Closer To Truth: Human Uniqueness

There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also numerous books and also a website) called “Closer To Truth”. It is hosted through neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of latest cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and so on. On all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of extensive topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; Meaning. The trilogy together dealt with fact, area and time, thoughts and recognition, extraterrestrial beings, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few of my feedback on considered one of the general topics included, a topic managing the alleged forte of the human species.

What are Persons?

IMHO we virtually, really need to break out from this idea that we, humans, folks, anything are an organism and hence are by some means a unmarried biological entity. We are a colony or organisms, cells is what we name them, and any discussion approximately what constitutes someone desires to return to grips with that organic truth. So, man or woman-hood begins with that first mobile. You are someone when you are asleep due to the fact your cells are still alive and wide awake and strutting their cell stuff. Someone with excessive mental deficiencies is someone due to the fact their bodily cells are nonetheless useful, such humans do not all of a surprising divest themselves in their mobile structures. The equal applies to any injury or sickness of the mind or some other a part of you for that depend. You best quit being someone whilst all of your cells are useless, and that simply would not take place until once you are declared to be [medically] useless. So, in that feel, the sense that we are a colony of organisms, we don’t range uniquely from other multi-cell organisms. So, what does it suggest to be someone? It means being an included dwelling colony of cells, albeit the employer of that colony will range from colony to colony (man or woman to individual), which is not unexpected while you recall that anybody colony (someone character) is constituted of billions of man or woman elements or cells. The odds that any two colonies (any humans) may be same are astronomically in opposition to.

What makes Personal Identity Continue?

What makes the identification of the sea preserve? I mean the identity of the oceans remains the identical from yr to 12 months even though with every passing second, water is evaporating and new water is entering via rain, melting icebergs, and the float of rivers. The numerous atoms and molecules of the alternative gases in our environment enter and depart the oceans on an ever ongoing basis. If this isn’t a mysterious system in oceanography, why have to it’s mysterious when it comes to our personal identification, and whilst we’re at it, permit’s no longer single out the human species. The identical applies to the private identification of all the different animals, even vegetation and microbes.

How are Humans Unique 1?

Of route human beings are specific, but so too is each and every other animal (and plant) species this is, has been, or probably ever may be although for no different reason than we understand other species. We can inform a cat other than a canine due to the fact cats are specific (as a species) and dogs are particular as a species. Each species likely has some trait(s) or characteristic(s) that makes them pinnacle-of-the-pops in that category. That applies to human beings too of route. We are king-of-the-mountain, but not with regards to every possible trait or characteristic. One other point is that ok, human beings can be king-of-the-mountain with appreciate to this trait or that characteristic, shall we embrace intelligence. We are primary with appreciate to intelligence (as a minimum until we discover ET or until artificial intelligence relegates us to 2d region). But our uniqueness with recognize to intelligence is only with the aid of degree, it isn’t absolute. Many other species have intelligence too, and now not handiest different primates just like the chimpanzee. Whales and dolphins rate quite high in intelligence too, and many a chicken is quite rattling smart. In truth to be referred to as a “chook-brain” is sincerely a praise. Then there’s the elephant, a exceedingly smart species lamentably headed closer to extinction on the palms of shrewd people. And it is now not simply vertebrates both. The humble octopus has pretty the IQ too. So sure, humans can pat themselves at the again about how particular we’re, however there are such a lot of qualifiers that I marvel if it is well worth making all that a whole lot fuss over.

How are Humans Unique 2?

How were the dinosaurs precise? Let us now not forget that if it hadn’t of been for a fluke asteroid strike 65 million years in the past, dinosaurs could still be king-of-the-mountain here on Planet Earth. There’s been a whole lot of hypothesis that one dinosaur type mainly, the theropod branch of the non-avian dinosaurs, in which some species are regarded to have had the exceptional mind to body size ratio of all the dinosaurs, including a bipedal gait with freed up “hands”, might have developed to come to be the equivalent of people, had not that asteroid smacked into our planet.

