Post-justifying Anthropocentrism

  • #1
Dissident Dan
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2
Have you ever heard someone make a claim, and then when asked to justify it, the person takes a second to make up with something?

If the person doesn't already know the justification, then what logical basis does the person having for believing the claim?

Have you ever heard someone ask something like "What is it that makes us human?"? Often, the person asking isn't quite sure, and the other people around all agree that there is something that separates humans from all else, yet often can't put their finger on what that difference is.

Now, if they aren't sure, what logical basis do they have for believing that there is such a difference, such a defining characterstic?

I think that such thinking leads to many half-assed ideas (especially, but not only, in the case of anthropocentrism) that fall apart in the face of logical analysis. This is that rationalization defense mechanism that we all learn about in Psychology 101. It's a sad thing that leads to many injustices.

If you don't have already have a justification for your belief before having it, you should question whether the belief itself is valid, instead of scrambling to come up with a justification...right?

If you have such a belief about humans and a justification for it, you should ask yourself which came first. If the belief came first, then you should question the belief. If you have the belief and no justification, then you should question the belief.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
I believe humans are distinct from all other animals because it makes me feel good about myself to think of myself on some much grander level than an ape, and this is logical becuase it makes me feel good and feeling good is more important than anything else.
Emotions are more important than the rational intellect, if this were not the case then people would all do what is perfectly rational or logical or selfless instead of what is emotional and of a selfcentered nature, what the majority of people believe is usually what counts and what is right so if I follow all the majority beliefs I can save myself a lot of time and effort and avoid the need to spend it on questions- Antilogic
 
  • #3
Dissident Dan
237
2
Originally posted by jammieg
I believe humans are distinct from all other animals because it makes me feel good about myself to think of myself on some much grander level than an ape, and this is logical becuase it makes me feel good and feeling good is more important than anything else.

But what about others that may make feel bad in the process?

Emotions are more important than the rational intellect, if this were not the case then people would all do what is perfectly rational or logical or selfless instead of what is emotional and of a selfcentered nature,

Who said that logical is necessarily selfless?

what the majority of people believe is usually what counts and what is right so if I follow all the majority beliefs I can save myself a lot of time and effort and avoid the need to spend it on questions- Antilogic [/B]

Actually, it is very frequent that what the majority believes is wrong. Following the majority beliefs can cause you a lot of hassle when you have to follow all the rules and traditions that are a part of those beliefs.


If you spend your whole life relying on others to give you your answers, then people will definitely point you in a direction that is detrimental to you sooner or later. If you spend your whole life relying on others to give you your answers, then you will probably not be very good as a business commodity, unless you plan to work on an assembly line or something.

Obviously, there has to be some amount of independent, logical thinking that you've done to get this far...so where do you draw the line?
 
  • #4
Mentat
3,918
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Dissident Dan,
You make a good point, about having the ability to "back up what you dish out", so to speak. However, applying this policy all the time precludes any used of Devil's Advocate approach (or any approach that requires you to "bounce your ideas" off somebody else, to see how they hold up).

In most cases this is fine, but no human being knows everything, and thus no human can look at something from every angle. Sometimes they need to "bounce the idea" off somebody else to get an insight on it that they would not have come up with on their own.
 
  • #5
Mr. Robin Parsons
1,256
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Originally posted by dissident dan
Have you ever heard someone ask something like "What is it that makes us human?"? Often, the person asking isn't quite sure, and the other people around all agree that there is something that separates humans from all else, yet often can't put their finger on what that difference is.
Strickly speaking there are three basic differences in humans and the rest of the Animals, We (humans) can talk, We can use our thumb, and forefinger, to grasp better then any other critter, and we can rotate our wrists, without rotating our elbow...no other critter can do any of those three things.

