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View Full Version : Mankinds greatest redeming feature?


Dob
12-31-2003, 01:57 PM
After a year filled with examples of the people at their worst, I thought I would like to finish this year with a debate on that which is best in people.

I have had this debate before and for every positive you could find in a human, ie. Love, Kindess, etc..., you could turn into a negative. For example Love is shining example of what is best in a person when used to say...donate your kidney for a family member. However, Love for a persons God also causes them to blow innocent children up.

So what is it in people that when all is said and done redeems us from all the evil, stupid things we do? If you were an alien overlord looking down on Earth is there anything in human behaviour that could keep you from destroying the Earth for a super highway?

Is there even one thing that could redeem us?

Duckster
12-31-2003, 03:58 PM
The SDMB.

:D

John Mace
12-31-2003, 04:22 PM
Redeem us from what? We are what we are-- no better, no worse. And although you've chosen to focus on the bad, there's good and bad aplenty. One would be better served by simply looking at ways to improve one's own life by being the best father/mother, brother/sister, friend or neighber that one can.

Trinopus
12-31-2003, 04:32 PM
Medicine.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-31-2003, 04:48 PM
Mankind's most notable attribute was his ability to take physical punishment. Whatever McMahon asked him to do, he would do, whether it was a chair to the head by the Rock or getting his nose busted open by Stone Cold. He bled a lot and put on a good show. In hat movie, Beyond the Mat he also seemed to be a pretty good father.

Left Hand of Dorkness
12-31-2003, 04:48 PM
Delivery pizza.

At least, that's the coolest thing about civilization. Pick up a telephone, speak a few words, and soon, hot food is delivered to you. Unspeakably cool!

Daniel

Mangetout
12-31-2003, 05:03 PM
We mean well.

Vezer
12-31-2003, 06:18 PM
Protection from carnivorous rabbits, gerbils, and chihuahuas.

WereOtter
12-31-2003, 07:20 PM
Pizza delivery and cat-pampering aside, I'm going to make a serious reply to the OP's question.

From an alien POV, we are a species that is running amok, systematically disurpting every ecosystem on earth and causing a mass extinction of unique species that will never be seen again. But I think that our greatest accomplishment and redemption would be to export the lifeforms of Earth to lifeless planets, to give the Life of Earth another chance, and to continue what has to be the strangest and most wonderful experiment in the Universe.

LeeG
12-31-2003, 07:25 PM
we get to have pets

Michael Ellis
12-31-2003, 08:02 PM
Breasts.

II Gyan II
12-31-2003, 08:06 PM
Empathy.

pervert
12-31-2003, 08:07 PM
I'm sorry, but you've all missed it. the single greates human achievment is sewage. That's right bear's shit in the woods, but humans devote industries to moving, cleaning, and storing the stuff. What allowed the Romans to conquer the world? Sewers. What is the single most important medical improvement we have made in the last 200 years? Sewers.

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it." - Tom Lehrer

"In the end, everything comes down to poo." - Pervert

Ana Byrd
12-31-2003, 08:44 PM
We're fun to watch. Really, so much of human behaviour has nothing to do with survival and/or makes no logical sense whatsoever.

Reeder
12-31-2003, 08:46 PM
Compassion.

Wesley Clark
12-31-2003, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by Dob

If you were an alien overlord looking down on Earth is there anything in human behaviour that could keep you from destroying the Earth for a super highway?

Is there even one thing that could redeem us?

The fact that our historical direction seems to be positive. If you compare the world of today with the world of 100 years ago, today it is more free, more educated, more comfortable and happier than it was 100 years ago. Compare the world of 100 years ago vs. the world 500 years ago and you get the same thing. I assume the nature of humanity is to always push towards more freedom, more knowledge and more positive emotions. Even if there are bumps in the road by and large this seems to be the direction we are taking.

Gyrate
12-31-2003, 08:53 PM
Ben & Jerry's Half Baked ice cream.

YourOldBuddy
12-31-2003, 09:10 PM
Beer.

Paladud
12-31-2003, 09:27 PM
Why would alien overlords care? If one could and did wipe out entire planets at a whim singlehandedly, the only redeeming qualities acceptable to such a being would be those that he/she/it could directly exploit or enjoy. Let us then assume that the alien overlord is similar to a human being.

