Friday, September 02, 2005

We are not alone

Back in the day, creationists used to tell me one of the proofs that mankind was God's creation was that no other animal was intelligent enough to teach new behaviors to other members of their species. Time passes – the seasons change, and then a Killer Whale starts baiting gulls with fish in order to supplement his diet. The whale subsequently teaches the behavior to his pod; all this under the eyes of a human witness. It seems Mankind is not so special after all.

3 comments:

Johnny Crow said...

I used to say that we were once simple animals and that we learned on our own. Much like those whales. It's good to know things like this.

brad said...

Whoever said that what makes us human is the ability to teach to our kids isnt much of a theologian or philosopher. How about abstract thinking or our aesthetic sense and its expression or our moral sense. Almost all animals teach behaviors to their young. You honestly don't think we are very much different???

Mojoey said...

Geez Brad, back in the day, the creationist agenda was kind of dim witted. They said a lot of dumb things, like the ability to reach a learned behavior was something that only humans possessed. They reasoned that learning something, like algebra or tool making, was unique to mankind, and that teaching it two the next generation was equally to providence of mankind. At the time, it had not been demonstrated in a wild animal population could spontaneously learn a new behavior and then teach it to others. Now it has.

Are we different from animals? Yes, but only because we have a more developed brain. Go back for enough, and we start to look and act a lot like wild beasts too.