Intelligent Design Mind

Claim: Fire is why humans are different from other animals

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At Science Norway

Smarter from fire

“How has it been possible for us humans to develop such a densely packed brain?”

“Researchers believe it comes from our ancestors beginning to cook food,” Sætre says.

With fire, we could boil, fry, and grill our food. Animals do not have that opportunity.

“Cooked food is easier for the body to digest. So we humans could afford to develop a large and densely packed brain,” he says.

Our organs need food and energy for us to survive. Not just the brain.

“There are therefore limits to how much evolution can afford to use on intelligence,” he says. – Ingrid Schou (February 24, 2023)

Hey, they, they are getting somewhere when they admit that animals are not as smart as humans.

All the rest … Some of us are getting tired of the schtick that chimps are just like humans except that we are not helping them behave that way…

7 Replies to “Claim: Fire is why humans are different from other animals

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    That suggests fire led to cooked food which made more resources available to the body for supporting expensive organs like a brain. It still doesn’t explain why we evolved bigger brains in the first place

  2. 2
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    That suggests fire led to cooked food which made more resources available to the body for supporting expensive organs like a brain. It still doesn’t explain why we evolved bigger brains in the first place.

    The so-called “expensive tissue hypothesis” has been around since the 1990s, and the gist is that cooking allowed hominids to grow larger brains because they could (metabolically) afford to grow smaller guts. It seems plausible, but there have been some more recent studies calling the trade-off into question. I don’t have the time (or background) to follow all the details.

    That said, you’re right that this kind of theory only explains the removal of constraints that prevented further encephalization amongst ancient hominids. It’s not a theory of the selective pressures that promoted encephalization. One would need to look elsewhere for that.

  3. 3
    AnimatedDust says:

    Sev, brains were designed. Yours probably evolved, which is why you always spew your nonsense.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Hey, Animated Dust, Sunday manners here, okay? But you’re onto something. Fire has been around forever. A life form that wittingly harnesses fire must already have some quality that the others do not.

  5. 5
    relatd says:

    I’m starting to think some “researchers” cannot think clearly. Maybe a modern human dropped some raw meat in a fire by accident or found a partly cooked animal who died in a fire, and decided to give it a try. Noticing that fire/cooking made it easier to eat, animals killed in the field were cooked from then on.

