More Ways Humans Differ from Other Animals

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

I have written on this topic before, but it’s so important that when I come across more information, I feel compelled to write about it.

Recently I was reading a book by Hugh Ross (More Than a Theory) and he listed off several stark contrasts between man and all other animals:

  1. awareness of right and wrong (conscience)
  2. awareness of mortality and concerns about what lies beyond death
  3. hunger for hope, purpose, and destiny
  4. compulsion to discover and create
  5. capacity for analysis, mathematics, and meditation
  6. capacity to recognize beauty, truth, logic, and absolutes
  7. propensity to worship and communicate with a deity

The gulf between man and the other animals is indeed massive.  Those of us who recognize this gulf encourage men to reach even greater heights, while those of us who think that man and animal are basically the same tend to excuse every kind of animal-like behavior in man.  After all, those people claim, we are born to act like animals, so why expect more?  (There is a schizophrenic third view that claims men are nothing but complex animals, but still expects men to rise above it.  This view is incoherent to me.)

Of course, the person that philosophically excuses men from animal-like behavior – who believes men are literally animals, and nothing more – quickly abandons that view when someone behaves like an animal toward them.  In that case, all we hear is how the perpetrator should have behaved better and should have controlled themselves.  It’s funny how vain philosophy collapses when it bumps up against reality.