Talk:Human/Archive 6

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Archive 1 Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8 Archive 10

New Humanism subsection

I'm adding a new subsection to the Spiritual section, Humanism, which was glaring in its absence.--FeloniousMonk 21:06, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

There was one phrase that I didn't understand; looking at it again today, I suddenly clicked — could you check it to make sure that I've understood correctly? Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 14:10, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm assuming you mean "religon... as factious as unitive." That was meant to reflect that just as religion unites, it also divides. --FeloniousMonk 16:46, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Mel, you edited with this result: "Because collective spirituality often manifests as religion, the history of which is as fractious as it is unifying,...". You substituted something else for factious and unitive. But both of these were perfectly sound. Both have been around since the sixteenth century, and neither is obsolete. They constitute an apt pair of opposites, and were well used here. Your alternatives do not constitute quite such an apt pair. I suggest you check before making such alterations. --Noetica 00:43, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Culture is one the distinguishing characteristics of humans, or at least it was when I studied anthro. I find it strange that the article ignores it. I'll be looking into adding a section on culture and look forward to your assistance.--FeloniousMonk 21:14, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The intro fails to recognize hierarchical/causal relationships between behavior/culture. Spirituality is a function of, or subset of, culture; as is technology. Culture is determined by behavior.--FeloniousMonk 02:53, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm — that's a theory, certainly, but no more than that. (Others would argue that behaviour follows from culture, others that it's more complex than either account, others that 'spirituality' (whatever that vague word means) precedes everything, etc.) It's true, of course, that much of this page is made up of theory presented as fact, and your's is less peculiar than some of them. Still, we should be able to work out some way of introducing the different aspects while remaining neutral between theories. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:13, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I just noticed that someone removed my edit from the intro that humans are part of the great ape family and listing the other members. I can't see any discussion of that here so I've re-added it. I wonder whether the first sentence is a bit odd. "Human beings are bipedal primate mammals distinguished from other primates by biological and behavioral differences." How else could they be distinguished if not by biological and behavioral differences? Another concern is that a part of the intro seems to have been lifted from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. [1] SlimVirgin 17:35, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
You're right on both counts (and that's not the only oddity about this article; some of the sections in 'Spirituality' are only tangentially related to the subject at best). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 18:08, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It is inappropriate to lead off the Human article with the "Ape family heritage"--because most of Human effort is spent in outlawing, fixing, medicating, absolving, confessing, and otherwise suppressing the part of them that is "ape family." For example, the part of "ape family" that we inherited from the ancestors of the chimpanzees regularly goes on lethal raids into the neighboring villages to kill whatever isolated males or Iraqis that cannot run fast enough. !ÔÔ! But that is not a very humane solution--according to the great effort put into "law and order." The humane solution is to sue the bastards in court and evict them legally. 8)) So I suggest that the "Ape family heritage" should all be moved and relegated to the "Biological section" wherein are described the physical sources of all of human problems. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 18:11, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Most of what you are saying is very funny, but fortunately misleading. Although many apes actually do eliminate the competition, only humans actually go out of their living area in search for enemies. But whether you like it or not, human body is an ape body... and human genetics are ape genetics. So i say keep the introduction. Beta m (talk)

No, no, my friend. It is not very funny. If you would care to look at the facts, I suggest you set your browser to this link and search for the words "And only two animal species are known to do so with a system of intense, male-initiated territorial aggression, including lethal raiding into neighboring communities in search of vulnerable enemies to attack and kill. Out of four thousand mammals and ten million or more other animal species, this suite of behaviors is known only among chimpanzees and humans." ---Rednblu | Talk 18:43, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

That some may consider our primate heritage unfortunate or uncomfortable is not sufficient justification to omit the crucial fact from the article's intro. Consider the words of Huxely: "If then the question is put to me whether I would rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet employs these faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion, I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape." I say our biological debt is crucial to understanding what it is to be human and hence crucial to any introduction to an encyclopedic article on "human." Other encyclopedic articles on human bear this out.--FeloniousMonk 18:50, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

