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Qualative or Quantative difference?

  1. Mar 20, 2003 #1
    [SOLVED] Qualative or Quantative difference?

    I put it to you all that we are only quantatively different than animals. We show higher social skills, We have technology and language, but so do animals. Just not as developed.

    We are, if you like, polished animals. We are not supreme in any way. Those who think we are, can only be living in ignorance.

    We are animals!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2003 #2
    In a response, did you expect an argument for or against what you have stated as fact? Perhaps you should open this up as a poll (or, at least ask for other opinions).
     
  4. Mar 20, 2003 #3
    Sorry, i would like a response, and peoples thoughts on the statement.
     
  5. Mar 20, 2003 #4
    Alright, then. I agree that we are animals (we meet all of the qualifications, set out by biologists). I also agree that other animals have technology and such, just to a lower extent. However, it is the enormous size of this gap (between human technology/reasoning/art/etc...) that causes people to view it as an insult to be considered "higher animals".
     
  6. Mar 20, 2003 #5

    Njorl

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    We are also in a positive feedback loop increasing the difference between us and animals. Our technological advantage tends to increase the rate that the intelligence and technological gap between us and the rest of animals is increasing. While at the time of neanderthals the gap was only quantitative, I maintain the positive feedback makes it essentially a qualitative difference now.

    Njorl
     
  7. Mar 20, 2003 #6

    Les Sleeth

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    The Supreme Quality

    We might share the title of “animal” with a huge assortment of life forms, but I don’t see your point about our differences being only quantitative. Are you saying we only have “more” language, technology, social skills . . . ? I am suspicious you are only joking, and I am falling for your trap, but I’ll bite anyway and say that the differences between us and other animals is virtually nothing but qualitative.

    If you study all the varieties of evolution from the beginning of animal life billions of years ago, nearly every change has been to better adapt the organism to the environment. In this sense, evolution is about quality and not quantity except in the sense that after a species is better adapted, its numbers are more likely to increase.

    Of the body types that have evolved, the human body possesses a relatively practical design with the upright stance freeing the arms, opposable thumbs, etc. But other animals have bodies that are ideally suited to their environment as well. So it doesn’t seem to me there’s all that much to set us apart from other animals in that department.

    But there is one area where we left all other animals behind and that area is consciousness. However one believes consciousness occurs (e.g., neuronally or as a soul), the line that separates our sort of mind from an animal mind is very clear. The consciousness leap humans took seems primarily to be our ability to understand -- there is nothing like it in all the animal world.

    Understanding seems almost magical to me. It is such a strange phenomenon. To look at many facets of reality and subsequently understand something; or to draw from past experiences and then understand. Also, as we understand more and more, the insights seem to synergize until expertise is created in fields ranging from the arts to science.

    But other animals, if left to their own devices, do not pursue understanding. They might, through trial and error, stumble on some useful skill, and they certainly don’t seem capable of seeking general principles from which they derive understanding about other activities.

    So, I must disagree with you that nothing makes us supreme . . . on this planet, humans possess the supreme potential for understanding.
     
  8. Mar 20, 2003 #7
    In some sense this is perhaps a true statement, but it presents a paradox in that it defies synergy.

    Synergy is the principle and natural observation that any two things combined have qualitatively distinct properties than when seperate. In other words, qualitative distinctions can not rationally be seperated from quantitative ones.

    There is one capacity people have that no other animal on earth possesses. We have the physiology and massive parallel brain processing to run after a moving object and throw a rock at it or swing a stick. Other animals can spit, or drop and throw and swing things, but none of them can do so with any accuracy at all when they and their target are both in motion.
     
  9. Mar 20, 2003 #8
    Transplants ...

    Or, perhaps the gardner went to such great lengths to prepare the soil, before transplanting that which was most dear to him?

    Or, maybe "Mother Earth" has evolved in preparation for "Father Sky," who endows her with his Divne Seed?
     
  10. Mar 21, 2003 #9
    The soul ...

    Now who's to say that nature (Mother Earth, Mother Nature), through evolution, doesn't aspire towards the Divine?

    And that, the Divine (Father Sky, Father Time), also portrayed by the sun, the one constant, flows into the Natural World (much as plants are drawn to, and sustained by, the sun).

    And who's to say that the crowning achievement of such a process, what we call Creation, is not Man himself? Where Mother Nature has risen, to meet God on his terms, and God has reciprocated by breathing a life (soul) into it. Which, would coincide with the Advent of Modern Man (dawn of early agriculture) about 10,000 years ago.

    Ever wonder why recorded history only goes back about five thousand years? Whoa, that's no time at all in evolutionary terms. It all sounds kind of fishy to me? What's that you say Noah? ...

    http://www.dionysus.org/x0201.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2003
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