Petition To Change Human Beings’ Zoological Name

WHEREAS “complex” describes human beings far more comprehensively than does “sapient” and so the Latin complexus describes human beings and differentiates our species from others more accurately than does sapiens;

Whereas human beings act based on names and descriptors, accurate or not, at least as much as on demonstrated reality;

Whereas calling themselves by the inaccurate name Homo sapiens promotes and perpetuates an attitude in human beings of their own exceptionalism & superiority;

Whereas Carolus Linnaeus acted non-scientifically when he invented the name Homo sapiens – deferring to a belief in human exceptionalism & superiority based on established religion, to avoid persecution due to the lack of legal protection for free speech & thought in his time;

Whereas calling themselves by the inaccurate name Homo sapiens and deeming themselves inherently superior to and more worthy of consideration than other beings is a factor in human behavior that unjustly and to humans’ and all other beings’ disadvantage destroys other beings and disrupts Earth’s ecosystems & biosphere;

Whereas, as long as the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature and the scientific community generally sanctions use of Homo sapiens for human beings, those who strive to teach ecology and ethics and to reverse ecologically destructive behavior and its consequences will be in the untenable position of referring to the beings perpetuating such behavior as sapient;

Whereas recognizing hyper-complexity rather than sapience as their distinguishing trait, human beings will be more likely to establish a less-unjust and less-destructive relationship to other beings and the rest of nature than they have wrought to date;

Whereas the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is accepted worldwide as the authority on species names and therefore is in a position to change human thought and behavior for the better by giving our species a more accurate name;

THEREFORE, Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc., located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA, with members and supporters throughout the human world, urges the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, c/o The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK, to change human beings’ species name to Homo complexus and to announce this change to the scientific community and to the human world generally.

Respectfully submitted this 5th Day of August, 2008.

David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.

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