All contributions to this article are of course valuable. But you need to realize that in the past copule of days you have (boldly) undone months of carefully crafted consensus about the intro to this article. Please consider especially the following ideas that have been diluted or lost:

  • The quintessential definition of what is a human depends on whom you ask. The consensus intro that has been lost said this.
  • The sections Biological and Spiritual were intended to describe what a human is from the Biological point of view and from the Spiritual point of view. The article wasn't saying "A human has biology and spirituality" (that would violate NPOV), but instead "A human is Biologically speaking, this, Culturally speaking, that, and Spiritually speaking, the other." I am hesitant at the moment to revert to a few days ago, but you really need to be aware of all that has gone into the article. Tom Haws 19:14, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
Rednblu, your argument, if you're serious, is somewhat contentious and counts as original research unless you can attribute it, and even then it shouldn't be reflected in the intro. Of more concern, I'd say, is that there seems to be some plagiarism. Does anyone happen to have easy access to a subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica so we can check whether anything else has been copied from their entry? I can get hold of one if no one else has access, but I don't have it here. Tom, could you say which is the consensus version of the intro? SlimVirgin 19:23, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
I just restored it. Tom Haws 19:42, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

All contributions to this article are of course valuable. But you need to realize that in the past couple of days you have (boldly :-) ) undone months of carefully crafted consensus about the intro to this article. Please consider especially the following ideas that have been diluted, lost, or added without proper direction:

  • The quintessential definition of what is a human depends on whom you ask. The consensus intro that has been lost said this.
  • The sections Biological and Spiritual were intended to describe what a human is from the Biological point of view and from the Spiritual point of view. The article wasn't saying "A human has biology and spirituality" (that would violate NPOV), but instead "A human is Biologically speaking, this, Culturally speaking, that, and Spiritually speaking, the other." I am hesitant at the moment to revert to a few days ago, but you really need to be aware of all that has gone into the article.
  • What does the cultural view say about humans? This section needs to be focused on answering that question, and introduced as a cultural answer to the question of what is a human.
  • What does the humanist spiritual view say about humans? Ditto above.

Tom Haws 19:42, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

I've reverted. It's inappropriate to have a religious POV in the intro, Tom. Who was part of the consensus you're referring to, and who is the "you" who has changed it? I seem to recall this intro was pretty stable until recently, but not as the version you're promoting, though I may be misremembering, and Wikipedia is slow today so I can't easily go through the edit history to check. Any background would be appreciated. SlimVirgin 19:51, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
I agree with SlimVirgin on these points.--FeloniousMonk 20:12, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Delineating humans from animals because of "spirituality" is not a traditional or widely accepted scholarly method for defining humans.--FeloniousMonk 20:18, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
RednBlu has reverted again. Perhaps we ought to have a vote. I've left the version with the reference to soul, but have added that we are members of the great ape family. Please don't remove it again, as it was removed without discussion, so I ask that you practise what you preach in that regard. My main objections to this intro are (a) the reference to religion and "souls", not defined; (b) I don't see the point of the reference to mythology, certainly not for the intro; (c) the reference to language and tool use is the last point in the intro, as though the religious aspect were more important; and (d) it's not only in cultural anthropology that human beings are defined in terms of language and tool use, so the wording is somewhat misleading. SlimVirgin 20:24, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
I'd reverted it back to your earlier version prior to reading this. Obstructing progress to defend a clearly biased intro focusing on some imputed religious/spiritual distinction demarcating humans from animals is unacceptable and can be considered POV warring.
Human beings' are defined variously in biological and behavioral terms, period. Using explicit scholarly definitions, spiritual beliefs are seen as a function of culture, which in turn is arguably a function of behavior. The previous intro smacked of personal research on an intrinsic spiritual basis for being human at best, or bias favoring a particular metaphysical POV, spirituality, at worst.--FeloniousMonk 20:39, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I agree with FM. Anything we say about the different perspectives ought to be introduced in more scholarly terms. SlimVirgin 21:01, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