If we survived, it would probably be on account of boobs.

clairobscur
12-31-2003, 10:44 PM
Empathy and compassion. What are the drawbacks of these feelings?

pervert
12-31-2003, 10:52 PM
Well, they can get in the way of some necessary decisions. If a loveable old lady lives right in the way of a useful and (some would say) necessary sewer line, for instance........

OK, I'll go hang my head now.

monstro
12-31-2003, 10:56 PM
We create beautiful music.

ftg
01-01-2004, 12:21 AM
Invisible thread.

Czarcasm
01-01-2004, 12:38 AM
Strings.

String cheese.
String Theory.
String bikinis.

Yumblie
01-01-2004, 12:41 AM
Judging by many of the replies in this thread...

Our sense of humor.

spectrum
01-01-2004, 01:21 AM
The penis.

Black Train Song
01-01-2004, 02:13 AM
introspection

Alessan
01-01-2004, 03:14 AM
The drive to create.

Dob
01-02-2004, 10:24 AM
Empathy and compassion

Well sewers aside...Empathy and compassion are words probably used by the PLO in describing Saddam's generous money donations to families willing to let there son/daughter blow themselves up for the "cause". In cases like that Empathy and Compassion probably arent the best of people.

Our sense of humor.

I like this one! It is probably our ability to laugh that keeps us from going to crazy. Well that, and Boobs and Penis's.

No Disguise
01-02-2004, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by Left Hand of Dorkness
Delivery pizza.

At least, that's the coolest thing about civilization. Pick up a telephone, speak a few words, and soon, hot food is delivered to you. Unspeakably cool!

Daniel

As a pizza delivery guy, this touches me so much, I'm going to hijack this thread to thank you. It's people like you who answer the door with a genuine smile on your face, and a generous tip in your hand who make me glad I'm a pizza guy.

On behalf of all pizza guys, thanks!

Epimetheus
01-02-2004, 10:53 AM
digital watches



What?! They are really neat.

Dob
01-02-2004, 11:07 AM
from Epimetheus
digital watches

I can see 3,000 years from now some college professor assigning a 1000 word term paper on how the digital watch was humanities crowning achievment.

"The digital watch was really, really, really, really, neat."

:)

IWLN
01-02-2004, 11:16 AM
Our indomitable will to not just survive, but to improve the circumstances of our survival. The ability to see beauty and opportunity in the most desperate places. We rock! :cool:

IWLN
01-02-2004, 11:22 AM
Oh and the penis too. I like that. But someone else already said it.;)

Dob
01-02-2004, 11:57 AM
And dont forget IWLN the ability to Rue as well!! ;)

IWLN
01-02-2004, 12:05 PM
Originally posted by Dob
And dont forget IWLN the ability to Rue as well!! ;) My rue's still ready. Bring it on, oh defeated one. :p

BMalion
01-02-2004, 01:18 PM
[Opressed Alien Minority]

"Well, apart from the SDMB, medicine, delivery pizza, protection from carnivores, exportation of lifeforms, breasts, empathy, compassion, ice cream, beer, penis', introspection, digital watches, humor and sanitation...

...What has mankind ever done for us!?!"

[/Opressed Alien Minority]

Satyagrahi
01-02-2004, 01:24 PM
Self-awareness and the flexibility it gives us.

As a cite, you may want to read Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind." No need to read the book, just read the title... :)

Self-awareness is apparently not shared by other animals (This is arguable, I know) but seems to be unique to humans. This self-awareness is what gives us the capacity for humor, symbol-manipulation, perception of past and future times, creativity, and the inclination to make judgments regarding good and evil.

"Know thyself."


BTW, other animals have penises. Voluptuous breasts may be unique to humans, though. :)

Epimetheus
01-02-2004, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by Dob
from Epimetheus


I can see 3,000 years from now some college professor assigning a 1000 word term paper on how the digital watch was humanities crowning achievment.

"The digital watch was really, really, really, really, neat."

:)

Something like that- of course it doesn't compete with the term paper from the previous semester- Mechanisms of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and the uses of it in science and travel.

spectrum
01-02-2004, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by Satyagrahi
BTW, other animals have penises.

