can anyone explain to me why humans a...

can anyone explain to me why humans are the only sentient beings?

Posted in the Evolution Debate Forum

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christian

United States

#1 Mar 16, 2008
if you explain this too me then you have me on evolution no one can explain to me hy humans are the only creatures who think on the level that we do.

Since: Dec 06

Clearwater, Florida USA

#2 Mar 16, 2008
2 reasons i know of christian.

1. G-d made us in his own image and He thinks on a big level as well.

2. I recall excellent science program years ago that explained it very simply. As i remember it, it has to do with our upright position, and the increase size of our brains. By standing upright we evolved a circulatory system. That dissipated heat in our brains and our eating meat unlike giraffes. Someone on board here will be able to explain it far better than i.

“Evil Atheist :-)”

Since: Mar 07

Location hidden

#3 Mar 16, 2008
christian wrote:
if you explain this too me then you have me on evolution no one can explain to me hy humans are the only creatures who think on the level that we do.
Some creature had to be the first to evolve to this level of intelligence, and here we are.

The reason there aren't any others is because we out competed or killed off all the other apeman such as the neaderthals.
MIDutch

South Haven, MI

#4 Mar 16, 2008
christian wrote:
if you explain this too me then you have me on evolution no one can explain to me hy humans are the only creatures who think on the level that we do.
Madame/Mr. Christian, I hate to have to point this out to you, but we weren't the only creatures to develop the sort of intelligence we have. Homo neanderthalensis made, controlled and used fire, they made sophisticated tools, organized their society, probably had language, buried their dead with ritualistic ceremonies. In all likelihood, if they would have survived, they would be just as advanced as we are now.

Heck, if they would have survived they'd probably be on TV selling insurance just like us "sapiens".

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

United States

#5 Mar 16, 2008
Define "on the level we do", define "sentient".

Yes, humans have machines. We are physically able to construct complex tools, which means that we have the mental capacity to design them - but it also means that we have access and the ability to manipulate materials.

Dolphins could be just as smart as we are, but without thumbs or fire, they simply can not construct tools.(Nor do they have the need to).

Dolphins, Elephants, or Primates and (I believe) even a few kinds of birds are so self aware that they can recognize themselves in the mirror.

These animals have also managed to learn some of the human language - a feat which we have not been able to replicated. There aren't any people who can understand when a dolphin wants us to jump through a hoop.

I think that the original poster is starting from a false premise and needs to better define their words before this conversation can go much further.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Level 2

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#7 Mar 17, 2008
christian wrote:
if you explain this too me then you have me on evolution no one can explain to me hy humans are the only creatures who think on the level that we do.
First, you have to PROVE that humans ARE the only ones.

There's the obvious, but different intelligence of elephants.

There's the obvious, but different intelligence of cetaceans.

There may well be other intelligences that are quite sentient, but of such a different nature from us, that we do not recognize their sentience.

So, your original question requires more limits, in order to answer correctly.
christian

United States

#8 Mar 17, 2008
when i say on the level that we do i mean and i'm sure you guys understand this the complications of our thought. i love animals but i doubt elephants consider there existece on a daily basis. i understand what you guys are saying but i don't at the same time. why aren't sharks as intelligent as humans? why are gorillas and apes not our superiors if we eveolved along the same lines?

why are human beings the only creatures with the capacity to create and understand the multiple things we do? why do humans have the curiosity that urges us to try and learn and analyze behaviors of other creatures? chimps and dolphins have learned to understand human language to some extent, yet they don't try to recognize our anatomy. what makes humanity different from the animal kingdom in terms of evolutionary thought?

what gives humanity it's mental advantage over other species?

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

United States

#9 Mar 18, 2008
christian wrote:
when i say on the level that we do i mean and i'm sure you guys understand this the complications of our thought. i love animals but i doubt elephants consider there existece on a daily basis.
I'm sure most elephants doubt humans consider their existence on a daily basis-- and they'd be right.

The guy slinging fries at the local McD is not much of a philosopher.
christian wrote:
why aren't sharks as intelligent as humans?
In every case, evolution selects for survivability and reproductive success.

Sharks are very good at getting food and having babies.

