What constitutes concioussness and rational thinking

I've heard on many occasions that man is more valuable and important than the rest of the universe due to its ability to rationalize, have morality and be concious of himself. What makes this so? Pack animals have morality, as they risk their lives to save each other, for the betterment of the pack. Apes can learn sign language and communicate, as well as do math? What makes man special? And what is moral rational thinking? Give me your take.

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Comment by Atheist Exile on April 7, 2012 at 12:41pm

More "valuable"? I've heard that man is special but valuable?

I don't subscribe to species equality. Based on the fact that only a fraction of 1% of all species that have ever existed still survive, nature clearly doesn't subscribe to species equality either. "Species indifference" perhaps . . . but not species equality.

But when it comes to 100% of all species that have ever existed, homo sapiens are special for several obvious reasons. First, let me clarify that "special" does not mean "better". Anyway, although there are species who demonstrate signs of empathy, intelligence and the use of tools, humans are clearly more sophisticated in these regards. Building a honeycomb or damming a stream are pretty noteworthy skills in the animal world but not remotely comparable to human abilities.

Humans are also special for their ability to affect the world for better or for worse. We've brought on a major climate change that promises to be disastrous. We are the only species on the planet that can recognize what's happened and do something about it (whether or not we will is another question). That is, by any comparison of species, special. We can leave the planet altogether and visit the moon. Tell me THAT is not special.

What is "moral rational thinking"? That's a good question but, in the end, is a matter of opinion. Morality, as actually observed and practiced in society, is based on socio-cultural norms which can and do vary from one culture to the next and changes over time. Rational thinking involves avoiding contradictions of nature. If you can develop an idea without contradicting itself or nature, you're probably onto something.

At least, those are my opinions of the questions you ask . . .  

Comment by Vasanth Ra on April 7, 2012 at 3:17am

Life thought as worth is worth the thought;life thought as without is not.

So is Life valuable?

Yes it is and you should think so.

Obviously man is basically not different than animal.

 

Is man more valuable than the rest of the Universe?

Our Earth is a planet revolving around an average sized star,the Sun.Our Sun is but one among 200000000000 other stars in our galaxy,the Milky Way and our milky way is one among other 200000000000 galaxies in our known Universe and our Universe.......so our Universe is much more bigger than you can ever imagine and the existence if Life is very much plausile outside this third rock from the Sun and some of them being more brilliant than us.Our technology is far behind to meet them.Maybe they will visit us one day or maybe have already visited us without our knowing.

 

Do pack animals have morality?

Yes they do have but the animal human being surpasses them all.Have you seen a dog standing in front of a train because he finds life meaningless?Human beings commit more suicide than all of them(Now dont ask me whether anilmals commit suicide).

 

Apes can learn sign language and communicate,as well as do math?

Definitely.They are our ancestors,we have more than 97% of our genes in common.We used to do all that they do now when we were apes.

 

What makes man special?

Because he thinks so.

Human heings need identity to place their unquenchable and much needed pride on.One of the reasons why religions go so well and the very concept of God.When you believe in god you are almost qualified to become his child and hence you are specical.

 

What is moral rational thinking?

Now this is what seems to differentiate us from the rest of the animal kingdom,making us the ruler of them all.Rational thinking is the ability to reason.Human beings can calculate and foresee occurances much more than any other animal.Its the result of evolution,present in our genes.But reasoning is not without its drawbacks.Reasoning mostly depends on our experience which differs from person to person.But nevertheless it is much need and makes us who we are.

        

                                                                                             Hope this helps.

                                                                                                Thank you.

 

 

 

Comment by Richard ∑wald on April 6, 2012 at 11:15am

"I've heard on many occasions that man is more valuable and important than the rest of the universe due to its ability to rationalize, have morality and be concious of himself."

I'm reminded of this:

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