ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.

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Are humans the most complex organism??

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1Are humans the most complex organism?? Empty Are humans the most complex organism?? Wed May 06, 2015 11:50 pm



Are humans the most complex organism??


You were confused with good reason - this is what would be called an "ill-
posed question." "The most complex" doesn't really mean anything unless
you focus it down quite a bit, so I will try and answer this on several

If you mean at a genetic level, the answer is clearly no. The genome of
an organism consists of the complete DNA sequence, including coding and
non-coding genes. Of the number of animals for which is there is good
genome data (about 3800 so far), the smallest known genome is about 39
million base pairs (Mb) in Trichoplax adhaerens, a placozoan. Placozoans
are very tiny organisms whith only about 20-30 cells. On the other hand,
the largest genome is not in an elephant or a whale or a human, but rather
in Protopterus aethiopicus, the marbled lungfish (about 130,340 Mb). Mice
and humans come in at quite a modest 3000 Mb. A good place to look at
this information can be found here:
or here

If the question meant complexity in terms of physiology, the answer is
definitely no. Humans are bipedal primates, adapted for complex manual
manipulation and flexible mental and time-binding capacities in a
terrestrial environment. While we adapt well to most environments on
earth, this is largely because of our cognitive and manipulative
abilities, not physiological complexities. You could easily argue that
newts, who can adapt their basic physiology to living underwater as well
as on land, or cichlid fish that can change their sex when gender
differentials become a problem, are more complex. We share most of our
basic biological systems with just about every other vertebrate on the
planet - each species "tweaks their setup" to be only as complex as they
need to be to cope with and take advantage of environmental niches.

The only manner in which humans might be considered to be the
most "complex" organisms on the planet is in mental cognition and
neocortical complexity, and even here it's contentious. Humans do not
have the biggest brains on the planet - our brains are about 1.4 kg (3.08
pounds). That honor goes to the Sperm Whale (physter catadon) at 7.8 kg
(17 lbs 3 oz). However, whale brains have less neocortex and seem to be
laid out on a simpler, less densely interconnected plan. So it's not just
size, it's also brain/body ratios, number of layers of cells, number of
interneuronal synapses, organization, and a very large host of other
factors. Humans do not always come out on top with these types of
comparisons (in several elephants and orcas come out way ahead).

A good basic web site on this is here:

An excellent site comparing mammalian brain neuroanatomy can be found here:

Humans also are not the only (or sometimes even the best) problem
solvers. Chimps and dolphins use tools, dogs and primates have been shown
to be able to lie (a very cognitively complex function, meaning they
understand truth and how to manipulate it to get what they want) and
african gray parrots show a remarkable ability at language use.

All in all, to answer this question you are going to have to reask it in
different ways (which is always a valid method of response). Just point
out that complexity is a relative and often meaningless term if you don't
also ask "complexity of what?"


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