Opinion | Humans Are Animals. Let's Get Over It. - The New York Times

  

Category:  Religion & Ethics

Via:  larry-hampton  •  10 months ago  •  59 comments

By:   Crispin Sartwell

Opinion | Humans Are Animals. Let's Get Over It. - The New York Times
It's astonishing how relentlessly Western philosophy has strained to prove we are not squirrels.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



It's astonishing how relentlessly Western philosophy has strained to prove we are not squirrels.

By Crispin Sartwell

Mr. Sartwell is a professor of philosophy.

  • Feb. 23, 2021

23sartwell-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale Credit...Tim Enthoven

If one were to read through the prefaces and first paragraphs of the canonical works of Western philosophy, one might assume the discipline's primary question to be this: What makes us humans so much better than all the other animals? Really, it's astonishing how relentless this theme is in the whole history of philosophy. The separation of people from, and the superiority of people to, members of other species is a good candidate for the originating idea of Western thought. And a good candidate for the worst.

The Great Philosopher will, before addressing himself to the deep ethical and metaphysical questions, pause for the conventional, ground-clearing declaration: "I am definitely not a squirrel." This is evidently something that needs continual emphasizing.

Rationality and self-control, as philosophers underline again and again, give humans a value that squirrels lack (let's just stick with this species for the time being), a moral status unique to us. We are conscious, and squirrels, allegedly, are not; we are rational, and squirrels are not; we are free, and squirrels are not.

We can congratulate ourselves on the threat averted. But if we truly believed we were so much better than squirrels, why have we spent thousands of years driving home the point?

It's almost as though the existence of animals, and their various similarities to humans, constituted insults. Like a squirrel, I have eyes and ears, scurry about on the ground and occasionally climb a tree. (One of us does this better than the other does.) Our shared qualities — the fact that we are both hairy or that we have eyes or we poop, for example — are disconcerting if I am an immortal being created in the image of God and the squirrel just a physical organism, a bundle of instincts.

One difficult thing to face about our animality is that it entails our deaths; being an animal is associated throughout philosophy with dying purposelessly, and so with living meaninglessly. It is rationality that gives us dignity, that makes a claim to moral respect that no mere animal can deserve. "The moral law reveals to me a life independent of animality," writes Immanuel Kant in "Critique of Practical Reason." In this assertion, at least, the Western intellectual tradition has been remarkably consistent.

The connection of such ideas to the way we treat animals — for example, in our food chain — is too obvious to need repeating. And the devaluation of animals and disconnection of us from them reflect a deeper devaluation of the material universe in general. In this scheme of things, we owe nature nothing; it is to yield us everything. This is the ideology of species annihilation and environmental destruction, and also of technological development.

Further trouble is caused when the distinctions between humans and animals are then used to draw distinctions among human beings. Some humans, according to this line of thinking, are self-conscious, rational and free, and some are driven by beastly desires. Some of us transcend our environment: Reason alone moves us to action. But some of us are pushed around by physical circumstances, by our bodies. Some of us, in short, are animals — and some of us are better than that. This, it turns out, is a useful justification for colonialism, slavery and racism.

The classical source for this distinction is certainly Aristotle. In the "Politics," he writes, "Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves." The conclusion is final. "It is better for them as for all inferiors to be under the rule."

Every human hierarchy, insofar as it can be justified philosophically, is treated by Aristotle by analogy to the relation of people to animals. One might be forgiven for thinking that Aristotle's real goal is not to establish the superiority of humans to animals, but the superiority of some people to others.

"The savage people in many places of America," writes Thomas Hobbes in "Leviathan," responding to the charge that human beings have never lived in a state of nature, "have no government at all, and live in this brutish manner." Like Plato, Hobbes associates anarchy with animality and civilization with the state, which gives to our merely animal motion moral content for the first time and orders us into a definite hierarchy. But this line of thought also happens to justify colonizing or even extirpating the "savage," the beast in human form.

Our supposed fundamental distinction from "beasts, "brutes" and "savages" is used to divide us from nature, from one another and, finally, from ourselves. In Plato's "Republic," Socrates divides the human soul into two parts. The soul of the thirsty person, he says, "wishes for nothing else than to drink." But we can restrain ourselves. "That which inhibits such actions," he concludes, "arises from the calculations of reason." When we restrain or control ourselves, Plato argues, a rational being restrains an animal.