Compare Tuesday [2]to last October [3]. That said, if the article doesn't work for you, maybe it needs to be rethought. However, the reality is there was extensive discussion among many parties in late Summer 2004. See recent discussion with Sam Spade above #attention for a summary. Tom Haws 21:20, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

  • FeloniousMonk: I find myself somewhere in between the two positions. I agree that what was there was unacceptable, but i can't accept that a materialist, natural-science account is neutral. A balance is needed, as there are – and always have been – different accounts, not settleable empirically or by the scientific method.
  • On the other hand, I can't accept that the mere fact of consensus trumps accuracy and quality. Much of what was (and still is) here is a sort of vague new-Agey, fluffy, quasi-Christian sort of 'spirituality'. Moreover, most philosophy and theology has been concerned primarily with the person not with the human being.
  • I don't see why a decent article can't be created, which satisfies all sides who are genuine about there desire to see a good article rather than one that prsentes their point of view, and which is well written and scholarly. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:18, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Thinking about this, I felt that I should clarify (yes, I know that no-one paid any attention to it anyway, but for my own peace of mind).
My second point should have said that consensus between a particular group of editors, whether in the past or in the present, is irrelevant to the general or present state of the article. What counts is current consensus (and we should always be aware that there are other points of view, not represented by editors currently involved in the article). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 10:36, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The current version of the leading section has lost a balance among scholarly points-of-view. The scholarly point-of-view that was excised in the last edits is the cultural evolution point-of-view of, for example, Gabriel Tarde, Marshall Sahlins, and Marvin Harris. According to these scholars, the biological part of H. sapiens is only a minor part of what is "human." I suggest that we all read Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Anthropology and the Natural Sciences-The Problem of Human Evolution," Current Anthropology 4(2) (1963), pp. 138-148. I quote for example the following. "Now, I would be among the last to doubt that biology sheds some light on human nature; but to plan even the biological evolution of mankind, let alone its cultural evolution, biology is palpably insufficient" (p. 148). ---Rednblu | Talk 22:35, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

And if one is writing a book, it's important to reflect all points of view. Giving a simple definition in the sumary of an encyclopædia article, though, requires a different approach. It's not as if the cultural stuff doesn't get plenty of space in the article. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:53, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I've read my share Theodosius Dobzhansky, and nothing that he has written justifies the assertion that being 'human' is defined in spiritual terms, or that spirituality somehow transcends culture to define singularly what it is to be human.
The previous intro wrongly gave spirituality a place equal to biology in defining the idea of "human". There are more credible aspects/behaviors that are uniquely human for demarcating our uniqueness than spirituality, conceptual/abstract thinking being one. More so than spirituality, which arises from the ability for abstract thought, the essence of human nature, that which separates man from the animals, is rationality. Ultimately the difference between the human condition and the condition of animals is all the ways that our lives are changed through the use of reason.
BTW, your justification still reads like personal research to me. --FeloniousMonk 23:53, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Écoutez les chiens hurlantes! >LePierrotAnguille 05:23, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • 8)) C'est bien vrai ça! Des yeux qui brillent de colère! ---Rednblu | Talk 05:47, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Well, then it seems you have a choice... listen to dogs howl here, or read of tails that wag dogs in the article. Resolve the latter, and you resolve the former.
You know that they say the reason dogs have so many friends is because they wag their tails instead of their tongues.--FeloniousMonk 07:02, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I would ask that editors keep their conversations on article talk pages in English, as this is the English Wikipedia. Personal conversations in different languages can go on user talk pages; if they are relevant here they should be in a language we all understand. Also, while it was certainly not a personal attack, what you said was not very nice either. — Knowledge Seeker দ (talk) 06:58, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Particularly comments that are meant as digs or oblique slights.--FeloniousMonk 07:02, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I now have the Encyclopaedia Britannica subscription entry, which isn't much longer than the free blurb, because they've split their article into sections. We should note that none of these sections has a title that suggests it's about religion, though I'll scan through them to check what mention is made of it. We should probably clean up our intro so as to get rid of any copied sentences or phrases. See below. SlimVirgin 08:00, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

