The Instigator
Darth_Grievous_42
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Daxitarian
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Humans have not advanced beyond their technology for its entire existence.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2007 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,056 times Debate No: 1114
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (7)

 

Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

Is this an impossible idea? Seemingly so, but it's not. That is my position. People, primarily those of homo-sapien decent, like to imagine that they are the most advanced creature on the planet. The top predator, the best melder of the world around it, the most intelligent. But is this really so? Look at your body. Do you see claws? How about fangs? Poison quills? I sure don't. Odd, these traits are usually found in dangerous predators in the natural world. Well, we'll come back to that. I assume that your in a building of some kind since your reading this from a computer. I bet that makes you feel better about yourself, since there is a structure with walls, a roof, floor, and your species made it, and only they can do that. But wait, what's that out the window? Its a bee's nest, a termite mound, and a beaver dam. What a weird coincidence. But surely all those things just grew from the ground and those animals decided it would be a nice idea to live there, right? Intelligence. There's the infallible thing that makes my entire argument fall to pieces. What other creature was able to make weapons of such extremes that makes claws laughable? Nothing else has made shelters of such magnitude to conquer nature in any climate. What animals mere presence can be seen from the night sky's? Well, yes, that is all great.
But that is not people, that's the stuff that people make. How have we as a species developed in the last 40,000 or so years since we first appeared? Have we truly outgrown any primal instincts that keep us connected with our animal ancestors? No, I do not believe we have. Any advancement we have is not ours, but a better crafting of what has already been there. Prove me wrong.
Daxitarian

Con

First, I'm not exactly sure what you are saying, so you need to clarify your position a little more.

Darth: "Humans have not advanced beyond their technology for its entire existence."

Reply: Obviously there has been some advancing in technology. We drive cars instead of riding in a horse and buggy. At one point there were no humans and hence no human technology, and now we have advanced past that point.

Darth: "People, primarily those of homo-sapien decent, like to imagine that they are the most advanced creature on the planet. The top predator, the best melder of the world around it, the most intelligent. But is this really so? Look at your body. Do you see claws? How about fangs? Poison quills? "

Reply: I'm not sure what claws have to do with intelligence, although my cat is pretty smart. In terms of computation power versus body size, humans are clearly number 1.

Darth: there is a structure with walls, a roof, floor, and your species made it, and only they can do that. But wait, what's that out the window? Its a bee's nest, a termite mound, and a beaver dam.

Reply: Again, the complexity of these things are dwarfed by modern housing or the hoover dam. These animals posses some level of intelligence, but it isn't even close to the level of human intelligence.

Darth: What other creature was able to make weapons of such extremes that makes claws laughable? Nothing else has made shelters of such magnitude to conquer nature in any climate. What animals mere presence can be seen from the night sky's? Well, yes, that is all great.
But that is not people, that's the stuff that people make.

Reply: And the bee's nest is just stuff bee's make. What about language? Cognition? How did these buildings get built? It's because humans have very complex brains relative to their body size, not poisonous quills.

Darth: Have we truly outgrown any primal instincts that keep us connected with our animal ancestors? No, I do not believe we have.

Reply: I'm not sure what you mean by outgrown, but I'll give it a shot.

Humans evolved in an environment where food was scarce and sweetness was a sign of ripeness in food. So it became beneficial for reproductive success to eat as much as you could and to enjoy sweet tasting foods. Now that food is plentiful and usually sweeter foods are bad for you, those things have lost their edge, but we have changed our environment faster than our genes could catch up. Evolutionary psychology is useful in explaining certain irrational business practices.

Now if you mean outgrown as in we have ditched certain instincts that other animals have, that is different since different animals have varying instincts, e.g. Humans don't instinctively migrate south for the winter. The most basic instincts of living organisms, consume and reproduce are certainly still with us, although they can be manipulated by other things (birth control)--but that doesn't mean they always will be, or even likely will be.

The only thing that looks like it will surpass human intelligence is computers. But it won't surpass us, so much as we will become them. Intelligence did not develop for it's own sake, but rather, it lead to reproductive success in a hunter gather society. Intelligence was a way to help genes forge ahead, but it is possible that this system of intelligence could drop genetics all together and humans can be "post-evolutionary."

All your memories could be downloaded into a new brain that would allow you to do as much thinking in a minute as you do in a year. You won't have to worry about breeding, since you have no sexual organs, and if these new trans-humanists lived in space, they could receive nearly limitless solar energy from the sun--and spend practically an eternity exploring the cosmos.

So your argument sounded like "we are just animals." True, on the very broadest meaning of the word animal, but that's not a very nuanced way of looking at the world. And the things that do make us animals are in no way guaranteed to be always with us, or even likely.

