Posts tagged with humans

Written by Veronique Greenwood

An unknown number of women may perceive millions of colors invisible to the rest of us. One British scientist is trying to track them down and understand their extraordinary power of sight.

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The greatest obligation that you have is to keep an open mind and to realize that, in our present state, human society, we’re more and more overborn by how little we know, and how little we know about more and more, or, if you like, how much more we know, but how much less we know as we find out how much more and more there is to know. In these circumstances, which I believe to be undeniable, the only respectable intellectual position is one of doubt, skepticism, reservation and free—and I’d stress free and unfettered inquiry, in that lies, as it has always lain, our only hope. So you should beware always of those who say that these questions have already been decided. In particular, to those who’ll tell you that they’ve been decided by revelation, that there are a handed-down commandments and precepts that predate, in a sense, ourselves and that the answers are already available if only we could see them and that the obligation upon ourselves to debate ethical and moral and historical and other questions is thereby dissolved. It seems to me that is the one position—it’s what I call the faith position—that has to be discarded first.
Christopher Hitchens

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Greater Apes. From T.H. Huxley’s 'Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature'.

Greater Apes.
From T.H. Huxley’s 'Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature'.

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Looking at the world from other species point of view is a cure for the disease of human self importance.
Michael Pollan

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We kill billions of wild animals to protect the animals we eat. We then destroy our environment to feed the animals we eat. We spend more time, money and resources fattening the animals we eat, than we do feeding humans who are actually starving. The greatest irony is that after all the expense of raising these animals, we eat them, and they kill us… And instead of recognizing this insanity, we torture and kill millions of other animals trying to find a cure to the diseases caused by eating animals in the first place. When it comes to eating, humans are without question the dumbest animals on the planet.

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Everything we see, hear, taste, smell, touch, is a human artifact. All the sensory information we receive is fabricated, and most of it is mediated by machines. I think the only thing that makes it bearable is the fact that our sensory capacities are so terribly diminished—just as they are in all domesticates—that we no longer know what we are missing.

The wild animal is receiving information for all the senses, from an uncountable number of sources, every moment of its life. We get it from one only—ourselves. It’s like doing solitary confinement in an echo chamber. People doing solitary do strange things. And the common experience of victims of sensory deprivation is hallucination. I believe that our received cultural wisdom, our anthropocentric beliefs and ideologies, can easily be seen as hallucinations.

(In related news, the stock market rose sharply today in heavy trading.)

Derrick Jensen (via theslowcollapseofsociety)

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ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2010) — Scientists at Harvard University have sketched a new map of the “evolutionary labyrinth” species must traverse to reach eusociality, the rare but spectacularly successful social structure where individuals cooperate to raise offspring…

Eusociality is rare, but important in evolutionary biology because the few species that adhere to it — including social insects and, to an extent, humans — rank among the planet’s most dominant. The biomass of ants alone composes more than half that of all insects, exceeding that of all terrestrial nonhuman vertebrates combined. Humans, who are more loosely eusocial, dominate land vertebrates.

“Eusociality has arisen independently some 10 to 20 times in the course of evolution,” says Tarnita, a junior fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows. “Our model shows that it is difficult to get eusociality in the first place, but that it is very stable once it is established. A colony behaves like a ‘superorganism,’ reproducing the genome of the queen and the sperm she has stored.”

 I really can’t wait until I start reading more about social insects; they really are phenomenal.

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