Religions are fond of saying were special because a creator made us especially.
Why, there are FAR more insects than humans so by numbers they are more special and they dont destroy the fragile environment we need to survive. Hell cockroaches can survive without a head for over a week and are well known for the reputation that they are the only creatures that can survive a nuclear winter.
Thats just above ground theres more life underground than on top of it.
Bacteria are the most numerous life form on the planet by miles.
So why call us special. By a freak coincidence we have a brain religions claim a creator made our brain but does not want us to use it hardly logical.
Is the creator illogical :)
Who's is to say insects don't have a version of a creator we have seen very rudimentary signs that some animals including elephants MAY have a religion.
I emphasised the word may because ALOT of work needs to be done to confirm or deny what is basically just a few observations. At the moment we think they have the ability to be superstitious and superstitions can become a religion. We also know they have the ability to help another elephant do a task so they get a reward thats basically cooperation and a sign of communication.
Id be interested to know what they think created them if they do think something did and if its different to any known religion.
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We are special because human species is the only one that is considered as intellectual in this planet. What makes us more special is that despite of the intellect that we have, we can still act, believe and think foolishly (even though we can choose not to...).
we have the capacity to be evil while animals live in harmony
Above all else, Humans are special that they're able to do things consistently whether good or bad while animals don't... :)
Humans are no more special than anything else.
Ants go to war, chimpanzees kill and eat their own kind. Some (but not many and definatly not as evil as we can be) species are capable of acts we would call evil the question is why those do and why most species dont.
Humans are special Cyber.
As far as I know, Animals do not have the capacity for evil.
They kill, are jealous, they tease, true but I do not consider that as evil.
I have yet to find an animal that can have the desire to harm others which doesn't involve instinct and/or self preservation.
We humans kill for sport, rape for pleasure, enjoy seeing the suffering of others.(evil)
I have seen no such thing coming from the animal kingdom yet.
We are different, that is a demonstrable fact that can be tested in a lab every day.
So again we are not like the other animals of this planet (that we have seen thus far), we are simply something else.
We are special in that sens.
Lmale, there is a difference between evil and war/killing etc...
The difference is the purpose.
If you do a war for the right purpose you are not committing an evil act.
EG: If you are being invaded and you take up arms against the invaders, you are not evil but a survivor.
Ants go to war mostly for self preservation over a territory not because they hate the other ants.
Purpose is what decides what is an evil act or not.
I did not say humans were not special. I said humans are no more special than anything else. Yes, we are different, just as a cat is different than a star.
Perhaps your definition of the word special includes a value judgement. If it does, and you are saying that humans are more valuable than anything else, then I completely disagree with you.
Then I must have misunderstood you meaning of special.
humans are no more special= humans were not special in my view.
There is no value factor involved
Special means special
We are special, we are superior in most ways to animals. We adopt and learn faster, we do more mistakes, etc....
But if you meant "different" instead of "special" I will accept that.
Finally we agree on something Jeff :)
haha, mostly because i don't let my bias influence my judgment :P
I agree with CyberLN. Yes, humans are special... but each species is. As far as the idea that animals can't be evil sinply because they are animals so everything they do is mere instinct- here is a link: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/animals-can-be-giant-jerks Animals have brains too, and this means that they are responsible for their actions to an extent, as humans are. We CARE more about what humans do because that is the species we belong to, and our society is certainly different from any other animal's, but this too is not wholly unique. The difference between humans and animals is that we have found ways to communicate and travel over long distances and created technology that is more advanced than any other animal has. That is one thing that makes us different. Better? Not necessarily, but it comforts us to think that way.
Communicate and travel can be thrown into technology. Other animals have natural ways of doing that.
Mythlover you are jumping to conclusion and are not viewing the claim rationally.
It seems that Lisa Winter(your provided source) is too sentimental and is letting her bias make her close minded to other possible reasons for those actions.
She is just jumping to conclusions.
"When food is in short supply things can get ugly." Lisa Winter is jumping to conclusions, maybe there is a biological explanation for this, a conditioning in their brain that comes out with lack of food.
"The motivation behind the porpicide is unknown." Lisa Winter is jumping to conclusions again. maybe something disturbed them or it is in their instinct to do this.
maybe in the past a very similar animal used to kill them or infect them with some disease.
Just because something appears to us as bad, it does not mean there is the evil intent behind it.
This is most apparent when you see that groups of animals display similar behavior.
Then one must be more analytic and search for possible reasons instead of saying that they are jerks
Lisa Winter is just stupid in my opinion. She lets her bias for rape, etc.. cloud her judgment of those situations.
well, that has been in their instinct to do so. I see no intent to be evil.
