Re: Are we "special"?

Thomas Clarke (
9 Dec 1996 03:41:22 GMT

In article <> Phillip Bigelow <> writes:
>Thomas Clarke wrote:

>> I distinguish the dynamics
>> from the boundary condition. The process from the preconditions.
>> Evolution is the process.

>Are you claiming that evolution acted in a unique ("special") way to
>produce unique ("special") creatures (hominids)?

No, of course not. Evolution acts in just the same way on
hominids as it does on any other species. I am saying that
since the outcome in the case of hominids has the unique
capability of language and associated culture etc, that the
conditions or environment in which that evolution occurred must have
had some special characteristics. If the environment was
not unique (the boundary conditions) then it stands to reason
that other species with language etc would have evolved.
[Alternatively there could be something special about the
"initial condition", the LCA in this case, butI think that
just pushes the problem of speciality back to an earlier time]

> If so, even though you are using evolution as the mechanism,
>your *premise* (the purported unique and special origins for
>hominids) is identical to the premise in the Book of Genesis.
>All you are adding is the "scientific wrapping paper" of evolution
>around your religious belief.

Geez. What do you think I am saying, that space aliens came down
and put this big monolith in the midst of a group of LCA's?

I don't think there is anything religous about it. Homo sapeins
is unique. I cite as evidence this conversation and its medium.

>Humans as a species are no more unique than any other
>defined species. Nor are humans any less unique than any other
>defined species. And within our own primate clade, humans are
>much more similar to chimpazees than are humming birds to ostriches.

Granted. Chimps still can't make computers.
In fact it seems to me that the closeness of chimp to man even adds
weight to my argument. Given the LCA or a hominid, or a chimp,
it doesn't take much in the way of evolutionary change to get a
Homo sapien or similar species with linguistic skills.
So why aren't there more around?
Special environment?
Were Homo sapiens the first (a special thing, being the first) and
the existence of one lingustic species precludes the evolution or

>It amazes me how so many people are unable to distinguish their
>religious views (or, alternatively, philosophies) from
>any conclusions that must be derived from the scientific method.

Perhaps you should examine the philosophic underpinnings of your
scientific stance.

Tom Clarke