Animal minds News

Matching Darwin’s “Tree of life,” the “Tree of intelligence” comes crashing down

Spread the love

At Evolution News & Views:

Freed from the constraints of naturalism (nature is all there is), the animal mind is a fascinating topic. Great writers have reflected on the way their cats think. The cat is a convenient subject for two reasons. One is this, no one advertises a common inheritance of humans and cats. We meet on equal terms.

That said, the most farflung outcome of the current effort to naturalize the mind, despite Darwin’s horrid doubt, is the quest to map our own minds onto those of primate apes and other mammals. We constantly hear the false news that we share 98 percent or 99 percent of our genes with chimpanzees, and therefore we must greatly resemble them.

False news? Yes. If that claim were taken seriously, it would spell the end of genetics as a source of useful information. (Is there anyone who cannot tell the difference between a human and a chimpanzee?) No, such claims belong rather on a philosophical continuum with evolutionary psychology. If evo psych’s claims were sound, they would merely demonstrate that no evolution has been observed in the human species for two million years. But the value of all such claims is precisely that they are not taken seriously. They serve rather to undermine the idea that humans are unique, with little regard for the logical consequences of any specific assertion.

It is the same with claims about animal minds. Scientists and science reporters routinely claim that apes and humans behave similarly. Apes are said to, among other things, mourn their dead, suffer self-doubt, make dolls, have police, go to war, and use “innovative, foresighted methods.” The point of such claims isn’t that apes really think like people, but that we really don’t.

Strangely, it’s been crazier. In the Seventies, Nim Chimpsky (Pan troglodytes) was raised from infancy as a human baby and even breastfed by a woman. (The daughter of the surrogate mother explained in retrospect, “It was the Seventies.”) More.

Yeah.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

7 Replies to “Matching Darwin’s “Tree of life,” the “Tree of intelligence” comes crashing down

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Probably a good guess that beings more advanced than sapien will have wings instead of long hairy arms:)

  2. 2
    goodusername says:

    If evo psych’s claims were sound, they would merely demonstrate that no evolution has been observed in the human species for two million years.

    I can’t really make out this sentence. Are you saying that evo psychs claim that humans haven’t evolved in two million years? (I doubt any evo psych would claim such a thing.) Or are you saying that if evo psych claims were true that that would mean that no human evolution has occurred in two million years? (If so, why?) Or are you saying something else?

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    Good punchy article.
    yet this yEC creationist says a presumption is wrong here.
    I welcome 100% likeness with primates by dna.
    We have ape bodies. wE don’t have a unique human body. in fact we are the only being that has a like bode with another creature. no one else.
    this because our identity is as created by god in his image. Biology is all about sameness in blueprint.
    so its impossible for us to have a body showing our unique identity.
    so God gave us simply the best bode on earth for fun and profit.
    Our human ness is not shown in our body. its just a ape thing.
    Just sexier, speaking for myself.

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    I read the longer article of Denyse. And is she suggesting that skills evolved by various other animal branches to survive their environments, are evidence of higher intelligence than the great apes? Anthropomorphising evolved behaviour in animals is a Disney default position; I hope we aim for higher than ‘Disney’ science.

    “Nim Chimsky”? This is obviously a compliment, or anti-semitic slur against Noam Chomsky; read it how you will.

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    Many of us live with dogs and cats, and feel their brand of love & intelligence on a daily, life long basis. Can’t imagine having a chimp as part of the mix. Nim Chimpsky, what a disaster.

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    rvb8
    If its obvious then how can there be a alternate? One should read it as it is.
    Why would it be a slur? If so why would the slur be wrong? Who’s the boss of slur accuracy? what is a slur? Is it not a slur to accuse of slur since the presumption is THOSE PEOPLE are anti-semetic?
    Its unkind and nasty and unjust to make serious, PC serious, accusations?
    At some point the accuser discredits themself.
    Freedom of speech must prevail and fair comment must be weighed on the merits.
    No pre emptive prohibition of any thing under the sun.

  7. 7
    rvb8 says:

    Robert your attitude to women, and homosexuals, is a living and breathing slur.

Leave a Reply