"though the motives for this are not as well understood. "
Lisa Winter is viewing things that we don't yet understand as "Giant Jerks" and she might be right or not.
You are mixing, doing what you consider evil things as if there is evil INTENT behind them Mythlover.
I am sorry the evidence presented does not support your claim.
It just says that animals are capable of doing bad things according to us, that was not the subject of the discussion.
Are they doing it with evil intent? This has not been shown yet, and that was my argument.
Correct me if I am wrong: your claim is that humans have the capacity for evil while other animals do not. You say it cannot be proven that other animals do things with evil intent. What classifies as evil intent then? Please include a specific instance of a human doing something with evil intent (rape does not count because it comes from instinct and hormones more than anything, the Holocaust does not because the intent was not evil, Hitler thought he was doing the right thing, and torture for torture's sake gives the person a feeling of power, which is evolutionary, and which other animals do as well, to feel powerful, i.e. cats putting each other in place, establishing pecking order, hitting somebody to show that one is superior etc. This instinct applies to humans as well) According to your earlier post "We humans kill for sport, rape for pleasure, enjoy seeing the suffering of others.(evil)
I have seen no such thing coming from the animal kingdom yet." That link was meant to show that animals do the same things as well. Your next claim was that the actions that animals do have to do with instinct and/or self-preservation. I will not disclaim this, but instead ask how you know that the "evil" that humans do is fundamentally different from the actions of other animals- that our "evil" actions do not come from an underlying instinct or self-preservation. We are as special as any species. Not LIKE any species, but not wholly different, as in it is not "humans and animals" categorizing all other animals in one group together and humans in another.
"We humans kill for sport, rape for pleasure, enjoy seeing the suffering of others.(evil)
I have seen no such thing coming from the animal kingdom yet."
That link was meant to show that animals do the same things as well.
My reply was precisely to show you that your link does not show that.
It does not show killing for sport, it does not show rape for pleasure, it does not show enjoy seeing the suffering of others.
It shows claims of such things by Lisa Winter yes.
But they are unsupported claims and conclusions not based on evidence.
"This instinct applies to humans as well" Of-coarse they applies to humans but we have an extra factor, the capacity to do something that we know it is wrong and do it just the same.
The INTENT is a concept that it seems you do not understand well.
"I have seen no such thing coming from the animal kingdom yet." does not mean:
"humans have the capacity for evil while other animals do not. You say it cannot be proven that other animals do things with evil intent."
It means that I have seen so evidence of Intent yet, thus the claim that animals are on the same level as humans(regarding evil) is unfounded and not based on evidence.
Thus this claim is not based on evidence:
"As far as the idea that animals can't be evil sinply because they are animals so everything they do is mere instinct- here is a link:"
If such evidence is provided where the animal understands that it is an evil thing and it does it just the same for some reason, then yes there will be evidence to support your claim.
Up until now you have provided none.
Humans act on instinct, i dont think so lol
Humans have consciousness we decide what to do and when. About the only instinct humans have is the fight or flight response.
If i have to give you an example:
If a baby is paying with the trigger of a nuclear bomb and starts world war 3, thus half the human population is wiped out, then would you call that baby an evil baby?
Or would you call the person who gave him the trigger on purpose evil?
the baby is innocent even if he killed half the living beeings on earth.
The same applies to the animals.
If you cannot demonstrate that they understand that it is an evil deed, you cannot claim that some animals are evil too.
I acknowledge your point. However, I disagree. How do you know the person that gave the baby the trigger had "evil" intent? Wanting to blow up the world isn't necessarily evil. For example, what if they believed that what they were doing was good? Terrorists for example believe that what they are doing is for the greater good. I cannot prove that other animals do what they do with evil intent- you are correct. However, can you prove that humans do things with evil intent? Yes, they do things that are considered selfish- but so do other animals. Yes, we kill each other for pure pleasure... but so do other animals. This comes from evolution, not evil and good. The definition of evil is also too vague, like the definition love. (Forgive the cliche) What are they? There are multitudes of definitions. By your earlier one, animals are indeed evil. You will need to provide more proof that humans are capable of "evil" and animals. If you mean that we have a moral compass that we go against and animals do not, well, some people lack a moral compass, or have north where south should be, and it has been scientifically proven that other animals have shown that they too possess a sense of what we humans call "right and wrong".
"How do you know the person that gave the baby the trigger had "evil" intent?"
I don't, I didn't say that he had.
However I assumed that he had since i said "gave him the trigger on PURPOSE"
Meaning that he wanted the baby to detonate the bomb.
what if they believed that what they were doing was good?
Then they were not evil but innocent too.
What is your point? It is irrelevant if the guy that gave the trigger was evil or not in my example. I just wanted to show that what appears an evil act by an evil person can actually be an evil act done by an innocent person.