The most definitive of those three, that makes us what we are, (IMHO) is speech, and the complexity of our speech, inasmuch as it enables 'Idealisms' that, to the best of anyones knowledge, the rest of the animals do/can NOT indulge in.....we can, we do, we spend LOTS of time argueing about them, it (speech) was recognized by the 'First Nations' peoples, of North America, as a Power inasmuch as they recognized that NO other animal could talk, like us, hence they decided to NOT speak Needlessly (as to NOT abuse the Power that they had been given) which is somehting that has long gone from our present societies, and is probably the least recognised yet most obvious of the differences.

It affords us access to our Collective History, and the Knowledge and learning thereof....apparently some animals have some very little access like that, but nothing in comparison to US!
 
  • #6
Dissident Dan
237
2
MRP, did you come up with that explanation first, or did you have a belief in human superiority or uniqueness first?

Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
Strickly speaking there are three basic differences in humans and the rest of the Animals, We (humans) can talk, We can use our thumb, and forefinger, to grasp better then any other critter, and we can rotate our wrists, without rotating our elbow...no other critter can do any of those three things.

1) Other animals have their own versions of vocal communication.
2) We are not the only species with an opposable thumb.
3) That is just falls. Other primates can rotate the wrist without rotating the elbow. Do you think that they'd be very good treeclimbers if they couldn't?

Given that your justifications are false, you'd better re-think your belief.

The most definitive of those three, that makes us what we are, (IMHO) is speech, and the complexity of our speech, inasmuch as it enables 'Idealisms' that, to the best of anyones knowledge, the rest of the animals do/can NOT indulge in.....we can, we do, we spend LOTS of time argueing about them, it (speech) was recognized by the 'First Nations' peoples, of North America, as a Power inasmuch as they recognized that NO other animal could talk, like us, hence they decided to NOT speak Needlessly (as to NOT abuse the Power that they had been given) which is somehting that has long gone from our present societies, and is probably the least recognised yet most obvious of the differences.

Firstly, other animals have vocal communication. Some animals' communicatin is obviously less advanced than our own, but that is only a difference of degree, not type. Also, there are animals whose vocal communication capacities we do not fully understand, so we can't exactly rule them out. Many limitations on the vocal capacities of animals are because of vocal chords, not mental processes. It is well-known that dogs recognize certain oral commands. It is well-documented that some primates can use sign language.
 
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  • #7
THANOS
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My answer is as simple as i once quoted to my friend who studies psychology.

"The only things that separates humans from animals is humans."
 
  • #8
Mr. Robin Parsons
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Originally posted by Dissident Dan
MRP, did you come up with that explanation first, or did you have a belief in human superiority or uniqueness first? Nope! not first, learned.....from Humanity.



1) Other animals have their own versions of vocal communication. Slight, in comparison to a human childs vocabulary gorillas are not even very close, PLUS!! we have W-R-I-T-T-E-N History that we can learn from as well, No other animal(s) have that!
2) We are not the only species with an opposable thumb. No, but the only one that work the way ours does, and with the force that it can.
3) That is just falls. Other primates can rotate the wrist without rotating the elbow. Do you think that they'd be very good treeclimbers if they couldn't? Yes, they could be excellant tree climbers without a twisting wrist, probably better BECAUSE of that, SO NO other PRIMATE can rotate their wrists as we can ours.

Given that your justifications are false, you'd better re-think your belief. Humm, perhaps you should follow your our assertion, as, as far as I have been taught by Humanity those are accepted truths about humans, especially the language and our ability to "Do Ideals", as NO Animals "Do Ideals", other then us.