In this view, each of us is both a beast and a person — and the point of human life is to constrain our desires with rationality and purify ourselves of animality. These sorts of systematic self-divisions come to be refigured in Cartesian dualism, which separates the mind from the body, or in Sigmund Freud's distinction between id and ego, or in the neurological contrast between the functions of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

I'd like to publicly identify this dualistic view as a disaster, but I don't know how to refute it, exactly, except to say that I don't feel myself to be a logic program running on an animal body; I'd like to consider myself a lot more integrated than that. And I'd like to repudiate every political and environmental conclusion ever drawn by our supposed transcendence of the order of nature. I don't see how we could cease to be mammals and remain ourselves.


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Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
1  seeder  Larry Hampton    10 months ago

There is no doubt that human beings are distinct from other animals, though not necessarily more distinct than other animals are from one another. But maybe we've been too focused on the differences for too long. Maybe we should emphasize what all us animals have in common.

Our resemblance to squirrels doesn't have to be interpreted as a threat to our self-image. Instead, it could be seen as a hopeful sign that we will someday be better at tree leaping. 

Our survival depends on understanding that we are not separate from Nature. 

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
1.1  Thomas  replied to  Larry Hampton @1    10 months ago

The mas in the illustration looks as if he has had too much cheese....

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2  Nerm_L    10 months ago

Western philosophies?  This Anglophobic rant misses the point entirely.

If humans are animals then it matters not what we do.  Humans would be as a swarm of locusts consuming everything in its path until nature intervenes.

The point of the question is to reinforce that humans are not animals.  We don't just live within nature as animals do.  As the examples of history demonstrate humans need constant reminding that they are not controlled by animal instincts.  Humans can exert control over their animal instincts by choice and humans need to be constantly reminded they can choose to not be animals.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Nerm_L @2    10 months ago
The point of the question is to reinforce that humans are not animals.  We don't just live within nature as animals do.  As the examples of history demonstrate humans need constant reminding that they are not controlled by animal instincts.  Humans can exert control over their animal instincts by choice and humans need to be constantly reminded they can choose to not be animals.

I think you better provide your definition of "animal".  It does not seem to follow the commonly accepted one.

an·i·mal
/ˈanəməl/
noun
noun: animal; plural noun: animals
a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli.
"wild animals adapt badly to a caged life"
an animal as opposed to a human being.
"are humans superior to animals, or just different?"
Similar:
creature
beast
living thing
being
brute
critter
wildlife
fauna
a mammal, as opposed to a bird, reptile, fish, or insect.
"the snowfall seemed to have chased all birds, animals, and men indoors"
a person without human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive.
"those men have to be animals—what they did to that boy was savage"
Similar:
brute
beast
monster
savage
devil
demon
fiend
villain
sadist
barbarian
ogre
swine
bastard
pig
a particular type of person or thing.
"I am a political animal"

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1    10 months ago
I think you better provide your definition of "animal".  It does not seem to follow the commonly accepted one.

Are you attempting to suggest that Western philosophies (and Eastern philosophies) have been addressing the biology of humans?

Yes, human biology is very much like the biology of Barbary macaques on Gibraltar.  So, humans behaving like Gibraltar monkeys would be natural.  The point of philosophical scrutiny of human behavior is to reinforce that humans behaving like Gibraltar monkeys would be unacceptable.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.1    10 months ago
Are you attempting to suggest that Western philosophies (and Eastern philosophies) have been addressing the biology of humans?

No, I am talking the definition of "animal".  You seem to be skewing that definition to meet your argument, instead of using it by its proper meaning.  You're mixing up the noun with the adjective and interchanging them.

Human beings ARE animals (noun).  This is a fact.

Human beings DO NOT behave like animals (adjective).  This is subjective.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.2    10 months ago
No, I am talking the definition of "animal".  You seem to be skewing that definition to meet your argument, instead of using it by its proper meaning.  You're mixing up the noun with the adjective and interchanging them.

Then you ARE suggesting that Western and Eastern philosophies have been concerned with the biology of humans.

Human beings ARE animals (noun).  This is a fact.

People are apes.  Being human requires more than just being an ape.  Or are you attempting to redefine what being human means?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.4  Ozzwald  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.3    10 months ago
People are apes.

Nope.

Being human requires more than just being an ape.

Nope.

Being human means being human, not more than an ape, just different.