(species Homo sapiens), a bipedal primate mammal that is anatomically related to the great apes but is distinguished by a more highly developed brain, with a resultant capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning, and by a marked erectness of body carriage that frees the hands for use as manipulative members. Humans occur in a number of freely interbreeding races and are the sole recent representatives of the family Hominidae. (See hominid.)

The term man has traditionally referred to the human race in general, or mankind, though in the term's modern and more limited usage, a man is simply an adult male human. The idea of man is treated in a number of articles. For a philosophical treatment of the subject, see philosophical anthropology. For a physical anthropological treatment, see human evolution. For an examination of human culture, see culture. For other related articles, see collective behaviour; death; emotion; family; human behaviour; human rights; intelligence; kinship; language; learning theory; mind, philosophy of; motivation; perception; personality; population; sexual behaviour, human; social structure; Stone Age; and thought, ("human being," Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved March 4, 2005, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. [4])

Thanks for providing this. The other encyclopedic entries I've read are of the same vein, and not one suggests that a distinguishing factor of man is spirituality or religious beliefs. Yes, let's make sure no phrases are duplicated in this article.--FeloniousMonk 08:54, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Would it be helpful if I posted the other articles on a user subpage? I don't know whether that's a copyvio, but I assume so long as we don't plagiarize, it'd be okay. What do you think?

Proposed new section: The interaction of human biological and cultural evolutions

