Re: Are we "special"?

Paul Z. Myers (
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 19:22:26 -0500

In article <58mmj8$>, wrote:

<stuff deleted>

> Now, how can you maintain that in _ALL_ senses of the word, humans
> are just "typical" animals?
> That is as silly a position as that huminids got the way they are
> through devine intervention.
> Granted humans evolved just like any other animal (point 1 in my
> logical argument). In this sense they are typical or ordinary.
> However, we are conversing over the internet which is hardly a
> typical activity for an animal (my point 2).

The point, I think, is not that humans are incapable of any "special"
behavior; rather, every animal has its own unique repertoire of abilities.
When scientists disparage the kind of thinking that calls humans "special",
they are not doing it to demean _people_, they are doing it because
they have respect for the diversity of life beyond our own species.

> What word should I use to distinguish this ability of humans from
> the lack of that ability in non-human animals?
> > The fact that they are at opposite ends of
> > the evolution-creationism debate is not relavent to the point that
> > I was making.
> I guess you don't like awe. Aren't you ever awestruck by any of
> the facts of nature?

You've completely missed the point. Scientists are utterly, thoroughly
awed by nature...but a lowly little earthworm has awesome attributes,
too. There isn't just one pinnacle of creation, there are billions.

Paul Myers Department of Biology Temple University Philadelphia, PA 19122