspect that the scientists are only asserting that some animals have a sense of self analogous to that felt by humans and not introducing ethics into the discussion. Notwithstanding, such an assertion invites an ethical discussion on how those animals should be treated less they arbitrarily be treated as no more than computers. The danger in arbitrarily treating them as no more than computers is that it would tend to turn people into sociopaths and no society in recorded history has tolerated sociopaths on a long term basis. Our society certainly does not tolerate sociopaths. This not to mention the wasted minds of the people that would result from them becoming sociopathic.
People in general have supported animal welfare because people in general are humane. However, as undesirable as it is, some people tend to be sociopathic and these are the ones who would be unnecessarily cruel to animals. It is my opinion that some narcissistic people delight in being cruel to even the most adoring animals or at least harbor the desire to be so. I think that the scientists have, no matter how slightly, raised awareness in the general population to the point that arbitrary cruelty to animals is inappropriate. My opinion is that this is a worthwhile contribution.
Yup. Many people are dismissive and say things like, "Now you're arguing over semantics," as if it's pointless. The meaning of words is one of the most important things there is, in a discussion.
For one thing, definitional ambiguity is a theist's stock in trade. You'll find almost no theistic arguments that don't include a grotesque equivocation fallacy. You have to pin people down to what they mean, when they use a word, then enforce that definition throughout their argument. The moment they switch definitions, everything after that point is worthless.
I am as much a plant lover as I am animal lover. Notwithstanding their level of consciousness, both are life forms, both are alive and therefore need equal sympathy. Nature has created an interdependence between life forms and our food habbits are the result of this interdependence. Both life forms deserve protection from unnecessary violence.
I am a gardener! In this sense I can very much identify with loving plants and I certainly don't unnecessarily trod on any beautiful ones that are not in my garden.
IF LOVE IS PRESENT, Case Closed. You do not have to be aware of it but LOVE is everything. Water retains a memory and it , like KARMA makes attempts to spread LOVE.