Or are you attempting to redefine what being human means?

I'm the one posting the definitions, you're the one ignoring the definitions.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.2  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @2    10 months ago

Wait!  .... there's the point.. or is that it.... No. There it is! Damn. Missed again.

Nerm, I hate to tell you this, but you, I and everyone else is an animal in the most basic sense of the word. Yes, we do oftentimes need to be reminded that we are capable of control, but that just means that we have not been successful at control.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.2.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Thomas @2.2    10 months ago
Nerm, I hate to tell you this, but you, I and everyone else is an animal in the most basic sense of the word. Yes, we do oftentimes need to be reminded that we are capable of control, but that just means that we have not been successful at control.

Then uncivilized behavior governed by animal instinct should be the normal state of affairs.  We are all biologically animals and we should behave like animals.

Biologically people are apes.  But being human is more than just being a naked ape.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.2.2  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.1    10 months ago
Then uncivilized behavior governed by animal instinct should be the normal state of affairs. 

Why? Because you say so? Because that is what you were taught in school? 

But being human is more than just being a naked ape.

Is it really?  When in school we were constantly reminded to not anthropomorphize the behaviors of animals or attempt to intuit their emotions. Living and observing people and animals all these years since then, I cannot now say that this was always the best way to interpret their actions. Indeed, it has been shown that animals do have emotions and control over the same; That they can think and reason. 

“We are unique. Chimpanzees are unique. Dogs are unique. But we humans are just not as different as we used to think.”
--  Jane Goodall
 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.2.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Thomas @2.2.2    10 months ago
Is it really?  When in school we were constantly reminded to not anthropomorphize the behaviors of animals or attempt to intuit their emotions.

Yes.  But that is because being human is more than just being an animal.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.2.4  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.1    10 months ago
But being human is more than just being a naked ape.

Humans are more like the naked mole rats of the animal (specifically primate) kingdom.

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
2.3  Hallux  replied to  Nerm_L @2    10 months ago

How did you arrive at "Anglophobic"? Only one of the philosophers mentioned was a Brit.

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
2.4  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Nerm_L @2    10 months ago

Thank you Nerm for perfectly illustrating fallacies the article points 

If humans are animals then it matters not what we do.  Humans would be as a swarm of locusts consuming everything in its path until nature intervenes.

Nature ALWAYS wins, without fail. Humans are not exempt from the consequences of Nature. Our knowledge, and application of it by using tools (technology) has allowed humans to reshape their world, even bending those rules as far as possible. This has given us the impression that our own creation is reality, which results in forgetting that we are indeed not separate from Nature. We witness this every single day as we see folks doing all sorts of stupid shit that our natural instincts would ward us from; our complete faith in our own creations, and the illusion that we are indeed in control of the world around us, has pushed the human species to the edge of suicide. 
Human beings have proved over and again that they run roughshod over soil and water, air and beauty, other humans and all other animals on the planet. 
The sad part is we have the capacity and abilities to be supreme tenders of our precious garden. 
Nature is the only thing that keeps human beings from becoming a swarm that consumes everything in its path.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.4.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Larry Hampton @2.4    10 months ago
Nature ALWAYS wins, without fail. Humans are not exempt from the consequences of Nature.

Yes, that's true.  Every living thing dies.  There have been no exceptions.

Our knowledge, and application of it by using tools (technology) has allowed humans to reshape their world, even bending those rules as far as possible.

That is also true.  Should the human capacity to reshape their world be guided by animal instincts?

This has given us the impression that our own creation is reality, which results in forgetting that we are indeed not separate from Nature. We witness this every single day as we see folks doing all sorts of stupid shit that our natural instincts would ward us from; our complete faith in our own creations, and the illusion that we are indeed in control of the world around us, has pushed the human species to the edge of suicide. 

Or humans need constant reminding that they must control their animal instincts.  If humans behave like animals then they will take what they want when they want it; that's the how nature really works.  A swarm of locusts will consume everything without regard for any other living thing because that is their nature.  Locusts are driven by natural instinct to eat, excrete, and copulate regardless of consequences.

Human beings have proved over and again that they run roughshod over soil and water, air and beauty, other humans and all other animals on the planet.  The sad part is we have the capacity and abilities to be supreme tenders of our precious garden. 

