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Rlyeh

Are humans special?

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

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

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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 :)

~ Regards, PA

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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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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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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)

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.)

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

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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

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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

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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

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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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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Non self aware animals without complex linguistic ability cant be altruistic because they cant formulate or conceive of the symbolic act of altruism.

You need to conceive of a symbolic act before you perform it? When someone dives in a river to rescue another, does he first have to conceive of some kind of symbolism?

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.

I submit there is no self interest or benefit in some of these lab tests. It seems to be simple empathy, something that many species share. And it doesn't involve language or abstract cognitive processes.

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.

I have never proposed assigning human or legal rights to non-human animals. I hold that that they only need one right, the right not to be property. Yes. I'm an abolitionist.

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.

What I learned from just one year of college philosophy; the devil's in the details. :)

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Yeah very but not in a way that is good. We as a species are special like the short bus. We are the only species conscientiously capable of suicide just because they gave up, Animals will commit self-sacrifice for other things like protecting their pack or their children, but suicide not so much. Some know when they are close to death will leave or be left behind to not trouble the pack. Some other effects make it look like animals commit suicide(Like some fungus,virus,bacteria infections) but for the most part other then that they don't.

So yeah we are special all right.... just not in a good way.

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I do not believe we are special.

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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.

You are a human being. Do you honestly feel this way about yourself? As an afterthough, if you consider human's scum, does that give you a moral liberty, even obligation, to treat them as such? Edited by Mr Walker

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I personally feel leaving religion aside that the smallest particle is just as important as the greatest force,

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You need to conceive of a symbolic act before you perform it? When someone dives in a river to rescue another, does he first have to conceive of some kind of symbolism?

I submit there is no self interest or benefit in some of these lab tests. It seems to be simple empathy, something that many species share. And it doesn't involve language or abstract cognitive processes.

I have never proposed assigning human or legal rights to non-human animals. I hold that that they only need one right, the right not to be property. Yes. I'm an abolitionist.

What I learned from just one year of college philosophy; the devil's in the details. :)

Yes you need to consceive of a symbolic act before you perform it, (that's what a symbolic act is)or you are simply acting on biological imperative not conscious choice. Altruism is not, and cannot be, a biological imperative, or it is not altruism. Altruism is a conscious choice, by definition.

Even to think of the idea requires the ability to do so. Hence humans observe acts of biological imperativism in animals and attribute to them human motivations, such as conceived and chosen altruism.

With non sapient animals there is always a biological or genetic imperative. Any behaviour has an evolutionary purpose or it would not exist. In social animals acts of "kindness" may ensure membership of a group and enhance survival, for example. These reciprocal behaviours can be learned, in social conditioning, but they are not chosen consciously, as a free gift with no thought of reward. Only a creature aware of its conditioning, biological imperatives etc., can consciously choose to overide them, seeking a philosophical, moral or ethical, result/outcome, which they have created as a desirable construct in their mind.

I am not sure what you mean by property. Are you suggesting no human has a right to decide the destiny of any animal, and so we should not only not eat them, but not care for them as pets or companions? That animals should only exist in a natural state? What about mosquitoes?

Edited by Mr Walker

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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.

Absolutely right Darkwind, the multi-verse theory is something really extraordinary and its plausible thank you :D

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