Author Topic: Is it correct to say "Humans created dogs"?  (Read 4940 times)

Offline dementedpen

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Is it correct to say "Humans created dogs"?
« on: September 04, 2014, 11:38:38 AM »
In the context of artificial selection?

Offline MalFet

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Re: Is it correct to say "Humans created dogs"?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 07:07:12 PM »
Correct for whom?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Is it correct to say "Humans created dogs"?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 08:13:57 PM »
"Create" in the most precise usage would mean that they caused dogs to exist out of nothing. It is certainly accurate to say that humans altered the genetic structure of wolves into dogs, but I don't think we'd say that humans created the genetic structure of dogs, because a lot of it already existed in wolves. (Consider the, I think significant, meaning difference between "Man created dogs." and "God created man.") In more casual usage I think that's just fine.

In another sense, if you mean that as in "humans created the concept of dogs" or "humans created the category of dogs", then that's true and it's a kind of metonymy, a very common one that often goes unnoticed in general usage.

So "correct"? I don't know (as MalFet implies), but I don't think this is an English usage issue, more just about what exactly you mean to say. Would that sentence come across as strange to me? No. But since you asked, can I see anything strange about it? Yes, as described above.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 08:17:32 PM by djr33 »
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Offline freknu

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Re: Is it correct to say "Humans created dogs"?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 11:49:19 PM »
I've always had a dislike for using "create" where there is no actual "manufacture" involved. In most circumstances "born" or "shaped" fits so much better.

The Big Bang created the universe.
The universe was born from the Big Bang.
The universe was shaped from the Big Bang.

Humans creates dogs.
Dogs were born through humans.
Dogs were shaped through humans.

Thus removing any cumbersome implications of agency. It might be a little wordier compared to using "create", but that's a small price to pay for writing coherently/sensibly.