Firstly, other animals have vocal communication. Some animals' communicatin is obviously less advanced than our own, but that is only a difference of degree, not type. Also, there are animals whose vocal communication capacities we do not fully understand, so we can't exactly rule them out. Many limitations on the vocal capacities of animals are because of vocal chords, not mental processes. It is well-known that dogs recognize certain oral commands. It is well-documented that some primates can use sign language. Here, all you are really doing is a form of denigration of the ability of humans to communicate, thinking that simple emotive/communication, such as what works with animals, or even sign language, the capacity of animals is severely limited in comparision to humans, yet you wish us all to somehow ignore the Vastness of that difference
 
  • #9
Mr. Robin Parsons
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It is very easy to make a case out of the 0.1% that can be found planetarily, that are animals that are the "exceptions to the rule" of human speech/abilities. But that case is an arguementative study in linguistics, which is exactly what proves the case inasmuch as it is simple enough to prove me wrong, and you need use no words with me, simply tell it to any animal, and prove that it cognizently understands that your 'set of ideals' lines up more accurately with "The Truth" as presented by reality, then mine.

On a program, on TV, I watched game wardens, in a park in Northern Canada, documenting the recovery rate, on a Northern River Bank that runs through that park, that had had Permitted campers, (No roads into this park, you need special permission to access it, and proof that you already Know how to behave therein) and they spotted a Moose, and the Moose spotted them. In the Filming of the Moose, you could tell that the Moose had 'Probably' never seen Humans Before, Looked at them with what seemed Curiousity (A subjective anthropomorphicism (sp?)) as it had absolutely NO idea that there are 5,999,999,999 more of them just South of there, it is as innocent of the knowledge of humanity as a new born babe, but it is older then that.

That Park was a Gift to the People of Canada from the First Nations Peoples of Canada, that Moose is a National treasure, and he doesn't even know it..........a treasure of His innocence.

http://parkscanada.pch.gc.ca/pn-np/yt/ivvavik/index_e.asp" [Broken]
 
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  • #10
It reminds me of something my mother said the other day, about how we celebrate Christopher Columbus Day for his discovery of America but really the Indians discoverd it long ago and South America and all Columbus did was discover it for European society so that they could float over and exploit another piece of land and people, but we aren't taught history that way and we aren't supposed to say those things in school even though it is a truer version because then we might have an unfavourable view of things.
Once in awhile I catch myself doing just that, to find that most everything I know wasn't mine to begin with but only passively assimilated, but then usually one has to grow up a bit before they are capable of challenging authority, except very young children they haven't been told it's wrong yet. Most things over the years I find I only believed because everyone else did, not that everyone is wrong but that nobody is ever entirely right.
 
  • #11
Dissident Dan
237
2
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
Nope! not first, learned.....from Humanity.

Which is not first? The belief or the justification?


1) Other animals have their own versions of vocal communication.Slight, in comparison to a human childs vocabulary gorillas are not even very close, PLUS!! we have W-R-I-T-T-E-N History that we can learn from as well, No other animal(s) have that!

So all that says is that we have the highest intelligence of animals with the physical ability to write and make hand signals, just as Nikola Tesla was more intelligent than William Jennings Bryan.

2) We are not the only species with an opposable thumb. No, but the only one that work the way ours does, and with the force that it can.

There are primates than can apply much more force with their thumbs. All species have characteristics that differentiate them from other species. No other animal has the tusks that elephants have. etc.

3) That is just falls [typo-false]. Other primates can rotate the wrist without rotating the elbow. Do you think that they'd be very good treeclimbers if they couldn't?
Yes, they could be excellant tree climbers without a twisting wrist, probably better BECAUSE of that, SO NO other PRIMATE can rotate their wrists as we can ours.

I just watched a video in which other primates were rotating their wrists..where do you get that from? Also, read response to #2.

Given that your justifications are false, you'd better re-think your belief.
Humm, perhaps you should follow your our assertion, as, as far as I have been taught by Humanity those are accepted truths about humans, especially the language and our ability to "Do Ideals", as NO Animals "Do Ideals", other then us.

So, you are just accepting what everyone else tells you, rather than coming to your own conclusions? What do you mean by "do ideals"? Have you been inside the mind of another animal so that you have the authority to make such an assertion?

