What does it mean to be human?

For me the definition of what it means to be human is to be created in the image of God according to Gen 1: 26-27. God saw what He had made and said that it was good.
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Comments

  • Biologically I should think it is sort of a recursive definition. To be human is to be born of human parents, which is they are in this self-perpetuating inter-breeding species of great apes with thus-and-such characteristics on the whole. None of those characteristics define a single human, but the species. To be a human is to be a member of this species.
  • We can and are human in the physical, animal sense. Our humanity might stop there. We might also be human in the sense of mental capacity, i.e. some of us are the only animals who can communicate, do math and destroy the planet. Our humanity might stop there. But some of us might also be human in the sense of showing self-sacrificial love to others: shown by compassion, kindness, etc
  • I accept and understand our evolutionary origins, our physicality. I don't think that our physical structure has anything much to do with the "created in the image of God". Sentience, self awareness, awareness of the consequences of actions: these are the important ones that make us quality different from other animals. We are physically no more evolved, no more advanced, no more adapted than other animals, than other beings. We are unique in non-physical attributes.

    With this comes tremendous responsibility, which we, much of the time, direct in terms of our self interests, against other humans, against other beings, against the environment.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I agree that humans are unique from animals in non-physical attributes: language, culture, writing, art and religion. But I see those as a consequence of humans being spiritual beings in the likeness of God. Our value lies in being human and loved rather than in anything that we do.

    By contrast, capitalism values human worth in economic terms as what humans can contribute and this tends to denigrate the human value of the young, the old and the differently abled. The OT Law was anti-capitalist in that it emphasised the significance of all the members of the community and emphasised the social responsibilities of the wealthy.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    I agree that humans are unique from animals in non-physical attributes: language, culture, writing, art and religion. But I see those as a consequence of humans being spiritual beings in the likeness of God. Our value lies in being human and loved rather than in anything that we do.

    The problem with this statement is that every other year we discover that some group or species of animals actually do share one of those characteristics. Language and culture area already gone. There are suggestions of some animals making art. Leaving writing and religion. I'm not putting any money on those either.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Only humans have the advanced skills to create civilisations. Animals can adapt themselves to fit their environment. But humans can adapt the environment to fit themselves. And so we have taken over most of the earth.
  • Again as I hope you will agree this is speaking of humans as a species. If any one particular person can't do that, it doesn't make them not human.

    I think there are two concurrent "threads" going here.

    1. What makes humans different from other animals?
    2. How can we tell for any given individual if they're Human?

    The latter has practical import as to decisions regarding euthanasia.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    The theological definition of human is based upon their very being. As Julian of Norwich expressed it: God made us, God sustains us and God loves us.

    Arguments for euthanasia and eugenics have a very different basis. They presume that human life should meet a certain standard and definition to be worthwhile.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    The theological definition of human is based upon their very being. As Julian of Norwich expressed it: God made us, God sustains us and God loves us.

    Arguments for euthanasia and eugenics have a very different basis. They presume that human life should meet a certain standard and definition to be worthwhile.

    I know. I was responding to that, saying being born into the human species is enough to be worthwhile.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    Only humans have the advanced skills to create civilisations. Animals can adapt themselves to fit their environment. But humans can adapt the environment to fit themselves. And so we have taken over most of the earth.

    Beavers very much adapt the environment to fit themselves. Hive creatures (bees, ants, etc.) arguably have civilizations.

    I think the problem with discussion of the comparative value of humans and animals is that we're assuming we're the best and smartest things in creation, then judging all the other creatures against our way of doing things. I don't think we're necessarily the best nor smartest. And, if we really are made in the image of a good God, we've sure messed up. Or, if we're God's mirror, then we're backwards of God. 'Cause reflections are backwards.

    That might explain a lot.

    Plus: However the Bible came to be (e.g., given verbatim by God or angels; inspired by God; written by humans in an attempt to understand *everything*), it's written to, for, and about humans. So the focus is on us.

    We don't necessarily know that God thinks we're the bestest, and smartest, and most important...and that we're the only ones who fit that description. Who knows what God might be doing with other creatures She created?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    This reminds me of the mice in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...
  • mousethief wrote: »
    The problem with this statement is that every other year we discover that some group or species of animals actually do share one of those characteristics. Language and culture area already gone. There are suggestions of some animals making art. Leaving writing and religion. I'm not putting any money on those either.