What exactly you disagree about then?
However, can you prove that humans do things with evil intent?
Yes I can
"We humans kill for sport, rape for pleasure, enjoy seeing the suffering of others.(evil)"
I can prove that those that do those things understood that killing is bad and they choose the pleasure of the sport instead.
I can prove that rape is bad and they choose to do it the same for pleasure.
I can prove that some people enjoy seeing others suffering even if they know is a bad thing(for revenge, etc...)
Animals are just not in the same league.
"Yes, they do things that are considered selfish- but so do other animals. Yes, we kill each other for pure pleasure... but so do other animals."
No, you are wrong again.
You cannot claim that they are evil unless you show that they understand that it was a bad thing. What you consider selfish, can be considered instinct or self preservation for the animals. You are jumping to conclusions without evidence like Lisa Winter.
You are looking at the action and not at the intent.
"The definition of evil is also too vague, like the definition love."
hmm, you can argue what is evil and what is not evil because morality is subjective to current knowledge however we humans have the ability to compare bad/good things with other bad/good things. Thus we make a moral list accordingly.
Al you need to do is consider the worst and then build your morality accordingly.
EG of worst:
Eternal suffering for everyone(the loving god created this)
Then compare to build your moral list making the worst at the bottom of the list.
"some people lack a moral compass, or have north where south should be"
So? As I said, if they do not understand that they are doing an evil deed, then they are victims and we usually close these guys in a mental hospital and not a criminal prison.
You are just ignoring the distinction between criminals and victims so that you somehow insert you idea of evil animals into it, which is ridiculous.
"and it has been scientifically proven that other animals have shown that they too possess a sense of what we humans call "right and wrong"."
Please share this evidence. As I previously said, I did not find this "scientifically proven" claim of yours.
What would the person have to be wanting in order to have evil intentions? (As in, what reasoning make him/her evil? Just curious about your thoughts on this.)
Okay, here is one link: http://m.livescience.com/24802-animals-have-morals-book.html Obviously, this too is a subject for debate, but I am NOT, as you have stated, operating wholly without evidence. And I apologize for the earlier link that you detested.
I am going to claim it as my personal random opinion however, that both animals and humans have a "morality" as in we form a sense of what we should and should not do to others based upon our life experiences. As our brains develop and we get some form of punishment/reward from something, we learn that it is good or bad, be it something simple such as the idea that killing somebody is bad, or more complex, such as the idea that religion is good (morality changes over time as well, for example incest, which was not considered immoral).
Morality is a derivation of society and evolution. We are told to believe certain things are bad and thus do because of our natural urge to conform and to feel accepted, or we go against society because from our other experiences, something else seems to be right. Because animals have certain "rules" that they live by, then they, like us would be either capable or uncapable of evil, (let me hold the stance that no being is "evil", that there is no such thing as good and evil, but only such a thing as morals, or a SENSE of good and evil that changes over time and from individual to individual). I prefer to think that morality, as we call it, originates from evolution and that even if ours (because of the way our brains are structured) has developed it to a more complex level, other animals nonetheless have it as well. Morality is not universal, and varies from group to group and person to person, so I don't think that humans are actually capable of your definition of evil either. The person is either driven by emotions, their primal functions, or by reasoning themselves into believing that what they are doing isn't bad or at least isn't evil (at least in the period that they commit the act). This article is just plain interesting to me and I'll share it here because it applies to this discussion, but you can discount it if you so desire: http://kidswithoutgod.com/teens/ask/where-do-atheists-get-their-morality/
Your post, Myth, fascinates me. I will read it several times. Thank you for it.
I appreciate what I learn from you.
It's been many decades since I read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and I may be recalling it incorrectly. Time degrades so many of my memories :-) That being said, your post reminds me of the take away from it that 'quality' is neither subjuctive not objective. Rather it it the point at which subjectivity and objectivity meet. Perhaps that is similar to morality. It is the point at which evil and good meet.
And just like quality, which requires objectivity (a completely individual thing), morality is definable only by the individual who deems an action to be im/moral.
"What would the person have to be wanting in order to have evil intentions? (As in, what reasoning make him/her evil? Just curious about your thoughts on this."
I answered this:
"If such evidence is provided where the animal understands that it is an evil thing and it does it just the same for some reason, then yes there will be evidence to support your claim."
About the new ink provided, I gave it a quick look and it seems that the evidence is short and thus everything is still debatable as you said. Also in the link they are not much addressing evil in itself but morality and the ability of having morality.
Eg: Hard-wired morality which suggest what I was getting at before.
Instead, animal emotions may be rooted in instinct and hard-wiring, rather than conscious choice, Herzog said.
