What is the difference between humans and all other species?

zntneo
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What is the difference between humans and all other species?

I am wondering what everyone thinks separates us from other species? One thing that I have thought of is that we are able to act irrationaly meaning without or against instinct.


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Humans can talk, animals

Humans can talk, animals can't.

Except parrots, but they just repeat words. I'd like to see someone teach a parrot how to say "I deny the Holy Spirit", though.


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Humans are among some of

Humans are among some of the very few organism on Earth that have a triple-tiered brain. Every mobile organism has a midbrain and limbic system, the first tier. Most have a Sensory and movement processing unit, but almost none have the third tier: The outer brain is reserved for several primates and the homo sapiens. It contains the higher cortex, processing advanced emotional reponse, advanced social constructs, and linguistic processing (gorillas can be taught sign language). The human's third tier is more complex than any other known thing on the planet earth.

Also

-We have far more complex protein folding than any other organism

-We have a larger genome in terms of the number of genes (not bases) than any other organism 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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American Atheist

American Atheist wrote:

Humans can talk, animals can't.

Except parrots, but they just repeat words. I'd like to see someone teach a parrot how to say "I deny the Holy Spirit", though.

bonobo apes can use language, when taught.  

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zntneo wrote:

zntneo wrote:
I am wondering what everyone thinks separates us from other species? One thing that I have thought of is that we are able to act irrationaly meaning without or against instinct.

humans get 'human rights' which seem to imply an intrinsic essence which is possible to 'violate.'  animals aren't granted these universlly.

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Proof that gluttony is not

Proof that gluttony is not a sin restricted only to humanity...

 


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I think one obvious thing is

I think one obvious thing is we are very good at manipulating our environment. Even if dolphins are as intelligent as us, they lack opposable digits.


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You talk about irrationality

You talk about irrationality being without or against instinct, which implies rationality is some sort of instinct. I doubt it is as we can be irrational so damn easy.

In the chat I used the analogy instinct=hardware and other things=software. The instinct as I understand it is in an animals "blood" or genes. The notions of rational or irrational are apart of the mind. While the brain and how it works is written in the genes how the person uses it is another story. The thing about instinct is that it isn't necessarily rational or irrational, it is just preprograming.
 
As I see it the main differences that allow us to be "different" aren't really unique. Thumb are needed to change the world around us and make tools. The brain power is needed to use and/or create such things, but also to problem solve in general. Communication and recorded lang is also need for humans to be "different." Without our ability for us to pass on complex knowledge every human would have to figure out everything on their own from what is hot to the basics of science.


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zntneo wrote: I am

zntneo wrote:
I am wondering what everyone thinks separates us from other species? One thing that I have thought of is that we are able to act irrationaly meaning without or against instinct.

Lots of animals can act against instinct, depending on how you define 'instinct'. I find that most people try to define instinct in a circular way, meaning 'anything a non-human animal does is instinct' combined with 'humans are not completely instinctual'. They then use this definition to support their preconceived notion that humans are somehow superior to animals.

What is different between us and other species is that we support an independently evolving culture with our exceptional communication and political intuitions. This is what sparked the recent evolution of homo sapiens.

Everything else we are that makes us different than chimps is derived from this one difference. It sparked the ability to use tools, to develop complex languages, to build technology, to art and literature, etc. 

Other animals can have culture too, but it's not independently evolving. It is tied inextricably to genetic evolution, namely biological limitations that prevent culture from being able to sustain its own level of evolution. For example, you can teach a chimp to use language, but you can't teach the chimp to teach other chimps to use language, so the progress made by the first chimp is lost when the chimp dies, making sustained evolution of language impossible. 

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deludedgod wrote: -We have

deludedgod wrote:
-We have far more complex protein folding than any other organism

-We have a larger genome in terms of the number of genes (not bases) than any other organism

Do you have any sources for these two points? Are you saying that our proteins are more complexly folded than a chimp's? In what way specifically?

Also, I had heard that plant genomes are often bigger than animal genomes, so if humans have the largest genome, I would be very surprised. Any references you have? 

... Yes, in fact a quick check of Wikipedia contradicts your claim: Humans have about 25,000 genes and rice alone has about 50,000. I bet something like Cannibis has even more.