Firstly, other animals have vocal communication. Some animals' communicatin is obviously less advanced than our own, but that is only a difference of degree, not type. Also, there are animals whose vocal communication capacities we do not fully understand, so we can't exactly rule them out. Many limitations on the vocal capacities of animals are because of vocal chords, not mental processes. It is well-known that dogs recognize certain oral commands. It is well-documented that some primates can use sign language.

Here, all you are really doing is a form of denigration of the ability of humans to communicate, thinking that simple emotive/communication, such as what works with animals, or even sign language, the capacity of animals is severely limited in comparision to humans, yet you wish us all to somehow ignore the Vastness of that difference

I did not denigrate anything. I did not say anything that suggests that our capabilities are any lower than you think they are. I only demonstrated through examples that other animals have comparable, although not as advanced, capabilities. If you cannot handle that truth, don't blame me.

Once again, all our superiority, but not monopoly, in language shows is that we are more intelligent than other animals, just as a 25-year-old human is more intelligent than a 5-year-old human...does that mean that there is some mystical difference between a 5-year-old human and a 25-year-old human?
 
  • #12
Most of the things pointed out are mere differences in degree, which is no justification for saying that humans are anything more than just another animal. We humans are better at the things that make us human, but those qualities do not make us different or better than other animals. I am a better guitarist than I am a football player, but it doesn't make me superior to or qualitatively different from an NFL player. Other animals are uniquely suited for their niche, as are humans...but that doesn't make us any less of a member of the animal kingdom.
 
  • #13
Mentat
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Originally posted by Zero
Most of the things pointed out are mere differences in degree, which is no justification for saying that humans are anything more than just another animal. We humans are better at the things that make us human, but those qualities do not make us different or better than other animals. I am a better guitarist than I am a football player, but it doesn't make me superior to or qualitatively different from an NFL player. Other animals are uniquely suited for their niche, as are humans...but that doesn't make us any less of a member of the animal kingdom.

That's the pivotal point. MRP and others can bring up many characteristics about humans that no other animal shares, but that doesn't mean that we are any less animal for it (since, as Dissident Dan pointed out, there are many animals with completely unique qualities).
 
  • #14
Mr. Robin Parsons
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Originally posted by Mentat
That's the pivotal point. MRP and others can bring up many characteristics about humans that no other animal shares, but that doesn't mean that we are any less animal for it (since, as Dissident Dan pointed out, there are many animals with completely unique qualities).
Ahem, I have not used the words 'more' or 'less' I used "different", and YUP the language thing is the biggie, because, as a part of that, you can understand pictures as representations of realities, that you haven't experianced, animals?? Nope!
 
  • #15
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
Ahem, I have not used the words 'more' or 'less' I used "different", and YUP the language thing is the biggie, because, as a part of that, you can understand pictures as representations of realities, that you haven't experianced, animals?? Nope!
But, again, 1) it is a matter of degree, and 2) it doesn't make us qualitatively different from other animals. What you are saying is that if a quality in a human is higher than in other animals, it somehow means that humans are elevated. What I am saying is that other animals have us beat in other areas that are just as important to their success as language is to ours.
 
  • #16
Dissident Dan
237
2
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
Ahem, I have not used the words 'more' or 'less' I used "different", and YUP the language thing is the biggie, because, as a part of that, you can understand pictures as representations of realities, that you haven't experianced, animals?? Nope!

First, as I pointd out, they do. Sign language.

Secondly, it doesn't matter, as Zero did a rather good job of pointing out.
 
