Elazar Harel (
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 13:40:55 -0700

Couldn't sleep last night...

I was wondering if there is any information on thoughts/research done on
something along the line of the following thought-experiment:

1. A few test-tube human babies are created, born and left to be raised
on their own on another planet with similar conditions to Earth. They
have enough air, food and shelter to survive but have no contact with
any human beings from Earth. Now that they are mature adults:

a) What types of communication skills will they develop?
b) Will they be distinguishable from other primates?
c) Will they be self-conscious? if so, how will we be able to know that
(assuming that we can observe them)?
d) After several generations are born from these Homo-Sapiens, will they
develop languages, writing, humor, conscience, morals, philosophy,
technology? Will they develop differently and come up with completely
different paradigms that our civilization didn€t come up with?
f) What if these humans do not develop such skills? Would that alter
our judgement of other animals in terms of their development
capabilities? In other words, is it possible that the initial human
self-consciousness on Earth was accidental (or implanted from the
outside) and that other animals are capable of developing that too under
the right circumstances?
e) Would such an experiment alter our belief/disbelief/definition of the
existence of a human soul?

Thank you.

Elazar C. Harel
UCLA, 3327 Murphy Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1434

Phone: (310) 206-6478
Fax: (310) 825-9513