    --Yup. There are a couple of good books that explore the religion bit: "Prayers From The Ark" and "Creatures' Choir", by Carmen de Gaztold Perez. (Speaking of the value of people with disabilities, CGP was unable to live on her own. Don't remember why. She wound up living and being cared for at a convent, and wrote her prayer poems.)


    --Weird thing about insects: dung beetles do celestial navigation to get around.

    "Dung Beetles Dance on Poo for Celestial Navigation" (Live Science).

    Lots of other articles out there, under "dung beetle celestial navigation".

    --And then there are trees and other plants.

    "Are Trees Sentient Beings?" (Yale Environment 360)

    Lots of other articles out there, under "tree intelligence".
  • I'm really not fussed if they discover a non-human parallel to every human characteristic going. All that tells me is that we share a great deal with the very creatures we were designed to care for--which is appropriate. Does anybody know what source that whole attitude traces back to--I mean, the one that insists that human beings must somehow be unique in some specific measurable or categorizable way? I don't think it's the "image of God" passage, because that is equally well explained by taking the image as a reference to God's actions or position (as a caregiver, as a creative person, and so forth--mirrored in the human species). Also because one could argue that the "image of God" is a matter of degree, not uniqueness. Unicity? Whatever.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    What does it mean to be human?

    I'll have a better idea when I've consulted the dung beetle, or whatever, equivalent of Ship of Fools.
  • I'm really not fussed if they discover a non-human parallel to every human characteristic going. All that tells me is that we share a great deal with the very creatures we were designed to care for--which is appropriate. Does anybody know what source that whole attitude traces back to--I mean, the one that insists that human beings must somehow be unique in some specific measurable or categorizable way? I don't think it's the "image of God" passage, because that is equally well explained by taking the image as a reference to God's actions or position (as a caregiver, as a creative person, and so forth--mirrored in the human species). Also because one could argue that the "image of God" is a matter of degree, not uniqueness. Unicity? Whatever.

    This is close to my POV as well.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.

  • It means to be human to be born of parents belonging to the human species.
    I do not think there are any degrees of being human. No human should ever claim that another member of the species is not human.
    I wonder if the danger is in blurring the definition of the word human.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Thing is, 'human' has several definitions and usages, like so many words. It doesn't simply mean belonging to the human species - that is just one usage and definition. It also is used to refer to having what people see as human characteristics, for instance, and different people see different characteristics as definitively human.

    Sometimes when I'm very tired, I can barely think or feel, and I feel I'm just going through the motions. Then, after I've had chance to rest and be refreshed, and am able to feel and think and process again, I will say 'I feel human again.' Obviously I didn't stop being a member of the human species, but there are times when I feel more human than others, and by that I mean less mechanical, more able to feel, think and process. If someone said I had become sub-human in that time when I didn't feel so human, I'd find that daft, because it's a feeling, and our feelings, our internal thought process and experience, are changing all the time, and are subjective. But there are definitely times where I don't feel fully human, and they are related to my ability to feel, to process, to be aware, to be me, to create, to be curious, all those things. And these abilities change over time, change with health, with fatigue, with maturity, with knowledge, with circumstance, etc. They fluctuate. I think when we cut off/repress our ability to feel, to process, to be real, we do compromise our experience of being human. Not that we aren't human, not that we are sub-human, but more that we are not fully experiencing our humanity. And I think people do this all the time. And all that time, we are still fully human, but not always fully experiencing it.
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    It means to be human to be born of parents belonging to the human species.
    I do not think there are any degrees of being human. No human should ever claim that another member of the species is not human.
    I wonder if the danger is in blurring the definition of the word human.

    Magic! Something we agree on.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    Ants:

    "Crazy Ants Cooperate To Carry Food" (Popular Science"
    Film, pic, and text. (NOTE: This site is *really* fussy about ad blockers. I turned all of mine off, and now it takes me to a blank page. (ADDENDUM: It's working for me now.) If you want to look elsewhere, do a web search on "ants sharing duties" or "ants picking things up together".)
  • fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.
    Big Grey Ants
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    I hate to pour cold water over all these noble speculations, but . . .

    DNA-wise, we're very similar to the rest of the animal kingdom. For that matter, we're not that different from bananas; we share 50% of our DNA with them. Our alleged braininess is shared with other species, as are many discrete specific abilities like tool-using, society-building, problem-solving, etc. etc. If something sets us apart, it's our combination of attributes plus our thumbs. We also differ sexually, in that the majority of female mammals do not experience estrous.