  1. I propose a new section to the Human page titled something like "Interaction of human biological and cultural evolutions." Somebody just emailed me a copy of Dobzhansky (1963) and I propose that summarizing Dobzhansky's overview of that area and the scholars he cites would provide adequate coverage.
  2. The Human page is already too long, so I propose the new section be a paragraph summary right after the "Cultural" section--so the first three sections I propose would be 1) Biological, 2) Cultural, and 3) Interaction of human biological and cultural evolutions. That would make "The Individual" the fourth section.
  3. Accordingly, the detail of the "Interaction of human biological and cultural evolutions" would be on a subpage, with only the one paragraph summary on the Human page.
  4. I propose the following flow of presentation in the subpage "Interaction of human biological and cultural evolutions" (after Dobzhansky and the scholars he cites)
    • Man receives and transmits not just one but two heredities, and is involved in two evolutions, 1) biological and 2) cultural.
    • Biological heredity and evolution proceeds by mechanisms principally of cell nuclear and organelle DNA.
    • Cultural heredity and evolution proceeds mainly by teaching, imitation, and learning, principally by means of the symbolic processes of human language.
    • Two extreme views and an intermediate view of the interdependence of biological and cultural evolution.
      1. Darlington (1953). The structure of society rests on the stuff in the chromosome and the changes it undergoes. (It all comes from biological evolution.)
      2. Marxist theoreticians. Biological evolution ended when it produced a being capable of labor. (Biological evolution stopped. Now it all comes from cultural evolution.)
      3. Synthesis (Dobzhansky and others). Both biological and cultural evolution continue today in a positively reinforcing feedback pattern. Biological and cultural heredity determine not fixed characters or traits but developmental processes. For example, Pinker's (1994) idea that humans inherit biologically the developmental process of grammar--not the grammar with a fixed character or trait--but the drive to develop a grammar so that children raised in a pidgin environment with only words but no grammar will develop a grammar in one generation.
    • It is vital for a human being to become a member of a culture. Lack of capacity or opportunity to acquire a culture makes an individual a low grade mental defective.
    • To be able to learn a language is imperative, but a restriction of this learning ability to only a certain language would be a detrimental drawback.
    • The biological success of the human species has been due precisely to the genetically secured capacity of every individual free of overt pathology to acquire any cultural trait. (Flexibility of individual cultural character and trait.)
    • The radical changes in the ways of life of our generation compared to those of our parents must have been largely cultural rather than genetic.
    • There is a positive feedback relationship between the cultural and the biological evolutions. That is, culture induces genetic changes that affect man's fitness for culture which in turn affects culture. In the past, this process has been self-sustaining which has created an "unbridgeable gap" between our animal ancestors and ourselves.
    • Mankind assuredly continues to evolve, both culturally and biologically. The grave problem is whether the direction in which biological evolution is now proceeding is an acceptable one.
    • Humans are the only known product of biological evolution which has attained the knowledge that he came into this universe out of animality by means of evolution.
    • Humans can choose to direct both human 1) cultural and 2) biological evolutions toward the attainment of the purposes that humans decide are "good."
    • Waddington (1960) has shown clearly that our biological evolution has instilled in us no ethics and no ability to discriminate between good and evil.
    • The ethical principles or goals we accept as taught by others, or devise for ourselves, come not from our genes but from our superorganic inheritance, from our culture.
    • Our animal past is irretrievably lost--we could not go back to it even had we wished.
  5. Accordingly, I propose a subpage covering simplified set of the above points geared for the high-school student reader--with a one paragraph summary and link on Human.
  6. We need a good title for the subpage so that the title fits within the nomenclature for titles of similar pages in Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the Special:Allpages page has not yet been regenerated after the server recovery. 8)) Any ideas? ---Rednblu | Talk 09:43, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Looks like a personal essay to me. "Mankind assuredly continues to evolve, both culturally and biologically. The grave problem is whether the direction in which biological evolution is now proceeding is an acceptable one." We're not back into creative evolution, are we? SlimVirgin 18:38, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • What on earth do you mean by "personal essay"? But then you have not yet read Dobzhansky obviously. My general style is to paraphrase, quote, and cite only scholars on the article pages. The above outline is all Dobzhansky including the order of presentation and about 90% of the words. Do you object to Dobzhansky's publications in the peer-reviewed journals as "personal research"? ---Rednblu | Talk 18:55, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I would object to the use to which you're putting the material. Original research is not allowed in Wikipedia, and it includes any new or idiosyncratic analysis or synthesis of information published in reputable journals. In other words, no matter how reputable and authoritative your parts, you might nevertheless be engaging in original research in the way you put them together. You're also not allowed to argue for any particular position. Just as an example, can you say what you mean by the following? "Mankind assuredly continues to evolve, both culturally and biologically. The grave problem is whether the direction in which biological evolution is now proceeding is an acceptable one." SlimVirgin 19:02, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • My reason for picking the particular published articles I pick is that there is zero synthesis on my part--because, for example, Dobzhansky wrote exactly all of that synthesis. All I do is paraphrase and quote accurately what Dobzhansky, for example, said--and I cite to Dobzhansky's page so that you can check that I accurately quoted and paraphrased what Dobzhansky said in his synthesis. As for the Dobzhansky quote, Dobzhansky explained what he meant in the article. As a Wikipedia editor, I am merely a reporter making accurate quotes, paraphrases, and citations to what the published scholars have written. ---Rednblu | Talk 19:20, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Reporters have to be able to understand what they're quoting and paraphrasing, in order to judge whether or not they should quote or paraphrase it. So my question to you is: what do you understand by the following? "Mankind assuredly continues to evolve, both culturally and biologically. The grave problem is whether the direction in which biological evolution is now proceeding is an acceptable one." SlimVirgin 19:27, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)


If the taxobox should not be at the top of this article, then we need to split Homo sapiens sapiens out into a separate article, as previously discussed, w Human being a disambig page. Even if that is to be the case, having an image of 2 girls at the top of the page is a terrible idea, and one I will continue to object to. However, lets focus on one thing at a time. Is there a general concensus on forking the biological, zoological "human", and moving this page to humanity, human being, or some such, w human as the disambig? (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 14:01, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

