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Are humans special?


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#76    redhen

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:56 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 08 January 2013 - 12:47 AM, said:

See my post above. Observed behaviour is not evidence of any internalised thought process.

Darwin wrote about The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

in 1872

More recent science has confirmed and expanded this field of Ethology.


#77    sutemi

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

View Postredhen, on 07 January 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:

Since you brought up enlightenment, non-human animals are said to have Buddha nature in several schools of Buddhist thought.

I Love and have a great respect for all animals that’s why I am and have been a vegetarian for over 40yrs. They are what they are, a dog is a dog; you don’t see donkeys going to a shrink to sort out their troubled mind, But can they know themselves through meditation? You may argue that we don’t know and looking at say Dolphins they certainly seem to enjoy life they are such lovely creatures. They have the ’ life force’ in them, yes, but can they take their senses and turn them inside and in so doing merge into the Inner Light and knowingly become One? That’s all I am saying.

I think in fact animals are in many, many ways better than the troubled humans that we are today. But a human, is not a true human until they know their true nature and when they do they have true respect for all species and the planet on which we live. As to any religious text written after the ’particular teacher’ has long gone by a committee of supposed saintly/holy people, I’m not convinced, especially after this group finished up causing separation of Buddhism into different schools. The fact that the Buddha did not say,’ just be like a dog / dolphin / monkey / pig / bear/etc and don’t worry about the 8 fold path, the 4 noble truths or meditation’ seems to suggest that he thought that the path/way was very important?  


#78    GreenmansGod

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

I never trained my dog to alert, never trained my cat to alert, so why do they do it? There is no real benefit to them to let me know I am not well.  Especially with the cat, once I'm safely down she often runs off to do her own thing.  They are not robots, there is more going on there than just instinct.   There is science behind this but Walker you are doing your usual rejection of it, because it doesn't comform to your world view.  Just because a being can't comunicate at your level doesn't mean the can't feel emotions or pain.
As I said in one post, if an animal can evolve to our level, then that would mean we are as they are just a product of evolution and we are nothing all that special beyond that.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie

#79    ranrod

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 27 December 2012 - 08:10 PM, said:

I meant from a religious view.
Most religions consider humans a great achievement or even having all creation being specifically meant for humans.  Therefore, from a religion's point of view, generally 'yes'.
If we are talking about the god of Abraham and we're talking about everything that god created in its mythos, I'm not sure where angels fall in the hierarchy.

Edited by ranrod, 08 January 2013 - 09:50 PM.


#80    Mr Walker

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

View Postredhen, on 08 January 2013 - 12:56 AM, said:

Darwin wrote about The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

in 1872

More recent science has confirmed and expanded this field of Ethology.
Darwin knew nothing of neuro science nor cognitive mental developent or the relationship between langauge and thought. He observed animal behaviour and made very perceptive comments based on his own understandings of the time. This cannot tell us anything about their level of sapient self awareness, as found in humans, except that animals display non e of the outward abilities conferred on himans such as religious or creative behaviours funereal rituals etc (except things like painting mimiced from humans. The closest some  individuals within a species get is very limited tool shaping (something we know auastralopithecenes were capable of for example)

Ethology  tends confirms my perspective on this. It appears to say nothing about animal's cognitive awareness  vis a vis humans but indeed looks at animal behaviours and the various causations of those behaviours. eg fixed action patterns, imprinting, habituation, learning by association etc.

These are evolved natural abilities, not the results of human level cognitive ability. Humans evolved to this point some hundreds of thousands of years ago or possibly even more.

It has taken us that long to reach our present level of sapient self awareness and if nature is allowed to take its course it will take other species the same amount of time to "catch up" with us it always suprises me that some evolutionists cant see this. They tend to see humans as "just another' animal species with oiur behaviours determined by our animal instincts and imprinting and imperatives.

We ARE an evolved animal species but highy differntiated and  in a way "determined" by our evolved level of thought processing and linguistic abilities which enable both tool making and also abstract conceptual ideas and thought.