    Then someone dropped a little salt on them by accident. 🙂

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    A Reasonable, but Incomplete, Account of How Humans Mastered Fire – Michael Denton – August 4, 2016
    Excerpt: the conquest of fire and the subsequent development of technology were only possible because of an extraordinary fitness in nature to that end, involving multiple environmental conditions and very specific properties of particular types of matter. Without a set of truly remarkable facilitating coincidences in the nature of things, man would never have mastered fire or started on his long journey of technological discovery, which led from a “pre-fire” stone age to the “post-fire” advanced technological society of the 21st century.
    To begin with, the reaction between carbon (C) and oxygen (O), which releases enormous quantities of heat and energy, is only “safe” because of the relative unreactivity of carbon and a unique and remarkable inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures. This is why, despite the “thermodynamic energy” locked up in the reaction because of these kinetic barriers, we don’t spontaneously combust at body temperatures. It is why our carbon constituents don’t combine with oxygen in an explosive uncontrollable reaction. This inertness is experienced in the difficulty of starting a campfire. Of course, once the fire is initiated it becomes self-sustaining. That is because the heat of the fire converts the relatively inert form of the oxygen that exists at ambient temperatures into a very reactive form that readily combines with the carbon in the fuel (wood) of the campfire. But even after fire is initiated and oxygen activated, the rapidity of fire or flame spread is attenuated by another environmental factor: the quenching activity of nitrogen in the atmosphere, which, because of the relatively high specific heat of nitrogen, retards the speed of flame spread.
    Without the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, we would not be here and carbon based life would be restricted to anoxic environments. And without this inertness plus the quenching effect of nitrogen, mankind would never have been able to initiate or control combustion. Consequently, ceramics, metallurgy, and other fire-assisted technologies, which Gowlett mentions, and which followed man’s initial discovery and mastery of fire, would never have been developed. Thus mankind’s long journey to a technological society would have been forever forestalled.
    Of course, to have carbon compounds to burn in an oxygen-containing atmosphere requires a biosphere that provides both the wood (the fuel) and oxygen. Only in a carbon-based world similar to our own, with large woody plants to provide the fuel, and plants to provide the oxygen via photosynthesis, is fire possible.
    The unique utility or fitness of the carbon atom for the construction of complex replicating chemical systems, which might form the basis of living systems and make possible a biosphere like that on earth, has been noted since the mid 19th century. The subject was reviewed in Henderson’s classic The Fitness of the Environment (1913). No other atom comes close, and all subsequent advances in chemical knowledge support Henderson’s contention. Even Carl Sagan (no friend of teleology) conceded in his book Cosmos that he was a carbon chauvinist (p. 105).
    And remarkably, only in the ambient temperature range for terrestrial life (approximately 0-50 C) can the great fitness of carbon for biochemical manipulation be exploited (above 200 C most carbon compounds decompose). This also happens to be the temperature range in which water, the one fluid supremely and uniquely fit for life’s matrix, is a liquid at the atmospheric pressure on earth. It is also the temperature range in which oxygen, the energizer of all advanced life on earth, exists in a relatively inert form.
    But this is only to touch upon some of the chain of coincidences that make fire possible. The oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the process of photosynthesis. This depends on another set of exacting conditions. These include the very remarkable fact that the gases of the earth’s atmosphere — oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N), water vapor — let through the vital visual light which provides the energy to oxidise water, leading to the release of oxygen into the atmosphere. At the same time, two of the gases (water vapor and CO2) retain the sun’s heat (the greenhouse effect). This is essential for maintaining the temperature of the earth in the ambient temperature range, needed in turn for the reactions of living (carbon) chemistry, including the synthesis of sugar in the reaction center of the chloroplast. Even more arresting is the fact, also crucial to life on earth, that the very gases that let through the “good” electromagnetic (EM) energy also absorb nearly all of the “bad” EM radiation in the far UV, X, Gamma ray, and microwave regions of the spectrum.
    Without the right atmospheric conditions, that is, without the properties of the gaseous constituents being almost exactly as they are, there would be no photosynthesis, no oxygen, and no advanced forms of life. Such life, unlike more primitive and simpler forms, requires copious quantities of oxygen to support demanding metabolic needs. In short, without photosynthesis there would be no fire and there would be no beings like modern humans — beings capable of handling and utilizing fire!
    This brings us to the question of the need, which is critical to support fire, for a percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere of about 20 percent. Coincidentally and very fortuitously, this percentage of oxygen is also sufficient to support metabolically active terrestrial organisms like ourselves, deriving our oxygen directly by absorbing it from the atmosphere. So fire and human respiration, although very different processes, can occur in an atmosphere containing about 20 percent oxygen. Many atmospheres exist containing oxygen and nitrogen at various pressures, which support combustion but not respiration or, vice versa, respiration but not combustion. Without the existence of an atmosphere that supports both these very different processes we may have thrived as biological beings on a planet like the earth but never wouldhave made a fire. That means no ceramics, metallurgy, and so forth. Mankind would have been locked in an eternal stone age culture.
