T Nation

Are We 'Wild Monkeys'?


#1

I know that this will probably devolve into some sort of evolution vs. creationism debate, but: What the heck ARE we?

In another thread, a highly educated gent referred to us as wild monkeys with a little brains. He was corrected by saying that we are apes.

When I read this, I thought of someone like a Marine, who dives on a grenade to save his buddies. Is he just some ape, some THING? I thought of a medical researcher spending countless sleepless nights to make a breakthrough. Is this person just some beast, a 'wild ultra-aggressive ape'?

In summary: what's missing in the statement that humans are ultra-aggressive apes with a liitle brains?


#2

What is missing about the statement is the human aspect. A chimp may use a tool, such as a stick to collect ants, or a rock to smash a tough fruit. The human mind is capable of much more.

The human mind is capable of flight, both airplane and to the moon. The human mind has brought us to the ocean depths. The human mind can examine the world at large, such as a super telescope to explore the universe, or on a microscopic scale, exploring atoms and single cells.

The human mind produces creativity. Not just cave paintings and drum circles, but masterpiece paintings, archetecture and a symphony orchestra.

We imagine, we wonder, we plan, we predict. All of this goes on, and you wonder how one could call are brains 'tiny'.

Yet despite all this, we ARE animals by nature. Our basic drives are survival, food and sex. We are territiorial, and will often fight before we debate. Get us in a group, you will see pack (mob) mentallity. Run us through some basic tests, and our reactions will be not much different from that ape.

A religious person might take offense to the original question and say we are divine in creation, and to imply we are apes is an offense to god. A scientific person might explain the marvels of evolution, and although he couldn't tell you why we are so much different than an ape, he could quantify the differences.

On the otherhand, a skeptic and moderate such as myself, would tell you this... Mankind is more than an animal, yet not much more. We are capable of wonderful things, but we must remind ourselves of our primitave roots and instinctual nature, because if we forget, it is easy to regress to it.


#3

I had wild monkey sex last night.

It was good.


#4

I used to believe in evolution just because it was being taught as "science." If it's science, it must be true right? HA!

Truth is that we haven't been able to prove evolution nor creation. We don't know how the fuck we came to be.

Pick one or pick none, it doesn't matter.


#5

Yes, we do know how we came to be.

THAT we evolved is a fact. Exactly HOW it happened is a theory. A theory and which has held up under one hundred years of testing and scrutiny.

Let's not start this again.


#6

Get it out of your head that science is in the proof business.

Everybody that wants science to prove anything, just shouts his own ignorance from the mountaintops.


#7

You basically want to know how and why genes interact with culture and vice-versa...

We live in an environment that is unlike the environment we are adapted too and much more complicated.

No wonder some psychological adaptations get interpreted in new and sometimes very creative ways.

What is definitely missing is that we are very neurotic apes, at least emotionally our surroundings are definitely to complex for us.


#8

We have the ability to imagine and create to varying degrees, develope and grasp abstract concepts- like pressing buttons on a board to send a message to someone miles away, and a bunch of other stuff.

I'm not realy a wild monkey though, more of a kind of lame one that can do a few tricks.


#9

I believe self-awareness, i.e. the understanding that one exists as an individual, separate from other entities, as well as the understanding that other people are self-aware in an analogical way, is a decisive trait of human beings. That and ketchup stained wife-beaters.


#10

Not only are we animals, we like to elevate ourselves above all the other animals.

Admittedly we have great potential, but that doesn't really change anything and it's not like many people realize their potential.

If anyone climbs too high above the rest of us, we all shake the tree until they fall back down to our level.

Unfortunately though, when speaking of potential, many of our great accomplishments were built out of fear or desire to conquer or climb above others around us.

That being said, life is gift. Our planet is a gift. Enjoy it, and leave it a little better for the next animal that comes along...


#11

What a load of shit you just wrote.

People rise above the rest all the time, wth are you talking about?


#12

sums it up nicely


#13

You are wrong.

Kent Hovind does 700 debates a year on creation vs evolution. 3000 professors have refused to debate him. Noone has been able to give conclusive evidence that evolution exists.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-569281398764731153


#14

Ah, ha. "a little brains." I take that the mean that we use little more than other animals wrt brain function. Yes, we use a little more than apes. combatmedic got it right. It's easy to devolve into mob mentality given the right stimuli. I don't remember if apes can use the internet. That takes a little brains.

What's missing in that statement? That we (humans) have potential.


#15

Well, I guess what bothered me in the other thread was that I feel that there is something noble about the human race. I know, of course, that we have great capacity to be evil and ignoble. But when I see, for example, the look on one of my students' faces when they solve a difficult problem, there is something there that neither science nor religion can identify for me. What the HECK is it? It seems to be more than joy, more than elation...just can't figure it out!


#16

Potential. Dammit.


#17

Even animals have the capacity for nobility. We see reflections of our failings and our triumphs in them -- always have, and hopefully always will. We even go so far as to attribute animals the status of symbols of certain personality traits.

Some animal mothers will flee and leave their offspring to their fate: perfect survival instinct. If the going is too tough, split, reproduce later. In strictly mathematical terms, a child/cub/etc is not irreplaceable.

There are also documented cases of animal mothers of traditionally timid species turning and attempting to fight off impossible odds, braving the very creatures that are their natural predators, in an attempt to save their offspring. They usually die. But there's something of nobility in that. There are no clear answers, really.

Personally, I see us as being animals. Neither better nor worse -- just different. We're the ultimate predator, a very social species, and quite creative in our use of tools and shared information. I believe in the concept of spirit/soul/whathaveyou... I just don't think we're unique in it.


#18

Pretty much. We are just as much animals as any other animal, we just have very developed brains that developed to resist and to perform manipulation of the opposite sex. As a "side effect" of our developed brains, we've been able to create great works of art and travel to space. Pretty crazy.


#19

Other animals differ from eachother as much as they differ from us.

Just because we can find a bunch of differences, doesn't mean we're not animals.

Our differences enabled us to take over the world, and infest ourselves into nearly every crevise of it.

Other animals feel emotion, stick with one partner (more so than us), guard their young, and even help other animals with nothing to gain too.


#20

give dolphins opposable thumbs, legs and skin that doesn't need water and see what they become