Human behaviour is now disassociated from those evolved behaviours and can be determined by our self aware intelligence We can choose any form of behaviour we like. This is NOT true for any other animal species on earth. They are trapped in their biological imperatives, instinctive behaviours, imprinting etc., by their lack of understanding that they can be any different.

In turn this makes us the only species on the planet personally responsible for how we behave as a species and as individuals, AND aware of this responsibilty.

Edited by Mr Walker, 08 January 2013 - 10:55 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.

#81    freetoroam

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:54 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 27 December 2012 - 07:57 PM, said:

I mean human's intrinsic value in creation, not what they can accomplish.
Was the universe, earth, animals, etc, created for humans to rule over?
We actually do not rule over anything, we think we do because we have weapons which can kill from a distant, but when faced with the true forces of nature, we are nothing and when faced with an wild animal like a hungry lion without guns to defend ourselves, we are again....nothing.
We do not rule in the water, without a boat, we are again...nothing in the open seas.
Admitting to being able to kill because we have capability to make items which kill to rule, is nothing to be proud of either.

Edited by freetoroam, 08 January 2013 - 10:55 PM.

In an ideal World a law would be passed were NO guns were allowed and all those out there destroyed, trouble is the law makers are not going to take a risk of trying to pass that without making sure they are armed first.

#82    SpiritWriter

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:03 PM

Hell yeah we're special... I like easy questions. :D

The letter kills but The Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

Non-ambiguity and non-contradiction are one sided and thus unsuited to express the incomprehensible. -Jung

#83    Mr Walker

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

View PostDarkwind, on 08 January 2013 - 12:00 PM, said:

I never trained my dog to alert, never trained my cat to alert, so why do they do it? There is no real benefit to them to let me know I am not well.  Especially with the cat, once I'm safely down she often runs off to do her own thing.  They are not robots, there is more going on there than just instinct.   There is science behind this but Walker you are doing your usual rejection of it, because it doesn't comform to your world view.  Just because a being can't comunicate at your level doesn't mean the can't feel emotions or pain.
As I said in one post, if an animal can evolve to our level, then that would mean we are as they are just a product of evolution and we are nothing all that special beyond that.
My rejection is based on science not wishful thinking and certainly not any "religious" view. Of course we are a product of evolution, but humans are specia,l in the sense of unique, because we are self aware, and can choose our behaviours and know   their consequences We thus suffer from fear and guilt but also pride and love, joy, and a knowledge that we do all we can, to be all we can. No other animal can have that sense, nor suffer the pains of guilt for a hurtful deed, or because they neglected another. Not only can animlas evove to our level they will but by then we will be another 100000 years evolved and probably not even living as we know it now

Personally i would like us to help  other earth species evove to our level more quickly so we can share with them the wonder and joy of being self aware. Mind you, given the wolrd views of some humans, such an animal might blame us for introducing fear hate envy and trauma into their self awareness and take us to court for interfering in their development, but thats a risk i would be prepared to accept.because i love what it means to be self aware and  sapient.

i would love to be able to discuss the meaning of life  and the nature of love with my dog, for example.

And yes animals feel physiological pain just as human animals In mamamals especially, our physiology is very similar do but they do not suffer as humans do. Suffer is a psychological term. applied to humans reaction to pain or trauma.

We suffer because we forsee pain, we fear pain etc. On the other hand a human can reduce their perception and feeling  of pain greatly (scientifically demonstrated to at least 50% and in some individuals to almost nothing) That is because of  the level ofour self awareness.

It can heighten our physiological pain through fear anticipation and stress, and it can lessen it through meditation, calmness, faith , will power or belief.

Animals dont have that abilty. They feel the pain they have, but do not suffer the self aware knowledge of pain, think about how long they may be in pain for, or fear the consequences on their health mobility etc og pain neither do they fear old age future events their own death etc. They dont know, or worry whether the pain is caused by a cancer or a broken leg.

Hence we can put an animal down if we  chose not to prevent its pain, and indeed, by law must do so. But because a human is self aware it is illegal to do the same for a human being, except in some jurisdictions, in the last stages of a terminal illness where pain relief may be administered, even knowing it will kill the patient Thus while euthanasia of an animal in permanent pain is mandated in most western countries, a human being cannot even chose to die legally, and anyone who helps them die is a criminal

Edited by Mr Walker, 08 January 2013 - 11:31 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.

