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Are humans special?


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#16    lightly

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:12 PM

hmmm,  maybe not so much.    Odd perhaps,  ever notice the way the other animals look at us?

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.

#17    Supersquatch

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:56 PM

To quote Jon Stewart, "[We are] an atom on a pimple on God's ass."

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#18    Mr Walker

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:10 PM

View Postsynchronomy, on 27 December 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Just to play devil's advocate...
Beavers build dams
Ants farm fungus and aphids
Termites build skyscrapers
Birds defy gravity
Many animals will eat specific foods for digestive ailments
Termites regulate colony temperature by opening or closing vents
Beavers open/close their dams to regulate water level...I suppose thats plumbing


All those things are a product of evolution and hence are no "credit or blame" to the animals involved.

Humans have evolved self aware consciousness which entails among other abilities, a knowledge of time and consequence. They KNOW how their actions will influence self and others, ( and have created an awareness of constructed concepts like good and evil) and can take that into account in every thought they have, and every action they take.

This makes them unique.It allows them to step outside their evolutionary programming, and even their genetic makeup, to choose to be anything they wish to be, and to do anything they wish to do.  I have never observed a beaver, and termite or any other animal (with very rare and unique possible exceptions among primates that have lived with humans) with those abilities. They are, and remain, what they were evolved to be. A beaver can build a dam, but not fly. A bird can fly, but not build a dam. A human does both, and much more.

It is not even the technological ability which differentiates us, but the conceptualisation and mental ability required for such diverse technology, that does so.

A few wild animals have learned to use tools and even to teach that ability to others of their kind That is approaching human level sapience but they are not there yet. It takes time for the abilty to manipulate ones environment to provide the feed back required to adance self awareness and mental capacity.

  At about the age of four the average human being surpasses every other animal on the planet in this regard, and continues to develop in capacity for the rest of their life..

I was going to simply answer the OP question in this way until i read this post

Yes. No other creature can formulate, or express/ask that question, making humans not just special, but unique. When I see an animal worshipping a god/god construct, I will know that humans are no longer unique or special. :devil:

Or, when i see a beaver choosing not to build his dam, because it will affect the habitat of the spotted gudgeon which lives in the creek below the dam.

Edited by Mr Walker, 27 December 2012 - 10:20 PM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#19    CuriousGreek

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:24 PM

Humans are special, but most are acting worse than animals are... We have the ability to think, in contrast with animals, but we don't use our intelligence for the benefit of mankind and Nature in general, but we almost constantly make senseless and terrible actions... That makes us inferior than animals, but theoretically we're superior than anything on this planet...

Edited by CuriousGreek, 27 December 2012 - 10:25 PM.

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νιώθεις πως δεν υπάρχουνε λύσεις,
τότε μόνο δυο μάτια μπορούνε,
να σε κάνουν να θέλεις να ζήσεις.

#20    White Unicorn

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:38 PM

View PostArmchair Educated, on 27 December 2012 - 07:48 PM, said:

I'd say we can reason a lot better than all other animals, we can aspire to be greater than we are. instead of just inhabiting earth we change it to suit ourselves. we build dams, we farm, we build skyscrapers, we defy gravity with planes, we made medicine, we have heating and plumbing.

where's another animal that can claim this or at least one accomplishment ?

Proverbs mention that ants are a PEOPLE!   They are the only other society creature that builds, farms, goes to war with each other, keep aphids to milk, farm fungus and store plants in chambers for food for changes in season.   It's really weird when you think about it, that the only thing close to having a society like us is a bug LOL


#21    Order66

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

View PostNoodly Savior, on 27 December 2012 - 09:56 PM, said:

To quote Jon Stewart, "[We are] an atom on a pimple on God's ass."

Jon Stewart is a troll and so are you.

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#22    Blueogre2

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:12 PM

Humans are special for one simple reason we can think and that makes all the difference. The very fact that we can sit hear and debate our own abilities should be proof enough


#23    Sean93

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:50 PM

No of course not; If we're the best god has to offer I'd say he has very low standards.

