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:

Tags: animals, brain, cat, dog, gene, god, neurology

Views: 66

Replies to This Discussion

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.

Yeah, this is where my mother goes wrong, with her dogs.

That is partially true, I don't think they understand language as such, they do however, understand the tone of spoken language.

I left out the next thought in the chain, too. I think that without language, they don't have the necessary symbol-oriented thinking to construct a sufficiently elaborate set of cause and effect chains necessary to form anything approaching religion or spirituality ... whatever the hell spirituality means. That's one of my least favorite words; most nebulous word in the English language, just about.
I think that without language, they don't have the necessary symbol-oriented thinking to construct a sufficiently elaborate set of cause and effect chains necessary to form anything approaching religion or spirituality ... whatever the hell spirituality means.

I don't know. First, I argue that animals do have language. It may be horribly simple/rudimentary to us hu-mans, but they do communicate. They also communicate in ways we often fail to understand. As for constructing something as complex as a specific set of divine commandments, that might require far more complex means of communication. But I can see the basics of superstition or even a degree of existential ponderings being in Fluffy's brain.
... whatever the hell spirituality means. That's one of my least favorite words; most nebulous word in the English language, just about.

Very true. The more I ponder it, the more I ask myself how we are defining "spirituality" or spiritual thought?

I would think it's a combination of seeking to understand the world around us combined with a certain reverence for that world/process.

But by that definition I myself am very spiritual about, say, the Grand Canyon and the processes that created it.

Back to animals though; to what extent are they capable of wondering about how their kibble was formed or appreciate how lucky they are to have been adopted/rescued from the pound? Is it appreciation, or is it just being happy about it? What's the difference and how much difference constitutes spiritual thinking?

This would be a good article to discuss with a lot of obnoxiously philosophical friends over large quantities of alcohol.
I have a religious friend who thought his dog was spiritual right up until the moment it pooped on a bible he'd left open on the floor. I told him the dog wasn't trying to make a comment; it was just paper-trained. He didn't like that idea so I told him "OK, well then it's because your dog is an atheist."

He didn't like that idea either.
Good dog. ;-)

Of course, if the dog had done something cute with/on the bible, it would have served as absolute, concrete, irrefutable proof that dog was indeed touched by the Holy Spirit.

But something like this; nothing to do with god. Just a dog pooping.

Or perhaps this is what Stephan meant by "Unholy Solid?"

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