Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water ~ Zen Proverb
Human share long stretches of DNA sequences with another animals, such chimpanzees, mice, octopuses, or even plant, trees, etc. It’s very much like discovering that different books have identical paragraphs. Identical sentences, if they are short, could be accepted as coincidental, but if the books have identical long sentences, and identical paragraphs, it is very improbable that they were created independently.
That they are all written in the same language (the genetic code), when there are so many other languages that could have worked, is another functionally-superfluous similarity.
Most convincing evidence for a universal common ancestor is the repeated reconstruction of the same ‘family tree’ between species. If we take the human hemoglobin sequence and the chimpanzee sequence, you can count the differences, and then count the differences with hemoglobin from gorillas, dogs, cats, bears, cows, etc. The differences will produce a tree of more and less similar forms. And if you then take another sequence (say, for insulin), you will get the same tree. If this is not a family tree then we are being asked to call this a coincidence, or a conspiratorial move by a designer to make organisms look related.
And the development from the common ancestor was by mutation combined with natural selection. Mutation is random; natural selection is non-random.
Another staggering piece of evidence for a universal common ancestor is the chirality of amino acids.
Proteins, which are structurally crucial to life, are made up of long chains of molecules called amino acids. Each amino acid exists in two forms in nature, called enantiomers, which are mirror images of each other.
All life on Earth uses only one of the two enantiomers of each of twenty amino acids, when either of them would work just fine. Why? The most parsimonious explanation is that one ancestral life form figured out how to use it, and then passed that ability on to all of its descendants – all modern life.
So, what’s so special with us, the mankind? What make us different from another animals and plants? Why are we conscious enough to ask this kinda stupid question? Why do we have to ask this shit reality? How to experience the understanding level, that we have similarity with another dumb animals and stupid plants, while we are sensing the bold differences?
Humans and animals both have a consciousness that uses the body’s various sensory systems to create a primary representation or model of the world and of the self.
This primary representational system uses the body’s motor systems to make changes in that world and achieve its goals. This primary representational system has a rich and detailed model of the world and the self in that world and thus becomes a primary consciousness. Basically, the ” primary consciousness” is very good at living in the present moment.
What make us, the mankind, quite different with another animals and plants is our language consciousness. Existing words could give a very accurate model of the world and new words could be easily created and defined in terms of existing words so that language became a universal representational system. The system also included a rich and detailed model of the person itself.
The “language consciousness” is the time traveler – it is always living in the past, usually in regret, or living in the future, usually in fear of what might happen.
Experiencing something must need primary consciousness, to receive the data experiment. People say we have to experience it, but isn’t experience itself the most highly subjective and error prone method to knowledge? Experience may be error prone, but it is the only road to knowledge. Even a scientific experiment rests on the experience of the experimenter.
The language consciousness takes all the credit for everything the primary consciousness does – which is most of what we do as we live our life. The language consciousness usually confabulates the reasons for why it did whatever actions the primary consciousness chose as we live our life.
Some people say that this kind of subject isn’t a scientific domain, what kind of animal is this what so called scientific method?
The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. The important factor of scientific judgment is methodology. Methodologies or protocol should be opened transparently, so they may be available for careful scrutiny and attempts by other scientists to reproduce and verify them.
Verification, falsification, and reproducibility of method are the criteria of scientific domain, simple isn’t it? Not a scientific yet doesn’t mean the phenomena is a false myth. Maybe we just need to find the missing variables, and dig it more, to find the suitable language.
The journey of mankind, to define the consciousness of ourselves, from something mystical, into something rational, comparable, measurable, and reproducible, may become our own self obsession, for entire life.
The biggest thing we know, is the smallest of the unknown.
Thanks to: fellow Quorans; Mark Ferguson, Matt Dougherty, Marcus Ford, Paul Han, Yohan John, and Frank Heile.