If I have misunderstood any of your positions, let me know and I'll revise my arguments accordingly.
Debate Round No. 1
Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

My reasoning for pointing out all these traits animals share is this: we have done nothing truly special. Three examples (predatory, structural, and intellect) where brought up as the three main factors human beings seem to believe we alone hold a grasp over. We don't have any claws, thus without guns, knifes, or otherwise, we are not predators, but prey. We like to imagine or structures to be superior, when while they are larger and on a grander scale to a bee hive or beaver dam, are nothing to truly boast about. Intellect is the only factor we have over animals. But what can you physically do with a brain? Can it kill prey? No, it would just get it wet. But the brain develops a spear. DOes the brain build sky scrappers? If they did, then New York would be nothing but raw materials. The only thing that makes us is our technology. Not us, but what we make. The only leeps and bounds we make beyond animals is the manipulation of what is already around us. So then, beside our technology, what sets man apart? The answer is nothing does. If everything we have was striped away we would die in an instant. What advancement have we made to ourselves? None. We are no better than the apes of Africa. We have not advanced beyond our technology for our entire existence. There is a man versus a tiger, who will win? The tiger obviously. But now there is a man with a tank versus a tiger. Who will win now? The tank will. What did the man do? He built, and that's it. The tank holds the real power, not the man. So then it comes down to intelligence. What have we really done with our brains to advance man kind? Well, we still kill though we don't need to, so that's out. We still cling to Territory, even though they're mostly lines on a map now, not hunting grounds, so we can't say that. Many have moved past migratory systems, but some still do. In the early days, nearly all human trades where nomads.

I'm not sure what this "sweetness of food" deal has to do with anything, thus I won't touch it.

We don't have a superior living method, true. In fact, we eat food as do animals. Drink, another shared animal trait. We also mate, as do every single other thing on the planet, so that doesn't make us special either.

Computers are just another human made thing, which does not advance man kind in itself, save for better communication. In a sense, a louder "whoop".

So yes, I do say we are animals. My outlook is not on the bleak future but of the all to clear present. We are no different than our ancestors from the trees. We have not developed any more as a species in its whole beyond the common principals of our roots. Our only accomplishment is what we make, not who we are.
Daxitarian

Con

Darth: My reasoning for pointing out all these traits animals share is this: we have done nothing truly special.

Reply: If special is unique, then I can give you one glaring difference between humans and other animals--other animals adapt to their environment for survival, humans adapt their environment to fit their needs. So I think given the fact that humans don't have poisonous quills or fangs, but yet, keeping in mind our body size, we have been able to survive across varying environments, even outer space. I don't think that happens unless there is something special, in this case it is the human mind.

Darth: We don't have any claws, thus without guns, knifes, or otherwise, we are not predators, but prey.

Reply: And this proves what? That bears want to eat us?

Darth: We like to imagine or structures to be superior, when while they are larger and on a grander scale to a bee hive or beaver dam, are nothing to truly boast about.

Reply: We aren't building really big beehives. It's not size (we also build things on a molecular level--nanotechnology), but complexity that is interesting.

Darth: But what can you physically do with a brain?...DOes the brain build sky scrappers?

Reply: That is exactly what builds skyscrapers--the mind. To build things of that complexity, investigation into the working of the physical world is required, and to do that, you have to have evolved the proper apparatus to do such investigations.

Darth: The only leeps and bounds we make beyond animals is the manipulation of what is already around us.

Reply: Again, what does this really have to do with anything? The only way I can think of that your sentence makes sense is that humans just rearrange matter, so nothing is new. This is fallacious because you are assuming that the property of the part of the whole applies to the whole itself. A tank is made of matter. Matter has always existed. Therefore, tanks have always existed.

Darth: If everything we have was striped away we would die in an instant.

Reply: ....Because? Weren't people living before the internet and central heating? If there were some disaster like that, we would just resort back to a hunter-gather lifestyle and then rebuild. If birds couldn't build bird's nest for whatever reason, they would probably die.

Darth: What advancement have we made to ourselves? None.

Reply: From what I can gather you think, apart from technology, humans haven't changed at all. This is wrong for several reasons. 1. We are constantly evolving, as is everything. 2. In order for there to be technology as it is today, humans had to develop opposable thumbs, bipedalism, enlarged cranial capacities. Over the years humans have built up immunities to diseases, different skin pigments to deal with the elements, more coarse hair in some climates , etc. 3. I'm not sure why you think waking up with fangs would be some sort of advancement, but any sort of radical restructuring like this would take millions of years by natural causes. These are things we don't make, but nature does (but, another special thing about humans is that this might no longer be the case, I'll elaborate in a little bit.) So I think you only have a fuzzy understanding of what evolution is and how species change.