(Pardon my slight edit to your comment.) There is no need to split the article. This has been hashed and rehashed. - UtherSRG 15:22, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
Well, that doesn't mean that it can't re-rehashed... S.S.'s arrangement of the image & taxobox looks much better (the photo always looked odd to me as the first thing one saw). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 15:58, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. But since the current concensus has not changed, the swapping of the taxobox location should wait until such concensus is reached. For a reminder: I'm one of the original proponents to have the taxobox be at the top of the article. When the article became something more than just a biological article, I supported keeping the taxobox linked with the biological section, but that the biological section needed to be the first section so that the taxobox would stay relatively near the top. I'm also a strong proponent in not splitting the article into a bunch of smaller articles. - UtherSRG 16:08, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

I insist that the 1) picture of the two girls go back to the top and 2) the taxobox be put back in the biology section--because as we discussed so long ago that more closely represents that "human" means. I became convinced of that during that long discussion, and I am still convinced. Accordingly, putting the taxobox at the top of the page is illegitimate--until a new vote is taken. The Human page has the best history of NPOV of any page I have seen in Wikipedia. It would be a shame to see all that NPOV lost by unilateral tyrannies actions such as placing the taxobox at the top of the page without a proper vote. So I beg you, let's have a discussion and vote first. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 16:20, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

(After two edit conflicts)
  • UtherSRG I'm not sure what you mean by the current consensus not having changed; what do you take to be the current consensus, and how did you determine it?
  • Rednblu I'm completely bewildered; in what sense can a photograph of two little girls 'closely represent' what 'human' means? Are adults or males (or adult males) correspondingly further from what human means? Moreover, all that the photograph shows is a couple of immature female representatives of a biological species. Someone who insists that there's more to being human than biology surely can't think that such a photo adequately represents what it is to be human? The only extra is the presence of clothing; is that what distinguishes humans from other creatures?
    • The discussion that convinced me of the superior representation of the "Two girls" photo is archived at Talk:Human/Archive4#Images. As you can see, I started that discussion with a very adamant different position. 8)) I find that I learn more if I state adamant positions--as falsifiable hypotheses--that in their adamant clarity indicate the "low hanging fruit" for falsification and improvement of the hypothesis. Does that make sense? 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 17:42, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • As for this page having the best history of NPoV... you're joking, right? Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 17:04, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • What would be your opinion after perusing the archives of this TalkPage? ---Rednblu | Talk 17:42, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Yes. All this is open to discussion. But it isn't open to unilateral moves without discussion. As dab said above, the meaning of be bold is not ignore previous discussion. Let us talk, poll the folks, and be deliberate about this. Until then, Tuesday's version is it. May I have a witness from the congregation?

Restore Tuesday's (March 1st) version back and no big changes until further discussion.

  • Support. Compare Tuesday [5]to last October [6]. This was after months of discussion and compromise. The least we can do is leave it until we discuss with a similar level of input and focus. Tom Haws 19:48, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Assuming that you mean 1 March and not 3 January as I first read it, this is still going much too far; there have been some useful changes since then. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 17:26, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Support - if you are only talking about where the images/taxobox are. Other edits are imaterial to this poll. - UtherSRG 17:33, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support -- including reversion of the leading section. The current leading section is an inaccurate definition that violates NPOV policy in defining what "human" is. For there are three conflicting definitions for what "human" is. ---Rednblu | Talk 17:49, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm not sure what we're voting for though. I vote against changing the intro to include any reference to souls. Essence of humanity for me for intro is: great apes who walk upright; fully opposable thumbs; upper limbs able to manipulate objects; extensive tool use; language and abstract thought; highly complex societies. I vote in favor of retaining the photograph of the girls at the top, because it's a great photograph and the box is ugly: it makes no sense to have a box illustrating a human instead of two humans. The article itself is text, so let's not have more text as the illustration. SlimVirgin 18:53, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

