Home / News / Scientists sign declaration, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, stating that animals possess consciousness much like humans
Scientists sign declaration, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, stating that animals possess consciousness much like humans

Scientists sign declaration, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, stating that animals possess consciousness much like humans

Animal lovers, who care about other animals, almost religiously, will be thrilled to hear that an international group of scientists signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, concerning non-human animals, in the presence of Stephen Hawking.  The event took place in Cambridge, U. K. on July 7, 2012, at the First Annual Francis Crick Memorial Conference, which focused on "Consciousness in Humans and Non-Human Animals".

Francis Crick Memorial website uploaded the various talks concerning animals with consciousness, but CBS allegedly memorialized it in a 60 Minutes episode.

Behavioural biologist demonstrated that other animals have complex cognitive abilities, in which, if they were humans, we would considered the process consciousness.  Christof Koch, chief science officer at the Allen Institute of Brain Science, and co-presenter of the new declaration stated in an article, concerning consciousness, for Huffington post:

The two principal features that distinguish people from other animals is our hypertrophied ability to reflect upon ourselves (self-consciousness) and language. Yet there is little reason to deny consciousness to animals simply because they are mute or, for that matter, to premature infants because their brains are not fully developed. There is even less reason to deny it to people with severe aphasia who, upon recovery, can clearly describe their experiences while they were incapable of speaking. The perennial habit of introspection has led many intellectuals to devalue the unreflective, nonverbal character of much of life. The belief in human exceptionalism, so strongly rooted in the Judeo-Christian view of the world, flies in the face of all evidence for the structural and behavioral continuity between animals and people.

The cerebral cortex is remarkably constant across different species. Indeed, it takes an expert neuroanatomist to distinguish between a pea -sized chunk of cerebral cortex taken from a mouse, a monkey, and a person. Our brains are big, but other creatures — elephants, dolphins, and whales — have bigger ones. There are no qualitative differences between mice, monkeys, or people at the genomic, synaptic, cellular, or connectional levels. The differences are quantitative — the human brain has about 86 billion neurons, a thousand times more than the brain of a mouse.

Allegedly, this consciousness and awareness, according to the scientists and animal lovers, makes non-human animals entitled to humane treatment, but io9 asked if it would change how humans treat other animals?  The list of animals with conscious, according to io9, includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus.

George Dvorsky, author of io9 writes:

The body of scientific evidence is increasingly showing that most animals are conscious in the same way that we are, and it's no longer something we can ignore.

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, including those that evolved along different evolutionary tracks, namely birds and some cephalopods.

"The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states," they write, "Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors."

Those who signed the declaration say, “The scientific evidence is increasingly indicating that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.”

The group who signed the declaration consist of cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists. The list of signatures include and included such signatories as Christof Koch, David Edelman, Edward Boyden, Philip Low, Irene Pepperberg, and many more, all in the presence of Stephen Hawking.

According to Scientific America’s Katherine Harmon, associate editor for Scientific American covering health, medicine and life sciences, emotion or their “neural substrates”, as the declaration calls them, are not dependent on non-human animals having a cortex or other brain structures that humans possess, but other regions of our brains, in both humans and non-humans also generate emotions.  These regions activate when in reaction to a given stimulus.

In fact, many other neural regions are activated when we emote and “are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals,” the scientists noted.

That does not necessarily mean that you could have a distraught octopus or an elated cuttlefish on your hands. But this new, formalized conception of consciousness does suggest that the octopus has used its own, more foreign-looking brain to develop some sense of subjective experience.

Scientists are finding that consciousness is not located in a particular area of our brains, but in various regions, which both humans and non-human animals possess.

“The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness,” the scientists wrote. “Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

This group of scientists acknowledged in the declaration that consciousness can and has emerged in other species, besides humans, despite the lack of a neocortex, as well as evolving in different evolutionary tracks.

“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states,” they write. “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.”

Consequently, say the signatories, the scientific evidence is increasingly indicating that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.

The group presented the most advanced cognitive techniques for measuring and monitoring consciousness during the conference, with topics ranging from exploring the properties of neurons deep in the brainstem, to assessing global cerebral function in comatose patients.  The various model organisms ranged from flies to elephants to humans, with viewpoints from three branches of biology: anatomy, physiology, and behaviour.

"Until animals have their own storytellers, humans will always have the most glorious part of the story, and with this proverbial concept in mind, the symposium will address the notion that humans do not alone possess the neurological faculties that constitute consciousness as it is presently understood."

Neurovigil, Comparative Cognition Society, Mind Science Foundation, Brain Vision UK, Brain Corporation, and ResMed sponsored the conference.

