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. #71
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    You lost me at "monkey." Did you mean "ape"?
    Monkey is derogatory term for ape I used

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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Humans lived in much the same way as their simian counterparts for much of our existence, in small hunter-gatherer groups making shelters out of whatever happened to be handy, gathering wild edible plants, and hunting other animals for food. Yes, we did carry tool making to a greater degree than most other animals, so there is some difference.

    The real question, IMO, is how is it that modern man has accomplished so much more than our ancestors did for the first 95% of our existence?

    And, how do we know that other animals don't have the potential to advance just as quickly, given the chance?

    I other words, the contrast you describe is just as much between humans and humans as it is between humans and other animals.
    "Given the chance" is really a subjective term here. It wasn't any one thing, or even a dozen things that helped us rise to the top. Even if dolphins were smarter than us, they lack the physical appendages to build and conquer like we have.

    I remember a while back I watched a documentary on human evolution and it stated that one of the primary catalysts that separated us from the rest of the simian family was a genetic anomaly which caused our jaws to stick out further, which in turn allowed more space for the brain to grow, which led eventually to our heightened intellect.
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by sawyerloggingon View Post
    Monkey is derogatory term for ape I used
    Monkey and ape are actually two different sets of species, is what people are trying to tell you. Calling a gorilla "monkey" is biologically inaccurate because a gorilla is an ape, not a monkey.

    Certain animal species are so clever I sometimes wonder if the difference between us building cities and them was just that we invented cities first.
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by RabidAlpaca View Post
    "Given the chance" is really a subjective term here. It wasn't any one thing, or even a dozen things that helped us rise to the top. Even if dolphins were smarter than us, they lack the physical appendages to build and conquer like we have.

    I remember a while back I watched a documentary on human evolution and it stated that one of the primary catalysts that separated us from the rest of the simian family was a genetic anomaly which caused our jaws to stick out further, which in turn allowed more space for the brain to grow, which led eventually to our heightened intellect.
    Yes, they also think that walking upright allowed the head to grow bigger as well, as the neck could support more weight vertically than horizontally.

    But it still took us most of our existence before beginning to experiment with agriculture, animal husbandry, writing, and mathematics.
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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    The real question, IMO, is how is it that modern man has accomplished so much more than our ancestors did for the first 95% of our existence?
    I would say agriculture and, consequently, the emergence of large communities (cities).

    Most animals, including our ancestors, have to devote a huge portion of their lives and effort into securing a continuous energy supply just to stay alive. Mastering agriculture gave us the ability to produce that energy more efficiently and at a surplus. This allowed two important developments. 1) Humans had more time to devote to other pursuits than obtaining food and 2) Large, non-nomadic communities were able to begin forming (which were previously unsustainable in hunter-gatherer societies because the hunter-gatherer energy sources are diffuse, they aren't dense enough to support thousands, much less millions, of people in one single location).

    Now, because of the power of agriculture not everyone living in the community had to devote time to farming. This facilitated the development of crude economies. Let's suppose half of the inhabitants of the community needed to be farmers. The other half could devote their time to doing other useful things. Maybe chopping wood for structures, harvesting clay and forming pottery, etc. The farmers would trade the potters some wheat for a clay jug and so forth.

    It snowballs from there. Fast-forward to today, and you'll see only a tiny fraction of the world's population needs to be farmers to produce enough food for 7 billion people. This frees the vast majority of the population to devote themselves to other useful pursuits.

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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by the_recruit View Post
    I would say agriculture and, consequently, the emergence of large communities (cities).

    Most animals, including our ancestors, have to devote a huge portion of their lives and effort into securing a continuous energy supply just to stay alive. Mastering agriculture gave us the ability to produce that energy more efficiently and at a surplus. This allowed two important developments. 1) Humans had more time to devote to other pursuits than obtaining food and 2) Large, non-nomadic communities were able to begin forming (which were previously unsustainable in hunter-gatherer societies because the hunter-gatherer energy sources are diffuse, they aren't dense enough to support thousands, much less millions, of people in one single location).