People are apes.  Apes only consume their environment; apes do not care for their environment.  Apes are driven by their natural instincts to eat, excrete, and copulate.

Our animal instinct as apes is to be the biggest, strongest ape with the highest status and the most privileges.  People focus their attention on the leader of a troop of gorillas but ignore the gorilla with the lowest status because that is our animal instinct.  Apes pursue the status of privilege because that is their nature.  Apes abhor democracy.

People have proved repeatedly that they can behave just as apes behave.  People repeatedly demonstrate that they will allow their animal instincts to govern their behavior regardless of consequences.  That's why people need constant reminding that they are humans and not just apes.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.4.2  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.1    10 months ago
Apes abhor democracy.

I would like to see some evidence supporting this statement.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.4.3  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.1    10 months ago
A swarm of locusts will consume everything without regard for any other living thing because that is their nature.  Locusts are driven by natural instinct to eat, excrete, and copulate regardless of consequences.

You just described the human species quite well.

Apes only consume their environment; apes do not care for their environment.

Apes don't actively destroy their environment either.

Our animal instinct as apes is to be the biggest, strongest ape with the highest status and the most privileges.  People focus their attention on the leader of a troop of gorillas but ignore the gorilla with the lowest status because that is our animal instinct.

It's called being an "Alpha Male." Humans largely do the same thing.

Apes pursue the status of privilege because that is their nature

Humans are different how exactly?

People have proved repeatedly that they can behave just as apes behave.  People repeatedly demonstrate that they will allow their animal instincts to govern their behavior regardless of consequences. 

See, humans are animals.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.4.4  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.3    10 months ago
See, humans are animals.

Okay, humans are animals.

At the present time human animals are searching for life on Mars with the Perseverance rover.  If they succeed in finding life on Mars then the rational thing to do would be to prohibit further human contact with Mars.  Finding life on Mars should make Mars off-limits to human animals.

Life on Mars would need to be protected from human animals.  Human animals have a history of disrupting habitats without regard for life in that habitat.  Human animals have a history of exploiting life for their own purposes.  The behavior of human animals is governed by their natural instincts.  And humans cannot change being the animals they are.

Human animals must be contained to Earth because the natural animal instinct of humans is to eat, excrete, and copulate without regard for consequences.  Human animals will continue to do what they have always done because the natural animal instincts of humans has predetermined their behavior.  Animals do what their evolved natural instincts require them to do.  Humans are only animals and, as such, cannot change being the animals they are.

Does that adequately address your point?  Isn't this the logical conclusion of claiming that humans are animals?  I have stated that being human is more than being an animal.  You've contested my claim.  Are you now going to throw sand, do a soft shoe, and dance away from the arguments you've made?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.4.5  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.4    10 months ago
Okay, humans are animals.

Glad we agree.

If they succeed in finding life on Mars then the rational thing to do would be to prohibit further human contact with Mars.  Finding life on Mars should make Mars off-limits to human animals.

Humans have a knack for invading and disrupting ecosystems. Mars wouldn't be much different in that regard. But then, when have humans ever been rational?

Life on Mars would need to be protected from human animals.  Human animals have a history of disrupting habitats without regard for life in that habitat.  Human animals have a history of exploiting life for their own purposes. 

This is correct. 

The behavior of human animals is governed by their natural instincts.  And humans cannot change being the animals they are.

I suppose history repeats itself.

Human animals must be contained to Earth because the natural animal instinct of humans is to eat, excrete, and copulate without regard for consequences. 

Humans also like to explore and expand their boundaries.

Does that adequately address your point? 

It'll do.

Are you now going to throw sand, do a soft shoe, and dance away from the arguments you've made

Not at all. If anything, your post only support my claim. You certainly haven't refuted my argument.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.4.6  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.5    10 months ago
Not at all. If anything, your post only support my claim. You certainly haven't refuted my argument.

Well your position argues against evidence, knowledge, and reason.  Following the evidence is pointless when human endeavors are governed by animal instincts.  Animals do what they do according to their evolved natural instincts and no amount of evidence, knowledge, or reason will change that.

Since humans are animals, as you claim, then any sort of societal governance based upon evidence and reason is a sham.  Humans, as animals, are driven by their evolved natural instincts to pursue status and privilege.  That is the nature of the human animal.  And those who are forced into a lower status must simply accept that as the natural order.  Natural selection isn't fair or democratic.  