    What about wood? Again, conditions have to be just right if large woody plants are to thrive. It is only the unique remarkable cohesiveness of water that confers on it one of the highest surface tensions of any familiar fluid (apart from mercury) as well as a remarkable tensile strength (columns of water in small tubes “stick together”). These together allow water to be drawn to the top of tall woody trees. Without water’s unique cohesiveness, there would be no trees and perhaps no sustainable fire. Fire constructed out of grass and other less substantial fuels would burn out quickly and be hard if not impossible to maintain. Fires need wood, and wood needs trees, and trees need the properties of water to be exactly as they are.
    In the story of fire, a further intriguing element of fitness is more relevant to the later development of metallurgy. It is the fact that the smelting of iron and copper from their ores necessitates temperatures of more than 1200 C. Such temperatures are very hard to reach in ordinary wood fire, and instead require the firing of kilns with charcoal, which is essentially wood cooked in a low oxygen environment. Burning charcoal in ventilated kilns generates not only sufficient heat to smelt ore but also the reducing atmosphere necessary to draw the oxygen from the metal in the ore. I think it can be asserted that without these properties of charcoal, the utilization of copper and iron might never have been achieved.
    And again the temperature range in which metals possess the tensile strength for the manufacture of tools (e.g., iron), and can serve as conductors of electricity (copper), is that same ambient temperature range at which, as mentioned above, water is a liquid, in which carbon compounds can be manipulated for biochemistry, and in which oxygen is relatively inert. We see a series of temporal coincidences upon which, it is no exaggeration to claim, literally everything depends.
    As Gowlett rightly observes, we are the only animals that have mastered fire. But this in itself is no mystery. Other intelligent animals that might have come to utilize fire — dolphins, parrots, ravens, elephants, even chimps — are simply anatomically ill-equipped to initiate fire. Only beings of our particular android design and size possess a superb manipulative tool — the hand — and can therefore make and master fire, developing what Gowlett terms a “true pyrotechnology.”
    And a final point — about lightning. Gowlett may be right in inferring that it was the frequency of lightning strikes on the dry Pleistocene savannah that introduced man to the phenomenon of fire, and that in turn led to fire foraging and eventually knowledge of fire’s great utility. As he says, in the wet environment of the rain forests that covered much of Africa before the late Pleistocene, lightning strikes would be far less likely to cause fire.
    Note again how lightning itself depends on conditions being just right — on the electrical conductivity or insulating properties of the atmosphere, on the friction caused by upwelling of moist air, and many additional factors which are not yet clear. What is not in doubt is that if many parameters were different, lightning strikes might be far less frequent. It is easy to envisage a counterfactual world in which the frequency of strikes was far less than the 44 per second that are estimated to strike the earth’s surface today. That would perhaps be too infrequent to promote early man’s interest in and knowledge of the phenomenon of fire. Even as things are, lighting is far less frequent at sea, in the Arctic and Antarctic, and in the central Sahara.
    In short, the discovery of fire, our subsequent mastery of it, and the road it opened up to an advanced technology were only possible because of our inhabiting a world almost exactly like planet earth, complete with atmospheric conditions exactly as they are, along with the properties of carbon and oxygen atoms (and indeed many of the other atoms of the periodic table), and because we possessed a unique anatomical design (including the hand) uniquely fit for fire-making.

    Fire-Maker – Michael Denton – video

    Michael Denton – Q&A from Fire-Maker premiere

    How We Moved Beyond Darwin to the Miracle of Man – Michael Denton – May 11, 2022
    Concluding paragraph: “The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming.”
    And it is not only our biological design which was mysteriously foreseen in the fabric of nature. As The Miracle of Man shows, nature was also strikingly prearranged, as it were, for our unique technological journey from fire making, to metallurgy, to the advanced technology of our current civilization. Long before man made the first fire, long before the first metal was smelted from its ore, nature was already prepared and fit for our technological journey from the Stone Age to the present.”

    Michael Denton: The Miracle Of Man – December 18, 2022
    Excerpt: Michael Denton is one of several 20th century scientists who have come forward with evidence that the cosmos by all scientific accounts looks to be a profoundly crafted place for life and specifically for human life to exist and then to thrive and flourish.

  7. 7
    relatd says:

    The air we breathe is mostly nitrogen followed by oxygen, along with trace gases.

    Exodus 31:3

    “and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,”


    “to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze,”

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