Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sound Off 02-03-09

Today's question:

How has the theory of evolution changed humanity's self concept and the understanding of our place in the cosmos? How have these changes been for the better or the worse?

7 comments:

  1. Does humanity have a shared self concept or a mutual understanding about anything at all?

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  2. Hello Zee,

    Universally shared, no? But there are assumptions and ideas about the relationship between humanity and the rest of nature that have changed. Many of these are unspoken.

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  3. I got nothing. Can you give me an example to get the thoughts going on this question?

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  4. sure... consider the relationship between humans and other animals. what does evolution suggest about the relationship between humans and animals? how does that differ that previous conceptions? consider also the physiological and psychological attributes of animals, can they be studied to gain insight into human physiology and psychology if there is an evolutionary relationship?

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  5. Evolution suggests that humans and animals all have a common ancestor some where in evolution and before the theory of evolution humans were not related to animals. Animals have been studied for a while and related to humans. I think Pavlov did his studies with conditioned reflexes with dogs over a hundred years ago and related it to humans.

    I don't know. Maybe tomorrows question will be able to stimulate me intellecually a little more. Its not you its me... honest... its bound to happen in any relationship.

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  6. A book is soon to come out called Darwin's Sacred Cause that argues Charles Darwin quietly hoped his theory would help slow down the slave trade. So, maybe he expected people would recognize we all have a common ancestry and no human is greater than another.

    Like Zee said, the views that humans have concerning humanity is so diverse. A mutual understanding probably doesn't exist among us. But, I think the theory of evolution has made a positive impact in creating acceptance for the diversity in people. We can also now better accept the fact that we are animals, too. And the plight of any species should be our concern because we humans -- as a species -- can meet the same end as our ancestors: extinction. So, seeing ourselves as animals can help us realize we are subject to the same laws of nature. The world is not subject to us as Genesis suggests. We are subject to nature-- and we had better know our place.

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  7. Hello Uruk,

    You struck on the answer that I was considering: that evolution leveled or humbled the human self concept from being the top of the scale of being to being "just another" species. The Genesis paradigm of nature-subject-to-man might be the demise of our species. This paradigm has inspired irreparable damage through neglect and overuse. When coupled with Evangelical eschatologies, it leads to a worldview that considers the here-and-now environment "just a material" thing that will burn and that therefore should not be worried about.

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