Adding intelligence to the mix would require either getting more food or diverting energy from other parts of the shark - and it wouldn't necessarily result in more food.
christian wrote:
why are gorillas and apes not our superiors if we eveolved along the same lines?
We'd didn't evolve along the "same" lines. We split off from them in a time when neither pre-humans nor pre-chimps were all that smart.

They went with "strong" we went with "smart". A average chimp could rip you limb from limb.
christian wrote:
why are human beings the only creatures with the capacity to create and understand the multiple things we do?
Chimps and ravens both use tools and manipulate their environment.
christian wrote:
why do humans have the curiosity that urges us to try and learn and analyze behaviors of other creatures?
My dog is fascinated by my behavior. That's an animal analyzing human behavior.
christian wrote:
chimps and dolphins have learned to understand human language to some extent, yet they don't try to recognize our anatomy.
This is just false. Chimps, dolphins and elephants all recognize their anatomy as the paint/mirror test shows.
christian wrote:
what makes humanity different from the animal kingdom in terms of evolutionary thought?
what gives humanity it's mental advantage over other species?
For whatever reason, we developed a strategy for survival that included group dynamics and increased intelligence.

It's an extremely risky, high prices series of mutations. Brains cost so much to feed that we divert a lot of the energy which would normally go to muscle mass.

Because we live on the surface as opposed to below ground or underwater. And because we are relatively furless. And because we have thumbs. And because we didn't evolve in treeless plains or arctic north, we were able to tame fire.

Fire is the biggest difference between early humans and everything else that had ever been on Earth. From fire comes everything else we've ever accomplished.
christian

United States

#10 Mar 18, 2008
so you're saying the key to human sentience is fire?
EADGBE

United States

#11 Mar 18, 2008
christian wrote:
when i say on the level that we do i mean and i'm sure you guys understand this the complications of our thought. i love animals but i doubt elephants consider there existece on a daily basis. i understand what you guys are saying but i don't at the same time. why aren't sharks as intelligent as humans? why are gorillas and apes not our superiors if we eveolved along the same lines?
why are human beings the only creatures with the capacity to create and understand the multiple things we do? why do humans have the curiosity that urges us to try and learn and analyze behaviors of other creatures? chimps and dolphins have learned to understand human language to some extent, yet they don't try to recognize our anatomy. what makes humanity different from the animal kingdom in terms of evolutionary thought?
what gives humanity it's mental advantage over other species?
I'm just guessing, but I'd offer the unique regulation of the development and of our cerebral cortex as there are plenty of examples where disruptions of this development result in folks with very limited capacities by standard measures. As for why certain animals aren't our superiors, well if you're swimming, then a shark is your superior. If you're trying to fly, then a bat is your superior. Trying to smell, a grizzly bear; trying to climb a tree, an orangutuan, trying to run, an antelope, etc. If you haven't already heard, then you might be interested in some of the "memory" research comparing humans to chimps:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/...
However, for all our superiority, we still can't beat the simplest of "life" forms, despite all our cognitive abilities and all of our accumulated technology. In the race to replicate, brain power and self awareness aren't necessarily the only or best strategy.
Cheers!

“Turning coffee into theorems”

Since: Dec 06

Trapped inside a Klein Bottle

#12 Mar 19, 2008
christian wrote:
so you're saying the key to human sentience is fire?
I believe he was saying that fire is the key to our technology...which is a statement I would agree with. Without fire, we would be limited pretty much to stone and wood tools.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

United States

#13 Mar 19, 2008
christian wrote:
so you're saying the key to human sentience is fire?
No, I'm saying the key to human technological advancement is fire.

"Sentience" is amorphous. I don't know that rats aren't sentient. I don't think they are. I don't know that whales aren't sentient, but I suspect that they are.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Level 2

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#14 Mar 20, 2008
christian wrote:
when i say on the level that we do i mean and i'm sure you guys understand this the complications of our thought. i love animals but i doubt elephants consider there existece on a daily basis. i understand what you guys are saying but i don't at the same time. why aren't sharks as intelligent as humans? why are gorillas and apes not our superiors if we eveolved along the same lines?
why are human beings the only creatures with the capacity to create and understand the multiple things we do? why do humans have the curiosity that urges us to try and learn and analyze behaviors of other creatures? chimps and dolphins have learned to understand human language to some extent, yet they don't try to recognize our anatomy. what makes humanity different from the animal kingdom in terms of evolutionary thought?
what gives humanity it's mental advantage over other species?
Nggn gave a very concise outline of what I would have said, with regards to a rebuttal.