Darth: . We are no better than the apes of Africa.

Reply: Last time I checked, apes are endangered and there are about 6.6 billion people on the planet. I would say given our size and complexity, we are kicking @ss in terms of evolutionary success.

Darth: There is a man versus a tiger, who will win? The tiger obviously. But now there is a man with a tank versus a tiger. Who will win now? The tank will.

Reply: Okay, to be fair, lets give the tiger a tank. Who wins? Still the human in the tank. Why? Because the tiger hasn't evolved the mental capacities of abstract reasoning to operate such a machine, let alone build one. Tanks haven't just been lying around and we figured out how to operate them.

Darth: The tank holds the real power, not the man.

Reply: No, because the tank can not be operated unless a homo sapien does it because only homo sapiens have evolved in such a way to be able to.

Darth: In the early days, nearly all human trades where nomads.

Reply: And why are we not nomadic hunter-gathers anymore? Because certain features evolved that made technology possible.

Darth: We don't have a superior living method, true. In fact, we eat food as do animals. Drink, another shared animal trait. We also mate, as do every single other thing on the planet, so that doesn't make us special either.

Reply: 1. Considering our size and complexity, I would say that our exponential growth in terms of population means that as a species we have been very successful in the game of evolution.

If you are saying humans are animals, I'm not going to disagree with you, just that you can have a deeper, more nuanced way of viewing things. It's like saying the New England Patriots and your local pee-wee football team are the same because they are both football teams.

True, we are playing the same game of life that all the other animals are playing; we have to eat, breed, produce waste. But unlike other species, humans are likely to be the first to ditch this process. It is what I talked about earlier--transhumanism. When people and machines start to converge, you can't even make the argument that we are animals. There won't be a need for breeding or eating. We could become computers exploring the cosmos being fueled by solar energy.

And what I wanted to elaborate on was the relationship between technology and nature. Humans naturally evolved certain features that made technology possible. Now technology is changing nature--i.e. manipulating the environment to bring changes that couldn't have naturally evolved otherwise. So, if you are upset that humans aren't evolving poisonous quills fast enough, genetic engineering can make sure that your kids can have them. Just recently scientists created the first ever artificial genome--a new branch of the evolutionary tree was made. So if technology is used to make me born with the genetics to have fangs, are those fangs naturally a part of me or not? So to just throw technology arbitrarily out the window and say we are no different from other animals doesn't make sense because the line between nature and technology is fading.

Darth: We are no different than our ancestors from the trees.

Reply: I don't know about you, but I am typing this in a house.

Darth: Our only accomplishment is what we make, not who we are.

Reply: But we can only make certain things because we are a certain way.
Debate Round No. 2
Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

What you've said is all well and good but it simply proves that man has no strength or separation from animals beyond their technology. Humans adapting their surroundings: technology. Complex buildings: technology. Building anything: technology. I bring up the tank vs tiger point to exemplify one thing: we are nothing without what we make. Nature is the one obstacle any living thing has to fight against. A person can not beat a tiger with its own hands, rather they use a tank. Is the person killing the tiger? No, the tank is. The person has to operate it, yes, but the power is not within the human but the tool itself. The fact that the tiger cannot run it matters not, as a tiger can defend itself using itself. We can't. We are no better than what we make. I say a brain cannot build a building. This is true. I brain cannot by itself build anything. But the brain uses the body to build great sky scrappers. The brain is our only natural handicap over other species, yet by itself it is nothing. Without anything to meld (the earth) it is useless. The ability to make the tank has always been there with the matter itself, but the tank, the object itself, cannot exist until it is made. The brain using the body makes it. But that does not make the tank an entity in itself. It is simply stuff that has already been there resculpted into something taking a different shape that does different things. This is what man can do that other things can't, but as I said before, it does not change who humans are. When I say "if everything was gone, we would die" I mean this: if we had no technology we would be dead. Our hairless bodies would die in the cold and rain without coats or houses. Our lack of a natural defence would make us succumb to predators in an instant, in which case poison quills would be very useful. If we were set in such a position, having to use only what we had when we where born, then man would die. We are nothing without technology, the brain and its intelligence only makes building possible. Without which, the basic human is fodder. Again, you bring up how we can change ourselves in the future, but using what? Technology. Once again, without it, we will never be able to move beyond our primal selves. Without computers or nanomachines to manipulate our genes, we will never be able to grow poison quills. Useless without technology. I have a very thorough understanding of how evolution works and the paleontological past, which is why I made this claim in the first place. Man did not evolve the city, we made the city, we just evolved dexterous hands and a larger than normal brain. Until man made the sharpened rock as an Australopithecus or Homo Erectus we where the prey of animals such as crocodiles, birds, large cats, and wild dogs. It would be the same today had we not needed to craft our superiority, rather than develop it naturally. All this originated from Africa supposedly, and we are not better than those ancestral apes. Hands that cannot shred skin. A hide that does not protect against cold. Only a brain. A brain that builds and makes things. But nothing we make is us. We make it then use it. We, the human race, are no better than what we build. Thus, useless without technology. We have not advanced, only our arts and crafts have. Darth_Grievous_42 out.
Daxitarian