We just happen to have evolved to develop our own intelligence that we think is great and amazing when in the face of it we're just animals that can do some cool stuff...but we're also very weak.

A Tiger without weapons would easily kill us, same for a panther, bulldog or Ape, hell, even little microscopic virus' kill us with ease and there are some we are powerless to kill (Aids, Hep A, B, C etc.) So in reality, we only consider ourselves great because of the toys we have,guns, medicine etc, take them away and we're nothing really, we're weak and would die off easily.

The Earth is like a pebble in a pool of mud. There are many pools of mud in the world and our Earth is a pebble in one of them; on that pebble there are billions of little microbes and bacterium that think highly of themselves, that do what they can to survive but any passing human would look at the pebble as nothing. Our Earth is very small in a vast cosmos of planets, Galaxies and perhaps even Universes. we're one species and I'd stake anything on there being other life out there, the universe s too big for just us and our petty sense of self-importance. A lot of people find this hard to accept because of their wealth, they're loving families and because god tells them their special and unique, that they matter but the reality is that if you were to die today, if everyone on this forum would to drop dead right now, the universe would not weep for you, it owes you nothing because you are nothing (in an important sense).

Studies have also shown than dolphins can talk to each other and there is consistency in the sounds they make..what are they saying got each other? How do they feel about existence and their importance?

People who say that God created us humans in his/it's image need to think of this: What about other intelligent species in the universe? If they exist and they most likely do, there has to be at least one somewhere. Chances are they look different to us, much different, so then in whose image were they created? What of they're smarted than us, god like even? Are we still important?

"You can't put a cup into the ocean, take a scoop of water out with it and say 'There are no whales in the ocean"

This video blew me away when I first saw it.
https://www.youtube....h?v=rDRXn96HrtY

Edited by Sean93, 28 December 2012 - 12:08 AM.

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#24    Mr Walker

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:18 AM

View PostSean93, on 27 December 2012 - 11:50 PM, said:

No of course not; If we're the best god has to offer I'd say he has very low standards.

We just happen to have evolved to develop our own intelligence that we think is great and amazing when in the face of it we're just animals that can do some cool stuff...but we're also very weak.

A Tiger without weapons would easily kill us, same for a panther, bulldog or Ape, hell, even little microscopic virus' kill us with ease and there are some we are powerless to kill (Aids, Hep A, B, C etc.) So in reality, we only consider ourselves great because of the toys we have,guns, medicine etc, take them away and we're nothing really, we're weak and would die off easily.

The Earth is like a pebble in a pool of mud. There are many pools of mud in the world and our Earth is a pebble in one of them; on that pebble there are billions of little microbes and bacterium that think highly of themselves, that do what they can to survive but any passing human would look at the pebble as nothing. Our Earth is very small in a vast cosmos of planets, Galaxies and perhaps even Universes. we're one species and I'd stake anything on there being other life out there, the universe s too big for just us and our petty sense of self-importance. A lot of people find this hard to accept because of their wealth, they're loving families and because god tells them their special and unique, that they matter but the reality is that if you were to die today, if everyone on this forum would to drop dead right now, the universe would not weep for you, it owes you nothing because you are nothing (in an important sense).

Studies have also shown than dolphins can talk to each other and there is consistency in the sounds they make..what are they saying got each other? How do they feel about existence and their importance?

People who say that God created us humans in his/it's image need to think of this: What about other intelligent species in the universe? If they exist and they most likely do, there has to be at least one somewhere. Chances are they look different to us, much different, so then in whose image were they created? What of they're smarted than us, god like even? Are we still important?

