Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Blurs in Nature

I remember someone saying that he believed that humans are a distinct species from all others (as a statement of belonging to the religious right in the USA). He is so wrong. There are no clear lines in nature.

For example, what makes you think that humans are distinct from chimpanzees? Usage of technology? They use sticks and straws, too, and they can be trained to push buttons for rewards. Different body? They are definitely hairier and more hutchback-looking than us, but the basics are the same. Different emotions? I do not think so at all. We are so similar to chimpanzees that they are like smaller, less advanced versions of humans. True, there are other monkeys, like macaques or baboons, but monkeys like the chimpanzee are an example of a blur between the two.

Also, where is the line between a dog and a wolf? Surely, dogs are rather friendly, but there's an German Shepherd dog standing over the two edges.

Even groups like birds and dinosaurs blend into each other. Dinosaurs are big and scaly and birds are smaller and have feathers, but then again, there exists the Archaeopteryx. It is a blend between a bird and a lizard, with lizard's fingers on its wings and teeth in its mouth, while still having feathers. It is a bit of both, marking where evolution continued.

Yet, the most basic fact that disproves the notion that nature likes clarity would be viruses. Are they living or are they inanimate? They do not display all the properties of a living thing, but they certainly know how to survive (using other cells) and they are like tiny machines whose only function is to make copies of themselves. Which does sound like what a living creature does.

Knowing all this, I have no choice but to disagree. I am sorry, but evidence suggests otherwise.

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