How Humans Differ from Other Animals 1

Well yes, human beings range from other animals, despite the fact that I’m no longer positive that is something to be overly pleased with. I’ve regularly idea that while human beings have the IQ, it’s the animals that sincerely have the smarts. Animals do not need an alarm clock to wake them up! Seriously, we people tend to connect high-quality significance to things that aren’t without a doubt important at all, and if reality be known, if animals had been privy to that, they’d be snickering in the back of our backs. I imply humans attach splendid significance to the Academy Awards (and loads of comparable award ceremonies like splendor pageants). Why does the “sizable superiority of human mentality” connect such importance to these types of happenings? Another instance is the consequences of carrying occasions. What’s the actual significance of the Olympic Games? Is it without a doubt crucial enough to justify all of the cash and all the hype? What’s so critical about sporting a fit and tie to work? Does this attire genuinely make you do a better activity? In fact the complete fashion industry is a waste of expertise and resources. No animal ought to ever understand a woman’s obsession with footwear! Animals are smart. They would not waste their time watching daytime tv sitcoms and ‘truth’ TV. Animals might discover nothing interesting approximately celebrities or royalty. Animals are not racist and are not so up themselves as to provide themselves honorary titles like Sir, or Saint, or Your Highness, or in truth the word Honourable. Can you consider an animal being obsessed on social media ‘likes’ and without end taking pix of oneself? What’s so unique about human nature that we want to take drugs that we recognize will harm us. Animal nature would not have a bar of this behaviour. And why are Americans especially enthusiastic about proudly owning weapons – greater of that giant mental superiority of ours? When is the closing time you saw a animal who required vacations and weekends off, or who attributed unique importance to some type of date? What animal offers a damn about middle of the night and New Years Eve becoming New Years Day? It’s additionally so fun to peer how people like to place themselves up on a pedestal as in have a look at us and how specific we are and how exclusive we’re from mere animals. I sometimes get the impression that humans worship human beings or as a minimum the idea of people or humanity more than they worship deities! That considerable superiority of human mentality may additionally ultimately be the reason of our extinction. The animals may have the last laugh, assuming we don’t drive them to extinction first.

How Humans Differ from Other Animals 2

I would maintain that humans and animals percentage more traits than vary. In thinking about this, I determined to evaluate and comparison myself with my accomplice animals – cats. For starters, we’re each mammals. We both are heat blooded and feature left-proper symmetry. We every have been conceived, born, experienced parental care and nursing, skilled play, increase, adulthood, growing older and eventually loss of life. We are both susceptible to diverse afflictions and sicknesses. We each need to devour, digest meals, eliminate waste products such as taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, and scratch wherein it itches. When it involves meals we are each carnivores, and cats will nibble on some plant cloth too, like grass. We each can eat and digest red meat (mice for cats) and chicken (birds and fish). We each have 5 senses which includes binocular imaginative and prescient. We every use intercourse for you to reproduce and bypass on our genes. We every have a mind and an automatic anxious machine. We every have a subconscious, and a awareness, and of direction memory. We can each research, and research from our errors. We both sleep and dream. We both yawn and stretch. We both assume, weigh up options, and make selections. We both can hassle remedy. We’re each an equally curious species. We every react to external stimuli. We equally reply to combat or flight alternatives as required. We can both appropriately communicate our needs and wants. We both exhibit frame language. We each have feelings in addition to likes and dislikes. We every have a feel of morality or ethics. Cats aren’t that large on the humanities, but I’ve had cats that respond favorably to tune and no doubt to them the sight of a full food bowl is creative splendor certainly. Given how a whole lot cats love warm temperature and sunny spots it would not surprise me that in the inner recesses in their minds they did not have the concept of a Sun god. They truely have a few information of physics when they chase after a ball in flight; they appreciate the character of gravity. Okay, arithmetic is past them, however a lot of mathematics is past me too. And sure, cats walk on four legs whilst we stroll on two, and most cats have a tail and have a lot more body hair than we’ve, however it really is hardly a large difference. If we were to tighten the parallels by way of contrasting ourselves with the better primates then we also embody device-making and tool use, language (despite the fact that simply as signal language), and that they too have some abstract ideas of no longer-things instead of understanding about just things. Primates know a piece approximately simple economics and change, even if it’s far buying and selling sex for grooming. While one should pass on and on comparing and contrasting, I assume the point is made that humans and animals are way extra alike than in our differences.