"They look to us like moral behaviors, but they're not rooted in the same mire of intellect and culture and language that human morality is,"
This would explain why a lot of their behavior is usually not unique but practiced by a group.
About human evil, I have said my piece already:
"We humans kill for sport, rape for pleasure, enjoy seeing the suffering of others.(evil)"
If we humans do these things knowing beforehand that they are bad and do them just the same for some selfish reason, then we are evil or have some evil.
The problem lies with your claim that animals can be evil.(which does not concur with the evidence you presented thus far)
Also it seems that you are equating emotions with right or wrong.
Which is not the same thing.
Emotions cloud one's judgment and they interfere with our moral compass, they are not the same thing, they are related though.
Just because you hate or love some one it does not mean you are evil.
This is an entire debate on it's own which it seems that it will do you good to research on.
I can hate people that back-stab me and talk about me behind my back, it does not mean I have evil intent though.
same does a dog which hates a person and barks at him everyday. that does not mean the dog is evil.
He would be evil if the dog understood that barking at that person can give him a hart attack and he does it just the same because he doesn't care or if he wants to give him the hart attack.
It is this lack of knowledge that the dog has that makes him unlikely to do evil.
Though I must say, it is highly unlikely that a dog attacks a human without some valid (good) reason.
eg: being trained to do so.
I prefer to think that morality, as we call it, originates from evolution and that even if ours (because of the way our brains are structured) has developed it to a more complex level, other animals nonetheless have it as well.
Agree on our morality but disagree on animals morality
I think there is not enough evidence to claim anything yet about animals regarding morality.
Claiming that animals are evil too is a claim based on an assumption that animals have the same type of morality we have.
Thus a claim on top of a claim, which makes it being ignored or dismissed.
It is like making a claim that god is love.
A claim build on the assumption that god exists.
You must first show evidence that god exists before claiming anything about what god thinks.
You must first show evidence that animals have our same type of moral compass before claiming anything about evil in animals.
Do you see why I objected at your claim?
"This article is just plain interesting to me"
yea it is interesting and if morality interests you I suggest SAM Harris book; The Moral Landscape for a much better explanation.
I'm a little hesitant to jump in on this one, because you two are having a cracker of a debate. But I will ;)
I think mythlover is right that we humans can act on instinct sometimes, just like animals. However I think the difference is that we can also choose NOT to. We can choose not to rape someone even with raging hormones, and we can choose not to start a holocaust even if we think it will lead to a better world, we can choose not to steal from people even if we know it will make us more wealthy, and we can choose not to smoke marijuana even if we know it would give us an amazing high.
That's the process of maturity, and we've been doing it as a collective humanity for some time, learning from previous generations and passing on technology and skills to the next. This is a major point of difference between us and animals. The skills and technology learned by animals for the most part starts again from scratch with each successive generation (apart from evolutionary biology of course).
Ben, would you call it an instinct to eat when hungry?
If so, then how would you explain a hungry dog not eating a steak if instructed not to? Would that not be a choice?
since ben most likely missed your question :P
You need to quote where anybody claimed that animals do everything by instinct?
Else your question makes no sens.
Yep I just noticed the question sorry. You're right I don't think it's black and white. It's hard to know the motivations of animals. It might be interesting to note that some of the animals we love the most are the ones that fall closer to us on the instinct/choice spectrum (we even call them our "companions", "man's best friend" etc - human-like terms). And on the flip side, the humans who are acting more on instinct (eg addicts, psychopaths) we use more animal terms for (wild, feral, inhuman).
Generally it's like we see the best human life (life to the full) as a life that is becoming more and more intentional, wise, compassionate, balanced etc. I think Aristotle talked about this too from memory?
What's the difference between humans and other species of animals?
Besides the obvious biological differences, I think the real, and perhaps only substantive difference is that humans are the only species that can store information / knowledge outside of themselves.
Have sex while driving ?
Apart from jokes.
The most obvious difference is that they all have a specific habitat for them and we simply don't.
We just don't belong in any natural habitat I can imagine.
Either our original habitat got destroyed somehow or we simply are a very unlikely freak of nature.(eg; mutation, which is a hypothesis)
No natural protection from the sun radiation or cold, is something to ponder about.
Also to answer your question, an other difference apart from storing knowledge is that we have less instinct then most animals, it is as if our instincts are dormant compared to the rest of the animals.
It could also be that they have been relying on it for more time then us and thus evolved to use it better then us.
We humans tend to rely more on previous knowledge then our instinct.
Here the only thing that bugs me about evolution and i dont know why theists havent used it as an argent in any debate ove been in.
Humans have absolutely no natural defences.
If we were not intelligent wed have been wiped out.
Natural defenses against what? We have a lot of natural defenses. Whether they are effective depends upon that against which you are defending yourself.