Originally posted by twhitehead
Measuring intelligence is always difficult, but by just about any measure, the average human is smarter than all known animals.
Many people do underestimate the intelligence of animals - especially people that do not have pets.
I also don't get his references to the agricultural revolution and religion. I am sure that humans thought they were more int ...[text shortened]... orestalled any gains made in the awareness of other animals.[/quote]
Makes no sense whatsoever.
It does make sense in the idea that it was ok to use primates for medical experiments which would leave the poor primates crippled, disease ridden or dead and they would have no idea why. The fact it helped humans with new medicines and such did nothing to reduce the suffering of these animals.
The entire reason we would use such beings for medical experiments was much like the Nazi use of Jews for THEIR experiments: Nazi's thought of Jews as subhuman and therefore it was morally all right to do anything they wanted to them.
It is pretty clear the parallels of that era of animal experimentation, the moral connection to the Nazi idea it was ok to experiment on Jews back in the early 20th century.
Early human cultures and modern indigenous isolated cultures of today even, use animals as their power beings, be like the Jaguar, take on aspects of the Eagle and so forth, illustrating the idea that early Humans did not think of themselves as manifestly superior.
And that would have been because all we had was our tools, spears and so forth, crafted from rocks and flint and so forth. They knew full well the basic INFERIORITY of humans in many regards compared to the animal kingdom. Like the speed of the cobra strike or how fast the Cougar can attack and so forth. Bears, for instance, whom they had to share space with.
They had no such thoughts of automatic human superiority to animals.
Now of course, you go into the woods, maybe armed with a 50 caliber 5 shot magnum pistol and you can stop attacks from almost anything except maybe a ticked off hippo or rhino or elephant, but any forest in North America the human would win 99% of such bouts with bears or cougars.
10,000 years ago, 20,000 years ago, that was not even CLOSE to the truth, which was, you encounter a bear in the woods, and if you are alone and the bear is hungry for flesh, there will be one less human on the planet and one not hungry bear.
So it was the advent of agriculture and the attendant build up of weapons of war that came out of the idea that man OWNED the land they lived on and therefore would fight to the death over, the male dominated religions that came about as a result of that transition insured that humans would begin to think of themselves as way superior to any animal. 10 humans armed with spears is equal to a ticked off bear and they knew it.
So that was the beginning of the idea that humans were innately superior to animals but it was in fact only the advent of weapons animals could never build that started that pervasive attitude in humans.