Con

Our argument seems to be going in circles because you can't grasp one key point: In order for their to be technology, humans had to evolve certain features that allow there to be technology, and it is these unique features that make humans special.

Your point about humans not surviving with no technology couldn't be more wrong because, 1. Humans had to survive without it. 2. People live today with virtually no technology. Why would the elements kill us? Wouldn't you look for a cave or some type of natural shelter?

Your point about the tiger: If you put a human against a tiger in a bare room to fight a tiger, the tiger will win. But this is no more natural than having a human in a tank fight a tiger. Couldn't it be that humans band together to frighten the tiger, or outsmart it? We have evolved very complex language that would facilitate this process.

"The brain using the body makes it. But that does not make the tank an entity in itself."

Look up the word entity before you use it. Besides, a tiger's tooth by itself doesn't kill prey by itself any more than a mind without a body builds a building. It's because the mind, like the tooth, are all part of a complex system for reproductive success.

See, you don't really have a deep understanding of evolution. You seem to think that only if you evolve poisonous quills are you advancing. Evolution is not about being at the top of the food chain. It is about reproductive success; the change in allele frequency. If the tiger is faster than it's prey, the prey will die. But if the prey can avoid being consumed either by speed or intelligence, the tiger will die. Being at the top of the food chain does not guarantee reproductive success.

Even if we could not survive without technology (which I have shown is not true) it is just a banal, uninteresting point. A tiger can't survive without it's teeth. Birds can't survive without building a nest. Your argument could just as well be, "Tigers have not advanced beyond their teeth for their entire existence."

The point about changing ourselves in the future is that it undermines what we think of being natural: Suppose a girl could get a tit job before she was born, i.e. her genes are engineered such that her breasts will develop in a desired way. Would we say this girl has fake tits?

So your whole idea that we are useless without technology is wrong, because we will keep on evolving and adapting, even if it means we have to resort to primitive means to do so.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Daxitarian 9 years ago
Daxitarian
But in order for their to be technology, there had to be some evolution--advancing--of other features. The whole point about humans not surviving without technology is just bunk. Of course if a human and tiger were to fight one on one in a room the tiger would win. But couldn't humans band together for protection, like other animals? And haven't we evolved very complex language that would aid in that process? Evolution isn't about having fangs, it is about reproductive success.
Posted by Darth_Grievous_42 9 years ago
Darth_Grievous_42
Well thanks FalseReality. I'm glad someone understood.

Daxitarian, the "primarily those of homo sapien decent" thing was a joke. No more an actual argument than your poison quills. It was just an example.
Posted by FalseReality 9 years ago
FalseReality
Daxitarian, you only proved Grievous's point, that people are nothing without their tools. The tigers tooth is a part of itself. The tank is not. The tiger has the natural means to kill the human, but the person doesn't. He had to build something. If he didn't then he'd be useless. You only continued to prove his point. Someone can't get redone breast in the womb without technology. The gene stuff is a tool, and without it the breast job can't be done.

And I can't believe how much stress you put on poisonoue quills, you completly missed the point. You don't need poisonous quills to be advanced. Grievous says that humans have no natural means of defence like poisonous quills. We had to make them (guns and swords). So again, without technology we'd be useless since we have no natural defences.

I'd say your evolutionary knowlege is flawed. People have never gone without some form of tech. The only things that didn't were the early ape forms of ourselves. But once we evolved to be humans, we'd already been using some forms of technology. Most people who get lost in the wilderness die, because they have no tools. Only when they make something (fire, shelter, something to hunt with) do they have a chance to live.
Posted by Daxitarian 9 years ago
Daxitarian
"People, primarily those of homo-sapien decent"

Are there any other kind? Jesus, how did I miss that.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
>>Okay, to be fair, lets give the tiger a tank. Who wins? Still the human in the tank. Why? Because the tiger hasn't evolved the mental capacities of abstract reasoning to operate such a machine, let alone build one. Tanks haven't just been lying around and we figured out how to operate them.<<

I lol'd
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