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Natural, I dont think I made

Natural, I dont think I made myself clear enough. Humans have more functional genes than any other organism. In eukartotic genomes, most genes (for us it's about 91%) are worthless/redundant/trash/leftovers. There are many more organisms with much bigger genomes then us (hell, in terms of base pairs, an ameoba has over 1000 times our number)

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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deludedgod wrote: Natural,

deludedgod wrote:
Natural, I dont think I made myself clear enough. Humans have more functional genes than any other organism. In eukartotic genomes, most genes (for us it's about 91%) are worthless/redundant/trash/leftovers. There are many more organisms with much bigger genomes then us (hell, in terms of base pairs, an ameoba has over 1000 times our number)

Again, can you cite a reference? Hopefully online so I can read it. If true, this is an interesting fact that may shed light on some thoughts I have. 

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mouse wrote: American

mouse wrote:
American Atheist wrote:

Humans can talk, animals can't.

Except parrots, but they just repeat words. I'd like to see someone teach a parrot how to say "I deny the Holy Spirit", though.

bonobo apes can use language, when taught.

 

Sign language or do they say words? 


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My information comes from

My information comes from one of my molecular bio textbooks, but I can find this online.

http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/02_01/Sizing_genomes.shtml

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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This might add to the

This might add to the convo: http://www.livescience.com/animalworld/070222_chimp_hunters.html

FOX used the title "Killer Chimps Make Spears, Hunt Bushbabies" 


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Fascinating topic. I

Fascinating topic.

I decided to find something about irrational behavior in animals and  found this:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123113905.htm

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The main thing, IMO, is our

The main thing, IMO, is our ability to think abstractly and our concept of self. It is this sort of ability that leads to representation of objects, organisms and concepts that are not in front of one's face. It is this subtle nuance that allows for our empathy and our creativity - and in turn the ethics and morallity we derive from it.

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What i meant by instinct, is

What i meant by instinct, is that instead of being totaly reactionary to our environment we are able to think about how to act when situations arise.


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deludedgod wrote: My

deludedgod wrote:

My information comes from one of my molecular bio textbooks, but I can find this online.

http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/02_01/Sizing_genomes.shtml

That's not much of a reference to support your claims, though, is it?

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I don't think there's

I don't think there's anything about homo-sapiens that is completely unique to homo-sapiens, except of course being homo-sapiens.

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I haven't seen a non-human

I haven't seen a non-human post here yet...


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The only differences that

The only differences that are concrete as of now are our lineage and our morphology. That is, the precise line from which we evolved and the physical characteristics we derived from our common ancestry. In otherwords, humans are tetrapod, synapsid, placental mammal, ape, hominids who walk upright, plantigrade, evolved in africa, share a common ancestor with Chimps, etc. etc.

All other 'on-material' differences, in my opinion, are up for interpretation and may fall outside of the strict biological sciences. All the differences that may be touted have turned out to be without merit: Other animals use forms of communication neurologically similar to speech ... Otters use rocks to break oyster shells, Chimps use spears ... Also, based on the work that Frans de Waal is doing, it seems we can compare our moral senses with that of Chimps and see how morality evolved.

Sort of non-sequiter: I used to see this girl who was a pentacostal. I brought her to the Peabody Museum in New Haven to show her the scientific evidence for an old earth, evolution, etc. Everything was going great until we got to humans - she accepted the old earth, dinosaurs living millions of years ago (except for birds), the evolution of life from a common ancestor. But when we got to human origins, it became more tedious. I asked her what she though about this and she said, "Humans evolving makes me uncomfortable because it says in the Bible, God created humans as humans ..." So I asked her, what is a human? Is there a hard line when a creature could be called human? Are the Astralopithicines humans? Those of the genus Homo?

And that naturally brought us to the question above ... its something that should def. be thought about, though the current mode of thinking in the biological sciences (namely, phylogenetic systematics, cladistic analysis) tend towards looking at what makes us similar and what trait do we have in common, not what makes us different ...

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qbg wrote: I haven't seen a

qbg wrote:
I haven't seen a non-human post here yet...

And yet it could be arranged.

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American Atheist

American Atheist wrote:

Humans can talk, animals can't.

Except parrots, but they just repeat words. I'd like to see someone teach a parrot how to say "I deny the Holy Spirit", though.

If you record it, I wonder if the parrot receives a free "The God Who Wasn't There Video". Interesting spinSmiling


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Opposable thumb and upright

Opposable thumb and upright walking helps tool usage, while it is not essential for it.

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