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Are humans special?


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#31    Mr Walker

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:35 PM

View PostSean93, on 28 December 2012 - 12:23 AM, said:

Likewise.
Oh absolutely.

We see everything via our internal filters. My mum, when i was a few years old, explained it by using the analogy of shaded glasses. Whatever glasses we choose to wear, shades or tints the way we see our environment. My psychology professor used bigger words at uni, but was making the same point. Mum however had added something else. We all own many shades of glasses and we can take one off and put another on, if we choose to. The thing is to work out which set gives us the optimum shade/tint.  (and of course looks the coolest)

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.

#32    Supersquatch

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:52 PM

View PostOrder66, on 27 December 2012 - 10:50 PM, said:

Jon Stewart is a troll and so are you.

And thank you SO much for adding to the conversation! Quite frankly, I don't even see how that was troll-like, cause I never intended to start any argument!

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#33    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:53 PM

Humans are not special. Just lucky in the evolutionary lottery.

"You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla."


"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired - you quit when the gorilla is tired."


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#34    Agnostist

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:32 PM

View PostDarkwind, on 27 December 2012 - 07:59 PM, said:

When you think how big the Universe is and how many galaxies are in it no we are not remarkable. We are just an animal on a speck of grit in a moment in time. All life is remarkable in that it is life, but we are just clever monkeys who build complex things to look up and see how big the Universe is.  



edit to add... No we are not meant to rule over anything.  I like to think we are the evolution of the Universe to reflect upon itself and we don't do a very good job of it either.
Good point but you should also note that according to one theory there isn't just one Universe there is a lot maybe infinity.Each of those Universe has different outcomes for certain events such as a supernova.So from the perspective of those Universes Humans don't exist at all.Looks like only Humans call themselves lucky and maybe someone shoudl realise it :innocent:


#35    Mr Walker

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:55 AM

View PostImaginarynumber1, on 29 December 2012 - 08:53 PM, said:

Humans are not special. Just lucky in the evolutionary lottery.
Perhaps there is nothing more special than to be lucky. :innocent:  However, what ever luck got us to our present position, from here on in we are special because we can chose our individual and racial destinies. Luck will have little or nothing to do with it.

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.

#36    Likely Guy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:05 AM

View PostOrder66, on 28 December 2012 - 03:34 PM, said:



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

You watch too much Star Trek.

If I could talk to any of the great whales, I'd learn more about the Earth than any human being.

(Ball's in your court.)


#37    GreenmansGod

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:44 AM

View PostAgnostist, on 29 December 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:

Good point but you should also note that according to one theory there isn't just one Universe there is a lot maybe infinity.Each of those Universe has different outcomes for certain events such as a supernova.So from the perspective of those Universes Humans don't exist at all.Looks like only Humans call themselves lucky and maybe someone shoudl realise it :innocent:

Called the multi-verse, I know about it.  I always thought the idea of a multi-verse made a lot of sense. Things aways seem to come in multiples. Why wouldn't the Universe.    Welcome to UM.

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#38    stevemagegod

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:16 AM

Were Special in are own way. Some are more Special than others.


#39    Mr Walker

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:33 AM

View PostLikely Guy, on 30 December 2012 - 04:05 AM, said:

You watch too much Star Trek.

If I could talk to any of the great whales, I'd learn more about the Earth than any human being.

(Ball's in your court.)
You can talk to as many whales as you like. The problem is they cant talk to you. Studying whales can tell you a lot about the earth, but talking to them, no. They do not know very much at all, and probably none of their thoughts or knowledge is structured in a linguistic way that allows for  the formulation or communication of ideas. Their songs are like the hunting calls of wolves for example, or the songs of birds, a useful evolved mechanism, but not human- like communication at all.

Humans think and speak in a way which is totally co- dependent and integrated. We can think as we do because of our capacity for speech, and we can speak as we do, because of our capacity for complex thought, Our thoughts are words, and symbolic constructs with attached labels. Other animals do not have this linked capacity at anywhere the same level, therefore they can neither think nor speak in the way/form that humans do.

Edited by Mr Walker, 30 December 2012 - 07:48 AM.

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.

#40    redhen

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:43 PM

Here's another recent thread on the philosophy forum on non-human altruism, http://www.unexplain...howtopic=240183

More and more scientists are sending the message that humans don't differ in kind from animals, only by degrees. Of course no one in agriculture, commerce, industry, the judiciary want to hear this message.

I echo the scientists message. It makes me want to shout out on the streets that the Emperor has no clothes.

If you don't get the metaphor http://answers.yahoo...d=1006050209041


#41    Mr Walker

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:57 AM

View Postredhen, on 30 December 2012 - 10:43 PM, said:

Here's another recent thread on the philosophy forum on non-human altruism, http://www.unexplain...howtopic=240183

More and more scientists are sending the message that humans don't differ in kind from animals, only by degrees. Of course no one in agriculture, commerce, industry, the judiciary want to hear this message.

