Why Humans Always Place Themselves at the Pinnacle of Creation

Two thousand years ago, the Greek scholar Aristotle developed the idea of the Great Chain of Being (scala natura) – a hierarchy of nature that starts with rocks at the bottom, and rises through plants to (nonhuman) animals to humans to angels to God.

The Great Chain doesn’t hold up in the world of science, but many humans still cling to their position "above" the other animals. In this brief video, Steve Wise ponders the question of why almost any group of humans will automatically put itself at the top of the hierarchy of creation or evolution.

Next week: How should we relate to animals, human or nonhuman, who are cognitively complex?

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