Thursday, March 13, 2014

Don't You Think (Like This)

People be crazy. I submit as evidence the following video in which a person I used to be friends with, before he became a little too nuts even for me, speculates wildly about the origins of homo sapiens. He’s a nice guy who certainly means well, but he is one of those types of people who absolutely refuses to hear arguments against the things he wants to believe. He usually presents us with typical “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality although he astonishly refrains from doing that in this video rambling, instead choosing to engage in the laziest kind of thinking one could possibly participate in. I encourage you to watch the video above, with an open mind of course, then read my rebuttal. 

1)     You simply have to love it whenever he says, “If you really think about it…” because when he says at 2:40 that the conventional thought for centuries was such that life on Earth was the only life in the universe, he’s really saying that such was the conventional though among Western European countries for the past few centuries, though I guess he thinks such a distinction is a given and that’s why he doesn’t qualify his statement. He also seems to imply that such conventional wisdom is the product of a deliberate deception [you can also draw this conclusion from his other videos] without thinking of a reason why people might assume life on Earth is the only life in the universe – namely, because that’s what the evidence so far indicates.

2)     He says at 3:25 that humans are the only animal that creates clothing, weapons, and transportation to meet some need. That’s a simply false assertion. There are plenty of examples of other animals who use weapons and tools to fight and accomplish tasks. Monkeys have been observed using weapons while monkeys, crows, dolphins, and even octopi have been observed using tools to perform tasks such as opening nut shells or crustaceans. Now, I can’t name any examples of animals building transportation off the top of my head, but even a deer would need a boat to cross an ocean, thus refuting his assertion that “a deer doesn’t need a [vehicle] to get anywhere.” Some sea animals, however, are smart enough to use currents to their advantage, helping them migrate faster than they would otherwise. So, it’s not like animals never have a need or never utilize transportation methods. While we have to grant that the tool use by other animals is rudimentary by comparison to human beings, all that means is that we’re very good at tool making. That’s it.

3)     At 4:10 he talks about the disadvantage a person dropped off in the woods would be if not allowed to cloth themselves without thinking about the disadvantage a polar bear would be at if dropped off near the equator or the disadvantage a tropical bird would be at if dropped off in the Arctic. He seems to believe that the mal-adaptation of humans to some environments means that we cannot be of this planet. Simply lazy thinking. We are certainly not the only species on the planet that needs protection from the elements; most land mammals do not sleep out in the open and instead opt for caves or dens to protect themselves from predators and inclement weather. Geez, birds live in caves and build nests, too, while snails seek the protection of shells which btw they don’t grow themselves. So, I don’t know how he’s coming up with this stuff.

4)     At 5:30 he makes it explicit that because human being are not adapted to some environments that we may not be from Earth and he draws this conclusion without considering the human mind as an adaptation. Sure, unaided, I could not survive without clothing near the Arctic like I could near the Equator, but to reiterate, human beings have been very good at tool making which has allowed us to conquer extreme environments. The ability to make advanced tools is not evidence that we are not native to Earth.

5)     At 6:30 he says that when you break down religion into its most basic element, they all worship a god or god. True most of the time, but hardly an unequivocal statement. But he goes on to say that most of these gods came from the stars, a statement that once again is plainly false.

6)     At 8:45 he asks if we are really supposed to be meat-eaters if we don’t have the teeth and jaw muscles necessary to bring down a wild animal. Again, he completely ignores the evolutionary process and the fact that not all meat-eater have long fangs. Seriously, are we supposed to consider him a thinker if he doesn’t possess the reasoning process necessary to draw believable conclusions?

7)     At 9:54 he asks why no other animal appears to think like we do. Uh, I think it’s safe to assume that if fish could think at all like a human being, they’d be wondering why there are animals above the water. Would the fish think we are gods and that we created them? I’m confident that few animals think like another animal much different than themselves. And this guy, well, he’s a different breed altogether.

8)     He concludes by saying we should think about this with an open mind, meaning, he wants you to speculate as wildly as he does as long as you don’t accept conventional  wisdom on the matter. Okay then, how about he thinks about my points with an open mind. Do you think he will? Do you think he’ll even consider the question I pose to him: What does it matter if we are indeed from another planet? Doesn’t our current situation and where we are headed as a species matter more? Granted, we look towards our origins assuming it will give us direction, but the fact is that doing so has not given us any clue on that account. So, who cares where we came from? I do not consider it a relevant question.

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