I continue to fail to see why an image of two human girls should be inappropriate on this article. very inappropriate however is an abstract,m 19th-century-racist-bias encumbered collection of drawings of human heads. move to headhunter or craniology, please. dab () 18:50, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It's not inappropriate, exactly, I just don't think that it does a particularly good job of illustrating the article Human (a group of people, including more than one age group, sex, and race would be better). I agree, though, that the present illustration is awful; deeply insensitive at best. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 19:08, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Hang on, people! We aren't trying to stifle discussion or to protect the status quo. But it is highly irregular for Felonious Monk to have shown up here Tuesday and unilaterally changed the excruciatingly compromised intro without more excruciating compromise. It is fine to be bold; but when it doesn't fly with those who have history, it's time to back off, back up, and start discussing. Let's have a little reality here. Perhaps it is because we forgot to keep the controversial tag on the talk page? Tom Haws 19:40, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

Maintaining SPOV

It is then our decision to maintain the Scientific Point of View and make sure we don't include ridiculous references to the spiritual perspective? Tom Haws 14:42, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

  • Remove ridiculous references, yes, but why remove all references? The term 'spiritual' is being used very broadly in the article, so that it covers anything religious, philosophical — anything not biological, just about. Some of that material belongs here, surely. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 15:55, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Image caption

Without passing judgment on the picture or location, I do not believe that "The types of the Human Race" is an ideal caption. I understand that that may be the picture's original caption but I think ours could be a little more useful. What does "human race" mean in this context? Our species, Homo sapiens, in general? Homo sapiens sapiens? Or does it mean "The types of human races"? — Knowledge Seeker 15:59, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Agreed! - UtherSRG 16:09, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
I strongly object to this horrible 19th century image of "human races". Put it on race, never mind the caption. dab () 17:08, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Agreed! And we need to be careful how we introduce and discuss "race." In particular, we need to take into account, maybe in a detailed subpage that all of our ancestors were black, black, black 1.4 million years ago--for about a million years--until some of our cousins migrated north giving rise to advantages for the something like 8 different mutations in the MC1R gene on chromosome 8 that turned the mutants' skin white giving the survival advantage of improving Vitamin D synthesis (Rogers, Iltis, and Wooding 2004). ---Rednblu | Talk 17:22, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Out of africa?

The out of Africa theory is widely contested, and certainly not a fact. I find the emphasis on it here bizarre. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 19:19, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Can you back up that claim? Who contests the theory? Anyone outside racist, Promethean, etc., groups? One or two mavericks? Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 19:39, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I really shouldn't be talking to you (much less doing your research for you), but.. see [7]. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 19:51, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

An intersting changge from your attitude when other people make claims with which you disagree, but thank you for the link. I note that, in the first article at which I looked (from National Geographic), the debate in question isn't quite what your comment suggested (“Neither side disputes that hominids once emerged from Africa, colonizing Eurasia.”), but concerns what happened next (or before). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:15, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sam, a specific reference would be useful. SlimVirgin 20:18, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
This is what we call a red herring, but I'll continue to humor you for now. See [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], Multiregional evolution, etc... (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 20:45, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. As Mel said above, the links you provided don't (so far as I can tell) question that hominids emerged from Africa; the different theories vary regarding when and how, and what happened afterwards. SlimVirgin 21:03, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
These theories pertain to when and where homo sapiens developed, not hominids. This is a long discussion which isn't relevant here and now. Feel free to read up on it. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 21:10, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

“This is what we call a red herring” (Presumably the royal we?) When other people make claims, S.S. demands references; when he makes them, the demand is a red herring, it's 'doing other perople's research for them'. This is what we call double standards. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:29, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Multiregional hypothesis is such a red herring here. It does not contradict OOA at all, it is merely a question whether you want to talk about 'homo sapiens sapiens' before or after our earliest ancestors left Africa. Nobody disputes that the evolution of hominids occurred in Africa, the debate is just about where exactly you want to draw the line to H. sapiens sapiens (the usual definition of species does not hold water diachronically, since obviously every parent is reproductionally compatible with their offspring) dab () 21:39, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I must say I object to Types of the Human Race being the first image. The reality of human races is very much disputed by the great majority of anthropologists. The idea should be mentioned somewhere, but it should not be the picture of humanity. As to the soul dispute, I haven't read the discussion on that quite thoroughly, but it strikes be that a fair solution might be to mention first the unique biological and mental characteristics of Homo sapiens, and then that some people consider these markers of a soul.