  • #17
Mr. Robin Parsons
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Originally posted by Zero
Most of the things pointed out are mere differences in degree, which is no justification for saying that humans are anything more than just another animal. We humans are better at the things that make us human, but those qualities do not make us different or better than other animals. I am a better guitarist than I am a football player, but it doesn't make me superior to or qualitatively different from an NFL player. Other animals are uniquely suited for their niche, as are humans...but that doesn't make us any less of a member of the animal kingdom.
And again, By Zero
But, again, 1) it is a matter of degree, and 2) it doesn't make us qualitatively different from other animals. What you are saying is that if a quality in a human is higher than in other animals, it somehow means that humans are elevated. What I am saying is that other animals have us beat in other areas that are just as important to their success as language is to ours.
O.K. So look around you, all of the evidence I have is all of the things that humanity, in it's ability to use language, and interpret pictures, has/can/does do, is all of what we have applied from our ability to know collective knowledge, over time, (AKA History) which is planes, trains, automobiles, skyscrappers, nuclear power plants/submarines, rockets to the moon and robotic missions beyond that, the plate in my arm fixing my radius bone, the cat/Magneticresonanceimaging/Positiveemissiontomography scanners talked about in "Medical Physics" thread, ALL of the things that we humans can create, as adaptation to environment, or otherwise, is as a direct result of our abilities diffentiated from the rest of the Animals.

Those being my ability to oppose, also, my pinky finger, not just my thumb, but ALL of my hands fingers.

My ability to, with elbows flat at my sides, rotate the palm of my hand 180°, NO other Primate can do that, but I can turn screws/nuts/bolts/TVTuners/andscrewmyfingerintothewall!!

And the ability to speak, communicate, effectively share knowledge of things, not nessecarily having been experianced by the person I share it with, but none the less can carry a sense of the experience itself, hence skill trading by communicated knowledge rather then demonstration alone (That is all the animals have to teach and learn demonstrational abilities.......no words!)

You are missing the greatest civilisation ever existing because you don't even realize the power that you have in the ability to speak, you take it such for granted as to attempt to equate us all on the same level as the rest of all of the animals.

Sadly, a very blind to yourself point of view.
 
  • #18
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
O.K. So look around you, all of the evidence I have is all of the things that humanity, in it's ability to use language, and interpret pictures, has/can/does do, is all of what we have applied from our ability to know collective knowledge, over time, (AKA History) which is planes, trains, automobiles, skyscrappers, nuclear power plants/submarines, rockets to the moon and robotic missions beyond that, the plate in my arm fixing my radius bone, the cat/Magneticresonanceimaging/Positiveemissiontomography scanners talked about in "Medical Physics" thread, ALL of the things that we humans can create, as adaptation to environment, or otherwise, is as a direct result of our abilities diffentiated from the rest of the Animals.

Those being my ability to oppose, also, my pinky finger, not just my thumb, but ALL of my hands fingers.

My ability to, with elbows flat at my sides, rotate the palm of my hand 180°, NO other Primate can do that, but I can turn screws/nuts/bolts/TVTuners/andscrewmyfingerintothewall!!

And the ability to speak, communicate, effectively share knowledge of things, not nessecarily having been experianced by the person I share it with, but none the less can carry a sense of the experience itself, hence skill trading by communicated knowledge rather then demonstration alone (That is all the animals have to teach and learn demonstrational abilities.......no words!)

You are missing the greatest civilisation ever existing because you don't even realize the power that you have in the ability to speak, you take it such for granted as to attempt to equate us all on the same level as the rest of all of the animals.

Sadly, a very blind to yourself point of view.
Are you going to keep elaborating on your only point, until we just give in? You are still wrong, man.

Ok, here's a useful way to look at things:
Imagine Pong, the first arcade game. Now, imagine a line forming to the right of it, with each advance in video games taking its place in the lane, with today's 3-D rendered games on the other end of the line. Would you agree that even though todays games are far beyond the ones of 30 years ago, that they are all still video games?

If I haven't lost you, we'll move forward...
 
  • #19
Mr. Robin Parsons
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Originally posted by Zero
Are you going to keep elaborating on your only point, until we just give in? You are still wrong, man.
WOW, did you miss the point? WE, Humans ARE DIFFERENT, VERY different, because we can talk, YIKES, how difficult is that?
 
