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Andrew Stich's Avatar Joined over 6 years ago
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Go to: Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man

Andrew Stich's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by Andrew Stich

@ Comment 53 (yes, 53) by Dalaidrivel:

You make an interesting point. It is true that the subject at hand is only how bonobos relate to humans, and not how other animals in general relate to humans. So I guess your point is that instead of uniting humans with the rest, the research has unified (bonobos and humans) and the rest. And I guess that your interpretation of the research is valid. I still stand by what I said in terms of there being nothing absolutely fundamental that distinguishes humans from "the rest", but you are correct in that the research isn't directly relevant to this. And you make a good point with your analysis of the human egocentrism behind this project.

In my defense, however, I guess it could be said that there are those who can't even think of grouping just humans and bonobos together against animalkind. There are humans, and then there are animals, they might say. So when something shows how similar an "animal" is to us (animal in quotation marks because we of course are animals as well), this border may be broken. But this reasoning applies only to those who are 1)ignorant of biology and 2) willing to not be ignorant of biology.

Your willingness to not follow the herd is appreciated.

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 16:43:00 UTC | #299878

Go to: Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man

Andrew Stich's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Andrew Stich

People too often split these kinds of issues into absolute dichotomous categories. This is another iteration of the "nature vs. nuture" debate. It is simply fact that brain size/body size correlates positively to intelligence, and that humans have higher brain size/body size than bonobos. That said, it is also of course true that the British were more technologically advanced than the Tasmanians in the 17th century, i.e. the maximum cultural development of a biological constraint is not present at all times, therefore the stage of development of a culture is NOT a function of its biological specifications. Both nature and nurture are important.

It is impressive that the bonobos learned how to manipulate human inventions, but they didn't invent anything themselves.

On the other hand, I find it very satisfying that another border has been broken down between humans and "the rest". We are completely animal, and there is nothing that is fundamentally different about us that sets us apart from all other animals (just a change in characteristics seen in other animals).

And on a completely separate note, I didn't understsand the relevance of other animals walking upright to varying degrees. It was never properly explained. I understand that it is relevant to what allows for our culture compared to the culture of other apes, but such an argument was never made by the admin. She merely stated some data. The fact is that intelligence does NOT relate directly to uprightness. So I'm a bit confused.

Ultimately a good video, though, even if it was a bit absolute in its interpretation of the nature vs. nurture so-called conflict.

Tue, 06 Jan 2009 22:13:00 UTC | #299146

Go to: Competition, Not Climate Change, Led To Neanderthal Extinction, Study Shows

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Wed, 31 Dec 2008 10:10:00 UTC | #294791

Go to: For scholars, a combustible question: Was Christ real?

Andrew Stich's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Andrew Stich

"bias against miracles"

There's no need to invoke bias when the viewpoint in question is merely that in order to pursue any meaningful rational inquiry, the laws of nature must not be superseded! For one to claim that the very laws of nature bent to accommodate one's own viewpoint, just this once, and to further say that this bending of nature's laws constitutes evidence for one's own viewpoint, is the purest of bias.

Imagine any scientific pursuit that was NOT "bias against miracles". What if theoretical physicists, in frustration, just threw out their meticulous calculations and elegant (but flawed) theories and said that all of the undefined variables and infinities in their equations were reconciled by there (obviously!) being transgressions of the laws of nature? This sort of process would never get us anywhere, in any field.

Mon, 29 Dec 2008 21:30:00 UTC | #293624

Go to: Bad Faith Awards 2008: Vote now

Andrew Stich's Avatar Jump to comment 104 by Andrew Stich

I voted for Coulter, but I felt guilty for not having voted for Oktar, and so I proceeded to vote for him as well. Then I voted for Palin for good measure.

"I voted for Palin"... ha.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 16:20:00 UTC | #269894

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