The declaration the scientists signed, which is downloadable and signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking, made the following observations:

  • The field of Consciousness research is rapidly evolving. Abundant new techniques and strategies for human and non-human animal research have been developed. Consequently, more data is becoming readily available, and this calls for a periodic reevaluation of previously held preconceptions in this field. Studies of non-human animals have shown that homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perception can be selectively facilitated and disrupted to assess whether they are in fact necessary for those experiences. Moreover, in humans, new non-invasive techniques are readily available to survey the correlates of consciousness.
  • The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals. Wherever in the brain one evokes instinctual emotional behaviors in non-human animals, many of the ensuing behaviors are consistent with experienced feeling states, including those internal states that are rewarding and punishing. Deep brain stimulation of these systems in humans can also generate similar affective states. Systems associated with affect are concentrated in subcortical regions where neural homologies abound. Young human and nonhuman animals without neocortices retain these brain-mind functions. Furthermore, neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (e.g., octopus).
  • Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in articular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.
  • In humans, the effect of certain hallucinogens appears to be associated with a disruption in cortical feedforward and feedback processing. Pharmacological interventions in non-human animals with compounds known to affect conscious behavior in humans can lead to similar perturbations in behavior in non-human animals. In humans, there is evidence to suggest that awareness is correlated with cortical activity, which does not exclude possible contributions by subcortical or early cortical processing, as in visual awareness. Evidence that human and nonhuman animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    SQUEEEEEE! (Mriana claps paws together) This is better than saying zygotes deserve personhood! :D Non-human deserve rights more than a bunch of cells do.

    • Mark Mywerds

      A bunch of cells? I am a bunch of cells, you are a bunch of cells, that cat over there is a bunch of cells. Which bunch are you referring to?

      • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

        Well, yes, I am made up of a bunch of cells and so is my cat, but cellular development did not makes us human or a cat overnight. In fact, those first two cells could have turned out to be anything, including a living blob, but not necessarily human or a cat or nothing at all. Just because the parents are human, does not mean that those original two cells, one from each parent, will produce a human. Those two cells could spontaneously abort and often do. Thousands of sperm cells die every day and don't even get a chance to meet up with another cell that might produce another organism. Yet you do not consider them anything except sperm, so what is so special about a blastocyst, that might develop into a human, chimp, or cephalopod, but often does not, when many Xian extremists don't even care about human and non-human animals already living? They made it through the early beginnings of cellular development to live without life support. Once born, they are no longer parasites (which honest drs even call it), except maybe parasitic to the earth, but not to an actual human. The gestational period is truly a parasitic one and more often than not does not produce life. Most pregnancies spontaneously abort within the first few weeks and women never even know they were pregnant and sometimes assume they were just late, due to stress or something.

        So yes, those early cells are just a cluster of cells and most often become nothing at all.

        • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

          "
          but cellular development did not makes us human or a cat overnight."
          it doesn't? then to what species does that organism belongs to? it has human dna and it's own dna fingerprint.

          "those first two cells could have turned out to be anything, including a living blob, but not necessarily human or a cat or nothing at all"

          you should know the differences. Human life "as understood the moment in which a new life form with it's own dna sequence began it's existance" begins at the moment of conception, however not all the unions of the mother and father's cells end up producing a pregnancy. Zygote,

          embryo, fetus, unborn baby, baby, child, puber, teen, young adults, middle age, old are just the different stages that each of us, all human individuals, have in our lives

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            IF you had read the whole post you would have read that most two cell organisms in the womb spontaneously abort and the woman thinks she's just late with her period. Gee, I didn't know I had to be that explicit, but maybe some people read up to a point, get disturbed and don't finish reading. Simply put, if the two cells, the fertilized egg, for simple minded people, spontaneously abort (a miscarriage for those who don't know better), then they don't become humans now do they? Is it that difficult to think or understand language? So no, life does not begin at the moment of conception. At that point, it is just two cells and if nature would have it, it begins cell divisions until it becomes what the DNA tells it, which could be a monkey-faced human for all we know. All it takes is one mistake in the DNA coding. However, if nature will not have it, those two cells do not connect with the uterus and spontaneously abort. This could happen at any stage of the pregnancy, even as a multi-celled organism, so therefore it isn't human at those stages.

