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Old 03-10-2011, 08:49 PM
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At which point, why are you talking about this?
For the same reason you sometimes venture out of the inverts subforum, I guess. You have every right to venture out of your area of godlike knowledge, and so have I.
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Incy attention and massive boob type structures.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:40 PM
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They do not experience emotion? Then what makes them unpredictable? Many answers could follow such a question, emotion being one.
However, how would you know if an insect was displaying emotion? Their exoskeleton would make it impossible for you to see muscular expressions (e.g. frowns in humans).

The statement "insects do not experience emotion" is flawed in the sense that we (as humans) experience emotion in one sense... as inverts physiology is completely different, we do not know if they simply experience emotion in a different sense.

Still raises the question... Then what are these hormones used for? Are they using them simply for reflex? A LOT of hormones/neurotransmitters for a simple reflex!

Cheers,

- John -
We, as humans, experience emotion in the only sense that uses the word "emotion" as we define it. If you are looking at a "different sense" of a word that is meaningful only to a bunch of over-developed primates, you are probably looking for a completely different, as yet un-described, thing. When you're looking at a significantly more primitive organism which a completely different physiology and neurology, any attempt to attribute emotions to it can only be, at best, anthropomorphic. Emotions are, I think (it's been a while (probably a good decade) since I looked at this, and I'm not a biologist or a psychologist, just an over-enthusiastic and over-read amateur) a pretty human trait. There is as I remember it some debate over whether they can be attributed to other mammals, but further away from us than that and the response process is too alien to be usefully recognised or described as emotion.

I'd also argue that anything much more than stressed/not stressed/contented requires a fair degree of self-awareness - I don't think that those really count as proper emotions and I can't see that anyone would describe arthropods as self-aware. I understand where you're coming from re. hormones, but anyone that's gone through eg a proper fight/flight response would probably say that it's the opposite of an emotional response, it's pretty much automated - what you've referred to as a reflex.

What you say about displaying emotion is interesting, because it's not universal in people. A display that looks like emotion isn't necessarily emotion, and feeling an emotion doesn't mean that you necessarily display it anyway - the fact that we wouldn't recognise a display of emotion doesn't mean that it's there, but hidden.

I am really not sure where you're coming from with this, or even why - the pain query makes more sense to me, but I really don't see the point of attributing essentially human and definitely extremely complex neurological and psychological events to an arthropod. I think it's silly.
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we have:
1 MM g rosea/porteri; 1 SA b albopilosum;
1 SA e campestratus, 2 juvie g pulchripes; 1 juvie b albiceps; 1 juvie b boehmei (possibly). You know, the boring Ts. fish. hamster; dwarf hamster which is smaller than at least one of the spiders ; mouse which is smaller than that, 2 x Bombina orientalis, which are no longer the smallest of the lot.

aaaaannnndddd two dumbo rats and a rabbit. {sobs} where will this END?
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:57 PM
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Pain brings a lot of benefit to somethings fitness, and evolutionary makes sense. Not only would the pain process play a role in the learning process via classical and/or operant conditioning, but when experiencing pain, living creatures tend to "shield" or protect the part that is hurting whilst it heals.

But it also makes sense from a fitness perspective to shield parts like the head because an injury there would be more likely fatal than to a non essential structure like a leg.

You do not require pain sensation for this to be true; this behaviour still makes evolutionary sense even without 'pain'.

As for shielding, I can't think of many clear cut examples of this in insects or arachnids. The leg study you quote below would be an example of this not happening...

Interesting point to add here, people who have a suppressed ability to experience pain (congenital insensitivity to pain) have an over-all and significantly reduced life expectancy.

Key phrase is people.

Though something obvious to point out here, is that the majority (not all... obviously) of inverts are short lived anyway... The concept of pain may hinder their survival, if the majority of their life is spent limping and hiding away in agony...

Yep.

However, with all kinds of invertebrates their behaviour really does throw the possibility of pain RIGHT out the window in a few cases. E.g. a cricket/locust will still happily eat away at food... even whilst being devoured by a mantis...

Yep. Or like that weevil I found in the field still trying to climb plant stems despite no longer having any internal structure in the abdomen.

Though the contrary is also has a few valid points; Locusts, and most inverts when sprayed with DDT or some sort of pesticide, will appear to be in huge amounts of stress and discomfort - could you call that pain?

DDT and other pesticides commonly target the neuronal pathways. Spasms need not be in pain; they could be from misfiring neurons or blocked calcium/sodium channels.


Every insect will react quite extremely to some sort of noxious stimuli in quite an extreme manner e.g. change in temperate, poisonous irritants etc. Which can look like they're experiencing some sort of painful reaction - this is called "nociception".

Again, since it makes sense to avoid noxious chemicals anyway, you don't actually require pain for this behaviour. A chemosensory pit or similar would allow detection of increasing levels and trigger the appropriate response. It need not be painful, perhaps just unpleasant or distasteful. Many Insects can certainly taste substances, but to state it hurts them to taste something bad would be a step too far imho.

