I'm a human, and I'm going to make an enormous "leap of faith" and assume that everyone who reads this is, too. I happen to like being human, I think I'm unique (as is every other human), and I have a natural self-selecting bias in favor of other humans - especially those most closely related to me - over other species. But then again, all species probably have a prejudiced "species-ist" mentality. But just because I happen to prefer humans over, say . . . spiders or jellyfish, doesn't mean I think we're "special", just that we're different from other species.
Everything living has through its history evolved the same amount (somewhere around 3.8 billion years and counting). So I've got to ask: What’s so special about humans, anyway?
What I mean by this is that no matter which religious believer you ask, or which holy book you consult, the conclusion is that humans are the final product of whatever process was used, and that God was subtly (or not so subtly) guiding the process to develop humans to their final form. To me, this is the ultimate ego trip.
Let me explain.
It’s fairly obvious that there exist thousands of fossils from species that went extinct sometime in the past. Some argue that a Noachian-type flood wiped them out, others that there were multiple creative events that were necessary to “clear the way” for humans to arise and still others claim that evolutionary processes did it. But all assume that with the arrival of humans, whatever process was used is basically finished.
My question is – why are humans the stopping point? After all, who can truly say that humans are the end result that God (or whichever deity you prefer) was looking for? Perhaps we’re just another “dinosaur age” that is needed to prepare the Earth for the next stage? Personally, I think it is the height of arrogance and egotism to assume that humans are the end result, given the size and scope of the universe as we know it.
How can we know that we haven’t been given religious inspiration to further some other cause or “chosen” species in the future? Every religion says that humans are fallible and cannot know God’s mind or intentions. Perhaps God is using us or our planet for seeding the ultimate creative process, and gave us misleading or incomplete information to keep us docile and complacent? Unfortunately, there is no way to test this or any similar theological quandary. The only thing we can continue to do is explore, investigate and test the universe in the only way we reliably can – naturally and through scientific methods. Perhaps someone can provide a logical and rational explanation as to why we are the “final product” of creation, but I’m not holding my breath.
In the meantime, I'll keep being human and trying my best to help out everyone I can -- human and/or otherwise.