[Taxacom] when is a common species critically endangered?

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Thu Jun 28 02:50:31 CDT 2012

From: "Zack Murrell" <murrellze at appstate.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:21 AM

> By the way, one definition of human from the Online Etymology Dictionary 
> is "humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, 
> civilized".  This definition doesn't seem to fit very well with any 
> current description of Homo sapiens Linnaeus.

Yes, there are (at least) two definitions of "human", the above is the
nineteenth Century (pre-WW I) definition: "human" as different from
"animal", by the ability to think and the use of that ability to make 
informed decisions. Human = reasoning, cultured, etc.

Much more common these days is the definition of "human" as
"recognizably Homo sapiens". Human characteristics are having
two eyes, a nose, a personality, etc. Being shouted at by your 
boss and then going home to kick the dog is "human". Most 
"human" caracteristics are those of the higher mammals (and birds)
and thus cats and dogs are accepted as having many human traits.
The ability to think is as likely to be used to rationalize actions not
based on informed decisions. In short, the human being is not 
distinct from animals but is the standard by which to measure 
other animals. Creepy crawlies fail the "human test" and are yeech,
while a seal pup is cute.

Obviously these two definitions are mutually exclusive, and it
is important to keep in mind which definition is being used.


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