And the process of nociception doesn't HAVE to include "nociceptors" which are sensory receptors which specifically respond to noxious stimulation (and in mammals cause pain) - though these have been found in fruit flies and the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) I haven't found many other studies that have any reference towards arachnids.

An interesting point though, with reference to a study done quite fittingly by a guy called Wigglesworth (1980)... found that insects often won't flinch at all when, say, a limb is very quickly and cleanly amputated, but will if a heated needle brought close to the antennae.

Again, as insects can often sense the environment far more keenly than we can, I'd suggest this is not proof of pain rather than proof of highly sensitive thermosensory structures.

The antennae are costly and sensitive structures which would be difficult to replace; it has clear fitness benefits if these are intact and free from harm. Indeed, many insects spend significant time cleaning these structures and keeping them in good shape. It need not 'hurt' for these organisms to behave in such a manner. They may be aware that an act is causing mechanical damage, and wish to avoid this, but it may not explicitly 'hurt' them.


GRB is right about the fact that insects will still apply the same force on their feet, even if the foot is mangled and clearly damaged - here is the study; Eisemann C et al. 1984. who actually pointed out other interesting facts such as "a tsetse fly, although half-dissected, flies in to feed".
Which is an interesting point in itself, and does rather point the arrow towards the contrary to pain.

However, when damage is caused to an insect, their body will release opiate substances which are used to combat pain and put one at ease - calming anxiety. Perhaps in inverts only the latter is used?

In vertebrates.
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Originally Posted by MarkB View Post
For the same reason you sometimes venture out of the inverts subforum, I guess. You have every right to venture out of your area of godlike knowledge, and so have I.
In fairness (besides my joking), I don't normally start a conversation with "I know nothing about this <huge technical area> but...".

I mean, you'd rip me to pieces regarding literature and prose, especially if I started with "I don't read poetry, but The Snow Boy ... etc".

Sadly, my day to day run in with this sort of talk tends to be regarding windfarms and people with a lack of any ecology background moaning about them.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:04 PM
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I just want to pick on that article too, as it annoys me.

I starts off about pain, then talks about behavioural flexibility and emotion, before more pain talk.

I mean, to quote Bristowe's work regarding Orb Weavers and flexibility of the orb web's hub does not equate to me that they experience pain.

Most organisms have some behaviour plasticity, and arachnids are quite flexible as far as invertebrates go. However, that is neither here nor there regaring an ability to feel pain. You can be flexible and still have no driver to feel pain, if it is overly detrimental.

I've always advocated a cautious approach - assume they might be able to feel some pain and discomfort. My initial statement was over-simplified to emphasise the lack of need for euthanasia - I've seen too many hasty "they suffer" type knee-jerk reactions and only recently there was one that to my mind, was a simple case of dehydration - yet the arachnid was hastily euthanised before I could even get a word in.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:48 PM
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In fairness (besides my joking), I don't normally start a conversation with "I know nothing about this <huge technical area> but...".

I mean, you'd rip me to pieces regarding literature and prose, especially if I started with "I don't read poetry, but The Snow Boy ... etc".

Sadly, my day to day run in with this sort of talk tends to be regarding windfarms and people with a lack of any ecology background moaning about them.
I would welcome your opinion on poetry or my book. I'm not arrogant enough to suggest you need X amount of technical knowledge to have an opinion. I offered the fact that I knew nothing technical or scientific about the subject as a disclaimer, precisely because I don't have the arrogance to try and override the opinions of those who do have that scientific knowledge. But I'm still allowed an opinion, so I offered one.
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Incy attention and massive boob type structures.
0.1.0 Leopard Gecko - Perdy
1.0.0 Crested Gecko - Gaudi
0.1.0 - Retired Greyhound - Chrissie
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:06 AM
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I just want to pick on that article too, as it annoys me.

I starts off about pain, then talks about behavioural flexibility and emotion, before more pain talk.

I mean, to quote Bristowe's work regarding Orb Weavers and flexibility of the orb web's hub does not equate to me that they experience pain.

I've always advocated a cautious approach - assume they might be able to feel some pain and discomfort. My initial statement was over-simplified to emphasise the lack of need for euthanasia - I've seen too many hasty "they suffer" type knee-jerk reactions and only recently there was one that to my mind, was a simple case of dehydration - yet the arachnid was hastily euthanised before I could even get a word in.

It doesn't actually refer Bristowe's work towards pain at all - just uses it as an example of "non-programmed behaviour" - which is quite irrelevant in this topic haha.

Yeah I'm never 100% on anything, even though I did say in my original post that I think they do have pain - now that I've looked into it so so much... I find myself much more "agnostic" on the concept! Looking at the studies, I think so far what I think we can conclude is that most inverts although clearly can suffer discomfort and have obvious reflex (nociceptive) behaviour - their discomfort is usually situational and not really often pro-longed.

With reference to the point you made GRB (specifically Eisemann C et al. 1984), even when an insects leg is clearly mutilated and mangled... they still apply the same amount of pressure on said limbs.

The subject of Euthanasia... Perhaps I should start another debate topic on that too?! (joke joke!)
But no, someone killing something due to simple dehydration?? Morons...
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:15 AM
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I would welcome your opinion on poetry or my book.

