If animals can attempt to understand human speech, then animals must have immortal souls

My iPhone (Siri) can understand human speech. Does that mean my cell phone has an immortal soul???


umm I like the Vatican website CCC.

We had a great homily for Assumption at an EF High Mass. The Priest discussed just this topic. The mortal body rots down. It is seperated from the soul at death. The soul, eternal, is not complete again until joined with our resurrected bodies.

He also spent 10 minutes listing what Catholics can and cannot do, including things like contraception, abortion and the death penalty. An awesome Priest.

I also attended an earlier OF Mass where I joined another singing the descant. That Homily was given in the Aisle and aimed at the school children. That Priest also went through some 'what is sin, and what is allowed doctrine.

Great to hear two Priests discussing this.

How was your Assumption Mass?

And this does not state we humans are immortal.
This is what I said

The fact is only the human species can take another species out of its natural environment, and modify its behavior for human-oriented purposes. Words like tame or domesticate come to mind. That alone puts humans at a higher level than animals. Also, only humans can destroy whole natural environments, even the whole planet. No other species has such high levels of organization and power, for better or worse.

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In his science fiction novels, CS Lewis used the concept of hnau, beings with rational souls. The idea is that aliens could have rational/immortal souls.

Dolphins may, or may not, be hnau. I am not convinced, but I do not eat dolphin, (or even mahi mahi). But a rational soul would not mean all animals have rational souls.

Humans are self determined creatures. Only humans can choose do be something other than what God intended. In short, dolphins can’t sin.

Humans have an immortal soul. Humans are immortal (even if our bodies do temporarily experience death until the eschaton).

If you want to work in some pretzel logic there to re-define terms, be my guest. :roll_eyes: :+1:

You are incredibly insulting. Good day to you. This conversation is over when the person is attacked rather then the topic addressed. Very disappointing response.

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Sorry if it offended you.

I did address the topic. You had literally simply rejected what the Catechism says. As you say, when that happens, I guess the discussion is over. :wink:

  1. Yes, humans are animals.
  2. There is no evidence for the existence of free will, other than, “it sure feels like I have it.” This applies to human animals as well as non-human animals
  3. The absence of free will does not lead inexorably to automaton-like behaviour
  4. There is no evidence of a “soul”, either in human or non-human animals. The mind is what the brain does.

Rather than attempt to “elevate” non-human animals to a mythical soul-owning, free-will possessing status, we need to recognise that it’s the other way around. Assuming we want to act on the best available evidence, points 1 to 4 above are it.

(Just to be clear, although I realise this may exercise some people to post a hostile response, I’m genuinely not trying to provoke. I have a view, which I think is robust and rational, and the OP invited people’s thoughts.)

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What? Non-human animals have to elevate us?
To what? A mythical free will possessing status that your points claim does not exist?

I am not seeing your point.

My point is that instead of saying “animals might be just like us - having souls and free will,” we should be recognising that we’re ALL animals, and that there is nothing particularly special about us. Humans have evolved bigger, more complex brains capable of extended reasoning, abstract thought and advanced communication; but it doesn’t follow that we’ve been endowed with souls or free will by some omnipotent benefactor.

We are to dogs (for example) what dogs are to insects.

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Do you know of anything ever said by Aristotle’s cat? Any ideas recorded by Homer’s dogs? Or Lao Tse’s goldfish? If we can remember the ideas of Aristotle, Homer and Lao Tse, why should we think our existence is limited to the animal parts of us? How do we know there are no qualitative differences that distinguish us from other animals?

Thanks for explaining yourself. Your last message really seemed to be missing something.

No. Are you suggesting that speech is an indicator of the endowment of a soul by some munificent benefactor? If so, please provide the details. If not, then I’m afraid I’m missing your point, sorry.

We don’t. But we shouldn’t fill the gaps in our knowledge with supposition, surely?

What was it missing, in your opinion?

Animals can understand words and phrases in the human language yet the other way around we cannot expecting animals to speak back in the human language is ridiculous.

The fact that animals don’t speak back to us in human language, doesn’t imply that the animals aren’t speaking back at all. After all humans have become attuned to the body language of our pets. And it’s safe to assume that we’re probably only understanding a small fraction of the information that our pets are attempting to communicate to us.

In fact our pets and us are able to create our own personal language, such that certain signals on our part, or on our pet’s part will communicate specific ideas. And it’s also likely that our pets attempt to communicate more complex ideas to us, but we fail to comprehend these attempts and so our pets and us are restricted to just a small number of signals that are easily identifiable. But we can’t assume that it’s a limitation in our pet’s mental capacity that’s the limiting factor in these communications. The fault may rest almost as much in us as it does in them.

Sure it’s partly our fault, if we expect linguistic communication from any nonhuman creatures, other than certain birds and a few specialized dog breeds, such as huskies. Even in that case, they are merely copying the sound, and not communicating actual ideas. But dogs and other creatures still communicate through behavior, bodily actions, noises, and facial expressions. They may not have immortal souls, since they aren’t sentient beings. They have, however absorbed some of our social and emotional traits by during the long time they’ve been domesticated, both by example, and by selective breeding.

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