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News From The Nonhuman Rights Project:

28 March 2017, 8:36 pm
<p>On March 20th, 2017, the Uttarakhand high court in India recognized two rivers (the Ganga and Yumina) as “living entities” with fundamental rights, making it possible for designated humans to represent the rivers in court and for complaints to be filed in the rivers’ names (you can read the full decision here). The legal status... <a class="view-article" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/rivers-with-rights/">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/rivers-with-rights/">Why You Should Be Excited About India’s “Rivers with Rights” Ruling</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


27 March 2017, 1:14 am
<p>In a room full of dedicated animal advocates, I found myself inspired by those who spent their Saturday night watching a film about the work we’re doing to win fundamental rights for nonhuman animals.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/new-jersey/">An Inspiring Night With Animal Advocates in New Jersey</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


23 March 2017, 5:31 pm
<p>In the week leading up to the hearing, numerous media outlets reported on the NhRP's litigation with all the seriousness our clients' situations are due. </p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/chimpanzee-rights-appellate-court/">Why Rights? Tommy and Kiko Appellate Hearing</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


23 March 2017, 5:00 pm
<p>Since animals cannot speak or work on fair treatment on their own, my photographs are all about raising consciousness of those of us who can do something.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/zoos-as-long-as-there-are-humans/">As Long As There Are Humans</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


23 March 2017, 4:32 pm
<p>It was a great way to celebrate how far we've come in our fight for fundamental rights for nonhuman animals, and remind ourselves that we are up against 4,000 years of history. It is a long and arduous battle we're committed to winning.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/celebratory-party-nhrp/">A Celebratory Party with the NhRP</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


23 March 2017, 3:33 pm
<p>If you’re an attorney, law student, or simply interested in histories and analyses of legal approaches to animal advocacy, we recommend checking out the latest issue of the Syracuse Law Review! It features an Introduction by NhRP President Steven M. Wise (which digs into the history of the NhRP and looks ahead to the future), an... <a class="view-article" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/legal-change-animals/">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/legal-change-animals/">One Way To Help Bring About Legal Change</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


15 March 2017, 10:50 pm
<p>The room was packed: so many seated, so many cameras, standing room only. When it all started, Steven Wise stood alone before the judges—but he wasn’t really alone, since so many people, myself included, were there to support him. He was in court to ask a small group of women and men to consider Tommy... <a class="view-article" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/animal-activist-attends-court-hearing/">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/animal-activist-attends-court-hearing/">Lifelong Animal Activist: “I have hope.”</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


20 February 2017, 7:44 pm
<p>  Unlocking the Cage “made me proud to be a primate.” ~ Jon Stewart Have you ever had one of those days when you can’t contain your excitement? Well, you’re not alone. We’re going through the same thing at the Nonhuman Rights Project! Today marks the HBO premiere of Unlocking the Cage—a new documentary that... <a class="view-article" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/do-you-have-popcorn-hbo/">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/blog/do-you-have-popcorn-hbo/">Do You Have Your Popcorn?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>


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The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness*

On this day of July 7, 2012, a prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational neuroscientists gathered at The University of Cambridge to reassess the neurobiological substrates of conscious experience and related behaviors in human and non-human animals. While comparative research on this topic is naturally hampered by the inability of non-human animals, and often humans, to clearly and readily communicate about their internal states, the following observations can be stated unequivocally:

· 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 particular 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.

We declare the following: “The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. 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, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

* The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness was written by Philip Low and edited by Jaak Panksepp, Diana Reiss, David Edelman, Bruno Van Swinderen, Philip Low and Christof Koch. The Declaration was publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, UK, on July 7, 2012, at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, by Low, Edelman and Koch. The Declaration was signed by the conference participants that very evening, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, in the Balfour Room at the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, UK. The signing ceremony was memorialized by CBS 60 Minutes.

The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness can be downloaded Here


News From the IEET:

  • Hadrian Pourbahman Le progrès doit-il se conformer au droit ?

    Avis d’un juriste sur la question.

    Hadrien Pourbahman est étudiant en droit et membre de l’Association Française Transhumaniste. En début d’année, il avait effectué un stage avec Didier Coeurnelle sur le thème « Vers une reconnaissance d’un droit à la longévité », dont vous pouvez lire le résumé ici.

  • Steve Fuller Tomorrow’s Problem of Good and Evil: The Challenges of Trans- and Post- Humanism

    A conception of evil that carries over from the Abrahamic religions into secular modernity is that of the ‘disorganization of the soul’. The idea here is that evil isn’t something separate from good but something that arises from the malformation or malfunctioning of good parts. Thus, Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost is God’s best angel gone rogue, the template for the villains faced by comic book superheroes. Many if not most mental illnesses, from neurosis to autism, are defined as some sort of ‘disorder’. In a similar but grander vein, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener regarded entropy – the ultimate expression of disorganization in physics – as the material equivalent of evil, the source of all suffering, decay and death.

  • B. J. Murphy Cyborg Dad Fights to Regain Custody of Children - You Can Help

    There is no doubt anymore that informational science and technologies are growing at an exponential pace. As a result, many are beginning to use those technologies to augment and enhance their own biological substrate. It is the first time in history where there is now a growing population of cyborgs whom live among us.

  • What will humans look like in 100 years?

    We can evolve bacteria, plants and animals — futurist Juan Enriquez asks: Is it ethical to evolve the human body? In a visionary talk that ranges from medieval prosthetics to present day neuroengineering and genetics, Enriquez sorts out the ethics associated with evolving humans and imagines the ways we’ll have to transform our own bodies if we hope to explore and live in places other than Earth.

  • Robots Must Pay For Their Crimes!

    Traditionally when a robot injures someone or damages property we hold the robot’s creator or owner accountable. But that notion is changing. On May 31, 2016 the European Parliament received a report from the Commission on Legal Affairs saying that, depending on circumstances, the ROBOT might be held responsible for its own actions!

  • B. J. Murphy Westworld and the Human Connection with our Future Companion Robots

    If you ever had the opportunity, would you have sex with a robot? Keep in mind, when I reference robots, I’m not thinking about completely mechanized machines, with sharp ridges and gears. Rather, these robots would be the culmination of years of research in the fields of soft robotics, synthetic skin and organ printing, and artificial intelligence (AI). In other words, unless you were to cut them open, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate them from actual human beings

  • Julien Varlin Le syndrome 1984 ou Gattaca

    On accuse souvent le transhumanisme d’être la porte ouverte à une société dystopique totalitaire et à des inégalités extrêmes. Et si on se trompait de cible ?

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