The logic is inescapable.  Only the strongest lead and only the fittest survive.  That is the natural order for animals.  That is what you are claiming.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.4.7  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.6    10 months ago
Well your position argues against evidence, knowledge, and reason. 

Not at all. Humans are animals. We are part of the animal kingdom. You even agreed "humans are animals."

Following the evidence is pointless when human endeavors are governed by animal instincts.  Animals do what they do according to their evolved natural instincts and no amount of evidence, knowledge, or reason will change that.

Humans have instincts too. Do you deny that? We may not be as strongly governed by instinct as "wild" animals are. But instinct is still there.

Since humans are animals, as you claim, then any sort of societal governance based upon evidence and reason is a sham.  Humans, as animals, are driven by their evolved natural instincts to pursue status and privilege.  That is the nature of the human animal

Humans are social animals. As such, we develop community and hierarchy. This is observed in other primates too.

 Natural selection isn't fair or democratic.

No one ever claimed it was.

The logic is inescapable.  Only the strongest lead and only the fittest survive.  That is the natural order for animals. 

That's natural selection. The engine of evolution.

That is what you are claiming.

That is a lie! Specify precisely where I claimed that!

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.4.8  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.7    10 months ago
Humans have instincts too. Do you deny that? We may not be as strongly governed by instinct as "wild" animals are. But instinct is still there.

And here comes the sand and soft shoe to dance away from the argument you've made. 

As I stated, being human is more than being an animal.  Humans have ability to exert control over their animal instincts; that's what makes the animal a human.  Humans need constant reminding that they can control their evolved natural instincts and behave as humans rather than behaving like animals.  That's my argument that you said was incorrect.

That is a lie! Specify precisely where I claimed that!

You claimed humans are animals.  You claimed my argument that being human is more than being animal was wrong.

Now you're dancing away from your own argument.

256

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.4.9  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.7    10 months ago

Do you now see why I characterized the seeded article as a rant against Western philosophies using scientific arguments as a thin veneer?

Science is being used as a thin veneer to disguise Anglophobic bigotry.  The seeded article is appealing to our animal instincts driven by emotional language and not appealing to our capacity to reason.  The seeded article is an abuse of science.  Humans are animals after all, that's what the scientific evidence tells us.

People are apes, that's true.  But being human is more than being a naked ape.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.4.10  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.8    10 months ago
And here comes the sand and soft shoe to dance away from the argument you've made. 

Not at all. I said all along humans are animals and have instincts. You even agreed. Do you deny that?

As I stated, being human is more than being an animal.  Humans have ability to exert control over their animal instincts; that's what makes the animal a human. 

And I said it was to a degree. That doesn't mean humans are generally capable of completely overriding instinct.

You claimed humans are animals.  You claimed my argument that being human is more than being animal was wrong.

Here is what you said, "The logic is inescapable.  Only the strongest lead and only the fittest survive.  That is the natural order for animals.  That is what you are claiming." Specify where I said that! You are now trying to put words in my mouth, which is a dishonest tactic!

Do you now see why I characterized the seeded article as a rant against Western philosophies using scientific arguments as a thin veneer?

No. All I see is another rant, not surprisingly antagonistic against science to some degree.

The seeded article is appealing to our animal instincts driven by emotional language and not appealing to our capacity to reason. 

Humans can reason. But humans are also emotional. It doesn't take much for one to lose reason and become emotional or irrational.

The seeded article is an abuse of science.  Humans are animals after all, that's what the scientific evidence tells us.

And you have agreed humans are animals, as I have said all along. As animals, humans also have instincts.

People are apes, that's true. 

Glad you agree.

But being human is more than being a naked ape.

About 3% DNA difference.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.5  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @2    10 months ago
If humans are animals then it matters not what we do. 

Humans are animals. There's no 'if' about it. Humans are members of the animal kingdom, of the species Homo sapiens. What we do matters in a societal context.

Humans would be as a swarm of locusts consuming everything in its path until nature intervenes.

Humans kind of already are. 

We don't just live within nature as animals do.

If you mean like roaming plains or swinging from trees in a forest, then no. But we live in nature in that we are subject to natural forces and we depend on nature for our survival.

As the examples of history demonstrate humans need constant reminding that they are not controlled by animal instincts. 

Humans, like all animals, have instincts. 

Humans can exert control over their animal instincts by choice and humans need to be constantly reminded they can choose to not be animals.

