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Understanding....Step #1

tecoyah

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In order to understand the reasons this is such a hot topic, I was hoping to clarify a few things that might help us all.


Step #1: What aspects of Human , actually seperate us from the animals we eat, and use without discretion?
 

Aurora151989

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tecoyah said:
In order to understand the reasons this is such a hot topic, I was hoping to clarify a few things that might help us all.


Step #1: What aspects of Human , actually seperate us from the animals we eat, and use without discretion?
I believe it would be adolescence and body image
 

tecoyah

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Aurora151989 said:
I believe it would be adolescence and body image
Well....you just disproved my theory of the thinking brain.

*^^^ Joke^^^^*
 

ngdawg

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Many explanations of differentiation use the descriptions of self-awareness and the process of logical reasoning(although that seems to fall by the wayside here too often). I have also read that the most profound difference though, is our awareness of mortality and time.
I, personally think that while these are the most logical and obvious differences(besides walking upright), since we are not Dr. Doolittles, we have no way of knowing if humans alone possess self-awareness and and understand time or mortality. Small but interesting personal observation: the only time my dog, Angie did NOT cry and get nervous in the car was the when I took her to the vet to be put down-she was extremely calm. Was she aware her 'mortality' had come to an end?
 

Felicity

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tecoyah said:
Step #1: What aspects of Human , actually seperate us from the animals we eat, and use without discretion?

This is what I said in resonse to FutureIncoming's "challenge" that he has in his sig. line--BTW...His challenge changed a bit from when I first took him up on it to what it appears to be now--He made at least two changes in the text of the challenge while I was conversing with him....but anyway...this post summarizes my position on it:

http://www.debatepolitics.com/showpost.php?p=97540&postcount=475
 

FutureIncoming

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tecoyah wrote: "In order to understand the reasons this is such a hot topic, I was hoping to clarify a few things that might help us all."

Aurora151989 replied: "I believe it would be adolescence and body image"

WRONG, certainly with respect to adolescence. Just think about Frontier America, in which eight-year-olds were given small-caliber rifles, were also properly trained in their use, and were then told it was OK to shoot various small-game animals for dinner (squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc).


In general, Science has been studying the differences between humans and other animals for quite enough time to have reached certain general and certain specific conclusions. IN GENERAL, humans are the same as other animals in many ways. Almost every trait possessed by humans is possessed in kind by ordinary animals, and vice-versa (with allowances for structural differences, such as comparing fish gills to lungs). We all have bones and muscles and specialized organs like brains and hearts and digestive tracts.

But certain traits, mostly mental, we possess to greater DEGREE than ordinary animals. Crows (among the smartest of birds) can count, for example, but only as high as four or so. We can count unlimitedly. Many animals can use a random natural object as a tool for a specific purpose; some even remember where they last put those tools. We note that many natural tools perform imperfectly, and can imagine (and construct) improvements in those tools. Animals can master mazes by exploring them thoroughly, eventually finding the shortest route through (a process that requires some logical comparison ability). Humans can use logic to solve problems far more complicated than mere mazes (one of the pinnacles so far is Fermat's Last Theorem). Many animals can communicate in various ways, from the chemical trails left by ants to the pheromones of moths to the dances of bees to the warning cries of baboons. We can communicate at levels of detail and thoroughness that no other animal can match.

All those and probably other traits both humans and animals possess, but humans simply have them to greater degree. But there are two or three traits found almost exclusively in humans. First is something that looks like an extension of "empathy". There is evidence that various ordinary animals sometimes show concern at the plight of a striken comrade; elephants actually seem to hold something like a funeral service when one of their number dies. But no ordinary animal can literally imagine itself as being in the same situation as its neighbor. Humans can do this so easily that there is almost a cliche, "There but for the grace of God go I" --in which one is glad NOT to be in the same situation as a neighbor! The second key mental trait is generally known as "Free Will". Humans appear to be easily able to make choices that do not have to be directly related to the circumstances in which they find themselves. When they happen to think about it, that is! Humans are as capable as any other animal of acting in a purely stimulus/response manner. But when some attention is granted to the possibilities, THEN you see such things as humans tackling forest fires, or sampling active volcanoes, or flying into hurricanes, while ordinary animals simply flee, always and without exception. And the third key mental trait of humans is that of abstraction. We can devise THINGS that represent other things, and we can manipulate those devised things in ways that may or may not parallel reality. From maps to artistry to science to language to ciphers to puns to mathematics and beyond, the easy manipulation of symbols is a primary thing that distinguishes us from ordinary animals.

It should be noted that in their cub-years many animals exhibit playfulness reminiscent of free will. Whether or not it is actually present, and becomes muted withe experience, remains to be determined. Next, some animals, like the famed gorilla named Koko, have shown some ability to learn and manipulate a small number of symbols. There is some uncertainty about how much of this came from training-since-birth, and how much is innate to gorillas. So again there is a chance that the advanced mental traits have here are a matter of degree more than of kind.

Finally, of course, are the simple scientific facts that humans do not possess those advanced traits in the womb, nor even for a couple years afterward. Their minds have to grow and develop enough for these traits to appear. In the womb, humans are AS animals only, and nothing more, except in the prejudiced minds of well-developed humans. Once that prejudice has been eliminated, so also will be eliminated the otherwise utterly baseless opposition to abortion which has been getting discussed so much in these Message Threads.

================
To Felicity: I edited my signature statement strictly to improve its technical accuracy, as was explaine at the times I did those changes. And your argument that unborn humans, with all their potentials, are fully equal to well-developed humans, remains as fallacious as ever.
 

Felicity

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FutureIncoming said:
To Felicity: I edited my signature statement strictly to improve its technical accuracy, as was explaine at the times I did those changes. And your argument that unborn humans, with all their potentials, are fully equal to well-developed humans, remains as fallacious as ever.
Oh...;) :cool:
 

Hornburger

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tecoyah said:
In order to understand the reasons this is such a hot topic, I was hoping to clarify a few things that might help us all.


Step #1: What aspects of Human , actually seperate us from the animals we eat, and use without discretion?
It's the fact that we stand on our hind legs. Because of this, we can utilize our brain capacity to create tools for our benefit that gives us advantages over our competition.
 
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