Re: Are we "special"?

Rohinton Collins (
2 Dec 1996 15:59:04 GMT

Paul Crowley <> wrote in article

> The following is NOT a subjective question:
> "Is H.s.s. so unusual that it stands outside the normal range
> of species to the extent that aspects of its evolution require
> explanations of a unique character?"

It is a non-sensical question however.

> > Every species' physiology is distinct by definition, so what?
> Agreed. However, in leaning over backwards to avoid "subjectivity"
> the professionals (as exemplified by Phillips's original statement)
> DENY the outstanding characteristics of our species. Your failure
> to understand my next paragraph is symptomatic.

Yes, symptomatic of good a scientific thought process.

> If there was some animal (say a sea worm) with an extraordinary
> organ, we would be anxious to explain its function and evolution.
> Howeve, we have in H.s.s. an animal with an extraordinary feature
> - its CNS, a vast and complex organ which has evolved with amazing
> rapidity; there is nothing else like it in nature; yet there is
> almost no attempt to explain its evolution. It is wished out of
> existence. We happily discuss evolution of muscles, bones, jaws
> and teeth, even though these probably involve no more than a few
> thousand genes. Yet we have an organ that required the selection
> of *millions* of beneficial genetic mutations - and we ignore it.

Are you really this stupid Paul, or do you just refuse to accept facts? A
feature of hominids may be a *relatively* complex CNS, but this does not
make us *special*. This word has no place in scientific argument or this
newsgroup. Is a dog *special* because its sense of smell is 400 times (or
whatever) more discerning than our own? Is an eagle *special* because it
can detect movement at several hundred metres? Is an owl *special* because
it can see in almost complete darkness? Are you getting the picture yet
Paul? Just because we have a relatively complex CNS, this makes us no more
special than the next species. This is from a scientific, objective
standpoint, which we should all be using. Insisting that we are *special*
is only one step away from saying that the first hominid was the first step
on the journey to humanity. Or that we are above all other animals. Again I
ask: are you religious Paul?

> Try to get November 23rd issue of New Scientist (UK). It has
> a lead article on this topic. Frank Tipler suggests that
> Darwinian imperatives require that the first intelligent
> species will colonise the whole galaxy in about 300 Myr.
> It could do this by travelling within the speed of light and
> stopping off at each inhibitable planet for about one hundred
> years at a time - to allow for the renewal of resources and
> duplication of space ships, etc. 300 Myr is nothing in
> relation to the life of the universe. So if there was
> intelligent life out there - it would be here.
> Paul.

Oh and of course this Mr Tipler is always right? Sounds like bollocks to
me. Do you have any idea how long it would take to travel to the nearest
inhabitable planet? And then perhaps to find that it isn't inhabitable
after all. It is far, far too early to start making such assumptions as
have been made above Paul. Do you claim to be a scientist Paul? Your
reasoning is forever illogical and based on invalid assumptions.