While true to a degree, instincts are quite powerful and not easily overidden.

The point of philosophical scrutiny of human behavior is to reinforce that humans behaving like Gibraltar monkeys would be unacceptable.

Monkeys and humans share some similar behavioral traits.

People are apes.

Technically, we share a common ancestor with apes. But at least you acknowledge that.

Being human requires more than just being an ape. 

There's a 3.1% difference in DNA between Apes and humans. All humans need is that 3.1%. There's an even less of a difference between humans and chimpanzees. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
2.6  Split Personality  replied to  Nerm_L @2    10 months ago
Humans would be as a swarm of locusts consuming everything in its path until nature intervenes.

Not a perfect analogy but what makes you think the humans aren't locusts in slow motion?

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
3  bbl-1    10 months ago

Well done.

Except some folk would be hard to categorize as being in the same genre as everyone else.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
4  Greg Jones    10 months ago

Humans are simply highly evolved primates, with a highly developed brain

primates-1-638.jpg?cb=1352129416

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
5  Hallux    10 months ago

Human - Pig - Chicken - Fetus

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
5.1  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Hallux @5    10 months ago

Great illustration!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hallux @5    10 months ago

They all look the same until the second trimester (I'm guessing on that)

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.2.1  Gordy327  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.2    10 months ago
They all look the same until the second trimester (I'm guessing on that)

You're not wrong. Compare an embryo/fetus of a human to a pig, dog, and cat (and probably other mammals too) and I doubt you'd be able to tell which species which fetus belongs to, except by sheer luck.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6  Trout Giggles    10 months ago

Why do we wear clothes and animals don't? Is it because we don't have fur to insulate ourselves? Or did we lose the fur/hair when we began to wear animal skins?

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
6.1  Hallux  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    10 months ago

After Eve ate the apple the Devil created Saks 5th Avenue while the other Guy was resting.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hallux @6.1    10 months ago

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
6.1.2  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Hallux @6.1    10 months ago

Wait, I thought the devil wore Prada?

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
6.1.3  Dulay  replied to  Larry Hampton @6.1.2    10 months ago

They sell Prada at Saks.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
6.1.4  Thomas  replied to  Larry Hampton @6.1.2    10 months ago

That is accessorizing...

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
6.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    10 months ago
Or did we lose the fur/hair when we began to wear animal skins?

Yes.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
6.3  Gordy327  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    10 months ago
Why do we wear clothes and animals don't? Is it because we don't have fur to insulate ourselves? Or did we lose the fur/hair when we began to wear animal skins?

Smithsonian Magazine (December, 2018) offers this possible explanation: 

A more widely accepted theory is that, when human ancestors moved from the cool shady forests into the savannah, they developed a new method of thermoregulation. Losing all that fur made it possible for hominins to hunt during the day in the hot grasslands without overheating. An increase in sweat glands, many more than other primates, also kept early humans on the cool side. The development of fire and clothing meant that humans could keep cool during the day and cozy up at night .

This makes sense in that humans became successful endurance hunters, able to track and chase prey over long distances. Animals could sprint away, but could overheat and become exhausted. Humans by comparison were slower, but were more marathon runners, able to keep the pace for longer distances and eventually catch up with exhausted prey.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.4  Split Personality  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    10 months ago

We lived on the beaches in very warm climates and very warm water for tens of thousands of years.

Like many other salt water mammals, hippos, elephants, crocodiles we have tear glans to shed excess salt,

We lost the hair up to our heads, learned to squint and shade or eyes from the sun reflecting on the water.

Most people are reactive to crabs & spiders, eels and snakes.

Eventually our yelling became crude language.

When the Ice Ages returned several strains of HS disappeared, others adapted to wear plants and furs.

plenty of shit can happen in several 100,000 years.