  • #20
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
WOW, did you miss the point? WE, Humans ARE DIFFERENT, VERY different, because we can talk, YIKES, how difficult is that?
And birds are different because they can fly...they are still animals, and so are we.

Now, are you going to accept that everything from Pong up to the latest arcade game all falls under the category of 'video game', or are you not interested in further discussion?
 
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  • #21
Mr. Robin Parsons
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Originally posted by Zero
And birds are different because they can fly...they are still animals, and so are we. But that's all they are furthered enabled to do, we go waaaaay farther, and we build planes then fly, sooo

Now, are you going to accept that everything from Pong up to the latest arcade game all falls under the category of 'video game', or are you not interested in further discussion?
If you wish to accept the differences between Humans, and Animals as something so simple as a differentiation 'tween levels of "video games", well, that's your loss not mine.
It is small minded, and trite!

As originally asked by Dissident Dan
If you have such a belief about humans and a justification for it, you should ask yourself which came first. If the belief came first, then you should question the belief. If you have the belief and no justification, then you should question the belief.
Clearly what I believe is justified by the evidence, disirreguardlessly
(A triple negative) of whatever dimunishion of humanities accomplishemnts, that you would blindly indulge yourselves in.
 
  • #22
So, in other words, you don't have any interest in discussing anything. Ok, fine.
 
  • #23
Mr. Robin Parsons
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Originally posted by Zero
So, in other words, you don't have any interest in discussing anything. Ok, fine.
Discuss away, I have been reading..........
 
  • #24
THANOS
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0
There can only be one superior species. And it is obvious that we humans rule above all animals. But that doesn't make us less animal. Like the days of Empires and Kingdoms, they may have been royal people and the rest may have been peasents but they were all still human. We were weak compared to many other animals but our gained knowledge for tools made us superior over all animals. Only thing making us differnt then any other animal is that we care less to worry about our survival then animals do. We found ways to make survival easy. It's amazing what one can do when they do not worry about how are they going to live next year or the years to come. So much free time to worry about other things. (hence our technology)
 
  • #25
Originally posted by THANOS
There can only be one superior species. And it is obvious that we humans rule above all animals. But that doesn't make us less animal. Like the days of Empires and Kingdoms, they may have been royal people and the rest may have been peasents but they were all still human. We were weak compared to many other animals but our gained knowledge for tools made us superior over all animals. Only thing making us differnt then any other animal is that we care less to worry about our survival then animals do. We found ways to make survival easy. It's amazing what one can do when they do not worry about how are they going to live next year or the years to come. So much free time to worry about other things. (hence our technology)
I would say that calling humanity 'superior' is another example of the post-justification that this thread stands against. We are good at what we do, and no animal does it better, but if you change to a different(and valid) criteria, other animals have us beat.
 
  • #26
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Zero
I would say that calling humanity 'superior' is another example of the post-justification that this thread stands against. We are good at what we do, and no animal does it better, but if you change to a different(and valid) criteria, other animals have us beat.

I would agree that there is nothing inherently 'special' about human beings, as opposed to other animals, that makes humans clearly superior in an absolute sense. However, we can abstract a bit from specific claims like "humans are the best at language whereas apes (or insects, or whatever) are the best at climbing trees" to a more general claim that humans are the most superior form of life on Earth in a purely evolutionary sense.

We can make this claim insofar as we recognize that humans have the ability to manipulate virtually any environment on Earth to their needs-- as opposed to other animals, who are quite well adapted to their specific niches, but cannot thrive in diverse new niches as readily as humans can. More generally put, most animals rely on the biologically engineered structures of their bodies given to them by their genetics to thrive in their niches, whereas humans can engineer their own novel structures to serve various purposes. A bird can fly because it is gifted with wings, an aerodynamical body, and a brain specialized to coordinate the motions needed for flight; a human can fly because it is gifted with a brain specialized for the general faculty of logical reasoning, which can be used to deduce the principles of flight, and then create an airplane with wings and an aerodynamical body. So while most animals are limited mainly by the physical capacities of their bodies, humans are limited mainly by the mental capacities of their brains.