    Now, because of the power of agriculture not everyone living in the community had to devote time to farming. This facilitated the development of crude economies. Let's suppose half of the inhabitants of the community needed to be farmers. The other half could devote their time to doing other useful things. Maybe chopping wood for structures, harvesting clay and forming pottery, etc. The farmers would trade the potters some wheat for a clay jug and so forth.

    It snowballs from there. Fast-forward to today, and you'll see only a tiny fraction of the world's population needs to be farmers to produce enough food for 7 billion people. This frees the vast majority of the population to devote themselves to other useful pursuits.
    Your theory is that agriculture is the spark that started everything else. That could be so. If it is, then the development of agriculture is the single biggest advance in human history.
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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.


    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.
    I very much agree with this, and very much disagree with the (loaded) term 'really smart monkey.'

    There is no doubt, absolutely zero, that we are the product of millions of years of evolution, and that we as a species are part of the greater primate family. We do indeed share a common ancestor with monkeys (though we are in no way descended from monkeys, and in fact we're relatively far away from monkeys in specific -- much closer to orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees).

    However, none of this is to say that we're unimportant, un-special, boring old gorillas running around scratching ourselves and thinking we have society.

    We ARE special, we ARE incredible, and we ARE much, much more than monkeys. We have culture, society, art, poetry, science, mathematics, rocketry, politics, economics, religion, philosophy. We're beautiful, creative and boundless in our motivation and drive.

    The OP, I suspect, believes that we cannot be all these things AND be 'monkeys.'

    He is wrong. In fact, he's so wrong that he misses entirely what the true beauty of humanity is -- we weren't given some divine 'spark', and we have no-one to thank but ourselves for the incredible culture and history we've built. Some fake god isn't the cause of all this -- WE are, and we're just upjumped monkeys!

    That's the cool part. It's a shame some can't see it.

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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    Humans are a virus, a flaw which soon the flow of time will extinguish and erase all record of. In a sentence: We have been too successful for our own good.


    Currently half of us are fat. Think about what that means for a minute. We are literally eating ourselves to death while depleting the planet of its precious resources. Eventually, this will result in a major fail. I cannot see how there could be any other outcome.
    We'll just adapt when the problems come. Many people will die.... and civilization as we know it will cease to exist, but we'll still be around as long as the sun is.... if we figure out how to stop a world ending meteor, which I think we can hypothetically do, then we will be alright. We can live in a wasteland.... unfortunately. As long as we have the sun for energy.

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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by celticwar17 View Post
    We'll just adapt when the problems come. Many people will die.... and civilization as we know it will cease to exist, but we'll still be around as long as the sun is.... if we figure out how to stop a world ending meteor, which I think we can hypothetically do, then we will be alright. We can live in a wasteland.... unfortunately. As long as we have the sun for energy.
    A 90% reduction in our population is not out of the question. As resources dwindle, wars ignite, followed by disease, pestilence and famine. The apocolyptic screeds preached by the crazies at least have that part right.

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    Re: Is man just a really smart monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Where homo sapiens really began to diverge from the other animals is around ten thousand years ago when we started to experiment with agriculture, writing, mathematics, animal husbandry, and building more permanent structures.
    Incorrect. Our tool-making had already given evidence of radical divergence. It occurs to me to mention that our art work and language also did.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Just why that happened, after 95% of our history had already passed, is one of the great mysteries of human progress.
    But not one which erodes our position in the intelligence hierarchy at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    The cetaceans have no opportunity to develop any of that living in their watery world.
    Again: if cetaceans were anywhere near as smart as humans we would have discovered so in the course of our ongoing, decades-long, 24/7/365 study of them. That goes especially for their languages, a subject of special concentration. If for example they recited poetry to each other we would know about it by now. We would also know it if they could be trained to do even simple arithmetic

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