            BUT… if you are going to take "Zygote,
            embryo, fetus, unborn baby, baby, child, puber, teen, young adults, middle age, old are just the different stages that each of us, all human individuals, have in our lives" AND insist that life begins at conception, than help us other animal lovers get Shell and other corporations to stop whales, wolves, and other animals, because they are MORE precious than your zygote and are already living and very much self-aware that others can and do threaten their lives, unlike your zygote. Help us slow down the effect of climate change so that polar bear doesn't even up extinct, unless you don't care about actual living beings, already living in this world, without being parasites to survive, like your zygote. The wolves, whales, dolphins, bears etc are born into this world, just as we are, experience infancy, and if lucky that some stupid human doesn't come along and kill them, a childhood, teens, young adults, middle age, and death. Just as we do. Life goes on and on, but abortion, spontaneous or chosen, isn't going to cause humans to become extinct, but we might kill ourselves if we don't take care of the environment.

            • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

              I did read your whole post, and if, as you claim "
              life does not begin at the moment of conception" then in what state is that organism? any organism is either dead or alive.

              "then they don't become humans now do they?"

              I ask you again, to what species does thier dna belongs to?. as I told you before sometimes the process doesn't end up in a human life form, but all pregnancies do begin at the moment of conception, since that organism posses a different dna fingertip than the mother and the father and is alive

              "This could happen at any stage of the pregnancy, even as a multi-celled organism, so therefore it isn't human at those stages."

              again, if it is not human, then to what species does it belong? you mention errors in nature and they do happen. People that are born without legs, or any other condition. are they less humans than any of us?

              you are mixing apples with oranges when you claim for my help on saving the animals and are assuming yoy know me personally.

              "they are MORE precious than your zygote"

              wrong, all human life "no matter in which state it is" is precious. and to say an animal life is above it is pretty disturbing.

              "are already living"
              and zygotes and embryos aren't? you must have a funny definition of what alive is

              "unless you don't care about actual living beings"

              do you know me personally?

              "already living in this world, without being parasites to survive, like your zygote."

              Not In this world?? where are they exactly living? mars, jupiter, venus. calling them a parasite is just sick.

              "abortion isn't going to cause humans to become extinct"

              true, but every individual should have some fundamental rights

              • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                "
                what state is that organism?"

                Development. It is neither dead or alive, because it cannot develop into an actual human or non-human creature without the host. It is up to the mother, as well as nature, if she will be the host, not you. Therefore, once she a fully and honestly informed decision, concerning her health and the viability of that parasite developing in her uterus, between her and her doctor, the conversation is finished. Even you are not involved in or even privy to the process of whether or not she carries the pregnancy to term. Calling potentially developing cells parasitic is not sick at all, but rather an educated and well-informed description, but again, whether or not a woman carries a pregnancy to term is not your decision, Juan. You are not the human incubator carrying those developing cells and until you are, then only the woman has say in the matter as to what happens to her body. It's not your body. It's hers.

                • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

                  "Development"
                  The human body is never statict, it's always developing.

                  "t is neither dead or alive, because it cannot develop into an actual human or non-human creature without the host"

                  That really makes no sense at all. all mammals needs their mother to fully develop until they are ready to live in the outside world, but thay are alive. just as our development might end any time. be it in the womb, when we are babies or when we grow old.

                  "Secondly, it is up to the mother, as well as nature"

                  We will never agree on this one. The right to live is the most important right of all, and no individual should have the power to decide on the fate of another. the only circunstance in which this would be aceptable would be if the mother's life is in danger.

                  "Therefore, once she a fully and honestly informed decision, concerning her health and the viability of that parasite developing in her uterus"

                  again, calling what is a HUMAN being a parasite, no matter i n what state of development it is, is simply sick. Nazis would also dehumanize their opponent "jews, gypsis, homosexuals, those with physical disabilities" so killing them would be ok.

                  "Calling potentially developing cells parasitic is not sick at all, but rather an educated and well-informed description"

                  calling what's is clearly a member of our species a "parasite is sick. New born babies may live outside their mother, but they are totally dependant on them to survive. according to your standars, should they also be called parasites?. or better yet what change in it dna occur to make that "parasite" into a human being?

                  " whether or not a woman carries a pregnancy to term is not your decision"

                  I agree, but deciding the very life of an individual should not be on anyone. No one has the right to take the life of another individual

                  "then only the woman has say in the matter as to what happens to her body"

                  And I completely agree, as long as she is not deciding for her unborn child. the problem here is that is not just the body of her alone. There is another life, with it's own "body" that is also involved.

                  I congratulate you on your babies and that you decided to keep them

  • Deborah_B

    This is quite interesting. I am glad that so much research is being done — and moving forward — on the nature of consciousness. As far as gods and religion is concerned, as we understand more about consciousness on all levels, I think we will understand religious belief better and possibly understand motivations for war and violence better, thus giving tools to end this type of thing. I suspect that fundamentalist religious organizations will be as accepting of this type of research as they are about evolution, however.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Yes, as the one scientist said, the Judeo-Christian religion [and Islam too], smacks/flies in the face of science when it comes to other animals. The truth is, we all came out of that premardial (sp check's not working) goo as various developing cells about the same time. Humans just happen to evolve as we are today and other species developed as they have today. It's all in the DNA and RNA.

