Homo sapiens are wise in name only

September 28, 2011 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Jenny Goldie of Sustainable Population Australia for this article from the Canberra Times.  See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/homo-sapiens-are-wise-in-name-only/2263875.aspx.  Be sure to read Jenny’s letter to the editor that follows the article.

Homo sapiens are wise in name only


19 Aug, 2011 04:00 AM

Humans can no longer lay claim to be ‘Homo sapiens’. We have not acted wisely for a long, long time.

It is time the human race had a new name. The old one, Homo sapiens – wise or thinking man – has been around since 1758 and is no longer a fitting description for the creature we have become.

When the Swedish father of taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, first bestowed it, humanity no doubt seemed wise when compared with what scientists of the day knew about both humans and other animals. We have since learned our behaviour is not as wise as we like to imagine – while some animals are quite intelligent. In short it is a name which is both inaccurate and which promotes a dangerous self-delusion.

In a letter to the scientific journal Nature (August 18, 2011) I have proposed there should be a worldwide discussion about the formal reclassification of humanity. The new name should reflect more truthfully the attributes and characteristics of the 21st century human – which are markedly different from those of 18th century ”man”.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/homo-sapiens-are-wise-in-name-only/2263875.aspx

Jenny Goldie, LTE, published by the Canberra Times on August 23:

Stupid Man

Julian Cribb argues that we should not be called Homo sapiens sapiens or wise, wise man because we have been responsible for species extinction, carbon emissions and global warming, ocean acidification, food insecurity, the manufacture and release of toxic chemicals and the illnesses they cause, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of rivers and oceans, loss of fisheries, soil erosion and degradation, pollution and depletion of groundwater and surface water, peak oil, scarcity of mineral nutrients, energy shortages, the nuclear threat, concentration on military science rather than life science, and continued human population growth (‘We are wise in name only’, Opinion, 19 August).

I think Cribb makes his case. Given that the last point, namely, continued population growth, is a contributing cause of all the other problems, may I suggest that Homo sapiens sapiens be renamed Homo fecundus stultus (fecund, stupid man).

Jenny Goldie
Michelago  NSW  2620

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