    It's hard to say which of our persistent intellectual conceits is the more destructive: our aggression or the patently false conviction of our own "specialness."
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited October 27
    There is a strand of universal theology in the Bible:

    In the story of Creation God looks upon the completed cosmos and calls it very good (Gen 1: 31). The heavens declare the glory of the Lord and the earth proclaims His handiwork (Ps 19: 1). When Job challenges God He underlines His sovereignty with His unfathomable creativity in nature (Job 39: 6). In refusing to destroy Ninevah God refers to the many animals as well as the people (Jonah 4: 11). God says that every animal of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps 50: 10). Paul says that all things will ultimately be reconciled in Christ (Col 1: 15-20). And Isaiah says that in the redeemed Creation humans and animals will live together in perfect harmony (Is 11: 6-9).

    However, humans are said to be worth more than many sparrows (Matt 10: 31).
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    How do you define ‘worth’ @Rublev?

    I don’t think we should compare ourselves to other species.

    My dogs are far, far superior than any human brain wise - if the test is to determine health/gender/sexual readiness/many other things - by smell alone!

    We shouldn’t compare because we are all unique - sparrows and all.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited October 27
    This came up on the 'Is there a resurrection for cats?' thread.

    Theologically humans are set apart from the rest of creation by being made in the image of God and having an eternal soul. I don't know who defined the theology of the soul. It sounds like something Thomas Aquinas would do.

    I rather like the quote attributed to Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons: 'God made the angels to show Him splendour as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily in the tangle of his mind.'

    According to Genesis 1: 26-31 humans were appointed to be the stewards of the earth. So we are doing a terrible job of it.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    I'm not sure if it helps or hurts this conversation, but I was wondering whether the definition of human is more useful to consider as a whole rather than as individuals.

    It seems to me that empathy, and in particular empathy for abstract others one reads about even if they don't really exist, is a special mark of humanity.

    For sure it can be obscured and we all know how people mistreat others. But I have this sense that deep down people understand and recognise the humanity of others. That a mark of being human, collectively, is that acknowledgement that people who look and do and act differently are human too.

    Of course I see that this is a hard thing to argue in the face of slavery and holocaust. But somehow the fact that we are even having a discussion about the needs of the very sick and old and criminal etc is a sign of our humanity.

    The alternative seems a robotic ambivalence where presumably people are only considered to be worthwhile and worthy based on their "value" to society as a whole.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    I hate to pour cold water over all these noble speculations, but . . .

    DNA-wise, we're very similar to the rest of the animal kingdom. For that matter, we're not that different from bananas; we share 50% of our DNA with them. Our alleged braininess is shared with other species, as are many discrete specific abilities like tool-using, society-building, problem-solving, etc. etc. If something sets us apart, it's our combination of attributes plus our thumbs. We also differ sexually, in that the majority of female mammals do not experience estrous.

    It's hard to say which of our persistent intellectual conceits is the more destructive: our aggression or the patently false conviction of our own "specialness."

    Yes. It has enabled us to exploit the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction, and so on. This seems to show our stupidity and greed. Is it reparable? Doubtful. Religion has made it worse by giving a gloss of specialness.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    It's hard to say which of our persistent intellectual conceits is the more destructive: our aggression or the patently false conviction of our own "specialness."
    Yes. It has enabled us to exploit the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction, and so on. This seems to show our stupidity and greed. Is it reparable? Doubtful. Religion has made it worse by giving a gloss of specialness.
    There's some contradiction in claiming that we're not "special" and also in recognising that we're solely responsible for exploiting the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction. 50% of anthropogenic climate change is not down to bananas.

    The cognitive dissonance is I suppose down to thinking that 'specialness' must be unambiguously positive.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.

    No you won't.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Ohher wrote: »
    It's hard to say which of our persistent intellectual conceits is the more destructive: our aggression or the patently false conviction of our own "specialness."
    Yes. It has enabled us to exploit the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction, and so on. This seems to show our stupidity and greed. Is it reparable? Doubtful. Religion has made it worse by giving a gloss of specialness.
    There's some contradiction in claiming that we're not "special" and also in recognising that we're solely responsible for exploiting the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction. 50% of anthropogenic climate change is not down to bananas.

    The cognitive dissonance is I suppose down to thinking that 'specialness' must be unambiguously positive.