I think it was a bad example, on my part.

I'm not arrogant enough to suggest you need X amount of technical knowledge to have an opinion.

But this is science, and you do need a certain basic knowledge otherwise you might as well just pluck it from thin air. Indeed, without facts, this is exactly what you would be doing.

I offered the fact that I knew nothing technical or scientific about the subject as a disclaimer,

Yes, which was where my jest arose from; what's the point in continuing? Surely you knew there would be weaknesses in an argument devoid of biological knowledge?

precisely because I don't have the arrogance to try and override the opinions of those who do have that scientific knowledge.

It's not arrogance...

Why is that people think they can jump into advanced biology yet not physics?
I'm not being condescending saying that - it's a technical subject and I've spent years of my life studying it.

That'd be like me assuming I could teach French after a quick skim of a French dictionary, or I could be a mechanic after reading a Hayne's manual.

It requires a certain technical background to converse, otherwise it progresses nowhere.


But I'm still allowed an opinion, so I offered one.

You can have an opinion - but my point is without technical knowledge will be incorrect or shallow, as it was pointed out.
What I mean to convey is that there is a certain technical level required to contribute meaningfully. It's one thing to say "I think we should treat inverts as if they do feel pain for ethical reasons or caution" and another to say "inverts feel pain".

Anything else just leads round in circles, because you just get people chiming in with more opinion based without fact, and without fact anything is permissible.

There's no intention to offend here; I just don't understand why biology seems to be one of those subjects where people feel they can just jump in at the deep end with no prior knowledge and expect to be taken seriously.

Try the same in Chemistry or Physics, or Maths...see what I'm getting at?
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:24 AM
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I would welcome your opinion on poetry or my book. I'm not arrogant enough to suggest you need X amount of technical knowledge to have an opinion. I offered the fact that I knew nothing technical or scientific about the subject as a disclaimer, precisely because I don't have the arrogance to try and override the opinions of those who do have that scientific knowledge. But I'm still allowed an opinion, so I offered one.
... Yeah, for arts subjects, which are opinion and interpretation based.

I could opine that your book is in fact a coaster or decorative wall hanging. The fact of the matter is that, while the poetry is open to interpretation, the nature of the book it's bound up in isn't. I would in fact be wrong.

It's not arrogance to say you need knowledge and understanding to comment on scientific matters, it's just common sense. Otherwise we'd have to let homoeopaths walk by without kicking them.

You're not really allowed an opinion because no one is. You're allowed to tell me what you see from the evidence provided, but any comments must be backed up.

Plus several things you said were just wrong, or made invalid assumptions. For a start, you said "Most animal species feel pain", despite the fact that most animals species are invertebrates. 25% of animal species on this earth are beetles! And they only make up 40% of the insects. And insects are not the only types of inverts. Invertebrates as a group describes every animal that's not a chordate, approximately 97% of all species on earth.

So we've shown that pain exists in 3% of all animal species.

Now I'm sure you're more than smart enough that if you had enough grounding in the field you'd have avoided such things immediately, but you need that background knowledge. I would not presume to tell a physicist that I disagree with them on subatomic physics, nor would I tell you how to write poetry (mainly because I'm ing terrible), so I would expect those who, like you, are aware of their ignorance in the matter, to at least look for some sort of evidence before you disagree with a biologist on matters of biology.

That is not to say "Never question", just that only question when you have a good reason.

Sorry, I don't want this to come across as aggressive or in any way insulting, I just want to make my point clear. Also I don't like seeing people calling for rational discourse (if not polite discourse in Grant's case) with evidence based arguments labelled as "arrogant".
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:30 AM
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What I've always wondered if if they can't feel pain, how do they know when you're touching them? Do they feel something, but not pain?

When my Ts get a bit excited and poke their legs out of the tank, I give the legs a tap and they run back in. I believe the arguments of not feeling pain, but they must feel something?
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:40 AM
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There's no intention to offend here; I just don't understand why biology seems to be one of those subjects where people feel they can just jump in at the deep end with no prior knowledge and expect to be taken seriously.

Try the same in Chemistry or Physics, or Maths...see what I'm getting at?
It's because biology is what we're made of, and we all like to think we understand ourselves perfectly well, and can therefore extrapolate; past human and out the other side. No-one ever thinks they have an instinctive understanding of maths without having learned it.

And we are amazingly bad at extrapolating, most of us have problems working out what people we know perfectly well are doing, because we have a tendency to assume that they process stuff in the same way as ourself. Or maybe that's just me.

I'll get my coat.
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we have:
1 MM g rosea/porteri; 1 SA b albopilosum;
1 SA e campestratus, 2 juvie g pulchripes; 1 juvie b albiceps; 1 juvie b boehmei (possibly). You know, the boring Ts. fish. hamster; dwarf hamster which is smaller than at least one of the spiders ; mouse which is smaller than that, 2 x Bombina orientalis, which are no longer the smallest of the lot.

aaaaannnndddd two dumbo rats and a rabbit. {sobs} where will this END?

Last edited by ducks; 04-10-2011 at 01:06 AM..
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