How Humans Differ from Other Animals 3

Try as I may, I can’t appear so that you can teach my cats even the maximum fundamental basics of arithmetic. That means that their grey matter hasn’t developed sufficient to be as much as the venture. So, I can pat myself on the lower back and say how one of a kind and precise I am from my cats in view that I can do the fundamentals of mathematics and they cannot. But then that were given me thinking that we people appear to feel that there may be not anything in idea that we can not grasp or recognize or understand. There is not anything the cosmos can show off within the way of complexity that we cannot finally come to terms with and completely recognize. Life, the Universe and the entirety is our understandable oyster. But what if humans are relative to something else, like ET, inside the equal manner as my cats and their capacity to realise mathematics are relative to me? Might no longer a great-sensible, remarkable-advanced race of aliens be able to understand standards that we simply couldn’t in a red healthy have a desire or a clue of know-how with our fantastically lack of state-of-the-art grey rely? If aliens would possibly appearance down upon people the manner humans look down on the animals, nicely, it’d possibly serve us proper to be knocked off our self-erected pedestal.

How Humans Differ from Other Animals 4

There are some of traits that appear to suggest human strong point, though I hold these trends aren’t a step-feature however a continuum, albeit a line that still locations people nicely in front of maximum if no longer all other animals.

Trait number one is our “bare ape” status relative to the other 183 or so species of primates. However, as we all well understand, we aren’t absolutely hairless, so the distinction is one in every of degree.

Trait wide variety two is that we by myself stroll upright with out gain of a balancing tail. However, this too is a matter of degree considering that a few primates, and other mammals (bears) and birds (penguins) do have the ability to use and can use a bipedal gait, albeit used sparingly.

Trait variety three is our very excessive IQ. However, once more there is a continuum between bacteria and human beings. It could be wrong to suggest that each different animal has the IQ of an amoeba. Many primates, many birds, the whales and dolphins, the elephants, even the common-or-garden octopus has a reasonable IQ.

Trait variety four is that we are a racially numerous species. That’s a polite way of saying we are available in breeds. However, many other species have ‘races’ inside the feel they have between them variety and distinctions sufficient to be considered that they too are available specific breeds.

Trait number five is that we are a facially numerous species. Humans tend to comprehend human beings, specially people they haven’t really met, thru their specific facial functions. In police line-usaand in court identifications it tends to be the face that gives the sport away. You’d be hard pressed to distinguish among cockroaches or alligators or brown bears or penguins primarily based on their face. However, in case you paintings virtually intently on a daily foundation with say chimpanzees or pretty much another vertebrate species, their minor facial information come to the fore and you can tell them apart. The bottom line in any occasion is that animals can tell those in their own species aside and that’s what counts.

Arguing God from Human Uniqueness 1?

What on this planet makes everyone think that people are precise? We might also have hugely greater social improvement, however massively greater isn’t similar to particular. Humans may also have advanced mental abilties however that is not the same as unique. As the late Carl Sagan and his spouse Ann Druyan argue of their book “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are”, there’s genuinely nothing 100% particular about the human species. Sure, we will pat ourselves on the returned about being king of the mountain almost about this trait, or we’re top of the pops with recognize to a few different trait, but while you slice and cube things, those tendencies fluctuate from other animal species by way of rely of degree, they do not vary truely. Our differences are relative. The best exception simply might be human handiest principles concerning a especially few abstractions, like the supernatural and an alleged soul and an afterlife and a feel of records, but all of this is just a part of our superior intellectual capabilities, not particular mental abilities. And least we overlook, each and each different animal species is king of the mountain with recognize to some trait or different. It actually is time human beings ceased being so actually up themselves. In fact that simply might be a human area of expertise! And in any event, uniqueness would not translate of necessity as a present from God. It may want to simply as effortlessly be a gift from Mother Nature thru the everyday methods of biological evolution and natural selection.

Arguing God from Human Uniqueness 2?

What I see here, and in similar “Closer to Truth” segments at the query of human forte, is a human interviewing people about humans. There would seem to be some type of obvious bias operating here. Humans arguing about human forte have an obvious purpose to pat human beings (and therefore themselves) on the returned. In short, I get the determined affect that people are completely up themselves. This dialogue will only emerge as a honest and same discussion when animals are requested the equal query about their specialty versus human specialty. What a story that might tell! To date, we are getting simply one side of the story – the human model. Okay, I know that the alternative facet of the coin isn’t always capable of be aired, at least not yet, although verbal exchange between man and sure animal species is improving all the time. However, until such time as the animals can communicate on this application for themselves instead of having human beings positioned phrases in their mouths, I will reserve judgment approximately simply how genuinely special we are.