Why so Special?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by aaqucnaona, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    First, why are some people, especially the religious [and the religions themselves] so concerned about having a special, higher place for humans? Monkeys or pigs can be offensive due to semantic reasons, but some people claim that our species is above and better^ than all others [they tend to be the people who haven't seen/appreciated a siberian tiger or a polar bear] and that we are not even apes*! Why this quest for specialty?

    Second, why are religions supposed to be special? Why is it ok for a person to believe and hold true, much less proclaim and propogate as truth, stupid, incredulous and unsupported ideas just because "Its a matter of faith". Why is this acceptable[/anymore]?

    * - Technically, yes we are monkeys.

    We are - Modern Humans, hominids, great apes, monkeys, primates, mammals, vertebrates and animals, all of them - just at different levels of our taxonomy.

    ^ We are better in the sense that we have achieved the most, but that's due to hundreds of thousands of years of efforts by our ancestors.
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  3. elte Valued Senior Member

    I think it is because we can form personal relationships and interact with humans as well as other people like dolphins, cats, and dogs. We consider people (in the sense of being the plural of person) to be animals that have intellectual and emotional interaction with us. There are court cases where dogs and cats get inheritance from deceased humans, and get legal status as persons that way. I think human people should get more deference than ones from other species, and that is how it generally happens in society.
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    A new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the common value of >98% similarity of DNA between chimp and humans is incorrect. Roy Britten, author of the study, puts the figure at about 95% when insertions and deletions are included. Importantly, there is much more to these studies than people realize.

    The >98.5% similarity has been misleading because it depends on what is being compared. There are a number of significant differences that are difficult to quantify. A review by Gagneux and Varki2 described a list of genetic differences between humans and the great apes. The differences include ‘cytogenetic differences, differences in the type and number of repetitive genomic DNA and transposable elements, abundance and distribution of endogenous retroviruses, the presence and extent of allelic polymorphisms, specific gene inactivation events, gene sequence differences, gene duplications, single nucleotide polymorphisms, gene expression differences, and messenger RNA splicing variations.

    Specific examples of these differences include:

    1.Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes while chimpanzees have 24. Evolutionary scientists believe that one of the human chromosomes has been formed through the fusion of two small chromosomes in the chimp instead of an intrinsic difference resulting from a separate creation.

    2.At the end of each chromosome is a string of repeating DNA sequences called a telomere. Chimpanzees and other apes have about 23 kilobases (a kilobase is 1,000 base pairs of DNA) of repeats. Humans are unique among primates with much shorter telomeres only 10 kilobases long.3

    3.While 18 pairs of chromosomes are ‘virtually identical’, chromosomes 4, 9 and 12 show evidence of being ‘remodeled.’4 In other words, the genes and markers on these chromosomes are not in the same order in the human and chimpanzee. Instead of ‘being remodeled’ as the evolutionists suggest, these could, logically, also be intrinsic differences because of a separate creation.


    I agree with you but would like to say that because humans have the ability to lie, cheat and steal they are always figuring out ways to take advantage of others less knowledgeable than they are for selfish reasons. If humans can find a way to use others to their advantage , they do. Religion is just one of the many ways in which humans "manipulate" other humans into doing what they want them to do in order to keep them in line and well regulated.
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Do you think that being the proverbial grey mouse will keep you safe?
  8. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    Oh your so funny Wynn. Huff and puff and blow your house down little girl . Oh what a tasty morsel we would find ,
    Proverbial Grey Mouse
    That is funny
    I resemble that remark
    You can stay at my house little girl . I got cookies, some peanut brittle , to last a couple of days. I will change my hair style so many times you won't know what I look like

    Proverbial Grey Mouse
    Sounds like a rat king to Me .
    Cut off there tails with carving knife and all rat king

    Humans crave attention . It satisfies there souls to feel special . Not unlike a dog wanted there belly rubbed .
    Lots of animals have soft spots that lull them into a dream state of pleasure . The human having the feeling of being special is the soft spot of a human . It is why cronyism works so well . People will let them selves be manipulated if there special needs are met . Willingly Massaged . It feels good .
    I like it don't you ?
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Why do people want to be special? As an excuse to kill, eat, enslave, exploit, despoil and displace other species.
    Why does each religion/ nation/ faction/ class declare itself more special that other people? For an excuse to do all of the above onto other peoples.
    The doctrines of specialness are made up by leaders : the top beneficiaries of all that looting.
  10. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    What is she talking about?
  11. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Who knows with her, but I think she's asking if by making (oneself) inconspicuous or humble, will it keep you safe? :shrug:
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, this might be the intent of those who criticise the idea of human specialness.
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Well, we are unique for a lot of reasons. But "unique" does not equal "better in every way." As you mentioned there are animals that are larger, stronger and faster than us - but none with our capability for reason.