#84    The Id3al Experience

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:30 PM

In theory yes, we are special in the aspects of evolution. In reality, No we are not special

Watch this space

#85    redhen

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:37 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 08 January 2013 - 10:45 PM, said:

This cannot tell us anything about their level of sapient self awareness, as found in humans,

.. as found in humans. This sounds like circular reasoning or a priori knowledge.

Quote

except that animals display none of the outward abilities conferred on himans

again, begging the question.

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such as religious or creative behaviours funereal rituals etc

there's evidence for neanderthal burial rites, flower pollen, etc.

Quote

It has taken us that long to reach our present level of sapient self awareness and if nature is allowed to take its course it will take other species the same amount of time to "catch up" with us

mm, so we are not special?

Quote

We ARE an evolved animal species but highy differntiated and  in a way "determined" by our evolved level of thought processing and linguistic abilities which enable both tool making and also abstract conceptual ideas and thought.

determined? If you don't believe in free will, then my arguments will fall apart, badly.

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Human behaviour is now disassociated from those evolved behaviours and can be determined by our self aware intelligence We can choose any form of behaviour we like. This is NOT true for any other animal species on earth.

ok, so free will's back in, good. What about Dawkin's Selfish Genetheory/book?

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They are trapped in their biological imperatives, instinctive behaviours, imprinting etc., by their lack of understanding that they can be any different.

as far as you know, or assume? There could be another undiscovered archaic hominid, logically. (This is the UM forum)

Quote

In turn this makes us the only species on the planet personally responsible for how we behave as a species and as individuals, AND aware of this responsibilty.

there's evidence for individual altruism in other species. Responsibility? As a species? That's now a moral argument. Another thread maybe.

cheers

Edited by redhen, 08 January 2013 - 11:43 PM.


#86    Coffey

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:16 AM

View PostOrder66, on 27 December 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Why do we burn fossil fuels, cut down trees? To build houses to keep us warm when its cold outside. This adaptability, mastery of and indepence from our immeditae environment is the reason we have nto gone extinct during ice ages, or why we have been able to migrate to different climates around teh globe, it is the reason you are here right now. Why do we cover it up? Because we have conflict resolution that allows us to work together instead of killing each other.

I'll just leave this here.....



When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

#87    rapture

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:54 AM

just another mammal


#88    Mr Walker

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:51 AM

View Postredhen, on 08 January 2013 - 11:37 PM, said:

.. as found in humans. This sounds like circular reasoning or a priori knowledge.



again, begging the question.



there's evidence for neanderthal burial rites, flower pollen, etc.



mm, so we are not special?



determined? If you don't believe in free will, then my arguments will fall apart, badly.



ok, so free will's back in, good. What about Dawkin's Selfish Genetheory/book?



as far as you know, or assume? There could be another undiscovered archaic hominid, logically. (This is the UM forum)



there's evidence for individual altruism in other species. Responsibility? As a species? That's now a moral argument. Another thread maybe.

cheers
I dont care what sort of reasoning it is. Humans have a known level of sapience self awareness etc ergo the benchmark is "as found in humans" if we are discussing whehter humans are special or the same as other animals.

Not begging the question. behaviour does not explain causation for that behaviour and so unless/ until it clearly exhibits human level self awareness such as poetry or burial customs religious ceremonies etc  it cannot be atributed to human level self awareness.

I already explained that all forms of  early hominid which exhibit human quailities are now classified as humans. That includes neandertals and homo erectus and cromagnon etc.  Homo sapiens is NOT the only form of human. From memory, neandertal is the earliest hominid to dispaly /leave evidences of a "spiritual" sense, eg burying the dead with ceremony, which qualifies  as human level self awareness They still ate their dead but so did many quite modern humans.

Human beings are unique, which in itself qualifies them as special.

Humans have free will. Other animals do not because they so not have the cognitive ability to recognise or utilise free will. Their behaviours are determined by other forces. While biological imperatives, genetic predisposition etc., may influence human behaviour, every human with a mature brain has the ability to overide those factors by choice will and discipline.

