At what Point in Evolutionary History....

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Dimmesdale
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At what Point in Evolutionary History....

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Post by Dimmesdale »

At what point in evolutionary history was a specifically human essence instantiated? Was the generation before that first official human not essentially human because it lacked a certain attribute? So would the grandfather of the first human be rightfully shot down like Harambe if the baby got into his vicinity?

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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

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Post by Divine Insight »

Dimmesdale wrote: At what point in evolutionary history was a specifically human essence instantiated?
You would need to provide scientists with your precise definition of what you mean by "specifically human essence" before they could take a stab at trying to answer your question.

I'm pretty sure that scientists have not created such a fine line between species. Typically the rule of thumb is whether or not they can still procreate between themselves. Although even that is somewhat of an arbitrary definition.

I doubt that this kind of distinction would happen overnight.

In short, I would say that your very question suggests a grave misunderstanding of how evolution works. Not that it's a bad question, but rather the answer would basically be to learn more about how evolution works. Only then can you see why your question is fundamentally flawed.
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Post #3

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

The question is essentially a common conundrum in philosophy akin to the Ship of Theseus Paradox. Not sure if there's a better term for it, but it ultimately comes down to drawing a line of distinction when one cannot be made. How much of something can be lost/replaced before it is no longer what it originally was? It's a kind of breakdown in definitions, really. What am "I" for example? Take away an arm and am I still me? We'd like to think so, but we're really not even the same person 5 minutes from now or the same person after reading or writing this response. If anything changes, it is no longer the same. And things are always changing. There is no human definition, just what we surmise in our minds. There are chimps more capable than certain humans yet we call one human and one chimp. I'm sure there are diseased bald chimps and super hairy humans and yet the distinction remains. But there is truly no way to ever define what is and isn't human and any such distinction would be inevitably argued by countless masses.
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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

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Post by marco »

Dimmesdale wrote: At what point in evolutionary history was a specifically human essence instantiated? Was the generation before that first official human not essentially human because it lacked a certain attribute? So would the grandfather of the first human be rightfully shot down like Harambe if the baby got into his vicinity?

At what point does a grain of sugar make one's coffee sweet? It is futile to seek a red line between beast and man for even today there seems to be an overlap, some dogs demonstrating more intelligence, more kindness than those who have been fortunate enough to be classified "human." I often wonder, given the choice of saving the life of a terrorist or that of a pet, which one we should choose.

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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

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Post by Wootah »

[Replying to post 4 by marco]
I often wonder, given the choice of saving the life of a terrorist or that of a pet, which one we should choose.
In Australia, I honestly feel more people would choose to save their pet over their neighbour.

As to the question, I think from an evolutionary perspective if you can breed with it you are the same thing is the correct answer.
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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

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Post by Tcg »

Wootah wrote: [Replying to post 4 by marco]
I often wonder, given the choice of saving the life of a terrorist or that of a pet, which one we should choose.
In Australia, I honestly feel more people would choose to save their pet over their neighbour.
That's an interesting tidbit I suppose, but marco didn't ponder saving a neighbor over a pet. As can be clearly seen in the quote you provided, he introduced to idea of saving a terrorist rather than a pet.


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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

Post #7

Post by Dimmesdale »

[quote="Divine Insight"]
I doubt that this kind of distinction would happen overnight.
/quote]

It is still important, I think, because theoretically we could have two humanoid beings with only one of them being human, and we would have to make a moral decision of whom to save in a life or death situation say, where we could only save one of them.... I think it would still be controversial, and a decision would have to be made......

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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

Post #8

Post by Divine Insight »

Dimmesdale wrote:
Divine Insight wrote: I doubt that this kind of distinction would happen overnight.
It is still important, I think, because theoretically we could have two humanoid beings with only one of them being human, and we would have to make a moral decision of whom to save in a life or death situation say, where we could only save one of them.... I think it would still be controversial, and a decision would have to be made......
The problem is that there is no such line. It simply doesn't exist.

The whole idea is nothing more than a philosophical construction in your own mind. You are trying to imagine "perfection". Perfection simply doesn't exist in the real world. There was no time in the history of human evolution where you can say, "This baby is now human, while the mother wasn't".

It simply doesn't work like that. That's an unrealistic philosophical notion.

Humans slowly evolved. There was no line between an animal that wasn't human and one that was. All that exists are primates that slowly became more self-conscious, and more educated and intelligent over time.

That's all that exists. You can't point to a specific individual primate and say, "Hey that was the first actual human, and all the others are not human"

It just doesn't work that way.

Let's not forget that the very category of '[humans' is a category that humans themselves invented.

So the answer to your question is simple. You simply cannot apply the type of philosophical perfectionism that you imagine in your mind to the real world. It simply doesn't fit.
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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

Post #9

Post by Tcg »

[Replying to post 1 by Dimmesdale]

This is a bit like asking which snowflake caused a storm to be considered a blizzard.

No such single snowflake could be identified.


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Re: At what Point in Evolutionary History....

Post #10

Post by Bust Nak »

[Replying to post 7 by Dimmesdale]

If you can't tell which humanoid is more human at a glance then that shouldn't be a factor in deciding their relative worth.

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