Yes, but they're not circumcised which is just weird.

Kantalooppi
01-02-2004, 02:37 PM
Well, this kind of depends on what kind of an alien I am, doesn't it? I mean, if I'm the kind of an alien overlord that's planning to demolish a planet for a superhighway, I don't quite have grounds for snooty moral superiorism. In fact, considering that the galactic superhighway probably could quite as easily take a little dip around the planet, I'd have to be a complete asshole to the degree that there's nothing that would convince me that I couldn't get by raiding the planet before destroying it or enslaving a small pet horde of humans.

Dung Beetle
01-02-2004, 02:46 PM
Is there even one thing that could redeem us? No.

hroeder
01-02-2004, 02:49 PM
"pity this busy monster manunkind"

e. e. cummings

IWLN
01-02-2004, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Dung Beetle
No. I told you indomitable WILL!! Don't make me tell you again. We'd just kick some alien butt and temporarily have a little peace between countries. Hmm...I don't think enough women answered this question. :(

pervert
01-02-2004, 03:43 PM
Well, to answer the OP and BMallion, sewers. The aliens could simply use earth as a base to dump waste into our sun. If they had some sort of teleportation technology, they could simply sap their own wast into our sewers and we'd never notice.

Also, I'd like to note that penises and breasts (along with the other bits attached to breasts) are really good for making more people to fill up the sewers.

Sense of humor is quite important. Especially toilet humor. Just say the word "fart" right now wherever you are in a normal voice. You will almost certainly get a laugh.

:D

Cervaise
01-02-2004, 05:27 PM
When Q puts me on trial for the crimes of mankind, I will enter a Rice Krispy treat into evidence.

dakravel
01-03-2004, 05:46 PM
Yes, but they're not circumcised which is just weird.

So cutting bits off your child's penis is the norm? :p So long as your kid cleans his nether regions regularly, what reason is there to circumcise?
[/hijack]

I've always felt the greatest thing about humanity was the ability to be kind. Compassion is the most important thing in the world I would think.

'possum stalker
01-03-2004, 05:50 PM
We did come up with apples, sweet corn, etc. through several thousand years of breeding. Good work, Homo!

Soup_du_jour
01-03-2004, 06:57 PM
Our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness. IMHO, our most redeeming feature is...

...the belief that things can be better than they are, and the drive to make it so.

clairobscur
01-03-2004, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by Dob
Well sewers aside...Empathy and compassion are words probably used by the PLO in describing Saddam's generous money donations to families willing to let there son/daughter blow themselves up for the "cause". In cases like that Empathy and Compassion probably arent the best of people.
.


I wasn't refering to the *words* or the way they could be used for propaganda, but to the actual *feelings*.

pervert
01-03-2004, 10:05 PM
Well, one could certainly feel compasion for the homicide bombers. Especially if the argument that they are martyrs is accepted. I think the point is that feelings as such are morally neutral. They can be directed towards good or evil

Consider that very few people feel compasion for sewer designers, builders, or cleaners. This dispite the obvious value of their work.

Sam Stone
01-04-2004, 12:03 AM
About five minutes ago, we landed a robot on the surface of another planet. It will soon be roaming around that planet, making measurements and taking high resolution images.

The signal from this robot was relayed by another satellite we are flying in orbit around that planet.

Elsewhere, a telescope orbiting our planet is peering into the depths of the universe, being remotely controlled from the ground.

In the meantime, several humans are living in artificial environment we have created outside our atmosphere.

In a few months, a spacecraft powered by the energy of atoms themselves will enter orbit around Saturn and plunge another robotic spacecraft onto the surface of a moon orbiting another planet.

This is mankind's greatest redeeming feature. Our ability to push our horizons and expand our understanding of the universe.

BMalion
01-05-2004, 07:31 AM
Amen, Sam Stone.

spectrum
01-05-2004, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by dakravel
So cutting bits off your child's penis is the norm? :p So long as your kid cleans his nether regions regularly, what reason is there to circumcise?
[/hijack]

Aesthetics. :-)

IWLN
01-05-2004, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by spectrum
Aesthetics. :-) And conformity. What 12 year old boy wants his penis to look different than all the other boys?