      • Mark Mywerds

        Primordial. "…the Judeo-Christian religion flies in the face of science when it comes to other animals…" ? How so?

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          You'll have to ask the scientist who said it first, but I assume he said it because there is scientific evidence that we are related to all animals on earth and that the Biblical story of Creation is purely mythology, with maybe the one exception that humans are made from the earth. The very same elements we find in ourselves can be found in the earth and even the universe, which makes even the Hindu creation mythology not too far off from reality. The mythologies, however, are far from scientific and even flawed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

            mriana do you take the bible "or any other religious text" as literal truth? how the universe works and how life began and evolved on earth "and very possible in the rest of the universe" is the work of scince. Religion deals mostly with the why questions and any religions tries to answer those questions "our purpose in life, the destiny of creation"

            how does make your remark true?"The very same elements we find in ourselves can be found in the earth and even the universe, which makes even the Hindu creation mythology not too far off from reality".
            Humans, just like any other life form is part of the natural order, but on that same declaration the scientists acknowledge two thing that set us appart from other animals
            "ability to reflect upon ourselves (self-consciousness) and language"
            More that language is self-consciousness what defines us.

            • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

              Religious texts as "literal truth"? You have to be kidding me! At best such stories are metaphorical concerning the answer of "why" and make great use of the literary tool called allegory. The stories are superstitious at worst and literature at best. Science is what actually answers such "why" questions and updates itself in light of new information. Religious literature does not update itself any more than the Wizard of Oz stories do, even in light of new information.

              Science has shown that the same elements in the universe are also in the earth and in us, thus, if one actually studies real science they can find this information. Also, I would not be so sure that other animals do not possess self-consciousness, as well as their own language. See dolphins and chimps for more on communication styles.

              • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

                "Religious texts as "literal truth"? You have to be kidding me!"

                then why do you mock religious texts, especially the bible, when those text should be taken as the work of men of their own historical time, tryint to teach a spiritual message. It was never to be taken as a scientific books.

                Science actually does not care of the why questions. only how does the natural order works is what scisnce is all about.

                "Also, I would not be so sure that other animals do not possess self-consciousness, as well as their own language. See dolphins and chimps for more on communication styles." on lenguage I agree, but other animals don't question themselves, nor do they act against what their instinct tells them to do.

                "Science has shown that the same elements in the universe are also in the earth and in us, thus, if one actually studies real science they can find this information"

                again, how this goes against judeo christian spirituality?

                • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                  Because many Xians today still take them literally and as historical, when they are not. I mock religious text like I do any other literary work. There's not a thing wrong with religious criticism and it is with religious criticism that people start to wake and face reality. If not for religious criticism, we'd probably still believe the earth is flat.

                  How does it go against Judeo-Xianity? Gee, I guess you aren't a Fundamngelical or came from such a sect. If you are of the Anglican branch and grew up in that branch of Xianity, then it does, but not if you are a Fundamngelical. You really need to take a close look at Fundamngelicalism, because if I have to explain it to you, it would take a book and I don't have time to write a book.

                • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

                  I agree any sort of fundamentalism is dangerous "and I am not talking of just religious fundamentalism" In my case, I am catholic. most of my family and friends are to and they don't have problem accepting science. I do know evangelicals can be such a bother when one discusses religion with them. how can you talk to someone that still believes the earth is 6000 years old

                • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                  Catholicism is, in itself, dogmatic, esp when it comes to conception. Now I understand where you are coming from and I feel sorry for it, because that dogma can be also very dangerous, dehumanizing, degrading, and very life-threatening, for the living, mostly and esp for women. All religions have their dogmas and some dogmas are more dangerous, dehumanizing, degrading, and life-threatening then others. Believing that life starts at conception is one of them, esp for women. As I said, I feel sorry for you, because you've obviously fallen for it.

                • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

                  you think my position on abortion or life in general comes from religion or the dogma of conception?. Nothing can be further from the truth. which by the way I don't see how that dogma can be, as you put it
                  "that dogma can be also very dangerous, dehumanizing, degrading, and very life-threatening, for the living, mostly and esp for women".
                  I am catholic but religion does not dictate what I think on social issues. I consider myself a "liberal" in the sense that anyone is free to do whatever they want with their lives as long as you don't mess with other people's rights. In that sense I fully support the legalization of drugs "of course under a strict control just like alcohol" I am also in favor of homosexual rights. But just like that I am completely against abortion as you are messing with the most fundamental right any indivudual has.

