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Abyss between humans and other species.

Why is there such a gigantic gap between human and the rest of the species, inhibiting our plant. Why is there no gradient, no intermediate steps? The answer might seem quite obvious but I never saw a scientifically based arguments trustfully explaining this phenomena.

Another question (may be it ought to be asked in a different post):

What are we good for?

The second question should be addressed in geological perspective and  humans must be considered to be just a single species, one among hundreds of millions of others. In geological terms we are here since just a blink of a second. Check this wonderful picture from Wikipedia:

the link to full size:

There is not a single species besides homo sapience that makes harm to our planet. But there is something that makes us think we are so good that have moral or whatever right to scarify everything else. What is it?

Religion gives us a very good explanation: god created all the animals for us to eat. So that when we serve god we do not have to starve from hunger. Of course I don’t buy a single word what religion says. Any other explanations?

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Jim and Gary are both on the right track, I think, in mentioning language (and ToM too). We greatly underestimate how much we use language. Without it we would have a very limited ability to communicate with each other, we would not be able to write down ideas and directions for future generations, and most importantly, our thought processes would not be very sophisticated. We record our memories and thoughts in one of two ways--visually or verbally. Although some people use visualization more than others, up to 80% of our cognition is verbal. Thus, we would lose a lot of our ability to plan, to concentrate, to THINK if we were to lose language.

Animals have developed some rudimentary aspects of language, but none of them have developed true language.
we would lose a lot of our ability to plan, to concentrate, to THINK if we were to lose language..
Not necessarily. Cognition isn't dependent on language. Many animals can plan and execute complex action - which requires thought - yet they have no language. We don't actual think in language but we do interpret our thoughts into language immediately in the Werke region of the brain, where language inception occurs; that process creates the illusion that one is thinking in language.
Sure, some thinking can occur independent of language because we can encode input visually as well as verbally. Nevertheless, cognition is greatly shaped by our language. I seriously doubt we would be able to reason abstractly without it. As an example of language shaping cognition, those who speak languages with shorter words for numbers have advantages on tasks that involve mental math. This is because, as they say the numbers to themselves mentally, they can move quicker through this internal "speech."


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