Other species of humans?

I hate to make things more complicated, but as long as there is so much discussion on this page I thought I'd throw this in here too. The article states "Biologically, they are classified as Homo sapiens (Latin for knowing man)" which of course is what most people think of. But I've also frequently seen the word human used to refer to our extinct relatives in the genus Homo. One recent example is in the February 2005 issue of Scientific American, the cover story "The Littlest Human" is about Homo floresiensis. And right now the Wikinews box on the Main Page states "Scientists at Florida State University confirm that Homo floresiensis is a new species of Human through computer mapping of its brain", where "Human" links to Homo (genus). Merriam-Webster gives the (noun) definiton of human as "a bipedal primate mammal (Homo sapiens) : MAN; broadly : any living or extinct member of the family (Hominidae) to which the primate belongs". The American Heritage Dictionary [13] gives "1. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens. I realize this is a secondary, uncommon definition, but since it appears a well-established usage, I think it should be addressed. Perhaps just on the disambiguation page, or perhaps a sentence about how human normally refers to H. sapiens but can refer to any member of Homo and have a link to the Homo (genus) page. Just something very brief. — Knowledge Seeker 20:33, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • The article should (at least briefly) discuss those species on the human side of the divide with chimps, not just Homo. I guess it could say it's "controversial" whether they're regarded as "humans". Those who study this often call Homo sapiens "modern humans".--Pharos 21:01, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

In the absence of any objections, I added a very brief note to the top of the article that information about other members of the genus Homo should visit Homo (genus). I still think that like Pharos said, it should briefly discuss other species, as the broader use of human is a valid definition of the word. I am unsure how to work it in, though. If someone has an idea, please add it to the article; otherwise, I'll try to figure out how. — Knowledge Seeker 03:48, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Rednblu, you seem to have deleted my question to you from the talk page, and moved it to my user talk page. It's fine to copy comments, but please don't delete them. I really would like to hear how you understand the sentence you quoted or paraphrased, and I do feel it's relevant to this discussion, so I'm restoring my comment below. SlimVirgin 20:51, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

Rednblu, in case you missed it above, here is my response to you:
Reporters have to be able to understand what they're quoting and paraphrasing, in order to judge whether or not they should quote or paraphrase it. So my question to you is: what do you understand by the following? "Mankind assuredly continues to evolve, both culturally and biologically. The grave problem is whether the direction in which biological evolution is now proceeding is an acceptable one." SlimVirgin 19:27, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • I hope it was okay to cut this discussion here to keep from interrupting the business on Talk:Human. 8)) This could be a very interesting conversation. But it seems odd to me that you would ask that question in the context of considering ideas for a new section to the Human page. It would seem that this is Wikipedia. Hence, it would not matter what the frame of mind of the "reporter." The only thing that would matter would be the quality and accuracy of the reporting. If you are truly interested in pursuing the meaning of the Dobzhansky quote, then I apologize. Does that make sense? I would be glad to trade ideas with you. But that trade of ideas would just be our trade of ideas and not very relevant to the Human page, would it? What do you think? ---Rednblu | Talk 20:39, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

On second thoughts, I'm going to stop torturing you. I don't think you know what the sentence means, and you'd be right not to, because it's meaningless. We're not here to advance the pseudo-philosophy of certain geneticists. Whether you're quoting, paraphrasing, or mixing and matching, your approach counts as original research. SlimVirgin 21:19, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)