And so we have laws in every society which recognise this fact and punish people who CHOOSE to go against those laws. One can no longer argue, "I killed her because she made me angry by not cooking my tea," or "I caught her in bed with another man and couldnt help my self".

We are expected, as adult human beings, to be able to consciously overide any instinctive, imperative, or programmed behaviour we evolved with.

All animals other than humans tha t we are scientifically aware of are trapped within their genetic and biological evolved imperatives. Humans are NOT. Again, our laws and moralities, ethics ,philosophies, theologies, and logic all recognise this point.


No there is no evidence at ALL for altruism in other species. Altruism requires a conscious choice to be altruistic. It requires understanding the cause of ones behaviourand acting on tha tunderstanding. Altruism Is NOT an act and no matter how much an acto by an animal LOOKS like a simialr altruistic act by a human being it is not and cannot be Altruism is a motivation and a  veryconscious motivation One cant act altruistically if one is programmed to, or does so from genetic or biological imperatives.It isnt love if one has no choice about it due to biology, chemicals, or genetics either. Altruism must be chosen and its nature and implications understoodm for an act to BE altruistic.

Other animlas dont form that sort of mental concept or understanding because they are not capapble of doing so. Their "acts of altruism" are not choices to them  because they do not have human level free will or the capacity to choose freely. And responsibilty is not a spearte thing it is integrated into this point as is altruism. Our self awareness allows us to chose altruism and confers on us the abilty to do good or evil by choice We KNOW wha the consequences of any act will likely be. That abilty automatically also makes us responsible for our choices and their consequences. EVERY one of them. Individual and racial.

Humans cannot escape their responsibilty for every act they take. Kids/teenagers often do something stupid and then, when something breaks  or someone is hurt, say," Oh it wasnt my fault. It was an accident." but even kids can predict potential consequences and so they are responsible if they act carelessly or without thought and something goes wrong. It was a conscious and informed choice and they knew there was a risk, but chose the act for their own reasons/ priorities. Sadly many adult humans also think and act like this,but less often, because they have more developed brains and greate experiential/comparative knowledge.

Edited by Mr Walker, 09 January 2013 - 06:58 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.

#89    redhen

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:36 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 09 January 2013 - 06:51 AM, said:

I dont care what sort of reasoning it is.

You should. This is not the philosophy forum, but we should strive to make our arguments cogent and sound.

Quote

Humans have a known level of sapience self awareness etc ergo the benchmark is "as found in humans" if we are discussing whehter humans are special or the same as other animals.

And who sets this benchmark? Humans. This sounds like prejudice, in the broadest sense of the word.

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Not begging the question. behaviour does not explain causation for that behaviour

Psychologists and ethologists both infer emotions from observed behaviour, in both human and non-human animals.This is trivial.

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and so unless/ until it clearly exhibits human level self awareness such as poetry or burial customs religious ceremonies etc  it cannot be atributed to human level self awareness.

Self awareness does not necessarily require poetry or religious rituals. If you believe it does, can you provide any scholarly articles to support this claim?

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Human beings are unique, which in itself qualifies them as special.

That sounds like a tautology.

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Humans have free will. Other animals do not because they so not have the cognitive ability to recognise or utilise free will. Their behaviours are determined by other forces.

Why do you dismiss the evidence that others and myself have shown for non-human altruism? It sounds like you've made up your mind that only humans show altruism and that when we observe the same behaviour in non-humans you turn into an absolute skeptic, i.e. "we can never know what an animal is thinking" .

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And so we have laws in every society which recognise this fact

And who makes the laws? Humans.

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We are expected, as adult human beings, to be able to consciously overide any instinctive, imperative, or programmed behaviour we evolved with.

That would be nice if true. Maybe we could then do something about the exponential human overpopulation crisis.

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No there is no evidence at ALL for altruism in other species.

Yes there is is, and not just from Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal.

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Altruism requires a conscious choice to be altruistic.

That's your definition. And that's why we've been running around in circles on this thread.


#90    Toadie

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

We are different to other species because are brain is more complex and differs from every other species





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