A correspondent asks, If the transgenic monkeys are, as reported, somewhat smarter than other macaques, do they have minds and souls?
I’m not sure that improved memory and processing speed means that the macaques are more humanlike. A computer has much greater memory and processing speed than a human and I would not give the computer even animal rights.
Of course, the real question is, what is the dividing line between animals and humans? I think the above argument shows at least that it is not memory or processing speed.
Another way to think about it is this: What if implanting macaque genes in a mouse makes the mouse smarter? Does that mean the mouse is more human-like? What if the genes of some animals, such as crows, dolphins or elephants, which are considered smarter than macaques in certain respects, are used to make the macaques smarter? Does that mean the macaque is more human-like, or more like these other animals?Eric Holloway, “Are monkeys with some human genes partly human?” at Mind Matters News
See also: Eric Holloway’s earlier discussions with Querius:
Could AI think like a human, given infinite resources? Given that the human mind is a halting oracle, the answer is no.
The flawed logic behind “thinking” computers, Part I A program that is intelligent must do more than reproduce human behavior
The flawed logic behind “thinking” computers, Part II There is another way to prove a negative besides exhaustively enumerating the possibilities.
The flawed logic behind “thinking” computers, Part III No program can discover new mathematical truths outside the limits of its code.
Note: “Querius” is a pseudonym.
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2 Replies to “Eric Holloway: Are transgenic monkeys – with some human genes – partly human?”
This was actually something that bothered me quite a bit and it’s hard to wrap your brain around on top of that
Nor do I want to wrap my brain around it
The problem is, It is a serious question and if we start genetically manipulating an animal to be more like a human what does that say for human capacities what does that say for immaterial mind?
The gentleman in the post asks exactly the questions I’ve asked before
So would genetically splicing an animals brain with our brain invalidate the human mind and soul if the animal that has been genetically spliced starts exhibiting things like language which seems to be a nearly human trait
It would definitely suggest that there is a highly genetic determinant for our ability of language
Is there a way to refute this if it was successful
Now on the flipside I don’t think there will be any chance that we could actually truly genetically splice anything together it appears that the cell will reject it almost immediately
The only features that they really had was better memory and spatial placement and other words they were still macaques just better macaques
This is been done before with mice and other chimera animals
Each time the product is just the animal with better cognition or faster processing but nothing human and no human behavior
Of course humans raised in the wild don’t exhibit the same human behavior we do, feral humans are quite a bit different from humans
But I do pose this question to those of the pro dualist Persuasion
Are not we humans half-a banana?