View Poll Results: Is man just a really smart monkey

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  • Yes, man is just a really smart monkey

    34 70.83%
  • No, manis something different than an animal, something superior even.

    14 29.17%
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Thread: Is man just a really smart monkey

  1. #101
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatNews2night View Post
    Of course as others pointed out we are vastly more intelligent than most animals. A few species approach some of our mental capacities (without possessing the flexibility, variety, and complexity of our high number of capacities), including dolphins, pigs, great apes, chimpanzees, elephants, crows, dogs, and surprisingly, squirrels and octopuses. As impressive as certain studies are (like the mentioned language and math capacities in dolphins, the abilities that pigs have of playing videogames, and how certain chimpanzees can be trained to perform complex tasks), we haven't exactly found dolphins who composed symphonies like Beethoven's 9th or pigs who have launched spaceships and have touched down on the moon.

    However when I think of it, degree of intelligence is not my main focus of concern. I do realize it is the focus of this thread so my contribution is a bit off-topic, but what I focus more, is on sentience, self-awareness, the understand of one's individual destiny and impending death, the ability to discern others as individuals, and similar operations that characterize what I'd see as personhood.

    By now, there is no scientific doubt about the fact that some of the other animal species in the planet are also sentient and self-conscious.

    I'm not particularly an animal lover, I don't have or desire to have pets, and I'm an omnivore.

    However I do believe that certain animals qualify for being considered as persons, and I think they should benefit from some laws granting them some rights such as not being killed by humans for any purpose (be it sport or feeding).

    If a dolphin recognizes himself on a mirror, has a name for himself and for his mate, has a concept of family, and mourns when a loved one passes away (and these traits have been more or less convincingly demonstrated in various studies), then a dolphin is a person, and as a person, shouldn't be killed for sport as certain people do especially in the Japanese culture. A person willingly killing a dolphin should be charged with a felony.

    I'm not sure how a dolphin would compare to a human in terms of IQ. Certainly their kind of intelligence must be very different from ours and concepts can't be easily transferred from one species to another. Dolphins lack hands to manipulate the environment and can't use fire as a source of energy given their liquid environment. These impediments prevent dolphins from developing a civilization, but certain scientists believe they would be able to develop one, if they had the appropriate means to manipulate their environment.

    In any case, even if certain species at best only reached an intelligence equivalent to that of a retarded human child (certain primates have been demonstrated to operate at an IQ estimated at about 50 which would correspond to that of a moderately mentally retarded child), killing a retarded child is a crime, therefore there is no justification for killing a dolphin just because their IQ is perhaps lower than ours (at least, from our side of how to understand and measure intelligence).

    So, without going to extremes (for example, I think a chicken and a cow and fish are fairly mindless creatures that are basically live stock raised or hunted/fished for human food consumption, and I have no problem whatsoever with killing and eating them), I believe that at least those animal species found to be sentient, self-aware, and most intelligent, should be protected and left alone to enjoy themselves the way they feel fit, and should be taken out of the human food chain or pleasure hunting targets.

    It's a form of kindness that we'd like to enjoy and deserve, if a species of hyper-intelligent space aliens came to Earth one day with an intelligence vastly superior to ours. We wouldn't appreciate it if they killed us just because our IQs were lower than theirs.

    I'd want a good body of evidence and scientific consensus to establish a short list of demonstrably sentient/self-aware/highly intelligent species, and I'd pass legislation making it illegal and a felony to kill them.

    Where to dry the line? Of course, it's difficult to say for sure, since according to a panel of scientists from Oxford University, most specials of mammals and birds have at least some form of rudimentary sentience.

    I'd draw the line fairly high (or else we'd impact on human food resources) - like I said, it would be a short list of species - but even if this left out some arguably sentient species, this would still be better than the current situation in which killing dolphins, pigs, elephants, and great apes in most places is not illegal, at least not outside the realm of endangered species legislation.