Good reading, "The Decent of Woman" Elaine Morgan, the aquatic theory.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
6.4.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Split Personality @6.4    10 months ago

The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris

320 The Naked Ape , which was serialised in the Daily Mirror newspaper and has been translated into 23 languages, depicts human behaviour as largely evolved to meet the challenges of prehistoric life as a hunter  (see Nature  versus nurture ) . The book was so named because out of 193 species of monkeys and apes, only humans ( Homo sapiens sapiens ) are not covered in hair. Desmond Morris, the author, who had been the curator of mammals at London  Zoo , said his book was intended to popularise and demystify science. [1]

Morris said that Homo sapiens not only have the largest brains of all higher primates, but that sexual selection in human evolution has caused humans to have the highest ratio of penis size to body mass. Morris conjectured that human ear-lobes developed as an additional erogenous zone to facilitate the extended sexuality necessary in the evolution of human monogamous pair bonding. Morris further stated that the more rounded shape of human female breasts means they are mainly a sexual signalling device rather than simply for providing milk for infants. [1]

Morris framed many features of human behaviour in the context of evolutionat a time when cultural explanations were more orthodox. For example, Morris wrote that the intense human pair bond evolved so that men who were out hunting could trust that their mates back home were not having sex with other men, and suggested the possibility that sparse body hair evolved because the "nakedness" helped intensify pair bonding by increasing tactile pleasure. [2]

One of those rare books that reconfigures our understanding of the world. I've read the overthrow of many of the book's details, but the fundamental thesis has stood the test of time.

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
6.4.2  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Bob Nelson @6.4.1    10 months ago

For me the missing element is truly digesting the fact that life on our planet has coevolved. There is no understanding our real differences until we see our sameness. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
6.4.3  Bob Nelson  replied to  Larry Hampton @6.4.2    10 months ago

Yes.

How intelligent is an octopus?

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.4.4  Split Personality  replied to  Bob Nelson @6.4.3    9 months ago

I ran a pet shop once and have extensive experience in salt water aquariums. 

In my opinion octupi are smarter than most people and should be left in the ocean.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.4.5  Split Personality  replied to  Larry Hampton @6.4.2    9 months ago
There is no understanding our real differences until we see our sameness. 

One thing Elaine Morgan did was point out similarities between many salt water mammals and people.

Some of her conclusions have since been proven wrong,

but Oh what a wake up call !

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
6.4.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  Split Personality @6.4.4    9 months ago
octupi are smarter than most people

That's not saying much.

I've seen video of octopuses solving problems that would stump most people.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.4.7  Split Personality  replied to  Bob Nelson @6.4.6    9 months ago

There was a video of an octopus partially removing the tank cover, visiting another tank to eat sleeping fish

and returning to it's own tank, pulling the cover closed behind it.

Been there, lost a lot of fish.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
6.4.8  Bob Nelson  replied to  Split Personality @6.4.7    9 months ago

That's fabulous!

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
6.4.9  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Split Personality @6.4.7    9 months ago

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.4.10  Split Personality  replied to  Larry Hampton @6.4.9    9 months ago

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
7  Bob Nelson    10 months ago

good seed, good conversation

We eat, sleep, screw, and crap. So does every animal on Earth. We build bigger stuff than the others. 

Yay us!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.1  Kavika   replied to  Bob Nelson @7    10 months ago

We also kill more of our own kind by a long way. 

Yay us!

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
7.1.1  Thomas  replied to  Kavika @7.1    10 months ago

jrSmiley_84_smiley_image.gif What a celebration

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Thomas @7.1.1    10 months ago

Sad isn't it Thomas, we are supposed to be so much more civilized than the animals yet we are far far more vicious with not only other humans but with animals as well.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
7.2  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @7    10 months ago
We build bigger stuff than the others. 

We also build cooler stuff. 

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
Professor Guide
7.2.1  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Gordy327 @7.2    9 months ago

Do we really?

I am not disputing the truth of your statement, I do however question the spirit of what that actually means.
Undoubtedly our creations can evoke awe; our aspirations of grandeur however have also caused destruction beyond the cruelest of wild imagination. 

Perhaps true cooldom would be our species choosing to be the caretakers we could be. More than any other species, we, by leaps and bounds, have the perfect training, smarts, and capabilities to do such  

My honest belief is that humans could solve nearly all of the our disease, starvation, thirst, addiction, illness and loneliness hurdles. The stumbling block is our unwillingness to corroborate our real identity. 
We will never be fully human until we digest the fact that we are also merely co-passengers with a bazillion other species in the same position on this rock. 
We have an obligation to life on this planet, if for no other reason than that we are the ones with ability, and tools to do so.
The human species could be saviors if we want to. 

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
8  Hal A. Lujah    9 months ago

... a bundle of instincts.

You’d have to put forth a pretty strong argument to convince me that Republicans in Congress exceed this threshold.

 
 
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