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U of Adelaide evolutionary biologists deny that humans are smarter than other animals

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Meow!/ Alvesgaspar

“University of Adelaide experts in evolutionary biology” announce, “Humans not smarter than animals, just different …”:

“For millennia, all kinds of authorities – from religion to eminent scholars – have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom,” says Dr Arthur Saniotis, Visiting Research Fellow with the University’s School of Medical Sciences.

“However, science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings.”

He says the belief that humans have superior intelligence harks back to the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago when people began producing cereals and domesticating animals. This gained momentum with the development of organised religion, which viewed human beings as the top species in creation. More.

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Just think, folks, if it weren’t for agriculture and organised religion, it would never occur to us that we have higher order cognitive skills than Rover or Tom.

“The fact that they may not understand us, while we do not understand them, does not mean our ‘intelligences’ are at different levels, they are just of different kinds. When a foreigner tries to communicate with us using an imperfect, broken, version of our language, our impression is that they are not very intelligent. But the reality is quite different,” Professor Henneberg says.

Henneberg may well hope that we spent a lot of time in school writing down our feelings about things, and not learning to think clearly.

It’s true that I don’t clearly and completely understand how my cats think but I can give a much more informative account of how they think than they can give of how I think. They not only understand very little about how I think; they are not even interested in the question in any intellectual way. True, they track my every move, physical or mental, toward the kibble box or the Great Outdoors. But that is the only sort of problem they can even conceive of.

In short, my intelligence comprises theirs, but theirs doesn’t comprise mine. That is usually what people mean when they think in terms of the “superior intelligence” of humans. It is not a race between intelligences on a level playing field. The superior intelligence comprises the inferior one.

Professor Henneberg says domestic pets also give us close insight into mental abilities of mammals and birds. “They can even communicate to us their demands and make us do things they want. The animal world is much more complex than we give it credit for,” he says.

Actually, people who live with domestic animals would readily agree that they can “communicate to us their demands and make us do things they want.” If they couldn’t, they would not be intelligent enough to be domestic animals.

Now, Henneberg probably has something like this in mind: Intelligence is on a graded continuum.

Actually, it isn’t. Human intelligence is an almost unbelievable outlier, and no amount of popular science dreck on how chimps throwing [rotting fruit] explains human origins is going to change that.

Recently, I started a series, linked below, on how methodological naturalism deforms the sciences it greatly impacts. We see that in this story: Unable to reach for an easy naturalistic account of the outlier of human intelligence, the University of Adelaide evolutionary biology department opts for an easy evasion: brazen denial. They assume that the consumers of wild life documentaries will meekly acquiesce.

See also:

What has materialism done for science?

Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train

Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

“Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies … that is, if you would only believe …

Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

But surely we can’t conjure an entire advanced civilization?

“Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies … that is, if you would only believe …

Not only is earth one nice planet among many, but our entire universe is lost in a crowd

– O’Leary for News

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5 Responses to U of Adelaide evolutionary biologists deny that humans are smarter than other animals

  1. Gosh … I must have missed the millions upon millions of books in the millions upon millions of libraries written and built by the dogs, cats, pigs and apes of history.

    I must have somehow missed the magnificent musical scores and orchestral and choral performances put on by the dogs, cats, pigs and apes of history.

    I must have missed the countless inventions such as dishwashers, automobiles, airplanes, iPhones etc. built by the dogs, cats, pigs and apes of history.

    Someone please tell me where I can go to pick up my PhD.

  2. Oh … about that PhD. I would like it to be a fully tenured position of my choice at an institution of “higher’ education – in a warm climate – close to a nice beach – and with a nice faculty lounge equipped with much booze and plenty of conversation with fellow evolutionary biologists. No teaching desired, just the perks please.

  3. Absolute poppycock!

  4. SCIENCE SAYS SO! That settles it or settles science has no credibility anymore.
    This professor is comparing himself to animals and I admit makes a damning case.
    Imagine we those smarter or as smart as ourselves! Of coarse they don’t seem smart enough to figure this out and stop it!

  5. Well, apparently there’s some University of Adelaide biologists who are not smarter than animals. ;-)

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