    That's not unique to religion. Every group likes to feel special. Religious, ethnic, geographic, nationalistic, even people who support sports teams - all of them like to think that they have it figured out and are making smart choices about who or what to support.
  14. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    No inconspicous or humble from me, we own the planet, we literally rule it. we control around 35-40% of all the energy in the biosphere - thats a hell of an achievement for a single species. Now that we are modern scientists and space farers, this is the time to take control and care for the planet, look for life elsewhere and explore the cosmos, not for humility or inconspiciousness. If you mean understanding the fragility and insignificance of a human compared to the universe and its facts discovered by science, sure thats a picture that is both humble and inconspicious, but humanity is in no position to be a grey mouse.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Because we are special. The ratio of forebrain to lower-brain tissue in our species is an order of magnitude greater than other animals. Our brain is double the size of that of Homo erectus, which means that our forebrain is about three times as large as his, and he was no slouch!

    This gives us the obvious advantages of better computational ability, more complex reasoning, etc., not to mention an entire brain center devoted to our unique skill of language. But that forebrain ratio in itself gives us something no other animal has: the ability to override our instincts. We are capable of behaving in ways that we have figured out by learning and reasoning, even when they conflict drastically with our programmed instincts.

    Even though we're nomads by instinct, we learned to settle down in one place where we could grow our own food, transcending the natural weather cycle and its periodic famines. Even though we're pack-social by instinct and prefer living in a small extended-family group of people we've trusted and cared for since birth, we learned to transcend our internal nature and build social structures that allow us to live in harmony and cooperation with millions of anonymous strangers.

    A succinct definition of "life" is "a local reversal of entropy." We have blown that definition into new proportions by harnessing the energy of animals, flowing water, fossil fuel, the sun and even atoms themselves, transcending nature on an enormous scale every day and even remaking the surface of an entire planet!

    Sure, we're "just animals," but Kauai is "just an island." Despite all the biology we share with other mammals, especially the other Great Apes (orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas, five to seven species total depending on your taxonomy), we are nonetheless qualitatively different from all of them. We transcend nature, both the external nature of the world and our own internal nature.

    If any species will crack the code of the universe and find a way to keep it from coming to an end several billion years from now, it will be ours. Unless of course there are nature-transcendent species on other planets, and one of them figures it out first. To transcend entropy: that will be the ultimate transcendence over nature.

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    Ironically, both highly intelligent! Certain Bronze Age tribes were wary of pigs because despite being artiodactyls like sheep and deer they've evolved to be scavengers and therefore their meat can carry disease--and well okay their feeding habits are maybe just a tiny bit disgusting. As for monkeys, I think people just feel threatened by them because they're so much like us yet they appear to reflect our baser nature. Especially the "true" chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, which isn't even a monkey and is our closest relative.
    We are "above" them because of our qualitatively greater intelligence, which gives us the ability to remake our world. As for "better," on a good day we can be remarkable, and one of the abilities humans have (perhaps all animals do) is to remember good things more clearly than bad ones, including our own behavior.
    They're beautiful and powerful and they are the apex predators in their ecosystems, but we live in our heads rather than in the natural universe and neither felids nor ursids can do that.
    The dictionary allows us to say that we're not even animals. But where do we draw the line then? Are we eukaryotes? Are we organisms?
    Because we feel special. I do, don't you?
    You must be one of three members who haven't read my posts explaining religion in Jungian terms. Since all religions are collections of almost the very same archetypes dressed up in different mythologies, it's probably instinctive. Now don't ask me where the instinct came from, a mental trait can be passed down at random through a genetic bottleneck just like an anatomical trait.
    I think you mean "primates," not "monkeys." The Hominoidea separated from the Old World monkeys quite a while ago. You have to go up the tree all the way to the Simiiformes to get apes and monkeys in one clade, and by then all you've excluded are the lemurs, tarsiers, and other footnotes in our family history. But in any case, anyone who doesn't think we're apes has never watched the Olympic gymnastic competition!
    But they could not have done that without our unique nature-transcendent forebrains. These are what make us special.

    They actually give us the power of humility, but unfortunately many people have found a way to transcend that.

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  16. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    We are special, but not as special as we like to think.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Sorta depends on what scale you're using to measure us, doesn't it? By the measures that are important to me, humans are incalculably more special than other species.

    We create music. That alone is enough for me.
  18. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    There's special, which is rare, and then there's full-of-it, which isn't.
  19. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

    I agree with Fraggle Rocker. The reason we put humans in a higher tier than other animals is because that's where they belong. You don't think that other species have had just as long to work at it?
  20. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    And, would they agree?
  21. Enmos Registered Senior Member

    It's not just the religious, pretty much all humans share this delusion.
  22. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

    The other animals or the humans? Certainly, most humans(myself included) clearly do. As for the others... we make the taxonomy, who cares what they think. The privileged never give up their privileged status willingly and without pressure to do so. Haven't you ever studied the civil rights movement? If other animals can't apply that pressure, they don't deserve an elevated status.
  23. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member


    I made a similiar point in the post above yours.

    Indeed. When we go to the zoo, we can see people transfixed but also uncomfortable when looking at chimps, its almost as it they are thinking "We are not so different afterall."

    Sure we are special in the way you described, but not in a religious or personal sense. Humans aren't really special, hence the comparision to tigers and bears, but humanity, no doubt, is very special indeed.

    Can you give me a link to those posts, must be an interesting read.

    Or maybe not - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ-ov4KtR2c

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