Nice one Nggn!

Humanity's advantage over other species stems solely from humanities ability to cooperate as a SOCIAL animal.

Face it there are stronger, faster, more prolific, more-more-more species than us. I am pretty sure that there are "more smarter" than us as well-- but none of these cooperate quite like we humans do.

Smarter does not automatically translate to more successful.

I _would_ agree that humans are more successful, if you count the number and varied environments in which you find humans living.

And if you count the impact that humans have had, world-wide-- our presence is felt from the highest mountains (melting snow) to the deepest oceanic trenches (contaminated with our waste products)-- even out into near space, we leave our stuff.

As for the WHY we are the only ones?

This is a PHILOSOPHICAL question, actually.

Other than the obvious-- we were first, and we actively suppressed any close contenders (like the Neanderthals). And are actively suppressing any chance of the other apes as well, by simple stint of removing their living spaces as fast as we are able.

Why us? We were first.

Why? Unknown-- the luck of the draw?

On the other hand, if some OTHER species were first, it would be THAT species asking the "why us" question, and not us....

Some species had to be first. Turns out it was us.

If it makes you feel better to attach some Cosmic Significance to that-- go right ahead.
Serenit

Leominster, MA

#15 Apr 3, 2008
Here's a link to a web article that addresses some of the questions asked at this forum:
http://www.lcmedia.com/mind9827.htm

IMOHO, humans have for too long arrogantly presumed our superiority to animals, and continue to do so as evidenced by the alarming rate of extermination of entire species at the hands of humans. A very wise Native American, Chief Seattle, said: "All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, bfalls the sons and daughters of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." But most of mankind is so short-sighted, they seem to think only of what profits them in this moment and dismiss or deny what the long-term consequences will be. Walk softly upon the earth, and take care of all the creatures that walk here with us!
black bill

Santa Fe, NM

#16 Apr 8, 2011
Sentience is the ability to feel, or perceive, or be conscious, or have subjective experiences. 18th century philosophers used the term to distinguish the ability to think ("reason") from the ability to feel ("sentience"). In modern western philosophy, sentience is the ability to have sensations or experiences with a subjective quality known as "qualia". For Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that requires respect and care. The term is central to the philosophy of animal rights, because sentience implies the ability to suffer, which entails certain rights. In science fiction, a non-human character described as "sentient" will typically have similar abilities, qualities and rights to a human being.
val

Lockhart, TX

#17 Jan 14, 2013
thumbs. problem solved

“When you treat people as they ”

Level 6

Since: Nov 10

treat you they get offended.

#18 Jan 15, 2013
christian wrote:
if you explain this too me then you have me on evolution no one can explain to me hy humans are the only creatures who think on the level that we do.
What gives you the impression that humans are the only sentient entity on this ball of rock

“Maccullochella macquariensis”

Since: May 08

Melbourne, Australia

#19 Jan 15, 2013
val wrote:
thumbs. problem solved
Well, by that measure, koalas should have outstripped us, since they have two thumbs on each hand. Oh, and chimps have thumbs.

<evil grin>
herpderp

United States

#20 Mar 30, 2013
there is no proof that an animal that uses tools or looks like they are analyzing the environment critically are not simply acting on instinct. Every sighn of animal intelligence could just be instinctual behavior, because it is usually common throughout the species. with humans, we are so self aware that it gets in the way of our ability to survive. What animal has that problem?

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

Los Angeles, CA

#21 Mar 30, 2013
herpderp wrote:
there is no proof that an animal that uses tools or looks like they are analyzing the environment critically are not simply acting on instinct. Every sighn of animal intelligence could just be instinctual behavior, because it is usually common throughout the species. with humans, we are so self aware that it gets in the way of our ability to survive. What animal has that problem?
Crows can not be operating on "instinct" when they bend a wire to make a tool to hook a basket that has a treat it in.

Wires, man-made puzzles, etc. This stuff hasn't been around long enough for instinct to become encoded.

Further, there are plenty of animals that show _CULTURAL_ differences in tool use. That CAN'T be instinct. It's taught.

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