For instance, it is possible in principle that humans will one day be able to live on Mars, and of course no other animals on Earth would not be able to do this, with the possible exception of certain micro-organisms. Of course this implies that certain micro-organisms are evolutionarily 'superior' to (say) great apes, which contradicts the usual premises for arguments to the effect that humans are 'superior' to apes. The important thing is to realize is that superiority can only be established with respect to a certain set of critera, so while we can say A is superior to B when it comes to a certain set of criteria X, we can't generalize from this to say that A is superior to B for all sets of criteria X.
 
  • #27
Fliption
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It's interesting how these threads evolve and get twisted. The original post didn't say anything about "What is it that makes humans qualitatively different?" It's interesting to note how this thread turned into that. The original question was "What is it that makes us human?" To me, the answer to this doesn't exclude differences of degree as everyone is pointing out. When I originally read the question, all sorts of things came to my mind just like MRP. But this doesn't seem to jive with the title of the topic and I am aware of some hot buttons with science types and suspected the real intent of that question by the author was to challenge any "mystical" beliefs people may have about mankind. The author seems to have produced an invitation for conflict with the wording of this question though.
 
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  • #28
Originally posted by hypnagogue
I would agree that there is nothing inherently 'special' about human beings, as opposed to other animals, that makes humans clearly superior in an absolute sense. However, we can abstract a bit from specific claims like "humans are the best at language whereas apes (or insects, or whatever) are the best at climbing trees" to a more general claim that humans are the most superior form of life on Earth in a purely evolutionary sense.

We can make this claim insofar as we recognize that humans have the ability to manipulate virtually any environment on Earth to their needs-- as opposed to other animals, who are quite well adapted to their specific niches, but cannot thrive in diverse new niches as readily as humans can. More generally put, most animals rely on the biologically engineered structures of their bodies given to them by their genetics to thrive in their niches, whereas humans can engineer their own novel structures to serve various purposes. A bird can fly because it is gifted with wings, an aerodynamical body, and a brain specialized to coordinate the motions needed for flight; a human can fly because it is gifted with a brain specialized for the general faculty of logical reasoning, which can be used to deduce the principles of flight, and then create an airplane with wings and an aerodynamical body. So while most animals are limited mainly by the physical capacities of their bodies, humans are limited mainly by the mental capacities of their brains.

For instance, it is possible in principle that humans will one day be able to live on Mars, and of course no other animals on Earth would not be able to do this, with the possible exception of certain micro-organisms. Of course this implies that certain micro-organisms are evolutionarily 'superior' to (say) great apes, which contradicts the usual premises for arguments to the effect that humans are 'superior' to apes. The important thing is to realize is that superiority can only be established with respect to a certain set of critera, so while we can say A is superior to B when it comes to a certain set of criteria X, we can't generalize from this to say that A is superior to B for all sets of criteria X.
You are way off teh mark again, by applying the same biased standard. Humans are teh best at being humans, so fill the niche we are in better than another animal would. That don't make us superior.
 
  • #29
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Zero
You are way off teh mark again, by applying the same biased standard. Humans are teh best at being humans, so fill the niche we are in better than another animal would. That don't make us superior.

We are superior in our general ability to adapt to new niches. This is all I said, nothing more and nothing less.
 
  • #30
Mentat
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Alright, this is getting just ridiculous. Anyone who says that one animal is "better" than any other has missed the point of Darwinian evolution entirely. Nature is amoral, it doesn't care about the success of any being under any niche or circumstance. It just doesn't matter. The only reason anthropecentric nonsense can be spouted about it because no other animal has evolved an ego.
 