    Good point. I suppose the religious gloss would have positivity flowing from human specialness, and of course there are positive traits, such as empathy and self-awareness. I guess we're not quite aware enough.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.
    Big Grey Ants

    I've watched all the Ted Talks videos. That link is to adverts. And it won't be wild elephants will it?
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.

    No you won't.

    What do you mean? Ants literally work together to do things that individually they can't.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited October 27
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.

    No you won't.

    What do you mean? Ants literally work together to do things that individually they can't.

    No they don't.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.

    No you won't.

    What do you mean? Ants literally work together to do things that individually they can't.

    No they don't.

    Ants don't work together. Of course they don't.

    Are you an ant scientist and able to disprove giants of the subject like EO Wilson?
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    EO Wilson wrote the definitive book on insect societies and the way they work together.

    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674454903
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited October 27
    @quetzalcoatl said -
    Good point. I suppose the religious gloss would have positivity flowing from human specialness, and of course there are positive traits, such as empathy and self-awareness. I guess we're not quite aware enough.

    Looking at what we’ve done to each other, other animals and the planet we are nowhere near aware or empathetic enough.

    @Rublev the writers of the Bible had no idea of evolution or how interconnected all species are. The reported words of Jesus about the sparrows bear that out. Without the rest of creation we wouldn’t exist - and that includes the birds.

    You can’t base what you think of humanity on what you read in the Bible imo. Knowledge of evolution, geography, sexual orientation, gender, psychology - many, many things have moved on in 2000 years.

    Of course, that knowledge hasn’t made us more aware or empathetic as a species either 🙄
  • Yes, knowledge is separate from empathy. Humans can keep increasing their knowledge, but this can be alienating. So our knowledge of animal species increases, even as we destroy them. I was watching a film about mustelids, (50-60 species), and you are waiting for the information about decline. One current story in the UK concerns shooting gulls, but how many people know that some species are red listed?
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You will never see, that's never, in the wild, two chimps, two elephants, two octopi, two dolphins, two wolves, two crows pick up something together that one of them can't. When you do, post the film here.

    You'll see ants do this though.

    No you won't.

    I have. I used to sit and watch insects for hours as a kid. I observed ants in action and was fascinated by how they worked together. Sometimes we got ants in our house, and my parents put down white ant powder, which made them die, slowly. Even when dying, they worked together, with a system, carrying their dead.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited October 27
    Blahblah wrote: »
    EO Wilson wrote the definitive book on insect societies and the way they work together.

    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674454903

    Yeah I studied that. Remy Chauvin. And? What's that got to do with two blokes moving a piano? Dumbing down rationalization and that other word that escapes me notwithstanding? Reductionism.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    edited October 27
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    EO Wilson wrote the definitive book on insect societies and the way they work together.

    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674454903

    Yeah I studied that. Remy Chauvin. And? What's that got to do with two blokes moving a piano? Dumbing down rationalization and that other word that escapes me notwithstanding? Reductionism.

    Do you want to try rephrasing that into intelligible English?

    Ants work together. It is possible to observe them doing so.

    You said it wasn't possible.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Martin, if you are genuine about wanting a link (sorry, I thought the ant thing was so commonly observed that you’d know about it, and that you’d simply forgotten to consider ants), take a look here.
  • CameronCameron Shipmate
    edited October 27
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    EO Wilson wrote the definitive book on insect societies and the way they work together.

    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674454903

    Yeah I studied that. Remy Chauvin. And? What's that got to do with two blokes moving a piano? Dumbing down rationalization and that other word that escapes me notwithstanding? Reductionism.

    Do you want to try rephrasing that into intelligible English?

    Ants work together. It is possible to observe them doing so.

    You said it wasn't possible.

    In addition to which, here are some accessible academic sources on complex and cooperative behaviour in elephants and cetaceans.

    Martin54 seems to be quite mistaken on this point. There is more of a case for certain aspects of joint attention being uniquely human, but scientists don’t all agree about that.

    [cross-posted with fineline, edited for typo]
  • Doesn't group hunting demonstrate cooperation?
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Blahblah wrote: »
    It seems to me that empathy, and in particular empathy for abstract others one reads about even if they don't really exist, is a special mark of humanity.

    I agree that empathy for abstract others one reads about is a unique human characteristic. However, animals, especially pets, often express great empathy for those they live with. Several shippies have described their cats snuggled up beside them when they were in poor physical shape. Dogs are also good at comforting people.

