Footprints

  • humans have the largest brain of all animals. ==> bollocks.
  • humans employ intelligent use of tools. ==> bullshit.
  • humans are social animals. ==> human society is absolutely embarrassing.
  • humans show emotions. ==> octopuses show emotions.
  • humans are the only creatures who communicate using language. ==> dolphins have quite a complicated language; ants use thousands of chemicals to convey information.
  • humans are the most intelligent of all creatures. ==> there is no evidence to show that humans have cognitive skills that are unique to us.
  • humans can cut an onion, but an onion can hardly cut us ==> a man can kill a lion more easily than a lion can kill a man.

1 thought on “Footprints

  1. shinichi Post author

    Is Homo sapiens the most advanced species?

    by Footprints

    http://everything2.com/title/Is+Homo+sapiens+the+most+advanced+species%253F

    i’ve heard lots of arguments to this effect. “but of course humans are much more advanced than other species. it’s obvious.” is it? well, of course, if you believe in god, then humans are above animals, and then there really is no argument. but even then, why did god chose to make us the “chosen species“? why choose humans, and not, say, gibbons? we must be the most advanced species, right? p.s. what DOES “advanced” mean, anyway? i use the word “advanced” in the broadest sense. i cannot accurately define it, as it used in a more abstract sense here.

    well, let me give some examples of “proofs” i have been given that humans are more advanced, and explain why they are all crap. if you have some more, tell me and i will be happy to explain why they, too, are probably crap (unless they are so specific they cannot be refuted, like “humans are the only animals that have invented computers”. yeah, well, cows have four stomachs.)

    • humans have the largest brain of all animals.

      bollocks. the sperm whale has a brain weighing 20 pounds. a human brain weighs about 3.

    • humans employ intelligent use of tools.

      p.s. this was a leading argument for a long time in many fields. of course it is bullshit. chimpanzees lick the end of a stick and put it in an anthill to catch ants. oh, hell, we don’t have to go to such “advanced” (and i use the term cynically here) species. just look at the spider’s web.

    • humans are social animals.

      human society is absolutely embarrassing compared to many insect societies. look at ants. or bees. who is more social? humans or bees?

    • humans show emotions.

      octopuses show emotions.

    • humans are the only creatures who communicate using language

      well, maybe humans are the only creatures who communicate using german, but by today it is well known that dolphins have quite a complicated language. actually, ants use thousands of chemicals to convey information. that is just as much a language as human vocal (or written or whatever) language.

    • humans are the most intelligent of all creatures

      here we’re getting into a rather dodgy area. one i usually don’t like to go into. what is intelligence? how do you measure it? in any case, there is no evidence to show that humans have cognitive skills that are unique to us. dolphins, for example, are known to be extremely intelligent, and there’s no way to compare human and dolphin intelligence. there is no acceptable universal test for human intelligence yet (people who grew up in an isolated african tribe will hardly be able to perform simple arithmetic, but does that mean they are less intelligent?), so how can we tell the difference between two species?

      and the last (and my favourite) “proof”:

    • humans can cut an onion, but an onion can hardly cut us

      what the people who use this argument are trying to say is that we are killing off many species, which makes us superior. a man can kill a lion more easily than a lion can kill a man (using a stinger missile, for example). Well, i guess that simply means that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is more advanced than humans. we have no idea how to kill it, and yet it kills us quite easily. (there are tons of other viruses and bacteria who are more advanced than us using this reasoning, HIV is just one example).


    Carthagaware and able to prove it? prove to me you are aware. you are no more able to do it than i can prove my moisturising cream is aware.
    also, one of the most striking developments in primate research has been to show that primates are self aware. (you can watch some national geographic channel and see what i’m talking about)
    humans have a way of living off earth? come on, some viruses can live in 150 degrees centigrade. that argument is going nowhere.
    i agree that having a “largest brain relative to body size” is interesting. however, it might just mean that we have small bodies. seriously, though, more interesting is that we have a very developed cortex. but still, that is only one criterium.

    mcewanca – the “fittest to survive”? i don’t think so. there are more bacteria in a cow’s gut than humans on earth. we’ve been around only several millions of years. ameobas have been around about, oh, a thousand times that long. who is fitter?
    and btw, not many animals kill each other. humans do it quite efficiently. and btw2, humans have a generation span of about 20 years. that hardly seems to me able to adjust to the environment very fast. we evolve exponentially slower than bacteria. think again.

    shine-shine – the fact that we have these abilities shows nothing about advancement. i’ve just shown few (very few) criteria. i can list about 100 criteria that make eagles more advanced than humans. why eagles? why not? they fly, they see quatrochromatically (they have 4 color receptors, we have 3). their fovea is much deeper, allowing for much greater resolution. they can acheive much faster speeds. they can see 360 degrees. we see only about 210 degrees. etc. etc.

    brazil – abstract thought is too abstract a term. there is no proof dolphins are not capable of abstract thought. and how do we know if some animals are capable of different types of thought we cannot even fathom? and please, bacteria are MUCH more capable of killing us than we are of killing them.

    Templetonnests, spider webs.

    Tmaq – come on. advanced is a measure of who can leave the planet? next.

    Mr. Frog – digging in the dirt. seriously – eagles kick our asses in so many criteria it’s not even funny

    Termite – oh. we CREATE tools? i didn’t know humans could create matter. like the chimps, we take what there is and remove and add to it. also, nests are a great comparison to something like the taj-mahal except that nests are slightly better designed to hatch eggs in.

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