Warning: religious-based thread. You don't like it, you don't have to post. I thought it was appropriate for the Fur forum.
I was attending the adult Bible class at my church this morning, and we got into a discussion about the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and whether it was a sentient creature. Turns out, we actually agreed at the end of class that it may have been one. Let me explain why:
The first reason we agreed upon was that the serpent was punished, in a way that you read God punishing humans, not animals. Since animals are not sentient, why would God bother explaining His reasoning? Hence, the serpent may have had an intelligence higher than other creatures. He was also described as cunning.
The second reason was that the serpent talked to Eve. The interesting part isn't that it talked, because Satan could talk to Jesus later in the New Testament, but that Eve talked back! If serpents had never talked before, why wasn't Eve shocked and fearful of this? She probably had encountered talking snakes before, so it probably wasn't a new thing. She and Adam may have even been friends with serpents, thus making it easier for Satan to convince Eve to eat of the fruit.
Finally, another interesting thing we talked about is that the Serpent had legs before he talked to Eve, because God made him to crawl on his belly. IIRC, snakes do have places for appendages to attach to their skeletons, but the appendages themselves are missing.
This whole discussion also leaves the door open to extraterrestrials, since God saw no reason to tell us that He created snakes with intelligence.
Just food for thought. Any of you other religious guys ever think about this?