  • Harry

    The scientists have found their god factor at last it's Steven Hawkin. Validation at last for scientists who take eons to find the obvious. As for us coming from the primordial slime any cells ignited by that event would die within seconds without a plan and a creator. And if evolution -the struggle to refinement- of a species had any truth at all why would it go from self replication (perfection) to that horribly messy but enjoyable process of sex and the pain of child birth.
    Lets face it Scientists make nothing new they simply only manipulate substances available in our universe that has been here for eons long before they discovered the obvious and long before hawkin was birthed.

  • harry

    Simple Question Here, Will hawkin admit to being full created by his parents?? Or does he believe he was ordained by some previous genetic design or by some divine plan (oops) or some predestined fate that brought his parents together or by some long forgotten piece of self fertilising slime in which his fate was cast. Geez It doesn't take much for the foolish to confound the err" wise.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      I don't know about Hawkin, but Hawking doesn't believe God plays dice or anything else in that realm.

  • john

    lol 2012 and they finally recognise this? Hindus and eastern philosophers have acknowledged this for thousands of years.

  • Peter

    Some other scientists are exploring consciousness and intelligence in nature itself. An excellent book on this, Intelligence In Nature, by the anthropologist Jeremy Narby, PhD. Very eyeopening.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      I think it might be possible that nature has it's own "intelligence", but in order to do that, we might have to redefine intelligence. I'll have to read the book before I say much more though.

      • Peter

        He did all this in the Amazon rainforest and it's a very easy, but remarkable read. A lot in there about the natives and how they've recognized this form of intelligence for eons.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          The American Indians had the same relationship with the earth until Xian radicals came to forcefully convert them and exterminate them.

          • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

            close relationship with earth and acknowledgment that other beings are "our brothers" can also be found within christian spirituality. read about the christina monks in the middle ages and saint francis. what's so different between the conquest of america and any other clash of civilizations or the conquest of caesar, Alexander, genghis khan. I wouldn't say extermination as most deaths ocurred by desease "just like the black plague wiped out a great portion of europe during the expansion of the mongols". I do know however that in north america native americans received a far worse treatment by the protestants. Her in latin america most of us are descendents of the original habitants of the continent, of course with mixed blood in moost cases. However it was the church the one institution that first protected the "real americans" against the abuses of the conquistadores. Read papal bull sublimis deus which was writen in 1537. that was the first document that acknoweledge the human dignity of native americans and forbade their enslavement

            • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

              I know about St. Francis, studied him quite thoroughly. However, his views are not the views of the majority of Fundamngelicals today.

              • http://www.facebook.com/juan.bateman Juan Federico Bateman

                evangelicals are fools that take the bible as literal truth. But every religion in the world does have "literalist". where I live there is a tribe called the koguis "in the sierra nevada de santa marta". most of them are "literal believers" in their own spiritual beliefs.

  • Mark Mywerds

    Belief in God allows, and actually demands, a broad imagination. And so, since I am a believer, more a truster, Ima-gonna-sticka my neck out and say that anything that has existence is, to some extent, a spirit. Here's why I say that: God is spirit, first and foremost and so whatever God creates must share in that spirit quality somehow. That's it.
    Pretty simple. Betcha $10,000!

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Well, the burden of proof lies on you, not on me, but if you have $10,000 to bet a non-believer, as well as actual evidence, then be my guest and bet a non-believer. You might find yourself out of $10,000, if you can find an atheist who desires money. Oh I know. Go to James Randi at http://www.randi.org He has for decades offered to anyone a million dollars, if they can prove the supernatural:
      http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html If anything, you can give that $10,000 to the $1 million challenge, because no one has won it yet over the years he's had that challenge. So if you want to bet someone, bet him. He'll bet you and raise you almost a million more. You could walk away a millionaire if you win or you could walk away with nothing.

  • Devil's advocate

    I think it is general knowledge that most animals possess a concious mind, their minds are different to human beings and an animal's brain has different processes and outcomes than a human's. An animal is as intelligent as it needs to be, evolution creates creatures that fit into their ecological niche and a large brain is not necessary for the survival of a species. I don't know why this document had to be signed in front of stephen hawking, he is a theoretical astrophysicist, correct? He was present to lend credence to this document and so that the human masses pays attention to this "groundbreaking declaration." Animal conciousness is not news to me, I don't see what this changes?

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Yes, I was wondering and thinking the same thing about Hawking. Maybe he loves animals too or maybe he said something that made them want him there. Who knows. He did "deliver" a speech while he was there.

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