"You can't put a cup into the ocean, take a scoop of water out with it and say 'There are no whales in the ocean"

This video blew me away when I first saw it.
https://www.youtube....h?v=rDRXn96HrtY

You can take a weapon or tool away from a human, but they are not  then powerless they will simply remake it or devise a better one i tis not ur tools whcih define us buthe abilty to envisage design and create thise tools knowing all the time how we are going to use them How amny tigers are left in the world and how many humans? Bacteria are a tougher proposition, but we are getting there. We are re-engineering bacteria, finding natural controllers for them and reengineering oursleves to fight the effects of  dangerous bacteria We use beneficial bacteria to improve our health
Your view of the earth and humanity reflects yyour view of yourself. We do not know about the rest of the universe but we certainly know that we are capapble of exploring it and colonising it, if no one else is out there. And we are capable of negotiating with any other sapient beings who do occupy the universe. At the moment we are the most powerful creative/ destructive force known to exist in the universe, with the possible exception of god.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#25    Sean93

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:23 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 28 December 2012 - 12:18 AM, said:

You can take a weapon or tool away from a human, but they are not  then powerless they will simply remake it or devise a better one i tis not ur tools whcih define us buthe abilty to envisage design and create thise tools knowing all the time how we are going to use them How amny tigers are left in the world and how many humans? Bacteria are a tougher proposition, but we are getting there. We are re-engineering bacteria, finding natural controllers for them and reengineering oursleves to fight the effects of  dangerous bacteria We use beneficial bacteria to improve our health
Your view of the earth and humanity reflects yyour view of yourself. We do not know about the rest of the universe but we certainly know that we are capapble of exploring it and colonising it, if no one else is out there. And we are capable of negotiating with any other sapient beings who do occupy the universe. At the moment we are the most powerful creative/ destructive force known to exist in the universe, with the possible exception of god.

Likewise.

"Be peaceful, be courteous, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

#26    GreenmansGod

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:13 AM

I think we have an over inflated view of our importance in the Universe or even on Earth. The Earth was around millions of years before we came along with all kinds of animals living on it and everything did fine without us. . Most of them have gone extinct one way or another.  We will one go extinct ourselves one day and the Earth will still be here and will most likely have life on it. Science is finding out there is more to animals than precisely thought. I don't think we give them enough credit for what they do, and we give ourselves to much. We adapt by changing our environment, animals adapt by changing themselves match the environment. Which is better in long run, I don't know, it will all depend on whether we change the environment so much we can't live in it.

Edited by Darkwind, 28 December 2012 - 02:15 AM.

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#27    Likely Guy

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:27 AM

Are humans 'special', as in unique? Yes.

Are humans 'integral', to life on Earth? No.


#28    Paranoid Android

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:35 AM

View PostRlyeh, on 27 December 2012 - 07:09 PM, said:

Is the human animal, God's greatest creation?
I guess this depends on what one means when they say "greatest" creation.  On a scale of time and size, the universe itself is arguably "greatest".  But if the question is asked in terms of "most important", then I would certainly argue that the human animal is God's most important creation.  We are the only animals that were made to have a direct and personal relationship with God (not sure how aliens might fit into that plan though, just speaking of planet Earth at the moment).  That personal relationship with God sets us apart from other animals.

That's what I believe, at least :)

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#29    Order66

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

View PostLikely Guy, on 28 December 2012 - 02:27 AM, said:

Are humans 'integral', to life on Earth? No.

We can travel in space now, so Earth realliy isn't integral to us either.

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#30    StarMountainKid

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:35 PM

Darkwind said:

We are still just clever monkeys.

I don't think there can be a rational argument against that statement. We are clever monkeys because the universe happens to have the chemical processes to create clever monkeys. The universe is a clever-monkey-making machine. That's about the best it can do, and it doesn't do this purposely, it just happens sometimes where conditions are right.

Now, the origin of the universe is a mystery to us. So far, we're not clever enough to understand Existence, mainly because we're of It, and we can't investigate it from outside. All we can do is look at what already is and try to figure out how this machine works from the inside.

So, I think the real question is, why this clever-monkey-making machine? Unless we get some data from outside the machine, we will never know. This question may also be a meaningless question to ask. There maybe no "why". The universe just is, and its origin just is, as well. If this is correct, we just are.

Our intelligence is special compared with other forms of life on earth, but so what? All our wonderful creations are just for our own amusement, and mean nothing to Existence at large.

The universe existed billions of years before us, and will exist billions of years after we're gone, and we will leave no trace of our existence in the vast future. All we have is our little lives right now, important to us at the moment, but in the grand scheme we are nothing special.

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