  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Ohher wrote: »
    It's hard to say which of our persistent intellectual conceits is the more destructive: our aggression or the patently false conviction of our own "specialness."
    Yes. It has enabled us to exploit the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction, and so on. This seems to show our stupidity and greed. Is it reparable? Doubtful. Religion has made it worse by giving a gloss of specialness.
    There's some contradiction in claiming that we're not "special" and also in recognising that we're solely responsible for exploiting the earth to the point of destruction, the sixth mass extinction. 50% of anthropogenic climate change is not down to bananas.

    The cognitive dissonance is I suppose down to thinking that 'specialness' must be unambiguously positive.

    Good point. I suppose the religious gloss would have positivity flowing from human specialness, and of course there are positive traits, such as empathy and self-awareness. I guess we're not quite aware enough.

    I suspect the overpopulation issue + exploitation issues are actually produced by the estrous trait mentioned above. Most animals "come into season" for breeding at limited, spaced periods of time. Due to estrous, humans are essentially "in season" more or less constantly, except while actually pregnant and/or nursing. Couple that trait with a conviction that we were fashioned specifically to lord it over the rest of creation, and sixth extinction, here we come.
  • I think the question in the heading is slewing the whole discussion as it implies that there is meaning to being human when many would dispute that assertion. Rewording the OP to What does it mean to be canine? illustrates the problem as most would say that while one can define canines as a distinct group canines do not have a distinct 'meaning' from say, felines or conifers.

    It's also tricky to answer the question because, in my view, the only apparatus we have for doing so is the human mind and its artefacts. Others would argue that we also have what we know of God but since not everyone is going to agree that such a thing exists or in what form it exists we won't get agreement.

    Had the question been, How we do define humanity? or What values do we apply to being human?, it would be much easier to discuss.


  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Cameron wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    EO Wilson wrote the definitive book on insect societies and the way they work together.

    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674454903

    Yeah I studied that. Remy Chauvin. And? What's that got to do with two blokes moving a piano? Dumbing down rationalization and that other word that escapes me notwithstanding? Reductionism.

    Do you want to try rephrasing that into intelligible English?

    Ants work together. It is possible to observe them doing so.

    You said it wasn't possible.

    In addition to which, here are some accessible academic sources on complex and cooperative behaviour in elephants and cetaceans.

    Martin54 seems to be quite mistaken on this point. There is more of a case for certain aspects of joint attention being uniquely human, but scientists don’t all agree about that.

    [cross-posted with fineline, edited for typo]

    Martin is not mistaken in the slightest. Neither of those links says anything I didn't already know. Emergent behaviour occurs everywhere in plant, animal and other life-form groups and hierarchies. From grouping on up itself. To make an actual parallel between ants and humans is absurd. Individual human complexity may be linearly a frog that can jump up six and a half inches and elephants, squid, wolves, bonobos, dolphins have five and a half inch capability, but the environment offers six inch steps.
  • CameronCameron Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Cameron wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    EO Wilson wrote the definitive book on insect societies and the way they work together.

    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674454903

    Yeah I studied that. Remy Chauvin. And? What's that got to do with two blokes moving a piano? Dumbing down rationalization and that other word that escapes me notwithstanding? Reductionism.

    Do you want to try rephrasing that into intelligible English?

    Ants work together. It is possible to observe them doing so.

    You said it wasn't possible.

    In addition to which, here are some accessible academic sources on complex and cooperative behaviour in elephants and cetaceans.

    Martin54 seems to be quite mistaken on this point. There is more of a case for certain aspects of joint attention being uniquely human, but scientists don’t all agree about that.

    [cross-posted with fineline, edited for typo]

    Martin is not mistaken in the slightest. Neither of those links says anything I didn't already know. Emergent behaviour occurs everywhere in plant, animal and other life-form groups and hierarchies. From grouping on up itself. To make an actual parallel between ants and humans is absurd. Individual human complexity may be linearly a frog that can jump up six and a half inches and elephants, squid, wolves, bonobos, dolphins have five and a half inch capability, but the environment offers six inch steps.

    I made comparisons between elephants, cetaceans and humans - based on links to academic sources, since you quibbled about other sources. The material clearly refutes your earlier assertion that animals do not exhibit cooperative task behaviour. Nothing you have added contradicts that.

    I would also note that:
    * Comparisons with other species are not necessarily wrong just because one does not like them; anthropomorphization would be more problematic but it is clear no one is doing that.
    * You are indicating that you already knew things that you denied a few posts back. I find that confusing. Of course, knowing and understanding are not the same thing.

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