    My justification for not killing them has nothing to do with endangered species, which I consider to be a rather silly concept (let's leave Mother Nature alone; species have gone extinct by the billions for the entire history of the planet), but rather, with personhood. I don't care if there are 100 million dolphins or 100 of them left. I'd still find wrong to kill any of them, based on the fact that they seem to be able to think and to understand who they are and what is their individual destiny.
    That is a very interesting approach. I guess you could draw the line whenever the general public decide to add a specific species to the list. This sounds too complex to tackle. If you give them personhood, could they vote or apply for a driver's license? These species would have to be second class citizens in some fashion. That would open the door to classify some humans as second class citizens.

    I like your thinking very much. It was very fun to read your post. I really liked it.

  2. #102
    Educator GreatNews2night's Avatar
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by vasuderatorrent View Post
    That is a very interesting approach. I guess you could draw the line whenever the general public decide to add a specific species to the list. This sounds too complex to tackle. If you give them personhood, could they vote or apply for a driver's license? These species would have to be second class citizens in some fashion. That would open the door to classify some humans as second class citizens.

    I like your thinking very much. It was very fun to read your post. I really liked it.
    Thanks. I don't think Dolphins would be willing to vote or apes would be applying for a driver's license. Granting them personhood would not affect their pursuits (they have their own and they don't care for ours); it would just mean that they'd be afforded more protections since killing them would become a crime. I don't think this should be left up to the general public - or else all sorts of pet animals would be added for emotional, non-scientific reasons. That's why I'd like to see scientific consensus on a short list of highly intelligent, highly sentient species. I realize that this wouldn't be the most democratic approach, but to tell you the truth, democracy sometimes is over-rated, hehehe (a totally different discussion).

  3. #103
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Humanity is not merely qualitatively superior to all animals, (as in Humans 100 Chimp 50), but a whole different paradigm, a sort of Prigogine-like leap of organization and complexity far beyond the great apes, dolphins and whales.

    It is more than just a question of degree; it is a huge leap of orders of magnitude in complexity and sophistication. There is a vast gulf between the highest of animals and the average human.
    But not a large leap between the highest of animals and the lowest humans. (ie, developmentally disabled etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin
    Consider the complexity of thought and communication: humans are capable of thinking upon and communicating a virtual infinity of concepts, shaded with thousands of subtle nuances.... no animal can be shown to come even close in thought or communication.
    Comparing animals and humans is like comparing a Stone Age flint knife to a 21st century automated machine-tool factory. In a sense they are both TOOLS, yes... but the complexity of one is so far beyond the other than the automated factory would seem like magic to the maker of the stone knife.
    Consider art, literature, history, society, government... we organize and operate in realms of complexity and vast numbers of people coordinated into structures beyond the comprehension of apes and whales, who do not communicate beyond basic concepts nor organize larger than small bands.
    There simply is no comparison. Humanity may resemble Animal in certain rough ways, but in fact Humanity is something as far beyond animals as computers are beyond stone knives.
    Oh, but there IS a comparison and the chasm isn't/wasn't always as large as it appears now.

    How did We look 5000/10,000/25,000 years ago?
    How would the "automated machine tool shop" (or NYC) look to Our [still] Sapien descendants?
    We were hunter/gatherers living in caves or under trees.

    It's only with/since the advent of agriculture in the last 10,000 years that we and Our brains have evolved into what humanity looks like now. (Don't think that's what you had in mind!)
    "The 10,000 Year Explosion"
    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...year+explosion

    Man of 50k/20k/10k years ago was little more than a 'smart monkey'.
    Indeed, there are some remote peoples who still live Stone Age lives and would consider civilization/cities/aeroplanes 'magic'.
    "The Gods must be Crazy"
    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...t%20be%20crazy
    Last edited by mbig; 06-27-14 at 05:00 PM.
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  4. #104
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Mark Twain thought monkeys were superior to humans.
    "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice"---Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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