  • #31
Originally posted by Mentat
The only reason anthropecentric nonsense can be spouted about it because no other animal has evolved an ego.
And an ego makes us superior?!? LOL, it remind me of Douglas Adams and the dolphins.
 
  • #32
hypnagogue
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,277
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There's nothing egocentric about the statement "humans are superior to most animals when it comes to adapting to new niches." This is not some delusion of grandeur; it's simply a fact, just as it is a fact that copper is superior to wood when it comes to conducting electricity. Note that I did not claim that humans are superior to all animals, in a general sense.

I could equally well state that "birds are superior to humans when it comes to non-technologically aided flight." This too is a fact. There's nothing wrong with saying animal A is superior to animal B, so long as you qualify the statement by saying "but only when it comes to X," where X is a specific set of objective criteria. We get into trouble when we mean "superior" to be some kind of all encompassing superiority, or likewise when we conclude superiority in some kind of subjective sense involving value judgments.
 
  • #33
Originally posted by hypnagogue
There's nothing egocentric about the statement "humans are superior to most animals when it comes to adapting to new niches." This is not some delusion of grandeur; it's simply a fact, just as it is a fact that copper is superior to wood when it comes to conducting electricity. Note that I did not claim that humans are superior to all animals, in a general sense.

I could equally well state that "birds are superior to humans when it comes to non-technologically aided flight." This too is a fact. There's nothing wrong with saying animal A is superior to animal B, so long as you qualify the statement by saying "but only when it comes to X," where X is a specific set of objective criteria. We get into trouble when we mean "superior" to be some kind of all encompassing superiority, or likewise when we conclude superiority in some kind of subjective sense involving value judgments.
When you add the quailfiers, you put yourself on relatively solid ground. Bravo!
 
  • #34
Royce
1,514
0
As far as successfully filling variable niches is concerned I think that bacteria have it made compared to us. they fill niches where we can't even get to as in rocks thousands of feet below ground level.
By another criteria, worms and insects are far more numerous and far moe varied than humans. So which species is the most successful in evolutionary terms? It depends on the criteria that you use.
Humans are generalist and far more adaptable than a number of other species but far less than others. The point however is that all life on Earth is interdependent and very few species but the most basic could survive without the rest of life supporting it. The food chain is just one example of interdependency. Then there are such things a s the water cycle and the carbon cycle that makes life itself dependant on the geological properties of the Earth itself. Makes one begin to think that Gaia might be real after all. All of life on Earth is basically one life form and interdependent on all of life to exist.
It is true the humans change their local environment to better fit themselves and promote the growth and survival of various plants and animal forms that benefit mankind over those that we have no use for; but, who is using who?
We cannot, I think, pick out one species or one group and say that they are the best or most advanced because one species or group or family or whatever cannot survive without all of the rest of life to support it.
It would be like trying to decide what one thing it is that makes the soup or gumbo so good when it is the particular compination of ingredients compined and cooked in that certain way that makes it so good.
Which finger or toe do you like the best, is most vital to your well being, gives you the edge over all the rest of us? Could you, would you do away with all the others because they are "inferior" to the best one?
Is it our egos, our insecurity or our need to justify our actions that make us feel apart and superior to the rest of life? Is it simply human arrogance or is it ignorance?
 
  • #35
THANOS
218
0
Hehe, i guess the word superior i used caused quite a stir eh. Well i did say when it comes to ruling humans are superior overall. Hence the other word no one seemed to look at was "ruling". We rule territory more then any other animal. well we kinda live with insects so we may rule them when they crawl on us or our floors but we let them stay outside or hiding in home. We might also have no choice. If an animal goes in our community we will act by creating quite a fuss so the big guys can take'em out for the little guys. Whether or not that animal dies we do make them leave our community. Now that is what i meant by humans are the superior over all animals.

We have claimed the most territory and defended it. Help with technology of course. But it is our technology that helps us defend our territory and we need it to be superior. But if we went in the jungle guess who loses the role of superior?
 

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