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Non-human animals are mindless automatons who cannot feel pain nor suffer.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/1/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 274 times Debate No: 81897
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Sheesh, all this talk about animals. I don't get it everyone who has taken a psychology class knows that animals are mindless automatons.



I have a feeling that you are another one of the trolls which I have encountered on this site, but I will take this challenge nevertheless. I am trying to move ahead on this site and win some arguments, and it is always a good idea to boost oneself by looking for low hanging fruit.

First I will define automaton as defined by Merriam Webster. An automaton is "a machine that can move by itself" or "a person who acts in a mechanical or machinelike way." Notice that the dictionary made no reference to animals as automatons. I believe your argument to be that, when dealing with an animal, you get a very predictable sequence when dealing with the inputs to the mind of the animal and the outputs from that mind based upon the inputs. Basically, it would seem your argument is that animals are not capable of logic, which would be a fallacious assumption. Some animals are not capable of logic, for example a sponge, whereas others are capable of quite advanced logic and problem solving. The rather trite example of a mouse navigating a maze to find the hidden cheese is an example of this. The mouse can smell the cheese, so he knows that it is there, and he is able to navigate until he finds it by process of elimination. By taking each route until he has taken all that he can find, the mouse will eventually find the cheese by remembering where it is not.

To address the topic of your argument that animals cannot feel pain. Animals can indeed feel pain. If you strike an animal it will cause it to behave in a certain way. If your blow was not particularly damaging, the animal may decide not to do whatever it was doing so as not to anger you again. The animal might also decide that you present a threat to it and do considerable bodily harm to you as a response to the pain that you caused it. In terms of suffering, there are animals which are capable of emotional suffering on a similar level to humans. It is well documented that both cats and dogs will search for missing family members, whether those be people or other animals which used to reside in that household. Often times cats and dogs will display symptoms of depression when a family member dies. These include refusing to eat, no longer participating in activities in which they used to participate, and even increased aggression.
Debate Round No. 1


"Dogs may forget an event less than two minutes after it happened, according to a new study." James Owen, for National Geographic

Animals are stupid. They only have a memory of less than two minutes. As for pain, that's just stimulus response. Think of a plant moving towards the sun, or a microscopic amboa engulfing its prey.

"As we know from looking at plants on a windowsill, they grow toward the sunlight to be able to generate energy by photosynthesis. Now scientists have provided definitive insights into the driving force behind this movement -- the plant hormone auxin. "Technische Universitaet Muenchen


Amoebas locomote by ways of cytoplasmic movement. (cytoplasm is the cell content around the nucleus of the cell) The amoeba forms pseudopods (false feet) with which they 'flow' over a surface. The cytoplasma not only flows it also changes from a fluid into a solid state.

These pseudopods are also used to capture prey, They simply engulf the food. They can detect the kind of prey and use different 'engulfing tactics'." W

Wim Van Egmond

As you can see animals are just like amoebas and plants. Sure they can response to stimulus.


Please tell me that you are not comparing a dog to an amoeba. Clearly one of these life forms is more evolved than the other. Yes animals have a shorter range of memory, but that does not discount what they can achieve with that limited amount of memory. Further what you are talking about is their short term memory not their long term memory. Your dog will not remember precisely what happened three or four minutes ago, yet dogs are capable of remembering things quite remarkably over the long term. If you do not believe me, then try speaking to someone who makes a living training dogs. Also, your assumption that all animals are limited to a two minute memory is ridiculously flawed. You do realize that dogs do not represent even close to the most intelligent animals on the planet, don't you? The most intelligent animals on the planet are, primarily, primates. While humans also belong to this order, chimpanzees are also primates as are gorillas. Both of these species show remarkable intelligence even to the point of being able to create primitive tools.

To refute your other point about animals simply moving towards prey, I would pose that humans are not so different. The primary concern of every life form is survival. Let us suppose that we have a person who is a very strict vegan and adamantly opposed to ever consuming animals or products made from animals. The very advanced reasoning which humans are capable of has allowed this person to reason, on a level of which animals are incapable, that consumption of animals presents some sort of ethical dilemma. This said, I can all but assure you that in the event this vegan was starving to death and an animal was all they could find to kill and eat, they would kill that animal and consume it for reasons of survival. This is because, like animals, humans have basic needs that must be met. As I have also already pointed out, there is significant evidence that animals are capable of becoming depressed. Were your assertion correct that animals are mindless and simply move towards food without any ability to think beyond that, why would the ever become depressed about anything?

You are correct to believe that animals respond to stimulus just as plants and protists, but animals are capable of reasoning on a much higher level than either plants or protists. This is due to evolution and the fact that animals are much more evolved than are protists, though there may be evidence that plants have undergone as much evolution as animals. Believe it or not, even humans have very predictable responses to certain stimuli. If I hit you, it is very predictable that you will do one of two things. You will either run, flight, or hit me back, fight. While there are other possible outcomes to my hitting you, there is a good chance you will do one of those two things thereby displaying how simply our brains can react under certain circumstances.

I notice that you have cited references, yet none of your references actually posit the point you are trying to make. If there is proof that researchers have determined that all animals are mindless input/output machines, as you pose, I would invite you to please reference that information. I doubt you can find it, though, at least not from a scholarly source.
Debate Round No. 2


I just wanted to test your mettle. The idea of animals being mindless automatons is completley obsolete. Sadly, this idea did exist at one point and that's how I heard of this concept. I heard the idea in my psychology class. Apparenlty psychologists used to think animals were mindless automatons. Advice, use more outside sources. With the internet at your disposal you could have easily scienfically proven me wrong in the first round of the debate. Thanks for the debate. I eagerly await your response.



Interesting. There are actually people on this site who hold these types of, in my opinion, illogical views. I could have used more references, but I chose not to on purpose. I was waiting to see what you would post and whether or not you would cite any sort of meaningful references at which point I would have cited a considerable amount of data. That is why I finished the last round asking for references. Believe it or not, I am all but entirely certain that you could find references even today out on the internet which agree with this stance. If you had not cited any meaningful references, I would still have cited a considerable amount on this last post. As I see it, from the beginning I knew I would have the last word. It makes more sense to me to use my best information and my most meaningful evidence last, because, again, I would have the last word. In doing so, you would not have had the ability to refute my strongest evidence. I am actually undecided on how to handle the rounds of a debate which I have proposed. I have only, as yet, proposed a single debate, and I felt it necessary to come out with fairly strong evidence as soon as my opponent had made his first post. To me that seems to be the most logical way to do it, but I am still developing that strategy.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by GoOrDin 11 months ago
animals think, feel and have potential. Unstipulable fact.
go stick it up ur arse, Stupid Ape.
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