I echo the scientists message. It makes me want to shout out on the streets that the Emperor has no clothes.

If you don't get the metaphor http://answers.yahoo...d=1006050209041

Non self aware animals without complex linguistic ability cant be altruistic because they cant formulate or conceive of the symbolic act of altruism. Unless it is an act of altruisitic INTENT, it is not altruism. Animals scientists rightly are assessing humans as evolved animals and finding many similar evolved behaviours.Human primates display similar "altruism" to other primates for example in group/ species behaviours. But actual human level atruism is only possible given an awareness of the nature of altruism, and an intent to act within the definition of altruism.

It is like love Only humans can love at the level we do, because our love has so many forms of intellectual, semantic, symbolic, linguistic and psychological, elements/attachments to it, which we are aware of, and which inform our thoughts and behaviours.  Animals other than humans act for evolutionary purposes, by evolutionary design and purpose. What appears altruistic has an individual or species benefit  that adds to their evolutionary fitness. It is not a conscious, weighed choice which they voluntarilly make.

Are you really suggesting, in making a comparison between humans and other animals for example, that when an animal kills another of its kind, even one as close to us  in mental capacity as a dolphin or an ape, we charge it with murder and give it due process of law.
One cannot logically confer on any animal or entity, human level status, equivalency or rights, without confering similar duties responsiblities and obligations on them. We even apply this principle to human children.

As other animals cannot, and cannot be expect to, meet those codes of conduct they cannot be given the repsonsibilities etc ANd so they cannot have, or be given, human level equivalency in rights.

They must be given some rights, as we do for human children, but that is discretionary and also complicated by the differences in species. Should no human kill  another species and  eat its meat? If so, should no other animal eat meat either.
Ps I got the metaphor. One of my fav records as a  very young child was a new 78 played on my parent's wonderful 2 in one phillips radio/record player which played 33, 45, and 78 speed records.  It was Danny Kaye s "The emperor's new clothes", based on Hans Christian Anderson's story. I learned it off by heart. It was a hoot to my young mind, imagining the scene as the emperor passed by .

Edited by Mr Walker, 01 January 2013 - 02:16 AM.

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.

#42    Likely Guy

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 03:27 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 30 December 2012 - 07:33 AM, said:

You can talk to as many whales as you like. The problem is they cant talk to you. Studying whales can tell you a lot about the earth, but talking to them, no. They do not know very much at all, and probably none of their thoughts or knowledge is structured in a linguistic way that allows for  the formulation or communication of ideas. Their songs are like the hunting calls of wolves for example, or the songs of birds, a useful evolved mechanism, but not human- like communication at all.

Humans think and speak in a way which is totally co- dependent and integrated. We can think as we do because of our capacity for speech, and we can speak as we do, because of our capacity for complex thought, Our thoughts are words, and symbolic constructs with attached labels. Other animals do not have this linked capacity at anywhere the same level, therefore they can neither think nor speak in the way/form that humans do.

I was speaking metaphorically.

But getting back to the OP, humans aren't special at all. We're 'specialists', but not 'special'.


#43    meryt-tetisheri

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:00 AM

What about human creativity, the arts, aesthetics, and the appreciation of beauty? If there is a 'divine' spark in humanity, I think it finds the clearest expression in the arts. Unlike other animals, art is not an instinct shared by all members of a species but is a talent with which some individuals are endowed. Great music, sculpture, painting, literature...etc., make humans very special.


#44    The Silver Thong

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:19 AM

View Postmeryt-tetisheri, on 01 January 2013 - 05:00 AM, said:

What about human creativity, the arts, aesthetics, and the appreciation of beauty? If there is a 'divine' spark in humanity, I think it finds the clearest expression in the arts. Unlike other animals, art is not an instinct shared by all members of a species but is a talent with which some individuals are endowed. Great music, sculpture, painting, literature...etc., make humans very special.


Polution, war, genocide, starvation while we throw millions of lbs of food away everyday while others starve. 3 cent pills that can save millions of not given away. We are scum and to think this planet is better for having us is a joke. This planet will spit us out and move on.

Sittin back drinkin beer watchin the world take it's course.


The only thing god can't do is prove he exists ?

#45    meryt-tetisheri

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:36 AM

View PostThe Silver Thong, on 01 January 2013 - 05:19 AM, said:

Polution, war, genocide, starvation while we throw millions of lbs of food away everyday while others starve. 3 cent pills that can save millions of not given away. We are scum and to think this planet is better for having us is a joke. This planet will spit us out and move on.

Yes and no. We are all capable of great cruelty and great kindness. Humans are neither all scum nor all 'angels'. There is a bit of both in all, and may be this is what makes humans special.

We are the children of this planet, part of it. Perhaps we will one day disappear off its surface, but that also will be part of its natural life cycle, not an act of retribution. Lets hope that the day will come when humans will have less of a destructive impact on the planet and achieve a more equitable distribution of its resources.





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